Central Vermont ... Rememberances

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Central Vermont ... Rememberances
Posted by Miningman on Friday, December 14, 2018 9:25 AM

1976 letter to Railroad Magazine - Old Days on the CV I was delighted to read about the Central Vermont's three Pacifics in the June Information Booth because I grew up with the CV and my father fired and ran its 230's. I was actually standing among the people lined along the old cast-iron fence on Feb. 4, 1928, when the 232 posed for the photo you published. I was then 13 years old. It was a happy day for St. Albans, Vt., because this was the first train to run on the Northern Division after three months of reconstruction from the big flood of 1927. Among the dignitaries in the three-car train was Sir Henry Thornton, president of the Canadian National.

The flood damage had sent the CV into receivership. Prior to that CN had owned two-thirds of its stock, but the Central Vermont had been run pretty much by itself under the aegis of E.C. Smith, grandson of the founder. CV engines were painted in their own livery, which had no resemblance to the Canadian National's. They bore the name Central Vermont on the side of the cab, with the engine number in larger figures on the sides and rear of the tender and in small digits on the sand dome, all lettering and numerals being white. The engines were painted a solid black, except for light gray smokeboxes and the white-rimmed wheels. 

But to the dismay of onlookers, including myself, the 232 came down from the engine house and under the train shed painted - for the first time for any CV engine - in Canadian National livery. There were a gilded number on the side of the cab, a removable small number plate in white paint on the rear of the tender, no number at all on the sand dome, and the name Central Vermont in gilt enclosed in a titled rectangle on the tender. Engine and tender were now CN dark green and not black. 

Obviously, CN had taken over at last. Our own railroad had fallen beneath the November rains, but was rescued by the 5000 workers whom CN had put on the job for three months. And now CN was showing us, by imposing its own livery, who was the boss. On July 29, 1929, when Central Vermont Railway property was sold at public auction, the Canadian National acquired 100 percent of the stock as the only successful bidder. The line became the Central Vermont Railway, Inc. and the Smith family was out. 

So the photo you published brought back memories - those I have just related and those of my own CV job. I began working in St. Albans at age 12 as a messenger boy in the telegraph and dispatchers' office (shown in the photograph just behind the 232's smokebox). I continued working for CV through my high school years, also putting in a summer vacation from college on an extra gang, laying rail in the Green Mountains. That ended my rail career until I was appointed two years ago to the Amtrak board of directors.

There were actually four 230's, numbered 230-233 inclusive. But in the early 1920s or perhaps earlier, the 233 was in bad shape, needing a heavy overhaul. The Canadian National had a small 2-6-0, fresh from the shops, for which the CV decided to swap the 233 rather than spend the money on overhauling the Pacific. The new acquisition, the 2-6-0, was numbered 397. It was not a good swap

The CV leased five Pacifics from Canadian National and numbered them 234 through 238. They were slightly heavier than the 230-232, but the 238 was the original CV 233 back on her home rails until the arrival in 1927 of the 600-603, all 4-6-2's, enabled the company to send back the engines.

These details are vivid to me because in 1924 I used to take my father's dinner pail down to him at 6:10 a.m. when The Montrealer stopped in St. Albans. He was fireman on the train, which five leased engines handled regularly. Many a ride I had on the 230's from the enginehouse to the station as a reward for toting his dinner pail, as well as a cab ride with him from Montreal to St. Albans.

In 1945, an uncle let me run the 231 on the late night local passenger train, No. 304, from Bethel to White River Jct. Many years later, when my small sons and I were visiting St. Albans, I was permitted to run the Canadian National 6218 from the ash pit to the switch, 500 feet. The boys were amazed that I could possibly know how to run that big 4-8-4. Well, I had learned on the 230's when I was their age.

Joseph V. MacDonald

 

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, December 14, 2018 2:52 PM

Thanks, Miningman. I can't find much detail of Central Vermont Railroad's The Washingtonian; the train shared the same name with a B&O Train which also hauled by 4-6-2s. I got more results for The Montrealer. 

CV's 4-8-2s

https://sites.google.com/site/centralvermontrwylocomotives/home/background/2-6-0/m-2-8-0/n-2-8-0/2-10-4/switchers/4-4-0/4-6-0/4-6-2

A unique design of the smoke deflector.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:56 AM

Interesting shots of the 230 and 231.  With the front-end skirting and the smoke deflectors they look like a cross between the B&O's "Lord Baltimore" and German steamers.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 15, 2018 11:06 AM

Of course everything you see here is gone, including the famous and last of its kind Train shed because we like to tear things down. 

See also great thread ' St Albans train shed' starting Sept 12, 2014 right here on Classic fir great information

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, December 15, 2018 2:19 PM

As I understand it that classic old train station just to the right of the train shed still exists, but that 1860's train shed is certainly like the Old South from the 1860's,  "Gone With The Wind."

It's sad, but the fact is with railroading (or any other business) if something can't earn it's keep anymore  it doesn't hang around too long.  From what I've read the roof of the train shed was rotten and the railroad just didn't see any reason to replace it, so they tore the whole thing down.  And I'll bet they really had their hands full doing the demolition, the men who built that shed built it to last!

It would have been nice if they preserved the stabilized walls of the shed, you just don't see brickwork like that anymore, but what are you gonna do?

Hey, here in Richmond the old C&O (now CSX) Fulton yard still had the old coaling tower still standing until about 15 years ago, and then it was gone overnight.  Too bad, it was a nice monument to the steam era. Now you'd never even know it was there.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:42 PM

Miningman
Of course everything you see here is gone, including the famous and last of its kind Train shed because we like to tear things down. 

See also great thread ' St Albans train shed' starting Sept 12, 2014 right here on Classic fir great information

 

The train sheds would clearly be a impedement to today's size of freight cars.  Suspect the shed portals just barely clear Plate B cars, let alone anything larger.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:57 PM

Why on earth would you want to haul a freight car into a preserved building. There a a hundred other uses or just plain preservation as it was the last one in existence. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:43 PM

Firelock76

Interesting shots of the 230 and 231.  With the front-end skirting and the smoke deflectors they look like a cross between the B&O's "Lord Baltimore" and German steamers.

Agree. Their 4-8-2s built by ALCO had the same type of smoke deflectors as well:

 1937

 

https://sites.google.com/site/centralvermontrwylocomotives/

Ten years later. Was this type of pilot truck designed for engines with a low profile? They remind me of the trucks on MILW's F6s.

 https://www.steamlocomotive.com/locobase.php?country=USA&wheel=4-6-4&railroad=cmstpp#183

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:14 PM

CV's steam after 1927 was definitely CN in design.  CV's 4-8-2's shared their odd front trucks with CN's 6060, among others.

For those of us who watched CV stand out from the rest of New England railroads in the 1970s and 1980s there are a lot of fond memories of both black and red GPs and green and yellow RS11s, along with the "old scheme" S4 that switched White River Junction into the mid 1980s.  CV's willingness to take over and upgrade the Conn River line in 1987 probably saved both passenger and freight service in western NH and Vermont.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:03 PM

Does CN retain an iota of their former CV any longer or did they sell off the whole thing? Is the mainline still viable and doing well? 

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 16, 2018 1:47 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 16, 2018 2:04 AM

Mike to the rescue with the answer ^^^ see above 

Also this just for fun

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJG0K5Nd1AA

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 16, 2018 4:12 AM

Wow!

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 16, 2018 10:17 AM

Miningman

I'm beginning to think we could have a railroad "Poetry Corner", with the first instalment being some of these clips and radio sessions intercut with a reading of "The Lay of the Lost Traveller"...

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, December 16, 2018 11:24 AM

Since no-one else has said anything, I'm going to hazard a guess on why the outside bearing lead trucks on those locomotives.

Maybe for easier inspection and maintanance?  At any rate there's no reason I know of for one truck design to be any better than another, strictly builders and purchasers choice, although inside bearing lead trucks did seem to predominate. 

And that was a neat video.  Amazing, isn't it?  It doesn't matter if the train says "Pennsylvania" or "New York Central" or "Amtrak" on its sides, there's still something magic about  fast-flying passenger trains.

"The Lay Of The Lost Traveler."  There was something familiar about that, so I looked it up.  Well, I HAVE read it!  Maybe in one of Lucius Beebe's books.  But just in case anyone else hasn't, here it is...

http://centralvermontrailway.blogspot.com/2011/03/lay-of-lost-traveler.html

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, December 16, 2018 12:28 PM

East Alburgh is on a peninsula attached to Quebec and separated from Vermont and New York by water.  The border crossing, about a mile from East Alburgh itself, has some kind of electronic inspection setup next to a side road.  East Alburgh "station" near the bridge to Vermont has been a box car since at least the 1970s.

The Montrealer/Washingtonian used the St. Armand Sub north from Swanton to St. Jean until the late 1940s, when it was moved to the Rouses Point and Cantic subs.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 16, 2018 1:40 PM

Yes, it is sometimes referred to as an 'Enclave', separated from the main body of Lower 48, but it has 3 connecting road bridges so it is not entirely an Enclave. 

Mike thinks Balt sees a tunnel.

I think Balt saw a tunnel, and it was sort of a short wide tunnel, for passenger trains.
 
 
Interesting old b&w film with a great shot passing by the St Albans train shed right at the start. Also some mining scenes up in Schefferville, also CNR and MEC trains. 
 
St. Albans back in 'da day' ... trainshed top left.
 
 
Nice aerial pic. Note roundhouse above shed in photo.    
 
 
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 16, 2018 5:06 PM

Firelock76
I'm going to hazard a guess on why the outside bearing lead trucks on those locomotives. Maybe for easier inspection and maintanance? At any rate there's no reason I know of for one truck design to be any better than another, strictly builders and purchasers choice, although inside bearing lead trucks did seem to predominate.

Outside-bearing trucks have inherently better roll stability and generally have more room for lateral compliance devices.  They were usually thought of as being more optimal for high speed, but were heavier (and had a somewhat larger effective polar moment of inertia) than typical inside-bearing trucks.  To an extent this is also true for outside-bearing single-axle Bissel lead trucks vs. inside-bearing ones.

Actual tipover remains a consideration of gauge and load application height, so there is not a necessary advantage of outside- over inside-bearing trucks in that respect; my understanding is that a number of high-speed engines specifically used inside-bearing trucks with good suspension (e.g. Batz trucks) for the lower mass and polar moment of inertia.  As a particular note, the arguably fastest locomotives built in the United States (outside the T1s) were the Milwaukee As, with a short wheelbase and inside-bearing lead truck; whether they would be measurably more stable or 'ride better' at high speed if they had had an outside-bearing truck remains an open question.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:40 PM

Overmod states: " I'm beginning to think we could have a railroad "Poetry Corner", with the first instalment being some of these clips and radio sessions intercut with a reading of "The Lay of the Lost Traveller"...

Now that would be a project and a half. You first! Well worth it though.

Thanks for the poem Firelock and the mentioning of it by Overmod. Been years and years since I read that and it was a dim distant memory, now revived.

The poem puts you right there doesn't it? 

All those switching manouvers in Buffalo by the New York Central with over a hundred Pullman's, Diners and Coaches involving 30 trains , all late night and  in short order would be another good one, no radios though. Would have to use steam sounds switching, whistles, cars coupling and uncoupling and of course a new poem, involving our traveller who gets on the wrong car, or perhaps a switching error sends a car to Massena instead of Cleveland. In any case the woes of our traveller who wakes up somewhere not his destination. 

It must, simply must, have occurred. 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, December 16, 2018 7:29 PM

Thanks for the explanation Overmod!  Inside bearing vs. outside bearing, seems to me it amounts to "you pays your money and takes your choice,"  no right or wrong, whatever you feel works for you. I can dig it.

Kind of like something I'm more familiar with, bolt action rifles.  "Cock on opening" like a Mauser vs. "cock on closing" like an Enfield.  No right or wrong, just different.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, December 17, 2018 10:40 AM

Miningman
 Nice aerial pic. Note roundhouse above shed in photo.    
 
 

Very nice indeed! The roundhouse and the train shed looks like an ancient Greek theater and Ecclesia.

http://www.stalbansraid.com/2014/09/03/life-in-1864-industry-retail/

 

Again: "Welcome to the future " 

 

Overmod
Outside-bearing trucks have inherently better roll stability and generally have more room for lateral compliance devices.  They were usually thought of as being more optimal for high speed, but were heavier (and had a somewhat larger effective polar moment of inertia) than typical inside-bearing trucks.  To an extent, this is also true for outside-bearing single-axle Bissel lead trucks vs. inside-bearing ones.

Actual tipover remains a consideration of gauge and load application height, so there is not a necessary advantage of outside- over inside-bearing trucks in that respect; my understanding is that a number of high-speed engines specifically used inside-bearing trucks with good suspension (e.g. Batz trucks) for the lower mass and polar moment of inertia.  As a particular note, the arguably fastest locomotives built in the United States (outside the T1s) were the Milwaukee As, with a short wheelbase and inside-bearing lead truck; whether they would be measurably more stable or 'ride better' at high speed if they had had an outside-bearing truck remains an open question.

The PRR T1s used the outside bearing design which was not a traditional approach for Pennsy's express engines. I guess it was for easier daily maintenance?  But speaking of riding quality at high-speed, I won't forget PRR S1 and S2 which they used the unique 6-wheel outside bearing trucks with independent suspensions. IIRC, the crews and officials thought both of them had an extraordinary ride quality.  Coffee

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