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Building Two New Steam Locomotives

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 10:37 AM

Flintlock76
You know, I've got this fantasy of a replica Erie K1 Pacific being built...

Get Koreans to contribute something... and duplicate the engine as seen 'in its prime' as if it had been donated overseas...

... complete with Russia iron boiler jacketing

Note the lowercase 'i'.  There is absolutely no reason to imitate this with paint -- you'd either duplicate the color and pattern on 'wrap' stock and adhere it to your cladding/clothing, or just go ahead and make your own... we know reasonably well what both methods were, and how to do them well enough for the "10-foot car" look that would typify fan exposure to that boiler anyway.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 10:30 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I didn't mention this in my earlier post but one of the reasons I suggested a light Pacific was where it could be operated compared to something as large as UP 844.

 

You know, I've got this fantasy of a replica Erie K1 Pacific being built complete with Russia Iron boiler jacketing (OK, they'd have to spray paint it that color!) then NJ Transit adopting it as a "pet" steam locomotive and running it where the old K1's ran.  It'd be cool as all get-out!

But of course there's two possibilities of that happening, slim and none!  

But it's fun to think about!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alcomike/6904273733/in/photostream/

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 4:32 PM

7j43k
It appears to me that the Q2's were meant to pull freight at faster speeds than the J1's.

As I've said many times, the Q2 was a wartime engine, of nearly 8000hp at better-than-Challenger speeds, running 150-car trains at over 65mph.  Once the wartime traffic was over, and the wartime speed put back to the 'old PRR' 50mph, the distinctive competence of a duplex freight locomotive was pretty well gone, but all the maintenance of wrong-alloy boilers, twice the cylinders at overhaul, etc. was still there -- and accelerating like other steam costs in the late '40s.

Something that might have made a positive difference would be to fix the slip control.  There was nothing at all wrong with how the mechanism determined differential slip and produced correcting error signals.  What was wrong was to use bang-bang butterfly valves in the main steamlines instead of proportional actuation.  The rationale was said to be coking of the butterfly shaft lubrication in susperheated steam flows, possibly greatly complicated by excessive superheat levels in sustained hard operation.  But there were better answers, and it's something of a shame that instead of finding them the whole approach was given up as a failure and a mistake.

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 2:10 PM

Always best to design, build and utilize locomotives for the tasks they will be assigned.

It appears to me that the Q2's were meant to pull freight at faster speeds than the J1's.  

 

Ed

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 10:16 AM

Perhaps the question should be whether PRR would have been better off with a well-designed 4-8-4 instead of a duplex drive.  The J1 was better suited for the freight service that PRR operated than the Q2.

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 Overmod on Monday, April 24, 2023 5:54 PM

One of the big things 'wrong' with the two prototypes was the equalization.  For some unaccountable reason, the front and rear engines were tied with a single walking beam, with a common yoke at each end.  This was stylish as hell but just didn't provide the necessary damping to keep all eight drivers in good contact at high speed.

Remember that the contracting for the 50 locomotives was still in wartime, at around the same time the NYC was anticipating standardization of really fast postwar power around the C1a and not the S1 (my equalization-rigging drawing, which shows the 'production' nose with the three-porthole shrouding that was so soon replaced) is dated the same month as the C1a specification).  Things changed very dramatically in those couple of years; you will note the very radical decision to try piston-valve steam chests, welded to a machined cast engine bed structure, with the equalization as revised to that point -- which may be interesting.  There are no fewer than five revisions of the equalizing rigging , the first only two months after May 1945, and the end of 1947.  (I have no idea if there were more on a later drawing revision, or if changes were proposed as part of the great fix slated for 1948.

It would have been interesting to see whether proper training would make the T1s "less of a failure".  But the PRR assessment after 1947 was that E units (and the like) were a better alternative than even a 'fixed' T1.  

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, April 24, 2023 5:09 PM

Backshop

 

 
7j43k
  

Two experimental T1's were built (6110 and 6111).  The production locomotives were built about 4 years later, after the experiment had been evaluated.

Ed

 

 

Or misevaluated. 

 

Yes.  

And the results of that misevaluation may have been incorporated into the production run of 50 locomotives.

Fifty production locomotives.

 

Ed

 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 24, 2023 4:50 PM

There seem to be two types of steam operations.  The first is the "tourist railroad". They can make do with a smaller locomotive since they are running much more often and have dedicated trackage. The downside is it's the same run every time. The second type is the big mainline locomotives like the Northerns.  They need a mainline to run on.  The problem is that it would be foolish to start a restoration to operation if you don't have a Class One or big regional to host you.  Even if you do, restoration generally takes so many years that the big road may have changed circumstances and no longer want you.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 24, 2023 4:30 PM

Don't forget 35 at Oyster Bay, which is awaiting restoration of its frame and running gear...

I suspect this is a nominally cosmetic restoration, but with careful work on the running gear, like PRR 460.  They said they're 'not touching the boiler' but they swung it around to face the right way on the track they built, and the boiler shell appears to be in red primer.  So if they did decide on an operational restoration, it might not be impossibly expensive and difficult.

35 and 5741 need to swap drivers!

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, April 24, 2023 2:41 PM

Flintlock76
There's little to no chance of the E-6 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania being restored to operation, preservation and not operation is the "mission statment" of the museum.  The Strasburg RR could certainly do it but they have no reason to, they don't need it.

RR Museum of Long Island was trying to raise a million dollars to restore LIRR G5s 39 at the Strasburg RR.  And it was going to be leased to them so it would even have a place to run.  I don't think they got very far in their fundraising. 

Esp. with all the attention going to the T1, and lesser so, the K4s, and then the T1 from that other PA RR ...

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 24, 2023 10:23 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
I didn't mention this in my earlier post but one of the reasons I suggested a light Pacific was where it could be operated compared to something as large as UP 844.

We know.  The problem is that no one cares enough about a 'light Pacific' whether a replica or novel design to spend what it would cost to build it, and unless you operated multiple trips a week -- with the clientele to fill the trains -- excursions the light Pacific can pull won't be large enough to pay for construction done as an 'investment'.

The 5AT got around this issue by being thoroughly modern for its size -- part of the business model was for tourist lines and short runs (like dinner trains or scenic rides) in the United States (with carefully-left-undiscussed aesthetics for that service).  You will notice how many sales, or formal expressions of interest, have come from that market.  (Keep in mind that with the FDCs done, building the locomotive would be far less involved than, say, Tornado...)

About the smallest engine that would sustain a Fort Wayne 765-style operation would be a J1e Hudson (one of the most iconic locomotives in old-fud fandom).  The Chinese builder Datong apparently was working on this decades ago, but it foundered on the second (and further) locomotives that would be produced for cheaper sale once the first was built and delivered.  You will note that this was never again taken up.

A far better approach would be to conduct a restoration of an existing prototype (as Richard Glueck & company are doing with MEC 470, or the group in Nashville are doing with Dixie 576) and then carefully arrange where to run it effectively. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, April 24, 2023 10:04 AM

I didn't mention this in my earlier post but one of the reasons I suggested a light Pacific was where it could be operated compared to something as large as UP 844.

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 54light15 on Monday, April 24, 2023 9:59 AM

Regarding the coal situation in Britain, I was at the Stewart's Lane shop iin London when the Tornado was being coaled. They had big fabric bags that they would cut open and drop the coal in. I asked a guy about it and he said that it came from Russia. I asked, "Aren't there still coal mines in this country?" He said that they have all closed down but one open pit mine may reopen. The deep shaft mines are all shut.  

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 24, 2023 9:35 AM

daveklepper
the PRR E-6 Atlantic.

The PRR's E-6's were excellent locomotives for their time but as the passenger cars began being built of steel and the consists became longer they just couldn't cut it any longer.  However on runs with shorter consists like on the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line where passenger consists were shorter the E-6's hung on right up until dieselization. 

That being said an E-6 couldn't handle the long passenger consists typical of todays excursions without diesel assistance or assistance from another steamer. 

There's little to no chance of the E-6 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania being restored to operation, preservation and not operation is the "mission statment" of the museum.  The Strasburg RR could certainly do it but they have no reason to, they don't need it.

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, April 24, 2023 7:33 AM

It couldn't haul a train long enough to pay the costs of building it.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 24, 2023 2:57 AM

Rather than a light Pacific, which the Blue Mountain and Reding already has in erxcursion service, how about a locomotive that was in its class and the best for high-speed steam for decades after it was designed, p0rototype-tested, and fleet-prodeced, and one of the few locomotives of its railroad that could be called beautiful, the PRR E-6 Atlantic.

New T-1, meet your new grandfather.

Or restore the stuffed-and-mounted one at Strassburg.

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, April 23, 2023 7:46 PM

ORNHOO

 

 
NorthBrit
NorthBrit wrote the following post yesterday: It is well known (here) that The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust built 'Tornado'. They are now building 2007 'Prince of Wales' and 3403 'Highlander'. https://www.a1steam.com/ David

 

But will they be able to afford the coal to run them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_-IozzOqzQ

 

 

I saw that PBS report here in Australia!

In fact, designs exist for conversion of most British steam locomotives to oil firing. This was done in 1946-47 when a coal shortage arose. At the time it was too expensive to import the oil, and basically only testing was carried out. However the tests with "Castle" and "Hall" class locomotives on the former GW main line West of Exeter were very successful as regards both performance and availability.

Peter

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Posted by ORNHOO on Sunday, April 23, 2023 6:44 PM

NorthBrit
NorthBrit wrote the following post yesterday: It is well known (here) that The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust built 'Tornado'. They are now building 2007 'Prince of Wales' and 3403 'Highlander'. https://www.a1steam.com/ David

But will they be able to afford the coal to run them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_-IozzOqzQ

 

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, April 23, 2023 5:46 PM

7j43k
  

Two experimental T1's were built (6110 and 6111).  The production locomotives were built about 4 years later, after the experiment had been evaluated.

Ed

Or misevaluated.  When you take a railroad (PRR) that hasn't designed a steam locomotive in 20 years (M1 Mountain) and combine it with arguably the most conservative of the Big 3 locomotive builders (Baldwin), and try to design the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles, what are the chances of success?  I think we know the answer.

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, April 22, 2023 10:37 PM

Backshop

Why do I think the Big Boys had higher monthly miles and much higher total miles than the T1, even though there were only half as many.

 

I don't know.  I hope you will tell us.

 

 The T1 may not have been called experimental, but it was.

 

 

Because....

 

Experimental:  based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalized.

 

Two experimental T1's were built (6110 and 6111).  The production locomotives were built about 4 years later, after the experiment had been evaluated.

 

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 22, 2023 9:27 PM

Many critical bugs weren't worked out of the T1s until 1948... by which time they were recognized as a far worse use of capital than F and E units.  It remains to be seen whether high-speed slipping even at the ridiculously high FA finally inflicted on the locomotives would have impaired their performance on the expected 880-ton consists at sustained 100mph speed... 

Were the T1s kept on long prestige runs with short turnaround, like the Niagaras in Kiefer's study of motive power, and proper instruction given in the handling of the locomotives, I suspect much better performance numbers may have been observed... but with conversion of the nightmare type A scam with a reasonable continuous-contour RC setup, and the 1948 centrifugally-cast valves and revised mechanism.  But by the time the bugs were ironed out in principle, not only did no one care to try, but active financing tied up by inconvenient white elephants needed to be released and reset...

I think there is no doubt UP got more out of their Big Boys than PRR did out of the T1s -- they certainly had the traffic and the support to run them years longer.  Here the timeless topic of the Q2 vs. J1a crops up:  postwar UP was a high-speed railroad; PRR a 50mph freight road.  Q2s were brilliant on long wartime trains on wartime priority timings, but eliminate all that and they did little a 2-10-4 (admittedly a very, very good one) could do on far less maintenance.  What might have been interesting would be where on UP a locomotive with the single-unit sustained low augment power of a Q-class might have proven interesting or useful... I for one would like to see what 4-6+4-6 engines with proper conjugation (and the Q2 tricks to shorten rigid wheelbase) under a suitable common boiler might have accomplished... not only out West, but on fast TOFC as that concept began to make sense in the '50s.  (We can discuss water-rate implications later.)

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 22, 2023 9:21 PM

Many critical bugs weren't worked out of the T1s until 1948... by which time they were recognized as a far worse use of capital than F and E units.  It remains to be seen whether high-speed slipping even at the ridiculously high FA finally inflicted on the locomotives would have impaired their performance on the expected 880-ton consists at sustained 100mph speed... 

Were the T1s kept on long prestige runs with short turnaround, like the Niagaras in Kiefer's study of motive power, and proper instruction given in the handling of the locomotives, I suspect much better performance numbers may have been observed... but with conversion of the nightmare type A scam with a reasonable continuous-contour RC setup.  But by the time the bugs were ironed out in principle, not only did no one care to try, but active financing tied up by inconvenient white elephants needed to be released and reset...

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, April 22, 2023 8:53 PM

Why do I think the Big Boys had higher monthly miles and much higher total miles than the T1, even though there were only half as many.  The T1 may not have been called experimental, but it was.

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, April 22, 2023 6:03 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

One apparent difference is that steam locomotives in the UK are generally smaller than North American steam and don't have such things as cast frames to complicate building new.  Another factor seems to be the American tendency to dream big.  I would think that a smaller proposal like a light Pacific would be more likely to be achieved than an engineering experiment like a T1.

 

From the T1 website, it appears the new T1 will not have a cast frame, so that complication will be avoided.  Whether that will be a problem will really have to wait until the locomotive is operational.  I doubt it can be predicted.  While it would likely have been a problem when the originals were built, a lot has happened in engineering, fabrication and metalurgy since then.

The T1 wasn't an "engineering experiment", not with 50 production locomotives after the first two prototypes.  There were over twice as many T1's produced as Big Boys.

I would MUCH rather see a T1 running than a light Pacific.

 

By the way, I don't mean at all to take away from what the Brits are doing.  It is simply wonderful.  But we're doing things here, too.  Just wanted to point that out.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by NorthBrit on Saturday, April 22, 2023 10:47 AM

It is well known (here)  that The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust built 'Tornado'.

They are now building 2007  'Prince of Wales'   and  3403  'Highlander'.

 

https://www.a1steam.com/

 

David

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I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 22, 2023 10:22 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
I would think that a smaller proposal like a light Pacific would be more likely to be achieved than an engineering experiment like a T1.

It is... but very few people not already railfans are going to be enthusiastic about any $6 million light Pacific prototype, and the locomotive once built can't handle the kind of excursion consists required to earn its keep.

Note the regrettable suspension of the British 5AT project (one of the great technical achievements of the 20th Century, if not quite as grand as the restoration and correction of 71000 Duke of Gloucester), which is I think comparable to a good light Pacific if designed as I advocated with the lead tender truck pushed up to guide the rear of the 4-6-0 chassis.  That would be little more to build than, say, a P2 (of which two are in the works, delightfully different in detail) and ALL the FDCs to build it were worked out by one of the best steam men in the business... but no one bit, and that reluctance to bite continues to this day, despite the fact that a 5AT could easily be built with the 'wicked cool' of the T1 for less money, and able to run many more places.  There were specific plans to market the 5AT as a 'rightsized' new engine for tourist and excursion service in North America.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, April 22, 2023 10:06 AM

One apparent difference is that steam locomotives in the UK are generally smaller than North American steam and don't have such things as cast frames to complicate building new.  Another factor seems to be the American tendency to dream big.  I would think that a smaller proposal like a light Pacific would be more likely to be achieved than an engineering experiment like a T1.

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 7j43k on Friday, April 21, 2023 8:32 PM

NKP guy

Fine, informative video.  Thank you, North Brit.

   It's bittersweet to watch this and see you Brits adding to your ever-growing stable (if that's the right word) of steam locomotives that seemingly roam every corner of your "green and pleasant land," while in this country we don't dare dream of a new Hudson or such.  Best wishes to everyone connnected with this project.

                                             * * * * * * *

   Two words that to me have always connoted top quality:  "Sheffield steel."

 

 

Might take a new T1 out for a spin, someday.  Hope so!

 

 

Ed

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Posted by Backshop on Friday, April 21, 2023 7:37 PM

NKP guy

   Two words that to me have always connoted top quality:  "Sheffield steel."

Not much there anymore, I don't think.

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