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Classic Railroad Quiz (at least 50 years old).

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 5, 2014 3:40 PM

Brachville is correct, so you get to ask the next question.   That is where the line connected, so before you ask the next question, you might wish to investigate an earlier map, say 1946 or 1947, and find the outer terminal of the shuttle in question.  The line was all PRW, single track, had a passing siding midway, but was operated by only one deck-roof double-end car modernized with one-man safety-car features as all deck-roofera then in operation were.   This may have been once the line to Laural.  But I beleive the place where the connection was made, up to the middle-30's, with Baltimore Transit, was Busselton or Busseltown.

If I remember  correcdtly, the Branchville line was a heavy PCC line, routes 70 and 72, fast, with some PRW adjacent to a B&O line, the left the downtown area on North Capitol Street and swiched to trolley wire at the point where the PRW began..

So try and find the outer end of the shuttle WWII-1947, 1948.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:39 AM

Since you got one point on the shuttle correct, Banchville, you can ask the next question if you want, ane I will supply the outer point, also beginnimg with a 'B.'

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:21 AM

I can find plenty of evidence for the line to Branchville continuing on to Laurel, MD, both on line and in books.  What I can't find is a line from Baltimore heading south anywhere near that far.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 3:37 AM

I was told the Baltimore Transit line ran south to Busselton, somewhat east of Laurel, and connected, without of course any trackage connection, with the line between Branchville and Laurel.  If you have a Maryland map, perhaps you can locate these towns and see if this makes sense.   Then pick the town between Busselton and Branchville, also beginning with a B, annd you have the termination point when I rode the line in 1947.

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 6:24 AM

The nearest electric line I know of to Laurel was the WB&A Fort Meade line which met the B&O at Annapolis Jct.   United Ry and Electric did get to Baltimore Highlands, about 10 miles or so from Laurel.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:07 PM

Are you certain you have the Batlimore system at its maximum size?

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:17 PM

daveklepper

Are you certain you have the Batlimore system at its maximum size?

I looked at maps from the teens and the thirties.  I know the Washington Berwyn and Laurel was truncated to Branchville in the 1930s.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 7:51 PM

The line I rode in 1947 was a shuttle north from Branchville that used one double=emd car.  So if the line to Laural was truncated to Brabchville, this must have been another line.   I was told it connected, at one time, with the Baltimore system at Busselton.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:37 AM

Since we're on Washingon and Baltimore...  The WB&A's articulated cars were almost always operated with the restroom end forward on Baltimore-Washington trips.  On Annapolis trips they operated in either direction since they couldn't be turned at either Annapolis station.  What made the operating direction to Washington so important?

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 10, 2014 7:19 AM

IThe restroom forward operatioin probably had something to do with the locstion of the conduit pickup plough and the  automtic "coast-straight, power-curve" operation of motorman operated switches.  With the local streetcars, this was less critical, because they were much shorter.   In general, three-truck articulated cars were used in the Washington service and double truck conventional cars in the Annapolis service.

The Capitol Transit line I was looking for was the Branchville-Beltsville shuttle.  I am uncertain if it had a route number, but it would be something like 79 if it had one.   I was told it formerly ran as far as Busselton and connected wiith Baltimore Transit there..

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, April 10, 2014 8:42 AM

Beltsville is between Branchville and Laurel.  In a nice little video from the National Capital Trolley museum you can see the continuation path from loop at the end of the line (Video from 1957 or 1958).  I did find a photo of a Beltsville car (signed for Branchville) but no route number is visible.

On the WB&A articulated cars the plow hanger was on the smoker section (rear if restroom was forward).  The switch arrangment at the DC terminal loop made it almost impossible to get enough speed up to make the turn onto New York Avenue for the trip out of town if the smoker was leading.  Unlike many 1200V cars, the WB&A cars were not set up to allow for 600V operation and ran at half voltage on Capital Transit tracks.  An interesting footnote is that none of the switches on New York Avenue were power operated, to prevent accidental throwing by multi-car WB&A trains.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:27 PM

Now my question.   After trackless trolleys replaced nearly all of Willksbarre's local streetcars and buses the longer suburban runs, two trolley lines continiued for many years more.   One could have been considered an interurban but ran with streetcar equipment, and the other was distguished by not running downtown, running as a shuttle-operated branch, like Capitol Transit's Branchville-Beltsville shuttle.  I last rode the two remaining lines in the summer of 1950.   Name and describe them. And where was the carbarn located?   At the time Willksbarre was still served by f ast and frequent interurban trains to Scranton, but even though the same guage and voltage, no track connection was seen between the two systems.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 11, 2014 7:45 PM

This is covered in Harold E. Fox's book, isn't it?  (Would you believe a .pdf download of the whole thing?)

Gotta be the line to Nanticoke, and the Laurel Line (isn't the north end now the Electric City Trolley Museum?)

Picture of the carbarn is at this location

(The picture appears to be divided into a large number of little individual GIFs and can't be conveniently pasted into a reference...)

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:07 PM

You are correct about the Laural Line, the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad, officially.  Third rail except trackage in Willkbarre and the South Scranton (freight0 and Nay Aug Park branches.   Part of the line has been restored as a trolley wire museum operation.

And the interurban-like line of Wilkbarre Railways was indeed the Nanicoke Line.   To complete the answer, what was the shuttle that connected with it and did not run downtown?   A very rural one-car shuttle.

Hint, the Nanicoke cars carried a big "N" sign, at the front right of the dash, much like Third Avenue Transit in New York with the "B" for Broadway-42md St., "X" for most crosstowns, "T" for the Third and Amsterdam Avenues.  The shutle was "HA."

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:33 PM

I was thinking HArvey's Lake for a bit, but the answer you want is HAnover -- one end at that wretched Sans Souci park?

Mr. Klepper -- were you the railfan riding on the outside of the last Nanticoke car in October 1950?

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 12, 2014 5:11 PM

YES AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS YOURS

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:50 AM

Keeping things in the Wilkes-Barre area, but moving to more real steam than the WB&N:

Vulcan Iron Works did a special project in the very late '40s which I'd have expected to have come from Baltimore instead.  This involved an interesting simplification of steam-locomotive operation.

What was the project, and to what locomotive was it applied?  Bonus points if you can describe exactly how it did its business...

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 13, 2014 3:15 AM

I suspect they converted a regula 0-6-0 switcher to a fireless cooker ot use steam from one or any of their inplant boilers.  The tender would be unnecessary, and the valves and fittings for incoming steam would be in the firebox location.  Valve gear, throttle, cylinders would remain as found.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 13, 2014 7:24 AM

Interesting guess, but no.  This locomotive was intended to do far more, and go far more places under minimum maintenance conditions --- and be operated in emergency conditions by less knowledgeable crewing --- than her (rather numerous) unmodified sisters. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:11 PM

Could they have taken a war-baby 2-10-0, 2-8-2, or 2,8-0, all built for the Army to be used on foreign railroads, mostly European, and modified to have all modern accessories, automtic operation of many for one=man operation, and perhaps even condensing to re=use spent steam as water, to try to sell it to overseas railroads?

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 19, 2014 11:20 PM

That's a good guess, too -- but think the opposite.  This was a locomotive designed to be operated, in a pinch, by servicemen who had no idea what was involved in actually driving a modern steam locomotive.  In other words, what was wanted was something that would burn available fuel and run on available water (rather than needing complex liquid fuel like a diesel) -- but that would only require a throttle and brake for operation.  As with a modern automobile or truck with automatic spark advance... why tinker with cutoff when you can regulate it automatically...

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:21 AM

So they took a standard War Dartment 2-8-0 and modified with throttle control of cut-off, automatic control of stoker with themal sensing in the firebox, automatic water filtering and injection, timing for grate shaking, etc.  But it was the success of the modified Alco RS-1 in Iran that terminated the program, and the Army Transportation Corps decided it was easier to train a serviceman to run a diesel. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 20, 2014 7:21 AM

Interestingly enough, much of that could have been done.  Throttle (or more accurately, back-pressure) control of cutoff was successfully demonstrated shortly after WW1, and most of the other 'required' automation was being undertaken by N&W, for the M-2 Automatics, at just this time.

But this was an ordinary hand-fired engine, without fancy water treatment (where would you get the dose cakes on a battlefield?), and made as simple and maintenance-free as possible.  (I have not yet confirmed that the engine could be worked at full power with the valve drive on one side damaged, but there is no objective reason why it could not have been).  The easy-to-drive technology extended only to the valve gear, eliminating the need to coordinate cutoff with throttle in the usual way...

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Posted by wanswheel on Monday, April 21, 2014 2:09 AM

daveklepper

So they took a standard War Dartment 2-8-0 and modified with throttle control of cut-off, automatic control of stoker with themal sensing in the firebox, automatic water filtering and injection, timing for grate shaking, etc.  But it was the success of the modified Alco RS-1 in Iran that terminated the program, and the Army Transportation Corps decided it was easier to train a serviceman to run a diesel. 

Here’s a video of a trainload of tanks for Russia in 1944. I think the officer christening the Alco diesel is Lt. Col. Frank S. Besson, Jr., who became a 4-star general and a director of Amtrak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq_HbiFtLEE

http://www.transportation.army.mil/museum/transportation%20museum/generalbesson.htm

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 21, 2014 2:49 PM

I don't understand how a hand-fired coal-burning steam locomotive can be operated by one man, except when lightly loaded.

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Posted by KCSfan on Monday, April 21, 2014 4:09 PM

daveklepper

I don't understand how a hand-fired coal-burning steam locomotive can be operated by one man, except when lightly loaded.

In a large limestone quarry near my boyhood home 0-4-0 tank engines operated by one man hauled 10-12 small car trains of stone from the working face of the quarry to the foot of an inclined plane where the cars were hauled out of the pit to a ground level rock crusher.

Mark 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 21, 2014 7:08 PM

There are lots of cases where one-man operation could be accomplished -- but they are all what I think you'd consider 'lightly loaded' in that the usual sort of continuous stoking and fire maintenance will not be happening.  There are times when a stoker-fired engine (or an oil-fired one) can be adjusted so that long distances can be run without required 'fiddling' -- but it's difficult to predict when this nice situation can be achieved, and certainly isn't something you could depend on for actual, safe railroad running.

The locomotive in question was NOT intended for single-man firing... just operation by soldiers who were not experienced in driving steam locomotives.  You do something simple to go forward, and the locomotive does the rest, just like a Jeep with vacuum advance on the distributor...

... although this engine does something quite different for its cutoff control than adjust a mechanical valve-drive linkage...

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 21, 2014 9:18 PM

I think I answered the question correctly in general terms, and ask you to go into more detail on how the linkage between throtle-load-and cutoff was done.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:46 AM

It's not a linkage at all, in the sense you mean.  That is part of the point of the 'modification' in question.

The "cutoff" is accomplished by wiredrawing the steam at higher cyclic rpm, which is thermodynamically 'not preferred' but which provides the necessary automatic flexibility.  But it is the device that accomplishes this -- or, perhaps more appropriately, the system that accomplishes this -- that is the subject of the question...

As another hint, the modification has its own U.S. patent.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:57 AM

The cutoff could have been controlled electrically from a speedometer.

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