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What if? Saved N&W Y6b or other lost classes

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What if? Saved N&W Y6b or other lost classes
Posted by friend611 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:58 PM

This thread mostly focuses on steam that we wish had been saved, my choice being the N&W Y6b being that it was the most modern compound articulated locomotive. A Y6b, if restored, (though I'm certain such a restoration would be very expensive) would be not only an excellent excursion locomotive, but maybe worth testing on freight trains. I can only be curious on how the Y6b would have managed modern coal trains, with up to 166,000 pounds tractive effort I am certain that it would have handled a 150-car loaded coal train quite easily.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 4:06 PM

I think there's very little doubt a Y6b would have handled todays coal trains with little difficulty.  The operating cost would have been another matter. 

As an excursion locomotive?  Uh, I don't know.  Maybe every once in a while as a treat for everyone, but remember they weren't built for speed.  They were probably OK for up to 45 MPH or a little more, but more than that and I thing it would have been pushing things a bit.

On the other hand, steam freaks DO want the ride to last!

Other locomotives I wish were saved, well there's the Jersey Central's  "Blue Comet"  Pacifics, the Erie's K-1  Pacifics  (very elegant engines!),  a Pennsy T-1, maybe even the S-1, I could go on and on.

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Posted by eagle1030 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:09 PM

Does the St. Louis Museum of Transportation Y6a not count?

I really would love to see NYC Niagaras and Hudsons (Dreyfuss shroud preferable) about.  And as a Mopac fan, a 2200 class 4-8-4 or something similar like a Rio Grande M-64 or Milwaukee Road S2 would be awesome.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:59 PM

That's right. the Museum of Transportation DOES have a Y6!  I forgot.  Good on you Mr. Eagle for reminding us.  An A, not a B, but so what?

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:26 PM

   I may not remember correctly, but didn't N&W go back and upgrade their older Y's to be equivalent to the newest models?

_____________ 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 17, 2013 4:29 AM

friend611
I can only be curious on how the Y6b would have managed modern coal trains; with up to 166,000 pounds tractive effort I am certain that it would have handled a 150-car loaded coal train quite easily.

Probably run it at low speed with comparative ease, but not run it anywhere near the speeds these trains reach.  TE falls off dramatically at higher speed.  I think, and have said, that you could get around this limitation in part, by technical means, but there might still be problems with pulling the whole consist from the front that DPU solves relatively effortlessly.  I have done the water-rate issue to death, so will not recapitulate here.

A Y6 is a perfect fantasy fan-trip engine: the problem is that in order to recover even a slight percentage of the megabucks involved in restoring and running/maintaining, you need to run more than a couple of excursions.  On a scale that justifies the larger operating cost for a big locomotive, with paying customers to fill the larger consists.  On a railroad built to handle a locomotive that size, but not averse to having a 30mph engine tie up higher-speed traffic.  When a MUCH better fantrip engine is already in a fairly good state for restoration... two of them, in fact, one of which is in process of evaluation for restoration. 

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Posted by eagle1030 on Friday, May 17, 2013 6:37 AM

Paul of Covington

   I may not remember correctly, but didn't N&W go back and upgrade their older Y's to be equivalent to the newest models?

They did, and the 2156 (the Y6a in St. Louis) received a Y6b-sized firebox.

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Posted by switch7frg on Friday, May 17, 2013 12:40 PM

Big Smile   My signature says it  all.      

                                                        Cannonball

Y6bs evergreen in my mind

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Posted by GP40-2 on Sunday, May 19, 2013 1:27 PM

The Y6b's tractive effort is often taken out of context in what it was really capable of in operation.

The high tractive effort quoted in books was only at starting when all four cylinders received live steam. The Y6b was then quickly switched to compound mode where maximum tractive effort was somewhere around 120,000 lbs. Peak horsepower for this locomotive was around 20-25 mph, and fell as speed increased from there.

The Y was often paired with the Class A in mountainous sections. On flatter terrain, the Y would be removed, and the A would continue on with the train.

The Y would not be a good choice for an excursion train, unless you would spend most of your time in the 20-30 mph range.

The Y Class was a great locomotive when used within its design parameters, which was moving tonnage at relatively slow speeds. Outside that parameter, there were better choices of locomotives.

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Posted by Geared Steam on Sunday, May 19, 2013 6:29 PM

St Louis Y6A  Smile

Museum pics here

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

http://gearedsteam.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, May 19, 2013 7:52 PM

Thanks for posting ths shots Geared Steam!  Looks like it's mostly under cover and well maintained.   who knows, maybe someday....

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Posted by Geared Steam on Sunday, May 19, 2013 8:12 PM

Your welcome Firelock

Many engines are under cover, many are not. They are continually trying to raise funds to cover the entire collection. The problem is they are so close together its difficult to get "great" pics, but that's the price we have to pay to keep those beauties out of the weather. 

Like Steamtown, the Horseshoe Loop, and the California RR Museum, It is a "must see" for any railfan, I have many more pics on my blog link, and I didn't capture everything they had. (GG-1, trolleys. 4-4-0's, etc)

I love this shot of the Y6A, imagine the power being funneled through this piping?

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

http://gearedsteam.blogspot.com/

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Posted by eagle1030 on Monday, May 20, 2013 8:01 AM

Geared Steam

Many engines are under cover, many are not. They are continually trying to raise funds to cover the entire collection. The problem is they are so close together its difficult to get "great" pics, but that's the price we have to pay to keep those beauties out of the weather. 

Yeah, from the times I've been there, the museum has a lot of stuff in the open or too much stuff under the sheds.  At least they managed to get most of the important locos under cover (2156, SP 4460, SLSF 4501, I think the NYC Mohawk?).  I think the only important locos still outside are the General Pershing Zephyr and UP 4006.  I'm headed there sometime this summer; so I can correct some of the things I'm wrong on.

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, May 20, 2013 8:33 AM

The Illinois Railroad Museum in Union IL has, or at least had, a Y3 2-8-8-2.  Over the years modifications and improvements to the older 2-8-8-2s gave them a reasonably uniform appearance although there are many ways in which it does not looks like a Y6b.   My understanding is that the museum was contacted and the engine was inspected before the Class A was rebuilt for operation.  I suspect they decided, as the above posts indicate, that for passenger excursions it simply would not have had the speed needed -- nor is it an engine you want to push to the maximum of its speed range if you want to be at all kind to your track.

Another concern of course is that several eras of track construction have followed the end of the steam era and trying to turn these huge engines has proved to be an increasing challenge.  A weekend ago in Duluth the Milwaukee Road 261 4-8-4 had to leave town ahead of its train because in the past it had derailed more than once on the wye they had used in prior years for turning the engine so it needed to go further to a different wye.  It is also a very slow process to wye that engine in Sturtevant WI where it has turned after some dinner excursions from Milwaukee and back.  And I have seen both the UP 4-8-4 and 4-6-6-4 tiptoe through the wye at Butler Yard in Milwaukee.  Those various wyes pose no issues for even large diesels. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 20, 2013 9:33 AM

A couple of little notes:

dknelson

The Illinois Railroad Museum in Union IL has, or at least had, a Y3 2-8-8-2.  Over the years modifications and improvements to the older 2-8-8-2s gave them a reasonably uniform appearance although there are many ways in which it does not looks like a Y6b.  

The significant differences were in detail design and maintenance/reliability.  An analogy (admittedly not exact) in the aircraft world might be the B-52.  The basic performance parameters and other characteristics  hit a 'sweet spot' in requirements, but functional improvements could and were made in important areas.  By the F version we had a very different airplane, but it appeared much the same to casual observation.

Another concern of course is that several eras of track construction have followed the end of the steam era and trying to turn these huge engines has proved to be an increasing challenge.  A weekend ago in Duluth the Milwaukee Road 261 4-8-4 had to leave town ahead of its train because in the past it had derailed more than once on the wye they had used in prior years for turning the engine so it needed to go further to a different wye.

Much of this problem is due to long rigid wheelbase.  One thing the Ys did not have was too long a *rigid* wheelbase -- little, if any, larger than a Mikado with that size driver, and of course with lower swing radius on the rear truck due to the lack of a deep firebox behind the drivers.  So they would relatively happily traverse a wye with relatively sharp curvature and poor line/surface, as long as the swing of the forward engine was not too extreme (largely determined by steampipe swing and lineside obstructions).  Dave Stephenson can tell you just how sharp that radius could be.

I do not believe these engines, even in the latest variants, used the high-speed articulated method of flat forward support to control swing of the forward engine, so they would be pretty flexible on poor wye track.

And I have seen both the UP 4-8-4 and 4-6-6-4 tiptoe through the wye at Butler Yard in Milwaukee.

BIG reason for this is the centipede tender on the reverse leg of a wye, not the engines themselves.  3985 was built with Bruce-style stabilization that gives her a long effective wheelbase 'vertically', but does not compromise curve swing.  844 has lateral motion devices that have the effect of decreasing effective rigid wheelbase.  The tenders, on the other hand, have the equivalent of a long rigid wheelbase with no truck to guide it when reversing.  (This is one reason you'll see a Delta-style trailing truck at the rear of long proposed pedestal tenders like the one for the Lima 4-8-6.)  There is a limited amount of lateral that the pedestal suspension provides (via the composite shear springs) and the restoring force is proportionally stiffer with high deflection, so it's easy to pop a flange over the railhead, and then difficult to force it back over even if you jack weight off the wheelset.

When you use N&W J-style locomotive balancing (with zero reciprocating overbalance) you need this kind of stiff compliance in both the leading and trailing trucks, to counteract the inertial yaw component.  This increases the effective rigid wheelbase AND makes negotiating unexpected sharper curve segments or kinks much less certain.  611 came to grief a number of times in places where diesels could go (albeit with a moment of flange ringing or squeal).

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Posted by friend611 on Monday, May 20, 2013 12:25 PM

I am aware that 611 did derail on the first trip to Norfolk in 1982, when she had trouble with the too-tight turntable lead. I am not certain what happened, but I believe her drivers began to pop out. However, the only other occasion I know of that she derailed was in 1956, when she overturned on a curve because of running at a speed higher than that called for on the curve. I am not aware of 611 having any other trouble of this kind on curves, would appreciate any more details or information on this subject.

lois

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, May 20, 2013 5:18 PM

Just briefly, 611 derailed in Norfolk because sometime between the end of N&W steam in 1960 and 1982 the tracks had be relaid and realigned with diesels in mind.  The radii of the curves was just a little too tight for a 4-8-4.  Not the locomotives fault, just someone made the wrong assumption that what was would always be.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 20, 2013 8:48 PM

It isn't so much curves that 611 has trouble with, it's cross-level and sharp kinks.  

In order to optimize her as a high-speed locomotive, she had to be made stiffer than ordinary locomotives.  The trucks have to hold her steady.  So they have much stiffer lateral compliance, and in order to make the restoring force quicker-acting at speed, that force increases with the angle of deflection (Dave will know exactly how much).  This extends the effective guiding 'wheelbase' out to the engine-truck pin in the front and as far as the frame is concerned (and the drivers are fixed parallel to the frame) to the centering rockers at the rear of the trailing truck.  This puts proportionately more force on the driver flanges than with 'ordinary' guiding, in which the flanges of the first driver pair do a large share of the guiding (but shouldn't!)

There was an article in Trains that covered this characteristic of Class J in detail -- don't have access to my DVD to confirm; does anyone out there have the specific reference?  Lois in particular will appreciate it...

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Posted by BigJim on Monday, May 20, 2013 10:32 PM

eagle1030

Paul of Covington

   I may not remember correctly, but didn't N&W go back and upgrade their older Y's to be equivalent to the newest models?

They did, and the 2156 (the Y6a in St. Louis) received a Y6b-sized firebox.

Eagle,
The firebox size was the same for classes Y5 thru Y6b. So, 2156 didn't receive anything different than the others in that respect.

Paul,
After the Y5 and up classes were upgraded to "Improved", they were all rated the same.
Classes Y4 and lower didn't receive the same improvements.

.

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Posted by fordv10 on Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:47 AM

Illinois Railway Museum does indeed have a Y6. It is 2050. It is under cover in one of the display barns for everyone to see. The tender has been repainted and lettered.The loco is in rough shape as it was used as a steam plant for a business years ago.

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Posted by friend611 on Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:22 PM

One correction: 2050 is a Y3a.

lois

 

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, May 24, 2013 8:39 AM

Hard to think, with all the engines available, that not one NYC Hudson was saved. Of course 5344 was the most famous one, and would have made the most sense to save.

Stix
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Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 27, 2013 8:27 PM

BigJim

eagle1030

Paul of Covington

   I may not remember correctly, but didn't N&W go back and upgrade their older Y's to be equivalent to the newest models?

They did, and the 2156 (the Y6a in St. Louis) received a Y6b-sized firebox.

Eagle,
The firebox size was the same for classes Y5 thru Y6b. So, 2156 didn't receive anything different than the others in that respect.

GA was the same, but firebox heating surface was considerably greater for the Y6b (430 v. 555', if I recall correctly, with much of the difference being circulator area, again if I recall correctly).  I suspect that what he meant by "Y6b-sized firebox" means heating surface, not physical dimensions.

Should be easy to confirm if 2156 was fitted with the enhanced heating surface...

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Posted by jsphoto on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 11:06 AM

Being a midwesterner, my votes go to a Milwaukee Road Class A Atlantic or F-7 (Baltics on the MR) Hudsosn.  Another, oft-forgotten candidate was the C&NW E-4 Streamlined Hudsons. And, at least two of the three could have been saved.  A Milw A was used as a stationary boiler in Chicago and an E-4 was used in Ore Thawing Service in Escanaba MI, until someone forget to set the brakes, it became a runaway down a grade and ended up in a swamp, where the only real option was to scrap it on site.

But, the thought of them with 12-14 cars cruising along at 100 would be cool sight to see (and there are places in the US where that would be possible...)

Of all the words of Mice and Men, the saddest is 'it might of been'....

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Posted by feltonhill on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 8:20 PM

I'll try to respond to this off the cuff.  I've been occupied with some other work the past few seeks and have not been keeping up to date with these discussions.

Most of the  Y6's were modified with a different firebox following the Y6b.  The tubes were shortened 4 ft from 24' to 20' and the firebox combustion chamber was extended by the same amount.  This is what caused the difference in the direct heating surface.

After this change the N&W noted that the boiler had increased steaming ability and that a clear stack was much easier to maintain.  Boiler capacity calculations and over-the-road DBHP estimates bear this out.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 6:55 AM

I've noticed over time that most laments have been over the various examples of road locomotives that were not saved.  What about steam switchers?  I would like to have seen an example of an IHB U-4b (the grandest 0-8-0 of all) or a more pedestrian PRR B6sb preserved.  After all, the road locomotives couldn't perform their feats without a train assembled by switchers.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by feltonhill on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 8:38 AM

I believe you can find a PRR B6sb at the RR Museum of PA in Strasburg.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 5:33 PM

There's a Pennsy steam switcher that survives in Williams Grove PA.  It's owned by the Wiliams Grove Steam Association and is operable, they run it several times a year.  Not sure if it's a B6 but it is ex-PRR.

Here's the website:  www.wghsea.org.  Check it out, you'll love it!

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Posted by rfpjohn on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 7:56 PM

It's a B4a, reboilered with a radial stay boiler while in the employ of a steel company. Still a beautiful example of a 1900 Pennsy shifter (notice I used the proper Pennsyese term for yard engine. in south Jersey it would be a "drill" engine). There is also a B6sa (PRR built with radial stay firebox) on display in south eastern Pennsylvania (maybe Avondale?)  Supposedly, there is a B8 submerged in a quarry somewhere near Birdsboro, PA. I'm sure it's fine.

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Posted by rfpjohn on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 8:21 PM

On the subject of tragic losses, how about a Reading G3 pacific? Last built pacifics in the US, they were modern but beautifully simple and practical. One was offered to the city of Reading. It was turned down because of budget problems. I don't think the city could afford to move the otherwise free engine to a display location! Wouldn't one look just right powering excursions on the Reading and Northern?

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