Some thoughts on Strasburg's 90 and Pennsy's Hippos

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Some thoughts on Strasburg's 90 and Pennsy's Hippos
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 09, 2017 4:48 AM

I was fortunate enough to visit Strasburg when the E-6 was still in steam.  But to me. there is something just about 90 being the workhorse.  The PRR was profitable for years because of coal.  Amd coal meant lots of I-1s.  I suspect the PRR owned more 2-10-0's than any other North American railroad, possibly as many as all the rest together!  Ands there must have been many of them passing Leaman Place before the line was electrified.  With coal drags and only one on the point.

Admittadly the looks of 90 are more graceful than an I-1s, more like a typical North American locomotive than the very unique only-PRR appearance of an I-1s.  But still it is a Decopad.  Hope she's around for centuries to come.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:34 AM

Don't misunderstand me Dave, I'm thankful that #90 is alive and well but if I could wish upon a star she'd be back home in Colorado.  I feel the same about other misplaced locomotives that are far from their original home rails. 

A few examples:

SP #4460   This Warbaby 4-8-4 belongs at the California RR Museum in Sacramento!

Union Pacific   Big Boy 4006 4012 and 4017 all belong out West!

Texas & Pacific 610   She should be returned from the Piney Woods of East Texas and placed on display at the Stockyards in North Ft. Worth.

PRR GG1 4903   No GG1 should have to suffer such a fate melting away under the hot Texas sun!

D&RGW #464   Stuck in Michigan, she's homesick for Colorado Rocky Mountain High!

There are many more.  Add yours to the list!

 

 

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Posted by DS4-4-1000 on Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:42 AM

So are you saying that those of us who live in the East and are physically (or financially) unable to travel long distances should never be allowed the opportunity to see a Big Boy?  And those in Texas in similar situations should never be allowed to see a GG1?

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:45 AM

I can undertand your wish for 90 to return to Colorado.   And if a Hippo were saved and could be restored, perhaps Strasburg would welcome the swap! Regarding the GG-1, with two at the PA Museum in Strasburg, I am happy to let Texas have a  third.  But please take better care of it.

Was any I-10 saved anywhere?

Where in Colorado would you run 90?   As far as I know, all steam in Colorado currently is narrow gauge.

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Posted by ACY Tom on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:52 AM

In general, I agree that historical railroad artifacts ought to be preserved in their natural habitats. 

A railroad is defined by geography, and railroad equipment was designed to do the job dictated by the physical needs of the railroad. If a railroad preservation group's goal is education, then it makes sense for that group to concentrate on equipment that fits the context of its location. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is one good example. Their Shay doesn't actually have Keystone State roots, but it very nearly matches many Shays that did. I think it's the only item in their collection that wasn't built or operated in Pennsylvania. The Sacramento collection is another good one in that most items were built or operated in California. There are a number of items from Nevada, one State over, and a few Santa Fe items that are more closely associated with areas farther east, but the general theme is pretty consistent. 

As for Trinity's comments, I agree and disagree. Yes, SP 4460 probably belongs in Sacramento or some other appropriate Museum in the West, and D&RGW 464 really belongs in Colorado. Maybe T&P 610 would be a better fit in the collection at Frisco, Texas, which is much closer to the area where she most famously operated in regular service. I can think of lots of other examples. 

However, eight Big Boys were preserved, and even more GG1's were preserved. There are not eight significant railroad Museums in the native territory of the Big Boys. They were magnificent, iconic locomotives, and it's no crime to display a few of them in areas where they did not operate. If a railroad Museum had ever been developed in Schenectady, a Big Boy would have been a natural fit in the place of its birth. As for the GG1's, there are a lot of Museums in the territory of the GG1's, but ask yourself just how many of those Museums have really done a bang-up job of preserving their GG1's in the first place. Look at the condition of the one that famously crashed into Washington Union Station. Certain individuals went to great lengths and expense to save it and donate it to the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Now it languishes, deteriorating, unprotected, unrestored, and not on display, only a short distance from the tracks where it routinely ran.  

You may think 90 is out of her element in Pennsylvania. But consider this: Pennsylvania is where number 90 was built. The design was not peculiar to Colorado. It was intended for general use all over North America, and was actually most popuar in the South. Some folks object to the presence of a V&T 2-6-0 in the collection of the RR Museum of Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania is where she was built.

I have always said I hoped some Museums would become more cognizant of geographical considerations, and rationalize their collections by effecting some judicious trades with other Museums in other locations. That could bring a lot of items home, or closer to home. As these items age, moving them becomes more difficult and costly. It would be better to do it sooner than later. It's great to see that a Florida East Coast 4-6-2 recently was moved home from Colorado to Florida, and I'd love to see more of that kind of thing in the future. 

Home territory is the best choice, but sometimes it's more important to consider who is the most responsible and professional custodian, with the best resources and intentions.

Tom

(edited) 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:58 AM

Thanks.   You expressed my point-of-view beautifully.

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Posted by Yankingeorgia on Thursday, March 09, 2017 9:08 AM

Pennsy's Decapods were classed as I1s and I1sa. There were no I10 Decapods on the PRR. Also notice, Pennsy classes had no hyphen. It was a GG1 not a GG-1, for example.

At 598 locomotives the I1 was far and away the largest class of Decapods on any railroad. They were not the heaviest, however. That honor belongs to the Western Maryland's 20 I-2 class beasts, which tipped the scales at 419,280 lbs vs. 386,100 lbs for the PRR machines.

 

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Posted by ACY Tom on Thursday, March 09, 2017 9:10 AM

Dave, the PRR 2-10-0's were actually I1s, most rebuilt to I1sa. You may have been thinking about Reading's remarkable I-10 2-8-0's when you wrote that class. An understandable minor error. One I1sa, number 4483, was saved. She was taken out of the PRR's collection of historic locomotives at Northumberland before the establishment of the RR Museum of PA in Strasburg, and was displayed at Westinghouse Air Brake in Turtle Creek, PA, near Pittsburgh. At some point, she went to a preservation group in Hamburg, NY, where she remains. I understand preservation efforts are in the works, but I don't know where that project stands.

I have always believed she really belongs in Altoona, because that's where the PRR Decapods made their most notable stand. However, I do have some reservations about the ability of the Altoona group to properly deal with big steam, based on past performance. My preconceptions may be unfair to current management at Altoona.

Number 90 is actually the property of the Strasburg Railroad, and not the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, across the street. A lot of people get them mixed up. The 90 meets the operating needs of the Strasburg quite well. While an I1sa would fit into the collection of the Museum, PRR 4483 would be massive overkill as an operating engine on the Strasburg, and she would be incredibly hard on their track. Of course, number 90 was built in Pennsylvania, so she's really not a stranger. 

Trinity mentioned GG1 4903 stuck in the hot Texas sun. That's true as far as it goes, but it's not as if there are no GG1's preserved in their home territory. Actually, that GG1 got to Texas in a trade that brought a New York Central Mohawk home to native New York Central territory, so it's a good thing after all. Also, the group that owns 4903 seems to have the good intentions and resources to display her properly and with respect. They present themselves as a Museum representing American railroads in general, so the GG1 isn't outside their apparent mission.  

Tom

(edited)   

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 09, 2017 9:31 AM

Thanks!

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Thursday, March 09, 2017 6:24 PM

Like I said, if I could wish upon a star.  American, Canadian, Mexican, and a host of other railfans worldwide have lost historic locomotives and even equipment that should have been saved but was lost due to a host of many reasons, e.i. T&P 638.  Don't misunderstand me, any railroad artifact regardless of location is better saved than lost forever!

I did want to get positive feedback and thanks to all of you for expressing your opinion and not threatening to Tar & Feather me!:) 

Despite the fact I'll never get used to a Pennsy GG1 in Texas I'm certain there are a few die hard Pennsy fans who have been displaced in the Lone Star State that appreicate the fact they can visit this magnificent machine and have the opportunity to be able to spend some time with her which helps overcome homesickess as well as mourn the passing of The Standard Railroad of the World!

Dave: There are two standard gauge tourist railroads in Colorado where GW 90 could operate.  Check out Tourist Railroads & Museums-Mountain Region @ www.railserve.com   

 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, March 10, 2017 1:17 AM

My understanding is that they are both diesel and do not have the shops to maintain steam.

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Posted by pajrr on Friday, March 10, 2017 2:13 AM

Dave, there is an I1sa preserved in Hamburg, NY. Also, PRR 2-8-0s were H class, not I class.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:24 AM

The 90 at Strasburg is a Decopod, a 2-10-0, and I was only referring to Decopods, the I1s, not the Consolodations, the H-9s and H-10s, whicxh may have been more numerous.  Still, the I1's were common on coal trains.

If I remember correectly, they were the I-1s that were nicknamed Hippos, not the Consolidations.  Because of looks.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:08 AM

The I-1's were rather atypical for American 2-10-0's.  Most were closer to Strasburg 90 and the various Russian 2-10-0's, designed for lighter rail.

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 PRR8259 on Friday, March 10, 2017 12:49 PM

It was said above that more historic engines should be "closer" to home rails.

One fact being conveniently ignored is that there were actually many instances of these relics being offered to "closer" museums or other organizations for display, where the organization rejected the gift.  So the engines are where they are now for good reasons, and that somebody was willing to accept them.

In the case of Santa Fe and SP collections, when trying to merge with SP during the 1980's, Santa Fe hurriedly disposed of a bunch of historic engines that they were holding in the Belen, NM roundhouse, for "someday".  All those engines were sent to a museum in California, where they languish to this day.  It would have been better for ATSF management to have found multiple homes, but they were in a hurry to get rid of them before the SP people came in.  I guess at least they are in a dry climate, and are with several SP engines, as well.

So we have what we have.

John

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 11, 2017 2:04 PM

[quote user="CSSHEGEWISCH"]

The I-1's were rather atypical for American 2-10-0's.  Most were closer to Strasburg 90 and the various Russian 2-10-0's, designed for lighter rail.

[/quote above]
 
I did make the same comment, essentially, earlier.  No one would 90 a Hippo.
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:44 PM

daveklepper
I did make the same comment, essentially, earlier. No one would 90 a Hippo.

But the British did 90 a 2-10-0...

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:09 PM

Memory at work?  Wasn't the last steam locomotive built in Great Britian a 2-10-0?  I recall Trains running a photo of it in service.  It was given the name Evening Star.

Does it survive?

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:12 PM
 

 

My memory agrees with yours.  Now there is the new A-2 Pacific!
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 5:01 PM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer
Memory at work?  Wasn't the last steam locomotive built in Great Britain a 2-10-0?  It was given the name Evening Star.

Does it survive?

Survives, and then some

(Note: this is a video.  The little white triangle is lost in the cover image...)

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 6:45 PM

Don't forget the Lehigh and New England's decapods, with the tender boosters cut in they generated a tractive effort of 106,200 pounds.  Weighing in at 400,000 pounds they couldn't be doubleheaded over the Lehigh River Gap bridge.

Photos show a big, all-business locomotive that didn't take esthetics into consideration.  Strasburg's 90 is as graceful as a ballerina.  An L&NE 400 looks like a very, VERY annoyed linebacker!

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Posted by RME on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:32 PM

Firelock76
Photos show a big, all-business locomotive that didn't take esthetics into consideration.

Western Maryland had some that were close to this size, with much larger tenders. 

There is a remarkable series of pictures showing one of these doubleheaded with a similarly impressive L&HR Consolidation 'of unusual size', in a book about trains in the WWII decade.  When both of them were working hard with their Bethlehem tender auxiliary locomotives working, you'd be astounded at the pillars of smoke and steam that resulted ... this on a railroad that just a few moments before was peaceful and nearly bucolic in appearance.

Wouldn't these have made nifty 4-8-4s (or perhaps advanced 2-10-4s)?  Think about a world in which the Pennsylvania, Poughkeepsie and Boston had actually connected effectively from Harrisburg to northeastern Massachusetts... of course, weight restrictions would be even more stringent on the Poughkeepsie Bridge than Lehigh Gap, so the same motive-power evolutionary strategy on D&H might have applied here.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:02 AM

Which 2-10-0s had the greatest tractivew effort, with and without boosters?

I imagine the PRR I1s's were right up there, but they may not have had the most.   I do know that a J 2-10-4 was not appreciably stronger, just faster witht he same load.

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Posted by RME on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:55 AM

A little bit more to this question:  the I1s' TE depends on whether you take it 'as built' with 50% cutoff, or longer as subsequently modified (but less efficient).  steamlocomotive.com pegs the TE as over 102,000lb for all three 'variants', but it is the same regardless of weight which indicates a cylinder rather than adhesion limitation.

The L&NE beats this with the auxiliary locomotive engaged at a bit north of 108,000lb, and I can't think of any other 2-10-0 with auxiliary locomotive or booster that would do more.  (This is very close to what the Union 0-10-2, adhesion-wise comparable to a 2-10-0, achieved with its Franklin tender booster).

The WM Decapods were rated at a bit over 96,300lb TE but at least some were given the high-speed 'beauty treatment' (lightweight rods and disc mains) to let them run, probably as fast as you could take a 2-10-0 chassis on WM.  Be interesting to see what PRR, with the higher drivers, might have done with the same approach (an I1 if I recall correctly was one of the guinea pigs for the aluminum-rod experiments) but I tremble to think how it would ride, and in any case PRR had other and ultimately more capable classes for higher-speed work... 

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:43 PM

RME, thanks so much for the video clip.  Color is so much nicer than the B&W photo that was published in Trains, but to a Baby Boomer railfan interested in railways worldwide (then as now) was impressive, sad too, since Evening Star was the last steam locomotive built in the UK.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, March 17, 2017 10:04 AM

The name "Evening Star" was also applied to the last Class 66 diesel (JT42CWR) built for service in the UK.

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Posted by TrainMan5632 on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:29 PM

I completely agree with you Dave, 90 is my most favorite shortline engine. Her beautiful looks and wonderful reading six chime make for a wonderful locomotive

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Posted by PeteD on Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:11 PM

Hello All, 

 

What model decapod is #90?  Not an I-1?  

 

Thanks, Pete

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:29 PM

PeteD

Hello All, 

 

What model decapod is #90?  Not an I-1?  

 

Thanks, Pete

 

#90 at Strasburg is a one of only two 2-10-0's build by Baldwin to this exact design. She was built in 1924 for the Great Western Sugar Company where she served until 1967 when she was sold to the Strasburg Railroad, where she has remained in service as one of their primary locomotives.

Sheldon

    

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