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Improving Our Steam Engines Performance

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Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, November 29, 2021 11:40 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Progressive? Who decides what is progressive?

Atleast in my forum topics' case, I would argue that I wouldve liked to see more comments atleast entertain the idea instead of nearly everyone more or less saying "tyco did that and see where they are now" without considering the fact that we have technology that can make the premise (tender drives) have so much more potential, and that tyco was fundamentally a cheap manufacturer that made cheap, train set level engines. tyco's failure wasent the fact that their engines were tender drive but rather that their mechanisms were cheap performed poorly, and broke down too easily. 

Therefore in my singular case, I would consider progressive to be more open minded. 

----------------------

Sheldon seems to have defined progressive as accepting new technology, and in that case its not this forum but rather this hobby as a whole that's not very progressive. 

It took ages to implement technology in this hobby. First it was the adoption of plastic into locos, then adoption of DCC, then sound. (Im sure there are many more examples beyond these but I cant think of them off the top of my head) Many people (Sheldon here yelling loud and clear that hes one to not use DCC) prefer not to adopt (some of) this new technology. I know some (old) modelers who swear by only running diecast and brass locos, and have a great bias against plastic, even though plastic engines have come so far in terms of detail and quality, and now its basically universally agreed that plastic is just as good. 

Obviously no one should be forced to adopt all the new technology, and I would agree that a lot of the R&D is wasted in much of the new "gimmicks". BLI adding depleting coal loads, markers, and smoking whistles into their big boys seems like a waste. 

Personally I would like to see the R&D to instead be spent on finding ways to make models cheaper, and offer more kit style products...maybe even bring back loco kits. The "do it yourself" aspect of the hobby is lost on many of the new generation, and I feel like I am one of the relative few who has embraced it. 

But Im aware that it doesnt make financial sense for manufacturers to do so, since labor is so cheap in other countries. So Im sure manufacturers will continue to strive to cram more gimmicks into engines, and charge even more for features I'll never use. 

Anyways, my point is this hobby as a whole isnt really progressive, and its not really meant to be. It could be a sign that we've already perfected the way of making RTR models, and now all that's left to do is to expand the list of prototypes (Id love a mercury thats not $1000), and drop the price. 

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

Instagram (where I share projects!): https://www.instagram.com/trainman440

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, November 29, 2021 10:04 PM

gmpullman

 

 
Trainman440
You know its funny I had the SAME thought as the op 10 months ago, and when I made a post about it, got DUMPED on with criticism. 

 

Similarly, about six years ago I brought up the idea of having a DCC throttle that more closely resembled a locomotive control stand.

Not much enthusiasm from the replies.

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/254524.aspx

Today, at about $500 a pop, I think Proto-Throttle is selling quite well.

https://www.iascaled.com/store/MRBW-CST

I don't think these forums are the place to find what you might call "progressive thinkers".

Good Luck, Ed

 

 

I would have to agree, this is not a forum full of progressive thinkers.

Personally, I'm not opposed to the idea of tender drives or better pulling steam locos, but I don't have much of a dog in this fight because I am likely on the down hill side of my "locomotive aquisition curve".

I think anyone into operations would find powered cars an operational "problem". 

Proto action throttle - well, I think I have said before, great idea if you are into that. But it's not my thing, not at $500, not at $100.

But back to the idea of progressive thinkers........

I tried DCC, it works fine, it simply does not fit my goals all that well. Or maybe more importantly, it does not make my goals easier, it makes them harder and more expensive.

More expensive or complex steam locos that pull more? I solved most of that with more weight, free rolling trucks, reasonable grades and large curves.

Signals, not to many modelers interested in signals - to me they are esential.

Close coupled passenger cars with working diaphragms that touch? - also esential to me.

Progressive? Who decides what is progressive?

Am I not progressive because I don't like building my layout with foam board?

But I was gluing down my flex track before most people had heard of the idea.

I may not be progressive, in some ways I am no doubt stuck in the past of this hobby. 

But in this hobby, or in other things in life, I don't generally follow the trends or the crowds......

I'm getting started on a DC powered layout, one deck, with deep scenery - talk about going against the trends....... it will have lots of hidden staging.

But my very first layout in 1968 had hidden staging - that seems pretty progressive? Every layout I have built has had hidden staging.......

I tried a double deck layout, I hated it before I could get it finished.......

My HiFi trained ears just can't warm up to onboard DCC sound.......

I designed a handheld throttle years ago that also let you throw turnouts from the throttle - long before DCC, and long before I realized what a bad idea it was.......

Ed, You are a top notch modeler, I have the greatest respect for you, despite the fact that our goals and view of the hobby are likely not all that close, or, maybe they are?

I was just intrigued with your comment, so I had to share my thoughts.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, November 29, 2021 9:05 PM

Trainman440
You know its funny I had the SAME thought as the op 10 months ago, and when I made a post about it, got DUMPED on with criticism. 

Similarly, about six years ago I brought up the idea of having a DCC throttle that more closely resembled a locomotive control stand.

Not much enthusiasm from the replies.

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/254524.aspx

Today, at about $500 a pop, I think Proto-Throttle is selling quite well.

https://www.iascaled.com/store/MRBW-CST

I don't think these forums are the place to find what you might call "progressive thinkers".

Good Luck, Ed

 

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Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, November 29, 2021 8:54 PM

You know its funny I had the SAME thought as the op 10 months ago, and when I made a post about it, got DUMPED on with criticism. 

Trainman440

I just had a thought about what if tender drives on steam locomotives became common place.

Think about it, it would make producing and designing an engine much easier since steam locomotives comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but tenders stay more or less the same, so a similar mechanism can be used for all engines, sorta like diesels these days.

Tenders are also usually just a big rectangle (besides vanderbilts and slope backs) which can just be a huge hunk of metal, and able to fit a massive motor, making them able to pull quite a bit too. 

Tenders also have small wheels, so slower speeds can be more achievable with the same gears and motors. 

Lastly, you can now put the decoder inside the engine, which means sound can finally come from inside the engine instead of from the tender. You could also fit much more inside the engine like smoke units, internal detail, etc. Im personally not a fan of smoke units, but atleast now they wont hinder the pulling performance. (Im sure those who run DC are gonna complain how this point is worthless)

Obviously you wont be able to have slipping drivers, but the infamous binding and mechanical nightmare that comes with using steam locos could basically disappear. No more need for sprung suspension, now all the wheels have to do is be free rolling. 

Now Im not saying this SHOULD be the norm, but I am proposing an alternate world, and how its not as bad as one may think. 

Anyways, just food for thought.

Charles

Okay its not the same idea, but basically the premise is that why dont we have powered cars instead of powered locos?

If you want to read through all the negative comments from that nightmare of a post, feel free.

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/286354.aspx

...and here's a similar post from even longer ago.

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/145956.aspx?page=1

Oh and one more thing, Im not sure about you bachmann 4-8-4, but I realized recently that my bachmann K4 (4-6-2) seems to have lost a lot of its pulling power. The engine visibly slows down dramatically with a longer train yet the wheels arent slipping. Turns out the motor seems to be rather weak* in some bachmann engines (or gear ratio too is too small) and no matter how much weight you add, it wont increase the pull. Weight is not the solution to all things. 

*Or too much friction in the drive despite proper maintenance and lubrication. 

Charles

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, November 29, 2021 8:15 PM

Overmod

Something common in Civil War-era modeling is to use stiff wire or monofilament as a 'near-invisible' driveshaft between a tender motor and geared and weighted drivers in the locomotive.

I thought years ago that this could be done with a comparatively large motor in the tender, gears to drop the shaft centerline so the shaft could pass through a model stoker tunnel, then gears to raise the shaft line up to a worm as in the approach Wayne was suggesting.

I don't like the general idea of powering adjacent drivers via side rods in models, so this might still involve spur or helical gears between driver axles, with running clearance on the rods to preclude binding.

Much of the space freed up this way could be used for weight over the drivers where needed.  It might be interesting to see the effect of two motors in suitably-sized tenders: one for the drivers, and one to 'diesel trucks' with sideframe swap under the tender, giving more axles of effective propulsion than just a pusher tender alone...

 

Could a lot be done to the design of model steal locos to make them pull better? Sure.

But price is already an issue, and honestly, because people like myself with reasonable curves and grades already get acceptable performance, I suspect very few would be motivated to spend the extra cash.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, November 29, 2021 8:12 PM

railandsail

Your point? The guy has four/five powered units, pulling what are likely light weight cars, on relatively level track. Any four gear drive F unit will out pull them.
Sheldon

I seriously doubt that

 

In case you misunderstood, four powered F units, Genesis, Intermountain, Proto, Super geared Athearn Blue Box, Bowser/Stewart, take your pick, each eight wheel gear driven, suitably weighted as most such locos have been since the 70's, will easly out pull those four or five rubber band drives as shown in that video.

Easily 100 plus cars, likely on 2% grades, without working hard at all.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 29, 2021 7:53 PM

Something common in Civil War-era modeling is to use stiff wire or monofilament as a 'near-invisible' driveshaft between a tender motor and geared and weighted drivers in the locomotive.

I thought years ago that this could be done with a comparatively large motor in the tender, gears to drop the shaft centerline so the shaft could pass through a model stoker tunnel, then gears to raise the shaft line up to a worm as in the approach Wayne was suggesting.

I don't like the general idea of powering adjacent drivers via side rods in models, so this might still involve spur or helical gears between driver axles, with running clearance on the rods to preclude binding.

Much of the space freed up this way could be used for weight over the drivers where needed.  It might be interesting to see the effect of two motors in suitably-sized tenders: one for the drivers, and one to 'diesel trucks' with sideframe swap under the tender, giving more axles of effective propulsion than just a pusher tender alone...

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, November 29, 2021 2:30 PM

railandsail
Tender driven pushers with unpowered boiler might make things a lot less complicated to engineer and build,...and likely far less expensive to manufacture? Plus good big space for speakers up in the actual locomotive (where the sound belongs).

I re-built two brass Ten-Wheelers for a friend who wanted them re-motored.  The replacement motors were were too big to fit into the locos, though, so I disassembled the original open frame motors by removing the armatures and brushes, and replacing them with a longer drive shaft to the worm.  The extra length projected from the rear of what was left of the motor, allowing me to add a universal joint to each of the shafts, then coupled them to the new can motors, which were laying on their side in the tenders' coal bunkers.

With the motors mostly gone from the loco, I was able to cram both of them full with lead, until they were perfectly balanced at the mid-point of the drivers' wheelbases.  Those little Frankenshteens (not Frankensteins!) pull way over their original capabilities.

Wayne

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, November 29, 2021 1:56 PM

So forget that rubber band drive subject for now. Lets look at another drive system that's been successfully used in Europe,...a variation on the pusher/helper theme I have been experimenting around with my diesel engined 'disguised pusher/helper'.

Tender pusher

Because I model in N scale this trick has been used often to improve power pulling

With all the mechanisms on hand and diesel frame compatibility with steam tender this seems an easy way to go.

Not so easy unfortunately because of some factors

First you need a perfect stock running locomotives which run flawlessly with a good mechanism, second the synchronization of the speed and gear ratio need DCC to be achieved correctly between the locomotives itself and the powered tender, this is important especially when passing through  turnouts where the tender of the locomotives must no be a pusher  or à puller.

Good achievement were done with only a powered tender pushing the locomotives, a concept used by Fleischmann in most of his N scale locomotives with powered tender only; this ended with powerful and fine running locomotives 

The boiler of these locomotives is full of weight and the running wheels roll without any gears, the locomotives is a full dummy unit. These N scale locomotives like a German BR 44 are far most powerful in N scale than a Bachmann Spectrum 2-6-6-2 or any other US mallet models in N scale 

When seeing the power of a diesel in N scale or in HO this solution need to be investigated more deeply by using a diesel tender pushing a dummy steam locomotives , a quiet easy heavy repowered solution

Tender Driven Pusher
Actually that Fleischmann idea looks like an interesting approach.

Tender driven pushers with unpowered boiler might make things a lot less complicated to engineer and build,...and likely far less expensive to manufacture? Plus good big space for speakers up in the actual locomotive (where the sound belongs).

Brian

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, November 29, 2021 1:44 PM

Your point? The guy has four/five powered units, pulling what are likely light weight cars, on relatively level track. Any four gear drive F unit will out pull them.
Sheldon

I seriously doubt that

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 8:44 AM

railandsail

Rubber Band Drives

Old applications,..perhaps needing the injection of newer technologies?

 

Look at how many cars this rubber band engine is pulling,... (BTW the video is speeded up) 

 

 https://youtu.be/SQiZcR1wMk0

 

 

I always heard that one of the real drawbacks of the rubber band drives were their excess speed. But I wonder what newer motor control technologies, etc could do to make things more reliable??

A couple of more videos,...
https://youtu.be/mvFX-jZ6Onk

 

 

 

I was expecting this one to be even faster due to the smaller dia wheel axles, but it almost looks reasonable?
https://youtu.be/ERSbluts29Q

 

 

 

Sure looks like it could be some cheap experimenting !

 

Your point? The guy has four/five powered units, pulling what are likely light weight cars, on relatively level track. Any four gear drive F unit will out pull them.

As usual, you are looking for a magic bullet for the impossible. You simply ignored everyone who suggested your expectations are unrealistic.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 6:52 AM

Rubber Band Drives

Old applications,..perhaps needing the injection of newer technologies?

 

Look at how many cars this rubber band engine is pulling,... (BTW the video is speeded up) 

 

 https://youtu.be/SQiZcR1wMk0

 

 

I always heard that one of the real drawbacks of the rubber band drives were their excess speed. But I wonder what newer motor control technologies, etc could do to make things more reliable??

A couple of more videos,...
https://youtu.be/mvFX-jZ6Onk

 

 

 

I was expecting this one to be even faster due to the smaller dia wheel axles, but it almost looks reasonable?
https://youtu.be/ERSbluts29Q

 

 

 

Sure looks like it could be some cheap experimenting !

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Posted by railandsail on Sunday, November 21, 2021 7:56 AM

doctorwayne

When I bought my first Athearn Genesis Mikado, I was impressed with it's smooth operation, but surprised that it had difficulty going up a not overly-steep grade, even though there were no cars coupled to it.
I later tested it, with a train attached, and found that it could barely move 10 not-very-heavy freight cars on straight track. 

I was starting to regret the purchase, but on a whim, grabbed a piece of sheet lead, folded it a couple of times, then formed it into a saddle, which I draped over the loco's boiler.  Just like that, the potential shelf queen morphed into Hannah the Hauler.  I don't recall the weight of the lead, but it was likely at least a couple of pounds.

That moment convinced me of the need for adding weight to steam locos, although it seemed pretty obvious that it wouldn't look all that prototypical if my locos were running around wearing lead saddles.

There's a thread HERE which offers some info on adding weight to steam locomotives.

Wayne

 

 

VERY interesting link you provided there on working with lead weights. I need to spend some time going over it in detail

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Posted by selector on Sunday, November 21, 2021 1:15 AM

David and Wayne, thanks for the information and kind offer.  I will take some time to do some local sleuthing about materials, but I might just take you up on your offer, Wayne.  I'll contact you off list in the next week or three.

-Crandell

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 19, 2021 10:45 PM

When I bought my first Athearn Genesis Mikado, I was impressed with it's smooth operation, but surprised that it had difficulty going up a not overly-steep grade, even though there were no cars coupled to it.
I later tested it, with a train attached, and found that it could barely move 10 not-very-heavy freight cars on straight track. 

I was starting to regret the purchase, but on a whim, grabbed a piece of sheet lead, folded it a couple of times, then formed it into a saddle, which I draped over the loco's boiler.  Just like that, the potential shelf queen morphed into Hannah the Hauler.  I don't recall the weight of the lead, but it was likely at least a couple of pounds.

That moment convinced me of the need for adding weight to steam locos, although it seemed pretty obvious that it wouldn't look all that prototypical if my locos were running around wearing lead saddles.

There's a thread HERE which offers some info on adding weight to steam locomotives.

Wayne

 

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Friday, November 19, 2021 3:18 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 A few simple points

In real life diesels are better on grades than steam, our models are no different.

BUT, our grades are often WAY TOO STEEP, and our curves are too sharp, which also quickly degrades the pulling power of both real and model steam locomotives.

The physics do not scale exactly, but the same factors are in play.

I have added weight to lots steam locos with good results. 

Which Bachmann 4-8-4, they have made several different prototypes? And several different drives under those various models....

I have lots of Bachmann steam, but only one 4-8-4, a N&W J, and it needs more weight, a project I have not gotten to yet.

Nearly all of my other steam locos pull to acceptable levels on the kind of layout I am building, but sharper curves and steeper grades would be a problem. 

Bullfrogsnot works.........

My new layout will have 36" and larger curves, no grades over 2%, easements, and I will be pulling 35-50 car trains - and most steam powered trains will be double headed, and most diesel trains will have 3-4 powered units.

Free rolling equipment improves pulling ability - even on grades - extra resistance is never a good thing.

Sharp curves and steep grades are a death spell for steam locomotives - ESPECIALLY long wheel base locos that loose tractive contact area and have increased flange resistance on curves.

Last I checked, you cannot have your cake and eat it too on this issue.

Sheldon

 

 

While the details are different, this sums up my view as well

 

Guy

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 19, 2021 8:27 AM

Obviously, OP's layout is too steep and too sharp for the types of trains he wants to run.

The prototype would double head or Helper to push the train up the grade and around the sharp curve.

Work-around solutions to inherent design and planning issues take a lot of fussing, time, possibly money, and always frustration to implement.

Don't add a lot of weight to a detailed model.  Use lashups, or better yet, change the train or the layout.

- Douglas

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Posted by dstarr on Friday, November 19, 2021 7:27 AM

SeeYou190

As long as we are on the topic of improving steam locomotive performance...

What is anyone's opinion on installing the boiler weights that come with brass steam locomotives?

I have read they do and do not improve pulling power, and I have read they adversely effect balance and increase derailments. They don't fill all that much of the available boiler cavity. To me, it seems like adding rolled up sheet lead would be better.

-Kevin

 

As far as weight in locomotives, more is better.  The pulling power is limited by wheel spin, once the wheels start spinning, that is all she wrote.  You won't get any more pull.  Put more weight on the drivers, and this retards the onset of wheel spin and you get more pull.  As a rule, locomotives will pull something between 0.2 and 0.25 times their weight.  If you want more pull, add more weight. 

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Posted by dstarr on Friday, November 19, 2021 2:47 AM

selector

Thanks, fellas.  So where would/should I look for sheet lead?  I know about tire counterbalance weights....   And how, and in what, do you melt lead if you do?  What do you use for moulds?

 

I get sheet lead from building supply houses or lumber yards.  They sell it for flashing around chimneys. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 19, 2021 12:38 AM

selector
So where would/should I look for sheet lead? I know about tire counterbalance weights.... And how, and in what, do you melt lead if you do? What do you use for moulds?

You should be able to get sheet lead from a plumbing supply store, although I had several options in Hamilton,  Ontario, where there were shops re-melting scrap lead into sheets of varying thicknesses.  For the few square feet that I'd request, I seldom had to pay anything.  I'd guess that there still may be a couple around, but the ones with which I was familiar are now gone.


I use sheet aluminum for moulds - the garage that we got when we bought the house next door was filled with sheets of it, along with lengths of stainless steel sheet material, bent into lightweight angles.  The was also a boatload of sandpaper in the home's basement - I sold quite a bit of it to my fellow steelworkers, and literally filled the box of my pick-up with very fine sandpapers, which I sold to a store that dealt in auto paints and painting.  I still have a locker full of various grades of sandpaper, much of it German-made, with grits of all sorts, ranging from #36 to #1600

If you go to the link that I provided, it will show the mould-making process and  explain the procedure for melting lead and pouring it into the moulds, along with some tips for under- or over-filled moulds, and how to alter them while still in their mould.

Here's a box of moulds that you can have for the postage - I'll put 'em in a smaller box to save ya some dough...

Wayne

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Posted by mvlandsw on Friday, November 19, 2021 12:19 AM

I don't know if it's still running but the steam excursion train that used to run around Stone Mountain in Georgia had an EMD switcher disguised as a baggage car behind the steam engine to give it more power.

There have been articles in the model press about adding power to tenders.

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Posted by selector on Thursday, November 18, 2021 11:13 PM

Thanks, fellas.  So where would/should I look for sheet lead?  I know about tire counterbalance weights....   And how, and in what, do you melt lead if you do?  What do you use for moulds?

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, November 18, 2021 10:42 PM

Sheldon is absolutely right about DC locos running well together if the train being pulled actually needs the effort of more than one locomotive.

When I first tried to run my brass Mogul...

...with the plastic one from IHC...

The 34 would drag both the still-immobile 37 and the train for a couple of car lengths before the 37's motor finally started working.  Once both were running, they were as smooth as can be.
It didn't take too long, though, before I decided to put a better motor in the 37, and add weight to both locos and both tenders. 
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the 37 had not only extra weight under its cab roof, but also a block of lead on the cab floor...

and two of them on the underside of the drivers' coverplate...

I do add weight to all of my tenders, too...not only blocks or sheets of lead, but also full loads of loose "coal" (usually coke breeze or Black Beauty blasting medium).  This ensures not only good tracking, but also good electrical contact.

The one loco I have that still under-performs is this Bachmann 2-6-6-2...

I've crammed lead into every nook and cranny I could find...

 

...and replaced the plastic air reservoirs with lead-filled brass tubing...

and likewise for the steam pipes...

 

...and even added auxiliary air reservoirs atop the boiler, using lead-filled stainless steel tubing...

...and the loco's domes are filled with lead, as is the top portion of the smokebox...
 
 
I'll eventually get around to fixing the flaws (there's some interference between that brass cab and the tender, but I also think that the all-wheel pick-up on the two tenders is causing too much drag.  The loco runs smoothly enough, but it's not much of a puller.
 
Wayne (apparently under attack by the italics)
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 18, 2021 10:20 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
selector
It seems, as a general preference, or maybe as a matter of avoidance (due to inherent complication), that most of us prefer to run a single loco on the head end. 

 

I have never seen steam locomotives in real operation. Just movies, excursions, and some special cases.

Double headed steam just looks unusual to my eye.

-Kevin

 

One more thought, why is an excursion not "real operation"?

The Strasburg is not an "excursion" line, they are a regular common carrier railroad and in addition to their "passenger operations" they move freight with steam locos all the time.

It may be a short little railroad, but they move lots of freight acting as team track yard for all sorts of local industries. Sounds pretty real to me. There are modern freight cars in thier "freight yard" every time I have been their in recent times.

And trust me, at only one hour from here, I have been there a lot...... 

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:38 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
selector
It seems, as a general preference, or maybe as a matter of avoidance (due to inherent complication), that most of us prefer to run a single loco on the head end. 

 

I have never seen steam locomotives in real operation. Just movies, excursions, and some special cases.

Double headed steam just looks unusual to my eye.

-Kevin

 

But it can be found on occasion even today in excursion service. The Strasburg Rail Road has done it a few times.

And historic pictures and film show us that in the mountains especially, it was an every day thing.

Double heading is nothing, I have in my analog world a series of photos showing the Western Maryland moving 90 loaded hoppers out of one of their mine branches in the 50's.

Three 2-8-0's on the point, two RS units and and a 2-8-0 in the middle, and two more 2-8-0's pushing.

90 cars, 4500 tons, 7 locomotives. Less than 13 cars per locomotive to deal with 3% grades and sharp curves.

To me, long trains look perfectly normal with two steamers or 4 early diesels. 

When GM designed the FT, the thinking was that the AB set equaled a heavy Mikado.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 15,351 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:24 PM

selector
It seems, as a general preference, or maybe as a matter of avoidance (due to inherent complication), that most of us prefer to run a single loco on the head end. 

I have never seen steam locomotives in real operation. Just movies, excursions, and some special cases.

Double headed steam just looks unusual to my eye.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:50 PM

SeeYou190

As long as we are on the topic of improving steam locomotive performance...

What is anyone's opinion on installing the boiler weights that come with brass steam locomotives?

I have read they do and do not improve pulling power, and I have read they adversely effect balance and increase derailments. They don't fill all that much of the available boiler cavity. To me, it seems like adding rolled up sheet lead would be better.

-Kevin

 

More weight is always better, but it must be balanced.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:40 PM

The Bachmann 2-8-4, converted into freelanced heavy Mikes, similar to the DT&I 800 class:

The revised drawbar design attaches just behind the last driver, not under the cab, proving a much improved pulling angle on curves for much better tracking.

 

 

 

And there is more in the crown sheet of the boiler that I don't have a photo of.

Here is a typical tender with more weight:

 

No down force springs on the lead or trailing trucks here either. But then again I don't expect them to squeak around 18" curves.....

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
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  • From: Maryland
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:32 PM

selector

I appreciate all the wisdom and experience expressed so far.  It seems, as a general preference, or maybe as a matter of avoidance (due to inherent complication), that most of us prefer to run a single loco on the head end.  Due to prototypical practices, a person modeling the modern era is almost certain to want 'lashups', and that is the common practice.  We steam lovers seem to hope that our lone behemoth 2-8-2, 2-10-2, or 4-8-4 is going to do the trick, but we soon learn otherwise.

I do know that many of us doublehead steamers, and I am proud to claim that a couple of years ago I finally shoved my long coal drag, headed by a 2-6-6-4 Class A, with my trusty Y6b.  It took some fancy fingerwork, thankfully on my twin encoder Digitrax paddles, but I somehow managed to avoid a single derailment in about 10 minutes of running before the stress became too much. Confused

Doc Wayne has posted in the past how he has shoehorned the odd half-ounce or more into some of his fleet, but I would appreciate seeing and hearing from others, what they did, how they did, and what the difference was.  I would like more heft to a few of my steamers, but also to some of their tenders, which I think could stand a firmer contact point on the rails.

 

Why would you not simply consist the two steam locos together and run them with one throttle just like diesels?

Wayne and I can tell you that in DC we have no trouble coupling different steam locos together to pull our our trains.

My favorite double headed lashups include a Proto 2-8-8-2 and a Spectrum 2-6-6-2, they run beautifully together. Or a Spectrum Heavy 4-8-2 and my Bachmann 2-8-2's (converted from 2-8-4's).

Three Spectrum 2-8-0's is really cool on the front of a train.

Two Mikados, any two Mikados, is a steam classic here in the Mid Atlantic. For 40 years nearly every B&O freight train that left Baltimore headed west started out with two Mikados typically pulling 50-70 cars.

In DC, as long as the overall gear ratio and starting voltage is similar, and the train is heavy enough to really require two locos, they generally run fine. All this perfect speed matching stuff in nonsense.

Some pulling power stats I have recorded on my layout and others:

Rivarossi C&O 2-6-6-6 - 36" curves, 2% helix grades, 90 cars.

BLI - N&W 2-6-6-4 - same layout as above, 110 cars.

Spectrum USRA Heavy 4-8-2 - 36" and larger curves, 2% grades, my old layout, single loco, 35 cars on level track, two locos double headed, 40 cars on the grades.

BLI Reading T1 4-8-4, my old layout, 45 cars, on the grades, level track about 70 cars.

Bachmann 2-8-4, converted to 2-8-2, 5 oz of weight added, my old layout, one loco, 32 cars on level track, two locos double headed, 40 cars on the grades.

The Proto 2-8-8-2 and Spectrum 2-6-6-2 combination, 50 cars on the grades.

Three Spectrum 2-8-0's, 45 cars on the grades.

No stress for me, pick up the throttle, push one button, and hold the throttle up button till it moves.........

I add about 2 oz of weight to nearly EVERY tender, for better pickup and better tracking - it is were all the pulling stress is. 

Of all the locos listed above, only the Bachmann Berk/Mikado conversions had a lot of weight added - 5 oz. I do add about 1/2 oz to Bachmann 2-8-0's in the domes, and I generally remove the pilot truck spring - yes, I remove it, and my pilot wheels stay on the track just fine.

All the others listed are dead stock in terms of weight.

The BLI and Rivarossi locos do have traction tires.

And 95% of the rolling stock have my prefered trucks - Kadee self centering sprung metal trucks refitted with Intermountain code 110 wheelsets - NO code 88 wheels or semi scale couplers.

As I said earlier, part of the secret here is large curves and gentle grades - like real trains have........

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:57 PM
 
I bought a couple of these Bachmann Ten Wheelers, with cast metal boilers...
 
 
...but wasn't overly fond of their archaic appearance.  They did run nicely enough though, so I replaced the boilers by using ones from Bowser,  (formerly made for both Varney's "Casey Jones" 10 Wheeler and also the "Old Lady" Consolidation...
 
 
 
The cabs looked okay, but I decided to replace them with ones from Bachmann's Consolidations, in order to give my loco roster a more uniform appearance.  While the r-t-r Bachmann Consolidations come with a large metal weight in their cabs, buying just the cabs was cheaper.  Here's a cleaned-up boiler with the new cab temporarily in-place...
 
 
I later cast a couple of lead weights to fill the void under the cabs...
 
 
 
With some added brass details, along with lead-filled air reservoirs...
 
 
...the pair are decent pullers...
 
 
 
I did a similar cosmetic re-work for a couple of Moguls, converting this brass one...
 
 
...into this...
 
 
and this $15.00 IHC Mogul...
 
 
...into this...
 
 
Both were still a bit unbalanced, so I then cut some sheet lead into suitable sizes, and stuffed several sheets of them into the underside of the cab roofs.  Here's an odd-angled shot of the 34....
 
 
 
 
I don't normally run long trains, as they're usually around 12 to 20 cars at most, partially in respect to the many fairly severe grades on the layout.  I have tested my locos and given them "tonnage ratings", which helps to determine if any particular train may need a helper(s).  Helpers would go either at the head of the train or behind the caboose (all of which have "steel" underframes).
 
Wayne


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