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Did the steam incarnation of the Orient Express have helpers?

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Did the steam incarnation of the Orient Express have helpers?
Posted by Shrike Arghast on Thursday, October 12, 2023 12:08 AM

I see a lot of high-drivered locomotives associated with this train (which isn't surprising).

But I know that it had to cross more rugged terrain at points during is journey... which I assume must have necessitated the use of helper engines?

Does anyone here know what a few of these lesser-known locomotives were? Especially during the 1910s-30s era? (And if I have to specify further, preferably SNCF). I'm really not familiar with French steam beyond some specific examples. 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 12, 2023 8:45 AM

Be advised that some of those locomotives had 'high drivers' not for speed but for reduced machinery speed or to facilitate a lower permissible axle load.  This has been discussed intensively online for Golsdorf's 2-6-4s (one of which has been restored to operation and hence can be observed 'in action')

What might be likelier than 'helping' (which here, as in PRR practice, might better be defined as 'snapping') would be to assign larger or more 'capable' locomotives to the train consist over sections with a more severe ruling grade.  

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Posted by timz on Thursday, October 12, 2023 10:49 AM

Shrike Arghast
... which I assume must have necessitated the use of helper engines?

Don't suppose anyone here knows how heavy the train was? For all we know, a high-fare train might well be short enough for an unassisted 4-8-2 on the steepest climb.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 12, 2023 3:37 PM

timz
Don't suppose anyone here knows how heavy the train was?

There are pages on the Web with detailed consist information for these various trains at different times, including how different 'sections' were combined and separated.  I believe it would be comparatively simple to extract train resistance from that information if information about European car types, and about the railroad routes specifically involved, were known.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, October 13, 2023 1:27 PM

May be important to remember that in steam days, locomotives were changed out after about 100 miles. Plus, the Orient Express travelled across several countries, each with their own railways with their own engines. So the engine pulling the train between Calais and Paris wouldn't be pulling the train over the Swiss Alps or across Hungary.

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Posted by JayBee on Saturday, October 14, 2023 7:44 PM

Shrike Arghast

I see a lot of high-drivered locomotives associated with this train (which isn't surprising).

But I know that it had to cross more rugged terrain at points during is journey... which I assume must have necessitated the use of helper engines?

Does anyone here know what a few of these lesser-known locomotives were? Especially during the 1910s-30s era? (And if I have to specify further, preferably SNCF). I'm really not familiar with French steam beyond some specific examples. 

 
So prior to 1938 the Orient Express was operated by the "Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l"Est", and within France operated from Paris to Strasbourg and then the border just beyond. So no serious grades in France. Within Germany the Train would have to cross the Schwabische Alps on the grade known as the "Gieslinger Steige" between the towns of Giessliger an der Stiege and Amstetten in Württemberg, Germany. The grade is 2.25 % for 5.6 kilometers. The original "Orient Express" always ran via Southern Germany and Austria. The later "Simplon Orient Express", "Arlberg Orient Express", "Direct Orient Express",
and the more recent "Venice Simplon Orient Express" ran via Switzerland. The versions that ran via Switzerland didn't start until 1930 and by that time electric locomotives were used on those routes within Switzerland. Complicating the matter was that the French province of Alsace, which contains about half of the route from Paris to Strassbourg, was the German Lander of Elsass from 1871 until 1918.
 
I believe that this is the French locomotive type used on the "Orient Express" in the early years; Est 501 - 562

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