PRR Duplexes and Experimental Engines ( S1, S2, T1, Q1, V1 etc.)

33606 views
531 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:46 PM

Jones1945
S1 stayed in the shop quite often, but whenever she was "recharged," she exclusively hauled some of the most important named trains of PRR (General, Trail Blazer, Golden Arrow) instead of "lower tier" passenger trains. PRR made the best use of her, unlike the T1 and Q2...

Yes, and/but from March 26, 1945, the S-1 even got a competitor in 6200, which usually ran the Trail Blazer east and the Admiral west.

 
As far as I know, before the 1472 days-regulation came into place (tayloured to the heritage RR's needs), the FRA had a locomotive inspection law which ordered the removal of all flues every 48 months within 5 consecutive years, but that period could then be prolonged by the boiler inspector for one year, for one or several times.
 
I do not know, however, if these regulations were valid all the time from their installation in 1911, or if there had been changes due to wartime or so. And I don't know how the term "consecutive" years might have been interpreted for a locomotive which spent good parts of two years as a display.
 
By the way, the site of the old Crestline roundhouse is still for sale!
 
There is an article in German, just a few years old, claiming that GM had acquired essential parts of PRR shares in 1945. Are there any primary sources confirming this?

 

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,439 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, April 23, 2020 4:14 AM

Hermann

Yes, and/but from March 26, 1945, the S-1 even got a competitor in 6200, which usually ran the Trail Blazer east and the Admiral west.

The S2 also hauled lots of crack trains that the S1 seldom pulled, like the Broadway and Manhattan limited. I read somewhere that people saw the S2 once appeared in Pittsburgh, the "forbidden city" of the S1. On the other hand, I have seen pics of  the T1 phototypes powered the Trail Blazer. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 2:43 AM

Jones1945
The S2 also hauled lots of crack trains that the S1 seldom pulled, like the Broadway and Manhattan limited. I read somewhere that people saw the S2 once appeared in Pittsburgh, the "forbidden city" of the S1. On the other hand, I have seen pics of the T1 phototypes powered the Trail Blazer.

 

Hi Jones1945,

interesting thing that for three long years, the two prototypes ran into and through Pittsburgh without any reported troubles.

Only in Summer 1945, the first derailment took place im Pittsburgh. Then, just one month after delivery of the first serial T1s, 5502 derailed on December 1, 1945, and another serial T1 the very next day.

Did somehow, tragically, the two prototypes have the edge over the 5500s in curves?

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 16,114 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3:07 PM

Or is it possible that the track was not as well maintained?

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 16,114 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3:20 PM

I  rode behind a T-1 on the Trail Blazer on my way to work for EMD in late June 1952 into Chicago.  Do not kbow if it came from Hattisbutg, Pittsburg, or Cteatline.

And, then, which I now find was rare, behind a GP-7 to La Grange.  I think I was able to rent a shower room at Union Station before boarding the Q's scoot, which had the GP-7, generatr car, and two Budd galleries.

All trains were on-time but for arrival in Chicago a few minutes early.

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3:51 PM

daveklepper
I rode behind a T-1 on the Trail Blazer on my way to work for EMD in late June 1952 into Chicago. Do not kbow if it came from Hattisbutg, Pittsburg, or Cteatline.

 

Hi Daveklepper,

as to Charlie Meyers reports, your train should most probably have been powered Harrisburg - Pittsburgh by a T1, Pittsburgh - Crestline by a double set of K4s and Crestline - Chicago by a T1.

After the Pittsburgh derailments in summer/december 1945 and about March 1946, some design changes were made to get a bit more lateral movement on the driving axles so that the T-1s could go into Pittsburgh, but still could not pass the curve west of the station safely. Ironically, the curve was relaid after the T-1s were gone.

 

And late June 1952, you were lucky to have a T-1 on your train.

 

@Jones1945,

I found a pencil sharpener in the form of an S-1. Are you jealous now? Cowboy

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 5:02 PM

Hermann
Only in Summer 1945, the first derailment took place in Pittsburgh. Then, just one month after delivery of the first serial T1s, 5502 derailed on December 1, 1945, and another serial T1 the very next day. Did somehow, tragically, the two prototypes have the edge over the 5500s in curves?

If I remember correctly, the problem was caused at only one switch location; I dimly and perhaps imperfectly remember it as a double slip switch.  It is possible that the 'problem' was created by track maintenance of some kind, but I think the situation is more likely what Hermann notes.

Thw two original engines had radically different equalization arrangements from the 'production' engines -- for, I think, very good objective reasons.  It's been known since around the turn of the century that equalization of eight-drivered locomotives is better if the equalization is interrupted or 'tied' between the second and third driver pair, with the lead truck equalized with the forward sets and the trailing truck with the rear ones.  This, with some progressive improvement in snubbing and auxiliary springing, is what was done with the production engines right up to 1948.  The original design had a prominent walking beam carrying the equalization from front to rear engine, and this was thought to be causing some of the riding and slip issues -- I have not read the surviving correspondence and source material on this, but it is very clear that substantial changes were made to the arrangement during the war-years testing.

Now, something that is interesting when you look at the T1 spring-rigging arrangements is that a great amount of tinkering went on with the permitted lateral of the driver pairs, sometimes on the order of sixteenths of an inch -- there is a long list of emended numbers, perhaps notable in that by late 1947 there was free lateral on all four driver pairs.  I find it highly suspicious that this would be done on a high-speed locomotive with lateral-motion devices unless it were intended to permit a certain amount of float, at low speed, over the kind of obstacle resulting in derailment in terminal trackage.  (Note that this is very different from the reported issues with T1s losing critical adhesion over frogs and low joints when pulling long consists out of station traffic.)

Now, it would be one thing if Glaze-style stiff lateral compensation on lead and trailing trucks were applied to T1s to keep their required overbalance low (or, in fact, zero, which is a condition likely necessary for T1s to reach the speed their steam generation and valve gear would allow).  That never, apparently, became the case; the assumption seems to have been that the long effective rigid wheelbase and duplex kinetics would keep nosing/hunting minimized.  Interestingly the very large tenders might likely have minimized in-phase surge, too -- so a certain amount of overbalance might have been tolerated that 'shouldn't have been'.  (The effect of increasing augment on propensity to high-speed slip should be no mystery to anyone following along with T1 history!)

There are stories from the Crestline history that describe how much of a penchant 6100 had for derailing (usually somewhere in the driver wheelbase, if I remember correctly) while being run around that servicing point.  To my knowledge that situation was never satisfactorily worked out, even by restricting the engine to particular tracks and stalls.  It would be interesting to examine experiments, if any, with lateral motion on the driver pairs to see what did and didn't help with that.

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,439 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, April 30, 2020 11:30 AM

Hermann

@Jones1945,

I found a pencil sharpener in the form of an S-1. Are you jealous now? Cowboy

It depends on the quality of it. Wink Loewy's pencil sharpener:

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Thursday, April 30, 2020 11:43 AM

Jones1945
It depends on the quality of it. Wink Loewy's pencil sharpener:

 

 

OK, you won!

Mine is made in China...

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:41 PM

Hermann
OK, you won!

Adding insult to injury -- and perhaps as an awful unintended consequence of the Lionel 3768 Torpedo scam -- item SK-3280 is labeled a "K-4" (yes, Virginia, with the hyphen) on its box and in its description.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 10,903 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:55 PM

Overmod

 

 
Hermann
OK, you won!

 

Adding insult to injury -- and perhaps as an awful unintended consequence of the Lionel 3768 Torpedo scam -- item SK-3280 is labeled a "K-4" (yes, Virginia, with the hyphen) on its box and in its description.

 

Is that a steam-powered pencil sharpener? Smile

Johnny

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 30, 2020 4:05 PM

Deggesty
Is that a steam-powered pencil sharpener? 

To paraphrase what was said about a different 'plex (Triplex, not duplex) "not enough legs and not enough steam"

But the faithful rendition of the twin stacks makes up for it...

... and we know in principle now how to implement the ditchlights.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 4,181 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, April 30, 2020 9:17 PM

Jones1945

 

 
Hermann

@Jones1945,

I found a pencil sharpener in the form of an S-1. Are you jealous now? Cowboy

 

 

It depends on the quality of it. Wink Loewy's pencil sharpener:

 

Jeez, that's some pencil sharpener!

It looks like if you crank the handle a death ray is going to shoot out of the pencil!

I hope anyone who used that thing made sure no-one was standing in front of it!

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 492 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Thursday, April 30, 2020 10:39 PM

I would think that pencil sharpener was the inspiration of the ray-guns used in the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 1, 2020 7:59 AM

Erik_Mag
I would think that pencil sharpener was the inspiration of the ray-guns used in the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

Likely more the other way around -- look at the dates on the strips, and some of the contemporary pulps/covers.  Now, when you get to the Fifties rayguns, there will be more design influence to trace.  

To me the influence is much more obviously from aircraft nacelles and spinners -- turn that support pylon upside-down and it gets much clearer.  

Now, a more interesting question (which I've asked before in a different sort of context) is the influence of the '30s version of rocket ships on the kinds of bullet-nosed steam streamlining -- including the excesses -- we saw in the '30s and that might have proliferated more had there been no WWII and subsequent diesel rage.  (Or perhaps vice versa in some cases?)  Part of this is a topic in design history that might be partly described by 'what does a culture think is 'modern' in design?' -- see for example why everyone saw 'saucers' in the late '40s instead of all the other kinds of likelier planform.  If clumsy torpedoes that circle slowly and blow sparks are the Miracle Ships of the Future, it won't be surprising to see slowly-cycling and spark-emitting locomotives far behind...

(BTW to Hermann and perhaps others:  opportunity is knocking to test your whittling skills.  Just as George Washington got lovely shaped teeth made like piano keys, you can make a sort of 'bridge' to replace the missing part of the S1 'smile' between those funny little wheels.  With a little filing you could gin up correct front and rear sideframe portions, too.  Not that much work, but a dramatic improvement in 'prototypical verisimilitude'... Big Smile)

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 11,880 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, May 1, 2020 10:25 AM

Diesels were coming anyway, the FT, any number of switchers and various E's all predated WW2.  The war just speeded up the process.  LST's were powered by 567 engines and submarines had OP's for surface running, which was most of the time.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 1, 2020 4:15 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Diesels were coming anyway, the FT, any number of switchers and various E's all predated WW2.  The war just speeded up the process.  LST's were powered by 567 engines and submarines had OP's for surface running, which was most of the time.

But it's also true that, as Baldwin pointed out in 1940, the actual return on equity of a 6000-horsepower locomotive's worth of FTs, given the enormous capital cost over modern steam, might be better for steam given the large sunk cost of support for the existing steam locomotives.  

We might have gotten to 'dieselization' without the combination of factors in the late '40s ... but it would likely have followed the path nearly everyone expected in the mid-Forties: gradual replacement of serviceable steam power as it wore out, with replacement of a 'class' being accelerated when its net 'contribution to profitability net of depreciation, deductions, tax rebuildability, etc. became negative.  What wasn't expected was that the overhead costs for any steam, no matter how modern, would balloon for so many roads as they did.

What else was not likely expected was that many banks were more willing to loan or trust the high purchase price for diesels, knowing from a banker's perspective that the locomotives were 'fungible' with little more than a new coat of paint.  And if the banks weren't fully willing, GM might have plans that would help...

I periodically speculate on what would have happened if Baldwin had had the combination of chance and financial savvy that GM-EMD did regarding 'bringing down the cost' of the Essl modular locomotive, which was the only thing really competitive with a good modern eight-coupled main line locomotive up to the war years.  Instead they looked at the numbers and went with EMD-style carbodies on bogie trucks... with slow-turning runs-forever tugboat derived engines of strictly limited horsepower-to-weight in them.  And waited for the free-piston turbine revolution ... that, when it came, didn't even completely come to GM-EMD.

It is true that Dilworth's vision for building-blocks-of-'units' MUed power was really better than anything that could have been developed with similar combination of capability and reliability in steam.  By the end of the war this had essentially obsoleted high-pressure flash steam; by the end of the '40s it would essentially obsolete all but the most sophisticated turbines ... and in improved second-generation form would prove the kiss of death, had there not been others 'first', to even the most carefully promoted steam power.

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Saturday, May 2, 2020 2:37 AM

Overmod
(BTW to Hermann and perhaps others: opportunity is knocking to test your whittling skills. Just as George Washington got lovely shaped teeth made like piano keys, you can make a sort of 'bridge' to replace the missing part of the S1 'smile' between those funny little wheels. With a little filing you could gin up correct front and rear sideframe portions, too. Not that much work, but a dramatic improvement in 'prototypical verisimilitude'... Big Smile)

As I am a model maker, I actually could do that:

"A small step for my CNC mill, one giant leap for a Chinese pencil sharpener"....Whistling

 

But as to your thoughts about the financing of diesel power: what if in the 1940's the banks were more eager to give money for diesels because they saw a chance of the diesel having not the longevity of steam, thus needing to be replaced sooner, meaning the RR officials needed to visit the bank offices more frequently for more loans?

 

  • Member since
    April 2020
  • 10 posts
Posted by Hermann on Saturday, May 2, 2020 3:44 AM

Overmod
(BTW to Hermann and perhaps others: opportunity is knocking to test your whittling skills. Just as George Washington got lovely shaped teeth made like piano keys, you can make a sort of 'bridge' to replace the missing part of the S1 'smile' between those funny little wheels. With a little filing you could gin up correct front and rear sideframe portions, too. Not that much work, but a dramatic improvement in 'prototypical verisimilitude'... Big Smile)

As I am a model maker, I actually could do that:

"A small step for my CNC mill, one giant leap for a Chinese pencil sharpener"....Whistling

 

But as to your thoughts about the financing of diesel power: what if in the 1940's the banks were more eager to give money for diesels because they saw a chance of the diesel having not the longevity of steam, thus needing to be replaced sooner, meaning the RR officials needed to visit the bank offices more frequently for more loans?

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, May 2, 2020 9:51 AM

I'm stil waiting for someone to find and post the actual wording of the communication by Symes (ideally in the context of an exchange of communications) regarding specific use of the S1 in 'freight' service.  

Among other things, such a decision -- on an engine which by that time probably had north of 3 million gold dollars of PRR money in it -- implies the service reliability on block-mail or M&E trains was no better than on passenger service.  And that high-speed slipping was more of a problem even at 'typical mail' speeds than explicitly reported and recorded... 

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,439 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 8:31 AM

Overmod

I'm stil waiting for someone to find and post the actual wording of the communication by Symes (ideally in the context of an exchange of communications) regarding specific use of the S1 in 'freight' service.  

Among other things, such a decision -- on an engine which by that time probably had north of 3 million gold dollars of PRR money in it -- implies the service reliability on block-mail or M&E trains was no better than on passenger service.  And that high-speed slipping was more of a problem even at 'typical mail' speeds than explicitly reported and recorded... 

 

I am also waiting for it. Syme's thought, mainly complaints, on the S1 is mentioned in the article "The S1 - Biggest of them all" by Charlie Meyer but he didn't quote Syme's actual wording. If I were in his position I would have complained too. I wonder if he would have complained even more (for mechanical failure caused by overspeed) if PRR picked N&W Class J instead of T1, since the Class J wasn't designed for 100mph daily operation even though the Js could hit 110mph or above in test runs. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,183 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 7:00 PM

Jones1945
I wonder if he would have complained even more (for mechanical failure caused by overspeed) if PRR picked N&W Class J instead of T1, since the Class J wasn't designed for 100mph daily operation even though the Js could hit 110mph or above in test runs.

The issue with the 70" wheels on passenger power is carefully described in the 'official' PRR report of the J testing.  

Part of the problem is that we're talking people who reached their positions of great responsibility having learned conventional wisdom about balancing, diameter speed, etc., and who may have been influenced negatively by the 'experts' in modern scientistic balancing coming such a cropper with the ACL R1s.

Even the Q1, which would have tremendously benefited from 72" wheels with disc centers and lightweight rods, "conventional" augment reduced by the duplex principle, was given what was tantamount to LV dual-service 4-8-4 driver diameter ... splendid, but excessively heroic for an "improved M1".  

Now, just exactly what PRR thought would be a 'proper' high wheel for a dual-service 4-8-4 is a bit confused by perceived passenger-engine requirements: probably the 'sweet spot' is in the 74" to 75" range with modern balancing ... but we then have the example of Kiefer's 4-8-4, which was wasted with its sisters' 75" but magical at the moral equivalent of 80", so I think it is safe to assume that any contemporary 4-8-4 would be considered the "doubleheaded K4 replacement" just as the T1 would be ... and would be expected to have the 'high wheels' dictated by motive-power-department choice.  Regardless of whether Virginia intelligence and magic gave well-over-100mph capability to a locomotive with M1-size drivers, and a great deal of 'normal PRR passenger-train' running flexibility to boot...

One thing I have to wonder, though, is what the effect of Glaze balancing on the Pennsylvania Js would have been.  A postwar change on a great many of them was to increase driver diameter to 70" -- done expediently with fatter driver tires, I suspect... but it need not have been that.  If we use lightweight inboard rods, crosshead, and pistons, we can reduce the operative overbalance in the main to something around 120lb (see what the peak vertical component of rod thrust at 'best speed' cutoff is, and use it) with the rest in the coupled wheels -- and this in turn reduces the need for a cast driver-center type that accommodates heavy angled weights.  Then reduce the overbalance to what the lead and trailing trucks and longer driver wheelbase can 'stand' -- and you might get a surprisingly long way toward the J's tolerable maximum speed at acceptable vertical augment.  All without compromising your desire for 125mph rayguns on wheels for the marvelous resumption of passenger traffic after the war...

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