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N&W A, Y5 and Y6 economic lifespan ?

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, April 16, 2021 10:32 AM
Although the New York Central may have used exposed 3rd-rail in exne3w York experiments, and the elevated lines of four Boroughs used exposed 3rd-rail, the actual New York Central Electrification used (and MN still uses) under-running 3rd-rail, which provides protection.
 
An upside-down rail is located under a wood or insulating plastic cover board, which can support a person when new.  I was cautioned to step over it at all times in case the board had deteriorated.  The third-raiol-shoe projects sideways and is sprung to press upward.
 
Some e3xtension of the electrication has bee done by MN.
 
The Subway System, LIRR, Staten Island, and PATH all use a compatible over-running 3rd-rail with protective board.
 
 
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 3:17 PM

Sara T
Backshop: are we talking of model trains or real trains?

In his last post he caught the toy train ball I tossed and ran with it!

Now on third rail operations, real ones now, the New York Central had exposed third rail operations all the way from New York City to Harmon on the Hudson River, at least 30 miles if I remember correctly.  It's still there and now used by Metro-North, the transit railroad.  If anyone's been cooked by that exposed third rail at any time I'm not aware of it. 

Anyway Sara, just to give you a VERY brief history of American electrification back around the turn of the 20th Century when electric railroad operations reached a reliable level of efficiency many American railroads considered it a Godsend, considering the lowered maintanance costs and no more problems with coal, either buying it or disposing of the ashes, and no more water issues as well.

However, once they saw what the cost would be for electrifying their systems and recovered from the fainting spells they decided to stay with steam.  Some 'roads did electrify of course, but those tended to be fairly short-range operations where the railroads could make it pay for itself quickly.  The Pennsylvania Railroad only managed to complete it's electrification from New York to Washington and Harrisburg PA due to a US government loan. 

The expense of electrification is still there of course, and there's the added problem of where the electricity's going to come from.  We've got all sorts of problems here with that and no common cause. 

Just to give you a taste of the arguments that arise over various forms of power generation:

Oil is bad, gas is bad, coal is bad, windmills kill birds, solar panels are eyesores, and hydroelectric power kills fish.  And DON"T even mention nuclear power! 

And all of the above is from the "Greens!"  I won't even get into the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard!) or the BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything), those folks have lawyers on speed-dial!  

Some people think electricity appears out of nowhere or Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Nicola Tesla, Charles Steinmetz send it down from Heaven.  Or something.

Then there's all the environmental impact studies that started out as a sincere attempt to preserve the environment but have turned into a racket in their own right.

There's no easy answers here. 

Anyway, I agree with your idea of keeping a few steam engines around just in case. As long as you can burn something in the firebox you've got power! 

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Posted by Sara T on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:57 AM

Flintlock:  >>Sara, I love that new avatar of yours!  Very dramatic! <<

.. and it's really my avatar picture, myself I am not exposed.

S.T.

Backshop: are we talking of model trains or real trains?

if model: third rail leaves the "sky" free for "help from above" if neccessary; if you run electrics it looks like Tesla has been successful with his experiments sending electric energy directly through air. 

if real railway: again if Tesla would have been successful sending electric energy directly through air, anyone who would happen to get in between would be burnt to ashes in seconds. Third rail? the authorities would sue you into your third or fifth generation for the consequences if people would tread on an outer and the inner rail and not survive it. That's why the underground line gets mad at once if only they see someone dropping his ticket,  purse, her veil or handbag into the rail ditch where the mice live comfortably warm and from plenty of food raining down from the upper world: don't you ever-never make that little jump down, pick up your things and while the train emerges from the tunnel  cool climb back onto the platform. Two uniforms would already await you and you couldn't enter the train. So for all mature railways/roads only overhead catenary. It's bad enough if some thunderstorm breaks trees to fall into the wire and tear it down. Total stop, no train goes anywhere. That's why MANkind pushes back nature so far trees could not by any means jump into the wires anymore and the storm itself has to tear it apart and make a shortcut of it. Womankind would then have some steam locomotives in reserve, in steam at least during a storm, and they would go and collect the disabled electric trains.

Wink

S.T.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:16 AM

Sara, I love that new avatar of yours!  Very dramatic! 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:15 AM

Backshop
So what costs more, caternary or a third rail between the other two?

Catenary, which is why most Lionel (and other) GG1's run on three rail with the pantographs down!  Wink

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:13 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Third rail is always laid outside the two running rails.

 

Well it used to be the case for O gauge scale operations until two-rail O gauge scale was invented.  

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:02 AM

Third rail is always laid outside the two running rails.

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 Backshop on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 3:52 PM

Flintlock76

Hey, Warren Buffet owns a railroad that's been completely electrified for years!

However, it was built by Lionel.

 

So what costs more, caternary or a third rail between the other two?Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 2:07 PM

Hey, Warren Buffet owns a railroad that's been completely electrified for years!

However, it was built by Lionel.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 1:57 PM

Unfortunately, Warren Buffett through Berkshire Hathaway is the exception that proves the rule, and not just in railroading.

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 Paul Milenkovic on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 1:54 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

The issue that is being avoided is how to obtain the financing for total electrification in the current financial atmosphere which discourages long-term captial projects.  Any management that seeks financing for a project that doesn't pay off in the short term will be shown the door.

 

There is this one environmentally sensitive majority owner of a large railroad network.

Will Warren have to fire . . . himself?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 10:03 AM

The issue that is being avoided is how to obtain the financing for total electrification in the current financial atmosphere which discourages long-term captial projects.  Any management that seeks financing for a project that doesn't pay off in the short term will be shown the door.

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 Sara T on Monday, April 12, 2021 5:00 PM

Backshop, that's right, or mostly.

You forgot two basic things: they both have standard gauge 1435 mm in common and one basic difference: European maximum axle load has long been 20 tons, now upgraded to 22 tons. Your axle loads had been up to nearly twice that value in the last big steam locos. How high it is now? I guess something around 32 to 35 tons, depending on the railroad.

You ask >>Should railroads have kept steam or should they have moved to electric?  <<

My personal idea would be, and this is really my personal view, they could have continued about a decade further with steam, but with modern steam and by that time build up finance to electrify. Full advantage can only be obtained if all the nationwide network is electrified to the same system and locos are being used commonly over the border line of one railroad to complete one job from start to destiny by the same loco(s), plus helpers on uphill sections. That way and with the higher average travelling speed monthly circulations of better than 45 - 50 000 miles should be possible. That means smaller loco park and also smaller freight cars park than now.

If SNCF and DB of two nations who don't even speak the same language can do it, American railroads should be able to do it and get cost savings.

Sara 05003

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 12, 2021 4:42 PM

Backshop
I was referencing the PRR Q-class.

Oh, I get it.

Kind of like referring to an Alco diesel fan as an Alco-holic. 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 12, 2021 3:45 PM

Flintlock76

 

 
Backshop

 

 
Flintlock76

You think it's easy being a fanatic?

Give us a little credit, will ya!  It takes dedication!

 

 

 

With the semi conspiracy theories espoused here, if we combined it with the PRR late steam thread in Classic Trains, would that give new meaning to the term "QAnon"? Big Smile

 

 

 

 

QAnon???  

Hey man, steam freaks may be a a little crazy, but we ain't THAT crazy!  

We're not dangerous, we're fun!  Laugh 

 

I was referencing the PRR Q-class.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, April 12, 2021 3:36 PM

Flintlock76

Hey man, steam freaks may be a a little crazy, but we ain't THAT crazy!  

We're not dangerous, we're fun!  Laugh 

I've always believed that as long as you know you are crazy, you aren't completely insane.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 12, 2021 3:32 PM

Flintlock76
Hey man, steam freaks may be a a little crazy, but we ain't THAT crazy! 

You have evidently read neither 'The Difference Engine' or 'Steam Bird'!Laugh 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 12, 2021 3:28 PM

Backshop

 

 
Flintlock76

You think it's easy being a fanatic?

Give us a little credit, will ya!  It takes dedication!

 

 

 

With the semi conspiracy theories espoused here, if we combined it with the PRR late steam thread in Classic Trains, would that give new meaning to the term "QAnon"? Big Smile

 

 

QAnon???  

Hey man, steam freaks may be a a little crazy, but we ain't THAT crazy!  

We're not dangerous, we're fun!  Laugh 

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, April 12, 2021 11:06 AM

Backshop
So, which is it?  Should railroads have kept steam or should they have moved to electric?  Comparing European railroads to American ones is futile. Other than the fact that they are both railroads, they are completely different.  Europe concentrates on passenger service, while we do freight.  You have relatively short distances and high volume.  We can have high volume, but also have very long distances. Most of your railroads are government owned or subsidized, so project costs aren't as crucial as they are when private industry is trying to do big projects.  Private industry has to make a decent profit while governments just have to provide a public service, which is funded indirectly by taxes.

Not to mention that most European railroads were severly damaged during WW II and needed boat loads of funds just to get back to bare bones operations after the war.

US railroads were effectively 'worn out' in their efforts to support the war effort as well as having had their profits curtailed by the politics of supporting the war.  To 'rebuild' the US railroads had to get the necessary investment from private sources.

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 12, 2021 10:23 AM

So, which is it?  Should railroads have kept steam or should they have moved to electric?  Comparing European railroads to American ones is futile. Other than the fact that they are both railroads, they are completely different.  Europe concentrates on passenger service, while we do freight.  You have relatively short distances and high volume.  We can have high volume, but also have very long distances. Most of your railroads are government owned or subsidized, so project costs aren't as crucial as they are when private industry is trying to do big projects.  Private industry has to make a decent profit while governments just have to provide a public service, which is funded indirectly by taxes.

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Posted by Sara T on Monday, April 12, 2021 10:02 AM

 

 

Backshop, it's no use answering. Where you turn up, logics turn down.

 

For instance: could you explain without readers risk a short circuit in their 

head how "the industrie" (just slightly more precise you don't have it?)

should have been wrong when the previous posting explained that they

discovered their gold mine business in replacing all the existing steam locomotives and make the railroads virtually start new from scratch? It were the railroads, not the industrie who should have been more careful.

 

It is a known fact that electric taction is several times more efficient than diesel traction. If the US railroads are stuck with the gas guzzlers, too bad. But if someone denies facts the world has found, and insists all is perfect that's really bad, and there is no hope!

People like you have all-too-long blindly followed the paroles by "the industrie" and so "the industrie" didn't feel any need to keep up with today's standards. I only mention Detroit, that should be enough.

 

What you do was once called "Splendid Isolation" in Britain and the British

enjoyed it so long until their whole industrie has become aback as compared to Continental Europe and they had problems selling their old fashioned products in Europe. Now they left the community and will have a rude awakening.

 

No doubt, they can stand up again and make it up.

But that will be hard suffering on a bumpy road, I wouldn't want to live in 

London today! I say no more, anyone who wants can deduct the way it goes and the consequences.

And if not, perhaps that's the better for them as long as they don't personally feel it.

Sara 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 12, 2021 8:54 AM

Flintlock76

You think it's easy being a fanatic?

Give us a little credit, will ya!  It takes dedication!

 

With the semi conspiracy theories espoused here, if we combined it with the PRR late steam thread in Classic Trains, would that give new meaning to the term "QAnon"? Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 12, 2021 8:33 AM

You think it's easy being a fanatic?

Give us a little credit, will ya!  It takes dedication!

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 12, 2021 8:18 AM

You can always tell the true fanatics because they know something that nobody else can figure out.  The whole industry was wrong when they went over to diesels but they're the only ones that can see it.

As to how many steam locomotives can be replaced by one diesel, it's easy to figure out.  Just look at how many locomotives they had in steam days versus how many in the diesel era. Kalmbach's Historical Guide to North American Railroads is a good source.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, April 11, 2021 10:19 PM

Regarding the NYC diesel vs steam comparison, it is also worth noting that the E7 turned out to be, how shall I put this, far from the best diesel locomotive produced by EMD.  It and all the other EMD units with pre-567C engines were prone to developing internal water leaks inside the engines, and the E-units had the added complexity of two of everything, while also not having all their weight on drivers (to use a steam term), the extra adhesion of a unit with all axles powered was yet another benefit of the diesel. 

For the record, in my post I was thinking of the N&W's late large steam designs (A, J and Y6), which are widely acknowledged to be among the best steam locomotives ever produced in North America. 

Older steam locomotives had the potential to last many decades in service, both major Canadian roads rostered a good number of pre-WWI engines into the late 1950s.  That first generation of superheated engines turned out to be just the right size for branchline service, and so they endured, even though the lean maintenance years of the Depression and WWII.  CN was not afraid to assign older locomotives to premier trains until the diesel arrived, as an example the edition of No. 2 (the eastbound Continental Limited) involved in the tragic Canoe River, BC crash was drawn by engine 6004, a nearly 30-year old 4-8-2.  CN's last regular steam-powered passenger train was given a sister 4-8-2 (6043, now displayed in a Winnipeg, MB park).  Had the diesel not come onto the scene it is quite likely that all those engines would have lasted another decade or two, giving them service lives comparable to many first-generation diesels* and even the SD40-2. 

*Most early EMDs that remain in service have been completely rebuilt at least once, often with a more modern electrical system.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Juniatha on Sunday, April 11, 2021 9:47 PM

Flintlock:  "Diesels didn't win the battle on the road, they won it in the shops."

No, they didn't! If you read the Kiefer report on the diesel vs Niagara comparison road tests you can see what had really been the matter (although the diesels were given - to quote off-hand - "the best trains" and the Niagara only the "next best" trains! There would have to be a long and detailed comment to the way this test was set-up).

What mistake you guys all make is: you compare old steam with new diesels! That way you can really get any result you wish to have - at best compare 1500 hp diesels with 900 hp saturated steam 4-6-0s! Then the old EMD preach also comes true of one diesel replaces two to three (or five or ten? che-che-che) steam locomotives.

I can't blame you for it. It had cost EMD a lot of full page four-color high-gloss advertisings with 'heroic' colorful streamline diesels come dashing up the Prairie and out of the pages about to knock a punch to the reader's chin if he dared to retain any doubts - and all that before a distant background of blue and icy Rocky Mountains! A picture as genuine American as can be - there it didn't matter that they needed four units to make enough power for an average express train, it just looked heart-rending! Who wouldn't dash to order such wonder machines! The small black & white ALCO or Baldwin notifications like "Excuse us, we are also still there and offer the same as ever! Nothing new - no surprise!" fell right back and down the precipice, so to say.

If, on the contrary, they had really taken up the challenge and modernized and standardized steam, and I'm not speaking of the freak complication overload experimentals but of straight forward improving regular steam, then fair comparisons could have brought much different results - if someone cared to read them! 

If however, they would - as in fact they did - have just sat there and moved but in their typical slow ahead, then the replacement of steam was right because with steam there would have been little to no progress. 

This 'little progress with steam' came to me most with British 1950s steam: BR standard classes were classic engines in sound design - nothing more. That way they offered an open weak spot to those who were for the diesel and the Deltic was a progress, if a small one and dearly paid for with engine blow-ups and so on but it offered a challenge even the renowned Stanier Duchess Pacific could not match or just in tales of enormous one-off performances that grew taller the more time went on.

Same with German DB which originally wanted to build the one eight coupled express engine Germany had never had (the 06 class 4-8-4 was a grotestk failure) and DB Dez 21, engine design, kept on getting builders proposals discussing and modifying them, so long until the writing on the wall was almost complete. Then Friedrich Witte made a last-minute turn around and conducted the project back on known paths and conducted it to a 'heavy Pacific' one that in the end was hardly performing better than the generally admired 01-5 Reko class of DR in East-Germany. 

So, be careful what you compare, that's all.

Juniatha

 

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, April 11, 2021 9:04 PM

Juniatha--I'm sorry, I was wrong.  The change to diesels was a massive conspiracy because steam is so superior.  As far as length of service---there are a lot more 40+ year old SD40-2 running around today than there were were late 1890's steamers in the early 1940's on Class 1 railroads.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, April 11, 2021 8:29 PM

SD70Dude
But I do understand and accept why steam disappeared from regular service. 

Easy to understand, really.  Diesels didn't win the battle on the road, they won it in the shops.

Damn it.  Angry   Bang Head   Crying  

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Posted by Juniatha on Sunday, April 11, 2021 8:26 PM

Backshop wrote "Most of the maintenance required of a steam locomotive doesn't apply to diesels.  "

Gee - che-che-che !

That's a good one!

Most of the maintenance required by steam doesn't apply to diesels:

... like boiler washout, stoker engine or oil-firing appurtenances, tender bogies lubrication, tubes blowing / cleaning, water treatment ...

But you forgot there are other maintenance requirements by diesels that steam doesn't need:

... like changing cylinder heads, opening the motor block to fish out a burned piston (rarely, ever so rarely has a steam engine piston been punched by heat, gee), injection nozzles replacements, engine cooler piping and cooler itself, crankshaft and bearings, piston rod bearings renewal, replacement of piston rods, generator short-circuit fault, electric traction motor overload short circuit (at starting a heavy train that makes the diesel units stop again after stretching train) or dirt accumulation causing short circuit when coils get wet in adverse weather, electronic multi-unit controls denying service, and - and - and.

 

That's why Sara's humourous remark "We avoid maintenance by scrapping the units in time" wasn't quite so far out as it would appear. After all the reply of the wealthy Rolly driver (Rolls Royce) to the question "How many miles to the gallon?" simply was: "Don't know - I always have me a new one delivered before the tank is empty."

 

"Steam locomotives were "bespoke" for each railroad." That has to run under the caption "ineffective old times practices" - it has nothing to do with the necessity of steam. RRs at the beginning of dieselization begged producers to tailor them a special type. It was only because of EMD's, namely, unwavering insisting on offering but strictly standardized mass production models that it didn't go the way it went with steam. Example: the later Berkshires: Although there was a definitive effort to make one standard type of them, every RR asked for miniature changes, changes that didn't make a noticeable difference in performance - but they had their engine. That this made everything more costly than it needed to be was a blatant truth that eluded the RRs. 

 

"Diesels last at least as long as steam locomotives. " Oh-yeah, at least as long as the A2 Berks of the NYC or the often discussed T1 or Q2 of the PRR. No, seriously: if they last that long then the US RRs are even more behind contemporary state-of-the-art railroading than I have thought (simply because motor technology and efficiency have made large steps of progress namely in the last two decades. 

 

Juniatha

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