Virginian box-cab electrics photo

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Virginian box-cab electrics photo
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 11:20 AM

Where is the catenary?   Where are the raised pantographs?  Where are the poles for the catenary?   A posed photo on a non-electric line or prior to electrification?

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 11:33 AM

Good eye Dave. You might be 85 but you don't miss a thing, nothing gets by. It must be a posed photo. 

Luv those box cabs. Would have been something to see them on a long coal drag with their siderods in motion. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:09 PM

The squareheads had their appeal but much can be said for the EL-2B's and EL-C's that replaced them.

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 daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:23 PM

Judging by the consist, the type of box cars, etc. it looks like it was a posed p;icture after the electrification was removed and before the locmotives were scrapped.  Done when the N&W already owned the track and the newest electrics had been sold to the New Haven.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 1:08 PM

Another thought.  With directional running, before the N&W scrapped the Virginian electrification, did the experiment with the donwhill loaded trains running just by gravity, with the locomotives returned to do their uphill job and simply provide braking power?  And this was a photo of an experimental run to determine its feasibility? 

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 1:19 PM

I have to admit I was thinking the exact same thing but dismissed it out of mind as being just too crazy. You might be right Dave!

I think a note to Classic Trains is in order to get more information...you would think there is some caption to go along with the photo. 

...note to Editorial Staff sent...hopefully we get an answer. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 1:47 PM

daveklepper

Another thought.  With directional running, before the N&W scrapped the Virginian electrification, did the experiment with the donwhill loaded trains running just by gravity, with the locomotives returned to do their uphill job and simply provide braking power?  And this was a photo of an experimental run to determine its feasibility? 

 

Without catenary, where do you get the power to run the air pumps? The picture is either posed or doctored.

Johnny

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 2:34 PM

Look at the sky on the right side of the photo.  The catenary is there, it's just very light.  Besides, the "squareheads" were scrapped before the N&W merger.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 2:38 PM

Then why are the pantographs down?

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 2:43 PM

And I do see two catenary support poles rising over the hoppers with side-brackets to support the near-invisible catenary.   But the pans are all down.

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Posted by AgentKid on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 2:52 PM

I can't get past the fact that there are crewmen visible on the first and third engines. It reminds me of stories of how when retired steam engines were moved to their final resting places there would be someone on the engine or engines being moved to ensure everything was staying lubricated for their final run.

It is like these engines were being pulled somewhere and the diesels were cut off and moved ahead for this final posed photo of these three engines.

Bruce

 

So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

"A Train is a Place Going Somewhere"  CP Rail Public Timetable

"O. S. Irricana"

. . . __ . ______

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 2:55 PM

Dave et al- If you blow up the picture the pans are up on the second and third locomotive.....they just "disappear" into the tree line. 

Once you know where to look they appear. At the rear of the last unit, an engineer is hanging out the cab on the last unit...just look up to his right and there it is...easier if you blow up the image. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, July 05, 2017 5:18 PM

There's an all-too-brief film sequence of those Virginian electrics in the Herron "Glory Machines" video, and they are wild-looking with those jackshafts pumping away.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, July 06, 2017 6:14 AM

Miningman
At the rear of the last unit, an engineer is hanging out the cab on the last unit...

I think it was VGN practice to have the head end brakeman ride the rear unit - kind of like the "doghouse" on the PRR.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, July 06, 2017 11:16 AM

rcdrye-Yes of course, that makes sense. Thanks.

I did receive a reply letter from Robert McGonigal the Editor at Classic Trains, stating the picture was real and not a staged shot. He also pointed out that if you blow up the picture you can see the pantographs are up on 2 units. This was Virginian practice. I discovered the same thing at virtually the same time. 

The catenary and pans just get lost in the trees creating at first sight an illusion. 

The Virginian was a proud and great All American railroad..with their big steam, their old electrics, their new electrics and then virtually 100% Fairbanks Morse. Charm, power, rural, tidewater..,so fascinating. Yet another fallen flag. At times it is difficult to comprehend.

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Posted by NDG on Thursday, July 06, 2017 1:53 PM
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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, July 06, 2017 4:33 PM

Magnificient pictures NDG. Nice find. 

Obvious that the Virginian standard practice was to run 3 of these units at a time with the lead unit 'Pans-down". 

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Posted by ElmoreTRM on Friday, July 07, 2017 11:23 AM

Nothing unusual in the picture.  My dad was a Virginian brakeman and rode many miles on the electrics on the third unit.

It was standard practice to leave the front pantograph down on VGN electrics.  If the engineer spotted ice hanging from the roof of a tunnel or something similar it gave him a chance to lower the pantographs to advoid damage.  Also if the catenary was damaged by a pantograph there is a chance the lead pantograph would still be under good wire and the unit could move.

The correct location of the picture is Oakvale, WV not Oakdale.

The last Squarehead to operate was a single unit on a work train on Haloween 1959.

Tom Marshall

 

 

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Posted by NDG on Friday, July 07, 2017 3:22 PM

 

Running with the rear pantograph makes sense re ice in tunnels and and damage to pantograph might allow front one to be used. If using front pantograph and something damaged it, the debris could fall back onto rear down pantograph.
 
Question.
 
With the front locomotive pantographs down on VGN, would THAT locomotive have traction current to motors, or would it be ' dead ' or was traction current Trainlined thru with a heavy Jumper Cable??
 
If needed for TE, pantographs could be raised.
 
On Great Northern some electric locomotives had High Tension Bus Connectors w extendible contact shoes above the cabs to Trainline Pantograph Current.  As it says in Manual below, this obviated the risk of pulling apart a Jumper Cable if it was left connected when uncoupling locomotives and allow a locomotive with it's pantographs down to provide traction and receive full current if lead locomotive was hitting sleet on wire.
 
 
 
 
Manual.
 
 
From here.
 
 
Examples.
 
 
 
 
 
( OT. Montreal streetcars had Sleet Cutters applied to trolley pole when required. In severe weather streetcars would be circulated all night on all routes to clear wire. )
 

Thank You.

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, July 07, 2017 3:34 PM

Virginian seems to have been comfortable with high-tension cables.  They were usable on both ends of the various EL-A (Squarehead), on the cab ends of the EL-2B (as well as between the halves), and on the long hood end of the EL-C.  The EL-C and EL-2B could be connected if necessary.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 11:08 AM

I went looking for some footage of Virginian jackshaft electrics and I hit pay dirt, it's a JMJ video from 1989.  The jackshafts show up three minutes into the film and sure enough the pantograph on the first unit is in the down position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3ix6fUNaL4

Old black and white footage, a little murky at times, but not too bad.

Have fun everyone!

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 08, 2017 12:23 PM

Now that is a great film! Terrific stuff...these fellows were ssteam fans for sure with lots and lots of action. Nice thing is the "pace" of the film which keeps you very engaged. It's better than some of the stuff put out today. A few colour shots and even an attempt at a steam night scene. Some soundtrack too. 

Big pat on the back...Thank you Firelock. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 2:31 PM

Thanks Miningman!  I just knew there had to be something out there on You Tube, quite a few railfan vids have been posted.  I was going to settle for some HO model shots but kept going and found the JMJ video.  Like I said, I lucked out.

Or maybe persistance pays off after all!

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Posted by RME on Saturday, July 08, 2017 2:56 PM

I think that keeping the forward pan down was an evolved practice:  see the shot in this video slideshow that shows all three pans up, probably in the mid-Twenties, and then the shot of the standing electrics ... now we know which way the locomotives were intended to move when they go!

Also interesting is that the big EL-2b sets apparently ran regularly with the two end pans up -- could that be because the locomotive so thoroughly filled the tunnels that any damaging icicles were gone before the first pan got there? Smile

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 08, 2017 2:58 PM

What I find really disturbing these past few years, and continuing still, is the use of those super fast clips, like 5 or 10 images in a second. It is prevalent throughout all forms of media these days. 

No wonder people and kids have ADD. In my case it creates an instant anger response. I avoid them and look away. Guess these producers think they are being cool but it is very harmful in my opinion. 

This is a very smart informative film that is full of action that can be absorbed in a learning manner. 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:16 PM

Interesting video RME.  I found it before I found the JMJ video, but I was looking for motion pictures instead of a slide show so I didn't bother to post it.  Not that there's anything wrong with a slide show.

I'm not sure what to make of the narrator.  Is he even human?

He's no Richard Basehart, Alexander Scourby, Richard Kiley, or Orson Welles, that's for certain!  Anyone remember those great voices?

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:36 PM

Firelock76
I'm not sure what to make of the narrator. Is he even human?

Voice synthesis.  I suspect the source package is overseas, possibly Chinese.  Compare it with the (rather interesting) technology adopted by the National Weather Service for the weatheradio stations like 162.55MHz.  (Amusingly enough, their tech people fixed the weird robot pronunciation of 'thunderstorms' at one point, but some subsequent 'update' broke the fix.)

You might find it interesting that the 'target voice' I used when doing voice synthesis for 'digital personal assistants' in the mid-Eighties was Tammy Grimes.  And yes, we figured out how to do speech synthesis that had the right characteristics.  It ought to be trivially simple by now ... for actual programmers, instead of the script-kiddee wannabes we seem to have working in the field now.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:41 PM

I remember Tammy Grimes very well, and an elegant voice she had, too!

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:49 PM

I'm rather amused of the other way around and fond of humans mimicking a synthesized voice. "Danger Will Robertson, Danger"

Or the Daleks on Dr. Who. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:56 PM

That was no synthesized voice on the "Lost In Space" robot!  That was a voice actor named Dick Tufeld!

Now the Daleks are another matter.  "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!"  Definately synthesized!

Informal poll time:  Who's the best Doctor Who?

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