About two years ago, there was a great article in Trains about UP's 800 series steam locomotives. As an aside in the article, the author told the story of being on a UP westbound passenger train when the diesel power broke down or something like that.
The only thing they had to rescue the train was an 800--which turns out to be the 844. The Author was impressed, because the 844 was nearly able to make up the time, despite the hour delay. It was a good story about supper power steam.
Anyway, I was randomly reflecting on this story, when it occurred to me, how do they get the steamer to the passenger train?Do they run it in reverse the 75 + miles to the passenger train--at one would think high speed no less? I assume this was not the only steam rescue in the history of railroading, so was it standard proactice to run the engiles in reverse for so long?
Without knowing the particulars, I would assume that the relief engine would run in normal fashion to the nearest wye or turntable, and then run in reverse from that point if it was based at the next division point ahead of the stalled train. Of course, this would not be an issue if the relief engine was based at the division point behind the train.
I would also think that running in reverse would have some severe speed restrictions.
"Ever have one of those days where you couldn't hit the ground with your hat??" - Waylon Jennings
"May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up, real good" - SCTV
rvos1979 wrote:I remember an article in a past issue of Trains where UP 844 and/or 3985 were running an excursion up the Donner Pass route, and the diesel that was to do the pulling in the 2-mile tunnel dropped it's load. The tunnel got steam-cleaned, and they had to wash the entire train afterwards, all the diesel soot fell on the train.
Yea, And Jack W. & co. got a reminder of how hot it could get in a tunnel with a working steamer.
I remember that article as well. I have always wondered if that incident had anything to do with 844's breakdown two days later. I realize it is unlikely, but it always hung at the back of my mind.
The Overland Route portion of the UP is all double track, so getting there wouldn't be much of a problem. Steam engines used in helper service had to get back down the hill sometimes in reverse, so I don't think running backwards would be a problem provided there's a trailing truck, but I believe all light engine moves were at restricted speeds. Steam rescues of the early diesel powered Streamliners was pretty common on the UP, so it's not the first time an 800 or 7000 class 4-8-2 saved the day.
One of the more interesting protection engines was CB&Q's Aelous a.k.a. Big Alice the Goon, the stainless steel shrouded Hudson. It rescued the Denver and Twin Cities Zephyrs a few times.
On the 'SANTA FE 3751: The California Limited' video - http://unix8.sunserver.com/mark1video/Detail.bok?no=89 - there's a wonderful scene where the train emerges from one of the Tehachapi tunnels accompanied by a huge plume of smoke and soot (blasted off the tunnel roof) trailing two formerly pristine, now soot-covered FP45's in Warbonnet livery.
After the train had got to Barstow, there's almost a classic interview with one of the people from the cab of 3751 - pretty much covered head-to-toe in soot, but with the biggest smile you could imagine on his face
(If you haven't seen 'The California Limited', it's an excellent video - the first US train video I bought, and still one of my favourites).