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Classic Railroad Quiz (at least 50 years old).

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 29, 2020 11:27 PM

There is a certain amount of sneakiness (that will come as no surprise to those who read the corporate history of the A&S) in this use of aluminum as ... the aluminum company built the line, supervised its enlargements, and owned it a very long time. 

The PRR experimented with aluminum rods on that unlikely-seeming guinea pig, an I1s, in 1922.  It would make almost preternatural sense to reduce required overbalance on a locomotive of this kind, especially with no assisted guidance at the rear of the chassis; since the I1 had radical reduced cutoff (50%) it was capable of running over 50mph, at which point ... nature would be taking its course.  

Alas, the aluminum alloys of the time were incapable of tolerating reversing heavy stress.  I do not, lamentably, know the alloy changes by 1937, but I see no indication the fancy rods were removed while the locomotive ran.  

I have the same question as you about the construction of the booster.  In my opinion using light metal in those parts (which were only passively driven) would have made sense, as much as any tender booster ever did.

I honestly do not know about galvanic corrosion at any time, but I'd suspect that if any railroad had people from the 'home office' watching for the signs, this would have been it.  I do have the suspicion that the aluminum would have been chromated and painted as in aircraft practice, not left bright as in the 'publicity pictures', but I do not have pictures.

Incidentally, the A&S was originally to be sold to SSW (the 'natural acquirer') but as so often seen in this country, the ICC horned in and said two or more owners were needed -- so it went to C&NW and MoPac.  From this came the weird blue-and-yellow scheme, and the herald with the C&NW bar and the MoPac buzz saw.

Note that all three predecessor railroads are now part of UP, although they did not become so at the same time,  and UP owns 100% of the A&S but it still continues as a separate corporation with its own board of directors.

Incidentally, the spelling 'aluminum' is not only original, not only British (and by no less an authority than its discoverer!), but more correct.  Take for example the mineral 'alumina', which is the source of the metal.  It is obvious to anyone not flunking 8th-grade Latin that a metal derived from this would take the -a suffix and replace it with neuter, um.  On the other hand, take beryl (the gem) and beryllia (the amorphous material) which follows the same protocol, except it retains the formative i, to give 'beryllium'.  

In similar wise, we take 'helios' and get heli-um, "helum" making utterly no sense at all.  And -- all sarcasm aside -- it's not rocket science to see why H.G. Wells' notorious bomb element is 'carolinum' 

Yeah, I know, it falls apart with the alkali metals, and it's been a convention for a hundred years of new elements ... but still.

(Incidentally, for more grins, I note that wikipedia, that great more-English-than-the English bureaucratic boondoggle, states that 'aluminum' is the accepted spelling for Canada... Dunce)

In any case, take it away!

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 30, 2020 10:47 AM

Thanks for such an informative posting.   Aluminum rods.  Wow!

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 19, 2020 2:36 PM

Since no one else has posted anything for a while, here's a simple one to get this thread restarted.

Name a steam-powered locomotive that had both dynamic braking and MU capability.  A large amount of the Alton & Southern's favourite metal was also used in their construction.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:22 PM

Either the Chessie or the N&W turbo-electric.  I think both could mu with diesels. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:27 PM

The 1938 GE 2+C-C+2 steam turbine-electric engines that tested on the UP could MU with each other, and since the GE MU System was already well-defined, with Diesels as well.

UP put them into service for a while before returning them to GE.  Apparently GE also leased them to the GN for a while.

Technically successful, they were much more expensive than Diesels for the same service.  The units were also equipped with condensors, unique in US practice.  The use of aluminum was partly inspired by UP's contemporary streamliners, partly to control the weight which was driven by their complexity.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:34 PM

SD70Dude
Since no one else has posted anything for a while, here's a simple one to get this thread restarted.

Since you were in fact 'up' to ask the next question, let's take this one seriously...

Yes, this will be the GE steam turbines 1 and 2.  But there are some interesting caveats to the answers here.

The dynamic braking was not to grids, as on diesels, but to heating in the Rankine cycle for the high-pressure steam.  This constituted a form of true regenerative braking.  A number of modern designs "think" they invented this idea, but it appears to have been incorporated in the GE design from relatively early on.

I can't find a technical reference, but I suspect the MU in these units had a number of proprietary contacts specific to internal "steam-related" functions (in other words to run coupled back-to-back) and someone would need to show me where they had nose MU connections.  I suspect if they were 'diesel-compatible' it would be with an old GE (11-pin? and something else) MU connection (as on the early switchers) and not the 27-pin standard that later engines used -- this might have been separate from the cabling for the more 'proprietary' functions.

In my opinion these engines were 'better' than their history indicates -- the principal difficulty is that development began in 1936, when exotic high-pressure steam could offer horsepower density and at least theoretically robust performance that would take many cylinders' worth of complex and fragile Winton 201 power to equal.  By the time GE had a commercial product, EMD was well into the 567 era, and where UP was concerned with steam, conventional approaches were giving adequate high-speed performance.  

Reading between the lines, it was the prospect of condenser issues in this design that soured UP on the idea of high-pressure high-performance steam.  And this would likely have been insurmountable, at that time or now, for the necessary mass flow to develop 'diesel-competitive' sustained horsepower per unit.  

Note that both the C&O turbines (which used conventional boiler construction and pressure) and the N&W turbine (which only used 600psi) were atmospheric-exhausting by design, and would likely have been impossible to design practical condensers for without using external water spray.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:39 PM

I was thinking of the GE pair, which were regularly operated together under the control of one Engineer.

I don't know enough about the C&O or N&W steam turbine-electrics to say whether they had DB and MU capability or not, at any rate the C&O units seem to have been operated on their own and there was only one 'Jawn Henry'.

I've never seen a photo of any of them working with diesels, but I would quite like to if any exist.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:40 PM

Overmod
SD70Dude
Since no one else has posted anything for a while, here's a simple one to get this thread restarted.

Since you were in fact 'up' to ask the next question, let's take this one seriously...

I forgot.  

Anyway, I didn't think I had done enough to get proper credit for answering your question.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 19, 2020 3:49 PM

SD70Dude
I didn't think I had done enough to get proper credit for answering your question.

You sure did more than anyone else did, and answered all the essential technical parts.  So you did earn it.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 19, 2020 4:01 PM

I have never seen anything to indicate that the C&O turbines were intended as anything other than big single-unit steam locomotives.  As these were passenger engines, it is difficult to imagine a train requiring two of them; the 'other' contemporary power for the Chessie was conventional reciprocating rebuilds of F19 Pacifics -- btw, I have seen a picture of one of the converted Hudsons without shrouding, apparently in service, which indicates the decision to streamline them came after the mechanical conversion to very capable 4-6-4s had started -- in the era C&O was still devoted to being a coal-burning railroad.

N&W of course eschewed diesels during the period of development of the Jawn Henry, and any MU of the TE-1 would involve a Baldwin pneumatic throttle arrangement anyway.  I think it was very quickly apparent to N&W that the "65mph speed" claim Baldwin asserted for the design was very highly theoretical, or should I say highly creative; the locomotive evidently wound up mostly used in lower-speed pusher service, where its low-speed tractive effort 'advantage' would be best used... and use it the N&W engineers certainly did: they managed to severely damage something like 8 of the 12 hexapole motors beyond economical repair in just the couple of years of spotty service that engine delivered.  This on a locomotive which, according to Louis Newton, had one of its two main generators damaged by accident during fabrication, and never quite satisfactorily repaired...

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 20, 2020 4:15 AM

I learned smething.  I just never knew or forgot about the GE UP steam turbine-electrics.  Can someone post a picture and technical details?

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 20, 2020 6:42 AM

There are many sites on the web that cover various details of the locomotives, and in usual model-railroad form, a couple of models were made (the Overland version being particularly spectacular in replicating the large illuminated signs on the nose sides, often unremarked in technical discussions)

We just had a great huge technical discussion of sorts concerning these two in connection with that thread about GTELs for use on Great Northern (in 'Locomotives' on the Trains Magazine forum...)  Note that Ed has provided a number of drawings and photos in there that will help you understand the internal layout and component sizes.

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, December 20, 2020 12:24 PM

There's a photo of them coupled "elephant style" (but not necessarily in MU) on the Wikipedia page

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GE_steam_turbine_locomotives

GE did use a larger MU jumper for contemporary electrics. There were four hatches on the nose above the anticlimber that could have housed MU sockets.  They would most likely have had GE's dual socket 12 + 21 pin arrangement, with a possible field loop socket for dynamic braking control.

I'm also reaonably sure that on-board water capacity was a real issue, even with condensing.  Especially so if the boiler steam was tapped for train heat. 

I'll post something later today.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 20, 2020 1:21 PM

rcdrye
There's a photo of them coupled "elephant style" (but not necessarily in MU) ...

Not only are you right, but now that you mention it, I recall this was the way they were intended to operate: both units with condensers trailing.  That might be wrong, but I suspect you'll find it may be so.

So yes, at least one would have nose MU, at least for whatever the standard cabling was that GE used.  I'll bet there is a more precise description of how the MU function worked, too -- either with respect to UP, or on GN.

There were four hatches on the nose above the anticlimber that could have housed MU sockets.  They would most likely have had GE's dual socket 12 + 21 pin arrangement, with a possible field loop socket for dynamic braking control.

I'd be very, very interested to see how GE implemented the regenerative dynamic-braking control.

I'm also reaonably sure that on-board water capacity was a real issue, even with condensing.

I'm sure this was one of the most critical factors.  Remember that this water HAD to be distilled, and almost certainly kept thoroughly deoxygenated.  Even tiny pinhole leaks in heat exchangers or condensers would admit considerable air, and with the inability to run chemical deoxygenation (as with sulfites or hydrazine in regular steam locomotives) all sorts of fun things might start to happen.  Something I don't remember is whether the distilled water physically passed through the condenser arrangement or there was secondary cooling -- I suspect the former, based on the plenum size for the turbine exhaust -- but it would be a pain either way.  At least a concern would not be

... Especially if the boiler steam was tapped for train heat.

You would not tap the 1500psi distilled water in the primary loop, and I doubt suitable steam quality for a long train at 'typical' locomotive-hauled pressure and volume could be gotten effectively out of a secondary condensing/cooling loop circuit.  What I'd expect would be typical OK-style oil-fired boilers (using the same fuel as the high-pressure boiler burners) with a 'disposable' water supply.  Look for very low temperature, to get maximum working vacuum, in what would pass for a 'hot well' on the other side of the condenser arrangement...

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, December 20, 2020 3:14 PM

I have seen a photo of the two units operating back-to-back on the GN.  I'm sure you're right about the flash boiler - I wasn't considering the water quality required for steam turbine operation.  Boilers for electrics and diesels were pretty well developed by 1938 - the E2 sets used on the "City" trains certainly had them.

A western railroad got a series of locomotives in the mid-1950s from EMD with three underframe tanks each containing a different liquid, later reduced to two tanks as service requirements changed, each with its own.  In the end both of the remaining tanks ended up with the same liquid.  I want the railroad, the engine type and the liquid contents of the tanks.  For a freebie hint (which might not be very valuable...) the tank capacity total started at and remained at 2400 gallons during the locomotives' entire service lives.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, December 20, 2020 5:30 PM

Did any of Union Pacific's heavy fuel GP9's have steam generators?  

Perhaps there was a separate diesel fuel tank for the Vapor-Clarkson, along with the fuel oil and and water tanks?

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, December 20, 2020 6:54 PM

UP's GP9s did not have boilers - and were retrofits anyway.  These units were "factory". You're on the right track.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 20, 2020 8:53 PM

That's the Southern Pacific "mudburner" heavy fuel experiment, a bunch of SD9s in the mid-5400 series if I remember right, which used a steam generator to heat the heavy fuel instead of UP's electrically heated elements.  (As I said in describing them, in the discussion on diesel use of heavy fuel in one of those GTEL threads, SP was familiar with steam heat for reciprocating locomotives and that might have something to do with it.)  For some reason I remember this fuel as specially filtered and somewhere in the #4 to #5 range to work with the injectors, not bottom-of-the-barrel residual.

SP also reputedly ran a Baldwin (5207) on actual Bunker C, using the engine cooling water as part of the fuel heating -- that's a somewhat likelier engine design to survive injecting heated residual oil.  I only know about it from hearsay (including an old post here on the Kalmbach forums) so I don't have any more accurate details or even particularly good speculation.

Supposedly the engine had better economy on the heavy fuel thanks to the higher carbon content...

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 20, 2020 8:55 PM

Steam generator was taken out circa 1958, after which just diesel and heavy fuel were carried in the tanks.  As I recall some of them ran into the early 1970s.

I am now seeing references to Strapac -- there were a bunch of F units, GP9s, and even RSD Alcos that got X-6 heavy fuel.  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, December 20, 2020 9:16 PM

Very interesting, I had forgotten about SP's mudburners, they certainly aren't as well known as UP's fleet.  

Regarding the Baldwin, did marine De La Vergne engines burn bunker fuel?

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, December 21, 2020 3:49 AM

SD70Dude
Regarding the Baldwin, did marine De La Vergne engines burn bunker fuel?

I would have to point you at a boatnerd like Leo Ames for an accurate answer.  It was my unformed idea that motor ships with that general kind of Diesel engine would also use typical diesel fuel -- in the general #2, gas-oil range, not the stuff those big low-speed engines with multiple injectors per cylinder you see in ship tech-porn videos are set up to burn.

I confess that I'd have my doubts about true Bunker C being particularly optimal for use in a De La Vergne (or 600-series) engine that used diesel for startup and purge in the same injectors -- I'd think this might be the same sort of #4 to #5 with the crud and asphalting rigorously filtered out that other references mention.  But then again I've never seen a technical discussion of what precisely was in "X-6" as used on the railroad...

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, December 21, 2020 6:37 AM

The Mudburner SD9s (5439-5463) were assigned to Tehachapi and had boilers for heating passenger trains - the engine cooling water was used to get the "mud" up to a flowing temperature.  Original tanks had 400 gallons of diesel, 1200 of Bunker C and 800 of water.  After the S/Gs were pulled they had 800 diesel and 1600 bunker C.  Mudburner feature was pulled around 1969 at which time all 2400 was diesel.

The Baldwin unit that was first used was a DRS-6-6-1500 with a 608SC engine.  Baldwin supplied some modified injectors and pumps that were used.  The same technique of heating the tanks with engine cooling water was used since the DRS's were never equipped for passenger service.

The mudburners were pretty closely confined to Southern California so the minor fuel savings ran up against maintenance issues and the ability to assign the engines systemwide. SP's huge purchases of SD45s and variants in the 1960s and 70s forced a redistribution of locomotives that did not favor SD9s with special fuel requirements.  All of the former mudburner SD9s survived long enough to be rebuilt by SP in the 1970s including at least two that made it to the UP merger.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 25, 2020 10:45 AM

Who has this question now?  I lost track after SD70dude got it...

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, December 25, 2020 10:51 AM

Overmod

Who has this question now?  I lost track after SD70dude got it...

 

That would be you...

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 25, 2020 11:54 AM

As we know, Paul Kiefer was a bit obsessive on the subject of locomotive weight, particularly unsprung weight.  It is therefore interesting to see required balance weight increase, more than a bit counterintuitively, on five of the L4b Mohawks, for reasons that should have made perfect sense, but that evidently did not have much, if any, real-world benefit.

What was the reason for the increase?  And why should it have been an advantage?

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, December 25, 2020 7:45 PM

NYC played some with various disc drivers, with Scullins being the most common on Mohawks, not necessarily on all axles.  If anything the disc drivers used were lighter than conventional wheels.  A few of the L4Bs were equipped with roller bearing rods, which would be a bit heavier than conventional rods.  My guess is that there was little to no performance increase (a testimony to excellent NYC maintenance of conventional rods) and only marginal savings on maintenance.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 25, 2020 9:38 PM

You have managed to arrive at the answer without getting much of the explanation right!  While I believe the Scullin disc centers were lighter than Boxpok, they were also weaker, and both were I think heavier than the Union Web-Spoke (which were in turn heavier, by at least the mass of the webs, than conventional spoke drivers).

Only 10 of the L4s had Scullin drivers (5 early L4as and 5 L4bs) so I think you're thinking of the 25 late J3as built with them. 

With the success of the Niagaras, an enormous part of which can be attributed to the Timken lightweight running gear, it would seem obvious that the same 'beauty treatment' on smaller-drivered power ought to produce the speed increase justified by the increase to 90mph permissible speed on some of the Water Level Route.  That there would be some issues involved with the larger pin diameter and alloy-bearing construction could be observed in the plans for drilling additional lead cores in the cast Boxpok centers, from the rear which would increase the augment couple somewhat from counterweighting nearly in-plane and negating some of the advantage of the lightweight 'tandem' intermediate rods.  I see no indication that any of the 10 Scullin-equipped L4s were considered for receiving Timken rods, which (reading between the lines in Gerbracht's book) is fortunate as the enlarged pins for the roller rods might have weakened the Double-Disc centers still further.

In the event, only two L4s received the roller-bearing rods, and they did indeed not exhibit the dramatic improvement the Niagaras did.  Perhaps the important thing to look at was the floating-bushing redesign of the L4 rodwork, which used much of the same sophisticated steel alloys as the Timken rods did, rode articulated close to the drivers for better augment, and had good hard-grease lubrication.  It's a sobering tale for those who think roller-bearing rods are a wonderful improvement on any older power...

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, December 26, 2020 6:54 AM

I know NYC used Scullins on a fair number of L2 and L3 subclasses.  Like many late steam improvements, there were tradeoffs in their use.  I was looking solely at their weight as a factor - they were lighter than the conventional spoked Alco centers that were on most of the Mohawks' driver axles.  Scullins were also supposed to allow easier counterbalancing. 

A short stretch of track in Canada not far from the US border has seen many changes in use in its lifespan.

A through route to overseas commerce by an American-owned railroad

A connection to its new owner for regional trains

An electrified steam line with interurbans sharing track with steam trains

An all-electric line, including interchange freight

A suburban electric line with diesel-powered trains covering its former interurban service

and finally a link in a reroute required by highway construction that is still assigned today as a route for passenger trains.

Name the original US owner, the electric railway, and the current owner.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:32 AM

rcdrye
know NYC used Scullins on a fair number of L2 and L3 subclasses.

There was exactly ONE L2 with Scullins (2726) -- and that includes the L2d rebuilds.  Only one L3 had them... and that was wholly by accident; 3001 had 72" drivers and could 'share' sets from the L4s.  There were no more Scullin-equipped L4s than Web-Spoke equipped engines.

All the rest of the L3 and L4 were Boxpok; I do not know how many L2s might have gotten Boxpok retrofits as the early Mohawks don't really interest me, but I find it interesting that there are no examples of using a stronger disc main 'only' on NYC, as seen on so many retrofits of lightweight balancing on other roads. 

I was looking solely at their weight as a factor - they were lighter than the conventional spoked Alco centers that were on most of the Mohawks' driver axles.

I fell for this for a very long time; I think it was only the Scullin ad in the '47 Cyc that tumbled me to their being heavier 'but stronger' than spoked counterparts.  (Was there ever really doubt that Boxpoks were heavier?)  

Tom Gerbracht seems to have fallen for the 'lower unsprung mass' argument in his article on late Mohawks but it's a mistake (one that Voyce Glaze, for example, did not make).

Now there were welded double-disc drivers, some of which looked very much like Scullins, and those might have been lighter.  But the Scullins in regular production were all cast, like Boxpoks.

Scullins were also supposed to allow easier counterbalancing.[/quote]Probably as cast, perhaps by allowing some of the counterweighting to be arranged closer to the outer face of the wheel.  On the other hand it appears they were viewed as being weak in the pin fits, and there might have been a little lightness in the counterweight coring and angling provision.  Certainly none of the centers chosen for the Timken rod modifications were Scullin.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:11 AM

Don't know the original owner,  pssibly the Delaware and Hudson or the NYCentral, or the Central Vermont if you consider it a USA railroad, but the interurban was the Montreal and Southern Counties, and I believe the current owner is CN, and the track is on the most used rail bridge linking Montreal to the south across the St. Lawrence.

Car 9 of the M&SC is at Branford. wood, cleristry roof.

The Montrealer and Washingtonian used it for a time.

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