CNR Oil Burning 4-8-4

549 views
8 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August, 2006
  • 190 posts
CNR Oil Burning 4-8-4
Posted by SPer on Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:43 PM

Have any Canadian National Northerns were converted to oil to run to Vancouver and Winnipeg. if so, what number of the 4-8-4  Thanks.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 2,594 posts
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:37 PM

www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/cnr_steam2/northern.htm

Here's a good start for you with plenty of pics and descriptions. 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 5,627 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 25, 2018 5:04 AM

I find the information on the Web, or rather the selective lack of it, regarding oil-fired Confederations to be surprising.

Oil conversions on the Betty 4-8-2s are well documented.  But the only reference I can find on steamlocomotive.com for 4-8-4s are oil fuel capacities for some of their tenders.

Of course the Canadian PACIFIC 4-8-4s were famously converted to burn oil (using the Selkirk conversions as a model) running to Winnipeg, and perhaps this inspired the question.  

I had thought there was little use of the earlier classes of 4-8-4 in the West from other forum postings.  The 4-8-2s with 14" valves were likely better runners and I suspect the streamlined engines (all coal to my knowledge) were best used where they were.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 2,594 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, June 16, 2018 11:59 AM

The 4-8-2 Mountains were used in the West, being far more versatile and nimble. Have never heard of a CNR 4-8-4 oil fired conversion, just did not happen. They seldom ventured away from mid Manitoba. The network of trackage in the Prairies and numerous branch lines 'to everywhere' inherited a large number of older smaller pre CNR Northern 4-8-4 steam that was well suited to their roles. Many of these were 'modernized', standardized, and in the later years converted to oil and lasted right up to the Diesel years. 

...but to Overmods point, there is no documentation of oil conversions on CNR 4-8-4's and info is scant because there simply were not any. It would be better if we could find something stating that in the official records and verification. Tenders were interchangeable. I'm sure some serious thought went into converting 4-8-4's to oil and plans put into place to do so but again some kind of documentation is needed.

One of the CRHA Exporail bulletins states that CNR 4-8-4's ran systemwide from Vancouver to the Maritimes but that article seems to be a media piece written shortly after the ' Confederation Class' hit the rails extolling the virtues of the locomotives.

West of Winnipeg was the 4-8-2's territory, the more streamlined Bettys on mainline passenger along with Pacifics,  the workaday on mainline freights along with many Mikes, many oil converted. The lighter numerous Prairie branches of course saw 2-8-0's, Moguls, light Mikes, light Pacifics, of which many were inherited. 

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 516 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, June 18, 2018 1:19 PM

How could you forget about Ten-Wheelers?  For shame!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=mUEa0r9DVwM

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 516 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, June 18, 2018 1:29 PM

The Mountains and Santa Fes were both lighter than the Northerns, while developing comparable or greater power (at lower speeds of course for the Santa Fes).

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/707/

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/704/

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/698/

One should also remember that apart from the annual grain rush during most of the steam era the Western lines were not all that busy compared to down East.

CN's mass oil conversions did not start until after the Leduc No. 1 strike of 1947 made the stuff abundant and cheap in Western Canada.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 2,594 posts
Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 18, 2018 2:14 PM

Yes of course, lots and lots of Ten Wheelers!

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 13,781 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8:57 AM

But why didn't either the CN or the CP ever buy any modern articulated power?  I understnd the AT&SF got turned off by its jointed boilder experimentals, but all the other USA TR transcons had some.  The AT&SF, CN, and cP were the real exceptions.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 2,594 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 10:15 PM

 Well, it's a good question as to why no modern articulated power was used by the AT&SF, CNR, or CPR. I suspect there are three different answers. 

The CNR inherited a huge fleet of locomotives from 5 different systems. By the time they got a handle on all those Mikes, Moguls, Ten Wheelers, Pacifics, switchers, and assorted other locos, then developed the CN system we know today the main focus was on Montreal-Toronto passenger service, Southern Ontario fast freight Windsor-East Coast, small branch line service everywhere except perhaps B.C., and Prairie grainger railroading. None of these were well suited to modern day articulated steam. I don't see the Canadian Shield being particularly well suited for behemoths. Perhaps Rainy River to Atikokan but very undulating terrain... they used 2-10-2's there. Coal service Alberta to Vancouver but tight twisty and undulating. They did not even use their dual service Northerns there, not nimble enough. 

Back then, being a Government owned railroad meant extra scrutiny, especially with the $$'s. Not like today!

Santa Fe had their nasty run in with articulated locos early and washed their hands clean of them for good.

CPR did have 0-6-6-0's in the mountains but they proved unsuccessful and were converted to Decapods. They did consider Garretts after the war for their rough terrain Quebec to the Maritime lines but the Diesel quashed that. 

Perhaps the Motive Power heads of all three met for a spot of tea at some Railroad Fair and mutually agreed that Compound Mallets and Simple Articulated were a pox on the industry. 

Here is a picture of a CPR 0-6-6-0.

Very impressive looking 1950 with crew posing. Likely at Field, BC in 1910. 
James A. Brown Collection

 1950 first of six R1 0-6-6-0 articulated engines built especially for pushing on the Big Hill out of Field, BC. Five were Mallet compounds while the last was a simple articulated. 1950 was rated at 660 tons up the 2.2% Field Hill eastward to Stephen compared to 424 tons for the M4 class 2-8-0's being used at the time. 


Unique in that they were the only articulated engines built with cylinders head-to-head between the two frames. The purpose of which was to shorten the drypipes and exhaust pipes connecting the lead unit and thus reduce condensation between high and low pressure cylinders. The box on top of the boiler gave access to the verticle superheater header suspended between the two halves of the boiler. They were also the only articulated locomotives in Canada other than a Vancouver Island logging engine. Built by Angus Shops 10/1909 it was later rebuilt into a 2-10-0 as were all of the other 0-6-6-0's due to high cost for running repairs with no advantage being articulated.

1955 simple mallet 

1955 the only simple (non-compound) articulated 0-6-6-0 testing Angus Shops October 1911. Canadian Pacific

 

American Engineer July 1912 detailed article about 1955.

Canadian Machinery brief article 1955

R2b 5751 rebuilt 11/1916 by Angus. Montreal October 1955 Bud Laws Collection 

5752 brand new rebuild. CPR 6/1911 

5754 with another 5750 hidden behind. St.Luc 9/01/1955 Bud Laws Collection

 

5754 (last of four R2b) on a miserable, cold morning at Bay Shore yard, St. John, NB. was switching the yard as a bitter Fundy fog hung near in the harbour. January 2,1959 Robert J. Sandusky

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter