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

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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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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:04 AM

Miningman

It kind of reminds me of UFO stuff in the late 40's 50's, where the government convinced all that we were all just sharing an illusion and those that got too close to the truth somehow suffered a fatal accident. 

Sorry can't get deeper tonight, been a tough 2 weeks, unable, Will pick up the challenge tomorrow.

 
Fatal accident or get assassinated in broad daylight Zip it! Thank you for joining our discussion, Miningman. More different angles and ideas = more fun. DrinksSmile, Wink & Grin 
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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 20, 2018 10:49 AM
Overmod
…Note specifically that much of the UP work did not necessarily involve the very light-weight rods and expensive roller bearings as used on the T1s; in particular the application of floating bronze liners over the main pins as designed for the FEFs would give a good, positive 'tandem' solution. 
 
You are right, Overmod. I just note that UP FEF-3 of 1944 had no roller rods but it didn’t have prominent negative impact for being a reliable and fast engine. The using of roller bearings and its benefits is another topic I am going to study in-depth; I guess the investment of lightweight reciprocating parts and roller bearings worth the money if RRs was going to use the engine equipped such thing for let say 20 – 30 years. Form NYC J3a, Niagaras; C&O L-1 streamlined Hudson to the whole fleet of my dear PRR T1s were equipped roller bearings, I think RR thought they worth it, though many engines built in late 1940s were sent to the torch with these expensive components.
 
 
Overmod
The immediate effect of the rebalance would be the practical achievement of the speed range for which the 77" drivers of the posited M1-replacement Q1 were intended, while specifically retaining the acceleration advantage of 72" drivers.  (And all the paid-in capital relating to the dual-service M1 fleet...)
 
I agree with your analytics. IIRC PRR M1’s top speed in passenger service was around 75mph and people seldom saw them hauling passenger stock since Pennsy was flooded with K4s. I believe Q1(because I can’t find any operation or testing data of her) could reach the same speed range with her beautiful 77” drivers. There are not many author called it out that Q1 was supposed to be a dual-service locomotive like M1. Q1 was like the Pennsy version of  Grand Trunk Western's U-4-b. Q1 had a better FA than PRR M1b and 33.5% higher TE, the design reduced dynamic augment aka hammer blow by 60% compared to PRR Class J1 at 70mph, but Pennsy had a 50mph freight train speed limit.
My guess is PRR was sold on of the duplex concept base on the mixed performance of S1, thus they decided to keep on going the development of duplexes and designed their own Q1 of 1942 to compare with Baldwin’s T1 (a non-Pennsy design), therefore Q1 was heavily streamlined (low-key by Loewy). If turned out Q1 was performed well enough as a dual-service locomotive, T1 wouldn’t be the only choice for Pennsy’s new passenger locomotive. Q1’s design flaws and wartime traffic made Pennsy no choice but purchased 125 J1s and later, 26 powerful Q2 for freight service only. My assumption can be wrong, but I am glad that I have the chance to discuss rare engines like Q1 with mentor Overmod.    Geeked
 
 
 
Overmod
Would you settle for the 1870s?  (Well in advance of the Chicago and New York Air Line, or the very well-developed plan for 18-minute-headway high-speed service between New York and Philadelphia from the late 1890s.)
That was the Weed electric railroad, which is notable in more than a few respects as an interesting idea.  It starts with the idea that real high-speed service was necessary for packages and mail, not people ...
 
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! Stick out tongue C’mon 18 mins was such a short time that my main characters won’t have time to finish the “love scene”. Anyway, such idea reminds me of the Hyperloop of Elon Musk. 
 
Overmod
…I certainly expect to find out much of the objective data as the T1 Trust project proceeds…
 
Agree. I know there are many different opinions on the 5550 projects. As a railfan, I am happy to see more steam locomotives from different countries and different era coming back to life!  Let alone T1s was one of my favorites steam locomotives.
 
 
 
Overmod
…I suspect you will then agree with me that this would have been one of the great disasters of the contemporary railroad world, far outstripping the T1 in ghastliness, after no more than a few years in "service"…Then we can get into the fly-ash and ash dump concern, the excessive working length and visibility problems, the lies about realizable top speed with a train, damping and lateral control of the trucks, and a host of other little gotchas, which were likely waiting in the wings but never got the chance, a bit like why cancer incidence was low in the 1300s because so few people lived to the age past the Hayflick limit where cancers become more prevalent...)
 
I thought C&O’s M-1 was devastating enough (for a RR), sounds like N&W TE-1 was something even worse! you've triggered my curiosity! TE-1 reminds me of some drawings of Pennsy’s conceptual steam turbine electric engine, one of them had a GG1 style body, with a water tender oddly attached behind it.
 
 
    
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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 20, 2018 5:20 AM

The reason I say N&W was its own little world is that they artificially sustained steam 'for its own sake' (or rather, coal burning power) long past the era it became de facto impossible for lesser roads to maintain all the little proprietary devices that were no longer manufactured -- the arch brick, the feedwater-heater parts, the mechanically-governed steam turbines, etc.  You watch these firms dropping off, self-destructing, 'retasking' themselves in the pages of the trade press, even as you read about the soaring cost of all the labor as the consumer economy got ramped up in the late '40s.  SOME of the roundhouse people had their craft honed to a science; the problem is that for each skilled person there are a plurality of scut positions, with advance being very slow, and a growing range of careers (not just job positions) available to people with even slightly more than a detectible pulse.  We think big steam is noble and nostalgic ... ask the guy in the aluminized Nomex suit crawling backward into his nth hot firebox of the night whether he thinks the same.  Even on railroads that tried their hardest (Nickel Plate being a dramatic example) there came a time that steam no longer worked even where it was best suited.  And, significantly to me, that time was far shorter than most hard-headed industry people thought would be possible at the end of WWII.

As with the discussion of Kiefer's report we had earlier, the correct benchmark for dieselization wasn't the rush to try squirrelly first-generation power; it was the systematic implementation of second-generation horsepower and associated control systems that led all the remaining railroads with any credit (and some decidedly without, like NYO&W) to pick reasonable diesels and then standardize on what they could afford.  Note how fast the door slams between 1956 and 1960, and how no one ever goes back with any scale as soon as they dieselize.  Yes, that's empirical, and yes, I don't have full access to the reasons why each particular road did things the way it did.  But none of the late innovations in modern steam survived more than about a decade, and I think that someone with the time and patience to investigate the actual data behind the actual trend toward dieselization would not find anything surprisingly different from the 'common sense' understanding of the factors that can be understood from essays and pieces in the trade press.  There are some minor aspects of conspiracy (e.g. in saying EMDs required less care and maintenance tinkering than was the actual case in the early years) but there doesn't have to be some NCL-like conspiracy to get rid of steam.  Everyone loves it in their backyard... for the weekend, until the novelty wears off.  Find your 18th load of washing in a row speckled with soot and sporting the occasional scorch or burn mark ... not so much. 

Problem with fat Saunders was that he was a lawyer, and he was expedient.  But the whole management trend at N&W after the years Newton apprenticed was a string of lawyers with bean-counting tendencies.  Who, unfortunately, knew what the beans meant when they counted them.  That fooled PRR/PC into giving the Vandal the keys to a decidedly UNmaintained cluster-in-progress masquerading as a wedding.  But I almost can't imagine PC trying to survive with large amounts of typical steam power, even with large numbers of Mohawks refusing to abdicate and all that.  Would have been grand as long as it ran ... but it wouldn't be long, sooner or later, before it didn't.  And diesels tend to fail less catastrophically, spectacularly, and finally than large steam driven economically close to its working capacity...

It gets worse.  Look at power-by-the-hour plans and other guarantees associated with Welch's dash-9s and the power that came after them.  Can you imagine approximating that level of routine performance with steam locomotives built to a price?

 

 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, October 19, 2018 9:45 PM

 Sayeth Overmod, ....

"T1 is all the indication you need to understand that fixing the valves and steam distribution wasn't the fundamental economic issue facing the T1, or most other large Eastern steam outside of the artificial world of the N&W.  I firmly believe it was not the 'slipperiness' or the differential maintenance cost of four cylinders over two that led to failure; it was the overall economics-falling-in-a-hole of the high-maintenance provision of big steam that did."

Respectfully disagree. First off N&W was far from an "artificial world",  in fact the opposite. They lead the way, especially in maintenance with their lubritoriums, design, applications and construction methods of steam. If they were the only ones flipping the bird to Diesel well good for them and others should have put their egos aside, taken serious notice, and joined in. I would say they were the only ones not chasing their tail and tripping over themselves backwards and dreaming of huge profits from 'them thar cost savin Diesels'. Group think. Sanctioned too. They had to send the Vandel himself and his addle brained crookiness steeped in lawyer juice to murder the N&W steam. Atta boy, good job, wanna tear down Pennsylvania Station as a reward? Big money for you and your buddies. We can call you Vandel. 

Secondly, the statement  " overall economics -falling-in-a-hole of the high maintenance provision of big steam". The roundhouse crews and craftsman had their craft honed to a science, those guys just came through the war and they knew very well what they were doing, efficiently and skillfully. You going to deny the mega-fold-more cost of all those garbage Diesels, breakdowns, lost time and an enourmous capital expense down the drain that makes the T1's cost a blip. How long did all the PA's. PB's, FM anything, Baldwin Sharks and Centipedes, 244 anything Alco , Baby Faces and so on last on the Pennsy, Central and others. How much down time? Throw in lost good will, degradation of service and morale? Big bucks. Huge. Come on, it's a joke, you think this is better? 

Also your closing statement is very thin.. sort of like 'because, that's why'. 

It kind of reminds me of UFO stuff in the late 40's 50's, where the government convinced all that we were all just sharing an illusion and those that got too close to the truth somehow suffered a fatal accident. 

Sorry can't get deeper tonight, been a tough 2 weeks, unable, Will pick up the challenge tomorrow.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 19, 2018 1:55 PM

Jones1945
This was why PRR paid so much concern on the makeup time ability of N&W Class J.

The real 'missing link' was PRR applying high-speed balancing and running gear to an M1 or M1a in the mid-Thirties, with the evocatively numbered UP 7002 together with 2906, and some of the C&NW work done for the 400 power, as all the technological proof-of-concept and technology necessary.  Note specifically that much of the UP work did not necessarily involve the very light-weight rods and expensive roller bearings as used on the T1s; in particular the application of floating bronze liners over the main pins as designed for the FEFs would give a good, positive 'tandem' solution.  The immediate effect of the rebalance would be the practical achievement of the speed range for which the 77" drivers of the posited M1-replacement Q1 were intended, while specifically retaining the acceleration advantage of 72" drivers.  (And all the paid-in capital relating to the dual-service M1 fleet...)

If there were a firm body of research showing just how much actual PRR passenger requirement was served by this kind of improvement (vs. 80" or 84"-drivered fantasy power) the revelation of what was possible with Glaze balancing principles would likely have resulted very quickly in application of the methodology to M1s.  This together with front-end and firebox improvements might have resulted in a locomotive able to handle many upsized PRR consists as well as a brace of K4s without going to a nominally larger and heavier (with circulators and whatnot) rear boiler construction necessitating a two-axle truck.  And capable of 100mph dash with the lower machinery speed of the M1 wheel...

I always mention about my fantasy HSR route in 1940s between Chicago and New York, offering 10 hours schedule for travelers, leaving both ends in the morning and arrive in the evening, or leaving at night and arrive in early morning, it probably only could happen in a sci-fi novel… or maybe a movie?

Would you settle for the 1870s?  (Well in advance of the Chicago and New York Air Line, or the very well-developed plan for 18-minute-headway high-speed service between New York and Philadelphia from the late 1890s.)

That was the Weed electric railroad, which is notable in more than a few respects as an interesting idea.  It starts with the idea that real high-speed service was necessary for packages and mail, not people ... and that streamlining a vehicle with small cross-section was far easier, and power and stability requirements far easier, than building de luxe express trains to run at high speed (even less cost-effective than either of those by itself!)

So, similar to a telpher or pneumatic-tube container, the Weed proposal involved small 'containers', here running unattended on narrow-gauge track.  This reduced all the land-acquisition, grading, construction, and tax consequences to an extreme minimum, while preserving all the likelihood that "100%" of the lucrative business-paper market between various Eastern and Midwestern points" would go by the fastest means.  The chief issue I always saw with this was security, but I think there were expedient ways (in the 19th Century, at least) to provide reasonable assurance against the usual kinds of damage or theft.

There is at least one picture 'out there' of field testing of one of the example cars, showing the general scale of the installation.

As an amusing aside, I thought when I first heard of the actual Weed proposal that it would be nifty to have the high-speed lines converge on a few central points, where the M&E would be resorted for maximum speed or minimum dwell in going to what would presumably be an REA-scale number of destinations in minimum end-to-end time.  This would not be too different from what subsequently came to be the Federal Express model, but with 'mail-stop' aircraft rather than separate flights from all the originating points...

What I feel regret was that when the production T1s were put into service, they weren’t going as smooth as other steam engines like N&W Class J or NYC’s Niagaras; due to its innovative design and carelessness of Pennsy, quite a lot of rebuilt, modification and fine tune was needed ... at least one T1 [was] equipped with Franklin Type B poppet valve after rebuilt, if Pennsy thought it was as economic as diesel electric, they wouldn’t switch to diesel in 1948.
Keep in mind that there were problems with other classes, too -- one very notable one being the fiasco with nickel boiler steels that led to a great many full reboilerings on short notice, and a few replacement boilers that were never even installed.  The fate of the RC-equipped T1 is all the indication you need to understand that fixing the valves and steam distribution wasn't the fundamental economic issue facing the T1, or most other large Eastern steam outside of the artificial world of the N&W.  I firmly believe it was not the 'slipperiness' or the differential maintenance cost of four cylinders over two that led to failure; it was the overall economics-falling-in-a-hole of the high-maintenance provision of big steam that did.  I certainly expect to find out much of the objective data as the T1 Trust project proceeds.
Speaking of N&W TE-1, I remember N&W wanted to order 19 more of this class, but the price of the engine was raised thus N&W given up…
If you have not read Newton's Rails Remembered 4: Tale of a Turbine ... go out and read it, very carefully.  Take notes.  I suspect you will then agree with me that this would have been one of the great disasters of the contemporary railroad world, far outstripping the T1 in ghastliness, after no more than a few years in "service".It's difficult to account for how many of the (many!) issues with the TE-1 in operation were results of dropping the main generator, just as it's hard to discriminate the early operating issues of Bulleid's Leader resulting from design misconception or expediencies in construction vs. sabotage or perhaps-intentional damage when testing the running gear.  But one thing is certain: by the end of the testing, a large number of the Westinghouse hexapole motors were damaged beyond economical repair.  And anything that can burn out a Hexapole while not doing the work of a reciprocating locomotive a quarter its cost is ... not something I can support with full enthusiasm.  (Then we can get into the fly-ash and ash dump concern, the excessive working length and visibility problems, the lies about realizable top speed with a train, damping and lateral control of the trucks, and a host of other little gotchas, which were likely waiting in the wings but never got the chance, a bit like why cancer incidence was low in the 1300s because so few people lived to the age past the Hayflick limit where cancers become more prevalent...)

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 10:13 PM
(Continue of my #411 post) 
 
Overmod
…So that "71mph" is a VERY different thing in practice from a train that spends much of its time running around 70mph.  (Meanwhile, conventional recip steam efficiency drops off remarkably fast above around 85-90mph, slightly above effective diameter speed, so it makes little sense to run much above that unless you have ways to monetize the actual speed or its associated time savings or can create the perception that you can (as with the Hiawathas).
Yes, I understand how the average speed was calculated. There were many track sections on a route with much lower speed limit like before entering tunnels, bridges, local stations, sharp curves, steeper gradings, switches etc. This was why PRR paid so much concern on the makeup time ability of N&W Class J. 

 
Overmod
 I would not-so-humbly submit that the lion's share of the time reductions on the Century culminating in the low 15-hour range are attributable to operating improvements made possible by diesel-electric power.  (And not just the sort of improvement that, say, a C1a with 64T tender would produce!)
 
Me neither. I heard EMD’s sales strategy was very aggressive. But just as we discussed before that the level of comfort of any all-Pullman trains would have offset by a shortened schedule or faster speed at night in 1940s. HSR sleeper train is not a common thing even in nowadays. I always mention about my fantasy HSR route in 1940s between Chicago and New York, offering 10 hours schedule for travelers, leaving both ends in the morning and arrive in the evening, or leaving at night and arrive in early morning, it probably only could happen in a sci-fi novel… or maybe a movie? Cool  
 

Overmod
 
 As early as the 1880s (remember the context of the famous W.H. Vanderbilt quote?) railroads understood that competitive high speed was a waste of money and a source of pointless danger and damage.  Technological changes coupled with the cutthroat economics in the Depression led to streamliner competition; see how fast most of that speed went away as soon as it couldn't be made to pay a premium.  As with most else about a railroad, it's about the money.  (And arguably should be.)  
 
 I agree what W.H Vanderbilt said. Cut-throat competition leads all parties to nowhere but losing the game. Pullman played a role to prevent such situation happened between different RRs Pullman trains, but shorter distance route like Milwaukee to Twin Cities and others all-coaches routes in the mid-west was what Pullman couldn’t control. They were a lot of resource overlapping which only Wartime traffic could support such competition and survival of different RRs. Once the war is over; and the airlines started attracting passenger to try the feeling of “travel on the sky”, we knew what happened to these RRs. Economic freedom allowed such competition though.
 

 
Overmod
  In all fairness, the situation is completely different.  5550 is explicitly an excursion locomotive, and won't be subjected to lowest-dollar operation by indifferent people in cheapest-cost service, with road damage left unattended unless and until critical.  A production locomotive in the '40s needed substantial construction 'up front' and couldn't involve anything that might crack or break and let stuff fall off or, worse, get under the lead truck or the leading driver flanges.  
 
 I agree with you that the purpose of building the 5550 is completely different to T1s in the 1940s. I heard Amtrak won’t encourage excursion in their system anymore, so 5550 would stay Idle most of the time. I admit that I forgot this point. But If it won’t involve a lot of money investment or expenses, any measure to make the maintenance easier wouldn’t be a bad thing as long as it won’t affect the appearance of 5550’s front end.  
 

 
Overmod
  But in the half-decade from 1945 to 1950 not just the T1, but ANY high-speed coal-burning steam locomotive became at best obsolescent, with any reciprocating power at all, including Roosen motor locomotives, becoming a dead letter.   (It might have remained to be seen if the TE-1 could be evolved into a meaningful 'diesel alternative', but as it was built and operated it most certainly was not.) ……I would also note that in all the intervening years ... and not for want of brilliant design work, or trying ... heavy reciprocating power has never made a comeback on American railroads.  "Plandampf" is cute, but most of it has to be 'rightsized' to work, and the least little complicating factor usually throws a wrench in the economics.
 
I totally agree with you. There is an article in the issue of Classis Trains “Steam Glory 3” sharing similar views with yours and I 100% agree with the author. What I feel regret was that when the production T1s were put into service, they weren’t going as smooth as other steam engines like N&W Class J or NYC’s Niagaras; due to its innovative design and carelessness of Pennsy, quite a lot of rebuilt, modification and fine tune was needed. The production T1 gave the general public a not so positive impression which required a lot of authors to clarify for them.
 
 
It is a sad thing to see there were so many people tried to save or prolong the life of reciprocating or stream power, but none of them made it. Even though engines like T1s, Class J, Niagaras made it to 1960s, what could be next? The demise of reciprocating stream power was only about time and inevitable……By the way, I almost forget that there was at least one T1 equipped with Franklin Type B poppet valve after rebuilt, if Pennsy thought it was as economic as diesel electric, they wouldn’t switch to diesel in 1948. 
 
Speaking of N&W TE-1, I remember N&W wanted to order 19 more of this class, but the price of the engine was raised thus N&W given up…  
 
C&O 's turbine and generator, Railway Age Magazine 
 
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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 7:31 PM

M636C

At this time, the Japanese were building locomotives that looked just like this for the standard gauge in Korea: PS5 Pacific and MT1 Mountain...

Peter

That's very interesting, Peter. I can't find a pic of them until I use the google translator to seaching in Korean, they really looked like PRR K4s #5038 of 1942!

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:27 PM

 

 

At this time, the Japanese were building locomotives that looked just like this for the standard gauge in Korea: PS5 Pacific and MT1 Mountain...

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 8:28 AM

 

 
 
 
Overmod
The issue was not the electrification; it was the railroad itself.  Not for nothing was the 1928-on improvement plan contingent on substantial straightening and line relocations, and even then I have strong doubts that sustained fast running between slow points would have been practical for many years, far longer in the event than PRR would have had even had the Depression (and the political priority of the Washington electrification) not intervened.
 
No disagreement here. I admit that when I am sharing my views about the electrification of PRR, too much imagination was involved. What happened has already become history, we can’t change that with our subjective wishes. If the original electrification plan of PRR didn’t or never planned to support HSR or quasi-High Speed services, I think it was a waste of opportunity. I understand that different countries have different pace of living. But the reason behind the change of schedule like the 20th Century and the Broadway Limited, from 20 hours in 1920s to 16 hours in 1940s was an objective reality. There were needs to shorten the travel time especially when Airline, buses and high way traffic joined the competition. PRR had superior electric engine like GG1, it was such a waste if after 1940s, PRR didn’t adjust their whole electrification plan to due with new challenges.
 

 
 
Overmod
That was a squirrelly time for industrial electronics, let alone complicated control systems for complicated trains (developed in complicated Government programs).  It also pays to remember how many times the Northeast Corridor had to be 'rebuilt' before it would actually support very-high-speed operation without an exordinate amount of shock and vibration to the equipment...
 
I still need more time to study this topic in-depth. The story of the Metroliner gave me an impression that this project didn’t received enough support by the Government. America was a developed country long before the WWII but when speaking of development of HSR, it wasn’t going as smooth as other countries; like Japan in 1960s; a conquered nation of WWII. Maybe it was a result of US’s transportation policy. Who would take the plane anymore if there was an HSR service available which could have been more comfortable, higher frequency, connecting the heart of the cities? Both UAC TurboTrain and The Metroliner were loved by the patrons, but had a rather short life in the States. Viva GG1!

 
 
Overmod
  I call your attention to the fact that none of the fancy tin applied to this locomotive worked out in practice, except circumstantially in that cinders didn't preferentially accumulate under the front of the boiler where the angled plate was installed.
 
Not quite understand this part to be honest. Stick out tongue But I agree your analysis. Beside economical consideration, I believe there was aesthetical consideration as well; note how they equipped S2 #6200 with a smaller, curved smoke deflector for one year before the elephant-ear-style one was installed.  PRR tested different smoke deflectors on K4s #5038, this version was the largest one, at least one source said it actually worked. The large smoke deflector did give her a streamlined looks, I think it was probably the cheapest way to streamlining a K4s. I don’t know the details of why RRs like NYC, UP and SP thought that smoke deflector worked on their engines but PRR thought it didn’t worth the investment. Some pics of K4s #5038 from Hagley:
 
 
  
Mar 1940
  
Mar 1940
 
Nov 1940
 
Nov 1942 

 
Overmod
 Note that I suspect the F7 could, and did, regularly reach speeds the E-4 couldn't, but these are in the very low 100s, about the same as the valve-limited ATSF 3460 class.  My personal and somewhat uncharitable belief is that neither one would get much above 105mph on level track, with maybe 110 as an extreme top speed.  (And an ATSF 3765 or better would probably go faster than that!)
 
I believe It was the case. When some books mentioned about MILW F7s, I noted the author usually using the 100mph figure. I actually like the appearance of the F7s, even though I think they were a little bit under powered for their duty. It was like pushing the limit of a heavy Pacific with a booster engine and max out the power of them on a daily basic. No wonder this kind of accident happened: 
On July 27, 1950, F7 #102 was on a run between Chicago and Milwaukee on the "North Woods Hiawatha." 73 miles from Milwaukee, the right main crosshead overheated, broke, and dropped from the guide while the train was traveling at an estimated speed of over 100 mph. The engine was severely damaged, broken drive gear tore up ties and roadbed, two railroad employees were injured, and debris (including the main rod) was found as far as 1400 feet west of Edgebrook Station. The train itself continued to over 10,560 feet from the station until coming to a complete stop.” (From Wiki)
 
 

 
 
Overmod
 Suspect this was conservative, as you'd be likely talking about the 'improved' J3s with roller rods and (various) disc centers.  I don't particularly trust Haas (of 142+-mph-with-the-Trail-Blazer fame) when he says that both Hudsons and Niagaras regularly ran at 120mph, but I do think they would easily run well faster than 100mph when let out.  
 
Yes, I was talking about the “Super Hudson” NYC J3a. I don’t trust Haas stories neither, even they did reach 120mph with lighter passenger stock behind them, it wouldn’t be a regularly thing; the technical specification of different Hudsons of different RRs were never a secret; there were a lots of reference data to estimate how powerful they were, how fast they could go, ...... What Haas did was like someone telling people that The RMS Lusitania and Mauretania could "actually" reach 30 knots regularly. 
 
The roller rods probably helped these engines to reach much higher speed. I wonder how PRR #5399 would have performed with rods equipped with roller bearings......also on my dear S1 #6100.    
 
 (to be continue, since I am not felling quite well; but I am ok. Bow)

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:01 AM

Jones1945
Yes, he probably couldn't. But once the electrification was done, the facilities won't disappear after Clement left the office. How to max out the potential of the electrification was depending on PRR’s wisdom.

The issue was not the electrification; it was the railroad itself.  Not for nothing was the 1928-on improvement plan contingent on substantial straightening and line relocations, and even then I have strong doubts that sustained fast running between slow points would have been practical for many years, far longer in the event than PRR would have had even had the Depression (and the political priority of the Washington electrification) not intervened.

I don't know if it is possible to extrapolate the rather cryptic data on the 1943 electrification to high speed.  My impression of the plan was that it would reduce time by 'snapping' trains that would otherwise be horsepower-limited on grades, and reducing absolute grades (e.g. via the tunnel), rather than being the sort of line revision seen between New Brunswick and Trenton around the time of the Civil War (with station facilities that still look modern today... except for the primitive track!) which translate into high default speed potential.  For PRR, that was always more of an electrification priority; examine the actual 'passenger' Main Line west of Philadelphia, and the Atglen and Susquehanna 'low grade' line, and you'll get a sense of what the massive Clement/Rea improvements were often intended to do.

Anyway, what happened in the history told us that Pennsy and Budd can’t even get the Metroliner to work properly, it wasn’t entirely Pennsy’s fault though.

That was a squirrelly time for industrial electronics, let alone complicated control systems for complicated trains (developed in complicated Government programs).  It also pays to remember how many times the Northeast Corridor had to be 'rebuilt' before it would actually support very-high-speed operation without an exordinate amount of shock and vibration to the equipment...

 
Smoke deflector was not something the PRR management wanted to see on their engines, I am still wondering why.
 
I think it was money vs. perceived value.  Remember this is a railroad that from all evidence couldn't be bothered to systematically train its engineers not to horse a modern front-end throttle with servo assistance.  It is also a railroad that early on started development of practical cab signals (which remove any particular need to see continually out of the cab on either side).  I would certainly invest in cab signals (as opposed to just ATS/ATC 'penalty' stop systems) before adding sheet metal and braces with little practical return on investment...
 
  It may be uncharitable to say that the management didn't care how dirty the crews got as long as the coal was cheaper, or that it was the crew's fault if they got dirty by leaving the ventilators open.  But I suspect there was some of that, too.
 
 
  
 
 
I call your attention to the fact that none of the fancy tin applied to this locomotive worked out in practice, except circumstantially in that cinders didn't preferentially accumulate under the front of the boiler where the angled plate was installed.
 
Overmod
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...
 
 
C&NW’s Hudson was almost identical to MILW’s F7, if the former’s engine couldn’t reach or hardly reach 100mph with normal passenger stock behind her, this may explain the short life of MILW’s F7.
 
This is one of the great unmentionable Christian-Scientist-with-appendicitis issues in steam design.  Peter Clark had a memorable post on this a few months ago.  'Common knowledge' has the F7s running as fast, if not faster, than the As (which no less an authority than Alfred Bruce said were easily 128mph engines) and (perhaps of course) Alco did nothing to discourage that assumption.  But the E-4 turned out on actual instrumented test to be soooooooooooo woefully incompetent that ... you have to wonder how its near-sister could have been amazingly better, on coal fuel to boot.
 
Note that I suspect the F7 could, and did, regularly reach speeds the E-4 couldn't, but these are in the very low 100s, about the same as the valve-limited ATSF 3460 class.  My personal and somewhat uncharitable belief is that neither one would get much above 105mph on level track, with maybe 110 as an extreme top speed.  (And an ATSF 3765 or better would probably go faster than that!)
 
NYC’s Hudson could reach 95mph max during a publicity test run in 1938 and they seldom and didn’t need to brag about top speed of their trains.
 
Suspect this was conservative, as you'd be likely talking about the 'improved' J3s with roller rods and (various) disc centers.  I don't particularly trust Haas (of 142+-mph-with-the-Trail-Blazer fame) when he says that both Hudsons and Niagaras regularly ran at 120mph, but I do think they would easily run well faster than 100mph when let out.  We might recall that augment on stiff track was not sufficient to cause driver lift at a rotational speed equivalent to 161mph (in direct testing by 1947) and while, of course, speed with a train is different from what steam and valve gear can spin greased drivers up to, it does argue for high achievable maxima as well as being able to sustain a high running speed.
 
Even in 40s, it wasn’t hard to calculate the average speed of passenger trains, the fastest one was “merely” 71mph.
 
Yes, but this is net of quite a few more stops than you're expecting, together with the deceleration and re-acceleration times associated with these stops. 
 
You'd be surprised to see just how slow the 'cumulative' trip time in an automobile can be (as recorded by the impartial eye of the trip computer) vs. what you KNOW the speedometer was reading, on cruise, for very long spans of time over "most" of the perceived trip.  This likely with far fewer stops and slow orders than a Great Steel Fleet train would encounter.  So that "71mph" is a VERY different thing in practice from a train that spends much of its time running around 70mph.  (Meanwhile, conventional recip steam efficiency drops off remarkably fast above around 85-90mph, slightly above effective diameter speed, so it makes little sense to run much above that unless you have ways to monetize the actual speed or its associated time savings, or can create the perception that you can (as with the Hiawathas).
 
However, of course the only thing about 'speed' that matters to most passengers IS the effective travel time, and there are clear drawbacks (some of which we've discussed) even on NYC's intensively-maintained roadbed to high maxima at night with Pullman trains.  So even when the principal way between New York and Chicago was by train, you'll see lots of talk about higher speed but only incremental increases in practical running time -- I would not-so-humbly submit that the lion's share of the time reductions on the Century culminating in the low 15-hour range are attributable to operating improvements made possible by diesel-electric power.  (And not just the sort of improvement that, say, a C1a with 64T tender would produce!)
 
 
RRs needed their engine capable to maintain tight schedule; they were not looking for locomotive which could run faster than light. Even Pennsy stayed low-key or simply ignored all these speed claims from railfans.
 
As early as the 1880s (remember the context of the famous W.H. Vanderbilt quote?) railroads understood that competitive high speed was a waste of money and a source of pointless danger and damage.  Technological changes coupled with the cutthroat economics in the Depression led to streamliner competition; see how fast most of that speed went away as soon as it couldn't be made to pay a premium.  As with most else about a railroad, it's about the money.  (And arguably should be.)
 
 
If there are components inside the “porthole front end” than there should be some way to access to these components. If the production T1 of 1945 had feature like this (foldable front end), Pennsy didn’t need to waste so much time and man power to modify 52 of them.
 
In all fairness, the situation is completely different.  5550 is explicitly an excursion locomotive, and won't be subjected to lowest-dollar operation by indifferent people in cheapest-cost service, with road damage left unattended unless and until critical.  A production locomotive in the '40s needed substantial construction 'up front' and couldn't involve anything that might crack or break and let stuff fall off or, worse, get under the lead truck or the leading driver flanges. 
 
“Project T1” of 1940s (not 5550) was supposed to be a demonstration of cutting-edge technologies; showing the public the future of coal burning steam locomotive.  But unfortunately, it has become an imperfect full stop of steam locomotive.
 
But put it in context.  Even the production run of T1s was authorized when road diesels were exotic, easily broken, and hellaciously expensive to acquire and maintain.  It is unfortunate that there were flaws in execution of the double-Atlantic duplex, and associated costs out of proportion to the benefits from simpler solutions, that took until 1948 to fully address even in principle.  But in the half-decade from 1945 to 1950 not just the T1, but ANY high-speed coal-burning steam locomotive became at best obsolescent, with any reciprocating power at all, including Roosen motor locomotives, becoming a dead letter.  Remember that the T1s easily outlived the 'comparable' poppet-valve Niagara ... and that the last of the Niagaras only outlived the last of the T1s by two years or so.  The only real enthusiasm for new steam after that point was N&W, and that was effectively saturated for reciprocating power by ... the time the last T1 was cut up.   (It might have remained to be seen if the TE-1 could be evolved into a meaningful 'diesel alternative', but as it was built and operated it most certainly was not.)
 
I would also note that in all the intervening years ... and not for want of brilliant design work, or trying ... heavy reciprocating power has never made a comeback on American railroads.  "Plandampf" is cute, but most of it has to be 'rightsized' to work, and the least little complicating factor usually throws a wrench in the economics.
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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 15, 2018 10:14 PM
Overmod
Only just seeing this by reading on a larger screen.
I don't even think Martin Clement could have arranged HSR to Pittsburgh……(Not that it wouldn't have been fun  to watch them try!)
 
Yes, he probably couldn't. But once the electrification was done, the facilities won't disappear after Clement left the office. How to max out the potential of the electrification was depending on PRR’s wisdom. Anyway, what happened in the history told us that Pennsy and Budd can’t even get the Metroliner work properly, it wasn’t entirely Pennsy’s fault though.
 
 
Overmod
The only conclusion I was ever able to reach about the T1 smoke was that when the locomotives were designed and tested, the assumption was that they would always be using good PRR passenger 'gas coal'…… We do know that PRR played with smoke deflectors (I remember them on K4s and of course the 6200) but I have no idea if their versions worked, and I'd surmise not well enough since they were not applied in the widespread fashion they were on, say, NYC.
 
Smoke deflector was not something the PRR management wanted to see on their engines, I am still wondering why. IIRC only a few K4s were equipped smoke deflector with different styles; they all got removed before 1950s. There was a compelling reason of using smoke deflectors on PRR S2; she had another nickname “the Volcano”. The design of the first pair of smoke deflector for S2 was unique and was made as small as possible; but at last, S2 needed a smoke deflector as large as those used on NYC 4-8-4s, 4-8-2s. If using of gas coal could have avoided the problem, there was no need to equip T1 with smoke deflector, but as you stated in pervious post, Pennsy did nothing to deal with this problem.
 
  
 
Overmod
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...)
 
C&NW’s Hudson was almost identical to MILW’s F7, if the former’s engine couldn’t reach or hardly reach 100mph with normal passenger stock behind her, this may explain the short life of MILW’s F7. NYC’s Hudson could reach 95mph max during a publicity test run in 1938 and they seldom and didn’t need to brag about top speed of their trains. Even in 40s, it wasn’t hard to calculate the average speed of passenger trains, the fastest one was “merely” 71mph. RRs needed their engine capable to maintain tight schedule; they were not looking for locomotive which could run faster than light. Even Pennsy stayed low-key or simply ignored all these speed claims from railfans.
 
 
 
 
Overmod
I might mention, in passing, that studies were done to examine whether the nose of the Trust's 5550 could be built, like the nose of the Chezoom, as one piece of composite that would fold up on hinges to allow access to the components (including, if used, a more standard type of feedwater heater) on the pilot beam.
 
If there are components inside the “porthole front end” than there should be some way to access to these components. If the production T1 of 1945 had feature like this (foldable front end), Pennsy didn’t need to waste so much time and man power to modify 52 of them. “Project T1” of 1940s (not 5550) was supposed to be a demonstration of cutting-edge technologies; showing the public the future of coal burning steam locomotive. But unfortunately, it has become an imperfect full stop of steam locomotive.
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 15, 2018 11:50 AM

daveklepper

As good as an EMD E-8?   To replacd a T-1 with diesels, even just to fully replace a K-4, at least two E-8 units are required.

As good as an F40P might be better.

 

SmileYes, I think an EMD E8, maybe a A/B set, was a good candidate to compare with T1 in late 1940s. As Overmod stated in pervious post that even renowned steam engine like NYC Nigeria was barely as good as an E7 base on the result of Kiefer’s test in 1946. RRR T1 and S2 could outperform early diesel at high speed but the latter didn't have the chance to be mass produced. If 5550 can prove that a T1 using Franklin B rotary cam poppet valves can outperform and as economic as an E8, Pennsy might kept developing coal burning steam engine a few years more. (enough time to give S2 a new firebox and make it works)

Note that In 1937, AAR wanted to see what power was needed to get 1000 tons of passenger stock up to 100mph, thus a test was undertaken in 1938 and the result showed that 3370-3400 dphp were needed to maintain 100mph along the level with 1000 tons, 4000 dbhp was needed to accelerate the train to that speed within acceptable times and distance. I don't know if a 1000 tons passenger consist was still a common thing in PRR system or not after the declining of ridership since 1946, but I think an EMD E8 or A/B set (or even the E7A/B ordered in 1946) were powerful and economic enough to handle PRR's postwar (shorter) passenger consists. T1's high TE and dbhp will always be a fascinating thing on paper, but operation cost was Pennsy’s main concern, not to mention the "79 mph speed limit" thingy, thus they did pick EMD E8 and some “interesting” diesels from Baldwin and Alco instead of building more T1s.Crying 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 15, 2018 5:00 AM

daveklepper
As good as an F40P might be better.

Had there been any in the late Forties.

You'd still need at least two F40s, even F40Cs, to approximate the high-speed power of a T1.  Even a single Charger doesn't quite get there on paper.

Of course, even a single E8 can be a 'fair comparison' if you don't care how quickly the train accelerates or what its balancing speed turns out to be... especially if the E8 'just runs' much more of the time without needing maintenance or service attention.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 15, 2018 4:55 AM

Jones1945
PRR’s electrification of the Northeast corridor was their biggest contribution to America, the positive affection of Penny’s decision is still there. If things went according to plan, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C, Pittsburgh would have become the largest HSR network at the time.

Only just seeing this by reading on a larger screen.

I don't even think Martin Clement could have arranged HSR to Pittsburgh. That was a different line altogether from what became the NEC. diverging from the high-speed line via a cutoff through North Philadelphia, and even with the proposed tunnel under Horse Shoe would be a difficult proposition for true high speed sustained long enough to make an important difference.  (Not that it wouldn't have been fun  to watch them try!)

"Balmar" (for Baltimore, Maryland) was the Franklin plant where the poppet-valve equipment was manufactured.  I don't remember the full story of the fascinating interlocking ownership of the Coffin empire in locomotive auxiliaries and components, but there are some people like Dave Grover who have teased it out in all its seamy glory, including the Westinghouse role in taking down Baldwin as a locomotive manufacturer, and I encourage you to research this for a side of the 'business' that most railfans never saw.

The only conclusion I was ever able to reach about the T1 smoke was that when the locomotives were designed and tested, the assumption was that they would always be using good PRR passenger 'gas coal' and not the sort of dirty run-of-mine stuff used for lesser power.  Trying to run a high-speed 4-8-4 equivalent on unwashed, unsized coal on a 92-foot grate was always going to be an exercise in soot generation, and what was inconvenient aerodynamics with a clear stack became prep for the minstrel show ... can I make fun of it like that in this new post-#metoo world? didn't work out for Schnatter even though he was quoting Harlan, so perhaps we have to watch it.  We do know that PRR played with smoke deflectors (I remember them on K4s and of course the 6200) but I have no idea if their versions worked, and I'd surmise not well enough since they were not applied in the widespread fashion they were on, say, NYC.

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...)

I might mention, in passing, that studies were done to examine whether the nose of the Trust's 5550 could be built, like the nose of the Chezoom, as one piece of composite that would fold up on hinges to allow access to the components (including, if used, a more standard type of feedwater heater) on the pilot beam.  That would have made the porthole type front end much more practical, had it been used, and was considered not a meaningful deviation from historical accuracy for the purposes of the Trust's replication, at the time.  It might be interesting to have seen how materials like Cycolac or "Endura" might have been used if streamlined steam had persisted a decade or two later than it did... or, for that matter, if the soybean-fiber-in-phenolic used for the body panels in Ford's hemp-powered Volkswagen analogue had panned out.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 15, 2018 2:51 AM

As good as an EMD E-8?   To replace a T-1 with diesels, even just to fully replace a K-4, at least two E-8 units are required.

As good as an F40P might be better.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 14, 2018 10:16 PM

I found this pic on http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4934659, the date of this photo taken was Aug 15, 1946, but the site also stated that "The date and the location are approximations.". 

 This photo was taken by an unidentified photographer. Judging by the style and angle of how this photo was taken;  the skirting of lounge-baggage car was still attached,  I suspect it was taken by Penny's staff for official record, probably during PRR S1's first general overhaul after she racked up 150,000 miles around 1942. During the general overhaul, most of her side skirting were removed. PRR updated their drawings of S1 for this.  Note both cylinders were freshly painted and overall the engine and the tender look rather clean in this pic. The front coupler cover was lifted up and hidden inside the frond end shrouding, probably still had the sliver strips attached.

There were different versions about S1's retirement date in the past, some said 1944, some said 1946, but after more files was revealed these years, it is quite sure that she served until the 100th anninsery of PRR and got withdrawn from service in the same year. Her role of hauling the Trail Blazer was replaced by PRR S2 6-8-6 Stean turbine engine and newly arrivered T1s. 

I don't have solid evidence, but I believe some pics or important documents were leaked and destroyed during the establishment of Penn Central, there is a article on Classic Trains, titled " Donald Dohner: The man who designed the Rivets"  By Hampton C. Wayt, mentioned that during the Penn Central merger, quote:  "One day the man was asked to clean out the PRR office in Philadelphia where the model was stored. Everything was to be thrown away, but the man didn’t have the heart to dispose of the model."  The model mentioned in this article was a conceptual design of GG1 in wooden model form; painted with color and had a skirting as part of it streamlining. It is not hard to imagine how many important files, pics, videos, models were destroyed during the merger. I wish some people did try to save as many files as they could during the merger. 

Reader could download the free sample of this article via this link (Classic Train Free Download Section):  http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/files/pdf/ebooks/electricrailroads.pdf

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