1950s End Of Steam

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1950s End Of Steam
Posted by SPer on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:24 PM

The real reason Santa Fe stopped using steam in 1953 because steam locomotives do not fit Santa Fe's corporate image. that's why Santa Fe moved on with diesel-electrics.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:34 PM

SPer
The real reason Santa Fe stopped using steam in 1953 because steam locomotives do not fit Santa Fe's corporate image. that's why Santa Fe moved on with diesel-electrics.

So economics had nothing to do with it?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 5:30 PM

SPer

The real reason Santa Fe stopped using steam in 1953 because steam locomotives do not fit Santa Fe's corporate image. that's why Santa Fe moved on with diesel-electrics.

 

I wouldn't say that.  Look at where the Santa Fe ran, a lot of it was through some VERY arid parts of the country.  Water was a problem and steam engines had to have it.  Diesels, not so much aside from the radiators.

Also, a lot of Santa Fe steamers ran though areas where coal was non-existant, so they had to burn oil.  If you're going to burn oil you might as well burn it in the most efficient way possible, right?  Back to diesels.

Corporate inage?  Can't say it wasn't a factor but probably not as much as you think. 

I'll say this much, I wish the New York Central was as generous in donating steam engines for preservation as the Santa Fe was!  That tells me when all is said and done Santa Fe was pretty proud of their steamers, moving on to diesels when circumstances dictated they should.

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Posted by RME on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:10 AM

SPer
The real reason Santa Fe stopped using steam in 1953 because steam locomotives do not fit Santa Fe's corporate image.

According to all the sources I have seen on ATSF modern power, the Santa Fe intended to optimize on diesel-electric power as quickly as it could, as soon as the 'bugs' in the technology (e.g. those evidenced by the One-Spot Twins) had been satisfactorily resolved.  I believe Lloyd Stagner, Jr. has indicated ATSF would have taken all F units, instead of building the wartime steam classes, had the WPB permitted; they certainly nipped the desirable-improvements program (cf. the welded boilers for the 3460s, which were fully fabricated but never installed) very early on.  Big steam, especially big steam relatively intolerant of caustic water contaminants (silicon boiler steels, anyone???) was rapidly deprioritized as soon as a practical diesel-electric alternative was provided in the market.

Note that the "corporate image" for fast passenger trains was Diesel even before the NYC decided to stress 'Dieseliners' to replace the Great Steel Fleet.  Admittedly 3765 never got its shroud because it would have been overweight, but you did not see any later streamlining to match the pretty trains, nor did you see any particular postwar emphasis on that 6-4-4-4 design that was the 'true' high-speed passenger design for ATSF (as the C1a was for NYC).

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:24 AM

SPer

The real reason Santa Fe stopped using steam in 1953 because steam locomotives do not fit Santa Fe's corporate image. that's why Santa Fe moved on with diesel-electrics.

 

I am curious: what was the "corporate image" that steam did not fit?

Johnny

RME
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 1:56 PM

Deggesty
I am curious: what was the "corporate image" that steam did not fit?

I think he means the 'Santa Fe - All The Way' efficient, fast, dieselized picture that ATSF contemporary PR films were trying to evoke. 

Trains Magazine in the early 1980s ran an article on the '50s use of the Big Three and some other large ATSF power.  Most of their 'mission' was precisely the sort of fast mainline service that was increasingly optimal for diesels, and there was little 'secondary' service they were well-suited for -- so you saw them on things like secondary passenger trains and mail runs.

As I indicated, I think the decision to eliminate the big steam was primarily economic, and the economic and operational advantages (nominal as they might have been at the time) were what determined 'corporate image', not the other way around.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:22 AM

IIRC during World War 2 many railroads ordered FT diesels, but very few got them. Most were forced to buy new steam instead. One of the few who did get them was the Santa Fe, which as I recall was allocated diesels specifically because of the problems it faced supplying water for it's steam engines in the arid Southwest.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:18 AM

In the other direction, didn't M&StL try to order SAL-design 2-6-6-4's, but had to take A-B-A sets of FT's?

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RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:06 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
In the other direction, didn't M&StL try to order SAL-design 2-6-6-4's, but had to take A-B-A sets of FT's?

They had an order in to Baldwin for five 2-6-6-4s.  I have not heard the story about why the WPB would 'make' them take FT sets instead ... but I'll bet they didn't regret it.

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