Bill Withuhn book

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Bill Withuhn book
Posted by LithoniaOperator on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 4:39 PM

I recently bought this extremely impressive, and very informative book by the late William Withuhn:

American Steam Locomotives: Design and Development, 1880–1960

I'd like to comment on the book, and I also have a question the book has spawned.

I am sure that this book will become an instant classic, and be revered in the future as a must-read, milepost scholarly work on steam. It's an epic accomplishment, no doubt, and a great addition to my library and probably yours, too.

But although I am enjoying it thoroughly, I must confess that quite a bit of it is Greek to me, as they say. There are many references to engineering and physics concepts that I just don't grasp. I am not a technical guy, and this is a technical book. I knew that going in, but it is much more technical in parts than I was expecting. (There is an entire chapter solely on the subject of counter-balancing driver wheels!) I would say that if you have an engineering or physics background, OR if you are a person who is technically-minded, OR if you are a person who is simply something of an expert on steam locomotives already, you won't have any problems.

However, if you are more like me, who is drawn more to the human and operations side, and the romance and "poetry" of railroading, you too might be left scratching your head at times.

I expected more of an introduction to how steam locomotives work, for the lay reader, and that isn't there to any real extent. So I have now ordered this book:

How a Steam Locomotive Works

(used, as it's out of print), to get me more up to speed. When it arrives, hopefully tomorrow, I will take a break from Withuhn, and devour it. It's only 96 pages. Interestingly, Withuhn wrote the intro for the Parker book. Then I'll re-join Bill.

With the above caveats, I heartily recommend the Withuhn book. Even when I don't get all the details and concepts of something, I still come away understanding the general gist of many things I had been totally unaware of beforehand. It's a very well written and edited book, IMO. And often quite fascinating.

Now the question. In passing he refers to three-cylinder steam locos. I can't get my head around that. Two cylinders on one side, one on the other???

There is a chapter on compounding, which I came to learn, is about using cylinders - two, or even sometimes three - in series, to maake use of otherwise-wasted steam. At first when I read "three cylinders," I thought he meant per side. And in fact, some such engines were built, apparently, although most compounding was done with two cylinders, usually two on each side; or with articulateds, four. In any event, even numbers. Symmetry.

But reading carefully, I don't think he was referring to an engine with triple cylinders on each side. I think he was referring to an engine with three cylinders, period.

If someone could explain this, I'd really like to understand this. I simply cannot picture such an engine. A link to a clear photo or illustration of a three-cylinder steam locomotive would be most appreciated!

Thanks!

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 5:02 PM

On three cylinders:

The two you're familiar with are still there, on the outside, and now we add a third, right in the middle between the frames.  It works on a crank let into the main driver axle (there are pictures in the Tornado repair thread, among many others available). 

Instead of the cranks being 'quartered' (set at 90 degrees or a right angle relative to each other) as on a standard double-acting two-cylinder engine, the three-cylinder engine sets the outside cranks and the inside crank at 120 degrees to each other (or effectively so, as the third cylinder is often raised slightly above the 'line' of the other two, for clearance) which promises to give more even torque (google "Swiss Drive" for some of the mechanics)

England had numerous four-cylinder locomotives ... inside the strictures of the British loading gage! -- and here you have two cylinders inside the frame and two outside.  A compound version of this is the de Glehn-du Bousquet arrangement, where the LP cylinders usually rode forward (driving on the leading coupled axle) and the HP cylinders were further back, out to the sides, driving on the second driver pair. 

In case this doesn't make your head hurt enough, there were tandem compounds (ATSF was notorious for them) which put the HP and LP on a common piston rod to a typical outside-rod arrangement -- even when designed for reasonable maintenance (a few of the ATSF engines actually had provision for a crane to lift cylinders up and swing them out at maintenance time!)  You can imagine the augment effects from this sort of thing.

American compounds could do some weird things.  Look at examples of the first kind of Vauclain compound, where the HP was coaxial with the LP on each side, one over the other, with the piston rods driving on a common crosshead.  (Usually the HP was on top, but this could be inverted for more ground clearance).  The fastest locomotive in the world in 1894 was built this way.  Meanwhile, the second kind of Vauclain compound, and the Cole compound and some other developments of the immediate pre-superheater period had all four cylinders in a line across the front, which could result in some very interesting arrangements to get the inside ones cranked onto a main driver axle while clearing the one in front.  (In some cases the rod was made in two bolt-together pieces; in some cases the leading axle was actually bent to clear the angle of the rods as the axles turned)

Finally there was Bulleid's Leader, which had three cylinders side-by-side inside the gage.  Naturally they were small, and had sleeve valves requiring a minimum of valve-gear width.  All three drove cranks in the 'middle' driver axle, and the axles before and behind were connected by Morse roller chains (in Bulleid's favorite oil-bath arrangement)

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 5:15 PM

On compounds:

Do NOT get into the lazy railfan habit of saying compounds 'use the steam twice'.  What they do is expand the steam in multiple stages, and thereby get the most expansive mechanical power out of the heat contained in the steam.

Instead of the usual 'optimization' of a simple engine, where admission is as close to boiler pressure as you can cost-effectively make it and exhaust is at as low a back pressure as you can get while making adequate draft, the compound picks a high admission and intermediate-exhaust pressure; the power from the HP cylinders is calculated and then produced as occurring over this stated pressure difference.

That means that the exhaust steam, gathered and 'flow-smoothed' somewhat via a receiver, is available as 'supply' (just as it would be from a lower-pressure boiler directly) at that admission pressure in the LP cylinders.  These normally exhaust to atmosphere with the usual considerations about back pressure and condensation, and the usual ghastly saturated-steam inefficiencies that characterized pre-superheater operation.  Some people tried to reheat the intermediate steam, to introduce some 'resuperheat' into the LP steam to match the effect of regular superheat on the HP steam.  This generally didn't work too well.  (N&W probably came closest in this country, with an arrangement that used live steam to reheat the HP exhaust very slightly (I think on the order of about 5 degrees of effective superheat) to cut some of the losses in the LP cylinders as well as providing some pressure boost.)  See the Chapelon 160 A1 boiler for perhaps the best place to put an IP reheat arrangement, and proportion it.

You could, with money enough and time, do multiple expansion on a locomotive.  The last of the D&H compound drag locomotives was this: triple-expansion from something around 450psi throttle pressure, four cylinders (at the corners of the driver wheelbase!) and remarkably efficient operation... at about 5mph.  Nifty for Red Edge firing while operating a long, long string of anthracite hoppers, but perhaps not the best for making actual ton-miles with expensively engineered and complicated equipment.  (Compare the four-cylinder replacement class, which were Challengers ...)

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 5:46 PM

Thanks, Overmod!

A crank in the axle, and a cyinder hidden underneath the smokebox! Why didn't I think of that? Surprise

I believe there is an illustration in the book of a Glehn-design loco with the LP clylinders aft, behind the drivers, with the main rod extending forward to one wheel set, and the HP cylinders in the normal spot forward, connected to a different set. And I think that engine was not articulated, maybe only had 4-6 drivers total. I don't have the book right here.

One really cool engine shown is a 2-8-8-8-2 with the aft set of drivers under the tender!

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 5:51 PM

On the 3-cyl engines, did the middle cylinder connect only to the main driver, or was there a connecting rod to other axles?

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 6:04 PM

Thank you LithoniaOperator for the book recommendation and Overmod's thorough explanation.  

The LMS Coronation Class is one of the examples of the 4 cylinder steam engine, which was the most powerful streamlined engine in the UK at the time. This class had only 40,000 lbf tractive effort, which was 11.15% less than the PRR K4s. 

http://wondersofworldengineering.com/streamlined-expresses.html

The following video is a 3D animation simulate the mechanism of GWR King Class steam locomotive, another 4 cylinder locomotive in the UK:

Perspective view of Union Pacific 9000 series, a 3 cylinder engine by Alco:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/522314595/union-pacific-4-12-2-type-3-cylinder

 "A driver set from a 3 cylinder locomotive"

Not sure if this is the driver of UP-9000 series...

 Coffee Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 8:51 PM

Thanks so much, Jones1945. That's all quite interesting. I've learned a lot today. That final photo confirms my suspicion that there probably were no rods to other drivers. Two more cranks would be required, I would think, for balance, and that sure would get tight in there. Although I guess if you offset the middle cylinder and its main rod a bit, then you could use one only one side rod and achieve balance. ??? I wonder if that was ever tried. I can't tell if UP 9000 has a "middle side" rod, but I am guessing not. The middle cylinder is indirectly connected to other drivers already, via the normal side rods. Was that engine actually ever built, or was it just a an idea?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 9:41 PM

UP 9000 was built all right, the first of a series of three-cylinder 4-12-2's the Union Pacific purchased from ALCO. In the 1920's ALCO was very enthusiastic about three cylinder locomotives and pushed them hard, but most, if not all railroads were less than enthusiastic about them, to say the least.  The UP 9000's were the most successful American adaptation of the three cylinder concept, but in the end the UP didn't bother with any more three cylinder engines.  

UP 9000 survives today in the county park that UP 4014 was removed from.  

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 11:06 PM

Overmod

You could, with money enough and time, do multiple expansion on a locomotive.  The last of the D&H compound drag locomotives was this: triple-expansion from something around 450psi throttle pressure, four cylinders (at the corners of the driver wheelbase!) and remarkably efficient operation... at about 5mph.  Nifty for Red Edge firing while operating a long, long string of anthracite hoppers, but perhaps not the best for making actual ton-miles with expensively engineered and complicated equipment.  (Compare the four-cylinder replacement class, which were Challengers ...)

Ah, the D&H 1403, named L.F. Loree as one of the subjects in the last installment of "Consolidations, Inc" which appeared in the June 1967 issue of Trains. Also famous for being the only steam locomotive built in 1933. High pressure cylinder was under one side of the cab, medium pressure was under other side of the cab and the two low pressure cylinders were up front.

Boiler ws rated for 500psi, along with the 1402, with 400psi on the 1401 and 350psi on the 1400. Not sure what the 1403 was capable when "steam was used extensively", but the 1402 was held back by a merchandise train while climbing a hill, while the 1402 was hauling a coal drag.

With regards to the book, my copy should arrive Saturday and am looking forward to it.

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Thursday, April 04, 2019 5:13 AM

It turns out that my above “remembered” (not) description of a locomotive pictured in the book was really a conflation of two or three engines, and not a Glehl design . . .

Sorry. The jury will disregard that remark.

BUT, there are lots and lots of photos and illustrations of really fascinating engines. Great book.

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Posted by BigJim on Thursday, April 04, 2019 7:53 AM

LithoniaOperator

On the 3-cyl engines, did the middle cylinder connect only to the main driver, or was there a connecting rod to other axles?

 

If you look closely at the drawing you will see that, in this case, the middle cylinder is connected to the driver ahead of the main driver.

.

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Thursday, April 04, 2019 8:41 AM

Thanks, BigJim.

Unfortunately, I just don't have a good enough eye for such drawings that I'm sure I can discern that. By looking at photos elsewhere, I can see that the outer (regular) main rods connect to the third set of drivers; so you are saying that the middle main rod connects to the second set, right?

Are there "side rods" in the middle that connect other axles to that second one?

One thing that strikes me, from the front-view blueprint earlier in this thread, is how high the middle cylinder is. That surprised me. In the drawing above, I think I can see a rod coming down at the correct angle, but I lose it once we get to the front of the first driver. But I think I may see the crank and pin (if those are the right terms) on the second axle, in dotted lines, with the connection-point facing to about 10:00 o'clock. Is that correct?

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 04, 2019 9:45 AM

LithoniaOperator
One really cool engine shown is a 2-8-8-8-2 with the aft set of drivers under the tender!

If you can find a copy of Fryer's book on experimental British steam, he goes in some detail into the question of 'motor tenders'.  The Triplexes (and Henderson's proposed 'too many legs and not enough steam' Quadruplexes and Quintruplexes actually fall in this category (as do the Southern's experiments) -- if you think of them as 'tenders with a steam-locomotive's engine underneath' instead of a long chassis carrying coal and water on its rear part (as in, for example, a Beyer-Garratt) you will understand what's going on a bit better.

The situation is a bit complicated on the 'built' Triplexes because of the (frankly, rather sensibly derived) arrangement of compounding.  Ideally a given high-pressure cylinder (at reasonable American boiler pressure) "wants" to feed somewhere between 2.3 and 2.7 times the low-pressure cylinder volume to equalize contribution to tractive effort.  The Triplexes had all common-diameter cylinders, with one HP feeding the compound cylinders 'in front' and the other the cylinders on the tender engine.  Only the residual exhaust pressure on the forward engine contributed to draft (!), the LP tender engine exhausting through an escape-pipe at the rear (there are reasons why it was not blown down to heat the tender water, as you might think would be a good use of that otherwise-'wasted' heat and water mass).

Strangely, lack of draft on the fire does not seem to have been an issue with them; operation at necessary long cutoff with inadequate boiler size was the real problem.  A major issue was that, in this era, the contribution of radiant heating to boiler effectiveness wasn't that well-realized (the theory still being more that the water around the firespace was 'renewable insulation' and the steam mostly generated by the tubes and flues). 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 04, 2019 10:16 AM

LithoniaOperator
On the 3-cyl engines, did the middle cylinder connect only to the main driver, or was there a connecting rod to other axles?

On almost all multiple-cylinder locomotives, the inside cylinder(s) only connected to ONE driver pair.  A range of good reasons accounts for this, starting with recognition that even one crank in a driver axle may significantly weaken it (or require very stout additional structure).  In general, American practice went toward keeping rod bearings outside where they could be easily inspected, and this is one reason why the late American four-cylinder locomotives, in the era that divided-drive began to become essential for high-power reciprocating locomotives, were duplexes (and standard 90-degree quartered DA duplexes without inside cylinders, at that!)

I think it has been noted that you do NOT have to have all three or four cranks on one axle; the de Glehn-du Bousquet locomotives, one of the most successful approaches to compounding in the world, specifically divided the drive with the inside cylinders driving on the lead coupled axle and the outside ones on the second.  (There is no formal reason why a locomotive needing to preserve good rod angularity couldn't divide the drive between the first and third axle, or even the second and third, the idea being to minimize weakening or other compromise of working strength while preserving adequate access for maintenance)

You wouldn't get an inside rod 'forward' from a cranked axle without at least one other crank throw, and a matching offset crank on the leading axle(s).  It makes far more sense to increase the strength of the side rods slightly to take the additional thrust of the third cylinder, which is the method used on the UP Nines (and the Baldwin 60000 'compound equivalent' 4-10-2 preserved in Philadelphia) and by far the preferred solution in the post-1928 era of lightweight and stronger rod materials and fabrication.

Likewise, any arrangement to take a 'third rod' back to the following driver pairs would involve expensive cranks.  Here you could 'technically' use a method like fork-and-blade (with removable caps or straps at the back of the main and the front of the inside coupling rod) but this would significantly weaken the most vulnerable part of a three-cylinder engine, the rear of the inside big end, and make for interesting stress management in forging, machining, and maintaining the inside main rod.  I won't go into the shenanigans that would be associated with providing good roller bearings either on cranked axles (it's no fun!) or on split-cap rods (it's far less than no fun!)

Of course there is a famous theoretical (and with no disrespect meant to Mr. Withuhn, best left theoretical) example of inside conjugating rods on a locomotive with four outside cylinders.  That is the ACE 3000 implementation of the Withuhn conjugated duplex principle, which uses a pair (!) of appropriately-phased inside rods between the two mains (!!) of a small* 4-8-4-sized chassis instead of the outside rods a 4-8-4 would usually have between the main and third driver pairs.  Somewhat amusingly, the patent discussion (which is very specific in some other respects) gets all handwavy when it comes to showing the structure that would support the two cranked mains in the actual locomotive -- all we get is the next worse thing to a stick drawing, showing the geometry in a frame about as sophisticated as the one on an 1850s 4-4-0.  What would actually be required to provide effective inside-rod conjugation in that area is not very pretty even before you start having to account for suspension action ... and then cross-level accommodation. 

There are ways around this, and some of them are surprisingly early: several attempts to use gears to get around the 'rod problem' go back right to the earliest days of practical steam locomotives (and, in fact, this kind of approach factors definitively into most of the designs at the Semmering trials).  Riley Deem (of Lima) rather famously if somewhat mysteriously designed geared conjugation for the Q2 locomotive, and while I have not yet seen specifically what he intended, it is relatively easy to assure the necessary mechanics to give all the benefits of the inside conjugating rods with few, if any, of the drawbacks.

Bulleid's Leader, which we have already brought up in a different context, had a three-cylinder crank and a sprocket to drive the valve gear, on the center axle in each power truck, and there was no room for inside rods even had someone wanted to fit them.  Outside rods would have worked, albeit crudely. but Bulleid rather sensibly proposed outside roller chains on sprockets.  The problem was that he needed sprockets on each end of the leading and following axles, and that meant four sprockets abreast (two each side) plus the width of the oil-bath enclosure around them, outside the roller bearings and hub liners and all in the sideframes, to fit inside the stringencies of the British loading gage.  The consensus was there was only room for one chain each side, but the suspension didn't much care for that (and neither do I); if you had to run much more horsepower than that of an elderly tank engine through that arrangement it would not end well.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 04, 2019 10:29 AM

Jones1945

Something that has not been brought up explicitly with respect to these multiple-cylinder engines -- but that ought to be -- is the arrangement of valve gear to run those internal cylinders.  We have just had an interesting failure involving one such, on the replica British locomotive Tornado.

Note in the above pictures of the Nine there is no room for inside valve gear to work the center cylinder's valve 'from the rear'.  What's used instead is Gresley's adaptation of Holcroft's 'conjugated' valve gear, which uses a combination of levers to derive valve motion from the two 'conventional' gears on both sides of the engine.  There are some practical issues with doing this and maintaining it long-term, but it should be recognized and remembered that the official world-record speed was reached on a locomotive using this arrangement.

Later, some Nines used an alternative arrangement which was a full third set of valve gear mounted behind the regular arrangement on one side, with a long rod and crank arrangement to reach the center-cylinder valve location.  You can get some idea of the maintenance issues with the Gresley gear from the UP having adopted this somewhat extreme expedient.  Other locomotives, notably in Poland, use the same general approach.

Note the conjugated valve-drive arrangement in the YouTube clip for the four-cylinder locomotive in Jones1945's post.  This is technically simpler in not requiring the 2:1 lever-in-a-lever arrangement. 

Australians came up with what they perceived as a nifty way to get around the whip and bearing-wear issues with Gresley timing: they modified the geometry to work with shafts in torsion.  All would have been well if they had used shafts that were adequate in torque stiffness... for example, using a large-diameter relatively thin-walled hollow shaft... but this nicety escaped them, the shafts they used whipped as badly or perhaps worse than Gresley gear at high speed and load, and the diseasels came, etc. etc. etc.

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, April 05, 2019 12:17 AM

Overmod

 

 
Jones1945

 

 

Something that has not been brought up explicitly with respect to these multiple-cylinder engines -- but that ought to be -- is the arrangement of valve gear to run those internal cylinders.  We have just had an interesting failure involving one such, on the replica British locomotive Tornado.

Note in the above pictures of the Nine there is no room for inside valve gear to work the center cylinder's valve 'from the rear'.  What's used instead is Gresley's adaptation of Holcroft's 'conjugated' valve gear, which uses a combination of levers to derive valve motion from the two 'conventional' gears on both sides of the engine.  There are some practical issues with doing this and maintaining it long-term, but it should be recognized and remembered that the official world-record speed was reached on a locomotive using this arrangement.

Later, some Nines used an alternative arrangement which was a full third set of valve gear mounted behind the regular arrangement on one side, with a long rod and crank arrangement to reach the center-cylinder valve location.  You can get some idea of the maintenance issues with the Gresley gear from the UP having adopted this somewhat extreme expedient.  Other locomotives, notably in Poland, use the same general approach.

Note the conjugated valve-drive arrangement in the YouTube clip for the four-cylinder locomotive in Jones1945's post.  This is technically simpler in not requiring the 2:1 lever-in-a-lever arrangement...

Thanks a lot, Overmod. The following video is a 3D demonstration of 3 Cylinder Locomotive: Union Pacific series 9000, it renders how the "conjugated valve gear" works and the rod connecting the middle cylinder to the driver. For the "double Walschaerts" valve gear, it doesn't show much of it. The 3D model is a railfan-made model from more than 10 years ago so the smoke effect doesn't work anymore.

It is an unlisted video, please tell me if it doesn't work. Thanks a lot.

Regarding the new book by William Withuhn, Pennsy fan will find a new-old pic of the de-streamlined PRR S1 #6100 posing for a publicity photo after her second overhaul. Preview is available on Google Books.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Friday, April 05, 2019 1:09 AM

My copy arrived in the mail today, been too busy reading to do much posting.

Update: It's a good read, and brings back memories of my earliest reading about steam locomotives, particularly the June 1967 article on the D&H high pressure compaounds and the June(?) 1968 article on the "Big Engines", with Withuhn's book explaining the math behind the '68 article. One interesting tibbit was learning that D&H 1403 was credited with a 10.5 to 12% thermal efficiency.

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, April 05, 2019 9:18 AM

Overmod
You can get some idea of the maintenance issues with the Gresley gear from the UP having adopted this somewhat extreme expedient.

"Like having an expensive mistress at every division point!"

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 05, 2019 9:36 AM

rcdrye
"Like having an expensive mistress at every division point!"

Famously said of the Southern Pacific "three barrels of monkeys" (alright, it was actually a little different) 4-10-2s...

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, April 09, 2019 11:25 PM

The chapter on the T-1 and poppet valves may toke the fires about the T-1's top speed. Withuhn states that Franklin was wondering why the poppet valves were breaking on the T-1's, when a similar installation was rock solid on the K-4. He went on to state that the valves were breaking on a specific division, so they had a "mystery rider" on the trains with a stopwatch to time the milemarkers. The reports were that trains were often exceeding 120mph and on rare occasion would approach 140mph.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, April 09, 2019 11:52 PM

Overmod
rcdrye
"Like having an expensive mistress at every division point!"

Famously said of the Southern Pacific "three barrels of monkeys" (alright, it was actually a little different) 4-10-2s...

I recall reading a story somewhere that one of the SP shops had a mechanic who also happened to be a terrible alcoholic, this fellow would regularly miss work or cause other problems.

But they kept him on the payroll because he could properly set the valve timing on the three-cylinder locomotives, which no one else seemed to be able to do.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:55 AM

Erik_Mag
The reports were that trains were often exceeding 120mph and on rare occasion would approach 140mph.

This keeps coming up.  And being disproved, I think.  The story originates, I think, with Vernon Smith, but it has acquired the verisimilitude of 'timing with a stopwatch' to get around the perceived speedometer problems (T1 speedometers only went to 100mph, a somew)hat surprising oversight considering the locomotive's intended speeds, but perhaps squarely in the domain of 'plausible denial'.)

Likely what you have is an artifact of high-speed slipping, producing (perhaps little more than momentary) rotational speeds affecting the valve gear equivalent to 140mph or greater.  Since the T1s were not equipped, even in testing, with something like Valve Pilot, and the Jones-Motrola speedometer worked only off one 'engine,' this effect would have been easy to miss in service, but it sure isn't difficult to predict once you understand how easy it is to momentarily unload one engine of an unconjugated four-coupled duplex...

Incidentally, the short-term solution was to modify the return springing, with the effect of debouncing the valves at some critical speeds in the range, and the longer-term solution from 1948 (only partially implemented) was to improve the metallurgy of the valves, including centrifugal casting.  No particular reason I can see why this wouldn't have fixed the issue satisfactorily...

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Posted by LithoniaOperator on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 7:37 AM

SD70Dude

 

 
Overmod
rcdrye
"Like having an expensive mistress at every division point!"

Famously said of the Southern Pacific "three barrels of monkeys" (alright, it was actually a little different) 4-10-2s...

 

 

I recall reading a story somewhere that one of the SP shops had a mechanic who also happened to be a terrible alcoholic, this fellow would regularly miss work or cause other problems.

But they kept him on the payroll because he could properly set the valve timing on the three-cylinder locomotives, which no one else seemed to be able to do.

 

 
Helps to have even the mechanic be well-lubricated?
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 8:27 AM

For what it's worth...

In his book on North American steam the late George Drury said the problem with poppet valves was they came along just a little too late for American steam designers to master them.  And, by the the time poppet valves arrived on the scene the steam era was coming to a close anyway.

Certainly Drury's book is a very general overview, but maybe there's something to this?  

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 9:28 AM

Flintlock76
Certainly Drury's book is a very general overview, but maybe there's something to this?

The problem really is that poppet valves contributed too little, too late, with too many late-breaking problems to matter in North America.  Their advantages, for the relatively high price and added complexities, came in two general areas: a meaningful saving on water rate and fuel consumption, and much higher 'volumetric efficiency' at higher cyclic rpm (for the T1, above 90mph or so) than the best equivalent piston-valve equivalent.

Neither of these mattered after 1948 or so, and even as late as 1952, a "superior" installation (on ATSF 3752, as good a testbed as you likely could find) didn't make any damn difference. 

There is a bit more in the picture, too: the RC shifting-cam system in type C was something of a maintenance disaster waiting to happen: an expensive ground continuous-contour camshaft using spherical roller followers was sure to start grooving and preferential wear around the 'favorite' cutoff positions.  NYC thought so little of the observed saving from a type A installation specifically optimized for fuel and water consumption that it took the very expensive engine out of service long before the comparable 'sisters', by 1950 if I recall correctly, and most importantly didn't apparently even consider modifying to RC despite PRR having done all the heavy lifting on the "B-2" package that would have been required.

 

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  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 2:25 PM

LithoniaOperator
I recently bought this extremely impressive, and very informative book by the late William Withuhn:

I purchased a copy shortly after publication as well. Definitely a worthwhile investment Yes

Google has a suprising number of pages for "review" here:

https://tinyurl.com/y4zrupct

For those who may be "on the fence" about buying the book.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 9:16 PM

As a companion book, recommend M.N. Forney, Catechism of the Locomotive, revised 1890 edition. What I like about Mr. Forney's book is the first 40 pages is devoted to getting you up to speed on the concepts and formulas used in his book. Along with others such as force and motion, principles of the lever, and the forces of air and steam. O, and a 14 page deep dive into work, energy and the mechanical equivalent of heat. After the basics, he gets into the steam engine. The book is written in a Q&A format. Example Q # 85 "What is the motive power employed in ordinary steam engines?" Answer "The expansive force of steam." If you have been paying attention, M.N. Forney happen to build steam locomotives as a side gig to his writting. So, folks that is your lesson on steam. Read chapter XVI, the valve-gear and pay attention on question 359, how is motion of either eccentric communicated to the vale? There be a quiz on link motion next class.

Tags: Forney
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Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:58 PM

Overmod

 Likely what you have is an artifact of high-speed slipping, producing (perhaps little more than momentary) rotational speeds affecting the valve gear equivalent to 140mph or greater.  Since the T1s were not equipped, even in testing, with something like Valve Pilot, and the Jones-Motrola speedometer worked only off one 'engine,' this effect would have been easy to miss in service, but it sure isn't difficult to predict once you understand how easy it is to momentarily unload one engine of an unconjugated four-coupled duplex...

The reports of 120mph (and higher) speeds could well be some sort of CYA by Franklin. A perhaps related issue, I remember reading about problems with high speed slip with the FM C-Liners, which led to commutator flashing on the Westinghouse electrcal gear. IIRC, the C-Liners were slipping on NYC track in Indiana, although that may have been in a different part of the state as to where the T-1's were slipping.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:39 AM

seppburgh2
As a companion book, recommend M.N. Forney, Catechism of the Locomotive, revised 1890 edition.

1891 edition available for download or online reading, here:

https://books.google.com/books/about/Catechism_of_the_Locomotive.html?id=jBk9JFrrT50C

 

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:25 PM
Wow, there is a 3rd edition. Thanks for the link. Again, Mr. Forney starts off giving the background basics for an understanding the rest of the book. Yes, all those algebra formulas the nun's couldn't bound into my head in high school are there thanks to a forward thinker from over a century ago.

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