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A couple questions about steamers

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A couple questions about steamers
Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:17 AM

1. Do modelers over weather their steamers?

Right out of the box, most models are shiny black which doesn't seem realistic. However, most of the weathered steamers I see are streaky with light and medium shades of gray. The photos I've seen of real steamers don't seem to show that level of weathering although since most of the photos are black and white, maybe the weathering doesn't show up that well in photos. The locos still look a flat black in photos. 

2. Why are some cab roofs painted oxide red?

I see this done mostly with models of Pennsy steamers although I've seen it done on other roadnames as well. I have two BLI Pennsy steamers painted that way, a Pacific and a Mountain. I just bought a Bachmann Spectrum Pennsy Pacific and its roof is black like most of the other steamers on my roster. If both of these Pacifics are correct, what is the reason that some were painted red and others were not? I don't recall seeing a prototype steamer with a red roof but again, due to most steamer photos being black and white, it probably wouldn't be obvious if it was red. 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:33 AM

John-NYBW
1. Do modelers over weather their steamers? Right out of the box, most models are shiny black which doesn't seem realistic. However, most of the weathered steamers I see are streaky with light and medium shades of gray. The photos I've seen of real steamers don't seem to show that level of weathering although since most of the photos are black and white, maybe the weathering doesn't show up that well in photos. The locos still look a flat black in photos.

Locomotives got filthy remarkably quickly, and required repeated and fairly intensive cleaning to look good.  The trick, perhaps, is to understand where the different sources of schmutz are coming from -- soot, road dust, boiler chemicals, various types of total-loss lubrication, rust -- and carefully apply weathering effects proportional to the locomotive's putative 'state in service'.

We had a discussion a couple of years ago about a picture of a NYC Dreyfuss Hudson after arriving in Chicago during wartime -- the thing looked almost hopelessly bedraggled, but whether this was 'normal' for that time of year or the result of deferred 'aesthetic' maintenance, we didn't really know.  I doubt anyone with a Dreyfuss Hudson would weather it that way by choice, or much enjoy it if they did...

The critical thing is the light-tan road dust on the lower running gear.  In my opinion that't the single most important thing to replicate.  Don't get carried away trying to weather grease, rust, etc. until you have that detail first, or it just looks like you pulled the locomotive out of the trash somewhere...  ;-} 

2. Why are some cab roofs painted oxide red?

Railroad preference.  In some cases this might have been done to simplify keeping them from rusting with near-continual sulfurous cinders and soot falling on them, by allowing simple cleaning and a coat of boxcar red.  Note that PRR sometimes used the oxide for other things, including the inside of coal bunkers or the decks on T1 tenders.

I believe in some severely hot and 'insolated' regions the cab roof might be painted with aluminum paint.  I have never been sure why the railroads involved with this kind of climate did not experiment with the Land-Rover-style 'safari roof', where a white or shiny aluminum panel is mounted over a high-emissivity 'black' roof on standoffs with air circulation open to the sides.  It was surprising to me just how well this arrangement worked.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 12:01 PM

Prior to 1940, PRR practice was to paint cab roofs and tender decks Oxide Red. In 1940, Philadelphia issued instructions to discontinue the practice in favor of black on locomotives when they were painted after shopping, so black roofs gradually came to dominate. Still, not a few went to the scrap yard still having red roofed cabs and I would not be at all surprised that some were still hanging on when PRR steam died in 1956. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 12:26 PM

John-NYBW
Do modelers over weather their steamers?

I recall seeing lots of over-weathered steamers in long ago issues of both MR and RMC.

At one time, there were lots of them with vertical grey streaks down the sides of both the boilers and the tenders, but I never understood why that was supposedly prototypical.  Very few of the real locomotives that I saw ever had those streaks (or at least so many streaks) with no sign of what would have caused them.

I generally do weather my steamers, but most of them have what you might consider as "recently out of the shops", rather than "heading for the scrappers".

Here are a few...

...both have some dirt and dust on the running gear, and discolouration on both the smoke boxes and the the fire boxes, caused by heat...

I have five of these Athearn Genesis Mikados (and a couple more under construction), and all weathered similarly to the 10 Wheelers...

I'd guess that many would consider them too pristine, but I'm in the process of adding feedwater heaters to all of them, which will require some paint touch-ups...

This one was painted and weathered for a friend, who wanted it to look like it was on it's last legs.  I started out adding the dirt and grime lightly, but was encouraged by the owner to keep adding more...

This one's from Bachmann, but modified with some extra details...

...and I'm currently re-working my Athearn Genesis Mikes by equipping them with Worthington S-type feedwater heaters, which requires removal of some of the cast-on piping, and, of course, adding new piping and details.  This one, with an all-weather cab, will be lettered for one of my other freelanced roads...

...while the other five will simply get the new feedwater heater systems.

This one was my first brass locomotive, a not very good runner, until I re-motored and re-geared it, and over time, made various modifications to both loco and tender...

...over time, I made various modifications...

...which included changing the slide valves into piston valves (with some styrene) and replacing the old-style cab with one from a Bachmann Consolidation.  I also re-worked the tender to increase it's capacity, and also re-worked a similar (and much cheaper) plastic Mogul from IHC, which was a poor runner until I re-motored it, and also updated it's cab and tender...

This one was a used "bargain" until I discovered that the lead drivers were no longer powered due to the previous owner having applied improper oil to the plastic gears, which caused them to disintegrated.
It was several years before Bachmann re-issued the model, along with some parts, which included both the front and rear driver chassis.  I bought both, even though I needed only the front one (but was worried that the rear one may have also disintegrated after sitting dormant for several years.

It was, however, still fully functional.  I re-worked both the loco and tender, and added a scratchbuilt auxilliary tender, with all tender wheels equipped with wipers to provide power to the loco...

...lots of extra weight...

...and a scratchbuilt hot water pump...

...here's the modified tender...

...and the scratch-built auxilliary water tender...

While I think that the locomotive looks reasonably good...

...it's actually unable to pull more than a half dozen cars, and even with no train attached, it struggles on the grades, too.

If I had room for it, I'd put it in a park, surrounded by a wrought iron fence, much like this real one...

...but minus the mis-behaving rug-rats.

This one is from Proto, but is much modified to match photos of the real ones operated by the CNR...

I added length to both the front and rear of the loco's frame, then re-did all of the piping, as the Chinese manufacturers of the model had misinterpreted the blueprint's dimensions as referring to the outside diameter of the pipe, when in reality, pipe diameters are based on inside dimensions.

I also added weight to both the loco and tender, and was able to repair a broken gear in the drive train, simply by placing a short length of brass tubing over the gear's hub.
The locomotive is a surprisingly good puller for it's size and weight.

I also have five of these Bachmann Consolidations in service...

...and another three that will be converted to match specific CNR and DW&P prototype Consolidations.

A little weathering is enough for my locomotives, but some of my freight cars do look "well-used"...

Wayne

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 12:32 PM
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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 12:37 PM

John-NYBW
That's what I call over weathered.

I'd like to see the original photograph the artist used -- he made a relatively crude ink-drawing overlay over the original details and shading, but didn't touch the original (filtered) clouds in the sky...

Hey, Ed!  Put up some pictures of the 'worst' of the 5001/5011s and J1s used on the Sandusky ore trains, in the mid-Fifties -- that will show them where and how the water-treatment staining showed up.  (Later T1 pictures, after 1948, increasingly show the same sort of thing, complicated by the fallout from the burning-of-Rome smoke effects (to quote Lucius Beebe) and the poor crews discovered quickly that the aerodynamics sucked that smoke down and neatly through the cab ventilators, where it quickkly transformed them to look like refugees from a coal mine... )

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 2:01 PM

It's not an in service picture, the boiler shell and lagging has been removed.  It's either being shopped or scrapped.

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

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 2:26 PM

doctorwayne

 

 
John-NYBW
Do modelers over weather their steamers?

 

I recall seeing lots of over-weathered steamers in long ago issues of both MR and RMC.

At one time, there were lots of them with vertical grey streaks down the sides of both the boilers and the tenders, but I never understood why that was supposedly prototypical.  Very few of the real locomotives that I saw ever had those streaks (or at least so many streaks) with no sign of what would have caused them.

Thanks, Wayne. That's kind of what I suspected when I asked the question. I think it was back in the 1980s that I first saw an example of a heavily weathered, gray streaked loco in one of the magazines and my  first reaction was it didn't look like any pictures of real steamers I've seen. Since then, I've seen many examples of similarly weathered steamers and it has never looked right to me.

Like you, I've done mostly light weathering on my steamers, just enough to make it look like they didn't just come out of the paint shop. 

PS. I always enjoy seeing the modifications you do to both your locos and rolling stock. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 3:07 PM

John-NYBW

CN 1395 is still around today, stored outdoors on the Coopersville & Marne Railway in Michigan. 

Here's a similar engine showing a lot of scale buildup from the blowdown outlet back to the tender.  An oil burner would probably also have some vertical black streaks running down the tender from spills during refuelling. 

Rapido HO Scale H6 Steam Title Page 2

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 3:45 PM

Excellent info from Wayne as always.

I too am a fan of light weathering.

An additional point about weathering in general. My real world observations of trains suggests that except for equipment in extremely neglected condition, the farther away you are, the less noticable the effects of dirt and rust are.

These are 1/87th scale models, often viewed from 3 feet away or more. It does not take a lot of weathering to get a realistic effect at 250 or 350 scale feet away.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 3:55 PM

Overmod
Hey, Ed!  Put up some pictures of the 'worst' of the 5001/5011s and J1s used on the Sandusky ore trains, in the mid-Fifties -- that will show them where and how the water-treatment staining showed up.

 PRR, Worthington, Ohio, 1956 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr


 PRR, Columbus, Ohio, 1956 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

 Fallen from grace:

 NYC_5445_Elkhart by Edmund, on Flickr

 This B&O EL 2-8-8-0 shows just a bit of lime "streak" from just below the whistle plus some buildup around the drifting valves. The smokebox shows more streaking and this is the results of valve oil deposits more than soot and cinders which are easily blown off or washed away by rain water.

 BO, Keyser, West Virginia, 1949 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

Weathering of steam can be greatly influenced by the available fuels and water qualities in a specific area or railroad. Poor water quality resulted in considerable whitish deposits near any steam leak or exhaust, blow down, safety valve, whistle or cylinder cocks.

Poor coal resulted in heavy soot. Exhaust from the stack was also laced with atomized valve oil that was like black ink when it settled on a surface.

Lots of "oiling around" the valve gear and piston rod guides left that area with a glossy, oily surface. Then when the sanders were used lots of the fine powder, plus what was further ground down by the wheel/rail interface left powdery residue around the drivers. 

Occasionally this might be hosed off using steam and hot water around the shop area but not that often and even less during winter weather.

An "un-weathering" crew:

 CNW_Wipers2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I often see where the road name on the tender has been wiped down and left shiny (cotton waste drenched in kerosene) and I've often thought about replicating this on a model but it is one of those things that really doesn't look "right". The results look more like a bad decal job.

Pros and cons of weathering vary greatly in model circles. I prefer an "in-service" but relatively well maintained look. Weathering, like seasoning, is easily overdone.

 J1_Resting by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Regards, Ed

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Posted by cefinkjr on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 5:27 PM

I'm working up my nerve to start weathering a BLI PRR L1s.  That will be followed by weathering a BLI PRR I1sa.  My aim is to weather them as though they were fairly clean at the beginning of their current run.  I'm anticipating a problem with the 'pop' valves.

The 'pop' or safety values on top of the firebox on both engines are a fairly shiny brass.  This just doesn't look right to me, regardless of weathering.  I somehow doubt PRR would have kept those valves shiny brass.  Am I wrong?  What should they look like?  

Chuck
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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 6:07 PM

Overmod
-- that will show them where and how the water-treatment staining showed up. 

 PRR_SantaFe by Edmund, on Flickr


cefinkjr
I somehow doubt PRR would have kept those valves shiny brass.  Am I wrong?  What should they look like?

Grimy black/gray like the rest of the boiler top:

 PRR_4318 by Edmund, on Flickr

Sometimes I can still see a hint of brass color in the bell and occasionally a tarnished brass look to the whistle. Depends on how recently the locomotive was shopped. Steam engines had a boiler wash every thirty days (that's the inside of the boiler not the outside). I'm sure if time permitted, which usually it did not, the jacket may have been steamed off and perhaps wiped down with the oily waste.

Running gear was steamed off and if left unprotected would take on a rusty appearance until the road grime and valve gear, side rod lube got a chance to cover it over again.

http://www.godfatherrails.com/photos/pv.asp?pid=1891

http://www.godfatherrails.com/photos/pv.asp?pid=1986

 

When the site is working, John Dziobko, Jr. (recently passed) has some excellent color photos of steam and particularly good ones of PRR steam and early Diesels:

http://www.godfatherrails.com/photos/pbr.asp?Road=PRR

With John's passing I don't know how long the site will be funded so I suggest looking at it post-haste.

Good Luck, Ed

 

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Posted by cefinkjr on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:31 PM

Thanks, Ed, particularly for the color, high-angle photo of PRR 4318. I haven't seen many good color photos of steam and few of those are from high enough to be useful for modelers.

I think I'll try to mix up a dirty, slightly corroded bronze colored paint - dark gray with a hint of green for the pop valves, whistles and bells.

Speaking of locomotive bells, have you ever seen one, steam or Diesel, that wasn't painted bright red inside? I haven't. I'd paint the bells on my engines that way but they don't move and you can't see the inside.

Chuck
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 11:32 PM

My thanks to both John and Sheldon for your kind remarks.

Wayne

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Posted by allegedlynerdy on Thursday, January 12, 2023 6:06 AM

It also really depends on the era and nature of your railroad. 

 

For example, branchline, shortline, and depression era railroading tended to be a lot dirtier. 

 

Here's pictures of twin locomotives from my prototype, Copper Range #100 and #101 in the late depression era. 

The road dust is pretty severe, worse on #100 than #101, but nearly wipes out the road name on the tender of both. The firebox is very grimy as well, and you can detect some of the scaling on the boilers, though since the film is lower quality and B+W it's harder to tell. The only parts on the locomotive that are clean are much clearer on the pictures of #100 - anyplace where there's metal-on-metal contact. While those locations in part cleaned themselves through contact, no good railroad would have let them get into a state of even minor disrepair - if you did your locomotive would start falling apart.

My general rule of thumb is that understanding what different parts did, and the benefit of cleaning them, is key to weathering. Since the railroads did a cost benefit analysis to whether or not each part was clean. The stuff that has to be cleaned shouldn't be weathered. A hot shot passenger train would obviously be cleaned much more: PRR cleaned it's T1s every day for instance. Mainline service gets cleaned less down to branchline the least. And each railroad has a different emphasis on the prestige of the locomotives and the financial means to do cleaning. 

 

It seems that the copper range didn't have the resources to clean under the view of management!

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, January 12, 2023 6:42 AM

gmpullman

 

 
Overmod
Hey, Ed!  Put up some pictures of the 'worst' of the 5001/5011s and J1s used on the Sandusky ore trains, in the mid-Fifties -- that will show them where and how the water-treatment staining showed up.

 

 PRR, Worthington, Ohio, 1956 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

 

Great photos, Ed but I was a bit confused by this caption. Worthington is a suburb on the north side of Columbus. The Norfolk and Western and New York Central's Big Four had parallel tracks on the east side of Worthington. Pennsy's Cleveland, Akron, Columbus Railroad went northeast of out of Columbus. I did some reading and learned they also had the Sandusky Branch that went due north out of Columbus and I'm guessing it shared the right of way with the NYC and N&W. My family moved to Columbus in 1966, shortly before the Penn Central merger and my only recollection was of PC diesels on that line which was less than a mile east of our house. 

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, January 12, 2023 9:53 AM

Overmod
John-NYBW
That's what I call over weathered.

I'd like to see the original photograph the artist used -- he made a relatively crude ink-drawing overlay over the original details and shading, but didn't touch the original (filtered) clouds in the sky...

No, he took a photo of a retired old unit that's been rusting away for years, and ran it through some extreme high-dynamic range HDR image processing which accentuates the colour contrast to an extreme degree and then grayscaled it.

The result is a very unnatural looking image.

And as Dave H. mentioned above, a whole bunch of missing parts, lagging, and jacketing are another sign this is not a working unit. It's a modern digital photo of a unit in a museum collection.

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, January 12, 2023 3:13 PM

I can recall seeing photos of long lines of soon to be scrapped Milwaukee Road steam locomotives and they looked remarkably dark black and in good shape, more so than similar photos of C&NW steam locomotives looked.  Ironically the streamlined steam locomotives of the Milwaukee Road painted in colors other than black looked pretty bedraggled even when still in service in the final years, and it seems very few Milwaukee Road modelers want to capture that look.

There used to be an exceptional modeler and photographer named Paul Jansen, who took photos for the PFM catalog, and he was known for adding quite a bit of gray when he painted a brass locomotive to bring out the details when it was being photographed (anyone who has tried to take a good photo of a prototype steam locomotive which is in fresh paint such as the UP Big Boy knows how tough it is to capture any details - the black just seem to suck up all the light).  When weathering was added in addition to that it really made some of Jansen's models look like a flock of pigeons had just flown over, as nothing was black or even close to black.  Even at the time people objected that Jansen was prone to going overboard.  

Another well known modeler of the 1960s who weathered his steam locomotives was John Gascoyne. Gascoyne was known for painting on "highlights" so that the details would "pop" on his models but when photographed it looked odd and over-weathered.

This is just my theory and like most blanket statements I am sure many exceptions can be found, but I think realistic weathering of steam locomotives became a "thing" when the two popular model railroad magazines started to print photos mostly in color.   Weathering effects that looked OK in black and white photography did not look so good when photographed in color.

Dave Nelson 

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, January 12, 2023 3:48 PM

John-NYBW
I did some reading and learned they also had the Sandusky Branch that went due north out of Columbus and I'm guessing it shared the right of way with the NYC and N&W.

Much has been documented in the PRR circles about operations on the Sandusky Branch, John. I have quite a few of these resources, the PRRT&H Keystone plus many of the books written, one of the latest being Conquest II by David W. Messer.

There are some good sources here:

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/new/?menu=05Steam_Railroads&submenu=15Pennsylvania_Railroad

I used to "railfan" in Marion, Oh. which was quite a mecca in its day and the Sandusky branch bisected the station platform there. By then it was already turned over to the N&W.

A comment about Worthington is here:

http://columbusrailroads.com/nworthington.htm

And a PRR map:

https://www.railsandtrails.com/PRR/InpsectionTrip1952/PRR1952Map03-Columbus-600.jpg

My dad used to take me to the railroad museum there as well as the Warther Museum in Dover.


dknelson
(anyone who has tried to take a good photo of a prototype steam locomotive which is in fresh paint such as the UP Big Boy knows how tough it is to capture any details - the black just seem to suck up all the light). 

Many of the locomotive builders of the day would specially paint a locomotive in gray or at least give an overspray in some type of lighter shade in order for details to show. Sometimes you could see evidence of white panels being placed behind the subject in order to make the negative masker's job easier to show contrasting details. The PRR went so far as to white-wash all the lenses and window glazing to avoid reflections.

Note the white panels fore and aft of this B&A J-2b:

 BnA_610_J2b by Edmund, on Flickr

This Q2 is painted in a lighter shade than Brunswick Green and note the headlight glass is white washed.

 PRR_Q2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I hope this link works to a slide show of nine photos of the Santa Fe engines on the Sandusky branch.

One photo shows the volume of smoke yhat Overmod mentions above. Another shows the clever turntable extensions that were used at the St. Clair roundhouse  to turn the beasts.

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/new/utility/slideshow.php?file=live%2F05Steam_Railroads%2F15Pennsylvania_Railroad%2F20Santa+Fe+Class+5011%2Fhome.txt&num=

 

Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, January 12, 2023 4:23 PM

gmpullman

 

 
John-NYBW
I did some reading and learned they also had the Sandusky Branch that went due north out of Columbus and I'm guessing it shared the right of way with the NYC and N&W.

 

Much has been documented in the PRR circles about operations on the Sandusky Branch, John. I have quite a few of these resources, the PRRT&H Keystone plus many of the books written, one of the latest being Conquest II by David W. Messer.

There are some good sources here:

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/new/?menu=05Steam_Railroads&submenu=15Pennsylvania_Railroad

I used to "railfan" in Marion, Oh. which was quite a mecca in its day and the Sandusky branch bisected the station platform there. By then it was already turned over to the N&W.

A comment about Worthington is here:

http://columbusrailroads.com/nworthington.htm

My dad used to take me to the railroad museum there as well as the Warther Museum in Dover.


 

 
dknelson
(anyone who has tried to take a good photo of a prototype steam locomotive which is in fresh paint such as the UP Big Boy knows how tough it is to capture any details - the black just seem to suck up all the light). 

 

Many of the locomotive builders of the day would specially paint a locomotive in gray or at least give an overspray in some type of lighter shade in order for details to show. Sometimes you could see evidence of white panels being placed behind the subject in order to make the negative masker's job easier to show contrasting details. The PRR went so far as to white-wash all the lenses and window glazing to avoid reflections.

Note the white panels fore and aft of this B&A J-2b:

 BnA_610_J2b by Edmund, on Flickr

This Q2 is painted in a lighter shade than Brunswick Green and note the headlight glass is white washed.

 PRR_Q2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I hope this link works to a slide show of nine photos of the Santa Fe engines on the Sandusky branch.

One photo shows the volume of smoke yhat Overmod mentions above. Another shows the clever turntable extensions that were used at the St. Clair roundhouse  to turn the beasts.

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/new/utility/slideshow.php?file=live%2F05Steam_Railroads%2F15Pennsylvania_Railroad%2F20Santa+Fe+Class+5011%2Fhome.txt&num=

 

Regards, Ed

More great stuff. I thought I had this thing figured out but a little more research shows system maps of the N&W with Columbus as the northern terminus. I had always assumed the second line through north Columbus was the N&W because I had seen numerous N&W steam excursions on that line and even road one behind the 611. The Nickel Plate's 2-8-4 ran doubleheaded on one of them. Now I'm guessing that what I thought was an N&W line was actually the Pennsy Sandusky Branch. There is a double track going due north through north Columbus and about 50 feet east is a parallel single track line. They diverge a little north of Worthington. I cross those tracks often when I go into Columbus. 

UPDATE: After looking at those aerial photos of the Sandusky Branch around State Route 161, I had to go to Google Earth to orient myself because that area has change so much since those photos were taken. I have crossed those tracks at grade on Lincoln Ave. countless times about a mile south of 161. I never realized those tracks crossed each other about halfway between Lincoln and 161 and just north of the crossing, the single track line becomes double track. 

I used to bowl regularly at lanes on 161 a couple blocks east of the tracks on 161 until the lanes closed last spring. My favorite hobby shop, The Train Station, is about another mile south of Lincoln on Indianola Ave and I would cross the tracks at Lincoln to get there. 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 13, 2023 2:11 PM

Ed, I believe you'll find that Q2 picture has been 'retouched' rather than shot with white background and 'whitewash' on the reflective surfaces or highlights.  This was a common and often heavy-handed thing in the '30s.

There is an amusing Baldwin publicity shot of a set of Sharknoses, for which the original photograph also survives.  There was quite a bit of exhaust as the Baldwins accelerated their train... all of which was carefully dutched out by more white than the usual unfiltered sky...

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, January 14, 2023 7:07 AM

Overmod
Ed, I believe you'll find that Q2 picture has been 'retouched' rather than shot with white background and 'whitewash' on the reflective surfaces or highlights.

Quite familiar with retouching negatives, I am, having done it back in the '70s for a "vintage" press operation.

It is near impossible to attain a "satin gray" as the PRR builder photos display. You can use liquid opaque mask which will render the area pure white or abrade away the emulsion for black. 

Look at this P5b and note how the cab glass is presented as a medium gray and tell me how this was done with "retouching"?

 PRR_P5b by Edmund, on Flickr

Unfortunately this negative has not been well preserved but you might get a better look at what I'm refering to in regards to the reflective surface of the glass.

 PRR_P5B_4702-a by Edmund, on Flickr

I recall it was one of the Stauffer books but I'll be kicked if I can find it now, that showed an elevated view of either Lima or Schenectady and there were several white boards propped behind the subject locomotive. The author even commented about the procedure. Reexamine my photo of the B&A J2 above and witness the white panels fore and aft. Yes, a great deal of retouching WAS done but those white, contrasting panels made the job of retouching a bit easier. Some of the negatives I had to work on were 2 ¼" square. No fun!

 NYC_9000-Lima by Edmund, on Flickr

Did Lima repaint the 9000 for the second shot? Again, note the white background panels.

Ed

 

  • Member since
    November 2013
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Posted by snjroy on Sunday, January 15, 2023 2:10 PM

A really interesting thread, with great info and pictures!

Personally, I learned a lot by looking at color archival photos, which are fairly abundant in Canadian steam because they were so late in transitioning to diesel. Morning Sun books are a great resource for that. Black and white pictures may be misleading... And as mentioned by others, there is a bit of a bias given that a lot of these pictures depict engines at the end of their lifecycle. Passenger engines are the exception I'm told: they were kept clean up until the end, except for those who were recycled as freight engines. Apparently, some companies were more "proud" than others when it come to cleanliness. And in really small operations, some staff enjoyed keeping their engine clean... My own fleet has both: some prestine engines, some more weathered. 

But I must say that the "real" look of engines is not always appealing to the eye. A heavily weathered look, that can be totally prototypical, is not to everyone's taste, as mentioned by others above. And black is a horrible color if you want to highlight details. 

Simon

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