[Video] Soviet locomotive class AA20 4-14-4

1916 views
51 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 634 posts
[Video] Soviet locomotive class AA20 4-14-4
Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 10:03 PM

Since I always interested in massive, powerful and fast steam locomotives from different countries, this monster caught my attention since the first time I saw it on my stamp collection when I was a child. But I didn't know any detail of her background story until her wiki page was established. This monster was built in Essen, Germany by Krupp, following a Soviet design in 1935, another example of a massive, impractical machine from USSR.

Note that she was built not long before the 1939 World Fair, I suspect that this 4-14-4 was one of the reason why PRR S1 was built unnecessary long and heavy for the sake of national prestige. This is a very rare footage which you could only find it by using russian language in the search engine. I hope you guys would enjoy it.

(PLEASE TURN OFF  THE VOLUME OF YOUR COMPUTER FIRST, THANK YOU!)

 

Slow down the video speed to 0.5 or 0.65 (if you have the plug-in) will show you the normal speed.

Tags: 4-14-4 , AA20 , Soviet
  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 11:04 PM

How do you keep the steam up?

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 974 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:18 AM

I'd love to see the roundhouse that thing lived in! 

And the turntable!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 14,970 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:58 AM

Jones1945
Since I always interested in massive, powerful and fast steam locomotives from different countries, this monster caught my attention since the first time I saw it on my stamp collection when I was a child. But I didn't know any detail of her background story until her wiki page was established. This monster was built in Essen, Germany by Krupp, following a Soviet design in 1935, another example of a massive, impractical machine from USSR.

Note that she was built not long before the 1939 World Fair, I suspect that this 4-14-4 was one of the reason why PRR S1 was built unnecessary long and heavy for the sake of national prestige. This is a very rare footage which you could only find it by using russian language in the search engine. I hope you guys would enjoy it.

(PLEASE TURN OFF  THE VOLUME OF YOUR COMPUTER FIRST, THANK YOU!)

 

Slow down the video speed to 0.5 or 0.65 (if you have the plug-in) will show you the normal speed.

Note the middle 3 drivers are flangeless.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,873 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 6:54 PM

Thanks for that video Mr. Jones!  I'd seen photos of that Bolshevik mutant but never any film. 

Interesting, to say the least. 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 7:38 PM

The AA20-1 locomotive was built at Lugansk in 1934.

A design was prepared in Germany, possibly as the result of a commericial enquiry (a number of locomotives were purchased by the Soviet Union in the 1930s, including a Beyer Garratt, Baldwin 2-10-2s and Alco 2-10-4s)

http://douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/russ/russrefr.htm

The locomotive can't be said to have been a good idea, but there were good reasons for its design. The "20" in the number indicates the axle load in metric tonnes, so it is around 60% of the axle load of a similar US locomotive. To get a locomotive with the desired power, more axles are needed. A 2-6-6-2 simple articulated would have been more practical, and one was built in the late 1940s (type P34) but in the end, the solution of smaller locomotives (2-10-2s) was adopted. there have been a number of reasonably successful twelve coupled locomotives in Europe but these were much smaller than AA20-1. the 4-14-4 was the result of trying to get a locomotive as powerful as the Alco 2-10-4 type Ta which could run on the lighter track that made up much of the Russian system.

Although there had been publicity at the time, I don't think  AA20-1 was well enough known to influence PRR 6100, nearly six years later. 

Peter

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 634 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:21 PM

Firelock76

 Thanks for that video Mr. Jones!  I'd seen photos of that Bolshevik mutant but never any film. 

 Interesting, to say the least. 

 You are welcome, Firelock76. Ironically, I can find a video of a steam locomotive which was built behind the Iron Curtain but can’t find a decent video of PRR S1 and S2 after they were put into service, but I won't give up.

M636C

The AA20-1 locomotive was built at Lugansk in 1934.

A design was prepared in Germany, possibly as the result of a commericial enquiry (a number of locomotives were purchased by the Soviet Union in the 1930s, including a Beyer Garratt, Baldwin 2-10-2s and Alco 2-10-4s)

http://douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/russ/russrefr.htm 

Thank you very much, Peter. It is still hard to believe for me that before such a large locomotive was built, the manufacturer couldn’t foresee the problem. From the link you provided, the author describes this monster “was a complete disaster”, I wonder if there were one single engineer ever pointed out that it was not going to work or not. Anyway, money had a different meaning behind the Iron Curtain. By the way, it is quite sad to see Lugansk is still in such a chaotic state.

Miningman

 How do you keep the steam up? 

 35% Passion+ 65% Rationality. Mischief

 
  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:18 PM

I have always wondered what became of M. Andreev in the subsequent years.  That was not a happy time to be an engineer in Russia... 'wrecker' trials less than half a decade earlier.

There is nothing particularly obscene about this design; the reported difficulty as I recall was poor performance traversing s'witches, which need not be a problem for main-line traffic on lines with traffic density suitable for a locomotive this size.  Yes, thought was given to proper lateral, and yes, it was not impossible to fire something this 'size' -- this design uses the result of intelligent study of American locomotives as well as details of the 2-10-4 design from Alco that has been mentioned.

Not surprising, though, that 10-coupleds were a better approach.

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 634 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 11, 2018 3:46 PM

Overmod

I have always wondered what became of M. Andreev in the subsequent years.  

I believe this was how she looked in the storage.

More pics I found from some Russian sites:

 

 

 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 5:48 PM

Is there a sound reason why the boiler sat so high? UP's 12 coupled didn't look like that. 

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 2,508 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, October 11, 2018 6:53 PM

You think that's high?  Check out this pic I found:

This graceful prarie type is pretty high too:

Here's another one:

No idea why they did it, but it seemed to be the case with many classes:

Big Smile  I'm Cuckoo For Choo Choo Stuffs!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:07 PM

I have always wondered what became of M. Andreev in the subsequent years.  That was not a happy time to be an engineer in Russia...

The locomotive was named after this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrey_Andreyevich_Andreyev

member of the politburo.

He seems to have died of natural causes at old age.... perhaps fortunately.

Peter

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 9:33 PM

Nice work Penny... great examples. Thanks

M636C-- if you're still around ( asked by me from another thread )...what the heck is a sheep trek and kangaroo bushes? Kangaroos live in thick brush? Head to imagine with all that fast hopping. 

Yeah you wouldn't want to be responsible for anything Railway or anything else either during the Stalin regime. 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:07 PM

Can you give me some context for the quotes about sheep and kangaroos?

Sheep tend to walk in single file in open country following established paths through the fields. If scared they will move as a group, but normally they move in a line.

Indeed kangaroos like open country but they sleep in groups under trees and bushes. You often see then hopping through the carpark to my office which is located next to a nature reserve. The main thing to do is to avoid hitting them with a car. They graze on the front lawn of my house at night. On hot days they lie in the shade.

Peter

NDG
  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • 803 posts
Posted by NDG on Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:18 PM

 

4-14-4
 
Thank You!!!
 
First saw mention of this locomotive in a two-page colour plate within a children's book named " The Railway Story Omnibus " c. 1956.
 
 
and was amazed as local steam on the way out.
 
More data, slowly, over the years, then much more in last few days.
 
Wonderful.
 
Love this view!!
 
 
Valve Gear driven off Axle behind Main Axle.
 
Thank You, Again!!
 

Amazing work!

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:46 PM

M636C- from the Russell Auto thread

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:49 PM

 

The Series Su are 5210mm high over the stack, around 17' 1" or so...

There were two types of Su listed in the Soviet diagram book of about 1935:

Su 1925 and Su 1926

The only difference I can see is the weights:

Su 1925 had weights on the drivers of 18.3 t, 18.1t, 18.3 t

Su 1926 had 18.0t, 18.0t, 18.0t......

One wonders what happened to the designers of the 1925 version for being so careless...

Peter

 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Friday, October 12, 2018 5:38 AM

Miningman

M636C- from the Russell Auto thread

 

My apologies for missing the connection....

If this link works, it should take you to an aerial view of a sheep station...

https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Cullerin+NSW+2581/@-34.7677619,149.3597277,1273m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x6b16c31348874fe7:0x40609b49043dd10!8m2!3d-34.7664116!4d149.3537656

Go to the satellite view:

This is one I'm familiar with, because the main line between Melbourne and Sydney runs through it. The railway has a horseshoe curve adjacent to the location marker, assuming you see the same view as I do.

I've been visiting this spot for nearly 30 years. You  can get a great range of photos from spots around the "Cullerin Road" bridge. The road, until 1994 was the main highway between Sydney and Melbourne which seems unbelievable now although I used it myself.

However, the point I'm trying to make is that there are effectively no trees, as can be seen in the aerial photo. You don't run sheep in a thick forest.

The photo of the two cars looks remarkably like a "set up" to me, on an unsealed road onto which a couple of branches and large rocks have been placed which look like they have been posed for the photo. The cars do have right hand drive, and the scene is definitely in Australia. But while Kangaroos might live in the surrounding "bush" sheep would not find it convenient.

Note that the term used in Australia is "bush" for rural and remote areas. The use of "bushes" suggests a misunderstanding of local usage from a visitor.

Peter

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Friday, October 12, 2018 6:01 AM

Back to the AA

Valve Gear driven off Axle behind Main Axle.

I assume this was to allow  greater lateral movement of the driven axle. Even though the wheels lack flanges, the tapered tread will cause them to move laterally, possibly to an extent that would  exceed the allowable limits of the valve gear.

This might be a feature carried over from the German proposal. The Prussian P10 / DRG 39 2-8-2 was driven on the second coupled axle with the valve gear eccentrics on the third coupled axle.

Peter

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 12, 2018 2:16 PM

M636C
Valve Gear driven off Axle behind Main Axle.

I assume this was to allow greater lateral movement of the driven axle. Even though the wheels lack flanges, the tapered tread will cause them to move laterally, possibly to an extent that would exceed the allowable limits of the valve gear.

I'm not sure about this.

I'd think, first, that the likeliest reason for moving the valve gear would be to reduce the augment on the main, which would be insufferable if the main bore both the heavy big-end and center-of-percussion mass of the main rod AND the outboard rotating mass of the eccentric crank and rod... this is I think a major reason for the prominently gun-drilled axles visible, and the absence of knuckles on the main and following driver pairs (although a very long one is present behind them)

I'd then move promptly to the nasty characteristics of having to carry the entire structure of the eccentric fully outboard of the main, on what is already certainly a heavily-loaded main pin.  And in the process putting the components of the valve gear far out toward the clearance limit, involving some (undesirable) offset in the valve gear to get things in line with the cylinders.  As built, only the eccentric rod itself has to clear the big end (which it appears to do very closely!)

It is fun to assume that this design is one of those wacky Soviet dialectical-materialist assertions of political will over mechanical possibility (or 'capitalist' wrecker definitions of engineering) but it has never really seemed to me that the AA20 wasn't a product of the same people who detail-designed the IS-class 2-8-4s.  Perhaps with the same manipulation and inherent threat as that suffered by Bartini, and with the product having the same amusing Japanese-radio-circuitry 'relation' to American prototype details as the "Tu-4" did to the B-29, or the Canadian C40-8s to something like a GMD/EMD cowl unit... but I digress.

 

  • Member since
    August, 2018
  • 301 posts
Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Friday, October 12, 2018 3:19 PM

During the height of the Cold War in the 50s, I believe Trains ran an artical on the Russian Railways that mentioned the 4-14-4.  I no longer have any older issues or the CD (yet).  Who can help?

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 2,508 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, October 12, 2018 7:07 PM

Miningman
what the heck is a sheep trek

I thought it might have something to do with a woolen starfleet and maybe mister sbaaaaack.  Whistling

Big Smile  I'm Cuckoo For Choo Choo Stuffs!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,873 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, October 12, 2018 8:46 PM

Penny Trains
 
Miningman
what the heck is a sheep trek

 

I thought it might have something to do with a woolen starfleet and maybe mister sbaaaaack.  Whistling

 

Sounds logical.

Those railings around the boiler catwalks are a typical Russian design feature, and a very wise one too.  Just the thing to keep crewmen from falling off an iced up locomotive.

And Comrade Andreyev was lucky to die of old age, a lot of people who worked for Joe Stalin didn't.  Stalin didn't 100% trust anyone who was better educated and more intelligent than he was so it didn't take much to trigger that monster's paranoia.

It was safer to work for Hitler, and that's saying something!

 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 12, 2018 9:36 PM

I should have known why Andreev had no repercussions: he was only secondarily the nominal political head of the railway system in the years they began to race hysterically to get things done in the Stakhovanite propaganda films.  His main job appears to be Stalin's master murderer.  Evidently no one successfully questioned this a la Robespierre until he was too old.  I'm not sure I understand someone who sits in the Politburo while his wife is in the GuLag ... but perhaps this wasn't uncommon for the master murderers.  Beria was at least a family man and supported democratic reforms at the end; that appears to be why they murdered him, too, in the end.

But to be honest, having a murderer's name on the locomotive doesn't spoil it, any more than, say, swastikas on an 05 class ruin it irretrievably.  And that is from someone whose girlfriend's family lost even more than miningman's did, so it's not meant as insensitivity.

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,873 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, October 12, 2018 9:57 PM

"...someone who sits in the Politburo while his wife is in the Gulag..."

I suppose if you're terrified of your boss you'll do anything to stay alive, as reprehensible as it might be. 

I'm sure the Russians are glad to be rid of Communism, check out the reaction of most of the audience during this 2013 concert in St. Petersburg during the playing of "God Save The Tsar."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvMDZag8-DE

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 13, 2018 1:41 AM

As I've recently quoted " Civilization is a thin crust on a volcano".- Havelock Ellis

Do you really think any society or political system anywhere, anytime,  is incapable of slipping into a totalitarian state and very quickly. 

It is terrifying. Not the right place for this kind of discussion but needs saying in this instance. 

Now back to Railroads. 

How about that Photo of the Day with the 3 trains racing side by each out of Boston's North Station. Incredible photo. Boy we had it made it in 1947. Wonder how long that scene would go on for. 

Stunning.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 634 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 13, 2018 3:35 AM

Miningman

Is there a sound reason why the boiler sat so high? UP's 12 coupled didn't look like that.  

I want to know too. It seems to me that it was like a culture of steam locomotives from Russia / Soviet , I wonder why. 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,572 posts
Posted by M636C on Saturday, October 13, 2018 3:46 AM

Jones1945

 

 
Miningman

Is there a sound reason why the boiler sat so high? UP's 12 coupled didn't look like that.  

 

 

I want to know too, it seems to me that it was like a culture of steam locomotives from Russia / Soviet , I wonder why. 

 

 

Because they could....

The taller stacks improved draught, higher pitching the boiler allowed deeper fireboxes and better ashpans. Everybody would do it if they could, but most loading gauges are more restrictive.

Peter

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 634 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, October 13, 2018 4:55 AM

Overmod

I should have known why Andreev had no repercussions: he was only secondarily the nominal political head of the railway system in the years they began to race hysterically to get things done in the Stakhovanite propaganda films.  His main job appears to be Stalin's master murderer.  Evidently no one successfully questioned this a la Robespierre until he was too old. 

No wonder this monster engine was stored for 25 years at the Shcherbinka test facility; the whole project was leaded by political agenda. It was still an interesting machine though.

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,873 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, October 13, 2018 10:35 AM

I really should pay more attention to the "Photo O' The Day" instead of going right to the Forum, I'm probably missing a lot!

And Miningman's right, that is one spectacular "race" photo.  I wonder who "won?"

Now somewhere behind all that smoke is Boston's Hotel Manger.  Railfans in the know staying in Boston would get a room overlooking the North Station terminal.  It was pretty sprawling in it's day and probably one of the best shows in town.

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

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

FREE NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter