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Camelback cameo

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Camelback cameo
Posted by wanswheel on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 1:27 AM

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=22958

Excerpt from New York Central Headlight, June 1954

 

The Central's passenger station at West Point, N.Y., was filled with arc lights and costumed actors and smelled of grease paint when Columbia Pictures went "on location" there last month.

 

Hollywood stars Tyrone Power, Maureen O'Hara and Donald Crisp came to the famed United States Military Academy to make "The Long Gray Line," a Technicolor CinemaScope production to be released to theaters this fall.

 

New York Central came to the aid of the Hollywood artists when the shooting script called for a sequence to show the Army "shavetails" boarding trains at West Point in 1916, bound for overseas assignments with the AEF. The West Shore Division supplied a baggage car and three coaches as "props" for the scene. Since the highly dieselized Central no longer has any steam engines in the area, the Jersey Central Lines supplied a steamer of the type used in the World War I era to complete the train.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_noN7QdT3n8&t=6m32s

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/376249/

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/376248/

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/321756/

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/321557/

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/321041/

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 3:25 AM

But as far as I know, no camelback locomotive ever operated on the West Shore, except for this motion picture.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 6:55 AM

You're probably right, although NYO&W may have used double-cabbers on its West Shore trackage rights.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 5:31 PM

Now that's interesting.  I've read the New York Central DID operate steam on the West Shore as late as 1956, so why no NYC steam in the film?  Who knows?  Maybe there were none available during the shooting schedule, maybe none could be spared, it's anyone's guess.

And yes, NYO&W definately used camelbacks on the West Shore, plenty of photographic evidence of the same, although they were long gone by the 1950's.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, June 22, 2017 7:25 PM

I tried to find some video of steam action on the West Shore, NYC or NYO&W, but no luck.

I'll keep searching, but maybe everyone will enjoy this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FI_TSe8O_4

 

 

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Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, June 23, 2017 5:29 PM

ALL:

I have always been interested in the "Camelbacks".  Which railroads operated them and why were they outlawed. It would seem that the engineer was always very hot. Another question was for the purpose on having the engineer up front and the fireman in the back?

Ed Burns

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, June 23, 2017 6:17 PM

Eddie, the first camelback was built by the Reading in 1877.  The idea was to use all the waste anthracite coal that was laying around unsellable at the breakers in Pennsylvania as a cheap fuel.  It didn't take long for a lot of the other anthracite roads like the Jersey Central, the Erie, the Lackawanna, the Lehigh Valley and others to jump on the bandwagon.  The problem was, that waste anthracite called "culm" needed a wide, shallow firebox to burn efficiently.  There just wasn't enough room back by the firebox to hang a cab, so they moved it forward alongside the boiler, engineer on the right side, and (sometimes) a head-end brakeman on the left side.

While the camelbacks were popular with the accountants for burning all that cheap fuel, road crews hated them.  There was the separation of the engineer and the fireman that caused problems, they just couldn't communicate with each other.  As a matter of fact when a fireman on the NYO&W noticed his engineer had run past several stops and crawled up the side of the camel to find out why he found the engineer (who liked to ride sitting on the cab window sill) has fallen off!  In the summer the engineer roasted, in the winter the fireman froze.  And there was always the very real possibility a main rod would come loose and wipe out the engineer's cab.  It was known to happen, although thankfully not very often.

In 1914 the ICC suggested that no more camelbacks be built for a variety of reasons, although those that were out there could still be used.  In 1927 the Lehigh and New England had some new camelbacks built and then the ICC said flat-out  "No more!  And this isn't a suggestion!"

I can't speak for all camels on all roads but the Jersey Central's last batch were outstanding performers in spite of their faults.  Powerful and peppy, they lasted in commuter service right to the end of steam in the 1950's. 

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Posted by RME on Friday, June 23, 2017 6:27 PM

The Mother Hubbard came about when the very wide grates needed to burn anthracite or culm successfully combined with a relative need to keep clearances of a cab mounted 'atop' boilers so equipped low.  Most Camelbacks were either designed to burn anthracite or associated 'hard coal' fuel, or belonged to roads with an anthracite history (like CNJ).

The engineer could be accommodated to one side of the boiler 'ahead' of the entire firebox and chamber area, and this also gave a shorter and more direct throttle linkage and somewhat better view ahead. I am a little surprised there were not more experiments in moving the engineer still further forward, even to a cab-forward like position, and providing him with a speaking tube a la Henderson multiplex for communication -- lagging the smokebox ought to have taken care of radiant front-end heat.

What was lost, of course, was the close communication between engineer and fireman; it was unfortunate that from fairly early on a desire to keep the length and polar moment of the locomotive as low as possible led to "English-style" firemen's cabs or more appropriately footplate-like arrangements.

Note that arguably the fastest locomotives in the world in the late 1890s were Camelbacks, in the Atlantic City services.  On the other hand, they couldn't have been much fun to run fast, even with good lagging, and there was terrible and almost inescapable danger if a rod or part of the valve gear broke at speed.  Apparently it could get so cramped and hot in the right side cab that engineers would lean out and rough track would spill them off ... something the fireman might not notice until the unattended engine started passing red boards at high speed.  Some sources I have read indicate that these were the safety concerns that led to the government progressively making the configuration illegal.

I don't remember the exact reasoning the USRA/ICC used in initially banning new construction of this style of locomotive (in 1918), or precisely what changes in policy led to their being further restricted in 1927.  (Yes, I looked this up in some detail; no, I don't remember that detail.  Sue me...)

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, June 23, 2017 6:43 PM

It's possible that with advancing locomotive design, and the move away from pure anthracite firing to a mix of anthracite and bituminous, the ICC may have supposed that there wasn't any reason to produce the camelback style of locomotive anymore, hence the "suggestion" in the Teens, which I'm sure they felt was sufficient.  They more than likely thought the camels would just go away through attrition.  Hence the ICC's shock when the L&NE bought new ones.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, June 23, 2017 10:01 PM

It's puzzling to me why the Unions were not all over Camelbacks, demanding their banishment. They certainly had many good reasons and could have got support from legislators, safety dept's and other Unions, not to mention the general public.  Also, why not just a cab forward design? 

They certainly were stunning in appearance from quaint and charming to downright terrifying. 

An analogy perhaps...I am old enough to have been around, for some time really, old school past methods of mining....manual jacklegs and stopers, mucking machines on track, loading dynamite, tape fuse...all that requiring skill and disciplined hard core manual labour, one lead miner and his trusted partner in every stope.  Today it is mostly mechanized, can even be done by a remote operator sitting in a room far away. Some miners scoff at this, citing a lot of bravado and skill from days gone by. I don't know how they did it day in day out for years but many died well before pension or were physically wrecked. Perhaps the Camelbacks were something like that...the harder the better, dangerous, risky and demanding, a challenge to ones abilities. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 9:18 AM

Being a Jersey Central fan I can tell you the reason the camels hung on for as long as they did (on the Central anyway) was strictly a matter of economy.  The last new steam locomotive puchases the CNJ made were in the 1920's, Pacifics and Mikados.  When the Great Depression came with it's economic downturn there just wasn't any money for new locomotives, although some diesel switchers began to show up on the property in the late 1930's.  The CNJ and it's road crews had to go with what they had, even the increased cash flow during World War Two didn't lead to any new steam purchases.  When the new locomotives came post-war they were diesels, so the policy was run the camels until the diesel replacements arrived.

Why no union agitation to get rid of the camels?  I suppose the road crews knew the situation in the Thirties and just sucked it up and got on with the job, you can get used to anything after a while, even if you don't enjoy it.

Hey, take it from me, you can even get used to Marine boot camp, although it certainly isn't fun!

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, June 24, 2017 11:23 AM

Thanks Firelock76. Thats a sensible answer that fits with what actually happened. 

How about those double ended Diesel replacements from Baldwin...yeesh. 

Well everyone tried. Long live the Blue Comet. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:12 PM

Firelock76

you can even get used to Marine boot camp

Everdently

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:23 PM

I didn't know the Everly Brothers were Marines!  Thanks Wanswheel, that was fun!

And Miningman, those double-ended Baldwins were a good idea, they were intended for commuter service (run the locomotive around the train instead of turning the whole train) but  that just didn't pan out, a lot of internal design flaws were to blame, such as putting the radiators over the electrical cabinets.  Leaky radiator, guess what happens?  It's as if Baldwin just couldn't make the jump to road diesels, although some of their switchers were pretty good.

Those "Jersey Januses" were interesting machines though.

It's sad, in a way.  The Jersey Central was one of those steam roads that considered EMD to be an upstart organization and believed  "Wait until the REAL locomotive builders like Baldwin, ALCO, and Lima start building diesels!  They'll show 'em!" 

We know how that turned out.

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Posted by NP Eddie on Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:40 PM

ALL:

I watched a "You Tube" episode of the NYOW and they also had camelbacks. Did any railroad west of the Appalachian Mountains use camelbacks?

 

Ed Burns

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 5:13 PM

There's a photograph in one of my railbooks taken in the 1880's of a Union Pacific camelback.  How many the UP owned or even why they puchased any to begin with I have no idea.  As far as I know camels were strictly  Northeast US "Anthracite Road" locomotives, although I could be wrong on that.

I did some further checking and found the B&O used some camelbacks, and west of the Mississippi the Southern Pacific tried one, the Union Pacific had ten 4-4-0's, and one 2-8-0, but dropped them when they didn't perform well on Wyoming coal.  Do a Wikipedia search and you'll find there were quite a few others, but I suspect they were minority users and didn't go for the type in the big way the anthracite roads did.

 

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, June 24, 2017 10:33 PM

Miningman

...  Also, why not just a cab forward design? 

... 

 

A true cab forward reverses the loco, so the firebox is in the front and the cylinders are in the back.  It is made possible with fuel oil, so it would not work with coal.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, June 25, 2017 1:02 AM

Midland Mike- Yeah, I was laying awake trying to fiqure out how to make that work with coal. Came up with some kooky ideas that are not practicable. The engineer however could have the cab all the way to the front and as RME suggested why not a communication device with the fireman?  Perhaps a better design could come about overall. The point is moot as their day is long gone. 

An interesting variation on the steam locomotive. 

In the meantime here's one for Firelock76

http://pin.it/9HKBJZd

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, June 25, 2017 9:21 AM

Thanks for that "Blue Comet" shot Miningman!  One of the Jersey Central's magnificent Pacifics, what a pity none were saved.

Poor old "Blue Comet."  The deluxe train from Jersey City to Atlantic City was launched in 1929, just before the Great Depression hit.  As such it never lived up to Jersey Central's revenue expectations and was gone by 1941, but my was it gorgeous!

Interestingly, a gent named Joshua Lionel Cowen was a frequent rider, and the train became his inspiration for the Lionel Standard Gauge "Blue Comet" set and the O gauge "Baby Blue Comet" set.  The Standard Gauge Comet has the been called the most beautiful toy train set ever built, but man it wasn't cheap.  Retail cost in 1939 was $75.  To get an idea of how much money that was that same $75 at the time would have gotten you a Winchester 30-30 rifle and a Colt .38 revolver, AND you would have had $5 change coming to you!

By the way, the Germans built some coal-fired cab-forwards in the 1930's, engineer ALL the way up front and the fireman ALL the way in the back.  How they communicated is anyone's guess.  I suppose the engineer just did his thing and trusted the fireman to do his.  They didn't build too many so I'd guess they just wrote it off as a bad idea.

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:18 PM
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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, June 25, 2017 6:58 PM

Thanks Wanswheel, very interesting.  I wondered what the Jersey Central conection was until I studied the correspondence, AND saw it was on Jersey Central stationary.

There's two towns in NJ now with a Lincoln connection.  There's the town of Lincoln located in Gloucester County, waaaaaay down in the bowels of south Jersey, and Lincoln Park, up north in Morris County.

There's at least a half-dozen towns with the name "Washington" in them, which can give the US Postal Service fits.  Then again, the General spent so much time in New Jersey the state darn near claims him as a native son!

Yes, Washington slept here, fought here, planned campaigns here, ate burgers, hot dogs, pizza and bagels here, you get the picture.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, June 25, 2017 9:32 PM

Miningman

Midland Mike- Yeah, I was laying awake trying to fiqure out how to make that work with coal. Came up with some kooky ideas that are not practicable. The engineer however could have the cab all the way to the front and as RME suggested why not a communication device with the fireman?  Perhaps a better design could come about overall. The point is moot as their day is long gone. 

An interesting variation on the steam locomotive. 

In the meantime here's one for Firelock76

http://pin.it/9HKBJZd

 

 

Did your kooky idea involve a very long auger?

A problem I could see with putting the cab all the way forward next to the smoke stack, would be that it would be loud enough to cause engineers to lose hearing.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, June 25, 2017 9:48 PM

YES it did! Running underbelly or along the top? Kooky. 

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Monday, June 26, 2017 12:34 PM

   Why not make the whole thing like an SP cab-forward, but with the following tender holding water only, and the coal in a hopper in front?   This hopper can be low like a gondola that the engineer can see over and have an auger to push coal back.    I'm thinking a separate car being pushed, but it may be possible to make it fit on an extended locomotive frame.

_____________

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, June 26, 2017 1:54 PM

Paul of Covington

   Why not make the whole thing like an SP cab-forward, but with the following tender holding water only, and the coal in a hopper in front?   This hopper can be low like a gondola that the engineer can see over and have an auger to push coal back.    I'm thinking a separate car being pushed, but it may be possible to make it fit on an extended locomotive frame.

 
An interesting concept, sounds like a variation on a Garratt or Union-Garratt design.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
RME
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Posted by RME on Monday, June 26, 2017 9:35 PM

Paul of Covington
Why not make the whole thing like an SP cab-forward, but with the following tender holding water only, and the coal in a hopper in front?   This hopper can be low like a gondola that the engineer can see over and have an auger to push coal back.    I'm thinking a separate car being pushed, but it may be possible to make it fit on an extended locomotive frame.

So good an idea, Steins of PRR and Raymond Loewy got into some acrimony about who thought of it first.  Look up the development of the 'Triplex' that eventually through a commodius vicus of recirculation turned into the V1...

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Posted by erikem on Monday, June 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Paul of Covington

   Why not make the whole thing like an SP cab-forward, but with the following tender holding water only, and the coal in a hopper in front?   This hopper can be low like a gondola that the engineer can see over and have an auger to push coal back.    I'm thinking a separate car being pushed, but it may be possible to make it fit on an extended locomotive frame.

 

IIRC, the C&O steam turbine electrics had the coal bunker in front of the cab and was carried on the trucks underneath.

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:17 AM

MidlandMike

 

 
Miningman

Midland Mike- Yeah, I was laying awake trying to fiqure out how to make that work with coal. Came up with some kooky ideas that are not practicable. The engineer however could have the cab all the way to the front and as RME suggested why not a communication device with the fireman?  Perhaps a better design could come about overall. The point is moot as their day is long gone. 

An interesting variation on the steam locomotive. 

In the meantime here's one for Firelock76

http://pin.it/9HKBJZd

 

 

 

 

Did your kooky idea involve a very long auger?

A problem I could see with putting the cab all the way forward next to the smoke stack, would be that it would be loud enough to cause engineers to lose hearing.

 

I think that two different German locomotives are being confused here.

The Prussian State Railways before WWI built a 4-4-4 tender locomotive with two cabs, one at the front for the driver and one at the rear for the fireman. This was later rebuilt as a conventional locomotive, with the front cab removed and the driver in the externally unaltered rear cab. This locomotive did not last to be renumbered by the State Railways in the 1920s.

The other locomotive, 05 003 was a genuine streamlined cab forward but it burnt pulverised coal pushed by compressed air through a tube below the boiler. The locomotive was rebuilt as a conventional coal burner in 1944 when anything that could be made to run was needed. It lasted until the 1960s as a standard (more or less) 4-6-4.

Peter

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Posted by NP Eddie on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:52 PM

Firelock76:

I e-mailed the Union Pacific Historical society and received the following two responses:

" Hello Ed, Yes the UP had camelbacks (4-4-0 and 2-8-0's).There were 10 4-4-0's built in Rogers in 1887 numbered in the 700 series. They were converted to single cab locomotives from 1891 to 1892. They were used on passenger rains between Cheyenne and Rawlins. They used up the residue slack coal and were referred to "dust burners".

"Then there were 12 (2-8-0's) built by Baldwin in 1886. These were used between Cheyenne and Green River. They were rebuilt with single cabs from 1893 to 1895. One rebuilt locomotive #105, operated until 1951 when it was scrapped at Grand Island." Thank you for your inquiry, Bob Krieger, UPHS.

My second e-mail from Bob Krieger (dated 6-27-17) "Hi Ed: Yes, I quizzed my good friend and author, Jim Ehernberger, on this topic and he was able to assist with some of the information". Bob Krieger

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:13 PM

Thank you Eddie, that was interesting!  And aren't those fine gentlemen who answered your e-mail so promply! 

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