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

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, March 9, 2020 9:31 AM

ShroomZed
... there was indeed a period in the mid-1920's where it was instructed that non-articulated locomotives should only be bought in exceptional circumstances and this is apparent in the sheer variety of Garratts and imitators (the Union-Garratt and modified Fairlie) introduced through the period.

My understanding of the Union-Garratt was that it was primarily intended to simplify application of stoker equipment to the Garratt chassis, and that the relative loss in 'flexibility' of the longer rear chassis was justifiable in reliability and maintenance.  I have never quite been sure how effective the equalization of this was made relative to the 'triplex' layout of original Beyer-Garratts.

South Africa had the most powerful Garratts ever built, the class GL with a tractive effort of ~89,000 lbf, pulling 1200 tonne trains uphill and 2000 tonne trains downhill in the Natal region. East African Railways' 59 class and the Soviet Ya.01 were physically larger.

I didn't mean to shortchange the South Africans on Garratts; I didn't mention them mostly because I considered their 'heaviest' use on that system to be on track built more to Western standards than railroads like EAR (which I believe had much less 'civil' investment or effective axle-load rating).

The Ya.01 was said to be the largest steam locomotive in Europe when built and wasn't replicated due to the Soviets being unfamilliar with the technology.

I have to wonder if there is more to it than this.  

Something I have never understood is why the Soviets did not implement some form of Mallet-Garratt in their heavier services, as even the simplest version 'as indicated' in the mid-Thirties (2-6-6-2s on the engine units) would have offered nearly twice the available TE as an AA20 on lower practical axle load, with a much more capable boiler layout within the larger Russian loading gage.  Perhaps it was easier in Stalin's Russia to have four Stakhanovite engine crews on Su's shoveling frantically to approximate the same output?

The South African railways have to be some of the most fascinating in the world; despite a 3' 6'' gauge they were using locomotives that were larger and more powerful than most in Europe and they were relatively quite sophisticated too. 

Still more fascinating was the knowhow they possessed in design and fabrication, for example as evidenced in Wardale's Red Devil book.  I regret, now, that I was too caught up in the whole apartheid-divestment business and didn't carefully investigate what the South Africans had when it still 'mattered'.  It is one of the great shames of the 20th Century that this all was subsequently frittered away or deprecated in favor of unsustainable approaches to dieselization -- it being reasonably likely that an 'indigenous' version of better-quality practical diesel support could have been developed quite reasonably with the appropriate 'will'.

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Posted by M636C on Monday, March 9, 2020 7:03 AM

This effect is visible on the famous Russian Decapods, too.

But only on the locomotives built to Russian drawings, class Yel.

The first batch built to local drawings by Baldwin (Yef), Alco (Yes) and CLC (Yek) had noticeably less gap under the boiler although the major dimensions were similar.

The deeper firebox would allow a longer flame length and thus better combustion with poorer grades of coal without needing to use a combustion chamber which seems to have been regarded as a maintenance problem in Russia and later in the Soviet Union.

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Posted by ShroomZed on Sunday, March 8, 2020 9:48 AM

Overmod

The East African Railways found a somewhat different version of the solution, using very large Garratts to produce power, and beefing up rolling stock to handle it, but not requiring substantial track improvement.  Other places, notably Australia and (in principle and intent, New Zealand) used Garratt designs for similar purpose.  The Russians did consider Garratts; in fact, as I recall, they had the 'largest' Garratt design in the world.  But this did not catch on, despite the near certainty that the 'license fee' (which is commonly given as a major reason no 'Mallet-Garratts' were ever built for North America) would not have been considered an obligation in Stalin's era... 

 

South Africa was an interesting player in this sort of arrangement; the GMA/GMAM class garratts were actually designed with their water and coal tanks adjustable in size so they could be used on tracks requiring different axle loadings. They were consequently the largest class of garratts ever built, being useful on both main and branches. 

Let's not forget South Africa was a larger user of garratts than anywhere else; there was indeed a period in the mid-1920's where it was instructed that non-articulated locomotives should only be bought in exceptional circumstances and this is apparent in the sheer variety of garratts and immitators (the union garratt and modified farilie) introduced through the period. 

South Africa had the most powerful garratts ever built, the class GL with a tractive effort of ~89,000 lbf, pulling 1200 tonne trains uphill and 2000 tonne trains downhill in the Natal region. East African Railways' 59 class and the Soviet Ya.01 were physically larger. The Ya.01 was said to be the largest steam locomotive in Europe when built and wasn't replicated due to the Soviets being unfamilliar with the technology. 

The South African railways have to be some of the most fascinating in the world; despite a 3' 6'' gauge they were using locomotives that were larger and more powerful than most in Europe and they were relatively quite sophisticated too. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 8, 2020 8:38 AM

ShroomZed
This is so a reasonably deep firebox can be fitted that is also over the rearmost pair-or-two of drivers. If additional axles can be avoided in construction, then that's the way to go for adhesion's sake.

See M636C's comments earlier and later in this thread.

It should probably be remembered that this locomotive, like the IS 2-8-4, incorporated many of the insights from a trip made to the USA in the late '20s to study contemporary 'best practices'.  If accommodating the deep firebox were 'all' that were desired, the better solution would be immediately suggested as something like a N&W Y-class (or USRA 2-8-8-2) with the deep firebox in proportion to barrel size.  I do not know whether the two designers of the AA20 fully recognized the advantages in radiant uptake of the deeper firebox over, say, the arrangement on a Y-class (or for that matter on an American Challenger type); perhaps someone conversant with technical Russian has recognized the answer in the literature.

The Russians had the advantage of an extremely tall loading gauge that allowed this sort of arrangement to be used without too many repercussions.

They also made use of this in far more important ways, particularly a correct use of the technique Woodard tried to use on Mikado 8000 and some other early Super-Power designs with the external dry pipe.

Most locomotives with water treatment suffer from enhanced carryover and its associated problems (e.g. with cylinder lubrication) due to insufficient steam separation at high mass flow.  Devices to mitigate this (for example the notorious Elesco Steam Dryer) and arrangements to provide better high-flow separation without steam domes (cf. the NYC Niagara) tended to have distress under a fairly wide range of conditions.  The Russians, on the other hand, could simply elevate their dome and dry-pipe mouth so far above the 'boiling milk' of the boiler water that even the swell at high mass-flow demand wouldn't bring much TDS up entrained in the steam.  (They could also insulate the external pipe well enough to suit Russian winter conditions...)

I also have the feeling that this is an optical trick in a way, as Russian boilers were much smaller in diameter compared to American, so the gaps will look bigger with a skinnier boiler in place  ... That and most likely a deeper firebox than the 9000s is why it looks the way it does.

This effect is visible on some of the famous Russian Decapods, too.  Personally I don't have 'that' much of a problem with it on the IS and AA20, perhaps because I'm translating the American Super-Power features inherently and not quite 'seeing' the strangeness -- I'm more aware of the high pitch in the last generation of 4-8-4s, perhaps due to the (semi-) streamlining.

It would be interesting to compare the actual waterleg dimensions vs. grate area on the Nines vs. some of the Russian classes -- it would be interesting to see if the Russians either implicitly or explicitly recognized the benefits of large radiant surface, or the critical importance of good circulation patterns in high-radiant-uptake zones, rather than just longer flame length and TOF for combustion.

The Russians had to deal with absurdly low weight restrictions which really limited what could be built. The AA20, with seven driving axles had a tractive effort of ~90,000 lbf which was less than a standard American 2-10-4, and the factor of adhesion even then was 3.43.

One major point of the exercise was to get Alco T 2-10-4 power out of a locomotive with limited peak axle load (even on its mains) -- that is where the "20" in the locomotive's name came from.  Unlike the Nines (which are one-and-a-half Mountains with one-and-a-half Mountain's worth of cylinders, for more power but little additional cost a la 4-6-6-2) there was no problem extracting suitable thrust out of two outside cylinders with reasonable light rodwork for a locomotive of this 'comparatively small' size -- and I find no fault with the AA20 design or execution in that respect.  My assumption of their assumptions ('one-upping the USA' for propaganda purposes aside) was that they saw the engine being used much like Porta's Dona Cristina 2-10-4s: mostly long distances in straight lines with minimal curvature.  That it had trouble with switches in yards, especially tracking backward, is almost forgivable...

The South African Railways class 25 had a larger weight on drivers and tractive effort than a P36, despite being a 3'6" gauge engine.

It is always fun to watch the war between the civil-engineering side of a railroad and the locomotive-design and operations side.  The former wants minimum wear and augment; the latter want high power at low cost with minimum crew requirement.  In the United States we went bigger, then had the wherewithal to keep increasing the track standards (sometimes with brute force rather than sophistication, as in PRR-section 155lb/yd rail) and the South Africans found that model useful rather than conduct substantial regauging.

The East African Railways found a somewhat different version of the solution for 'lighter' railway construction, using very large Garratts to produce power, and beefing up rolling stock to handle it, but not requiring substantial track improvement.  Other places, notably Australia and (in principle and intent, New Zealand) used Garratt designs for similar purpose.  The Russians did consider Garratts; in fact, as I recall, they had the 'largest' Garratt design in the world.  But this did not catch on, despite the near certainty that the 'license fee' (which is commonly given as a major reason no 'Mallet-Garratts' were ever built for North America) would not have been considered an obligation in Stalin's era... 

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Posted by ShroomZed on Saturday, March 7, 2020 8:35 PM

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. 

 

This is so a reasonably deep firebox can be fitted that is also over the rearmost pair-or-two of drivers. If aditional axles can be avoided in construction, then that's the way to go for adhesion's sake. 

The Russians had the advantage of an extremely tall loading gauge that allowed this sort of arrangement to be used without too many reprocussions. If you look in the film on the first page of the AA20, you'll notice the firebox resting of the last pair of drivers while still having quite a depth to it. 

I also have the feeling that this is an optical trick in a way, as Russian boilers were much smaller in diameter compared to American, so the gaps will look bigger with a skinnier boiler in place. That and most likely a deeper firebox than the 9000s is why it looks the way it does. 

Something to keep in mind is that Russian steam locomotives are actually quite tiny compared to American ones, despite the height. The Russians had to deal with absurdly low weight restrictions which really limited what could be built. The AA20, with seven driving axles had a tractive effort of ~90,000 lbf which was less than a standard American 2-10-4, and the factor of adhesion even then was 3.43. Even the P36 4-8-4 was a tiny engine with a tractive effort of ~40,000 lbf. The South African Railways class 25 had a larger weight on drivers and tractive effort than a P36, despite being a 3'6" gauge engine. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, October 29, 2018 1:57 PM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

I found the information about the Russian 4-14-4 that Trains ran in the Jan. 61 iusse in their all time magazine index.  Anyone having that issue might be able to shed more light on the project.  It would be appreciated. 

Thank you for the information! 

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Sunday, October 28, 2018 6:14 AM

I found the information about the Russian 4-14-4 that Trains ran in the Jan. 61 iusse in their all time magazine index.  Anyone having that issue might be able to shed more light on the project.  It would be appreciated.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:11 AM

M636C

Here are links to articles on the two units:

https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/gas-fuelled-turbine-electric-locomotive-prototype.html

https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/experimental-gas-turbine-locomotive-undertakes-haulage-tests.html

I suspect they have the same turbine...

The GT1h has two more axles per unit and would be usable on lighter track.

These are true successors to AA20-1 being powerful locomotives for relatively light track.

Peter 

Thanks for the links, Peter. Glad to know them worked and still in service! I believe the UP steam turbine twins and PRR S2 probably sounded like them!

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Thursday, October 18, 2018 8:10 AM

The Trains January 1961 issue carried an artical on the 4-14-4 by J.N. Westwood titled "The Soviet Search for Super-Power".  Perhaps The Classic Trains staff can receive permission to include it here for educational purposes?

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:52 AM

Jones1945

 

 
M636C

Do you have the Class or model name of the11,500hp double-unit gas turbine engine? I am more than willing to try seaching for its info since I still had plenty of time available 

There appear to be two possible current locomotives:

One numbered GT1-001 which is 8.3 MW two units both Bo'Bo'Bo'

One numbered GT1h-002 which is two units both Do'Do'

In each case, one unit carries the turbine, the other a cryogenic liquified natural gas tank.

Peter

 

 

Thank you very much, Peter! I thought Overmod was talking about some gigantic locomotives from 80s which I don't. These are some very interesting locomotives I ever seen, thanks for the info!
 

Here are links to articles on the two units:

https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/gas-fuelled-turbine-electric-locomotive-prototype.html

https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/experimental-gas-turbine-locomotive-undertakes-haulage-tests.html

I suspect they have the same turbine...

The GT1h has two more axles per unit and would be usable on lighter track.

These are true successors to AA20-1 being powerful locomotives for relatively light track.

Peter 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 5:37 AM

M636C

Do you have the Class or model name of the11,500hp double-unit gas turbine engine? I am more than willing to try seaching for its info since I still had plenty of time available 

There appear to be two possible current locomotives:

One numbered GT1-001 which is 8.3 MW two units both Bo'Bo'Bo'

One numbered GT1h-002 which is two units both Do'Do'

In each case, one unit carries the turbine, the other a cryogenic liquified natural gas tank.

Peter

Thank you very much, Peter! I thought Overmod was talking about some gigantic locomotives from 80s which I don't know. These are some very interesting locomotives I ever seen, thanks for the info!
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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 1:24 PM

Trains, THE Magazine of Railroading! ran an artical on the railways of the USSR in the early 60s that mentioned the 4-14-4 and had a photo or drawing of this magnificent steam machine as I recall.  Anyone who has this issue please sign in.  I forget which one it was.

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 5:20 AM

Do you have the Class or model name of the11,500hp double-unit gas turbine engine? I am more than willing to try seaching for its info since I still had plenty of time available 

There appear to be two possible current locomotives:

One numbered GT1-001 which is 8.3 MW two units both Bo'Bo'Bo'

One numbered GT1h-002 which is two units both Do'Do'

In each case, one unit carries the turbine, the other a cryogenic liquified natural gas tank.

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 12:23 AM

Overmod

Note the lack of span bolstering (as effectively present on TEP80) in favor of those long secondary springs.  Is there a traction 'pin' between the pairs of trucks at each end with 'zero weight transfer' link?  (Where is the drawing 'key' and discussion for the numbers on that section drawing??)

Well, you might as well go ahead and provide references for that, what was it, 11,500hp double-unit gas turbine experimental.  I never did see much beyond blurred publicity photographs of it at the time.

Here you are, Overmod. Do you have the Class or model name of the 11,500hp double-unit gas turbine engine? I am more than willing to try seaching for its info since I still had plenty of time available Thumbs Up:

 

All these pics were moved from a Russian "site". I note some Russian folks were discussing about the advantages and disadvantages between one single 6000hp unit (actually 2 in this case) and US style A+B+A 3-unit or 6-unit approach.
 
 Note this gigantic engine were never put into service, no data from operational or test report ever available. But I do remember that China Railway used one single unit diesel engine DF-11 ( 4,840 hp) which was widely used to hauling their express *passenger train at 110mph in early 90s, total 459 of such units were produced. 
 
(Edited)
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 2:02 PM

Jones1945
Bonus Engine: 2ТЭ126

Note the lack of span bolstering (as effectively present on TEP80) in favor of those long secondary springs.  Is there a traction 'pin' between the pairs of trucks at each end with 'zero weight transfer' link?  (Where is the drawing 'key' and discussion for the numbers on that section drawing??)

Well, you might as well go ahead and provide references for that, what was it, 11,500hp double-unit gas turbine experimental.  I never did see much beyond blurred publicity photographs of it at the time.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:26 PM

Overmod

I'm looking forward to see what Penny has under the tree this year, with rockets and jets and all, oh my!

 

 
Jones1945
My favoite Russian locomotive is ЧС4Т.

 

Mine is TEP80, I think.

Pay careful attention around 7:24.  Would YOU have done this? Surprise

Baldwin's mission in 1948, to build a 6000hp single unit passenger diesel engine,  accomplished behind the Iron Curtain 40 years later. 

16-wheel truck? YUMMY.

Bonus Engine: 2ТЭ126 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:23 AM

I'm looking forward to see what Penny has under the tree this year, with rockets and jets and all, oh my!

Jones1945
My favoite Russian locomotive is ЧС4Т.

Mine is TEP80, I think.

Pay careful attention around 7:24.  Would YOU have done that? Surprise

There are few engines that have the presence of a GG1 at speed.  This is one:

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:35 AM

Penny Trains

My favorite Russian train set Wink:

 

Anybody know anything about this thing:

 

I found this little piece but it only calls it a "modified ER22": https://gizmodo.com/293010/the-soviet-union-vs-us-jet-train-race.

In Russia, rocket running on rail track and railcar can fly. DrinksSmile, Wink & Grin Thank you for sharing these pics, Penny Train. My favoite Russian locomotive is ЧС4Т (6500hp passenger engine). 

 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, October 15, 2018 7:48 PM

Way to knock it out of the park Penny! Luv those pics. Wow

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, October 15, 2018 7:23 PM

Ah, them Commies!  It looks like they stole the idea of that railcar with jet engines on it from the New York Central!

Looky...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saG-QQSiG4I

Razor-sharp footage, but silent.  There's nothing wrong with your sound.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, October 15, 2018 7:09 PM

My favorite Russian train set Wink:

Anybody know anything about this thing:

I found this little piece but it only calls it a "modified ER22": https://gizmodo.com/293010/the-soviet-union-vs-us-jet-train-race.

Check out this film.  The AAR's nuclear X-12 appears at about 3:12 and Soviet experiments after that at 4:48:

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

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Monday, October 15, 2018 3:58 PM

Trains ran an artical on Russian Railways in the early 60s which mentioned the 4-14-4 if memory serves me well.  I no longer have my collection but I'm sure one of you can help out as to which issue it was.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 14, 2018 11:10 PM

Penny Trains
A 14 drivered loco reminds me of the N-1.

But only the N1 after Korolev died.   Think of him as the Col. Emerson of rockets -- i suspect he could have gotten 30 engines to work.  He was Bartini's protege; to this day I wish I understood how that dialectical version of the design process worked so well for those two -- like a communist version of the Steve Jobs RDF.  

After him the only 'solution' was Glushko's with Energiya (and there was nothing wrong with those things).   They ran out of money instead, kinda like PRR with the T1 extended country-wide... but it would have been a fearful thing had they persisted.  

There is likely a direct connection between the GuLag abuse and Korolev's death, although you hear the story details a bit different (mask fit vs. tracheal tube).  It was still karma for the USSR no matter how you consider it.  

(Incidentally ... could that be the same Korolev mentioned as one of the AA20 designers?  It sure looks like him in the film Jones1945 provided!)

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 14, 2018 9:22 PM

Well, Penny and Jones, every machine has a master, regardless of the nonsense they peddle out there these days. That master is us. 

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Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, October 14, 2018 6:24 PM

I sadly concur.

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

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 14, 2018 3:15 AM

Penny Trains

Soviet N-1 moon rocket:

Why bring it up?  2 answers.

  1. The failure to design larger more powerful engines (like NASA's F-1 and J-2) meant they needed a prohibitive number of smaller engines to perform the task.  Which meant the LV was a plumber's nightmare and all the launches looked like this:

   2. Kamarov was a victim of Stalin's purges and almost died in the gulag, which likely would have meant there wouldn't have been a controlling influence over the rocketry program to reign in Kruschev later on.  If the N-1 HAD worked out, they would have used it to put orbital weapons platforms up there to "drop nuclear bombs on us like rocks from a highway overpass" (Right Stuff).

A 14 drivered loco reminds me of the N-1. 

Homo sapiens never failed to create their own disaster......

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Posted by Penny Trains on Saturday, October 13, 2018 7:59 PM

Soviet N-1 moon rocket:

Why bring it up?  2 answers.

  1. The failure to design larger more powerful engines (like NASA's F-1 and J-2) meant they needed a prohibitive number of smaller engines to perform the task.  Which meant the LV was a plumber's nightmare and all the launches looked like this:

   2. Kamarov was a victim of Stalin's purges and almost died in the gulag, which likely would have meant there wouldn't have been a controlling influence over the rocketry program to reign in Kruschev later on.  If the N-1 HAD worked out, they would have used it to put orbital weapons platforms up there to "drop nuclear bombs on us like rocks from a highway overpass" (Right Stuff).

A 14 drivered loco reminds me of the N-1.

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

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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.

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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.

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