NYC&HR No. 999

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NYC&HR No. 999
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:21 AM

Bob Vogel photograph:

Can anyone give a complete history, including rebuildings and display locations?  With dates?

Thanks

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, January 20, 2020 1:24 AM

I don't have dates, but as one that lives not very far away, I like the fact she was displayed at Watertown NY's long gone station for several decades.

Alas though, I wasn't born until quite a few years after that beautiful building had been demolished and the 999 relocated elsewhere (I believe the latter happened circa 1960 and the former in the mid 1960's). 

An early casuality of Watertown NY's self destruction that was called urban renewal.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 12:02 PM

That jibes with the arrival of 999 at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago at about that time.  Keep in mind that 999 was reboilered and rebuilt with smaller drivers by NYC in the 1920's.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 23, 2020 5:56 AM

Current driver diameter?   Boiler pressure changed?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, January 23, 2020 8:38 AM

David, I did some looking and there doesn't seem to be a lot of "nuts and bolts" technical information on 999 out there.

All I can find of worth is the following...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Central_and_Hudson_River_Railroad_No._999  

http://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc999_rcl.htm  

I hope that helps.

I found a film clip of 999 in action from 1902.  Be patient, it won't show up for about 20 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LuWP5oq3IQ  

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 23, 2020 8:52 AM

I remember (from Freeman Hubbard in my youth) that the driver size was cut down to 70" in the rebuilding (and that is what they are now).  I would presume the boiler pressure was reduced at some point to what was most 'economical'; in those days before programmed water treatment, I expect this would be fairly substantial (trading water rate for construction and maintenance expense).  To my knowledge the 'reboilering' was in kind, not a downgrade, but likely removing any special trim from the high-speed days.

Since I have long been of the opinion that the only 'state' to restore this engine to is the original 86"-drivered, Ohio-tender-trucked ultimate high speed version, I have taken little interest over the years in the details of the subsequent butchery.  It was certainly a more suitable milk-train engine in its subsequent form, and 70" is still respectable for that purpose. 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, January 23, 2020 9:54 AM

Those 86" drivers were the highlight of this legendary locomotive, too bad that the engine was rebuilt with 70" before her retirement... It was an unwelcome 23% discount to me, but at least she was saved...Confused

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:52 AM

One bit of information I got from another site (that I just couldn't link for some reason) was even though those 86" drivers made the 999 the speed queen that it was it also made the locomotive "slippery," that is, it needed a fine hand on the throttle for proper starts.  

In the long run the 70" drivers were a lot more practical.  Remember 999 was built for  purpose, not general purpose, and once it wasn't needed for that original purpose anymore it made sense for the NYC to alter it.  What rail historians and preservationists thought about that didn't matter.  

We're probably lucky it escaped the scrapper to begin with.  Look what happened to "Jupiter" and Union Pacific 119.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:56 AM

There were likely some other optimizations made in the original design, probably including a great many effective Trick ports in both the admission and exhaust of the valves -- if I recall correctly the B&O record locomotive of 1894 (which I believe is the one displayed at the Fair in the other thread) had its valves arranged almost as a waffle-grid, the idea being to keep the short physical valve travel while dramatically increasing both the volumetric capacity shortly after unporting and the relative volume to exhaust while minimizing effective compression 'back-pressure' at high cyclic rpm.  In those years before the 'discovery' of the advantages of long-lap long-travel valves ... which are more highly optimized for piston than for slide valves ... this would be an important component of achieving the necessary power at speed to accelerate to 'record' speed.

Now it does need to be said that there was considerable grumbling in the railroad trade press that the high speeds were not really borne out by the 'speed indicator' on the locomotive, which apparently never showed over about 86mph (which incidentally is diameter speed).  So as with the hull on America's Cup 'contender' Constitution, contemporary engineering for High Speed may not in fact have understood what would truly been needed to go over 100mph with a train ... that does NOT rule out that the trick could probably have been done with contemporary 'wisdom' and materials/tribology science...

No question the 86" drivers would make the engine more prone to slip ... but if I recall correctly the designer also specified a relatively short stroke.  This is a formula Golsdorf used to great effect, for example on his 'express' 2-6-4 which has dramatic driver diameter but no pretension of corresponding high speed.  With short stroke the problem is often a stall rather than slip/spin -- stalling, not slipping, was the actual issue in testing PRR T1s on C&O in the Forties, and I suspect might have been some of the issue in starting even early-Nineties train weights in general conditions even on the 'water level route'.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, January 24, 2020 3:19 PM

Back to 999. I recall seeing it at the Science and Industry museum when still displaydd outside,  along with the Pioneer Zephyr and U-505.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Friday, January 24, 2020 4:39 PM

The picture that Dave posted at the beginning of the thread is pretty much of what I remember of seeing it at the museum in Sept 1995. The Pioneer Zephyr was being restored at the time, but did have an interesting time with the U-505 tour, the second of four submarines I've toured.

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