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Alleghenies

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Alleghenies
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 4, 2022 2:50 PM

The C&O is derided for buying the 2-6-6-6 Allegheny because it's power/speed profile didn't match the service that the C&) used them in.  Yet, the Virginian bought copies and no one ever talks about them.  Is there something we're missing here because both RRs were competently run and had good mechanical departments?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, December 4, 2022 4:00 PM

The same criticism has been directed towards the Virginian's close copies here and there in the pages of Kalmbach publications. For instance here's what Neil Carlson wrote about them in his article 'Fast Freight Articulateds' for the 2004 Steam Glory special issue.

"In 1945 the third Pocahontas coal road, the Virginian Railway, also received eight Alleghenys to replace 2-8-8-2 and 2-10-10-2 Mallets on coal drags between Roanoke and Norfolk. As with C&O, this was not exactly the service for which the locomotives were best suited."

He argued in favor of 2-8-8-4's for roads like this one, the C&O, and the D&H instead of the types of fast freight articulateds that they went with for heavy service on mountainous lines where they rarely could put their power potential to full use. Presumably something like a modernized NP Z-5 or the modern M-3's and M-4's on DM&IR.

I believe author Ed King, a familiar name to Trains readers, has also been criticial of the choice of these by C&O (and at the Virginian by an executive right off the C&O where he had been impressed by their new Alleghenys) in the pages of Trains several times through the years.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, December 5, 2022 2:57 PM

Leo_Ames
The same criticism has been directed towards the Virginian's close copies here and there in the pages of Kalmbach publications. For instance here's what Neil Carlson wrote about them in his article 'Fast Freight Articulateds' for the 2004 Steam Glory special issue.

"In 1945 the third Pocahontas coal road, the Virginian Railway, also received eight Alleghenys to replace 2-8-8-2 and 2-10-10-2 Mallets on coal drags between Roanoke and Norfolk. As with C&O, this was not exactly the service for which the locomotives were best suited."

He argued in favor of 2-8-8-4's for roads like this one, the C&O, and the D&H instead of the types of fast freight articulateds that they went with for heavy service on mountainous lines where they rarely could put their power potential to full use. Presumably something like a modernized NP Z-5 or the modern M-3's and M-4's on DM&IR.

I believe author Ed King, a familiar name to Trains readers, has also been criticial of the choice of these by C&O (and at the Virginian by an executive right off the C&O where he had been impressed by their new Alleghenys) in the pages of Trains several times through the years.

All the authors can make all the claims they want.  C&O found the engines met their needs - that is all the is necessary.

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Posted by selector on Monday, December 5, 2022 11:41 PM

My impression is that the H-8 was like a Class A on 'roids.  Both were meant for higher speeds, but except for troop trains (and I have never seen where those trains moved faster than many/most freights...to be honest), and maybe an express freight or six, the H-8 was often under-utilized.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 2:33 AM
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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 3:32 AM

BaltACD
All the authors can make all the claims they want.  C&O found the engines met their needs - that is all the is necessary.

I don't think anyone has ever questioned that.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 7:38 AM

Backshop
Is there something we're missing here ...

What we're missing is knowledge. In many cases, we're missing common sense.

The knowledge we're missing is what it cost to pull coal up 0.57% with a 2-6+6-6 instead of with a 2-8+8-4 or compound 2-8+8-2. Railfans figure since the 16-driver engine can pull more, it must be cheaper to operate. Apparently C&O didn't think so -- so, what do the fans know that C&O didn't?

No fan has ever had an answer to that question, and no fan ever will. For all we know C&O would have done better pulling coal to Alleghany with compound 2-10+10-2s, but for one reason or another they didn't think so.

Here on Trains people have theorised that C&O was determined to have the world's most powerful steam locomotive, so they ordered 2-6+6-6s knowing they weren't the best choice for their coal trains. So they ordered ten of them, and got the 6700 dbhp or whatever it was. So now they have the record -- what now? Now they're free to buy the right engine for hauling coal to Alleghany, while they use the 2-6+6-6s on coal trains west from Russell. Instead they bought more 2-6+6-6s.

And if C&O was only concerned about showing the world they had the biggest engine, why did they keep quiet about it? Pretty sure there was no mention of the "7498 dbhp" in Railway Age, Railway Mechanical Engineer or even in the C&O company magazine. No mention in Trains until the 1950s -- probably no mention in Railroad?

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 7:52 AM

Leo_Ames
here's what Neil Carlson wrote about them in his article 'Fast Freight Articulateds' for the 2004 Steam Glory special issue. "In 1945 the third Pocahontas coal road, the Virginian Railway, also received eight Alleghenys to replace 2-8-8-2 and 2-10-10-2 Mallets on coal drags between Roanoke and Norfolk. As with C&O, this was not exactly the service for which the locomotives were best suited."

Did Virginian regularly use 2-10+10-2s east of Roanoke? Or even 2-8+8-2s?

In any case, no reason to assume a 16- or 20-driver engine was the best choice for coal up the Virginian's 0.2% grades east of Roanoke. (I forget -- did VGN have a 0.6% climb east of Roanoke?)

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 9:23 AM

BaltACD
"In 1945 the third Pocahontas coal road, the Virginian Railway, also received eight Alleghenys to replace 2-8-8-2 and 2-10-10-2 Mallets on coal drags between Roanoke and Norfolk.

A clue might be the year: 1945. During WW2 the War Production Board and other federal agencies determined what was built and with what materials. It was not unusual for railroads to order a run of a particular locomotive, only to be told they had to settle for something else. Maybe the Virginian engines were all they were able to get at that time?

For example, I recently purchased an HO (Athearn Genesis) model of a Clinchfield 4-6-6-4 Challenger. The booklet that came with it explained that during the war, the Clinchfield and D&RGW had tried to order large engines of different designs, but instead were told their order would be added to UP's order for more Challengers.

Many railroads who ordered EMD FTs were given steam locomotives instead...except, oddly enough, Minneapolis & St. Louis, who ordered 2-6-6-2 Mallets and were given FTs instead. The railroad would have had to buy steel to upgrade several bridges to handle the heavier steam engines, and Washington decided it would take more steel to do that than to give the railroad lighter but equally powerful sets of diesels.

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 10:02 AM

timz
In any case, no reason to assume a 16- or 20-driver engine was the best choice for coal up the Virginian's 0.2% grades east of Roanoke. (I forget -- did VGN have a 0.6% climb east of Roanoke?)
 


The VGN's steepest grade eastbound was .33% for one mile at Board Mountain, just east of Goodview, Va. Heading west toward Board Mountain the grade was .62% for three miles.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 11:15 AM

In my opinion the Allegheny design was the 'next step up' from a T-class 2-10-4, and since most of the 'overweight' was in the complicated system that allowed free high-speed running of the locomotives, it is pretty clear that C&O wanted big locomotives that weren't limited to drag service at drag speeds.

It might be added that it's at least possible that C&O saw wartime fast heavy manifest traffic 'coming'.  As on the PRR, where there wasn't much advantage of a Q2 over a T-class clone on a 50mph railroad, but a very clear one for 150-car trains at war expedient speed, C&O might have wanted a more 'multipurpose' engine than a more "appropriate" 2-8-8-4 double Kanawha.  I defer here to authors like timz who have access to sources in the literature that discuss this.

Something I find interesting is the decision to build large and untried steam turbines (on Baldwin's word that they understood these things better than Carleton Steins!) for their Cincinnati superstreamliner instead of doing what N&W did -- I think for the same actual reason -- by putting lightweight Timken roller rods on the last class A 2-6-6-4s.  Certainly Chessie was no stranger to these: 614 famously had them in 1948.

Whether or not C&O 'found a place' to use the engines expediently after 1945, they were fundamentally ill-suited to the use C&O appears to have generally put them to.  What I find surprising is that there appears to have been no effort to modify the Alleghenies with smaller drivers (which by that time would not have implied lower achievable road-speed balance and augment characteristics) in order to bring the horsepower peak -- which, remember, was fixed by the water rate rather than anything involving the driver adhesion -- to be achieved at typical coal-train speed.

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 11:51 AM

Overmod

In my opinion the Allegheny design was the 'next step up' from a T-class 2-10-4, and since most of the 'overweight' was in the complicated system that allowed free high-speed running of the locomotives, it is pretty clear that C&O wanted big locomotives that weren't limited to drag service at drag speeds.

It might be added that it's at least possible that C&O saw wartime fast heavy manifest traffic 'coming'.  As on the PRR, where there wasn't much advantage of a Q2 over a T-class clone on a 50mph railroad, but a very clear one for 150-car trains at war expedient speed, C&O might have wanted a more 'multipurpose' engine than a more "appropriate" 2-8-8-4 double Kanawha.  I defer here to authors like timz who have access to sources in the literature that discuss this.

Something I find interesting is the decision to build large and untried steam turbines (on Baldwin's word that they understood these things better than Carleton Steins!) for their Cincinnati superstreamliner instead of doing what N&W did -- I think for the same actual reason -- by putting lightweight Timken roller rods on the last class A 2-6-6-4s.  Certainly Chessie was no stranger to these: 614 famously had them in 1948.

Whether or not C&O 'found a place' to use the engines expediently after 1945, they were fundamentally ill-suited to the use C&O appears to have generally put them to.  What I find surprising is that there appears to have been no effort to modify the Alleghenies with smaller drivers (which by that time would not have implied lower achievable road-speed balance and augment characteristics) in order to bring the horsepower peak -- which, remember, was fixed by the water rate rather than anything involving the driver adhesion -- to be achieved at typical coal-train speed.

 

 

I think you summed this up pretty well. We know that most super power designs were extremely versatile, and the H-8 might well be the culmination of super power.

And I suspect your "guess" is correct, the C&O was optimistic about future business and advancements in the industry.

So fine tuning the H8 to one job would have hurt its abilty to possibly do all jobs.

I would still suggest that the C&O and N&W represent the ultimate evolution of steam, long after others had abandoned future development.

The H8 and the N&W A are favorite power here in my little train world.....

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 12:08 PM

Going in the other direction, why did C&O buy 10 (down from 25) H-6's when dieselization was well under way?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 1:26 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Going in the other direction, why did C&O buy 10 (down from 25) H-6's when dieselization was well under way?

 

I have often wondered that, butbI think I know the answer. Price and availability. I bet they were cheaper and could be delivered sooner. And the crews knew and liked the earlier versions.

Other roads brought steam out of mothballs several times because the diesel builders could not deliver fast enough.

Just a thought I had about this years ago,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 1:47 PM

Like a handful of other bigger roads, the C&O famously resisted the diesel well after most Class 1's had decided it was the future and that dieselization in an as fast as economically possible manner was the path forward.

They made a lot of money hauling coal, it was cheap to burn in their fireboxes, and they didn't want to upset coal interests that also were their customers. And I don't know if it's the case, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they had a company owned mine to supply their coal, adding to the appeal of continuing to burn it as a fuel.

These articulateds for mine runs, just like their other late 1940's orders for 2-6-6-6's, 2-8-4's, 4-6-4's, 4-8-4's, and the 0-8-0's that ended up being sold to N&W in short order around 1950 or so when they were just a year or two old, these and the three steam turbine electrics were all produced before that shift had happened in C&O's management. Heck, even the brand new Spartan and Badger burned coal in their boilers when they were launched in the early 1950's.

Hopefully my recollections are accurate, but as I recall the gist of how such a sudden change came to be was due to the coal miner strikes happening at the end of the 1940's. Due to the uncertainty and rising cost of locomotive coal, the C&O bought some road diesels instead of new steam power in 1950 (F7's and GP7's, iirc). They liked the results so much with EMD's latest road power that they changed course almost immediately. 

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 3:24 PM

Overmod
they were fundamentally ill-suited to the use C&O appears to have generally put them to.

Too bad you weren't around to tell them. "Fundamentally ill-suited ... golly! You're right! Thanks for straightening us out."

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 3:48 PM

timz
 
Overmod
they were fundamentally ill-suited to the use C&O appears to have generally put them to. 

Too bad you weren't around to tell them. "Fundamentally ill-suited ... golly! You're right! Thanks for straightening us out."

Somehow I feature R.R. Young would not have listened to that criticism.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 4:04 PM

If a different design could haul more tonnage both faster and cheaper on the runs that the C&O assigned them to, I don't find that unfair. Steam experts in the railfan hobby have often talked about how they were miscast, such as Robert Le Massena.

I don't think anyone would want to change history. They were beautiful, powerful, and efficient machines. I think railfans and likely those that worked on them were both glad that they existed. The C&O naturally was proud of the class, as evidenced by them saving two examples for posterity.

Pointing out that they rarely got a chance to take full advantage of their capabilities isn't a slur. But math and physics don't lie and the design wasn't as tailored for the duties it found itself in (coal drags or working heavy trains in the mountains) as some others would've been.

A good example of this were Western Maryland's modern Challengers. Their modernized and much older 2-10-0's ended up being used on the same assignments, able to get similar tonnage over the same grades in a similar amount of time.

The Challenger's performance advantages were largely nullified by the assignments and territory it operated in, although its modern design presumably yielded a significant savings on coal and water compared to the 2-10-0's. Yet at higher speeds their Challengers obviously could've ran circles around the much older 2-10-0's.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 5:46 PM

Leo_Ames
...

A good example of this were Western Maryland's modern Challengers. Their modernized and much older 2-10-0's ended up being used on the same assignments, able to get similar tonnage over the same grades in a similar amount of time.

The Challenger's performance advantages were largely nullified by the assignments and territory it operated in, although its modern design presumably yielded a significant savings on coal and water compared to the 2-10-0's. Yet at higher speeds their Challengers obviously could've ran circles around the much older 2-10-0's.

From books I have read about the WM, the Challengers could not outrun their financial hit on the WM finances.  It is my understanding the locomotives were mothballed two years before their financial commitments ended.  WM could afford to operate the locomotives or pay for them - but not both.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 8, 2022 1:08 AM

timz
 
Overmod
they were fundamentally ill-suited to the use C&O appears to have generally put them to. 

Too bad you weren't around to tell them. "Fundamentally ill-suited ... golly! You're right! Thanks for straightening us out." 

Too bad I wasn't around for the M-1s either; I could have told 'em why those would be ill-suited, too.

It's not rocket science to figure that a locomotive routinely operated over 20mph below its  peak horsepower range is losing money; it's not rocket science that the additional cost to build a locomotive to have its horsepower peak at high speed is a comparatively poor capital investment.

C&O was the railroad that couldn't figure out that loading a PRR T1 with two extra cars because of its nominal horsepower rating wouldn't cause a short-stroke engine to stall -- or is there something wrong with Dave Stephenson or me pointing out how that's wack?

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Posted by timz on Thursday, December 8, 2022 11:01 AM

Overmod
It's not rocket science...

That's the point, all right.

Overmod
C&O was the railroad that couldn't figure out...

Us fans know more than C&O did ... guess that notion is congenial enough to live forever.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, December 9, 2022 2:13 AM

Excuse me, but the Norfolk and Western weighed in with the railfans on this issue in their choice of power for similar services, and their steam lasted longer, complimented by servicing facilities for quicker turn-around, and operations that were both customer-responsive and precision.

Yes, the N&W knew morre about steam-locomotive design than the the C&O and Virginian.

The last steam locomotive built for rhe C&O was not an Allegheny!  Proves the issue.

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Posted by Backshop on Friday, December 9, 2022 6:51 AM

daveklepper

 

The last steam locomotive built for rhe C&O was not an Allegheny!  Proves the issue.

No, that just proves that they had enough Alleghenies and needed more mine shifters.

The last steam locomotive built for the N&W was an 0-8-0.  Does that mean the Ys, Js and As were unsuccessful--NO!

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, December 9, 2022 8:24 AM

daveklepper
...

The last steam locomotive built for rhe C&O was not an Allegheny!  Proves the issue.

Steam engine were not general purpose like diesels are.  There were engines for over the road service.  There were engines for mine shifter service.  There were engines for yard switching service.

The 1309 was a mine shifter locomotive - service that was too heavy for a 'normal' 0-8-0 or 0-10-0 yard engines in locations that were too constrined for over the road power such as the Alleghenies.

The only thing the last engines the C&O ordered proves was that they needed engines for mine service.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, December 9, 2022 10:03 AM

N&W built its own steam power so it could make the effort to come up with a design that was closer to the needs of the specific service.  However, it was an outlier in staying away from diesels as long as it did and gave up on steam when it became increasingly difficult to maintain it properly.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, December 9, 2022 11:17 AM

BaltACD

 

 
daveklepper
...

The last steam locomotive built for rhe C&O was not an Allegheny!  Proves the issue.

 

Steam engine were not general purpose like diesels are.  There were engines for over the road service.  There were engines for mine shifter service.  There were engines for yard switching service.

The 1309 was a mine shifter locomotive - service that was too heavy for a 'normal' 0-8-0 or 0-10-0 yard engines in locations that were too constrined for over the road power such as the Alleghenies.

The only thing the last engines the C&O ordered proves was that they needed engines for mine service.

 

And, as I said before, from the research I have been able to do, that last batch of H-6 locomotives likely cost less and was delivered faster than similar diesel power.

From what I can figure out, 1309 and her sisters likely cost about $170,000 each, or less, since Baldwin was probably happy to use up some parts and materials on hand.

It would have required two or three GP7's, or Alco RS units to replace each H-6, at a unit cost of about $140,000. $170,000 for a loco your crews know and like, and which you already have infrastructure to operate, vs $420,000 for something new and untested on that part of your system.

In 1949, seems like a no brainer to me why they stayed with the H-6.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 9, 2022 12:21 PM

timz
Us fans know more than C&O did ... guess that notion is congenial enough to live forever.

I don't know about 'us fans' but WE who are interested students of steam technology are, in fact, qualified to assess what works, and why, and what doesn't.  Naive appeals to authority carry vanishingly little actual weight in those discussions.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 9, 2022 12:39 PM

daveklepper
The last steam locomotive built for rhe C&O was not an Allegheny!  Proves the issue.

With respect, Mr. Klepper, it does no such thing.

The Alleghenies were large, specialized power, and there were enough of them by the end of WWII to fulfil demand.  (We can leave aside any discussion of whether C&O lacked sufficient high-speed traffic to use them 'best')  They are very large locomotives, in a weight class that costs extra just to crew, and to my knowledge C&O never tried as NYC did with Niagaras to use sliding-pressure firing to try getting fuel and water rate 'rightsized' on smaller trains.

Certainly C&O continued with steam 'later' -- the L2 Hudson's with poppet valves, the 1948 Greenbriers, the experiment with all-welded boilers, and yes, the M-1s are evidence.  But they did not need more 2-6-6-6s, all the way to the end of steam construction.  (I confess I'm amused that after the Allegheny, ahem, overweight issue, C&O went for Greenbriers instead of Col. Townsend's 4-8-6 of the future with Franklin type C and double-Belpaire...)

The last order of 2-6-6-2s were certainly equipped with mod cons like overfire jets; they were in my opinion a well-reasoned overall purchase decision even in 1949, and C&O certainly continued using them long after it acknowledged that, say, it was time for even new 0-8-0s to go.

The PRR had a comparable concern with the Q2s, which were perfectly right for heavy-as-possible wartime trains run with the priority speed that justified divided drive.  But running them below that speed left 'other alternatives' -- first the J1s and thereafter the early diesels -- at least equal in performance at lower expense.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, December 9, 2022 3:32 PM

They did need more after WWII, coming back for 15 more in 1948. 

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Posted by timz on Friday, December 9, 2022 3:41 PM

Overmod
WE who are interested students of steam technology are, in fact, qualified to assess ...

It's up to the reader to assess such stuffed-shirtery.

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