Classic Train Questions Part Deux (50 Years or Older)

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RME
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Posted by RME on Friday, May 05, 2017 4:14 PM

rcdrye
This city's elevated railroad, which was constructed just like its contemporaries, was early enough to be steam powered, late enough to get electrified, and uneconomic enough to be abandoned before 1905.

Sioux City.

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, May 05, 2017 6:42 PM

The Sioux City Elevated was built to further a real estate development in Sioux City.  Originally steam powered with Forneys of classic design, it was one of the very first electrified elevated railways - run off of overhead wire in deference to three miles of surface trackage.  Merged into the Sioux City Rapid Transit Co. it was abandoned some time between 1901 and 1903, with the outer end retained as part of the city system, described by someone as a bunch of interurbans within a city.  At least one of the former elevated cars saw further service on one of the suburban lines.  Transit Avenue in the Morningside section of Sioux City remains to this day.

To you, RME!

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 1:43 PM

Here's a two-parter:

A fairly well-known railroad experimented with a system that was supposed to improve steam locomotive efficiency.  During the early years of WWII upward of 80 locomotives were equipped with it, but to my knowledge no other railroads used it, although a very similar approach using different equipment was well established.  What was it, and how was it done?

Meanwhile, the same road was known for a decidedly interesting way to implement the idea of a coal pusher without sliding elements that could damage the coal; the only thing I know roughly comparable to it was a system applied to certain locomotives in England when coal pushers couldn't be made to work.

What was the approach and the railroad involved here?  Extra points for describing the English system...

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 7:36 PM

Guessing to see if I'm in the ballpark.

How about N&W lubritoriums for it's steamers, primarily the articulates.. They would have to have been fitted with special nipples and lube points standard on those locomotives that used it. 

As for the coal pusher, think it was done by specially equipped airlines blowing the coal forward. 

Of course I could be way out in left field here. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 9:57 PM

No, and no.

It is extremely unlikely that the devices used in the first part of the question would have used (or benefited from) separate lubricants supplied in a lubritorium; they would much more likely have been serviced from taps on existing mechanical lubricators on the locomotives in question.

Your air-line thought is intriguing ... but not for the coal-pusher part of the question.  Air would not be blowing coal forward in the tender; imagine the dust!

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 10:14 PM

OK...well, heck!

Maybe I can assist with the bonus question.

The British Railway Standard Class -7 4-6-2's "Britannias"

The 3rd batch constructed in 1954 featured a steam powered coal pusher, eliminating the need for crew members to climb the tender and move coal forward. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 11:26 PM

Miningman
The British Railway Standard Class -7 4-6-2's "Britannias"

No.

The answer is NOT any kind of coal pusher whatsoever.  It's a different way of getting the coal pile forward toward the gate locations.

Hint: it does not work the way 'everyone' thinks it does from its usual description.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:06 AM

Steeeee-rike three. You're out!

RME
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:51 AM

Time for a hint:  Canadians were influential in using the operating principle of the locomotive improvement in the 'different context' I mentioned.  They did not, to my knowledge, even try doing what the US railroad in question did (but it would be interesting to find out if anyone tried!)

RME
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Posted by RME on Thursday, May 11, 2017 9:43 AM

If this is too boring or uninteresting, I'll provide a different question.  In the meantime, someone else can propose a different one to keep the thread going.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 11, 2017 11:33 AM

Not a boring question... few participants... worried about Dave Klepper , has not been around for a while. Seems we are down to maybe 4 or 5

I'm at work right now, taking quick break, cannot search until I get home and then it's about when time available. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 13, 2017 12:54 AM

Dudes! ...Wake up! 

I want to know the answer ( so I can feel real bad about not getting it )

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 13, 2017 7:11 AM

I have been informed that a famous Northwestern road also tried the coal-moving method. 

There were more than 80 locomotives equipped with the 'improvement' in a comparatively short time, but it was a required thing to qualify on even before our entry into the War, so probably thought of as a Big Coming Thing.

It is not a small or trivial improvement, and it is a radical change from earlier methods although it uses some of the same parts and, likely, patented or proprietary stuff (further hint: of operational necessity...)

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, May 15, 2017 4:04 PM

I can't find the reference I wanted, which is why I haven't tried.  I seem to remember NP using what amounted to a vibrator to move the coal down the slope sheet on the Yellowstones, made necessary because of the relatively high moisture content of the lignite coal involved. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Monday, May 15, 2017 9:26 PM

rcdrye
I seem to remember NP using what amounted to a vibrator to move the coal down the slope sheet on the Yellowstones, made necessary because of the relatively high moisture content of the lignite coal involved.

I think it's possible that a number of railroads used vibration (either eccentric weight or 'buzzer') to get stubborn coal to feed -- I believe that method was used on hopper cars.  What I'm looking for, though, is something more adapted to feeding coal for 'hand bombing' than down into the extended channel of a stoker worm.  (Which by definition makes it unsuitable for the improvement in the first part of the question...)

 

In the meantime, here is an alternate to get the thread re-started. 

What month and year, and by whom, were the first domestically-produced steel rails in the United States rolled?

 

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:28 AM

 

zoom
William Rau photograph of the Cambria Iron Works and Johnstown, 1891.


In 1864, the PRR placed an order for an experimental lot of 150 tons of steel rails - the first in America - and hinted that it might build its own steelworks. In 1866, the company announced that it was accelerating its purchases of steel rail despite a price that was double that of iron rails. In time, the PRR helped organize and fund the Pennsylvania Steel Co. At Steelton, Pennsylvania, just south of Harrisburg, that firm built the first plant to be constructed specifically for the production of railroad rails.

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:37 AM

Interesting how carefully the wording on that sign dances around that the rails involved were not, in fact, the first ones physically rolled in the United States...

There is a reason I am asking for the specific month, as well as the year. 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, May 26, 2017 9:53 PM

Bumping this up...I've tried 4 times on the 2 part and replacement question...someone needs to get 'er done.

Does anyone know if Dave Klepper is Ok..I heard about log in problems but it has been a long while now.

 

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Posted by RME on Friday, May 26, 2017 10:57 PM

On the tender question: the method used to move the coal will be familiar to people needing to coal things other than locomotives.

On the stoker question: think Canadian oil firing.

Rails were rolled in mid-1866.  Who can figure out where and precisely when?  It was not Pennsylvania, according to what my reference says.

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, May 27, 2017 6:15 AM

The first steel rails were rolled at North Chicago IL in 1865.  The plant became a U.S. Steel facility later.

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 27, 2017 8:18 AM

That's the one I'm looking for; the date I just gave was a typo.

North Chicago Rolling Mills, May 1865 (from Stover's 'American Railroads', p.157 - note that this book is part of 'The Chicago History of American Civilization' so there could be a smidge of native pride showing here...)

Elsewhere Stover notes that the Rock Island was an early adopter of steel rails, and by 1880 was "the only road to have an all-steel track from Chicago to the Missouri River". (p.87)   This may partly account for the early postwar initiation of steel-rail rolling in the Chicago area instead of elsewhere in the industrial East.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 27, 2017 1:00 PM

The Rock Island "as the only road to have an all steel track" is amazing.

That dispells a lot of myths about the "also ran" "late to the party" somewhat considered bumpkin and backward road. Also considered responsible for steel rail rolling in Chicagoland..wow thats huge. 

Long live the Rock at least in memory and some trackage. Hard to believe it is no more. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, May 28, 2017 7:03 PM

This Railway's name included the name of its eventual purchaser.  Before that, it was one of the few leaving Chicago whose name included a body of water that was NOT the Pacific.

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Posted by RME on Monday, May 29, 2017 1:55 PM

rcdrye
This Railway's name included the name of its eventual purchaser.  Before that, it was one of the few leaving Chicago whose name included a body of water that was NOT the Pacific.

Seeing as we were in a 'Rock Island state of mind' ... wouldn't the question. as written, technically  include the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf?

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, May 29, 2017 4:38 PM

Except that the CRI&G didn't actually leave Chicago, running only from Fort Worth to Dallas Texas.  The line I'm looking for actually started at the Indiana Line, if that doesn't give it away...

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, May 29, 2017 5:45 PM

Gulf, Mobile and Northern?

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:13 AM

The railroad name had "Chicago" in it.  I already gave that it started at the Indiana line.  If it helps, the name under which the line is best known is quite short.  The company shell lasted until 1945 or so, but the line was under lease before the turn of the 20th century.

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:43 AM

Why not the Chicago & Atlantic/Chicago & Erie (two non-Pacific names for the same money!) which started at Hammond (but never went west of that) and was consoldidated with the Erie in 1941?

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 12:09 PM

That's what I was looking for.  The Erie main line from Hammond to Marion Ohio was built by the Chicago & Atlantic (formed as but never operated as the Chicago, Continental & Baltimore).  Reorganized as the Chicago and Erie in 1890, purchased by the Erie in 1895 but not merged until 1941.  C&A bought into the Chicago and Western Indiana to get access to Dearborn Station.  Between State Line (Hammond) and Griffith Ind.  the C&E and later Erie shared track with the C&O of Indiana.

 

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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 1:37 PM

A midwestern road known for projectile speed had some B units with a very unusual configuration - if certain mice could run trains, these might not only have led but led quickly.

What was the builder and model number, and the reason they were used as B units?

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