When, where, and what equipment gave the smoothest ride?

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 10, 2018 8:18 PM

Thank you agentatascadero. I suspected that heavyweight 6 wheel Pullman's and the like on passenger service maintained roadbed was the best ride. It is something that is lost to us. Modern technology may be able to create a smooth ride here and there but it is as I well thought, the best of the best. 

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Posted by agentatascadero on Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:11 PM

The original poster asked about ride quality back in the days when trains were operated with heavyweight equipment.

 

I'm one who rode, in my childhood, annual transcontinental trips between 1947 - 1955, nine total such trips, with 8-10 days aboard the train on a typical 2-3 week trip.  So, I spent many weeks aboard Pullmans, going seemingly everywhere on those trips.

 

One has to remember that things were very different in those post war years, railroads were generally maintained to a high standard, as was the passenger equipment, so smooth riding was to be expected, and was delivered.

 

Being passholders, we rode the secondary trains, which, in those years were still provided full service, with dining and lounge service , and we had the blessing of Pulman passes during those years.

 

My perch, was the upper berth....though many nights I was allowed to occupy the lower while my parents visited the lounge for nightcaps.  I'd fall asleep in the lower and never wake up until the next morning in the upper.

 

To this day I regard the sound of 6 wheel trucks, on jointed rail,  to be the standard by which all other railroad truck sounds will be measured.

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, November 29, 2018 7:46 PM

Jones1945

 

 
Overmod

Someone needs to find and link a copy of Nystrom's own observations on high-speed truck design (I'll keep looking for mine) where he points out that his true high-speed designs were all hard-riding below their peak design range -- this for the same predictable reasons variable control of disc brake anti-slide systems was necessary. 

 

 

Found some Patents drawings of Nystrom's high-speed truck:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2350567.pdf

(horizontal stabilization absorbers, rubber padding to reduce noise and vibration)

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2431072.pdf

 

 http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/nystrom.html 

 

Neither the prototype truck nor the model truck illustrated here follow the Nystrom design clearly indicated in the patent drawings. The model truck retains the axlebox hornguides clearly absent from Nystrom's design in the patent, which became the prototype for the French high speed locomotive hauled trains.

Peter

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, November 29, 2018 7:28 PM

Was Dunlop heavily involved in the 'chevron spring' craze of the Seventies?

They were indeed. The well known track interaction expert Jury Koffman tried to sell me a design using such suspension components from Gloucester C&W.

I explained to him that we had enough trouble with such springs on track maintenance machines and that the high UV content of sunlight in the Pilbara caused rapid deterioration of rubber springs. Since we had pretty good track with fairly broad curves we didn't break many coil springs and they didn't deteriorate faster in bright light.

I did tell him that we'd like to test some really heavy duty rigid frame coil primary suspension trucks from Gloucester. They never did sell any to mining companies but a lot of their trucks ended up in the East Coast coal export traffic, possibly due to my suggestion. Gloucester's salesman looked me up in WA later that year.

There were a few locomotives with floating bolster trucks in the Pilbara, all of the three axle variety. They gave a harder ride than the Alco Hi Ad but were better on rough track (which BHP inherited from the Goldsworthy operation) I think that the rubber elements weren't as exposed to sunlight as the chevron springs.

I remeber checking out the maintenance base of a rail grinding operation that used grinding vehicles built in Italy. These had rubber chevron springs and Deutz air cooled diesel engines. Next to the track there were neat walls of discarded chevron springs and Deutz diesels, the latter three engines high...

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 29, 2018 9:59 AM

M636C
The other name was of course Dunlop Metalastik...

They weren't anything but John Bull until 1958.  And most of their design emphasis as I recall was on vibration isolation, not indeterminate-rate shear springs... I'm glad to learn they had a significant railroad 'presence'.

Was Dunlop heavily involved in the 'chevron spring' craze of the Seventies?

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Posted by Mr. Bighead on Sunday, November 25, 2018 1:57 PM

I always thought the older double-deck C&NW commuter coaches rode well. I'm not sure of their model or nomenclature and I'm sure they're all long retired. I rode them during their service years, and also the preserved ones once or twice on the Delaware River Railroad excursion. The old Bel-Del roadbed doesn't compare to the old Northwestern main, but those double deck cars still rode smoothly.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 6:54 PM

Peter, you might want to comment on the specific use of elastomer components in the FB-2 ZWT GE trucks that predated the 'Rollerblades'.  There are a very large number of these in various axes in the structure, many of which I always suspected would suffer the same 'taking a set' and deterioration seen in so many Mercedes driveline elastomer pieces 

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Posted by mvlandsw on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 6:38 PM

"Mention was made of a smooth ride on a Pittsburgh PCC.   This was very poasible with most of the PCCs on most of the system.  But tthere some spectacularly bad-tracj sections, one center-reeervation stretch (Ashland Avenue?  It began with an A, and was east of the downtown area, toward the junction where one changed to the sparce service to Trafford), where the car jounced from side-to-side, and the  operator limited the speed to about 15mph.  A situation never repaired until the Allegainy Port Authority bustitution."

That was the Ardmore line.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 5:16 AM

Overmod

Someone needs to find and link a copy of Nystrom's own observations on high-speed truck design (I'll keep looking for mine) where he points out that his true high-speed designs were all hard-riding below their peak design range -- this for the same predictable reasons variable control of disc brake anti-slide systems was necessary. 

Found some Patents drawings of Nystrom's high-speed truck:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2350567.pdf

(horizontal stabilization absorbers, rubber padding to reduce noise and vibration)

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2431072.pdf

 

 http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/nystrom.html 

 

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:51 PM

The Dofasco trucks from retired M-liners were reused on the GE C40-8M cowls of both CN and BC Rail.  They are some of the roughest riding units we have, but I couldn't say how much of this is due to the truck and locomotive design (heavy safety cab and cowl carbody) vs age. 

The ex-BNSF/UP Dash-8's ride terribly too...

On the other hand SD60's aren't too bad (just loud and drafty inside the cab), and the SD75's ride like Cadillacs.

One advantage of the Dofasco truck is their shorter wheelbase due to closer spacing of the axles, which allows units with them to run on several of our branchlines where all other 6-axle units are prohibited. 

Also, Dofasco = Dominion Foundry & Steel Company.  Still doing business in Hamilton.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:35 PM

I do not know how much of the French craze for 'silentblocs' in the '50s could be attributable to Milwaukee practice.  We had a lesser, but still significant turn toward elastomer isolators (and Fabreeka, all the way into the mid-Seventies) in our own practice ... but with far more emphasis on accommodating bad track than on running quickly on good.

The other name was of course Dunlop Metalastik...

These became significant in North America on MLW's alternative to the Trimount, most often known as the Dofasco after the foundry that cast them.

These were designed for CN with the specific intention of reducing the lateral loading in curves, specifically that from the leading axle of of the trailing truck. So MLW moved the pivot right forward and sat the frame on four rubber/metal sandwiches. It rode really well when new but as the lateral dampers wore it tended to be rough.

But on taking over MLW, GE adopted the rubber secondary design for their "Rollerblade" trucks and EMD went the same way....

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:39 PM

M636C
The trucks developed by Nystrom in the 1930s and 1940s were indeed very good. These looked superficially like the standard Pennsylvania equalised truck but in fact the beam linking the axleboxes was a separate subframe which located the axles and there were no normal hornguides.

Someone needs to find and link a copy of Nystrom's own observations on high-speed truck design (I'll keep looking for mine) where he points out that his true high-speed designs were all hard-riding below their peak design range -- this for the same predictable reasons variable control of disc brake anti-slide systems was necessary. 

This is one of the things that large, relatively soft secondary air-bellows suspension was intended to address: it allowed the necessary very stiff effective spring rate in primary suspension needed for proper flange following, while keeping the resulting bounce and NVH isolated from the carbody.

I do not know how much of the French craze for 'silentblocs' in the '50s could be attributable to Milwaukee practice.  We had a lesser, but still significant turn toward elastomer isolators (and Fabreeka, all the way into the mid-Seventies) in our own practice ... but with far more emphasis on accommodating bad track than on running quickly on good.

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:28 PM

I did not have much experience, but I have been told that Milwaukee lightweight coaches, with their own distinctive trucks, rode very well indeed.

The trucks developed by Nystrom in the 1930s and 1940s were indeed very good. These looked superficially like the standard Pennsylvania equalised truck but in fact the beam linking the axleboxes was a separate subframe which located the axles and there were no normal hornguides.

These were adopted by SNCF in France as the standard for high speed passenger trains, and variations of them were used on all modern locomotive hauled coaches in France, many of which were permitted to do 200km/h (125 mph) on a daily basis.

I discovered this link with Nystrom in a 1950s copy of "Revue Generale de Chemins de Fer" which provided an illustration of various current types of passenger trucks. The design in question was called the "Milwaukee bogie". The French designs didn't look much like the American originals, since they were largely welded fabrications rather than castings as used in the USA.

I can personally vouch for the performance of these trucks at 200km/h on the "Mistral" and "Capitole".

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:05 AM

I wish I have a chance to ride on PRR and NYCRR's betterment cars. I want to know the different riding quality of Pullman 6-wheel truck and PRR built 6-wheel truck.

^Rebuilt Pullman Heavyweight.

^PB70ER baggage lounge car with PRR built 6-wheel truck

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 7:44 AM

Older suburban cars with 4-wheel trucks did not ride well on poor-to-fair track.  Silverliners rode better than MP-54s, and the New York Central lightweight "ACMUs" 1000s and 1100s rode better than the original MUs.  The New Haven "wash boards,"  4400s rode very well when new but were not maintained adequetly, and then the older MUs rode better!

Mention was made of a smooth ride on a Pittsburgh PCC.   This was possible with most of the PCCs on most of the system.  But there where some spectacularly bad-track sections, one center-reservation stretch (Ashland Avenue?  It began with an A, and was east of the downtown area, toward the junction where one changed to the sparce service to Trafford), where the car jounced from side-to-side, and the  operator limited the speed to about 15mph.  A situation never repaired until the Allegainy Port Authority bustitution.

A useful posting would be car weights with some note of the type of truck.


s

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:13 AM

I was hoping for some comment on the gradual deterioration of the IC Mainline track quality from 1958 to  1967.   Has it been put in better shape since?

All heavyweights were not the same.  Pullmans with six-wheel trucks, ACL dining cars, C&O "Imperial Chair cars," B&O heavyweight long-distance coaches, again all with 6-wheel trucks, ride quality was not an issue.

But I guess Pennsy original-truck P-70s, Erie Stillwells, Long Island Ping-Pongs really should not becalled heaveweights.  They did not ride well.  Except on excellent track.  (PRR did still have some ezcellent track post WWII.)  Thus the name for the LIRR Ping-Pongs.

I did not have much experience, but I have been told that Milwaukee lightweight coaches, with their own distinctive trucks, rode very well indeed.

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, November 18, 2018 7:50 PM

Come to think of it, I have had at least two rides in heavyweight sleepers--both were day trips.

In 1964, I rode from Nashville to Birminham via the old main line in a section sleeper; I do not remember anything particular about the ride.

In December of 1970, when the Southern was moving the 722 and 630 from Atlanta to Birmingham, I rode in Lake Pearl as far as Anniston (and rode 722 the rest of the way). Again, I do not remember anything about the ride quality.

I do not recall riding in Lake Pearl on any of the round trips out of Birmingham and back; on most of the trips I was working, guarding a vestibule.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Sunday, November 18, 2018 6:34 PM

The smoothest ride that I ever had on rails was on a  Pittsburgh Railways PCC car. For about half a block it seemed  as if the car was floating on air.

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, November 18, 2018 4:32 PM

The smoothest ride I know of is that provided by the current suburban trains in Sydney, Australia. These trains, known as Millennium and Waratah trains, have a single airbag centrally on the truck, which flexes to allow rotation, and roll is controlled by huge torsion bars.

The older trains with two air bags per truck, one each side, can't match the ride of the new trains. There is no real difference between the power cars and trailer cars as far as ride is concerned. The power cars have most of the equipment at roof level, (apart from the traction motors) so being double deck have a high centre of mass.

I have only travelled in the oldest TGV trains and I found them and the Spanish Talgo IIIs to be rather disappointing, particularly when compared to the 1964 Mistral cars which I thought were very smooth (and not much slower than the TGV).

Some 50 years ago, I travelled in some twelve wheel sleeping cars built around 1913 to 1920, with steel frames and wooden bodies. These weren't particularly smooth, and did not appear to be satisfactory at 75 mph. Strangely, my own car had been experimentally fitted with trucks from the current suburban trailer cars, casr steel coil primary and secondary springs and reasonable friction damping. This was effectively the same as the 1962 sleeping cars and was better than the old six wheel trucks.

Peter

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:49 AM

David Klepper-- " Ride qualitiy was never an issue anytime in any heavyweight sleeper. "

Now that's the kind of definitive answer I was seeking. I believe a heavyweight car gave a far superior ride with less rattle. I was perhaps 8-10 last time I ride in a heavyweight with my mom to go into Hamilton and definitely with my grandma going on holidays to Port Dover. Later in life riding lightweight equipment, sleeping on board CPR 'Canadian' and Ontario Northland 'Northlander' also CNR 'Super Continenntal' things were just not quite the same. Plenty of lurching and resonance rattling of things, none of which I recall from heavyweight cars. 

Amtrak hi-level equipment, if seated up top, was smooth and so were dome cars if up in the dome. 

We can only imagine a heavyweight consist on the Century with well maintained and groomed  track, or even The Dominion or Milwaukee's west coast Olympian when heavyweight equipment was the standard. 

Thinking lightweight is ok when newer and well maintained to a very high standard and on perfect track.

So thanks David. Confirms what I suspected. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:32 AM

Firelock76
Plain fact of the matter was that C&O Turbine was an over-engineered nightmare, no-one could make it work, much less run it with any degree of skill.

Could have been made to work -- just no point in it.  Just like the Heilmann locomotive (and the TE-1 as a "65mph locomotive") the putative benefits of turbine-electric drive were just not there.  Even before carbon and water started to work their magic on an insufficient number of traction motors, and the relative lack of double-salient control made running the thing on any C&O profile worthy of that kind of single-unit power a likely one-armed paperhanger's exercise.

For more unworkability in large form factor, see Bulleid's Leader, the functional near-but-not-quite-equivalent of an M7 tank engine...

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 18, 2018 10:34 AM

Plain fact of the matter was that C&O Turbine was an over-engineered nightmare, no-one could make it work, much less run it with any degree of skill.

N&W's "Jawn Henry" was a lot better, it did have it's bugs which could probably have been worked out, but since it didn't do the job much better than a Y6b, and no other railroads seemed interested in the concept, the N&W decided not to persue it. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, November 18, 2018 10:07 AM

BaltACD--- Thank you for your pics and historical background of B&O's limiteds! Reminds me the "battle" between the Cincinnatian of B&O; designed by Olive Dennis, and the broken dream of C&O and Robert R. Young's: The Chessie. Too bad that the C&O Turbine didn't work out. We can only imagine the result of the battle between the Cincinnatian (using heavyweight betterment cars) and the never happened Chessis (using brand new lightweight equipment). 

Dave and Johnny--- It's very generous of you to share your first-hand experiences of traveling on different railroads and equipment! Thanks for that!

 

Robert R. Young's unrestrained gambling (Note the unmodified front end)

B&O's wisdom.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:29 AM

My first heavyweight Pullnan ride was in a camp special attached to the State-of-Maine, Grand Central Terminal - Concord, NH. age 6, 1938.  My last was in Dovyer Colony around 1990, Seattke - New York, vi\ the Pioneer, Cal Zephyre, and Broadway, with meals and sightseeing in LV 353.  Last standard gauge non-special ride, Boston - NY, NYNH&H "Dollar Saver Sleeper, 1960.  Then Newfy Bullet narrow-gauge sleeper 1968 or 1969  with Maurie Kleibolt.

Ride qualitiy was never an issue anytime in any heavweight sleeper.  For the very smoothest lightweigiht sleeper ride, I would say the the IC's Panama in 1958 and 1959.   But some of the roughest in 1969!   Sante Fe always gave a smooth ride in any kind of equipment.  I did not have any problems sleeping on either the Broadway or the Century in their all-Pullman days.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 18, 2018 7:42 AM

B&O used heavyweight rebuilds for the Capitol Limited, National Limited, Royal Blue Limited and the Cincinnatian.

 

B&O purchased two lightweight train sets for the Abraham Lincoln and The Royal Blue.  The Abe operated on the B&O owned Alton between St. Louis and Chicago; the Royal Blue operated between Washington and Jersey City with connecting ferry/bus service to multiple locations in NYC.

Daniel Willard after first hand experience did not like the ride quality of the lightweight train set on the Royal Blue and had that train set sent to the Alton to pair with the Abe as the Ann Rutledge.  Thereafter, during Willard's reign, all B&O primere trains were 'streamlined' with heavyweight rebuilds, for both ride quality as well as economy.

After Willard's passing the B&O did order two lightweight streamlined train sets that included a low height dome car from Pullman Standard for the all coach Columbian between Washington and Chicago. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, November 18, 2018 3:15 AM

Miningman

Jones1945 declares: "When, where, and what equipment gave the smoothest ride?".

July 28, 1939, New York Penn Station, Best Pacific K4s + Rebuilt P70s coaches - The Trail Blazer Cool 

Also your admitted favourite railroad, train and equipment so I'm thinking a certain bias here!... but I could be wrong, maybe it was. 

 

No need to take my opinion too seriously on this topic, Miningman. Stick out tongue It was more like a wild guess than a declaration since I didn't even have a chance to ride on these legendary coaches and sleeper. But judging from the popularity of the train and the first-hand experience from Overmod (on a P70s with rebuilt trucks in the 1970s), rebuilt heavyweight coach like P70s should be good enough to provide a smooth ride, if not the smoothest. 

Your poster of Broadway Limited makes me rethink the different riding quality between lightweight and heavyweight coaches and sleepers. It reminds the story of B&O's decision of using heavyweight rebuilt cars for their premier train (I forgot which one) instead of their new lightweight cars. Maybe it was the reason why Pennsy kept using heavyweight sleepers on the General for a while after 1938. 

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, November 17, 2018 8:20 PM

My first experience in overnight travel outside the South had me going coach from Birmingham to Carbondale on the Seminole, thence to St. Louis on the IC, and up to Chicago in a parlor on the GM&O. I continued to Washington in a Slumbercoach on the B&O--and I went to sleep in Indiana and woke as we were leaving Cumberland. Having spent the first night sitting up in an IC coach, I was not at all surprised at my sleeping well the second night. this was in June of 1968.

I did sleep in NYC's version of Slumber coaches in 1969 and 1970- going from NYC to Detroit and going from  from Rensselaer to Chicago. Again, I slept well each time.

Johnny

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, November 17, 2018 8:00 PM

The Hi-Levels' immediate predecessors were Budd-built 48 seat coaches built in 1953.  Smooth riding with the incredible Heywood-Wakefield Sleepy Hollow seats.  In Amtrak's Heritage Fleet era whatever shop rebuilt them retained the seats and much of the interior design.  Still a good ride in 1990 on the Lake Shore.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Saturday, November 17, 2018 7:07 PM

Miningman
"The Water Level Route, You Can Sleep"....but could you??

Heck no.  I've never ridden a passenger train farther than 25 miles (50 round trip) on an excursion but I wouldn't be able to sleep.  Can't sleep on airplanes either, too exciting to be there!  Big Smile

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

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