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NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/21 1:18 p.m.

On a tear out of Pittsburgh and looking a little worse for the wear.

I'm curious to see how the T1 Trust's #5550 performs, since the T1 seems completely shrouded in mystery and controversy and the actual facts are difficult to discern. PRR themselves seems to have flip-flopped on their views with the T1. They built the two prototypes #6110 and #6111 in 1940 and acknowledged they had some teething issues but swore they were a better engine than the N&W J when they tested N&W #610 (N&W and C&O also borrowed a T-1 to compare against their J and J-3a respectively and both were less than impressed with the engine). PRR was clearly impressed enough with the two T1s, since in 1945 they ordered 50 of them (#5500-#5549) and put them to work on a lot of their top trains. But within two years the PRR management is complaining that they are slip-prone and maintenance-intensive, bumping them off the top trains and even putting some into dead lines. 

Now, the production T1s weren't any mechanically different from the first two that the PRR had operated for 5 years (except for the deletion of the trailing truck booster, which was probably a bad idea), and they had had the wheelslip issues on start and at high speeds with the first two engines. So, why did they operate mechanically identical machines for 5 years and find them good enough to order a batch of 50, but then within 2-3 years of operation of the 50 engines they were bumping them off top passenger trains and taking them out of service entirely? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. One theory I have heard put forth is that the PRR intentionally played up how problematic they were to get out of the long-lived equipment trusts and be able to dieselize sooner. Passenger traffic had halved between a record high in '44 and '48, the railroad was spending a fortune in rebuilding from years of heavy traffic and deferred maintenance during WWII, and they may have saw dieselization as a way to stop the bleeding (diesels were often prescribed to the financially feeble lines), and so they played up how troublesome the T1s were to try and get the banks to let them out of the equipment trusts.

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
4/20/21 1:37 p.m.

Couldn't decide whether to drop this in the meme thread or here.  Chose here (obviously)

May be an image of 3 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says 'KCS CN cP'

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/21 1:45 p.m.
kazoospec said:

Couldn't decide whether to drop this in the meme thread or here.  Chose here (obviously)

May be an image of 3 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says 'KCS CN cP'

I saw that. Thirty billion! Makes sense, CP will be massive in comparison and who could CN buy out to get that kind of trackage to compete? I don't think UP or BNSF will sell out to CN, and neither of them have that access all the way down to the Panama Canal either. I don't know, if I were the STB, I'd have seriously think about turning down both merger proposals. Seems too likely to create an overdog that clobbers the other.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/21 4:01 p.m.

Another case of not being certain where PRR management's head was at was the Q2 4-4-6-4 Duplex. PRR cranked out 26 of these engines at Altoona between '44 and '45. They were designated in PRR documentation as a "High Speed Freight" engine, which meant speeds of over 60mph. This was an unusual departure for PRR, as PRR restricted freight speeds to 50mph, unlike NYC or NKP who would send the freight just as fast as their engines could haul it. The Q2 came with 69" drivers, a 300psi boiler, conventional Walschaerts valve gear, a trailing truck booster, and 19.75" x 28" front cylinders and 23.75" x 29" rear cylinders (the staggered cylinder sizes were to make up for the asymmetrical driver counts). Testing revealed that they generated 100,816lbs of tractive effort and a rated 7,987 hp at 57.4 mph evaporating 16,600 gallons of water and burning 12.5 tons of coal per hour. This made the Q2 the most powerful engine that PRR owned and the most powerful non-articulated engine in existence.

During the final days of the war, the PRR used them as they were designed, hauling freight at 60-70mph. That was double the speed of what an I1s 2-10-0 could do and a good 10-20mph over a J1 2-10-4, and the shorter rods meant they weren't as abusive on the tracks at speed. A slip control device also helped mitigate the wheelspin issues the T1 had (perhaps if management hadn't thrown in the towel on the T1 so fast, they could have installed it on them). The problem is, after the war, the PRR bumped them back down to 50mph.

Why purposefully design an engine that was supposed to haul freight at 60-70+mph, and then restrict it to 50mph? The Q2 was being run at the same speeds a J1 was good for, but was carrying an additional 43,000lbs of dead weight, and didn't generate much more power than a J1 at those speeds. And then add in that the Q2 used excessive amounts of water ( enginemen found they could not operate no more than an hour and a half of hard running before needing water), and all the added complication of a second set of cylinders and added steam piping and suddenly the Q2 is a worse deal.

The final nail in the coffin came in the early '50s when they began to develop leaky boilers. Manufacturers had begun experimenting with nickel-steel alloy boilers, which were stronger and lighter than carbon steel. But the nickel steel was prone to "caustic embrittlement" and would turn brittle and begin cracking. Santa Fe had this issue with some of their Northerns, as did the MoPac's 2100-series Northerns, the Frisco's 4300-series Mountains and CP's G5 Pacifics. PRR headquarters got a call that essentially overnight all 26 Q2s out in Columbus and Fort Wayne were all laid up with boiler leaks, ahead of and behind the second set of cylinders. Extensive caulking of the boilers got them temporarily back in service but they were all stored by '52, replaced by J1s.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/20/21 4:27 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

It's really hard for me to comprehend all of PRR's gigantic non-articulated locomotives. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/21/21 6:28 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

They really don't make much sense either.

The S1 was known not to fit pretty much any of the existing infrastructure and was stuck on the west end of the system. The S1 was almost like a concept car though. It was built for the 1939-1940 World's Fair as a way of showing off the railroads were shaking off the dregs of the Depression.

The T1 was built to deal with the fact that the PRR was doubleheading pretty much every train with K4s, sometimes adding a third to help through Horseshoe and other rugged areas. Meanwhile, crosstown rival New York Central was running the same length trains with a single Hudson. It's not that the K4 was a dog, it actually nearly matched a Hudson in performance, its that NYC was more geographically-blessed with that Water Level Route, while the PRR had more hills. So if they needed an engine that could handle the trains through the hills, why was their answer an engine with 80" drivers that was specifically designed for speeds above 80mph on flat ground? The better answer would have been to build more Mountains, either class M1c or M2, and allocate them to passenger service. The PRR had plenty of dual-service Mountains but for whatever reason only allocated around 10% to passenger usage.

The Q1 4-6-4-4 was supposed to be a 77" drivered dual-service engine, basically a successor to the M1. The Q1 was an outright failure, largely because they placed the rear set of cylinders alongside the firebox facing forward. While this did make the wheelbase shorter, it also exposed the rear cylinders to all sorts of heat and ashes and cylinders and so they were prone to failure. The Q1 was so short-lived its hard to find any real information on its service, but a 77" 10-coupled engine would surely be stuck out on Lines West, if the 69" drivered J1s couldn't come east. And again, out through Ohio and Indiana was pretty flat going. The problem was in the east.

And the Q2. Actually a good engine when operated correctly. But for whatever reason, the PRR designed to run them at 60-70mph with freight trains and then after a year reduced them to 50+mph, where they weren't anymore powerful than a J1 but were heavier and used more fuel.

Its really just indicative of a weird disconnect between management, the design staff and the road crews.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/21/21 11:41 a.m.

The '30s and '40s also had a lot of other troubled and underperforming designs, either through the builder's fault, miscommunication between the builder and the railroad, or incorrect usage by railroads, all of which really paved the way for the diesel.

Atlantic Coast Line's R-1 Northerns were a rare example of a 4-8-4 in the deep south and the only modern steam power on the ACL. They were purchased as a passenger-only engine, with 80" drivers, to take over from doubleheaded USRA Light Pacifics. Somehow Baldwin botched the balancing on the engines though, and the ACL quickly discovered that at speeds above 70mph the driving wheels were actually bouncing off the rails, with significant damage to the rails. Baldwin and ACL spent significant time and money trying to solve the issue, and eventually did fix it, at which point the big R-1s would hit 90-100mph safely. But it pretty much left the ACL disenfranchised with steam locomotives. Baldwin tried pitching ACL an Otto Kuhler-streamlined 4-4-4-4 Duplex afterwards, but ACL instead went out and bought EMD E3s and demoted the R-1s to freight usage.

Similarly, New Haven's I-5 4-6-5 "Shoreliners", also built by Baldwin, had this same imbalance issue where the centrifugal force would exceed the axle loading and skip the drive wheels off the rails. Again, high speed cameras were used by Baldwin and New Haven to diagnose and fix the concern. Unlike ACL, New Haven was pretty happy with the I-5s afterwards, and kept them in service after New Haven began to purchase diesels. The twin-engine Alco DL-109s were found not to accelerate as fast as the I-5 and it wasn't until Alco PAs, which had the same horsepower as a DL-109 but with much less weight, arrived on the property that the I-5s were retired.

Richmond, Potomac & Fredericksburg ordered a batch of 4-8-4s (they never called them a Northern, nor did they give the class a name, they just named each engine after a Civil War general from Virginia) in 1937 for passenger usage. Somehow either an RF&P employee gave the wrong measurements or Baldwin read them wrong, but the result was that the engines would not fit the tunnels into Washington D.C. and had too high of an axle loading for the Long Bridge over the Potomac. They were forever consigned to the Virginia side of the river and in freight service as a result. Later 4-8-4s had this issue fixed fortunately.

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western ordered a batch of five 80" drivered Hudsons in 1937. They were good-looking, handsome and fast engines, but they just didn't make a lot of sense. The design brief called for hauling "12-18 cars at a sustained 80mph" but the service they were being put into was trains that were only 8-10 cars long on a line with a 70mph speed limit. Why spend this kind of money during the Great Depression for engines that weren't really needed with a driver size that couldn't be fully utilized? DL&W probably would have been better off ordering them with 70" drivers, which would have made them get up to speed faster. During this era, you see this fascination with the 80" drive wheel, which was a great bragging right but really wasn't useful unless you were running maintained 100mph speeds on flat ground.

The C&NW's E-4 Hudsons were just a bafflingly poor performer. As C&NW and Milwaukee Road engaged in an all-out war for Chicago-to-Twin Cities service, C&NW's response to the Milwaukee Road's streamlined F-7 Hudson on the Hiawatha was the Alco-built E-4 streamlined Hudson for the 400. With 84" drivers and 300psi boiler pressures, they looked like a serious speed demon and should have performed on par with the Milwaukee's engines. Before they were even delivered, C&NW decided that diesel power was a better answer, and so the E-4s were displaced off the 400. When they did arrive and were put in lesser service, testing found that the E-4s ran out of breath at 90mph and could not exceed 95mph, while Milwaukee's F-7 Hudsons, also built by Alco with 84" drivers and 300psi boilers, were hitting 120mph.  An answer was never really found and the disappointing streamliners kicked around until '53, when they started being retired.

A case of improper usage, similar to the PRR Q2, was Western Maryland's Challengers. WM ordered them to speed up freight service. Then they stuck them dragging coal through the mountains and complained that they had to use helpers. Not helping the situation was that Western Maryland ordered them without roller bearings (which would make them a better, more efficient performer on the flat going) or a trailing truck booster (which would help in low-speed drag freight). Western Maryland complained that the engines never performed well in the role they were built for, but it seemed like Western Maryland didn't even know what the role they wanted them to fit into was.

C&O and Virginian also did the same thing. Lima built them the ultimate fast freight locomotive, then both railroads stuck them in drag freight service. To Lima's design's credit, it actually did fairly well in that service and C&O and Virginian loved the engines. But it was still baffling that both railroads had plenty of compound articulated 2-8-8-2s and 2-6-6-2s designed specifically for that use, and instead shoehorned their shiny new fast freight engines into the role.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/21/21 12:16 p.m.

So, big news: Norfolk & Western #611 is coming up to Strasburg this spring to visit from May to July.

Bigger news: I bought a ticket to ride behind it on May 22nd. 

Biggest news: I'm going to be in the engineer's seat on May 21st. Yeah, I'm going to get to take a spell at the throttle of The Queen Of Steam. It wasn't cheap, but its a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I didn't really put any money into the Miata this winner and my racing budget is heavily reduced by me not racing at Pineview this year, so the money was there. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/21/21 6:32 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

That's amazing!

TheMagicRatchet
TheMagicRatchet New Reader
4/21/21 7:10 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow! Congratulations, that's wonderful!

I'm already plotting how to get to PA this Summer just to get a look!

Lou Manglass

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/22/21 8:59 a.m.

At 872,000lbs total weight, a wheelbase of 95.40 feet, and a rated 5100hp, I doubt that I'll be operating anything larger, heavier or more powerful anytime in my life. Currently the only engines operating that are larger are Union Pacific #844 (by about 3 feet and 40,000lbs and Union Pacific #4014 (by about 22 feet and 23,000lbs) and "take the throttle" experiences for either of those are not offered..

Chesapeake & Ohio #1309, the H-6 2-6-6-2 being restored at Western Maryland Scenic, is actually 7 feet shorter and over 200,000lbs lighter.

Pennsylvania Railroad #5550, the new T1 under construction, is 90,000lbs heavier and 12 feet longer, but it won't be done until 2030 and I'm pretty certain that they will not be allowing people to operate it, since they are supposedly a difficult SOB to run.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/23/21 10:39 a.m.

An interesting opinion from the great Ross Rowland regarding N&W #611's trip to Strasburg and the future of steam engines:

"I've long been of the opinion that the fraternity of serious steam locomotive lovers has been shrinking for years as those who knew steam in their childhoods ( born not later that around 1940 +/-) have been passing away and not being replaced in equal numbers by newbies. I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm wrong based upon the very strong market reception to the "In Cab" experiences on the 611 during her visitation at the Strasburg RR. They just added a 4th. day of " In Cab" experiences offering and that's already nearly sold out. I learned a long time ago that the market place is never wrong and the fact that nearly $ 100,000 has been spent for 4 days of 30 minute guest stints in the 611 certainly says that there are lots of steam lovers out there."

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/23/21 4:00 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/25/21 6:36 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 6:52 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 8:01 a.m.

CNJ #1000 at Jersey City. A 1925 Alco/GE/Ingersoll-Rand boxcab "oil-electric", as diesel-electrics were originally called.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 8:05 a.m.

A mix of Alco and Fairbanks-Morse power warms up at CNJ's Communipaw engine facilities. Communipaw was kind of like an operational railroad museum. CNJ had camelbacks still in commuter runs after WWII, then Baldwins and FAirbanks-Morses hanging around well into the '60s, as well as power from Baltimore & Ohio and Reading.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 8:37 a.m.

Central RR of New Jersey P52 class Pacific #810 at Dover, NJ with a fantrip.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 9:09 a.m.

Central New Jersey #774, a T-38 Camelback, at Jim Thorpe, PA. The #774 was the last active steam locomotive active on CNJ property, and one of the last Camelbacks active anywhere, and they cleaned her up and ran fantrips with her for a while, before scrapping the engine. While the line through Jim Thorpe is referred to as Central Railroad of New Jersey, for a while it was the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania. New Jersey's tax laws said that because the railroad was headquarterd in NJ, the state was allowed to tax the CNJ the entirety of it's line, even the parts out side of New Jersey. So the CNJ was being taxed twice on its rails and buildings outside of New Jersey, once by New Jersey and once by PA or NY. CNJ's solution was to create the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania in 1946 and sell all of the infrastructure outside of New Jersey to the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania and thus avoid being taxed twice. None of the buildings or cars or locomotives were ever lettered for CRRoPA though. For example the Jim Thorpe station or the freight house at Scranton all wear Central Railroad of New Jersey lettering. After 6 years, the courts struck down this arrangement and CRRoPA operations were merged back into CNJ.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 9:26 a.m.

CNJ #774 goes for a spin on the turntable at Jim Thorpe. This turntable is still there, still operational and still in use. Reading & Northern uses it for turning #425, their ex-GM&N Pacific.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 12:58 p.m.

Taken on an old Ansco box camera, this photo gives #774 an almost ghostly appearance as it departs Jersey City  on September 25th, 1955 for the final fantrip to Jim Thorpe and back. After it returned to Jersey City, the fires were dropped for the last time and #774 was scrapped shortly afterwards. Rail photographer Don Wood tried to convince the CNJ to donate the #774 to a city or museum but CNJ said they had already donated Camelback 4-4-2 #592 and early box-cab diesel electric #1000 to a museum and felt they had done enough for preservation. CNJ was willing to sell the engine, but Don Wood was unable to convince enough people to pitch in towards the $5000 purchase price and so #774, the last steam locomotive operating on the CNJ, the last Camelback operating on a mainline, and the second-to-last Camelback in operation, was cut up. Supposedly Don Wood procured the number plates and some other jewelry off the #774, although what happened to it is unknown. Don Wood also tried to get a Reading G-3 Pacific, the last Pacifics built for American market, preserved but had similar poor luck.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 1:30 p.m.

I'm not sure I'd ever call a Camelback conventionally good-looking, but the CNJ T-38 4-6-0s do have a certain visual pleasure to them. Probably one of the best-looking Camelbacks built.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 2:52 p.m.

The biggest and best-looking of CNJ power was their Wooten firebox-equipped Mikados.

There is a story regarding these engines I would like to verify one way or another but have been unable to. In 1954, while hunting down Canadian Pacific's trio of active 70+ year old 4-4-0s, David Page Morgan was told by a CP employee that a winter or two before, CP had leased some of the big Mikes from CNJ. The same employee said that the CNJ engines were cold in the winter (no all-weather cabs) and were prone to pipes freezing up but that they "had better steel in them."

This is the only mention I can find of such a lease. David Page Morgan was not the kind to make up tall tales, and it seems a weird story for the CP employee to make up. But it seems like somewhere there would be an account of this, or photos of them operating north of the border. The sight of Mikados with Wooten fireboxes in Canada would have had to have drawn the lens of at least one shutterbug. And it seems odd for CP to borrow power from CNJ, who they did not interchange with at any point. NYC or D&H or B&M would seem more logical.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 3:14 p.m.

Confirmed is the story of one of the CNJ's unique double-ended Baldwins surviving much later than the rest.

CNJ ordered a batch of Baldwin DR-6-4-2000s (essentially Baldwin's equivalent of an EMD E7) with a cab at both ends of the unit. The idea was that for commuter usage, rather than having to over-power the train with back-to-back A-units or wye the whole train at the end of the run, you could just run a single unit and then unhook it and run it around to the other end of the train and head off in the other direction. Interestingly, the idea never caught on.

CNJ held onto these units pretty late, much later than most Baldwin cab units. Part of it was that there really wasn't much to replace them with. Another part was that the CNJ was constantly either bankrupt or on the verge of its next bankruptcy and couldn't afford to replace them. Finally CNJ got EMD to give them a good trade-in and financing deal on SD35s, and so off they went. Except one.

CNJ held onto a single unit. It was moved into one of their shops, or had the shop expanded and built around it, and had all of it's traction motors and generators and one of its prime movers removed. Its sole remaining engine and air compressor was run to provide air for the entire shop facility. It remained that way for several years, out of sight, before CNJ finally retired it from its duty and scrapped the unit. A pity this unique machine wasn't able to be saved for even display purposes, since no Baldwin "Babyface" units survive.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/26/21 3:54 p.m.

One of the CNJ's Fairbanks-Morse Train Masters scorches the ballast at Elizabeth, New Jersey on the Northeast Corridor. In 1967, the state, trying to save a floundering CNJ, had a ramp track built to connect the CNJ's line to the Lehigh Valley's at the station at Aldene. The ramp track came so close to the Aldene depot that it made it worthless, so Aldene station was abandoned. The ramp also accidentally intruded on Rahway Valley Railroad's property, so the CNJ had to pay the Rahway Valley rent of $1 a year for the sliver of land they used.. After that was complete CNJ trains headed to Jersey City would instead hop on the Lehigh Valley at Aldene, then follow that to the PRR mainline down to Newark Penn Station, where passengers could then hop PRR passenger trains to get into New York Penn Station. This allowed the CNJ to abandon the majority of Communipaw terminal, their entire labor intensive car-ferry operation and all local trains operating east of Cranford, saving $1.5 million a year. Substantial, but not enough to save the CNJ.

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