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Santa Fe Not Loyal To Steam

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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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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.

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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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Firelock76 on Saturday, September 1, 2012 6:35 PM

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.  Old, worn out steamers being replaced, certainly.  Even the N&W was replacing old steam engines on the branch lines with diesels before the massive dieselization began in 1958. 

Still, like I and other posters have said, it wouldn't have done the 'roads any harm to have preserved some of their outstanding steam units.  Did you know that Bob Claytor, then VP of Law for N&W in 1959 had to fight like a lion to save Class J 611?   Amazing, but true.

And SPer, see what you started?

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 31, 2012 12:49 PM

N&W got a lot of publicity (largely thru O.Winston Link photos) but the Missabe road also ran mainline steam well into 1960, with larger engines to boot. Still, as good as the DMIR Yellowstones and steam facilities were, the Missabe steam engines ended up being no match for EMD SD-9s as far as revenue created vs. costs. Even modern steam was not available as often as diesels, and required much more down time to maintain.

Stix
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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:23 PM

All the carriers were loyal to economics - the economics of diesel overwhelmed steam.  Railroading is a bottom line business.  If something helps the bottom line it will be adopted.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:17 AM

I don't think that any other roads had steam service facilities comparable to N&W, which could be said to have "dieselized" its service facilities and procedures.  In the timeframe being discussed, even late-model steam like NKP Berkshires, Santa Fe 4-8-4's and 2-10-4's, and UP 4-8-4's, Challengers and Big Boys couldn't put up the mileage and availability of diesels.

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 Firelock76 on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 7:51 PM

wjstix: What you say is certainly true, but not for all 'roads.  The Norfolk and Westerns modern steamers had excellent availabilty rates and didn't need a roundhouse visit every run, the Class J's doing 15,000 miles a month with only minor servicing.  Certainly  "one swallow does not a summer make"  but when we talk about cranky old steamers it's important to remember they weren't all old, and they weren't all cranky, and some had a lot of life left in them.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:34 AM

Firelock76

Certainly the 'roads in financial trouble wanted to dieselize as a cost saving measure, but I still have to wonder about the cost savings in eliminating one group of craftsmen, i.e. boilermakers, plumbers, machinists, and so on and replacing them with another set of craftsmen such as diesel mechanics and electricians, to say nothing of the new shop facilities needed for diesels. 

Yes, but the number of support personnel needed for diesels was much less than was needed for steam. Plus a steam engine often had to be in the roundhouse for maintenance and minor repairs after every run, so might be available only half the time or less. You could use diesels to pull a train from city A to city B, make up a new train, and send the same engines (with a new crew) back to city A the same day. With steam, the engine that went from A to B would go to the roundhouse, and a new engine would take the new train from B to A.
 
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, August 24, 2012 5:05 AM

We were exporting oil at the same time as we were importing it.   Some companies were locked into deals that brought oil from Saudi Arabia.   American Oil Company was known among those who resented Saudi religious and political policies as using only North American oil, and it advertized in those magazines that were critical of Sauid Arabia and USA policies that regarded the country as an ally.  I had an Amoco credit card and used their gas whenever possible.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, August 19, 2012 1:35 PM

B&O1952:  I was doing a little checking on Erie structure paint schemes.  If you search Wikepedia River Edge (NJT Station)  you'll see the old Erie station in River Edge NJ restored to its 1902 appearance.  The colors look like (to me anyway)  either buff or light grey for the main building, pale green for the trim, and a brick red for the underside of the over hangs.  You may disagree and that's OK, but that's what it looks like to me.  The station was restored about a year or two ago and they did their homework on it.  As Erie's paint schemes for structures were fairly standard I guess it's a good starting point for you.

Also, do an online check for Waldwick Tower, it'a another old Erie structure that's been recently restored.  I don't know what era it represents but the color scheme is different from River Edge Station.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:10 AM

To B&O1952:  Yes, the Erie's New York to Chicago runs weren't as fast as the NYC's or the PRR's, but they did have a pretty loyal following.  It was a bit more economical to ride the Erie, the food in the diner was excellent, the cars were comfortable, and the on-board staff very friendly and attentive.  If you didn't have to be in "Chi"  yesterday the Erie was a good way to go.  I think the Erie Limited's run to Chicago was about 20 hours as opposed the "20th Century Linited"  and the "Broadway Linited"  doing it in 16.  Not too bad.

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Posted by B&O1952 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:26 PM

FIRELOCK76, I think the weary Erie title came from people comparing it to its New York (Jersey City) to Chicago rivals, mainly the Central and the Pennsy. The Erie went there, but it took a lot longer than the water level route or the standard RR of the world. My mom and dad took the Erie from Olean NY to NYC on their honeymoon in 1951, and they mentioned the Erie stopping at every little station, and it took forever to make that trip. Also, while the Erie kept its motive power looking good, the same couldn't be said of their structures. It seems the Erie had better things to do with their money than waste it on frivolous things like depot paint! I once asked a friend who was an old Erie man for a little info on the paint scheme at X tower in Olean, I was doing a painting of it. I asked him if the novelty siding was painted a buff color, and he said  maybe, or it could be just dirt.  Their commuter trains were fast though, and I would imagine the Erie Limited made a pretty fast run.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 3:08 PM

To B&O1952 you might be interested in this:  My father grew up in Tenafly NJ  and the Erie's Northern Branch RR ran through it.  Dad says they used to call it the "Old Weary Erie."  Looking at those films of Erie trains roaring along the Main and Bergen County lines I can't imagine why, unless the Northern Branch trains just didn't go all that fast (maybe that's why there didn't seem to be much railfan interest in it years ago, hardly any films or stills of it)  or maybe it just was a fun play on words.  It's a weary road now brother, the track is in such bad shape CSX local freights are limited to 10mph, and they still get derailments!

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Posted by B&O1952 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:56 AM

Firelock76, I certainly agree they look as good as new. I've been a fan of steam especially in the northeast for a long time with my attention focused on the B&O, Erie and Pennsy. I must say that of those three, the Erie was the most resourceful, probably from years of financial woes, and you rarely saw a locomotive on the Erie that didn't look like it was recently shopped. While I'm sure you could make a case that all RR shopmen were proud of their work, it was never more prevelant than on the Erie. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:52 AM

Yes, I wish as well the 'roads were a bit more appreciative of their heritage and places in American history, but as railfans we have to realize the professionals don't see things the way we do.  Certainly with the scrap values of their locomotives being pennies on the pound, nowheres near what they put into them, I can't see that it would have hurt the Eries bottom line much if they saved a Russian-ironed boiler K-1, or one of the magnificent K-5's  or Berkshires, even if only for static display somewhere on the line.  The same could be said for the New York Central not saving even one of their Hudsons or Niagaras, or the Pennsy not saving a T-1.

It's funny B&O1952 brought this up:  just last night I was watching an Erie steam video with films shot in the immediate postwar era.  If those steam engines were worn out they sure didn't show it!  No leaks around the valves or pistons, boilers freshly painted, and all going like the hammers of hell, doing what they were meant do do.  The Erie shop men must have been tremendous!

Oh, and on that K-4 in South Korea:  I forget where I read this, but it wasn't too long ago, and as far as anyone can tell it's long gone.  Maybe  "they"  are wrong and it's still there to be saved, but I doubt it.

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Posted by B&O1952 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:27 AM

While the Santa Fe was fairly disloyal to steam, I'd put the Erie as the most disloyal class 1 of all. The Erie did have good reason to dieselize since nearly all of their steam was pushing 20 years old at the end of the war, and they had taken a pounding during that war. Also, the Erie was finally in the black, and with cash in hand, they were prepared to finance the quick dieselization. Stiil, it would have been nice to see an Erie berk, or K5 pacific saved. I doubt that the one remaining K4 that was sent to South Korea is still there. It would be nice to think it is!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:00 AM

Per Wistix's comments:  Yes, the U-Boats raised holy hell with shipping at the beginning of the war and into 1942, but as the war went on anti-submarine measures became so efficient that by 1944 a U-Boat man was a pretty poor life insurance risk, to put it  mildly.  So much so that U-Boat crewmen, some anyway, were doing small bits of sly sabotage to keep from going to sea.  Over 40,000 German sailors served in the 'Boats during the war, 30,000 never returned.

And per DaveK's comment about the oil from Saudi Arabia, well that only made sense.  Why use oil from 'round the world when you can get it from 'round the block, so to speak.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 10, 2012 8:49 PM

Yes but that was largely because U-boats would have been sinking all the US tankers going across the Atlantic. After the war the US started exporting oil again, and I believe was a net exporter until maybe the 1960's??

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 7:06 AM

Except that the USA needed Saudi Arabian oil, refined mostly at the Haifa refinary (British Mandate Palestine), to feed our WWII war machines in North Africa and Sicily and Italy.   It was vital to winning WWII.   Some even went to Russia via the British and USA operated Iranian railroad.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, August 6, 2012 8:26 PM

Keep in mind that many of Europe's mainlines were electrified by WW1. In some areas steam was of secondary importance, so the switch to diesel wasn't as big a necessity. Plus some areas in Europe (particularly Germany and Poland) have quite a bit of coal, as did the U.K. in Wales. If you have a lot of coal and have to import oil, burning coal makes sense. In the 1940's the U.S. had so much oil it was exporting it to other countries, so it was pretty cheap here.

Stix

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