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

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 29, 2018 11:27 AM

M636C
So since the M1 basically used the K5 boiler with an added combustion chamber ...

Don't you have that kinda backward?  The M1 with internal steam pipes predates the K5, and my understanding has always been that the K5 boiler was derived from that, rather than the other way round.

Hard to believe that a boiler suitable for an eight-coupled wouldn't be sufficient for any six-coupled locomotive without going to obligatory larger fireboxes requiring stokers.  When PRR went to larger fireboxes it was for 'enlargement' of the M1 (into a design with five driving axles instead of a booster), so presumably the point of any "P6" would be to implement the moral equivalent of a fourth driving axle via a high-speed booster ... something PRR didn't make nearly the use of as the it-was-invented-here NYC. 

Meanwhile, of course, with all those K4s and then increasingly little for them to do with the high-speed electrification progressing, cheap doubleheading was FAR better use of capital than some Hudson with only enhanced starting TE and some high-speed nominal economy to recommend it. 

Meanwhile there is the parallel, and far more important, question why PRR never considered a 4-8-4 in those critical years, the logical follow-on to Pacifics so many other places.  At least part of this is timing (and in this respect PRR was spared the kind of horror it encountered with, say, the L5 electrics) in that true express Northerns weren't really 'there' until the advent of proper balancing knowledge, several years into the Thirties, but cost effective roller rods and the like not until much later (PRR having firsthand experience via N&W, so a great deal of this is circumstantial and not conservative hidebound balking at the considerable added cost) when the siren call of duplex low augment was at its height and as yet untainted by practical road experience.

 

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Posted by M636C on Monday, October 29, 2018 8:01 AM

I wonder what kind of powerful monster we would have had if Pennsy decided to make a 4-6-4 based on a K5. 

If you compare an NYC J3 to an NYC L3, they look pretty much the same...

So since the M1 basically used the K5 boiler with an added combustion chamber, I'd expect Pennsylvania P6 (or would it be a P1?) to look similar to an M1, with a longer firebox and one less driving axle...

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 29, 2018 7:43 AM

daveklepper

Jones1945, your NYCentral T.E. for Hudsons is without the booster operating, I presume.  With booster, then equal to RR K-5?

Thank you for the question, Dave. As you may note that the booster engine was not a device fitting the style of PRR management; when I compare K5 and NYCentral's Class J Hudsons, I used the T.E without the booster engine. If I estimate the TE of K5 with a booster engine, that would be 65000 to 70000lbf! Note Pennsy and Baldwin successfully increase their Pacific's TE from 44,460 lbf of K4 to at least 54,675 lbf of K5 #5698, even though the FA was a bit "below average". 

I wonder what kind of powerful monster we would have had if Pennsy decided to make a 4-6-4 base on a K5. CoffeeSmile

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 29, 2018 4:28 AM

Jones1945, your NYCentral T.E. for Hudsons is without the booster operating, I presume.  With booster, then equal to RR K-5?

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 28, 2018 2:18 PM
Overmod
...This from a railroad with some of the best 4-8-4s ever built, and if there were any use for a 4-6-4 over it, they'd have built it.
 
After reading some brief history of Reading's T-1 4-8-4s, it triggered my curiosity. It amazes me that they were rebuilt from I-10a 2-8-0 and managed to archive satisfactory performance. They look decent as well.  
 
 
 
Overmod
I was expecting someone might raise the idea that PRR did not use Hudsons because Alco was not a usual supplier.  Remember that the 'first' Hudson design wasn't Alco's, it was Baldwin's, to C.H. Bilty's spec, probably the first locomotive truly documented to run over 100mph sustained -- and a logical example for PRR to study if they had wanted a 4-6-4. 

Milwaukee Road class F6 by Baldwin which served in MILW system for 24 years! An early Hudson class built in 1930 got overshadowed by the overrated F7 by Alco. The first thing caught my attention was the design of the leading truck of this class, reminds me of the trucks using on PRR T1 and C&O M-1. By the way, If PRR wanted to order Hudson in 1930s, why didn't they keep purchasing from Baldwin or build them in their own shops instead of buying them from a company which they wanted to keep their distance from it. 

 
 
 
 
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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 28, 2018 11:57 AM

Yeah, just a matter of timing really. Like all things in life and history, it's all about timing. 

I suppose they could have scrapped 100 or so fairly new K4's for Hudsons like later PRR management did with the T1's and Q2's for Diesels, but management at that time wasn't so reckless. 

Certainly could have used better timing here and there in my own life but the arrow points one way and one must deal with the consequences as to where you place your markers along the line. C'est la vie. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 28, 2018 11:56 AM

The G2sa is pretty, but Mr. Klepper meant this:

This from a railroad with some of the best 4-8-4s ever built, and if there were any use for a 4-6-4 over it, they'd have built it.

I was expecting someone might raise the idea that PRR did not use Hudsons because Alco was not a usual supplier.  Remember that the 'first' Hudson design wasn't Alco's, it was Baldwin's, to C.H. Bilty's spec, probably the first locomotive truly documented to run over 100mph sustained -- and a logical example for PRR to study if they had wanted a 4-6-4.

Note that almost any conceivable Hudson (or Baltic) would require a stoker.  PRR didn't even put stokers on the K5s, by intent (and it's arguable whether they would have if the Government hadn't mandated it as late as the mid-Thirties) and that in my opinion was a shortsighted waste, but I think it's a strong argument why PRR did not adopt one at the time.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 28, 2018 10:36 AM

daveklepper

Back to PRR experimentals.  It would be interesting to compare the PRR K-5 with the contemporary NYCentral J-1 to see why the PRR never considered a Hudson.

And I think the post-WWII Reading Pacific might also well be included in the comparison.  Not the CP Post WWII Pacific, which was specifically a light-duty branchline locomotive.

The PRR K5 #5698 had a much higher TE (54,675 lbf) than NYC J-1 or even J-3a Dreyfuss Super Hudson (41,680 lbf). Overmod mentioned the main reason of why there was not a single Hudson in PRR system. Let's review a quote of his reply: 

"PRR wouldn't buy Hudsons from Baldwin for the reason I gave earlier: they had just spent to get 475 K4s, including 200 from Baldwin, some as late as 1928 (into the real Hudson era).  By the time they were looking at better power, it was into the era of the true high-speed 4-8-4 and there was no point in considering anything but eight-drivered power -- had the divided-drive 84"-drivered locomotive worked out there would have been no need for a trivial little Hudson, and modern balancing made an 80"-drivered locomotive perfectly fast enough for what 'used' to demand an 84" wheel.  (You will note the somewhat lamentable history of 84" drivered Hudsons in practice, with C&NW notable for being unable even to reach 100mph in AAR testing, and Santa Fe getting little faster even with much more heroic proportions; no one claims comparable top-speed limitation for the S1 if they are even borderline sane.  The question was getting that fast, not sustaining it...)" (quote end)

Note there was a lot of surplus K4s during the electrification from 1928 to mid-1930s as well. Smile

Reading Class G2-sa 

 

 

 

PRR K5 4-6-2 # 5699 with Caprotti Valve Gear

NYC Class J-1e #5336

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 28, 2018 8:28 AM

Back to PRR experimentals.  It would be interesting to compare the PRR K-5 with the contemporary NYCentral J-1 to see why the PRR never considered a Hudson.

And I think the post-WWII Reading Pacific might also well be included in the comparison.  Not the CP Post WWII Pacific, which was specifically a light-duty branchline locomotive.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 10:41 PM

M636C

 

The SNCF was criticised for building the 241P instead of Chapelon's  for the PLM main line which was planned for electrification anyway. Electrification took place as far as Lyon by 1951, the magazines greeting electrification with "Paris-Lyon, les trains plus vite du monde" (the fastest trains in the world) which was true at the time. It was again when the TGV was introduced on a new line years later.

But the 241P was a development of the PLM 241C which meant that the crews unserstood the locomotives and all the controls were in the familiar places.

Peter

Thank you very much, Peter. That was a very considerate arrangement for the crews; intended or not. It benefited both side; the crews knew how to handle the new engine immediately while the SNCF didn't need to waste extra man power and time to retrain the crews.
 
 
The distance between Paris to Lyon is around 280 miles, dozens of miles longer than the route between New York and Washington DC. The electrification and what SNCF achieved; from world speed record in 1955 to the introduction of TGV, were some inspiring examples. 

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 6:08 PM

Last night I pullled out my copy of "French Steam", an English (Ian Allen) book covering the period from 1946 to the end of steam in France around 1969, to check up on some aspects of the 230K, mentioned in another thead.

It has captons in French and English, but the French captions are usually more detailed.

There was a photo of 242A1 at its depot, indicating that it ran in a roster with a group of 141P four cylinder mikados. The french caption, but not the English caption, indicated that 242A1 was withdrawn and scrapped before its running mates because it cost too much to maintain. That a three cylinder compound stood out among four cylinder compounds as too expensive to maintain is a statement in itself. Many such locomotives were superseded in the 1950s by the two cylinder 141R, which was recognised as cheap to maintain, if less economical on fuel and which could be run without releying on regular crews who undestood a particular locomotive's foibles, thus providing much greater availability.

The SNCF was criticised for building the 241P instead of Chapelon's 242A1 for the PLM main line which was planned for electrification anyway. Electrification took place as far as Lyon by 1951, the magazines greeting electrification with "Paris-Lyon, les trains plus vite du monde" (the fastest trains in the world) which was true at the time. It was again when the TGV was introduced on a new line years later.

But the 241P was a development of the PLM 241C which meant that the crews unserstood the locomotives and all the controls were in the familiar places.

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 2:08 AM
Overmod
Ah, no.  You can figure this out with a little applied thought, remembering that the test plant doesn't simulate cross-level defects or low joints/frogs, and changes in both speed and wheelrim load are relatively slow and usually monotone increase or decrease at a give point in the testing. 
 
Alas! Coffee Smile, Wink & Grin There was a reason why my response was right-sized, but I appreciate you and other forum member’s thorough reply which give me the chance to learn from the best.
 
Just as Vince stated that there were not only test reports from the test plant at Altoona. Pennsy tested total four duplexes built for different purposes since 1940 by putting them on regular revenue services. They were S1 #6100, T1 #6110 and #6111 of 1942 and Q1 #6130 before they decided (a very important decision) to purchases 50 more “passenger duplex” plus 26 “freight duplex” aka production T1 and Q2 in mid-1940s. We know they were not only the answer of Pennsy to the concept of super power (4-8-4s) but also part of an attempt to prolong the use of coal burning steam power instead of diesel electric (Pennsy rejected EMC’s proposal in late-1930s). But the decision of purchasing total 76 duplexes was proved wrong by Pennsy itself (not me) when they decided to completely dieselize in phases (Yes, in phases) since 1948 (since but not by) and withdrawn all the duplexes (all but not some of them) from revenue service before 1953 (action speaks louder than words) The whole duplexes concept is seen as a failure.
 
There was only one man in the PRR’s management who named James M. Symes had the guts (can’t use other words in this forum) to called it out and required a 4-8-4s like N&W Class J but not the problematic T1s before Pennsy signed the checks for 76 more duplexes, but PRR insisted. From a steam lover’s point of view (me for example), the duplex adventure was probably one of the best things ever happened. But from an angle of business management, it was part of the history of a world class disaster orchestrated by the largest railroad in the world (which was gone for good).
 
 
 
 
Overmod
 Don't run these two EMD designs together.  It was specifically proven in 1947 that a good 4-8-4 in the right service was the equal of the somewhat squirrelly, overexpensive E7.  There's much more in the E8/9 than a few more working horsepower.  Comparable is true of F and GP units after the Forties.  
 
OK but not ok. There was a reason why I mentioned E7 and E8 but not E6, E7, E8 or E6, E7, E8, E9 when I was talking about things about T1s. So please allow me to repeat and clarify what I wrote one more time:
 
 
EMD kept improving (Yes, they kept improving but not stuck on fixing, modifying and fine tuning a late-1930s engine design year after year like T1s) their diesel electric products since mid-1930s thus T1s, a late-1930s design couldn’t catch up with engine like E7 (It was the #1 rival T1 and other steam power like 4-8-4s and steam turbine engines needed to beat at the time, we heard and read about the test report by Paul W. Kiefer thousands of times since 1946), E8 (a product which had even higher standard of reliability and mechanical advantages, good enough to put a full stop to prime steam power in the States and it did) in terms of lower operating expenses and other economics advantages.
 
However, early mainline (Yes I said mainline power not switcher) diesel products from BLW, ALCO and FM were something worse than a scam (worse than but not equal to. the financial situation was bad enough before 1948, not only Pennsy seen them as a pain in the whatever you can imagine body part not long after they were put into service) , the trouble they created made the situation more complicated (Yes, even worse) for RRs who purchased them.
 
 
 
Overmod
 You'd likely have had far more failures than NYO&W by the Sixties, and probably much worse ones, had steam been the only effective road power.  Whether that would have served as a wake-up call to an earlier Congress or Cabinet, or whether it would lead to better mergers, is something only alternative historians should tinker with.
 
 
I can only speak for myself. I believe steam and diesel as well as other form of power could have worked together a bit longer in the States instead of handling it like a zero-sum game; the UAC TurboTrain was a good example (of course our reader can write a 20000 words article about its problems) . Unless someone offer me a ticket for time traveling, I am not going to write a 2046 pages proposal about how such idea is practical and could be beneficial to the consumer.
 
I believe some reader would call us beating a dead horse (very hard). But I think Pennsy was a good example to show people in power that how your whole business can be messed up by making irrational and reckless decisions one after another. There were stories behind all these decisions waiting for us to discover (or to expose, if you can find the evidences, including oral orders from the Pyramid's top). I am not going to repeat every single point our forum members and me have made in this ten-page thread though. I believe our reader can understand what we wanted to express from different angles and in different ways.    
 
 
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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 9:30 PM

Ok and around we go again.

If the test bed was incapable of simulating real conditions then why bother with it. If the technology was not advanced enough to do this then a mathematical correction could be easily applied. Surely all those scientists and engineers, Pennsy and Baldwin, knew this. So not buying it fully. Besides they had the S1 and Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon as a functioning out on the road in real conditions in all weather, in wartime conditions to boot! as the test bed. So not buying it even more now. 

Up here in the Great White North steam was in abundance right up until 1959, even beyond, but less so,  until spring 1960. Recall the account of  a Forum member from Buffalo who visited a roundhouse in Niagara Falls that was full packed with active steam one weekend and the following weekend nothing.. all gone. That is how it happened here. Both the CPR and CNR got together and decided on a final day. Just like that. Both John St and Spadina roundhouses were full of steam in Toronto in pictures from 1959, then poof gone. Brand new overhauled, paint still wet locomotives sat in dead lines at Stratford and Angus and Winnipeg.  So perhaps 5-10 years lag with the US, but neither CNR or CPR showed any adverse economic effects. I cannot believe that steam into the 60's would have seen massive NY,O&W copycats. There were specific irreversible reasons for the demise of that road. You could cost cut that road down to a dog pulling kids carts and still lose money. Besides we already have the Penn Central bankruptcy with now second generation Diesels that did nothing to save their sorry state. To think steam would have made it worse is too bizarre to forward. Maybe the merger would not have happened at all if steam was advanced. 

As to non EMC builders and Jones' claim, well the government directly influenced that outcome by disallowing anyone but Electro Motive from building the real stuff. They all had to play catch up and cut corners and rush and, worse still, they knew it. Fingers crossed and all that. Too bad, the table was already set. Again up here in Can-a-der the government mandated fairness between Alco/MLW, EMC/GMD and to a lesser extent CLC/FM but even they still got a good whack at it. The CPR liked them enough. GM was in a minority position up here. 

I agree 100% about conjecture as to steam in the future and how things unfold and the consequences of prevalent steam. Better mergers, more end to end? Longer hauls, more competing big systems. Railroad power exempt from environmental laws?  Perhaps eventually but quickly Federal 'forgive it' loans for massive electrification projects. That would make up for the St. Lawrence Seaway, Interstate Highways, Roads and bridges, Airports and so on. Fully justified in levelling the field. It would look like peanuts today. However all that is historical speculation. 

Beware the Scientocracy.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 3:29 PM

Jones1945
Miningman

I still have my Trains magazines where it was reported that every record in the book was smashed by the T1's on the test beds in Altoona. The look of the future was put forth in steam and it looked like the future. 6 months it lasted.

I really appreciate and absolutely agree with your points about the T1s, Vince. Regarding T1s prototypes’ “glowing” test report, it was either the Pennsy lied to the shareholders and even to themselves by a rigged report ...


 
Ah, no.  You can figure this out with a little applied thought, remembering that the test plant doesn't simulate cross-level defects or low joints/frogs, and changes in both speed and wheelrim load are relatively slow and usually monotone increase or decrease at a give point in the testing. 
 
The objective benefits of the divided-drive design WITHOUT conjugation was good enough for Paul Kiefer and a number of his compatriots to play 'you bet your company' on a properly-revised but not terrifically different version of the design as late as spring 1945, long after many of the problems were observed in road testing and much work had been done on starting to address them.  In particular, the very low water rate observed in some of the tests -- among the best figures for any locomotives using outside-coupled two-cylinder simple engines -- was essential in allowing NYC to make their flagship runs without a fuel stop.  No Niagara ever managed that, and probably couldn't even with the full 64T tender...
 
 
On the other hand, EMD kept improving their diesel electric products since mid-1930s thus T1s, a late-1930s design couldn’t catch up with engine like E7, E8 in terms of lower operating expenses and other economics advantages.
 
Don't run these two EMD designs together.  It was specifically proven in 1947 that a good 4-8-4 in the right service was the equal of the somewhat squirrelly, overexpensive E7.  There's much more in the E8/9 than a few more working horsepower.  Comparable is true of F and GP units after the Forties. 
 
On the other hand, there was nothing like EMD customer service in the steam world.  And the margins wouldn't likely have supported it.  Steam was never going to be high-tech, or particularly efficient enough to warrant mecanicien-level attentiveness for anything except the most important and lucrative services.  And as we have seen, those were NOT as cost-effective for steam as for diesel, even where steam's horsepower curve and other characteristics were superior at the time to diesel equivalents.
 
... early mainline diesel products from BLW, ALCO and FM were something worse than a scam, the trouble they created made the situation more complicated for RRs who purchased them.
 
When making claims like this, be very careful that the scam was premeditated, rather than emergent (or circumstantial, like the maintenance issues with FM OP engines).
 
Baldwin had very careful reasons for maintaining slow-speed details in the 600-series engines; keep in mind that by then not only had they experimented with high-speed V-12s, some turbocharged, they had developed V-8 gensets to production (it appears to be cost, not operational details, that spelled the end for the 408-powered Essl 6000hp locomotive design that so impressed Paul Kiefer).  Alco likewise thought they really had something with their four-stroke 2000-hp from a single prime mover; the issue with turbo lag could have been easily solved with an overrunning 'turboelectric' drive that motored the compressor turbine when quick loading was desired.  But those two were still building to a price, and making production changes on a unit-by-unit basis continually, and not coherently documenting maintenance and upgrading... the list of what EMD did with panache, and its competition didn't, is fairly long.
 
What our forum members pointed out was right that even though Class I RRs in the States kept using the steam engine until late-1960, they probably wouldn’t survive after 1971 due to the environmental law.
 
I suspect there would have been extensive waivers, some based on hardship, by that point.  Part of the trouble is that there really isn't any way to extrapolate from the 'likely' consequences of not dieselizing in the '40s to get to the Clean Air Act as enacted.  You'd likely have had far more failures than NYO&W by the Sixties, and probably much worse ones, had steam been the only effective road power.  Whether that would have served as a wake-up call to an earlier Congress or Cabinet, or whether it would lead to better mergers, is something only alternative historians should tinker with.
 
In any case, y'all have something of a Hobson's choice regarding 'modern steam' -- it may well have been possible to preserve "steam" only in the form of turbine-electrics or the ACE idea of a 4-8-4 that telescoped an SDP40F.  That's almost the worst of both worlds in an alarming number of ways...
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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 22, 2018 11:46 PM

Miningman

I still have my Trains magazines where it was reported that every record in the book was smashed by the T1's on the test beds in Altoona. The look of the future was put forth in steam and it looked like the future. 6 months it lasted. Suddenly just like that it's all no good and junk. Something really smelled here. Something was stifled. 

Of course Diesels in all likelihood would have been the order of the day but much later, decades perhaps. 

 

 
I really appreciate and absolutely agree with your points about the T1s, Vince. Regarding T1s prototypes’ “glowing” test report, it was either the Pennsy lied to the shareholders and even to themselves by a rigged report; or the design of Baldwin’s T1s; consists of four cylinders plus Franklin’s poppet valve gears really made T1s the future of coal burning steam power; at least it was still an better option of prime power beside diesel electric by 1945 or a bit earlier.
 
On the other hand, EMD kept improving their diesel electric products since mid-1930s thus T1s, a late-1930s design couldn’t catch up with engine like E7, E8 in terms of lower operating expenses and other economics advantages. (However, early mainline diesel products from BLW, ALCO and FM were something worse than a scam, the trouble they created made the situation more complicated for RRs who purchased them.)
 
What our forum members pointed out was right that even though Class I RRs in the States kept using the steam engine until late-1960, they probably wouldn’t survive after 1971 due to the environmental law. But as a railfan who prefer coal burning steam power to diesel electric, that 20 more years of “steam” would means a lot......at least to me. 
 
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, October 22, 2018 7:54 PM

Dave K. -- I invoke Ayn Rand only for that post war era when there were huge investments in not only Duplex Drives, based on what had previously been built, and coal Turbines but also Alleghenies, exceptional switchers, some remote controlled, outstanding 4-8-4's, some rebuilt steam such as C&NW Zeppelins, CPR Selkirks and simple but advanced and highly efficient branch line Pacific's and on and on. 

I still have my Trains magazines where it was reported that every record in the book was smashed by the T1's on the test beds in Altoona. The look of the future was put forth in steam and it looked like the future. 6 months it lasted. Suddenly just like that it's all no good and junk. Something really smelled here. Something was stifled. 

Of course Diesels in all likelihood would have been the order of the day but much later, decades perhaps. 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 22, 2018 2:37 PM

One of the illustrative pieces of history is: what became of the engineers who so carefully worked out that New York to Philadelphia high-speed interurban?  I thought, when I read it, imagine what would happen when the 'boom' in eastern Pennsylvania/New Jersey with cheap Portland cement concrete got going.  What would those engineers have done with gleepsite?

And the answer is: as 'visionary' they saw very well what the use of concrete would be: they got into the good roads movement, and the engineer became one of the original authorities in paving equipment.  As far as I know he never considered another railroad project...

Almost the only thing that could have replaced a government-assisted good-roads program would have been government ownership (not just regulation or subsidy) of a strategic network of 'electric railways' serving regionally.  But (judging by the efforts made by steam railroads to electrify over part of their routes, most of which were pretty much done by WW1) that would need to have been done prior to the Wilsonian excuse for federal control ... and it would have been tough to apportion revenue with the then-budding power-company magnates like Insull.  Whether we'd have had the excuse to use federal money for something like TVA, who knows?

People tend to forget this, but by 1928 it was very clear that the United States would be running out of gasoline-producing reserves very soon.  So clear that one of the Standard Oil spinoffs spent an ungodly amount of money licensing the Fischer-Tropsch process to synthesize gasoline from coal.  This would raise the cost of gasoline ... but you didn't see the rate of development in the automobile industry damped by this in the late '20s, right up to the point that the Depression arrested it for other reasons. 

The other thing was the rise of 'reliable' used cars very, very cheap -- in part, a consequence of all those Model Ts produced better and cheaper each year.   An interurban depends upon a large enough volume of people who don't care much when they get to someplace a few miles away, all going at the same time, without needing to transport very much.  A streetcar depends upon people willing to take a long time, stopping and starting, to get someplace without walking.  In both cases, when you have a cheap set of wheels not only do you have a convenient alternative to transportation but you can take others along, probably for more than a streetcar fare as you can dogleg off the car route to accommodate passengers or get over to the curb.  Success of the proto-Uber jitney movement, in the teeth of City Hall taxi preservationism, is some indication of the power involved.  But one of the things that kept jitneys a fad was the evolving ease with which everyone could have their own...

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, October 22, 2018 12:02 PM

Well that was gentle Overmod. I full well expected a good thrashing and holes blown in my little rubber dinghy out in the ocean like that, so thanks. 

Makes everyone think a bit though. 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 22, 2018 11:08 AM

Miningman
Could it explain brand new T1's sabotage, S2 failed with no actual attempts of improvements, S1 scrapped, assured failure of coal turbines afterward... and so much more?

The BCR coal-turbine project WAS the product of that scientocracy, and became the scam that it was when the "scientists" did the analogue of grant swing and kept mooching on the member railroads for work that locomotive builders or other 'interested parties' should have taken up on their dime.

If Union Pacific couldn't get it to work, on the shoestring of shoestrings that was the locomotive 80 and then 8080 project, I suspect no one could have gotten it to work.  And by the end of that effort you had no 'locomotive' builder even remotely interested in direct coal combustion who would undertake building it in quantity.  A good thing, as there is NO way it could be adapted to even 1970s pollution standards within contemporary gage limitations and working conditions.

And then we can take up how miserable a thing it would be to run.

The problem with so much of 'advanced steam technology' was that it had all the materials and fabrication expense of more sophisticated approaches, but none of the practical thermal efficiency and not enough maintenance 'saving'.  Lubritoria were a wonderful idea, but the gains were relative to total-loss lubrication in the first place; many water-treatment regimens were dependent on ghastly continuous blowdown, and so on: it's romantic to see one steam locomotive operating, quite another thing to have a fleet of maintained-to-a-price examples going by every day (or not going by, broken down expensively somewhere).

In my opinion the road that used modern steam best was the Nickel Plate, which to this day operates fast bridge trains at speeds right at the horsepower peak of their best locomotives.  I believe the Brown paper used data from just before the time Nickel Plate dieselized; if you look at why that road gave up Berks when it did (and for what) you will have a good understanding of why the transition became inevitable by that point, for that era.

A case could be made that interurbans failed because their proponents (usually utility combines looking to capitalize on uses and excuses for wiring out their regions - something increasingly unnecessary and non-lucrative after the War) were less popular than the far more convenient and useful automotive cartel.  Part of the success is documented in 'The Insolent Chariots' -- how could increasingly rattletrap trolleys compete with that juggernaut?  If Los Angeles, of all places, could get rid of its system, why invoke conspiracy when the sheep did the job themselves?

Consider, again, that the Niagara was only competitive with diesel power in a very specific service; when that ceased to exist either for marketing or economic reasons, let alone a combination of both, all the collateral expense of that particular 'weapons system' increasing dramatically after 1947, you should not be surprised at unwillingness to continue.

Now, it is possible that had there been "modern" small power, perhaps the sort of thing Steins was developing in the early Thirties, with some of the advantages of modern maintenance and servicing on an appropriate scale, you might have seen more use of steam until it had been 'costed down'.  But this is precisely the sort of place that dieselization became established where continued operation of small-scale railroading made sense.  Steam disappeared coincidentally with All Those Canadian Railroads that are gone when you look around, not in isolation.  It may be hard to distinguish which of them was doomed the more. 

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Posted by selector on Monday, October 22, 2018 9:51 AM

They survived where it made economic and fiscally responsible sense.  When it didn't, steamers were cashiered. There are older diesels still being used, far less efficient than those designed to replace them.  Same diff.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, October 22, 2018 9:08 AM

Perhaps it has a 1% chance of being a viable explanation but maybe that was the 1 time. It fits in its own way. 

I full well expect harsh blowback and many groans. Yet as pointed out steam survived even in Western countries around the world for decades yet. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 22, 2018 3:23 AM

Please.  I know the clout of the oil firms that shaped foreign policy, a walkl away from USA energy independence, and eventully led to the World Trade Center - Pentagon disaster, El Quada, etc.  But dieslilzation of railroads?

Note that every major railroad system in the world has dieslized or electrified or a combination of both, with the choice based on economics.  No major railroad system, world-wide, relies on steam power today.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, October 22, 2018 12:54 AM

Alright Wayne, let's get deep. 

Ayn Rand writes the following:

"The demand to restrict technology is the demand to restrict man's mind. It is nature, ie reality, that makes both these goals impossible to achieve. Technology can be destroyed and the mind can be paralyzed but neither can be restricted. Whether and wherever such restrictions are attempted, it is the mind, not the state, that withers away."

Could this possibly be an explanation for the wholesale demise of advanced steam technology, and all steam, after WWII? How did we use the authority of government to divert technologies, energy and so on and let it be so intrusive. The federal takeover of science. Prior to WWII there was little government involvement in science. A  scientocracy was formed after the success of the Manhatten project.

Could it explain brand new T1's sabotage, S2 failed with no actual attempts of improvements, S1 scrapped, assured failure of coal turbines afterward... and so much more? 

The end of coal in any way to power the Nations railroads. The military industrial complex imposing their will on the railroads and not allowing even a sliver of light. Guaranteed failure and new energy source aimed at the very heart of Railroading itself. 

Resistance is futile! 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 22, 2018 12:53 AM

Although I am quite disappointed on how PRR panicky switched to diesel electric in 1948, but when I am looking at the figures on this report, I feel sympathy for the situation they were facing. Note the extremely high operating expenses. Although it only shown data of two months, but it gave us a glimpse of how bad their financial situation was.
 
 
I am not saying the high expenses was a result of using steam engine but not impotent management or other factors since I don’t have enough data and historical facts to support such conclusion. But I believe the pressure to cut cost was very strong and was requested by the board and many shareholders. IIRC, the Pennsy couldn’t even paid Raymond Loewy to finish the refurbishment of Penn Station in 1948. Purchases of problematic early diesels from BLW, Alco and FM made the situation worse while 52 T1s (equal to 104 units of K4s or 156 EMD diesel units) were already fine-tuned but forced to retire early by 1952.    
 
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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:49 AM

I was going to jump in, but wow, the water's gotten awful deep!

I'll say this about Norfolk and Western steam and no more.  The men running the N&W back in the Fifties weren't starry-eyed kids, they were mature men and seasoned railroaders.  They knew the end of steam was coming, it was just a matter of when, but as long as their steamers, which they were very proud of by the way, were running well, were maintainable, and were making them money they weren't in any great rush to retire them.  They took a "wait-and-see" attitude toward dieselization and paid close attention to how it was working out for everyone else.  It paid off too, when they bought diesels at last they were good ones, in this case Geeps, even though trains like the "Cavalier" and the "Powhatan Arrrow" looked lousy with a Geep on the head end instead of a Class J.

It was that living embodiment of the "Peter Principle" Stuart Saunders that rushed the process and put the N&W in the red for the first time in its history.  Needless to say the N&W being a coal pipeline and a guaranteed money-maker that "red" period didn't last too long.

It's possible that without Saunders coming along N&W steam might have lasted until 1965, possibly 1970, but certainly the environmental laws that were passed in the 1970's would have put an end to it. That was inevitable. 

PS:  I know about "Steampunk."  I haven't been to one of their festivals yet, but maybe I shoulld go one of these days, it looks like fun!

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 21, 2018 1:17 AM

I'm trying to draw a parallel with the reasons for the end of all steam in all forms, mercilessly, recklessly, without reason, even the most advanced that won the war, with other mass cover ups, whether the truth or not. One was the interests of big business that was anything but railroading, the other was government, not wanting us to know stuff, whatever it be. ( I've seen things in remote exploration camps in isolation that can't be explained )

A functioning system of Interurbans, streetcars, steam roundhouses everywhere, passenger service with dining and sleeping car service to every corner of North America from your own local station. All lost. 

Folks will never give up though. The Steampunk movement is quite a little phenom even if it is just fashion and fantasy at this time. At least people are thinking. Perhaps we wil come to our senses. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:28 PM
Miningman
So are you saying the N&W TE-1 Jawn Henry was an improved version of anything the PRR would have come up with had the V1 been built?
One VP at N&W was impressed enough to push for 19 more TE-1's but got overruled. As you say a likely failed end and the same fate would have occurred to any follow up orders of the proposed V1. 
 
That is an important question I forgot to ask; if TE-1 was a failure why the management of N&W wanted to purchase more of them? I had a rather good impression of N&W’s broad, especially when they made one of the most successful 4-8-4 in the States.
 
 
 
Miningman
How many steam locomotives nationwide were scrapped owing to Diesels, 100,000?  600 Mohawks on the Central alone. Gads Zooks! Steam survived 2 decades more all over the world, even in England, Western Europe and Australia. 3 and 4 decades elsewhere. Not a total expensive out dated flop after all. 
 
Steam locomotive in developing countries like China and India survived even longer. I heard in some remote areas in Mainland China, there were steam locomotives hauling light load freight trains for “private company” just a few years ago. I believe Peter knows much better than me. Some prewar Steam engines imported by different countries in 1930s; before the Civil War of China in late-1940s were used until 1970s to 1980s. Due to China’s special political situation, geographical environments  and enormous population, diesel, electric, steam engine worked together  for almost 4 decades. I am not trying to compare America with China though, its like compare an apple to an orange. 
 
 
First 2-10-2 built by PRC in early-1950s
 
Miningman
We all suffered the same massive hallucination. Bring in an 'ex-spurt' and call it swamp gas. Of course, its swamp gas. Steam is no good. Diesels much better. We have not been visited by extraterrestrials, no such thing.  
 
For the last point, I highly recommend our reader study Linda Moulton Howe’s stories (Free on YouTube) and what she said about this topic. If only 20% of what she told the public was real, it is still a very big deal for everyone who wants to know the truth.
 
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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 20, 2018 10:09 PM

So are you saying the N&W TE-1 Jawn Henry was an improved version of anything the PRR would have come up with had the V1 been built?

One VP at N&W was impressed enough to push for 19 more TE-1's but got overruled. As you say a likely failed end and the same fate would have occurred to any follow up orders of the proposed V1. 

The verdict is in. This is how it will be. Obviously the concept is flawed, best to buy Diesels. Buy now, pay later. Credit available because you blew all your wartime profits on reequipped passenger trains and steam of the future. Too bad. That's our territory now. Big oil, Big rubber, Big auto. 

Quite genius I would say. 

How many steam locomotives nationwide were scrapped owing to Diesels, 100,000?  600 Mohawks on the Central alone. Gads Zooks! 

Steam survived 2 decades more all over the world, even in England, Western Europe and Australia. 3 and 4 decades elsewhere. Not a total expensive out dated flop after all. 

We all suffered the same massive hallucination. Bring in an 'ex-spurt' and call it swamp gas. Of course, its swamp gas. Steam is no good. Diesels much better. We have not been visited by extraterrestrials, no such thing.  

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 20, 2018 9:35 PM
Overmod
Ayaaaah, no!...It would have been completely practical to build it and it would likely have been interestingly improved in the ensuing years...
 
Was it really called “the weed electric railroad” since I searched it for hours but what I could find was some pics and videos of weed control trains, a lot of plants which makes people chill and for some creepy reasons, it leaded me to the page of “the lost colony of Roanoke”. Please help me mentor Overmod!Blindfold
 
Overmod
Not quite sure how you have a love scene on a Weed train, but you'd have much more time to build up to it.
 
Sometimes life is too predictable and repetitive, our world needs more love even on a Weed train.Thumbs Up
 
 
 
Overmod
Top speed of the equipment was estimated as around 150mph, but of course the train wouldn't run 'straight through' most of the time, and the times I recall seeing were in the 9-to-10-hour range.  That of course is enough for 'business overnight with morning delivery' most places in the financial East even net of switching or network-routing considerations.
 
That would be “only” 4 to 5 hours faster than EMC’s proposal for PRR. But since the frequency was so high, it would have dramatically changed the visitor’s flowrate between two cities; if people in 1890 was “open-minded” enough to travel at 150mph. If the travel time from NY to Chi-town shorten to 9-10 hours, coach only "consist" would be good enough for daytime service. I want to see how the carriage of the Weed electric railroad looked like before I continue fantasy stuffs as well as changing the plots and theme of my movie script.
 
 
Overmod
The problem you face there is there's really only room for one at most in a given cross-section of those cramped little cars ... no room for most kinds of romantic action even if you had a pair of claustrophiles in the mood. 
 
No worries, Overmod. A 3ft X 5ft car would be enough. The idea of the Weed train saved a lot of money for my limited budget.    
 
Overmod
On the other hand, it should have been possible for the Weed cars to run directly into an augmented version of the Chicago freight-tunnel system on arrival, giving some interesting plot possibilities... Wink 
 
Your name should be in the film credits to be honest, so please! please allow me to add your name on it. Smile, Wink & Grin
 
Overmod
Meanwhile, the Q1 never made sense except as a passenger or dual-service M&E locomotive, which made its nominal design as 'follow-on improvement to M1 capability' more telling.  It's important to note how very different the detail design of the Q2 (which was expressly designed as a high-capacity wartime freight locomotive) was, and not just in dealing with the discovered issues with the Q1 configuration.  One example: the rigid wheelbase, even before accounting for lateral-motion accommodation, is shorter for the Q2 than for any of the production ATSF 2-10-4s.
 
I would probably never know why PRR followed the tracks of an overthrown chariot of B&O. Even B&O never made their N-1, it wasn’t really that hard to foresee the problem of the Q1’s rear cylinders; it wasn’t a cheap engine, compared to T1’s construction cost. But I found some ideas which PRR wanted to apply on Q1 was quite interesting; like they considered to allow only the front cylinders to move the train which means both cylinders could have operated separately for fuel and cost saving. Q2 is considered the most successful Duplex by PRR, but they were too heavy for part of the Penny’s system. Anyway, a single unit could generate 7800hp was really something. If only there were some ways to lower their operating cost, and weight.
 
Overmod
There are reports as late as the early '50s ('51 for sure, perhaps '52) that show detail work on this version of the turbine-electric, which I believe was even at this point being optimized for the Babcock & Wilcox chain-grate high-pressure watertube boiler……Note that derating the locomotive even from its original 8000 nominal hp (let alone the fantasy 9000+ that PRR started touting, probably to justify the reduction in train length that the huge water rate of that power would imply) to a measly 4500hp, with all that complexity, makes little more operating sense than the Heilmann locomotive did in context.…Still, I'd have liked to see them try.
 
Yes, at least they tried. It showed how devoted N&W was, they kept trying to make this concept works until 1952; on the other hand,  how lucky Pennsy was off the hooks from this extreme expensive experiment. I wonder if any RR ever considered to build a steam turbine electric base on the design of S2, no reverse boiler was needed, but a longer front end to place the 6900hp turbine and the power plant.  
 
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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:49 AM

Jones1945
18 minutes from NY to Chi-town is very impressive, but it won’t fit the tone and plot of my forthcoming sci-fi movie!

Ayaaaah, no!  The 'eighteen-minute headway' was the time between trains on the proposed 'super-interurban' between New York and Philadelphia ... one of the specific points of the service being that you wouldn't have to wait long for the next train, vs. an hour for a 'Clocker'.  You should research this as an extensive amount of the engineering work, including much of the requirements for the grading, was published as proof-of-concept, iirc around 1897, and is available (some in color!) on the Web.  It would have been completely practical to build it and it would likely have been interestingly improved in the ensuing years...

Not quite sure how you have a love scene on a Weed train, but you'd have much more time to build up to it.  Top speed of the equipment was estimated as around 150mph, but of course the train wouldn't run 'straight through' most of the time, and the times I recall seeing were in the 9-to-10-hour range.  That of course is enough for 'business overnight with morning delivery' most places in the financial East even net of switching or network-routing considerations.

The problem you face there is there's really only room for one at most in a given cross-section of those cramped little cars ... no room for most kinds of romantic action even if you had a pair of claustrophiles in the mood.  I also suspect that the ride would be less than comfortable, as would the 'space conditioning' provided (although I'd expect controlled-atmosphere and -temperature shipments to be recognized early on as an advantage, the ducts required for them would even further cut into the usable part of the loading gage).

On the other hand, it should have been possible for the Weed cars to run directly into an augmented version of the Chicago freight-tunnel system on arrival, giving some interesting plot possibilities... Wink

 

Meanwhile, the Q1 never made sense except as a passenger or dual-service M&E locomotive, which made its nominal design as 'follow-on improvement to M1 capability' more telling.  It's important to note how very different the detail design of the Q2 (which was expressly designed as a high-capacity wartime freight locomotive) was, and not just in dealing with the discovered issues with the Q1 configuration.  One example: the rigid wheelbase, even before accounting for lateral-motion accommodation, is shorter for the Q2 than for any of the production ATSF 2-10-4s.

The TE-1 comes directly out of the V1 project, but it's instructive to piece together what happened to the V1 after 1944 to understand why.  In this connection it helps to have read the somewhat one-sided correspondence that survives at the Hagley involving first the contretemps over the Loewy 'triplex' and the secret Baldwin project to get around the Steins patent (the 'take' at PRR was that Baldwin did hurry-up engineering to be the 'first' with a steam turbine-electric and the results sure showed, but the presence of the drawing you posted from Yank clearly shows the Baldwin, not the Steins/PRR configuration)

There is clear indication that N&W took up the idea of the V1 after PRR abandoned it (again, nominally for pure considerations of water rate) -- there is at least one cut of a 4-8-0+4-8-0 in a contemporary trade press article that can be nothing but a V1 adaptation.  However, by 1950, the reports of steam-turbine development at N&W had firmly switched to the siren call of electric traction (among other reasons to motor the axles of the engine trucks; you'd think the PRR experiment with the P5b would have been a cautionary tale to them, but it wasn't.  There are reports as late as the early '50s ('51 for sure, perhaps '52) that show detail work on this version of the turbine-electric, which I believe was even at this point being optimized for the Babcock & Wilcox chain-grate high-pressure watertube boiler. 

The change to bogie trucks mirrors developments in electric and diesel design both at BLH and elsewhere in world practice, promising 100% adhesion, true bidirectional operation, and supposedly better riding and guiding than the V1 chassis design would provide, with cheaper construction and promised compatibility with production diesel-electrics to sweeten the pot.  That in turn changed some of the carbody requirements but not the overall length, which was acceptable competitively for 1954 but not into the second-generation era which effectively started only a couple of years later.  Note that derating the locomotive even from its original 8000 nominal hp (let alone the fantasy 9000+ that PRR started touting, probably to justify the reduction in train length that the huge water rate of that power would imply) to a measly 4500hp, with all that complexity, makes little more operating sense than the Heilmann locomotive did in context.  (And remember that people I trust looked into the idea of expanding the B&W boiler detail design to serve 6000hp and concluded it wouldn't work...)

You may have concluded by now, as I did, that the subsequent Krauss-Maffei Amerika-Lok experiments (and then Alco's DH-643 etc.) established that mechanical Cardan-shaft drive to multiple bogie trucks was fraught with both engineering and economic issues, so even if the original V1 had been modified to that kind of undercarriage it would have been at most a highly conditional 'success'.  One that shared many of the characteristics that turned out to doom conventional steam, such as even the revised issues about steam-boiler maintenance that direct-steam plants, good water treatment regimens, welded shell construction, and coherent servicing plans couldn't fully address.

Still, I'd have liked to see them try.

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