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This train ain't goin up that Grade! Then get new locos

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This train ain't goin up that Grade! Then get new locos
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 5, 2004 3:58 PM
I model a freelance line the Apple Valley Road, but can't make up my mind on what locomotives to power my freight trains with, I already have a cab foward,
and a consolidation thats going to be used on locals( just the 2-8-0 not the cab foward) . The loco must be able to handle several miles of 4% grades coming over North Carolina's Black Mtns, which most top 6,000 feet, that and 1 to 2%
grades from the blacks to Mt. Airy NC.

Locos need to be able to haul fast freight reefers, and long drags of gravel and granite.

Please hand me your opinions on what to use in this terrain ( specifics please)
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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, January 5, 2004 4:16 PM
4% grades and long drags of gravel and granite aren't going to mix. 4% will have even the largest loco on it knees. Your 2-8-0 will probably be limited in real life to just a couple of cars and your cab forward is going to be limited to I am guessing 20-30 cars. Horseshoe curve on the PRR is 1.8% and trains have helpers front and rear at 10-12 mph max going uphill. I've seen trains with as many as 12-14 engines and I'm talking Sd40's and Sd45's not Gp's. That grade is six miles long as I remember.
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, January 5, 2004 5:16 PM
Plus with steep grades the speed restrictions will also be severe, so probably nothing will be moving over maybe 15-20 mph max by speed limit (assuming of course they have enough power to get to 10-20 mph). High speed and mountains are opposites.

Dave H.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 5, 2004 7:40 PM
I hope the gravel and granite loads are going downgrade, and the MTYs are going upgrade....

--John
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 9:40 AM
4%? whoo. The best you can hope for is a few cars up with many trips and slippery slide and a prayer on the way down.

I used to watch some really serious battles along the Raton Pass, Big Sandy, Donner Cajon etc

The steeper the grade the more horsepower (Torque) and multiple engines needed. Given all things equal eventually a point is reached where the sheer mass of the loaded train will defeat the availiable traction. Even with sand and more engines.

With that said speeds are very slow. "fast freight" grinding upgrade at 20 miles an hour with sanders and safety valves howling is not any faster than the massive Cab Forward grinding uphill with a bigger but slower train.

In mountain areas speed is a killer. Traction and Power reigns. I have experienced several 20+% grades as a trucker years ago. On those grades with a 350 cat and a total of 39 tons and change the best I could do was slower than a walking man. That one grade was about 2 miles straight up and it took me about an hour to run it. There was damage to several pistons and loss of fluids (oil, water etc) that day.

I made it up that hill. Sometimes even the best engineering and technology as well as the best built (Not Ford -dont get me started on Ford) products will fail if stressed enough.

Your light engines will do well in the flatlands, leave the hill climbing to the articuleds and mallets. That is what they are made for.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 10:26 PM

What you are asking for is two things which don't go together: High speed and low end power. The physics of steam locomotives don't allow this. The potential solutions involve specialized locomotives for each job and likely helper engines on the steap grades.

Randy
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Posted by tomwatkins on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 7:30 AM
It's very true that steep grades will reduce train speeds to a crawl in both directions and require the use of helper locomotives. But it's also true that this is prototypical of both steam and diesel operations.
There are at least two places in the western NC mountains where the Southern Railway and later Norfolk Southern had to deal with grades of over 4%. The Saluda Mountain grade between Saluda NC and Tryon NC on the mainline running from Asheville NC to Spartanburg SC is over 4% for it's entire length with stretches of 4.6 to 4.8%. They ran coal trains over this grade for decades, with loads downgrade and empties upgrade. This required double or triple headed steam locomotives, helper service and frequently doubling or tripling the hill. Later multiple unit diesel consists eased the need for helpers but doubling the hill was still common. Train speeds were a crawl in both directions. Downhill, speed was monitored, and if 8 mph was exceeded the train was automatically switched to one of several safety tracks to prevent runaways.
The Red Marble Mountain grade on the western end of the Murphy Branch also exceeds 4%, with stretches at 4.6 to 4.7%. Due to the weight of the rail and extreme curvature of the turns, 2-8-0 Consolidations and very light Pacifics were the largest steam locomotives used. The Consols ran double headed and were rated at a maximum of 14 40" boxcars plus a caboose over the mountain. Helper service was used, consisting of the Andrews NC switcher, another 2-8-0, and doubling the hill was very common. In the diesel era, ABBA consists of F-units were used to move quite short trains over the mountain. Later on 3 and 4 unit consists of GP-38's were used.
Steep grades can be modeled and be prototypical, but be prepared to deal with the same situations the prototype does. It might be best to test your locomotives on your proposed grades, especially if the grades are curving, to see what they will actually pull uphill. I've found that some of my steamers even with weight added won't pull as many cars as I expected up my grades and had to make adjustments.
Have fun,
Tom Watkins
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 4:36 PM
OOOps, forgot to mention the district is both ways. I ve made up my mind on a few things, decapods and consols will be used in the valley and east of the Blacks.
Alleghenys and challengers will also rule the east and the north, as the rest of my RR
follows valleys, like the New River Gorge ( new expansion since my initial question).
That Brutish cab foward will be changed from simple to compound in partner N&W's shop in Roanoke, it wil be class ACC( Articulated, Cab Foward, Compound)
Several N&W Y6bs will be leased also. It's also come to the motive power staff that a turbine will be needed. Class XT is now in development. Please continue to respond.


and remember, We go at high speed over high mountains, so ship with the apple valley road!!!! We serve the apple industry, and the worms that come along for the ride, so trust your midday snack to the Apple Valley Road!!!!
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 8:57 PM
How bout them apples eh?
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Posted by tomwatkins on Friday, January 9, 2004 8:16 AM
"High Speed Over High Mountains", I like that. It's a good slogan for a railroad. Keep us posted on how it's coming along.
Have fun,
Tom Watkins

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