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NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/8/21 11:44 a.m.
aircooled said:

Nick, can you tell me anything about this beast?  I have seen it in person.  I would be very curious as to how it got to Sylmar CA.  Is it missing parts?  It seems a bit to smooth, or is it just made to look a bit more fancy?

That is Canadian Pacific #2839, one of CP's Royal Hudsons. The reason it seems so smooth is that it was streamlined. The boiler and smokebox and stack were wrapped in a steel jacket, the headlight was recessed in the smokebox door, the running boards and front deck were given skirting. It wasn't really for aerodynamic reasons, it was just to make them A) flashier than competing railroads and B) restore a bit of novelty to railroads as the automobile and airplanes came on strong. The Royal Hudsons were CP's top passenger engines (ignoring the two 4-8-4 Northerns they built largely as an experiment and the 2-10-4 "Selkirks" that were primarily restricted to mountainous regions) and they owned 45 of them spread across three classes. They also owned non-streamlined Hudsons, but those are not considered "Royal", although CP #2816, the sole surviving non-streamlined CP Hudson, is frequently called a Royal Hudson, although incorrectly. \

The "Royal" part came from a visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 and traveled across the Dominion by train. Canadian Pacific handled the Quebec City to Vancouver stretch and class leader #2850 was power for the trip and the locomotive ran 3,224 mi across Canada, through 25 changes of crew, without engine failure. The King, somewhat of a railfan, rode in the cab when possible and was so impressed with the performance of 2850 and her class, that after the tour, the King gave the CPR permission to use the term "Royal Hudson" for the semi-streamlined locomotives of the class and to display Royal Crowns on the running board skirts. This was the first, and last time a locomotive outside of the United Kingdom was given royal status by the reigning monarch

CP #2839's history is a strange one. After retirement of all the Royal Hudsons in 1960, the #2839 was intended to go to a museum in eastern Canada. Instead, a group of buyers in Pennsylvania, which included railroad author/photographer Ron Ziel, purchased the #2839 and formed the Royal Hudson Company. It was moved to the Northampton & Bath Railroad's shops in Northampton, PA and underwent a restoration to operational condition, while the Royal Hudson Company entered an operational lease with a group called Atlantic Central.

 

In 1979, an agreement was reached to send #2839 down to Virginia to operate on the Southern Railway's corporate steam excursion program. The Southern program was increasingly more successful and they needed engines that were faster and more powerful than the engines that they had (SOU 2-8-2 #4501, SOU 2-8-0s #630 and #722, and S&A 4-6-2 #750) and so were having to turn to equipment that wasn't of Southern heritage, like Texas & Pacific 2-10-4 #610. 

At the same time that Southern was borrowing CP #2839, they were lending Southern #722 to the Historic Red Clay Valley Inc./Wilmington & Western Railroad in Wilmington, Delaware. The HCRV/W&W ran on the original Delaware & Chester County line, which had later become the original W&W, then the Delaware Western and then eventually became part of the Baltimore & Ohio. They operated it basically on a weekly lease from 1966-1982, at which point they bought the line from Chessie Systems and dumped the Historic Red Clay Valley Inc. name entirely. In those early days, the W&W was pretty much running on a wing and a prayer with a pretty hodge-podge assortment of equipment, with aspirations of it being "the other Steamtown". They had an ex-Mississippi Central 4-4-0, a well-traveled 0-6-0 originally from the Alabama, Birmingham & Coast, a ex-Canadian National 2-6-0, an ex-US Navy/Queen Anne's Railroad 0-6-0T (now displayed at a restaurant that GRM'er Duke designed), a Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0, a crusty PRR B6 0-6-0 that's still rotting away there, a certain ex-GM&N light Pacific wearing the number #425, an ex-PRR doodlebug, some old Osgood-Bradley coaches from the New Haven, some DL&W EMU cars converted to passenger cars, some PRR P70 coaches, and some old EMC SW-1 switchers. The W&W would run special trips over the Octoraro Railroad, which was formerly Reading's Wilmington & Northern branch, and those were the big money-makers that kept the railroad afloat. In 1979, the #98, their beloved 4-4-0, was out of service and so every trip that season was being run with diesel power, either a SW-1 leased from the B&O or a GE 65-tonner that the Octoraro Railroad borrowed from the Black River & Western and loaned to the Wilmington & Western. So the lease of #722 seemed like a good idea to get some steam trips in for the year on the W&W, and Southern got some money out of an engine that was in good mechanical shape but surplus power to their needs. Unfortunately, the W&W had some old wooden trestles that were too spindly to support the #722 and the track over the whole system wasn't very good either, limiting her mileage there. And the Octoraro tracks were in very poor shape (Reading had been in very poor shape and Conrail had abandoned the tracks, with no work being performed on them since), the #722 was the first "big" steam that they tried operating over it, and the few trips she took on the Octoraro were an exercise in rerailing a steam locomotive. What's the hell does this have to do with the #2839? Don't worry, it'll all come full circle.

Meanwhile, CP #2839 ran like a champ for the Southern. There are stories of them pounding her along at 80mph like the good old days. It even took the time to star in a movie, The Coal Miner's Daughter about Loretta Lynn. It makes a weird cameo switching coal cars. Why they used a Canadian streamlined passenger engine instead of the pair of Southern freight locomotives on hand, I have no clue. During its time on the Southern, fans nicknamed #2839 "the beer can" due to its styling. But while the #2839 was a cut above Savannah & Atlanta in terms of performance, it still was underpowered for what Southern needed. They would cancel the lease after just a year and would replace it with C&O #2716, which would be replaced almost immediately by N&W #611 when the Norfolk Southern merger went through.

With the old storage site of the Northampton & Bath Railroad gone, the Atlantic Central group worked out a deal with the Wilmington & Western to store the #2839 up there. So about the same time the Southern #722 left the W&W to go home, the #2839 was leaving the Southern to go to the W&W. The #2839 was under steam three times at the Wilmington & Western. The first was when she arrived, being run up under her own power from Virginia when the Southern ended the lease. The W&W crew then fired her up once to make sure all was still in good working order. The final time was they tried running an excursion for HRCV employees over the Octoraro Railroad's Wilmington & Northern branch in 1982. Since the tracks and the locomotive were both big question marks, they had a center-cab GE on the other end of the train. According to someone who rode that rare trip, they hit maybe a maximum of 10 miles an hour, the whole time being careful not to put the locomotive on the ground. The person recounted joking he could have hopped off the train, run ahead and taken photos and then jumped aboard at the speed they were moving. Afterwards, the W&W parked the #2839 and didn't run it again.

In 1985, Andy Mueller Jr. was getting ready to start passenger operations on his Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad, which later became Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern and even later Reading & Northern. This was the Pennsylvania Railroad's old Schuylkill Division between Hamburg, PA and Temple that was abandoned when Conrail was formed. He wanted two steam locomotives, with visions of two steam-powered trains meeting nose-to-nose at Leesport for the celebration. One engine he purchased was a scruffy ex-GM&N light Pacific that wore the #425, and the other was #2839. The #425 went into the shops for overhaul, while the #2389, having pretty low mileage since its overhaul in 1978, was ready to go.

By opening day, the #425 was still under repair, being pretty worn out, so it's train was pulled by two of Blue Mountain & Reading's ex-ATSF CF7s (those weird EMD F7s rebuilt into a road switcher). The night before, the #2389 ran light, tender first, to Temple, PA and picked up its train of ex-DL&W EMU trailers. The next day, the #2389 was supposed to depart Temple, but a bad combination of "green" coal, a green fireman, and some leaky flues the crowd stood around for hours while the crew tried, in vain, to clean the fire, get steam up, and proceed north to Hamburg. Finally, someone was driven to Hamburg, fired up the EMD NW-2 switcher which then ran light to Temple. It and the #2839 then ran to Leesport with the trainload of hot and tired passengers. Somewhere around Shoemakersville, the fire finally got going enough to make steam but due to heat, the leaks, and the foul temper of the passengers & crew, the NW-2 ran the return trip to Temple alone. The #2839 was set aside to cool off in the Hamburg yard, and it never operated on the Blue Mountain & Reading again. Later that year, the #425 was up and running, and it was obvious the #2839 was going to need mechanical work, so they just operated the #425. Then in '86, the Reading T1 #2102 moved back into the area after many years in the Ohio area, and Andy Mueller ended up purchasing it. That made the #2839 really superfluous and so it was shuffled around the Blue Mountain & Reading/Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern/Reading & Northern's yards for storage. 

It eventually ended up back in storage at Northampton, where it all began. A group called the Lehigh Valley Scenic Railroad began overhauling #2839 for a return to operation throughout the '90s. They had goals of the group was to eventually run excursions on Norfolk Southern's (formerly Conrail) Cement Secondary Line, which roughly follows the Monocacy Creek north from Bethlehem to Bath and on to Stockertown. It was one of those bad situations where the group working on the #2839 wasn't the group that actually owned the #2839, and so the owners ended up selling it out from under them to the Nethercutt Collection and so it was loaded up and shipped out to Sylmar, CA and cosmetically restored and put on display.

Yeah, kind of a tragic story. The engine got completely restored by a group to run one year of mainline excursions, and then 1 trip on the Wilmington & Western and 1 trip on the Blue Mountain & Reading, then sit neglected for years and finally be stuffed and mounted.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/8/21 2:21 p.m.

Another weird fact involving the BM&R/RBM&N/R&N and their opening weekend is that they handed out cloth patches that, along with the Blue Mountain & Reading lettering, prominently featured Long Island Rail Road #35, one of the PRR/LIRR G5 Ten-Wheelers. Seems that in the early days, Andy Mueller had a strong desire to recreate the PRR Schuylkill Division, and had his eyes on LIRR #35. I wouldn't kick #425 out of the roundhouse, but seeing #35 going up through the Lehigh Gorge would be pretty awesome. I have to wonder what happened there, since it seems like the owners of both the LIRR G5s have been trying for years to find someone to restore and operate their engines. It also seems like everyone in the North East has looked at either LIRR #39 or #35 at one point or another: BM&R, New Hope & Ivyland, Strasburg on multiple occasions, and Black River & Western. Hell, a number of members of the local NRHS worked on getting #35 into running order for the BR&W. The running gear was disassembled, the bearings were turned and new tires were put on, the work being done at Amtrak's Wilmington shops.

Right now, Strasburg has signed some deal where once the funds are raised to restore LIRR #39, they will do all the work and then its Strasburg's for 49 years. But the fundraising is going at a glacially slow rate, and combined with inflation and rising costs of labor and materials, they are actually getting farther from their fundraising goal each year. Plus, Nassau County is pitching a fit about the engine being moved out of the county to Pennsylvania and is trying to intervene. And #35's status is just confusing, some places they say it is just a cosmetic restoration, others say it is an operational restoration, and the museum has no place to operate it and has been mum on where they plan to operate it. 

I think both seem to be cursed by the fact that people look at the campaigns and go "These have been going on for 30 years and have little to show for it, so does it make sense to make a financial contribution?"

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/9/21 3:30 p.m.

On the subject of R&N #425, she's a real boomer engine (boomer being railroad slang for a person or piece of equipment that drifted from railroad to railroad).

Ordered in 1928 from Baldwin, it was one of a two-locomotive order by the Gulf, Mobile & Northern, along with sister #426. These were the first and last 4-6-2s that the GM&N ordered. These were a relatively small and light engine, with only 69" driving wheels and almost a full 30 tons less weight than a USRA Pacific. It was superheated, but by 1928 that was pretty much standard, as well as a single cross-compound air pump and a Commonwealth Delta cast-steel outboard-bearing trailing truck. It also had no stoker, no power reverser, no feedwater heater, and no trailing truck booster. As delivered, it had a round number plate on the smokebox door, headlight mounted high on the smokebox, arched cab windows, and spoked lead truck wheels.

At some point between delivery and 1938 it had one axle on its lead trucks replaced, resulting in the one axle having spoked wheels and one axle having solid wheels I'm not sure if this was due to general wear-and-tear, or damage from a collision or derailment. Even stranger is that over the years, the axles seem to swap positions, with photos from some eras having the solid wheels leading and others having the spoked wheels leading. Presumably, if it was shopped and they had the front truck off or apart, they just put it back on or back together any which way. In the below photo you can see the solid wheels are towards the front.

In 1938, the Gulf, Mobile & Northern merged with the Mobile & Ohio to become the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio. The #425 and #426 were renumbered to the #580 and #581, respectively. The #580 also had the headlight moved from the top of the smokebox to a bracket that was mounted at the center of the smokebox door, resulting in the headlight being above-center. Also, at some point the original boiler-tube pilot was replaced with a Ross-Meehan Co. cast-steel pilot. These pilots were made in Birmingham and popular with a lot of southern roads like Atlanta & West Point and Central of Georgia. Also note that now the spoked wheels on the lead truck are back towards the front.

The GM&O was an early adopter of diesels and in 1950, the #425/#580 and #426/#582 were out of work. They were purchased by an eccentric gentleman by the name of Paulsen Spence who was starting a gravel-hauling operation in Louisiana, called the Louisiana Eastern Railroad. Spence had made his money developing steam-regulating devices (his components were used both on the US White House heating system and the USS Nautilus) and wanted to use steam locomotives. Also, with them being phased out, they were cheap to purchase. Since it was mostly flat-running, the pair of Pacifics worked great. Spence was particularly touchy about aesthetics and he went back to the high-mounted headlights and round number plates on the smokebox doors. He also renumbered the pair to #4 and #2, respectively, giving them their third set of numbers in as many owners. Spence went on to acquire over 30 different steam locomotives, but the #425/#580/#4 and #426/#582/#3 were the primary power on gravel trains and also hauled free passenger excursions that he offered.

In 1962, Paulsen Spence dropped dead of a heart attack. He had made a new will shortly before his passing that stated that on his death, all of his steam locomotives would be preserved using a large sum of money set aside. After his death, his wife and oldest daughter had the new will dismissed, and wanted all the steam locomotives sold for scrap. A scramble was made to try and save them, but Illinois Central had already torn up the interchange so every engine would have to be dismantled and trucked off site. The #425/#580/#4 was the only locomotive to escape the wholesale scrapping, although three other Louisiana Eastern locomotives, all 4-4-0s including Mississippi Central 4-4-0 #98, had previously been sold. Sadly, sister engine #426/#582/#3 did not survive.

The #425 was bought by Malcolm Oettinger, who had it shipped up to Kimberton, PA where it was returned to its original number and put into service on his Valley Forge Scenic Railway, the old Pickering Valley Railroad. There it was operated alongside of an 0-6-0 that was equally well-traveled, having been built for the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic as #58. It found use on the Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast, the US Army, the Virginia Blue Ridge, and the Mead Company, among others.

The Valley Forge Scenic went out of business in 1970, and the Wilmington & Western purchased both the #425 and the #58 and moved them to the W&W. The #425 never operated at the Wilmington & Western, due to the fact that it had axle loadings that were too high for the W&W's infrastructure, which is saying something considering how light the #425 is. It was also reunited with another Louisiana Eastern survivor, the ex-Mississippi Central 4-4-0 #98.

In 1984, Andy J Muller Jr. purchased both the #425 and CP #2389 off of the Wilmington & Western and moved them to his Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad for the start of passenger operations. The #425 had been out of service since 1970, and hadn't seen a major shopping since before 1950(!), so it was sent in for an overhaul to have it ready for the beginning of passenger operations in 1985. Unfortunately repairs took longer than expected so it missed the opening day, but it was back in service later that year. It was still in its original appearance with black paint and the high-mount headlamp. Sometime around 1987 it had a bad crossing impact that shattered the Ross-Meehan Co. cast-steel pilot, and the parts had to be welded together to make a mold to cast a new one.

In June of 1992 it received a paint shop makeover. It was repainted in a medium dark blue, with gold leaf and white trim on its wheels. Contrary to popular belief, this was not an homage to the CNJ's Blue Comet. The idea was to emulate the appearance of the Reading 4-6-2 that was used to haul the Reading Crusader before the streamlined Pacific and stainless steel cars were used. The idea was given by former Reading Company Engineer Charles W. Kachel.

For a while #425's last excursion was the Tamaqua Fall Fest on October 13, 1996. The Reading & Northern halted steam excursions for over 10 years afterwards, with #2102 having been out of service since 1991. On its return to service in 2008, the #425 received another makeover. The large, high-mounted headlamp was replaced with a visored headlight off a DL&W "Pocono" 4-8-4 mounted slightly above smokebox center, and a bell off a Reading G-3 Pacific hung out over the smokebox front end., and the paint was a lighter shade of blue. You can see it still has the weird mismatched wheels on the lead truck.

After three years back in service, the #425 was again taken out of service for 2 years for another overhaul that added some nice upgrades. Strasburg's shops built an all-new pilot truck, with a matched set of solid wheels, and roller bearings. The trailing truck was overhauled and also converted to roller bearings. They also rebuilt the air compressor, constructed a new blower and replaced the bottom part of the smokebox. In 2015 it was repainted again, this time in a darker blue, with the cylinder jacketing, wheels and pilot painted black, and silvered cylinder caps, as well as a new logo on the tender that was designed to resemble the old GM&O logo.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/9/21 9:16 p.m.

The #425 has also worn a ridiculous amount of whistles while at the R&N. Just off the top of my head, its had:

  • Reading 6-chime (I believe borrowed off #2102)
  • Southern Ps-4 "long-bell"
  • PRR 3-chime
  • PRR single-chime "Banshee"
  • R&N shop-built 3-chime
  • CNJ 3-chime (my favorite)
  • B&O "tumor-top" 3-chime 

No clue what it had originally or what else it has worn over the years. Those are just the relatively recent ones.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/10/21 5:37 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

That's a beautiful shade of blue. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/10/21 7:15 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The light blue everything with the gold pinstriping was kind of yuck. The medium blue with the black running gear and white lettering is nice though. Probably one of the prettiest engines out and about these days. And one of the loudest. I couldn't get over how loud such a relatively small engine was when I caught it trackside at Coalport.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/10/21 11:39 a.m.

The only downside to R&N #425 is that between the blue and white paint on her, the green and yellow on any diesels assisting, and the dark red on their passenger cars, their trains tend to be a little chromatically dissonant. They do have some light blue coaches but they don't seem to run those. I'm not sure if they are in worn out or what.

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
9/11/21 11:52 a.m.

Oddball spot today.  There was an Amtrak that wasn't part of the normal schedule (at least as far as we know).  It had a Charger at the front followed by 5 passenger cars, which is normal.  The oddball was what was tacked on to the end.  There was a P42, a dining car, a baggage car (which they don't usually run around here) and a 2nd P42.  Both P42's looked to be in pretty rough shape, but both were running.  Kind of wonder if it was some sort of "graveyard run".  It was still kind of cool, as we haven't had P42's in our area in several years.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/11/21 5:40 p.m.

In reply to kazoospec :

Boy, that is a strange one. Could be a "hospital train", but having the P42s running is weird

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/11/21 5:49 p.m.

This was posted in a Facebook group I'm on. In '67, the New York Central took the demonstrator EMD GP40, Alco C430, and GE U30B up the Adirondack Division for testing. They wanted to gather info for purchasing diesels for the old Boston & Albany line, and the Adirondack Division had similar grades, but the Adirondack Division was pretty much abandoned, so they weren't tying up a busy mainline.

Its worth pointing out that New York Central never owned any 6-motor diesels. They had 6-axle diesels like EMD E-Units and Alco PAs but those had A1A trucks. NYC bought zero EMD SDs or Also RSDs/C6xxs. Any 6-motor units in Penn Central came from the Pennsy, since the New Haven didn't either.

Also, the C430s failure to sell wasn't constrained to just the NYC. The C430 was the last Alco model introduced and after they sold just 16, Alco left the locomotive market

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/11/21 6:26 p.m.

Also on the subject of Adirondack Division, went for a drive today and stopped in at Thendara Station. One of their RS-18us, #1835 was on site with the Utica-Thendara train, including their dome car originally from UP's City of Los Angeles. Their EMD FP10 (an ex-GM&O F3 heavily rebuilt by Metro North) #1502 was running the local Thendara-Otter Lake train. Old #1502 is starting to develop some serious rust on the body, hopefully that gets addressed because E-/F-Units are unibody, unlike body-on-frame GPs/SDs/etc. They also have an EMC SW-1 on site for work trains and switching. She may be painted for NYC, but that hood-mounted bell with the strap-iron bracket is a giveaway to her Louisville & Nashville heritage

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/13/21 10:28 a.m.

On the subject of EMC SW-1s (this was before General Motors purchased the Electro-Motive Corporation and renamed it to Electro-Motive Division), the oldest locomotive on Amtrak's roster, and quite likely any Class I in the US, is Amtrak #737. It is an EMC SW-1 that was purchased by New York Central in 1941 and is still in service as the Wilmington shop switcher. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/13/21 11:05 a.m.

The #737 was overhauled pretty extensively in 2005, so hopefully Amtrak holds onto it for a while.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/13/21 11:30 a.m.

LS_BC8
LS_BC8 New Reader
9/13/21 2:22 p.m.

One of ten.   

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/13/21 3:50 p.m.

In reply to LS_BC8 :

NYC had the largest roster of C430s, and even then it was really just a pity buy for old time's sakes. They bought 105 GP40s and 68 U30Bs at the same time. Some of the NYC/PC/Conrail C430s ended up on the NYS&W, four I believe, and they ran them into the '90s, but they were damaged in a derailment and scrapped. Surprisingly, despite only selling 16 C430s, 4 of them still exist today. Pretty good survival rate.

Central Railroad of New Jersey actually wanted C430s for their passenger operations, and Alco had cooked up a C430P, which would have had high-speed gearing and a steam generator. The problem was that NJDOT had an agreement with the B&O that the railroad would underwrite the purchase of CNJ's new locomotives and would take them off the state's hands if the CNJ's commuter service folded up (The B&O controlled a majority share of Reading, who controlled a majority share of CNJ). The B&O insisted that the equipment that was purchased had be compatible with its existing fleet (hence, they were painted dark blue instead of green, had easy to paint-over CNJ lettering, were numbered as part of the B&O roster and had to be  B-B units). The B&O hadn't bought a non-EMD unit since Baldwin went belly up, so they struck down the proposed Alco C430P and demanded that they be an EMD product, if they wanted to bid on a thirteen unit special order. The result was the EMD GP40Ps, which have had more lives than cats and are still in service with NJDOT. There was also consideration of SD40Ps riding on trucks taken off traded-in F-M Train Masters but B&O really wanted B-B units.

The B&O also sold a batch of their SD40s off to the CNJ when CNJ's older equipment started wearing out. Basically, B&O used the CNJ as the entire eastern end of their system. The CNJ and Reading always hoped that B&O would merge them into it, but CNJ and Reading had ruionously unprofitable commuter operations, and so B&O was much more content to just borrow their tracks. If they merged, then the B&O would have to take over those commuter runs. When Hurrican Agnes swept through and damaged a lot of the Reading and CNJ, the B&O dumped all their stock in the Reading, much to the Reading and CNJ's horror, as they were counting on the B&O being their savior. That was when the CNJ began painting their equipment in the Coast Guard-inspired red and white equipment, basically as a middle finger to the B&O.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/13/21 9:13 p.m.

This is kind of crazy. There are actual railroads in Russia & other former Eastern Bloc countries that are operated entirely by children. 

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 10:06 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

This is kind of crazy. There are actual railroads in Russia & other former Eastern Bloc countries that are operated entirely by children. 

Say no more.

I remember reading where someone, on one of their visits to Gettysburg Railroad, said the owner had his 12 year old daughter firing CP #1278. Which sounds about on par with the kind of E36 M3 that went on at Gettysburg Railroad. Fortunately she wasn't one of the ones in the cab the day that they finally melted the crown sheet on the #1278.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/14/21 10:56 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow! 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 11:16 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

I mean, it was stoker-equipped, so it wasn't like his daughter was shoveling coal, but you still need to know how to fire it, how to run the injector, how to read a sight glass. Actually, wait, scratch the last part, you didn't because #1278's sight glass didn't work at all, which was why it melted the crown sheet. I also recall reading that Gettysburg either was considering setting the #1278 for one-man operation, or actually did it. Sketchy, sketchy place. It wasn't shocking that they had an accident, it was shocking that took as long as it did for them to have an accident and that no one was killed when it happened. Between the Gettysburg Railroad crown sheet failure and the Nevada Northern collision between a runaway flatcar and NN #92 a week earlier, there were a lot of people thinking that the government was going to put an end to all steam locomotive operation.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 11:44 a.m.

CNJ never bought the C430Ps, and the cowl-bodied C636P was dead on arrival, but the Long Island Rail Road had Alco C420s that they ran in regular passenger usage, making them, I believe, the only railroad to run Alco Centuries of any flavor in passenger usage. Between 1963 and 1965, Long Island Rail Road purchased 21 Alco C420s with high speed gearing, steam generators, and automatic speed control. Alco actually classified them as an AGP-20msc, which stood for Alco General Purpose - 2000hp, multiple unit, steam generator, speed control. Their arrival ushered the retirement of the LIRR's Fairbanks-Morse H-16-44 road switchers, and CPA-20-5 and CPA-24-5 cab units.

LIRR #200 wearing a banner reading "HELLO! I AM THE FIRST OF 21 DIESELS COMING YOUR WAY!"

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 11:46 a.m.

To contain a steam generator, the LIRR C420s were built with a tall short hood. LIRR also had them configured to run long hood forward, since they were concerned that a grade crossing collision could rupture the steam boiler and scald the crews.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 11:53 a.m.

Running the C420s long hood forward did result in one unforeseen issue. With the prime mover now leading the cab, all the exhaust smoke on throttle input would blow back into the cab. And since LIRR was a commuter railroad, there was a lot of stop-start action, resulting in a lot of smoke. LIRR's fix was to add some canard-like smoke deflectors off the side of the long hood, which were intended to lift the smoke away from the cab. The effectiveness of this debated.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 1:53 p.m.

When they were delivered, engines #200 through #203 had a 900 gallon fuel tank and an 1,100 gallon water tank. They had issues with them running low on water for the steam generator on the longer Montauk runs though. So the LIRR's Morris Park shop crews removed and replaced the tanks with 1,000 gallon fuel tanks and 1,900 gallon water tanks. Before #204 or #205 were delivered, the LIRR contacted Alco and had them remove the smaller tanks and replace them with the larger tanks at the factory. All subsequent engines were built with the larger tanks. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 3:25 p.m.

LIRR #212 at New Hyde Park, preparing to make the sprint to Jamaica. Note the pilot plow. Several of the C420s built in the middle of the run had a single pilot plow just on the long hood end. The early units didn't have them, and they were dropped from the later units. Even stranger was that the LIRR typically didn't equip their bigger units with pilot plows. Their GE 44-tonners had them, as did their RS-3s, but their GP9s and GP38-2s didn't. So why they put them on some C420s is a bit baffling.

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