New York Central 2-10-4 (Fictional)

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New York Central 2-10-4 (Fictional)
Posted by ShroomZed on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 5:47 PM

To start off, this topic is dealing entirely in the realm of conjecture. There was never any real-life proposal or plan to run a 2-10-4 on the NYC system, and the only ten-coupled engines to run on the system in reality were a few 0-10-0 shunters and the 10 members of the 2-10-2 Z-1 class which had a brief life on the B&A. 

This is dealing with the post-WW2 landscape, and going with some sort of reality where designs of steam locomotives continued for at least a few years past what actually happened. Going with this premise, I wonder if the NYC, for a new fast freight locomotive would have tried to make a 2-10-4 design.

As much as I like the Mohawks, the 4-8-2 design most likely had reached its limit with the L4a/bs of 1943. As is known, the genesis of the Niagara was trying to make a new 4-8-2 design, but axle loading limitations lead to using a four-wheel trailing truck instead. While all the Berkshires used on the NYC system were low-drivered and used for slow goods/industrial service, it is crystal clear knowledge that by the mid-forties locos with two-wheel leading trucks could reach suitably very high speeds.

I think the NYC spurred on by the successes of the Niagara and the A-2 Berks, would have moved to trying either a high-drivered 2-10-4 or high-drivered 2-8-4 engine as its new premier fast freight engine, with all the advancements made in the mid-forties of course. If the NYC designed a 2-10-4 or high-drivered 2-8-4, they would probably be amonst the best designed, if not the very best designed of these respective wheel arrangements. 

Could you see this theoretical path being taken, and if so, what would you infer this design would be like? 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 7:43 PM

Richard Leonard's Steam Page has some interesting "what if" pictures, such as:

NYC 4-6-6-4 with 70-inch drivers for fast freight:

https://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc_8200.htm

NYC 2-10-2 with 67 inch drivers:

https://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc_3600.htm

One important consideration on any steam railroad would be the turntable infrastructure. A 2-10-4 might require the expensive lengthening of turntables and adjusting the adjacent trackage at enough terminals to make their use viable.

The NYC was largely a 4-coupled-driver railroad due to the Water Level Route.

East of the Mississippi, 2-10-4 locomotives such as those used by the Burlington and C&O were used in coal-hauling service.

The Pennsylvania's 125 2-10-4 locomotives acquired in WWII were used in fast freight due to their ability to pull up and over Horeshoe Curve and then run quickly with their train, but many of them also were used in coal-hauling service.

But an NYC 2-10-4 would have undoubtedly been good-looking power like the rest of the NYC's modern power.

 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 7:27 PM

I forgot to add this one, which actually might have been the most logical - a 4-8-4 extension of the L-4 Mohawk design for fast freight:

https://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc_6116.htm

 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 9:49 PM

kgbw49
I forgot to add this one, which actually might have been the most logical - a 4-8-4 extension of the L-4 Mohawk design for fast freight:

https://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc_6116.htm

Problem with this is that NYC already had a medium-sized 4-8-4 with slightly larger drivers, a clone of the D&H and Rock Island engines.  It rapidly improved into something world-class ... and easily operated in a range of services.

Meanwhile, Dr. Leonard, Juniatha, and I all concur that simple changes that leave the 2-wheel trailing truck intact produce a perfectly good high-speed 4-8-2 (or even 2-8-2) for work that does not require 79" drivered Niagara speed.  

What I suggest instead is taking the boiler (and cab) of the A2a and putting it over a higher-wheeled chassis, logically with the N&W deep-pocket three-axis lead truck given proper shear and hydraulic damping, or retaining the four-wheel engine truck for compatibility.  Even at 69" you have, with modern balancing and lightweight rods, an engine of dramatic steaming potential; if 72" you have a true dual-service engine for everything not being dieselized.  And you turn a virtual ugly duckling into a rather resounding swan.

What you do to fix the Frankenstein-monster front end, while retaining the ease of access, is another matter.  I happen to be one of those who think Niagaras look almost obscenely undressed without their 'final form' smoke deflectors.  Perhaps a little CP-style light semi-streamlining would help matters out...

... and at least think about keeping the P&LE green on the boiler jacketing...

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Posted by ShroomZed on Thursday, January 2, 2020 7:51 AM

Overmod

 

 
kgbw49
I forgot to add this one, which actually might have been the most logical - a 4-8-4 extension of the L-4 Mohawk design for fast freight:

https://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/nyc_6116.htm

 

Problem with this is that NYC already had a medium-sized 4-8-4 with slightly larger drivers, a clone of the D&H and Rock Island engines.  It rapidly improved into something world-class ... and easily operated in a range of services.

Meanwhile, Dr. Leonard, Juniatha, and I all concur that simple changes that leave the 2-wheel trailing truck intact produce a perfectly good high-speed 4-8-2 (or even 2-8-2) for work that does not require 79" drivered Niagara speed.  

What I suggest instead is taking the boiler (and cab) of the A2a and putting it over a higher-wheeled chassis, logically with the N&W deep-pocket three-axis lead truck given proper shear and hydraulic damping, or retaining the four-wheel engine truck for compatibility.  Even at 69" you have, with modern balancing and lightweight rods, an engine of dramatic steaming potential; if 72" you have a true dual-service engine for everything not being dieselized.  And you turn a virtual ugly duckling into a rather resounding swan.

What you do to fix the Frankenstein-monster front end, while retaining the ease of access, is another matter.  I happen to be one of those who think Niagaras look almost obscenely undressed without their 'final form' smoke deflectors.  Perhaps a little CP-style light semi-streamlining would help matters out...

... and at least think about keeping the P&LE green on the boiler jacketing...

 

So basically you think a 69" or 72" drivered-Berk retaining the A2 boiler would be the logical next-step for NYC fast freight. Sounds like the most reasonable step, and these would almost doubtless be the best Berks designed so far. 

Also, honestly just placing the headlight in front of the smokebox door might be enough to improve the front-end look signifcantly. The L4s looked just fine with the headlight in front of the smokbox door. 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 2, 2020 9:03 AM

ShroomZed
So basically you think a 69" or 72" drivered-Berk retaining the A2 boiler would be the logical next-step for NYC fast freight. Sounds like the most reasonable step, and these would almost doubtless be the best Berks designed so far.

One of the things that I think has been missing from much of the discussion of the A2as (which share, like the PRR T1, what may be a highly unjustified reputation as shortsighted engineering failures) is what Kiefer thought he was doing in designing them.  

It seems clear to me that these are intended as just the same kind of evolutionary step 'up' that the original Berkshires were, with at least the tacit understanding that modern balancing methods could substantially increase their practical road speed.  As I recall the Classic Trains analysis in the early 2000s, there was comparatively little attempt to go beyond the provision of 63" spoked drivers -- and perhaps this was justified by the absence of disc mains, as in the T&P 600 series conversions that were so successful in the Thirties -- to assess the relative augment, even though there was considerable invocation of the ideas of low-wheel balancing in other contexts (including the ACE 3000, which is somewhat less relevant due to the conscious use of Withuhn conjugated duplexing)

There appears to be very little film of A2as actually moving, but it is highly interesting to observe them in Indianapolis near the end of their career when we appear to see them accelerating very quickly with little fuss.  I understand this may be an artifact of that particular film recording or playback, but other things like evolving steam plumes lead me to think this was real.  

I do think that something as simple as disc mains, true inline lightweight rods (perhaps not as expensive as the passenger rods on the Niagaras) and perhaps Glaze's counterbalancing methodology as used on the N&W Js (admittedly a 'red team' approach, but certainly attractive in its own right across organizational biases) would produce an engine able to run at contemporary NYC freight speeds.  The catch, of course, is that it is still somewhat less economical to run them compared to thermodynamically-improved L4s ... of which NYC had so many, conveniently costed-down for use by the War.  The A2as were a special case, for use in a heavily coal-centric region in relatively specific service, but on a route nominally capable of relatively high speed, and by the mid-Fifties (I think) explicitly being used that way (cf. the death of the Liberty Limited so quickly after B&O got to use it).  We need to find a niche for the 'improved' version that does things better than any improved L class, and for that some change in the chassis is necessary.  But at the same time we need to look at a probably more practical alternative: more Niagaras, which are only an incremental smidge above the cost of the same number of Berks and far more capable in many respects.

One of my favorite locomotives is the L&N Big Emmas (which I learned to love from the Trains Magazine article in the early '70s).  The only real reason these were not 4-8-4s was turntable length.  But they were highly capable locomotives for most of what L&N expected them to do. 

Also, honestly just placing the headlight in front of the smokebox door might be enough to improve the front-end look signifcantly. The L4s looked just fine with the headlight in front of the smokebox door. 

The problem is that they really don't, to me: the centered headlight is better if you don't look too close, but oh brother! when you do!  At night it is fine, but the K6s with that abominable offset pump look fine at night, too.

I strongly suspect that the high-mounted light was part of the overall efficiency, since it could be hardlined into the electrical system without flexible or demountable connections to get either the smokebox door or the extended tube-replacement door open.  To my knowledge NYC didn't have the overhead clearance to do the PRR-style 'beauty treatment' that put the headlight all the way up and the generator within reach from the front platform; it might have been interesting (although DECIDEDLY not much better!) to try the Pyle sealed-beam lighting as the South Africans did their late headlights, in a relatively small box, high up on the smokebox with the generator neatly underneath...

Perhaps a larger smokebox door would draw attention from that obvious seam around the tube door.  That certainly helped the N&W Y6bs compared to that ridiculous little oval. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, January 2, 2020 10:07 AM

One of the issues with the A-2a's is that P&LE management didn't particularly want them in the first place as they were already committed to diesels. 

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 Overmod on Thursday, January 2, 2020 10:26 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
One of the issues with the A-2a's is that P&LE management didn't particularly want them in the first place as they were already committed to diesels. 

We know that; NYC was even more committed to diesels by that point.  (Hence the 'Fictional' he put in the thread topic... although the A2as had a particularly long service life for NYC steam, nobody willing to go on record really seems to have wanted or appreciated them.)

Of course, I have to suspect the 'fix was in' in the same way it was for the PRR T1s and the Duke of Gloucester: the locomotives 'had to fail' if the financial consequences of buying them could be somehow reduced or avoided.

I haven't read Polarowitz's book (yet) but I suspect the timeline for the A2a development was substantially before the widespread first-generation rush to dieselization, probably a follow-on to the detail design of the Niagara and C1a as they share a visual design language.  If I remember correctly the A2as were only ordered at all because no builder could supply power of the kind the P&LE needed at the time -- someone with access to the Classic Trains article or the book can probably comment on the politics involved at the time.

We're talking more about a kind of 'alternate history' in which NYC continued evolving steam power through the late 1940s, or continued using it in 'coal-centric' regions.  There are a number of interesting alternatives, one of which hasn't been mentioned yet but may be highly relevant: Chapelon's postwar 'light' 2-10-4 that Riley Deem so loved.  From what I've seen of that design it would have been highly useful on most NYC lines; Deem's North American Locomotive Company was apparently actively promoting an 'Americanized' version into the 1980s.

Is there properly a hyphen in the type designation?  It certainly should have one if it follows NYC practice, but P&LE may do differently; it seems to me that most people leave the hyphen out... of course, that's no guide to correct practice.

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Posted by ShroomZed on Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:08 PM

Overmod

 

 
We need to find a niche for the 'improved' version that does things better than any improved L class, and for that some change in the chassis is necessary.  But at the same time we need to look at a probably more practical alternative: more Niagaras, which are only an incremental smidge above the cost of the same number of Berks and far more capable in many respects.

One of my favorite locomotives is the L&N Big Emmas (which I learned to love from the Trains Magazine article in the early '70s).  The only real reason these were not 4-8-4s was turntable length.  But they were highly capable locomotives for most of what L&N expected them to do. 

 

But has been said many times, the Niagaras were likely too powerful for what the NYC actually required, and definitely so for a fast freight or dual-service engine. What this is sounding like to me is that the actual most likely successor for fast freight is an L5 of some sort. Since the extensive series of Mohawks are my all-time favourite American steam locomotives, I'm definitely not complaining. Big Smile

Overmod

To my knowledge NYC didn't have the overhead clearance to do the PRR-style 'beauty treatment' that put the headlight all the way up and the generator within reach from the front platform; it might have been interesting (although DECIDEDLY not much better!) to try the Pyle sealed-beam lighting as the South Africans did their late headlights, in a relatively small box, high up on the smokebox with the generator neatly underneath...

 

Ironically, I think the PRR locos with the headlights moved over the boiler with the generator in their previous place are far uglier than the original arrangement. 

The sealed-beam headlights in widespread use during the later SAR steam years aren't as bad as that but they definitely weren't as easy on the eyes as the classic round headlight. A bit of an aside, the SAR 15F with original headlight are aesthetically the best steam locomotives ever built in my opinion. Mechanically, they weren't that far behind from being the best either. 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 2, 2020 1:33 PM

ShroomZed
But has been said many times, the Niagaras were likely too powerful for what the NYC actually required, and definitely so for a fast freight or dual-service engine.

It's been said many times, but by people who are more or less ignorant both of the Niagara's origin and of how the locomotives could be and were used in service.

As Tuplin noted, it was perfectly easy for a Niagara to do the work of an H10 on an H10's budget of fuel and water.  Presumably any intermediate quality of work would be more or less proportionally achievable, although obviously some further experience with the theory and practice of sliding-pressure firing and perhaps more data on the maintenance consequences would be required to make it more formal as an operations modality.  One might add that even an 'inertial-guidance' version of a GIS database of approaching grade and load changes would greatly assist both the firing and 'Valve Pilot' assisted cutoff and throttle control needed for this kind of operation.

Naturally (as Dave Klepper has suggested in a different post) the true high-speed Timken roller rods might have been less 'cost-effective' applied to a slower dual-service or fast-freight engine.  On the other hand, a somewhat heavier lateral section in these rods (to limit buckling tendency or progressive cracking) and less use of severe inertial-mass reduction like the hollow piston rods and lightweight pistons might have given a Niagara-size engine perfectly adequate performance at much less cost, with 'all the rest' included too.

The late Lima designs of large-firebox engines rely substantially on increased radiant uptake for their steam generation.  That is fine if the engines are expected to perform much of their traffic close to maximum efficient output, but it implicitly implied that most of the engines' life would be in NKP-style fast bridge traffic with minimal idle time, or NYC-style fast work with short assured turnaround.  A locomotive with such extensive radiant transfer surface will be difficult to maintain if the combustion-plume shape and characteristics differ from 'what is expected' in many of the ways high turndown in something like a Benson once-through utility boiler produces.  

If the weight at the firebox end is less constrained by heavy syphons/circulators and other structure, the need for six-wheel trailing trucks to carry the weight more effectively can be relaxed, at the expense of precisely the kind of high top-end nominal horsepower you indicate as being 'overkill' for much of its potential operation.  In my opinion this likely contributed to there being no takers for even a test example of a locomotive so 'optimized' -- in the Forties, or since.

What this is sounding like to me is that the actual most likely successor for fast freight is an L5 of some sort. Since the extensive series of Mohawks are my all-time favourite American steam locomotives, I'm definitely not complaining.

Dr. Leonard has argued this fairly carefully, with some ideas about how different parts of the detail design should be handled.  I would be strongly tempted to make an "L5" with no greater than 75" drivers, perhaps ideally retaining 72" disc centers, but providing full roller rods (as for the N&W Js) designed for the anticipated augment at fast intermodal speed (probably no faster than 70mph, but with very low augment in the mains) -- this more in the name of maintenance than reduction of rolling resistance or achievement of practical high horsepower at high speed.  Stroke up, bore down, perhaps oversize piston valves but running at long lap/long travel, perhaps with the Berry accelerator Dr. Leonard mentions.  For dual service you'd want a Langer balancer (which eliminates surge as a component of required overbalance) but this is less important for either M&E or manifest/intermodal freight.  Put as much of a Cunningham circulator and Snyder primary-air preheat on the engine as the single trailing-truck axle can support, in place of any more internal heat-transfer surface than a good arch-tube circulator would present.

Of course there's a temptation to provide the same basic premise one size smaller, as an H11: 69" drivers and a high-speed two-wheel lead truck as on the AMC Berks with a now-smaller and more-efficient circulating firebox over a two-wheel trailing truck.  This would have even better sliding-pressure economy than a Niagara or Mohawk, of course, but would still have adequate steam-generation capacity well short of grate limit for high-speed short-cutoff work.

Ironically, I think the PRR locos with the headlights moved over the boiler with the generator in their previous place are far uglier than the original arrangement.

They certainly are.  In fact I have never been fond of any PRR locomotive with a high-mounted headlight (except the T1s) with the very unimportant partial exception of the K5 ... and that, in part, because the bell location would look silly if the light were carried lower.

I don't think there is any question, though, that putting the generator in a more accessible location was an improvement, and that it likely would be beneficial on late NYC power (particularly that with a Selkirk-compatible smokebox front!) where the design optimizes a fixed headlight.  Note that while a generator could be provided there on an engine like an L4, you wouldn't have easy access over and past a low-mounted headlight unless you opened the smokebox door for the procedure, whereas if carried in the manner PRR did it, the headlight could retain fully fixed and sealed conduit and would not need re-aiming check when the smokebox door ... or the tube/element access door, for that matter ... was opened and closed.

The sealed-beam headlights in widespread use during the later SAR steam years aren't as bad as that but they definitely weren't as easy on the eyes as the classic round headlight.

I will come in for more than my share of criticism for this, I suppose, but I like the Niagaras much better with the dual sealed-beams than with the original reflector bulb light, just as I prefer my RS3 Alcos that way.  (By far the best of the T1s esthetically was the test engine given a Pyle conversion about 1948, with the lights vertical rather than horizontal behind what might be the original headlight glass -- I have only ever seen one picture of that configuration (coaling in Indiana, iirc) but that was enough...)

A bit of an aside, the SAR 15F with original headlight are aesthetically the best steam locomotives ever built in my opinion. Mechanically, they weren't that far behind from being the best either. 

For the record, here is that locomotive:

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/sites/7/images/member_albums/109689/548824.jpg

I do have to say that, in my opinion, the 16Es were prettier:

 

 

 

 

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Posted by ShroomZed on Thursday, January 2, 2020 5:47 PM

Overmod

Dr. Leonard has argued this fairly carefully, with some ideas about how different parts of the detail design should be handled.  I would be strongly tempted to make an "L5" with no greater than 75" drivers, perhaps ideally retaining 72" disc centers, but providing full roller rods (as for the N&W Js) designed for the anticipated augment at fast intermodal speed (probably no faster than 70mph, but with very low augment in the mains) -- this more in the name of maintenance than reduction of rolling resistance or achievement of practical high horsepower at high speed.  Stroke up, bore down, perhaps oversize piston valves but running at long lap/long travel, perhaps with the Berry accelerator Dr. Leonard mentions.  For dual service you'd want a Langer balancer (which eliminates surge as a component of required overbalance) but this is less important for either M&E or manifest/intermodal freight.  Put as much of a Cunningham circulator and Snyder primary-air preheat on the engine as the single trailing-truck axle can support, in place of any more internal heat-transfer surface than a good arch-tube circulator would present.

Do you know where I can find anything where Dr. Leonard talks about an ideal L5 or 4-8-2 sucessor? 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:50 PM

ShroomZed
Do you know where I can find anything where Dr. Leonard talks about an ideal L5 or 4-8-2 successor?

It is somewhere on his site in the discussion on Mohawks; probably several years since I last looked carefully.  Your best bet is to contact him directly at the address given on his 'pages' and ask directly.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, January 5, 2020 6:21 PM

Some great film of Hudsons, Mohawks and Niagaras and early diesels on this film:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ntzO4HAxwgg

 

Plus some CRR of NJ Pacifics and Camelbacks, Erie Pacifics and Berkshires, and Lackawanna Pacifics at the end.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 5, 2020 8:31 PM

Does anybody with the 'full' version of the NYC film know what he's talking about in the truncated first few seconds?  That wouldn't be the HS-1a with its infamous main steam gauge, would it?

http://loco.skyrocket.de/img/nyc_hs1a_800.jpg

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