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Locomotives for branch line service 1940s

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Locomotives for branch line service 1940s
Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, January 25, 2021 3:20 PM

I'm having a difficult time choosing steam locomotives for my fictional branch line after the war 1946. I could push it back to the early 40s. 

I acquire a (Bachmann) Chesapeake and Ohio 2-8-0 for the local freight but having problems with a passenger train. I thought of modern American, Pacific, Mogul or maybe a ten wheeler. The train was going to be short Baggage-RPO and 3 coaches. I couldn't decide a plain baggage or rpo so to save confusion just go with combination.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, January 25, 2021 3:58 PM

 Are you modeling a fictional short line, or a fictional branch of some major Class 1 railroad? It matters... A 4-4-0 is probably obsolete for all but the mose backwoodsy of backwoods branches (and then they probably wouldn't have that Consol for freights), and a Pacific would be too fancy for all but the higher traffic branches of a bigger railroad. 

 ON a branch, using a baggage/RPO combine makes sense, there's unlikely to be enough mail traffic to warrant a full RPO.

                                      --Randy

 

 


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Posted by wjstix on Monday, January 25, 2021 4:17 PM

I'd go with a 4-6-0, like the Bachmann "high driver" engine, although if it's a lightly built branchline a 'modern' 4-4-0 would work. In 1946 many railroads were still primarily using steam on mainline trains - often while on a waiting list to get new diesels - so a 4-6-2 would probably still be on mainline passenger trains. A 2-6-0 Mogul would be unlikely as a passenger engine, even on a branch, but anything is possible.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, January 25, 2021 4:19 PM

It will be a fictional branch line off a Class I railroad. The original idea was based on NYC, reusing the same equipment within that timeframe. That I have.

The other idea was to use 0-6-0 switch tender engine as a yard goat.

 

Yeah I was questioning the idea with the pacific, since I knew the Mountain, Northerns were main line service.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 8:52 AM

angelob6660
Yeah I was questioning the idea with the pacific, since I knew the Mountain, Northerns were main line service.

It's a matter of time frame. A 4-6-2 bought new in 1913 would be used on the railroads top passenger trains, replacing older 4-6-0 or 4-4-2 engines.

By the early 1930's larger engines like Mountains and Northerns would be used on the top trains, engines strong enough to pull the heavyweight steel cars that had replaced the older, lighter wood cars. The Pacific would be moved down to pulling other mainline trains like less glamourous passenger trains, or mail and express trains.

By the early 1950's, the railroad's top passenger trains would be using diesels, and the 4-8-2 and 4-8-4 engines would be handling lesser mainline trains, so the Pacific might be used on branchline passenger trains, or even the occasional freight train, in it's last years before retirement.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 9:32 AM

 There are always exceptions of course - which was why which mainline Class 1 this is a branch of is kind of important - you can reasearch that class 1 and see when they disposed of certain older locos of the type you might want to run - and since you are doing a fictional branchline, then you can easily say instead of scrapping 15 old Pacifics, they scrapped 14 and one was sent to the branchline.

 For a different perspective, Reading buiilt their G3 Pacifics new in 1948, and within a few years they were relegated to duty on the shared Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. The bigger railroads, with bigger and heavier passenger trains to haul, outgrew the Pacific for mainline trains much earlier.

                                        --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by Backshop on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 9:50 AM

The NYC (CASO) used a couple of Tenwheelers until the mid 1950's in southwestern Ontario.

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Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 9:56 AM

Dont forget very early diesels were relagated to light shortline service because the railroads did not trust the new tech to be reliable enough for mainline service

So a box cab  or whitcomb 65t  or emc sw1  could be spotted there

 

how well maintained is the branch?  That effects what steam is sent down the line?   Bridge wieght limits as well.    Even though a pacific could be used, two ten wheelers might have to be used because of gauge and bridge loadings limits

shane

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 10:00 AM

Your own layout should also be considered. For example, if you intend to pull four 60' coaches, a 4-4-0 might have a tough time pulling that load if you have some grades. And I suppose you are not considering heavyweight equipment... That would look funny with a 4-4-0. I would argue that a small branchline would probably have two passenger cars per route, with maybe a few freight cars from time to time. In that scenario, a 4-4-0 or a 4-6-0 would work. I've seen pictures of that in Canada as late as the 50's... A Pacific would be an overkill. But hey, it's your railroad. And moguls did do passenger service, but earlier in the 19th century if memory serves.

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Posted by ndbprr on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 10:58 AM

If your train originates at a city on the mainline and runs a distance on the main it may require a beefier engine like a 4-6-2 to maintain mainline speeds.  PRR used 4-4-2and 4-6-0 engines in Michigan in addition to 4-6-2s

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 11:02 AM

Backshop

The NYC (CASO) used a couple of Tenwheelers until the mid 1950's in southwestern Ontario.

 
Yeah, Bachmann's version of a 10-Wheeler could have been turned into pretty good representations of those CASO locomotives, although I opted to modernise both of mine, using the Bachmann mechanism, but replacing the boilers with modified cast metal ones from Varney. 
I removed the Varney cabs, replacing them with surplus cabs from Bachmann Consolidations.  I used the tenders from the Bachmann 10-Wheelers, but sliced them-up to make them both shorter and a bit narrower, as they were wider than the cabs (both the original Bachmann cabs and the replacement ones).  I also modified the valve & piston castings from the original slide valve configuration to to a more modern type...
(the photos should enlarge if clicked-upon)
 
 
 
Here's one of the finished versions...
 
 
...but you can also view the re-building process HERE if you'd like to try modernising one for yourself.

Bowser still has a few ex-Varney 10 Wheeler boiler castings on-hand, but once they're gone, train shows or online sales will be the only source for them. You can find them at Bowser's Toy Train Heaven site, under the Bowser "Fire Sale" category.

I also would suggest Bachmann's Mogul for consideration for a passenger loco, as it's a more modern style and could be used with little-or-no alterations, although painting the sides of the cab and tender in colours matching those of your passenger cars could turn it into a pretty-classy looking loco for your branchline.
I used that technique to enhance this modified Bowser K-11 Pacific as a passenger loco...
 
 
...although it'll soon be undergoing some modifications to better represent a prototype that I recall from my early childhood.
 
Wayne
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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 11:13 AM

Sometimes the condition of the branchline (the track itself, a particular bridge, the curves) dictates the power.  The Wabash had some trackage over a weak old bridge that kept some pretty antique 2-6-0s on the roster well into the early diesel era.  The Milwaukee Road kept some 2-6-2s on their roster into the 1950s because of the light trackage on some branchlines.  Even in the diesel age, the Milwaukee Road had a branch where the only engine light enough was the EMD SW1 switcher, but they needed more power than that (600 hp) so they got some SW1 with M.U. capability.  The main concern was axle load.  

Similarly the passenger service on some branch lines made the choice of locomotive more or less academic.  There was no need to think of high driver 4-6-2 or 4-6-0 because there was no use for speed anyway.  Some lowly freight locomotives got equipped with steam heat lines as a result.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 12:46 PM

I have done research on the prototype for the railroad it was going to be. Americans scrapped 1934. 2-8-0 torched between 1949-52. 4-6-0 up until 1951/52. 4-6-2 continue until the end 1953/54. 

 

This is a pure steam layout with no diesels. If I was going flesh it out more it would have S1, NW2, FT, and E7s. 

 

I believe it would be a well maintained branch. Since I have a 7 inch grinder bridge for a river or road underneath. As for grades I'm not really sure maybe a small hill but nothing you will see. 

 

The passenger cars will be 4 heavyweight cars 1 RPO/Baggage 3 coaches decorated in Pullman green and One or two in medium grey to hide their railroad from Japanese/German attackers. 

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 1:21 PM

NYC was notoroious for keeping a couple of light (e.g. relatively early) locomotives around on lines with track or bridge restrictions well into dieselization, as a matter of comparative necessity.  The problem you have is that C&O was notorious for heavy axle loadings on its power, so your 'acquired' 2-8-0 might be decidedly false economy "in the real world".

The likeliest thing is going to be one of the NYC Pacifics that were put out to pasture when the Limas and Baldwins came for commuter service north and west of NYC in the '50s.  Those may have been reasonably well-maintained compared to other forms of light power.  IIRC the ones on the Putnam division were K-11s or similar; I don't remember what mix the West Shore used...

The Canadians built modern 4-6-0s into the 1930s (there is a good example at NH&I in pieces!) but this is neither a small engine nor particularly inexpensive to run (it would have many of the expensive mod cons starting to be 'no longer manufactured' in the '50s).  It might be great if Rapido got off their duffs and produced a few classes of these, as advertised... but they may be out of the price range when they arrive.  Incidentally I believe the last 4-4-0 built new in the United States came in 1928, and it was thoroughly modern in design and construction for a light-service engine...

The secret weapon is found over on SP, which achieved astounding and somewhat-unexpected results from an elderly (I believe 81"-drivered!) Atlantic which was retrofitted with a Delta trailing truck with a booster.  This could start any train a 4-6-0 could, then go on to achieve any speed the trackwork would take without particularly stressing it either vertically or laterally at lower speeds, or in fine Golsdorf fashion achieving particularly high machinery speeds requiring better lubrication.  If you have the Don Ball and "Frimbo" book on the 40's ('Decade of the Trains') you can read about one eye-opening performance this produced...

... the problem being that the age of the 4-4-2, splendid as it was on NYC, was also very short, as Pacifics became a better solution in less than a decade, and Alco in particular with Cole et al. produced very successful and classic Pacifics*.  (And what that started, the USRA essentially finished.)  So unless you get someone else's Atlantic, and PRR's surviving E6s would be essentially as heavy in rail loading per axle and top-heavy as any Pacific for this service, you're left with the above.

Bowser made a fine early 4-6-2 (IIRC it was billed as a K-11?) and that would be a fine starting place for a model.  (Of course I'd be tempted to add that if you put a Delta trailer in place of the composite on that locomotive, with a booster, it would do all the work of your 2-8-0 and then some... with one class. Devil)

 

*Note how carefully I leave the K-28 out of this discussion in this context -- consider it what it is relative to the E6 design for why...)

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Posted by angelob6660 on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 1:22 PM

Well done Wayne that was very impressive work. The patience on two scratch built locomotives with a free time is outstanding. 

I know my skills aren't up on the task of detailing and customizing locomotive.

First I need to paint and decal my single sheathed boxcar for GNRC (now GNOR renamed) this reporting mark lasted in the early 50s. Before being discontinued.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 1:31 PM

The only books I have is MRR Freight car of the '40s and '50s and Classic Trains Trains of the 1940s and More Trains in the 1940s.

I also have the revised edition of Guide to North American steam locomotives by Trains.

Oh don't worry about the C&O tender it will be replaced with undecorated duplicate tender with the fictional name on it. 

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 2:43 PM

By 1946, many branch lines would no longer have separate freight and passenger trains.  They would have mixed train service.

Jeff

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 3:09 PM

I can see a Pacific pulling four heavyweight passenger cars. The Bachmann Pacifics are nice... The Mantuas are a bit bulky looking, but they run OK and they can pull. 

Simon

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Posted by DrW on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 6:32 PM

On the Santa Fe, a 4 car HW consist would probably be pulled by a 2-6-2 Prairie. If you want to be a bit more daring, try a 4-4-2 Atlantic (if the terrain is not too hilly). Unfortunately, I do not think any manufacturer produces a non-brass Atlantic.

JW

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 12:30 PM

Atlantics are not very popular among manufacturers indeed!  I have an MDC that came in kit form. It's a solid performer... Mantua also produced some, but they are find to find. They look nice. MDC also made a (huge) Prairie - I have one that is on my to-do shelf. I suspect it was based on an SP prototype... It will probably pull a string of HWs no problem.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 1:41 PM

NVSRR
Dont forget very early diesels were relagated to light shortline service because the railroads did not trust the new tech to be reliable enough for mainline service

Really, many railroads bought early diesels specifically for branchline service because it was more economical than using steam - plus they could remove the turntable they often had at the end of the branch. (Yes, I know, 'the XYZ RR in southern North Dakota ran steam engines backwards on their branchlines' yada yada yada. MOST railroads avoided running steam engines with tenders backwards if at all possible.)

That's why GM came out with their BL ("Branch Line") diesels in the 1940s, to try to get in on the market for branchline diesels that were going other builders, like Alco and their RS-1.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 28, 2021 12:22 AM

wjstix
Really, many railroads bought early diesels specifically for branchline service because it was more economical than using steam...

Often buying into the scam that the electric-motor drive had no augment issues, the starting TE was enormous, and the trucks could walk like little cat feet across poor or neglected track.  Once the truth started to get out again about lateral moment from low-mounted nose-suspended motors, and the flush-with-cash immediate postwar years came to an increasing close, some of the idea of spending money on branches when the real advantage was in mainline improvement became less strong.  

Turntable elimination was valuable, but not as nearly valuable as the ability to get rid of the whole water and water-related maintenance thing, and conserve fuel by being able to start and stop the engine much more readily, or idle it far more cheaply, than typical steam engines -- particularly the older models that made their way to branches.  Add the useful walkways, doors, and footboards of road-switchers, and the ability to run heavy service on even light trackage through the joys of MU, and the expense for the right kind of power could be justified nearly as easily as for switching power.

Now of course GM missed almost all of this with their BL ("Branch Line") diesels ... locomotives with limited view in the long-hood direction, no walkways or doors to where they should be, and a great emphasis on fairly ghastly and quickly-dated styling.  (To Alco's credit, although they certainly designed 'competition' to those showboats, none of them to my knowledge saw domestic production -- the 'formula' in the RS1 then becoming more and more widespread and extending to the heaviest road power once that started to get into higher horsepower.)  Dilworth figured out a much better solution with the GPs.

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Posted by dti406 on Saturday, January 30, 2021 9:01 PM

The N&W on their Abingdon Brianch used 4-8-0's and they ran mixed trains, nicely captured in photographs by O.Winston Link.

The C&O also used 4-6-0's for branchline service, one of which is preserved and was used for a time on the Toledo Lake Erie & Western in fan trip service.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, January 30, 2021 11:03 PM

Both the CNR and CPR used Moguls and 10-Wheelers on branchlines, pretty well right up to the end of steam in 1959/60.
Especially on the CNR, it was likewise for Consolidations, as they rostered more (852) of those than any other wheel arrangement, and they were used pretty-well everywhere, other than, perhaps, some areas in the Rockies.

Any of these three locomotive types would be suitable for branchline service, whether on passenger, freight, or mixed trains.

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by PM Railfan on Saturday, January 30, 2021 11:47 PM

It would be a heck of a branch line to support 3 coaches in one train. Especially if its a local. Though anything in the railroading world is possible.

I havent seen anyone mention "mixed service". But thats a possibility, and would open up the option to use your existing 2-8-0 for this purpose.

It wasnt uncommon in this time frame to see older locomotives not capable of handling the mainline trains relegated to branch service. No matter what they were.

You can find a Pacific (primarily a passenger loco) hauling freight aswell as a Mikado (primarily a freight loco) hauling passengers. Berkshires are pocket race cars for railroads originally designed for fast, light to medium, mainline freight. Yet C&O and NKP both used them for branchline services near the end. Again, anything is possible in railroading.

More info on your operation is really needed here. What type of cars you running... 60' or 80'? Branchline restrictions? Though you are fictional in railroad, are you following any certain road (ie: the C&O purchase)? Etc etc.

For example, if your branchline is relatively small, no RPO needed. A "baggage/mail" car would suffice. Followed by a "baggage/coach" and a "coach" in that order. The b/m is for 2nd/3rd class baggage and all mail. The b/c car is for first class passengers and their luggage. The coach is for 2nd/3rd class passengers which youll have alot more of.

And a 2-8-0, 2-8-2, 4-6-0, 4-6-2, or even a beat up ole 2-6-0 could haul it, if the cars were as old as the loco. In '46, some still were!

Pass along more info on your branch. One thing you can count on is your loco will be expected to haul the "tonnage" over the line from a railroads point of view. They wont assign a loco smaller than the train (discounting doubleheading).

 

Good luck!

PMR

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 2:25 AM

angelob6660
I'm having a difficult time choosing steam locomotives for my fictional branch line after the war 1946.

I don't know if you are opposed to brass, or if you need locomotives to be DCC ready or not.

A 4-6-2 just looks right pulling a passenger train. Surely a NEW YORK CENTRAL K-5 would not look right on a secondary route immediately post-war, but something like this WESTERN MARYLAND K-2 could fill the need.

And my favorites, the USRA pacifics, are a design that dates back to the WW1 era. Maybe this is suitable for a branch line in 1946.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, February 1, 2021 7:41 AM

And the CPR rebuilt a number of their Consolidations into Mikados. Some main lines in Western Canada would qualify as branchline service. These Mikados basically substituted for the original Consolidations delivering a bit more power with similar axle loadings. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, February 1, 2021 11:01 AM

Kevin, these brass items are beautiful... I've also seen some Oriental Powerhouse Pacifics that look nice. Solid runners, although the tenders are probably worth changing, if they are similar to the ones they use for the Mikados. They are difficult to find on Ebay.

Simon

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 1, 2021 11:57 AM

snjroy
Kevin, these brass items are beautiful... I've also seen some Oriental Powerhouse Pacifics that look nice. Solid runners, although the tenders are probably worth changing

I own two USRA light pacifics. One is a Sunset model that can be had for around $200.00 if you look around. 

I also own an Oriental Powerhouse model that will probably be used as a spare. It runs great. I bought it about 15 years ago, and for a while it was my most prized steam locomotive, before brass prices fell into my realm of attainability. It is a wonderful locomotive, and maybe will eventually get an Athearn Genesis USRA tender.

I also have three Oriental Powerhouse light mikados. These have been "replaced" by Sunset brass Heavy Mikados, but I will never get rid of them.

-Kevin

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, February 1, 2021 12:19 PM

PM Railfan
It would be a heck of a branch line to support 3 coaches in one train. Especially if its a local. Though anything in the railroading world is possible.

Now that you mention it, I have to agree, as it would have to be a pretty well-populated branchline to merit three coaches.
A mixed train would perhaps be more appropriate, and would allow a suitable service with the Bachmann Consolidation that's already in angelob6660's possession.
While I do run passenger trains, I also use mixed trains, usually with a coach or combine on the rear of the train, also doing double-duty as the "caboose"...

On my layout, a locomotive might set out with only a single passenger car in-tow, but it could pick-up some freight cars along the way, usually spotting the coach or combine at the station, then servicing a couple of on-line shippers, putting their cars right behind the tender, then re-coupling to the passenger car, and heading on to the next town down the line.

Wayne

 

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