C&O 2-6-6-6

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, July 15, 2019 3:05 PM

David, if steam on the Grand Trunk outlasted steam on the N&W it didn't for very long.  Supposedly  the last steam runs on the N&W were in May of 1960, the Grand Trunk ended about that time as well.

This doesn't mean the GT didn't fire up a steamer if power was short past that date without the railfan network knowing about it.  Anything's possible.

If anyone knows for certain feel more than free to correct me.

OF course, the N&W and GT were Class 1's, the Denver and Rio Grand Southern ran steam on their narrow gauge lines as late as 1968.  They never thought of replacing them with diesels as they knew abandonment was coming eventually.

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Posted by BigJim on Monday, July 15, 2019 5:59 PM

daveklepper
But did not steam on the Grand Trunk Western outlive steam on the N&W?


If you want to believe Wilipedia:

"Grand Trunk Western was one of the last U.S. railroads to employ steam locomotives. It ran the last scheduled steam train in the United States on March 27, 1960 on its train #21 from Detroit's Brush Street Station north to Durand Union Station. The run drew thousands of rail enthusiasts. With 3,600 passengers holding tickets train #21 had to be run in two sections (as two separate trains) to accommodate the excess of passengers. GTW U-3-b class 4-8-4 Northern-type locomotive 6319 lead the first section of train #21 with 15 passenger cars and GTW 4-8-4 Northern 6322 pulled the second section with 22 passenger cars.[4][12][13]"

The N&W killed the fires on S1a 291 and 2190 in the early hours of May 7, 1960.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 15, 2019 7:29 PM

You know, it's funny.  Just yesterday I'd eaten too much rarebit and I, too, had a dream.  I dreamed it was 1947 and I was back in the C&O offices, where the previous guy had been fired in disgrace over the overweight motive-power scandal and consequent increased engineman expense and union discord he'd facilitated, and the new guy described his problems with slower-speed operation, the Limas so expensively purchased not providing nearly the economy Lima had touted for them, and talked about his railroad's interest in a new train to be called the Chessie, for which they were buying hundreds of cars and some snazzy Niagara-horsepower steam-turbine electrics being built to a secret design from Baldwin.  He said Lima had promised him significant weight reductions and that the railroad was considering buying the slimmed-down revised version.  

I repeated to him that a good modern 2-8-8-2 had all the speed potential of his 2-6-6-6s on his railroad, without the overweight penalty or issues like problems with Nicholson circulators and low water, and more capability than a proportional percentage of his 2-10-4 locomotives with a shorter rigid wheelbase.  I also showed him where some of the unsolved (and likely unsolvable!) problems with his turbines would be, and suggested that he look into the PRR V1 chassis with electromagnetic drive rather than experience all the disadvantages of 'diesel-style electrics' and low-pressure atmosphere-exhausting turbine steam together, or continuing to mess with unsatisfactory duplex-drive experiments.  He wound up buying in peacetime what he should have in pending wartime, and ran the engines all the way up to the late 1950s, dieselizing extensively only when second-generation power made it more economical to run diesels in the same manner on the same trains as the injected 2-8-8-2s could.

I also tried talking him out of experimenting with cheap Turbo-Inspirator devices and exhaust steam injectors intended to save weight, but he kept saying how they were promised to have important advantages and I woke up in a cold sweat. At least I could be content knowing I had spoken the truth, rather than some upsetting straw argument, and that was fortunate considering the pain I was getting from the rarebit about that time.  I was also minded to advise a reading of Shakespeare for a previous poster: "but, being awake, I do despise my dream."

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Posted by nhrand on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:16 AM

ATOMIC LOCOMOTIVE

       No need to experiment with coal turbines  -- the atomic locomotive is the wave of the future.   (Some old-timers like myself may remember that nuclear powered locomotives were once thought by some to be an ideal replacement for coal powered steam -- just think how fast a nuclear reactor could produce abundant steam.)

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:04 AM

The only way that a nuclear reactor will power a locomotive will be indirectly.  The reactor will generate steam for a stationary turbine driving a generator which will feed electricity into catenary to power the locomotive.

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 nhrand on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:17 AM

ATOMIC LOCOMOTIVE -- There was at one time thinking that the nuclear reactor would be on the locomotive  -- my comment was mainly a joke but in the early days of nuclear power there was undue optimism about the future of "Atomic Power" and little thought about the dangers or practicality ---  remember Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.

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Posted by nhrand on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:31 AM

 

COMMENT:  "And you bought race horses to pull a plow that draft horses would have pulled better and for a boatload less money. You got irrelevant braging rights but paid dearly for them."

 REPLY:    The C&O bought a locomotive that could run like a race horse and pull like a draft horse.  It was a success in mixed service; it was not purchased to be a plow horse.  If the Allegheney was not used to the best advantage at times it was not the fault of the design.  Whether it was cost effective over the period of ownership is conjecture.  Was it perfect or perfectly used ??  -- What is ??   Is the operating department responsible for any misuse ??  Was a fine tool placed in the hands of clods or was it simply that needs change over time ??
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 11:17 AM

nhrand
If the Allegheny was not used to the best advantage at times it was not the fault of the design.

That is not in question.  Neither is the 'goodness' of the design when used "as intended" by the design team.

No modern 'one-and-a-half-Berk' design is intended to do the work of slow-speed engines (the AMC having been instrumental, in fact, in converting the super-drag-power locomotive Woodard designed into a high-speed instrument starting with the Erie locomotives).  The early history of the 2-6-6-4 bears this out: look at the detail design of the 'original' ones and compare to the N&W and Seaboard locomotives for an indication of how radical the change in thinking was.  The Allegheny is perhaps the 'ultimate development' of the one-and-a-half Berk in service; it certainly represents a better use of a firebox carried by a six-wheel trailing truck than Lima's touted 4-8-6 would likely have been.

Is the operating department responsible for any misuse??

Directly.  And this is part of the discussion.  At least some of the testing established that Alleghenies with coal train sized loads could perform great feats... if allowed to work within the peak range of their horsepower curve.  This would have required little more than keeping the railroad more fluid ... and paying a little extra fuel and water.  It is a matter of record that C&O chose to do neither.  

Was a fine tool placed in the hands of clods or was it simply that needs change over time ??

Of course the problem is that even by the time of the second order, "needs" on C&O were hopelessly out of range of any reciprocating steam engine compared to perceived alternatives.  They certainly showed thought in getting rid promptly of a whole bunch of nearly-new switchers (to N&W, which then proceeded to build still more to the C&O design) while keeping with the Alleghenies... but note how long it was before the C&O was effectively 'road' dieselized, the Alleghenies notably being of little to no value anywhere except as heavy, fast road power.  Which is, of course, what they were designed to be, just like Q2s or Niagaras, and when their distinctive-competence niches went away, for whatever reason, economics were painfully leveraged against them.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 12:12 PM

nhrand

ATOMIC LOCOMOTIVE

       No need to experiment with coal turbines  -- the atomic locomotive is the wave of the future.   (Some old-timers like myself may remember that nuclear powered locomotives were once thought by some to be an ideal replacement for coal powered steam -- just think how fast a nuclear reactor could produce abundant steam.)

Hegewisch was right -- what a nuclear locomotive looks like is a TGV powered off a grid served predominantly by ground-based, well-secured powerplants.

The first issue with nuclear power is usually the shielding, with the second not far behind being risk of nuclear release in a railroad accident.  These depend to a certain extent on the choice of fuel and cycle, but 'phantom' shields as on aircraft are not a particularly acceptable answer, and there are hard limits on what can produce the necessary Rankine-cycle "heat release" to get reasonable performance at a reasonable expense per ton-mile ... let alone cost-effective zero-road-failure high-uptime performance.

A typical nuclear powerplant (either PWR or BWR) has a relatively small heat rise per 'pass' through the core. with the added fun that reactivity in the core has to be tightly controlled relative to the heat uptake.  This works in powerplants because you have a huge containment with huge pumps to give you the necessary volume, and large enough turbines to be able to work with the resulting low-effective-superheat steam, and large enough condensers to make the trick work.  None of these apply to locomotives (except the aforementioned electrics or dual-modes that use grid-supplied power).  Now, you could adapt one of the submarine reactors at smaller scale, but the fuel and its characteristics become more ... troublesome ... as well as massively more expensive and relatively intolerant to operating abuse, and the consequences of leaks are both fairly immediate and serious.  I won't go into the fun that comes at refueling time.

One very interesting proposal was to use 'nuclear-electric batteries' for traction purposes.  Note that beta decay basically involves electron ejection, so a good beta-emitting configuration could be rigged to supply 'current' at high nominal voltage that can then at least in theory be transverted and modulated for running control.  As an exercise for the reader, find a satisfactory emitter and collector that doesn't have an incidental problem with gammas and shielding.  We can get into nonproliferation and security another time.

There's a certain attraction in the idea of building a fast reactor for this kind of application, the kind that would quickly 'produce abundant steam'.  Interesting to contemplate what is done especially with the decay heat when the 'abundant steam' is no longer needed for acceleration or grade, and the throttle is closed.  Or if feedwater starts to run low, or the condenser you're using for all that abundant steam proves inadequate in local climate conditions, or has leaks.  (You might also want to reflect on what a PEA accompanied by a failure to SCRAM promptly might involve over 10 to 12 seconds in an efficient design this size.)

Essentially any real practicality an atomic locomotive might have had went away with West Valley and domestic reprocessing circa 1974.  Absent an established fuel cycle, all the Uranium One scheming in the world won't produce a cost-effective locomotive systems design, let alone one that can compete with more conventional dual-mode locomotives burning biodiesel or biodiesel-promoted gas.

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Posted by nhrand on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 1:20 PM

THE ALLEGHENY AT BIRTH

        It seemed to me it might be useful to read how the Allegheny was presented to railroad professionals when delivered so I pulled out the March 7, 1942 issue of RAILWAY AGE which was published about three months after the last of the first order was delivered (I have a large collection).  The issue included a six page article with the technical details and specifications.  The headline read, "C&O Allegheny Locomotives - First of 2-6-6-6 Type - New power built by the Lima Locomotive Works designed to handle heavy trains over the Allegheny mountains -- Tractive force 110,200 Lb."

     The article read, "While the Allegheny type locomotives are designed for maximum speeds of 60 m.p.h., the objective of the design is to develop maximum continuous power output at speeds of from 30 to 35 m.p.h.  The article led off with a great photo of the locomotive at a scenic location pulling what seems like an endless train of coal hoppers.  Lima had a four page insert which read, "This new fleet of Allegheny Type locomotives is being used by the Chesapeake & Ohio to speed up freight transportation by increasing train loads and reducing the running time over the steep grades of the Allegheny Mountains, without the use of helper engines."

      My feeling is that the Allegheny did what the C&O and Lima intended even though railfans roughly 80 years after their introduction may feel they were misused on coal trains.  Maybe moving a coal train at 30 m.p.h. may seem like drag speed but I suggest that is what was wanted, at least in part. The article did also mention that, "They will also be used to supplement the railway's class T-1 2-10-4 type locomotive now in operation between Russell, Ky., and Toledo, Ohio".  In its add, Lima wrote, "The ordering of this radically different type of Super Steam Power by the C&O is indicative of the steps being taken by railroads all over the country in ordering Modern Power that is designed to meet today's demands for heavier loads hauled at higher speeds." 

      Moving a heavy coal train a bit faster would seem to be in keeping with the thinking of Lima and the C&O.  Some of the inome numbers published in Railway Age around this time reflect how important coal traffic was.  The profits of the C&O and N&W far exceeded the profits of other railroads except for the PRR which also was a big coal hauler.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 1:50 PM

nhrand
moving a coal train at 30 m.p.h. may seem like drag speed

No doubt railfans would heartily approve of 2-6-6-6s hauling coal uphill at 30 mph (tho they'd probably like 40 mph even better). But C&O never intended the 2-6-6-6s to do 30 mph on the climb to Alleghany, and the slower speed there is what the fans sneer at.

(Turns out the climb to Alleghany averages 0.64% compensated for 12+ miles, so if they really did 18 mph with 5800 tons the engine is living up to its reputation.)

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 7:13 PM

timz
 
nhrand
moving a coal train at 30 m.p.h. may seem like drag speed 

No doubt railfans would heartily approve of 2-6-6-6s hauling coal uphill at 30 mph (tho they'd probably like 40 mph even better). But C&O never intended the 2-6-6-6s to do 30 mph on the climb to Alleghany, and the slower speed there is what the fans sneer at.

(Turns out the climb to Alleghany averages 0.64% compensated for 12+ miles, so if they really did 18 mph with 5800 tons the engine is living up to its reputation.)

11 miles of 0.64% grade hardly qualifies as a GRADE on the B&O.  Cranberry and 17 Mile Grades are both approaching 2% and Sand Patch is about 1.8%.

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