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Santa Fe Not Loyal To Steam

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Posted by Southwest Chief on Sunday, September 2, 2012 5:07 PM

Why did the Santa Fe prefer diesels over steam?  Three simple reasons:

Reason 1 - Water Availability

Reason 2 - Water Availability

Reason 3 - Water Availability

If you've never traveled through the US southwest, you can't comprehend how dry it really is.  Even with some deep wells drilled by the Santa Fe at key locations, water was always a concern.  Ever wonder why most Santa Fe steam locos had enormous tenders?  They could carry more water meaning fewer stops in areas where water just wasn't available..  Eliminating water stops was the reason Santa Fe embraced the diesel.

Matt from Anaheim, CA and Bayfield, CO
Click Here for my model train photo website

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 10:15 AM

Water was a real issue for Santa Fe, they also had to haul water to Hackberry AZ just to support the steam locomotives that were serviced there.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:54 AM

Firelock76

To wjstix:  Oh, don't get me wrong, I darn well know diesels had to come, the economics were undeniable.  Still, I think the precipitous approach a lot of roads took didn't stand them in good stead in the long run. 

A lot of railroads dieselized in a very haphazard method. The New York Central for example rec'd some of their fine 4-8-4 Niagara passenger steam engines AFTER they had rec'd their first batch of E-7 passenger diesels from EMD!! Many railroads bought diesels from several builders, causing a nightmare down the road in trying to maintain spare parts and such.

 In many cases, the railroads would have been better off to do what the Missabe did, and use their modern steam power as long as possible and then dieselize with similar units from the same builder (well OK the Missabe did buy a few Alco RSD's, but generally dieselized with EMD SD units bought from 1955-60.)

Stix
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 10:12 AM

One of the reasons that Missabe stuck with steam as long as it did was the seasonal nature of its traffic, which made dieselization, with its large initial outlay, less attractive.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:07 PM

wjstix

Firelock76

To wjstix:  Oh, don't get me wrong, I darn well know diesels had to come, the economics were undeniable.  Still, I think the precipitous approach a lot of roads took didn't stand them in good stead in the long run. 

A lot of railroads dieselized in a very haphazard method. The New York Central for example rec'd some of their fine 4-8-4 Niagara passenger steam engines AFTER they had rec'd their first batch of E-7 passenger diesels from EMD!! Many railroads bought diesels from several builders, causing a nightmare down the road in trying to maintain spare parts and such.

 In many cases, the railroads would have been better off to do what the Missabe did, and use their modern steam power as long as possible and then dieselize with similar units from the same builder (well OK the Missabe did buy a few Alco RSD's, but generally dieselized with EMD SD units bought from 1955-60.)

When the initial rapid purchase of diesels started in the late 1940's - there was not an acknowledged 'leader' among the manufacturers.  Roads bought products from all the manufacturers - to see how they actually performed against the salesman's sales pitch.  As the miles and months of service in all kinds of service and under all kinds of conditions began to test the power it became evident who the better manufacturers were and future power orders went to those manufacturers.  While it is easy to say from today's vantage point what they should have done - hindsight is always 20/20.  Foresight is somewhat cloudier.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:33 AM

Also, which builders were on line had an influence, at least for a while, with PRR and Baldwin diesels, for example, and NYC and D&H with Alco.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:59 PM

daveklepper

Also, which builders were on line had an influence, at least for a while, with PRR and Baldwin diesels, for example, and NYC and D&H with Alco.

Makes a lot of sense.  The NYC had been buying ALCO products for years just as the PRR had their symbiotic relationship with Baldwin.  Throw in Baldwin's agreeability in customizing the product for the customer and certainly the Pennsy would give them the business just like the Jersey Central did.

By the way Mr. Dave, I've been meaning to ask you this:  Have you EVER though of putting your railroad adventures in a book?  It would be the greatest thing since E. M. Frimbo!

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:32 AM

Another issue re the builders was that steam engines were designed and built in a different manner than diesels. A railroad could go to Alco and buy say a dozen USRA-copy light mikados, then later go to Baldwin and have them build essentially the exact same engines. It took a while for railroads to understand that a 1000-HP Baldwin switcher was different than a 1000-HP EMD switcher. Diesels are like automobiles; the builders make standard models with a few 'factory options' like dynamic brakes, and you pick which best fits your need. Steam engines were more like tailor-made suits, with the railroads having a lot of input into the design.

Stix
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Posted by carnej1 on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 11:21 AM

daveklepper

Also, which builders were on line had an influence, at least for a while, with PRR and Baldwin diesels, for example, and NYC and D&H with Alco.

That's an interesting question as I have always wondered why, particularly in the late steam era (30's to early 50's) the majority of RR's exhibited remarkable "brand loyalty" to individual builders,with many placing most or all of their orders with a single firm..I surmise this is because of the tight business relationship built up when the major railroads either designed new classes "in house" or as a close partnership with the builder..

"I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:53 AM

Proximity played a part. Alco was in New York State, so was well known to the New York Central. Baldwin was in Pennsylvania so it was a neighbor to the PRR. In the diesel era, Fairbanks-Morse in Wisconsin was a natural for the Milwaukee Road to use.

Stix
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:19 AM

Regarding the book question, Kalmbach has been sitting on several manuscripts of mine for several years.   One concerns the occupation of the main line of the SAL by a test object of the Audio-Radio board of the Special Warfare Section of the US Army, near Fort Bragg, about 1956, another about my ride as a 13-year old on the Suncook Valley, Concord-Pittsfield NH.

Passenger Train Journal has my manuscrits on how to provide Hudson Rider access to Penn at low cost, how to provide directly service to Kennedy at low cost, how to straighten out Shell interlocking at low cost and minimum disruption to the community, and where and how and why streetcars should return to NYC.

If they are not intersted in publishing my stuff, why spend energy on a book?

Some fo my audio stuff is in two anthologies for which I was asked to be editor and they are both available from the Audio Engineering Society, Sound Reinforcement 1 and 2.    (AES - NYC)

And then there is Worship Space Acoustics, with coauthors Mendell Kramer, Acoustics Prof at Charlmers U., Gottenberg Sweden, and Rendell Torres, Catholic Priest in the Albany Diocese, forget which church at the moment .  It has a b&w photo of the Sophia, Bulgaria, light rail car adjacent to the city's major Mosque, taken by fellow railfan Bruce Russel.   Of course I have a copy in colofr that can be attached to a direct email.   Two published articles of railfan interest are "Further Thoughts on Railway Noise," in Noise Control Egnineering Journal, can be accessed through the INCEUSA (Institute of Noise Control Engineering) website, and "A/V for Public Transit," published about 10 years ago or more in Sound and Communications and possibly still availble thorugh their website.   The ideas in the latter article have been widely adopted in the USA and here in Israel.   Since the copyright has expired on the two articles, I can attach them also, but WSA wa printed in 2010.

But if you write me for attachments, let me also know if you are interested in what occupies my thoughts and efforts to the greatest extent at this time.  The Trains Magazine "Segregation" thread in the Transit Forum is one aspect.

 I AM happy to get an occasional letter published in both magazines.

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