High speed boosters

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High speed boosters

  • I m searching for information. Is there any preserved locomotive in the US with any kind of working or non working booster.

    Can somebody send me a picture of this detail on the engine.


    Thank you!.


    Best regards from Austria.


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  • Krokodil, I am unaware of any instance in which N. American steamers used booster engines above 27 kph.  In that respect, your title is a bit confusing.....?


  • Several surviving steam engines were built with booster engines, but all were used for starting.  The boosters were often on the trailing truck behind the drivers, often looking just like trailing trucks without boosters.

  • Thank you.

    Basically this is one of the confusing point. In many descriptions (for eg. in Product catalog of Franklin) they use the description of high speed booster running up to 37 mph. I just heard, that on the preserved  C&O 614 it is even working up to 20 mph.

    We could not find any description about the difference (maybe the gear ratio?) between the "normal" booster and the "high speed booster".

    What about the #490 in the B&O museum? I know it is not running, but in the specs, they also talk about the high speed booster.

    Thank you for your help.


  • Dod the NKP and other VanSwerigan Birkshires (2-8-4's) have boosters?   Several are preserved.

  • Stop calling them speed boosters!  They were power boosters not for speed but for traction when starting and sometimes cut in on heavy grades.  They never contributed to the speed per se but the ability for the train to get moving or keep moving on grades.

    Boosters were usually on the trailing truck, yes, but also some locomotives had them on the tenders!

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  • That is fact, but the history is written, we cannot change this. Almost in all specs, they are talking about the high speed booster:


    "A four-wheel trailing truck with a Franklin type E-I high speed booster, capable of operation up to 35 mph. "


    SmileBig Smile

  • I checked the spec sheet on the posted link, and the "up to 35 miles-per-hour"  could be the key to the term "high speed booster", since most boosters were supposed to cut out around 20mph or so.  As one of the other posters said the boosters were only there to supply additional tractive efffort for starting and not to be run continuously.  Certainly "high-speed" couldn't have referred to the passenger train speeds that C&O Hudson was capable of.

    I've seen the "Yellowbelly"  #490 at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, but whether it's got a booster on it I don't know, I never thought to look since passenger engines typically didn't have boosters, only freight engines.  Next time there I will look, my curiosity's been aroused!

  • Thank you!

    (I also missed this detail when I visited the museum in Baltimore.  Big Smile  )

  • I presume 4449 still has one intact and operable, static displayed 4460 probally has one, SP was big on trailing truck boosters on most of its late model steam, they also had Franklin tender versions on select cab forward models in the late twenties, these were short lived applications however.




    SP the way it was in S scale
  • The NKP Berkshires DID NOT have boosters.


  • Again, I'm no expert, but I do know that some of the NYC Hudsons had boosters.   I can't imagine they kept them running at speeds higher than 15-20 mph....but.....


  • This was not a question.

    The speed range was always limited to about 0-35 mph.

    My question was; why did they differenciated the boosters to normal and high speed ones?


  • Boosters were just as frequently applied to passenger locomotives as freight.  All New York Central Hudsons were originally equipped with boosters, both J-1 and J-3, and the Boston and Albany J-2.

    Also, the fact that the Nickel Plate Berkshire's did not have boosters interests me.   But if the C&O's Hudsons had them, then their Kanewah 2-8-4's, otherwise nearly identical to the Nickel Plate Berkshire's had them also.

  • Who knows how did they work. I mean what operated the engineer during the motion. During start they opened the steam valve to the steam engines, but what happend when the locomotive achieved the critical speed?

    Was there some kind of mechanism what disconnected the gears? (some kind of clutch).