Steam Locomotives On Troop Trains

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Steam Locomotives On Troop Trains
Posted by SPer on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 1:04 PM

Which steam locomotive- the 4-6-2 or 2-8-2- is strong enough to pull 20 troop passenger cars.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 6:57 PM

Most 2-8-2's would be able to.  And types that would usually be considered freight engines were used on troop trains, or on passenger trains on lines with steep grades or slower speed limits.  

As an example, the Canadian National troop train involved in the 1950 Canoe River crash was drawn by engine 3538, a S-2-a Mikado.  This was a 17 car train. 

I would be concerned about the 4-6-2's ability to start such a long train on curves or even gentle grades, or in wet weather, but there were some pretty capable Pacific designs so I won't say that it would be impossible.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by timz on Thursday, December 17, 2020 10:23 AM

On the level any 4-6-2 will maintain 40+ mph with 20 cars; a large one will do 60+. How easily will a small 4-6-2 start a 20-car train ... dunno about that. Dunno how rough it will be if they have to take slack.

Maybe 90-100 years ago Rwy Age mentioned a Frisco 4-6-2 pulling 50 passenger cars back to town after one or two trains had broken down. Don't recall where on the Frisco -- maybe it was all downhill.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 17, 2020 8:27 PM

timz
How easily will a small 4-6-2 start a 20-car train ... dunno about that.

There is an account in the Ball and Whitaker "Decade of the Trains" book about a SP 4-4-2 on a consist that I remember being characterized by more than 18 cars... which it successfully started and ran with.

Of course, there was a secret.  It had a trailing-truck booster.

The British were famous for demonstrating that a good 4-6-0 could run nearly any train a Pacific of roughly equal cylinder capacity and adhesive weight could.  It just had to work harder to do so.  (Admittedly, though, the locomotives there are restricted in some important respects by loading gage.)

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Posted by selector on Friday, December 18, 2020 1:46 AM

The question is one of those 'It depends...' questions.  Which of the two types, on what road, in what conditions?  Are the trailing cars in good order, loaded or light,  suffering from a lack of maintenance, is the starting position on a slight grade up or down, are the rails dry, has the engine recently been shopped, who's driving, what's the ruling grade...?  Those types of questions.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 18, 2020 12:51 PM

Interesting that a thread on RyPN has started taking up a discussion of the Myerstown Reading wreck, which involved a troop train pulled by a 2-8-2, just after WWII.

(Apparently not the cause, the Reading engine was of a class notorious for 'hobbyhorsing' at speed -- pitching up and down longitudinally.  You see this apparently 'fixed' between the wreck pictures, which show the air compressors on the side, and the 'as rebuilt' which has them on the pilot deck, and apparently a hefty lead weight to go with them, "to hold the front end down".)

I don't know if 'main trains' always had priority over other traffic on the railroad, but I can't recall anything explicitly stating otherwise.  There would certainly be an incentive to get the things over the road and off one's division ASAP... Wink  So the choice of engine would involve acceleration and grade characteristics, not just highest sustainable speed.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 20, 2020 4:19 AM

Also, what was available.

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