Actual GG-1 top speed

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:02 AM

If I remember correctly, the first Metroliner service was introduced in December 1969. My 136 mph experience was in January 1970, on a southbound run from NY to Washington.  I do not remember whether it was between New Brunzwick and Princeton Junction or between Newark and Perryville, where were the usual spots to see 120mph.  It was tbe only time I recall 120 mph exceeded.  

The article that I copied on to my hard-drive is the only source I have for a 120mph speedometer on T1s.  Is it possible that they were applied retroactively, replacing originally-installed 100mph speedometers?  Is the story fictional?  At this point I do not remember whether it was a Classic Trains or Trains offering, but it was definitely from this website.

Possibly your computer skills are greater than mine and can pull up the original article on this website.

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Posted by RME on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 7:13 AM

Deggesty
In the spring of 1970 I rode the Metroliner from Washington to New York, and spent much of the time in the vestibule at the front of the train. I did not keep my eye on the speedometer all the time, but I do not recall noting any speed over 100 mph.

If there was a T1 speedometer that read over 100mph, produce a picture, or a reference that shows one.  I have done extensive research that appears to establish the contrary, but of course you can't prove a negative, and I for one would be delighted to find legitimate evidence of a speedometer reading that high.  (Of course, the same argument that was made in the Firestone 721 case -- that having a speedometer reading that high meant the engine was good to operate that fast -- might have applied...)

And there is no "N&W J-1".  Unless you mean the temporary wartime expedient with plain rods and little streamlining, which was mercifully corrected ASAP when materials restrictions were relaxed.  The engine is simply "class J" just as its 2-6-6-4 sisters are 'class A'.

I rode the Metroliner to Washington as a child (in 1969?) and the train frequently reached 100mph at that time - in fact, the engineer (he was NOT called a 'motorman' on PC) picked up the PA mike at one point to tell the passengers 'we're now doing a hundred' when I mentioned it.  I do not remember markedly exceeding that speed, though.

I was amused to ride a commuter train in from Landover a few years ago and having it regularly get up to 112mph, without much effort (or interest from the engineer).  Call me old-fashioned, but I still find locals that go that fast to be interesting.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 7:10 AM

I should add that my all-time favorate locomotive is still the N&W J.  But there is no question that the Pennsy T-1 WAS North America's fastest steam locomotive.

Some T-1s may have gotten 100mph speedometers, but there certainly were some with 120mph ones.

The speedometers on Metroliner MUs were digitial.   I am sure they could register 199 mph if that were obtained.  I often rode behind the engineer and frequently saw 120mph.   But only once 136 mph top.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 7:02 AM

RME:   This is from the article downloaded from this website, which I gave as a reference:

Our last scheduled stop was in Van Wert, Ohio.  Again, Harry drove into the station, making a precise spot so that the various mail and express carts did not have to move far to find an open door.  He called me over to his side of the cab and said, "Johnny, this may be our last chance at one of these beasts.  What do you say about seeing just what she'll do between here and Fort Wayne?"  As he spoke, I noted that his face was completely covered with dirt, except for the two white circles behind his glasses. 
My deferential reply was, "You're the boss.  My side of the cab is still attached to yours."  He nodded in reply to my answer, and issued a warning.  "You'd better get your fire ready, 'cause we're going to move out of here."
With this bit of information, I began to work on my fire.  I grabbed the No. 5 scoop shovel and filled the back corners of the firebox.  I shut off the stoker jets and ran a big ward of coal into the firebox, right in front of the firebox doors.  When finished, I felt satisfied that I was ready for what was to come.  
With the first peep of the communicating whistle, Harry turned on the bell and sanders.  A second later came the second peep.  He cautiously opened the throttle.  The first six or so exhausts were relatively gentle "chuffs" as we began to move.  One of the exhausts blew a perfect smoke ring.  When Harry was satisfied that we had a good supply of sand under the drivers, he pulled open the throttle a little farther.  Until then, the sounds of the exhaust had been drowned out by the sound of the whistle, but no more.  The exhaust began to snap and crack out of the twin stacks.  The presence of nearby warehouses and lumber yards created a pronounced echo effect so that each exhaust was multiplied as it bounced back and forth from building to building.  This was the ultimate in stereo.  With the heavy throttle, the engine began to rock slightly from side to side.
We rounded the curve at Estry Tower, and now between us and Fort Wayne lay 31 miles of perfectly straight track.  As soon as we cleared the Cincinnati Northern diamond, Harry pulled the throttle wide open.  The engine began to quiver, and it was easy to note the acceleration.  With a good supply of sand, there was not a hint of a slip, although I did note that Harry kept his hand on the throttle in anticipation of such an event.  As the speed built up, he began to move the reverse lever from the corner up towards center, in effect shifting from low to high gear.
The busy U.S. 30 crossing slipped by with the speedometer showing 78 mph.  Soon the needle showed 86.  In spite of the large demand for steam, I had no problem maintaining 300 pounds of steam pressure.  This was not necessarily due to my prowess as a fireman, but rather to the fact that the engine was a free steamer.  I cracked open the firedoors to check the fire.  I was satisfied to note that its color was bright yellow-white.  The coal that I had put into the back corners and in front of the fire door was long gone.
Dixon is the location of a cast-iron post indicating Ohio on one side and Indiana on the other.  We did not have much time for reading as we were now running at 96 mph.  Harry had now moved the reverse lever to within just a few points of being vertical.  He was kept busy blowing for road crossings.  At our speed, there was not too much time from the passing of a whistle post until the crossing showed up. 
We bounced straight through the Monroeville crossovers at 108 mph, with the needle still unwinding.  West of town we hit 110.  The "T" still had reserve left.  The only problem we had was with dirt and soot.  This was compounded by coal dust from the tender. 
At Maples the speedometer needle quit moving.  We were now covering a mile in 30 seconds - 120 mph!
We blazed by Adams Tower with the engine and tender each trying to go their separate ways as they passed over the crossovers and siding switches.  The tower operator beat a hasty retreat as the breeze we created tried to blow him over.  Clearing the interlocking, Harry applied the brakes and pulled our speed down to a more respectable 80.  We slipped into town, stopping at the coal dock for a load of coal.  With the tender full, we made our final dash of a mile to the Fort Wayne station. 
Arriving there, we got off and headed downstairs to the crew room.  The passenger crew dispatcher, Chet Glant, met Harry as he turned in his timeslip.  "Harry, the dispatcher wants to talk to you upstairs."  So without cleaning ourselves, we both went up to the dispatcher's office.
The dispatcher eyeballed us, shaking his head in wonder.  Somewhat sarcastically he asked, "Which one of you two clowns has a pilot's license?"  He paused for dramatic effect and continued, "You guys were certainly flying low today.  According to your timing by Estry and Adams, it took you only 17 minutes to cover 27miles.  Now my math is nothing to brag about, but that averages out to something like 95 miles per hour, and that from a station stop."
Neither of us offered any comment.  He looked at us for a few moments and closed with the admonition, "Don't do this again."  As we walked out he grinned and added, Good job, guys."

 

 
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Posted by erikem on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 10:45 PM

RME

The "156mph" is a particularly egregious wives' tale, which I doubt anyone with even the least familiarity with a physical GG1 would swallow.  But it makes an even better story than 6100 on the Trail Blazer.

Wasn't that the speed reached by the modified Silverliners that were doing a proof of concpet test for the Mteroliner MU's?.

My recollection was that the GE equipped Metroliners were good for 160 MPH and he Westinghouse equipped were good for 165 MPH. "Good for" meaning that the Metroliners being able to attain that speed in testing as opposed to being to operate at that speed in revenue service.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:18 PM

[quote user="RME"]

daveklepper
There have been instances where GG-1s ran at 100 mph on the NEC.  They seemed to do this pretty regularly both in their prime and in substitution when MU Metroliners had problems.  Has anybody had experience of their operating at higher speed?

Reported speed of between 125-128mph during the Claymont tests, although I have not seen the actual paperwork.  Dial speedometers registered only 100mph (same as the T1s) and I do not recall what, if anything different, was used on the engines modified for Metroliner service.

It was my understanding that the Metroliner permission was 110mph, not 105mph; they certainly ran at that speed on occasion, and were technically capable of reaching higher speed but were badly underdamped.  There were some discussions of 120mph peak operation, but this would have required fairly extensive rebuilding and, of course, the problem with underbraking from the required Amfleet consists nipped the higher-speed GG1 experiment in the bud long before any of that testing was done.  I suspect a considerable amount of the "Metroliner" road mileage was run at higher speed as I don't recall any tire problem with the 100mph maximum. 

The "156mph" is a particularly egregious wives' tale, which I doubt anyone with even the least familiarity with a physical GG1 would swallow.  But it makes an even better story than 6100 on the Trail Blazer.

 

In the spring of 1970 I rode the Metroliner from Washington to New York, and spent much of the time in the vestibule at the front of the train. I did not keep my eye on the speedometer all the time, but I do not recall noting any speed over 100 mph. There may have been times that we exceeded 100 mph. The engineer said nothing to me, though I am sure he was aware of my presence.

Johnny

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 6:08 PM

timz
GG1s, you mean?

GG1s operating "Metroliner" service with Amfleet consists.

If I remember this correctly, "10 over" the highest employee timetable speed was required mechanically, and this is where the 110mph limit comes in.

Mr. Klepper, trust me when I say the original T1 speedometers only read to 100mph.  I have copies of the drawings and have been researching how to duplicate the mechanism.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 3:30 PM

RME
It was my understanding that the Metroliner permission was 110mph, not 105mph

GG1s, you mean?

Sometime after March 1978 the timetable increased GG1 speed to 100 mph. That's the limit in the 10/78 timetable, then in 4/79 they're back to 90. Has anyone found anything in print allowing GG1s 105 or more?

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:14 AM

The T1 Spedometers topped at 120mph, and there was a good website story of reaching that speed.  "A good read for steamheads, Last Chance for a Pennsylvania Class T!," by John L. Crosby.

My own top apwwsa on rhw NEC were nly 136 on a Metrolinier MU and 110 on the Turbotrain.  Acela is faster than that.

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Posted by RME on Monday, November 14, 2016 8:13 PM

[quote user="daveklepper"]There have been instances where GG-1s ran at 100 mph on the NEC.  They seemed to do this pretty regularly both in their prime and in substitution when MU Metroliners had problems.  Has anybody had experience of their operating at higher speed?

Reported speed of between 125-128mph during the Claymont tests, although I have not seen the actual paperwork.  Dial speedometers registered only 100mph (same as the T1s) and I do not recall what, if anything different, was used on the engines modified for Metroliner service.

It was my understanding that the Metroliner permission was 110mph, not 105mph; they certainly ran at that speed on occasion, and were technically capable of reaching higher speed but were badly underdamped.  There were some discussions of 120mph peak operation, but this would have required fairly extensive rebuilding and, of course, the problem with underbraking from the required Amfleet consists nipped the higher-speed GG1 experiment in the bud long before any of that testing was done.  I suspect a considerable amount of the "Metroliner" road mileage was run at higher speed as I don't recall any tire problem with the 100mph maximum. 

The "156mph" is a particularly egregious wives' tale, which I doubt anyone with even the least familiarity with a physical GG1 would swallow.  But it makes an even better story than 6100 on the Trail Blazer.

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Posted by Buslist on Monday, November 14, 2016 12:15 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Deggesty
BaltACD
timz
rcdrye

Anyone got a spec instr showing 105 for GG1s?

In times past, Maximums were rarely if ever a written instruction.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.

Perhaps it was understood that the speed limits indicated in the ETT would be observed--so there was no need to state how fast a particular class could be run? ----More smiles and winks.

 

A senior Division Official I knew well 'back in the day' stated that on Main Tracks the ETT maximum of 79 MPH was there for the benefit of the government.  His engineers were instructed to move their trains as fast as possible when necessary to 'make up time'.  Curve and Train Order speed restrictions were to be observed.

 

 Not related to GG1s but the situation was similar on the Chicago District of the Illinois Division of the IC (Champaign to Stunel Rd.) during the 60s. 79 on the books but whatever it takes to get/keep on schedule. Did a lot of 33sec miles along there!

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 13, 2016 11:32 PM

Deggesty
BaltACD
timz
rcdrye

Anyone got a spec instr showing 105 for GG1s?

In times past, Maximums were rarely if ever a written instruction.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.

Perhaps it was understood that the speed limits indicated in the ETT would be observed--so there was no need to state how fast a particular class could be run? ----More smiles and winks.

A senior Division Official I knew well 'back in the day' stated that on Main Tracks the ETT maximum of 79 MPH was there for the benefit of the government.  His engineers were instructed to move their trains as fast as possible when necessary to 'make up time'.  Curve and Train Order speed restrictions were to be observed.

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, November 13, 2016 10:17 PM

BaltACD

 

 
timz
rcdrye

Anyone got a spec instr showing 105 for GG1s?

 

In times past, Maximums were rarely if ever a written instruction.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.

 

Perhaps it was understood that the speed limits indicated in the ETT would be observed--so there was no need to state how fast a particular class could be run? ----More smiles and winks.

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 13, 2016 4:39 PM

timz
rcdrye

Anyone got a spec instr showing 105 for GG1s?

In times past, Maximums were rarely if ever a written instruction.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.

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Posted by timz on Sunday, November 13, 2016 4:34 PM

rcdrye
Metroliner-equipped GG1s used in the mid-1970s were allowed 105.

Anyone got a spec instr showing 105 for GG1s?

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, November 13, 2016 11:25 AM

I don't know how often they actually got over 100 MPH, but the Metroliner-equipped GG1s used in the mid-1970s were allowed 105.  The main modification was to the bearings on the non-motorized trucks.

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Posted by caldreamer on Sunday, November 13, 2016 10:28 AM

Link attached to the actual PRR equipment diagram shows the top speed of 100 MPH.

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiagrams.html?diag=gg1_dc_2.gif&sel=ele&sz=sm&fr=

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 13, 2016 9:20 AM

I've never heard or read of the GG1's going any faster than 100MPH, from what I've been told the gearing wouldn't have allowed it, but then I may have been told wrong.

I've also been told no one ever knew how really fast they would go, the trackage available made going over 100 unadviseable.  This one's a puzzler.

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Actual GG-1 top speed
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 13, 2016 9:05 AM

There have been instances where GG-1s ran at 100 mph on th e NEC.  They seemed to do this pretty regularly both int heir prime and in substitution when MU Metroliners had problems.  Has anybody had experience of their operating at  higher speed?

Tags: GG-1 speed

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