Could 4 restored Southern Crescent E8s pull a fan trip in the future?

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Could 4 restored Southern Crescent E8s pull a fan trip in the future?
Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:11 AM

I grew up along MP 17 on Southerns' mainline in West Springfield, VA in the 70s. Seeing the Southern Crescent in the morning and evening was awesome back then. #6900 is alive and well at Spencer, NC. #6901 is in Georgia at the Southeastern Railway Museum. #6913 is at the  Southern Appalachia Railway Museum and #6914 is cosmetically restored at the TVRM.  So.....wouldn't the 4 of them look sweet rolling down the NS double tracked mainlineat 79 plus mph like back in the day? I will buy the first ticket!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10:20 AM

Four restored Southern E8's would look fantastic on the head-end of an excursion train, even to this steam-freak Yankee!

The problem is, where could you run it?  You'd need a willing host railroad, forget NS and CSX at this time, they've got what's left of the old Southern and affiliated roads and wouldn't be interested. 

Maybe a short-line somewhere.  It's all hypothetical anyway.

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Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:02 AM

Yup, some railroad down in the Southeast would need to host. It is so tantalizing, they are all relatively close to each other. No one thought a Big Boy would run again, but my wife and I went to Ogden in May and saw the impossible. Granted, UP had the will and the resources to do it right. If Graham Claytor was still alive....

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 1:18 PM

Are any of those engines mentioned B units? (I'm thinking not.)

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 1:41 PM

"If Graham Claytor was still alive..."

Oh yeah, the Old Man was formidable.  It was no surprise to me the Norfolk-Southern cancelled their steam program in 1994 when Graham Claytor died, I don't think they even waited until the body was cold!

There's no doubt in my mind he still had a lot of pull in the company and kept the program going when others wanted it gone.

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Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 2:26 PM

Nope. They owned 17 E8As. Some went to NJ Transit, others went to private owners. I am not aware of any railroad other than NJT buying them. Amtrak had leased some of Southerns" FP7s after the Piedmont went away after Thanksgiving weekend 1976. They were used on trains out of Seattle for a year or so. Some Youtube videos (Lee Witten, Amtrak rainbow to bilevels)show them paired with E8s.

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Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 2:43 PM

One of my prized possessions is a two page reply from him in 1977. I had written asking about future(I was in high school) employment with Southern and noticing the bicentenial decal had been removed from the picture on the 1977 calendar. My dad shot a home movie of a 4501 fan trip in Alexandria, VA, and filmed me chatting up Mr. Claytor as we walked along. I have the letter framed under a copy of Robert Wests' painting "Christmas Morning," showing the Southern Crescent in a snowy scene north of Atlanta. I met robert West in Ogden at Spike 150 and he was thrilled to meet a fan and loved the letter under his print. Small world! Trying to figure out how to post thumbnails of the pictures on here.

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Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 2:55 PM
Nope. See below post.
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:54 PM

Small world indeed!  I met Robert West and his wife at a train show here about 20 years ago, I bought one of his paintings (a print, acually) called "The Water Level Route" and let me tell you, he did his homework!  Got the upper Hudson River valley perfectly, to say nothing of the Hudson locomotive pulling the train.

As I was ready to hand him the money he said "Oh no, give it to the wife, she's the banker!"  "Wow!" I said, "Just like our house!"  And we got a good laugh out of that.  Nice couple!

I never met Graham Claytor, but his signature (as Secretary of the Navy) is on my commission as a Marine First Lieutenant.  

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 6:36 PM

Rumor has it that Wick Moorman got the Southeast RR museum E-8 up to Juniata for paint, but once there, it got a lot more work, but never got painted.  He is reported to say that three operational SOU E-8s would have looked nice on the NS business train. So, reading between the lines...  But, then he retired and PSR occurred.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Crescentlover on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 8:15 PM

I hope we haven't missed a window. While I doubt NS will pick up the ball and run with it, a la UP for resurecting 4014, maybe the four museums that own them could somehow get them together. Think of all the work that went into "Streamliners at Spencer." this would be much less. We only need 4 of them for this dream to come true.

I wish I was walking along with Graham Clytor at a 4501 fan trip at Alexandria VA in 1977 like my new avatar. "Mr. Claytor, can we borrow four E8s for a weekend? Please?" "Sure, Scott, just bring 'em back washed and fueled up!" lol. I can dream. 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, October 3, 2019 4:24 AM

How many others survive? Saw a picture of a 5th a while back, looking pretty sorry in old New Jersey Transit paint. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:35 AM

This might  be it...

https://www.urhs.org/locomotives#/njdot-4253   

Here's the whole website...

https://www.urhs.org    

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, October 3, 2019 5:34 PM

Leo_Ames

How many others survive? Saw a picture of a 5th a while back, looking pretty sorry in old New Jersey Transit paint. 

The one in "white elephant" NJT paint is the 6913 at Oak Ridge, TN: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4453473

That said, I'd be satisfied with the four gathered together around the turntable at Spencer for a photoshoot.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:17 PM

Yuck!  6913's a disgrace!  Anyone know who owns it?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, October 3, 2019 8:55 PM

Flintlock76

Yuck!  6913's a disgrace!  Anyone know who owns it?

Owned by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum; donations accepted toward restoration: http://www.secretcityrailroad.com/equipment

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:09 PM

Thanks!

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Posted by Crescentlover on Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:17 PM

A photo shoot would be great! Line 'em up like they used to; two facing forward, two backwards, add the Southern cars from SARM. It could happen. I will be contributing towards its restoration, like I did for  611s'. Every $$ helps. Look ahead-look south!

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, October 3, 2019 10:35 PM

As for me, I always wonder why the locomotive industry can't find a single industrial designer to make a decent looking Passenger Locomotive exterior that inspires people and takes them back to the era of streamlining like the E's and F's did.    Is it really that hard to design something that looks good from the exterior that is also crash worthy?    The cab forward limits of the Amtrak P22s are not much different than the old E units..........yet they look like boxy crap.    The F40's at least had a little angular streamlining in the front but even so still a far cry from an old F unit in sleek lines.    I have heard rumors before from others how much time it took to make an old F unit nose and that a good portion of it is bondo.    However, I would think that manufacturing and welding processes have significantly advanced since then?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 4, 2019 7:07 AM

Compound curves, as in EMD's bulldog nose, are still expensive to fabricate despite new techniques.  The metal still has to be bent into shape and it would take a pretty large press to accomplish that when the sheet metal being used is a bit thicker than automotive body parts.

Ray Patten at GE came up with a pretty good design with the flatnose design as used by Alco in three different versions.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, October 4, 2019 9:26 AM

" Why are todays passenger locomotives so blasted ugly and why can't they they make 'em look like an E unit or an ALCO PA?" is a question that's be asked for years by a lot of railfans, including me.  Anyone besides me think Amtraks "Genesis" units are creepy-looking?

The plain fact of the matter is only we railfans care about  this.  Most  passengers don't care what pulls the train as long as it get them there, and the 'roads that own 'em could care less as well.

What are you gonna do?

I've always said that one way to really  get people riding trains again is to put steam engines on 'em and don't call it transportation, call it a ride,  but that's not going to happen either.

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Posted by Crescentlover on Friday, October 4, 2019 11:13 AM

I rode many F40s on our Ensco Inc/FRA track survey in 1984 ("Riding the Rails  with Riley" TRAINS, Sept 2009).  If you had good lighting from the side and squinted a little bit, the shadow was close to an F unit. I remember rolling along the Denver and Rio Grande outside Grand Junction, looking at our shadow in the October sun, and wishing I was in the lead F3/F7/F9 of the  the CA Zephyr. Now I would be happy to see three F40s pulling hard! How time flies. Remember, these are the good old days!

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, October 4, 2019 5:45 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Compound curves, as in EMD's bulldog nose, are still expensive to fabricate despite new techniques.  The metal still has to be bent into shape and it would take a pretty large press to accomplish that when the sheet metal being used is a bit thicker than automotive body parts. Ray Patten at GE came up with a pretty good design with the flatnose design as used by Alco in three different versions.

I am just curious why it has to be bent metal and why it cannot be cast with molten metal?    Or even better yet aren't their composites these days which could be fit over angular metal........you would still have the bulldog nose with the composite material but with the steel underneath for crash protection.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, October 4, 2019 5:47 PM

Flintlock76
Most  passengers don't care what pulls the train as long as it get them there, and the 'roads that own 'em could care less as well.

A great many are impressed with the front end power if it evokes a sense of speed and streamlining.   So I would not necessarily agree that most passengers do not care.   Some probably could care less though.

Streamlining is an industrial form of art in my opinion.    Look at the Burlington Zephyr the locomotives and tail car evoked speed.    The car skirts gave the illusion via shadow the train was floating above the rails and the sans serif lettering on the name boards and art deco decorating inside evoked modern travel.    All were served up as a package to the paying passenger as part of the ride and my bets are it was noticed by most of the travelers that rode the train as indicating it was a premier train of it's time vs just average.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, October 4, 2019 6:25 PM

I couldn't agree more CMS'!

This subject came up quite a while ago, 2012 or 2013.  There was a poster at the time who was a welder and I remember him saying fabricating the "bulldog" nose of an E or F unit, or the nose of a PA or an FA would be no problem for todays welders.  Just give them them plans an tell 'em to get on with it he said.

Don't remember who it was, I hope he's still out there looking in.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 5, 2019 8:27 AM

CMStPnP
I am just curious why it has to be bent metal and why it cannot be cast with molten metal?

Cost, weight, and strength.  Keep in mind most of the sections are actually formed rather than just bent, but with modern welding setup and not much more equipment than is already obsolescent at shipyards, it would be very simple to convert even complex deeply-drawn plate sections into full noses and then stress-relieve them properly.  See some of the papers in the 'deep-drawing research group' for ideas on how to fabricate complex shapes from heavy sheet or plate.

Meanwhile, a casting would involve relatively large and heavy mold sections and cores, which would almost certainly require relatively high preheat to get good filling and a protracted, but carefully timed, pour.  (Here the fabrication methods for modern diesel-engine thin-wall cast engine block/crankcases would suggest themselves).  I think it more likely that you'd use lost-foam castings and weld-assemble them together with hydroformed pieces, as proposed for the T1 5550 frame.

The catch here is that very heavy structure in the framing is involved in S-580 compatibility.  You might approximate some of this in a tank-hull-like casting, but I think the structural weight would still be higher than fabricated weldments.

Part of the 'solution' is to design a nose with simply-fabricated complex contours, like a modified Patten design (or slantnose) which includes the collision posts, CEM structure, and whatever else is desirable for crew protection.  The real issue here is failure of vision -- too much Vergara and far too little actual aesthetic design, in my opinion at least -- and this is one of the easier things to address at least as DFM is concerned.

Or even better yet aren't their composites these days which could be fit over angular metal...

Yes, and I believe no few of the Vergara-style noses are actually made this way, as are some of the modern CEM-dependent 'controlled crush' structures.  They probably increase weight, and overall cost, which may make them less attractive for purchasing when there are so many additional costs competing for the lowest prospective bid.

...you would still have the bulldog nose with the composite material but with the steel underneath for crash protection.

I have a suspicion that this might dramatically reduce the useful volume in both the nose and the cab interior space, and it will be interesting to see whether there are 'tighter' internal cab layouts that some of the railroaders here would approve of.  My own opinion would be to have radically smaller internal cab volume, with vastly increased crash padding and reactive surface, and heavier deflective armoring both around and above the cab volume, perhaps using cameras on directional mounts for the kind of visibility now provided by side windows.  Note that the 'next generation' of hypersonic and perhaps supersonic aircraft will have a forward virtual-reality display rather than physical forward windows; it's much easier to design a reasonably disaster-proof crew space and 'refuge' as a capsule than as a weldment box with lots of penetrations.

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Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, October 5, 2019 9:37 AM

CMStPnP
Or even better yet aren't their composites these days which could be fit over angular metal........you would still have the bulldog nose with the composite material but with the steel underneath for crash protection.

THe EMD F59PHIs were built this way. They have a fiberglass nose mounted over a box-like framework.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, October 5, 2019 10:11 AM

Fiberglass and composites are not the same.  Composites can be load-bearing and require a fair amount of work to be fabricated properly.  Much of the Boeing 787 is made of composites.

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Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, October 5, 2019 2:11 PM

I'm aware of that. Carbon fiber and other composites tend to be brittle, though, so they aren't a particularly good choice for locomotive noses.

Fiberglass is cheap to replace when they inevitably get banged up.

The first of the P40DCs had a much smaller replacable nose, but after they got damaged enough times they modified them to the larger nose piece used on later units. Much easier than trying to restore sheet metal.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 5, 2019 4:20 PM

Keep in mind that there's a long tradition in using polymers like Cycolac (ABS) or Endura (urethane, and not the same thing as EnDura) for flexible nose components.  Fiberglass is almost unavoidably brittle and, historically, tends to age in a way that both loses strength and exposes itchy glass reinforcement.

A common point with composite parts is that they can be strong and reliable when stressed according to the way they're fabricated.  That's great for struts, and aerodynamic panels with comparatively smooth loading and unloading.  Problem is that tremendous force is developed in the plane of a panel transverse to an impact, much like high force is developed in a rope pushed sideways, and if there is no functional elasticity the panel matrix will fracture rather than distort, likely spot-overloading the reinforcement in the areas adjacent to the fracture lines.  Easy to patch with a bit of resin and Fiberglas tape, yes; easy to adopt one of the Bondo-like systems, yes -- but anyone with more than passing familiarity with, say, earlier Corvettes may remark on what happens when something contacts the nose or hood with any particular force... when the top is down...

That behavior is almost the antithesis of what is needed for good impact resistance in locomotives, even if pieces of composite spall off on the inside or are exposed on the 'inside' of dents.  Plastics with adequate UV shielding are a far better answer ... and are often easily patched or kludged, too.

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