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NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/23/21 2:46 p.m.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/23/21 2:48 p.m.
NickD said:
914Driver said:

1941 - Empire State Express.

The new version of the Empire State Express was actually inaugurated on December 7th, 1941. The crew and passengers didn't learn about Pearl Harbor until their arrival in Cleveland

Those drivers are just ludicrously sized. I understand it's for speed, but it almost looks like the locomotive equivalent of a high-wheel bicycle. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/23/21 2:51 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Those are some ugly GP's. Were the truck-mounted couplers on the electrics to deal with tighter radius track?

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/23/21 2:54 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Do you know much about the Cumbres & Toltec? We're tentatively heading out west next spring & I'd like to make the trek up there. I see they have 65-miles of trackage they use, so it's definitely a nice long ride. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/23/21 5:23 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to NickD :

Do you know much about the Cumbres & Toltec? We're tentatively heading out west next spring & I'd like to make the trek up there. I see they have 65-miles of trackage they use, so it's definitely a nice long ride. 

I was supposed to go to Cumbers & Toltec last year but, well, 2020 happened. I was also supposed to go to Durango & Silverton . 

From what I've heard, D&S is more spit-polish and tourist-oriented, whereas C&T is more a railroaders railroad. Both are supposed to be great though, winding mountain routes largely, narrow-gauge D&RGW equipment, small towns untouched by time, relics of the silver mining rush, etc.

 C&T doesnt run full-length round trips of their system on the train. There are halfway round trips by train from Antonito and Chama to Cumbers Pass and back, but the full-length trips you take a bus to the other end and then ride the train all the way back. I was told it was best to catch the bus from Antonito to Chama and then ride the train back to Chama, because Antonito-Chama is the up-grade direction, so you get to hear the engines working. 

I had lodging in Antonito, can't remember where. There's not much to choose from. Its a dot on the map basically. There is the house that was Henry Jones' in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (one of my all-time favorite films) that is a bed and breakfast which I looked at staying at, and the prices weren't bad but it was booked-up solid way for months.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/23/21 6:54 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Ah, thanks. I glanced at their schedule, but didn't realize the round-trip rides were only half their trackage. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/23/21 8:25 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, its kind of strange. Durango & Silverton you can take the full round trip from Durango to Silverton and back, with layover at Silverton, by train. I also think both Durango and Silverton are more of a destination than Chaka or Antonito.

A heads-up, its some pretty extreme elevation, so be prepared for that. Cumbres Pass is 10,000 foot elevation, so don't go running any marathons.

C&T is still all-steam, they only have a diesel or two for MoW work, and they are converting some of their engines to oil-burning for times of high wildfire risk. D&S has purchased diesels for times of extreme fire risk, although they are also going the route of oil-burners as well.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:38 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:38 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:39 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:41 a.m.

The famed "Jukes Tree" about half a mile out of Chama. This Ponderosa pine was photographed as early as 1908, already a mature tree, with half the limbs stripped off by countless exhausts. Since Fred Jukes took the first known photo of it, it has become the Jukes Tree and is still a popular photo spot, 113 years later.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:45 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:46 a.m.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 3:04 p.m.

That's pretty amazing for the tree to have a 113-year legacy. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 3:32 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

That's pretty amazing for the tree to have a 113-year legacy. 

Especially when you consider that it was a mature tree back then. Of course, Ponderosa pine has a 400-500 year life span. But it's also in a terrible spot, I can't imagine getting sandblasted with coal cinders and having those cinders leech into the ground for over 100 years could be beneficial to its health, but it appears to be pretty hale and healthy.

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
9/24/21 6:22 p.m.

Taking Kazookid2 to Fostoria, OH tomorrow for a bit of railfanning.  They are having a "train show" at the local high school and we'll spend some time at the "Iron Triangle" rail park, so it's sort of a 2 for 1 special.  I'll post pics if we see anything cool.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/24/21 10:03 p.m.

Between Cumbres & Toltec and Durango & Silverton, all four classes of "modern" narrow gauge steam power are represented. While the D&RGW standard gauge dieselized early, the narrow gauge lines ran steam power intonthe late '60s and so much of it was saved.

K-27: After years of using older Ten-Wheelers and Consolidations, D&RGW purchased the first of their narrow-gauge Mikados in 1903, class K-27, with K for MiKado and 27 for 27,000lbs tractive effort. The class numbered fifteen, making it the largest D&RGW narrow gauge class, going from #450 to #464. Baldwin constructed them with an outside frame construction, with the wheels inboard the frame and the axle ends extending out, with the eccentric cranks, counterweights and rods outside of the frame. They were non-superheated, had 40" drivers and were built as Vauclain compounds. A Vauclain compound had a high-pressure and low-pressure cylinder on each side with the piston rods hooked together. Baldwin had a brief love affair with them in the early 1900s, citing better fuel and water consumption. When operated in dual-gauge territory, the counterweights on one side would end up aligned with the standard-gauge rail and was only 5/8" above the rail, so shop crews had to be careful when turning the wheels on lathes not to take off too much. When delivered, crews originally referred to the K-27s as "little monsters" for their power, but later in life they earned the nickname "Mudhens" for their short, squat build and the way they bobbed and weaved down the track.  Throughout their career they were heavily modified: they were converted to 2-cylinder single-expansion operation for easier maintenance, superheated were installed, "doghouses" were set on tenders, Walschaerts valve gear. Most were retired and scrapped in the '40s and '50s, including two that were sold to Nacionale De Mexico and converted to standard-gauge. Today two remain: the #463 was purchased by Gene Autry (yes, that Gene Autry) in '55 and then was sold to Antonito in '71 and then returned to service by C&T in '94, and the #464, the last K-27 in regular service is operational at Huckleberry Village in Michigan. The K-28s are distinguished by their tall thin stack and angled cylinders that are a leftover from their Vauclain compound days.

K-28: The oddball of the four. These ten engines , #470-#479, were purchased in 1923 and were unique in being the only ones built by Alco. They were still outside-frame 2-8-2s, but were a little bigger and heavier than a K-27, and were delivered as single-expansion, superheated engines with 44" drivers. They were rated at 28,000lbs tractive effort. They were better balanced and easier to service but more difficult to fire. During WWII, the US government sent 7 of the 10 to Alaska for use on the White Pass & Yukon (several Eastern Tennessee & Western North Carolina Ten-Wheelers were sent there as well) but they didn't work well there, being prone to derailment from the exposed counterweights hitting ice. After the war, those seven were barged back to Seattle and scrapped, as were the "Tweetsie" Ten-Wheelers. Three remain today, #473,#476 and #478, all on the D&S. They had long operated on the Silverton Branch due to several light bridges that prevented the operation of the bigger K-36 and K-37s. The #473 was recently converted to oil-burning, while the #476 is still running on coal. The #478 has been long out of service, and at one time was planned to be traded to C&T to give them the full set of D&RGW classes but fell through, so currently it is a display piece. The K-28s are the easiest to distinguish, with the smokebox door on the engineer's side of the smokebox and an air pump on the fireman's side.

K-36: In 1925, D&RGW went back to Baldwin for 10 newer, bigger Mikados. The K-36s, #480-#489, continued the trend of 44"-drivered, outside-frame 2-8-2s but went bigger and more powerful. Rated at 36,000lbs tractive effort, these were freight engines used from Alamosa to Durango and Farmington. Due to their weight, they were not permitted on the Silverton Branch or west of Gunnison. As-built they lacked steam lines for passenger car heat, but were built with a brake set-up that allowed the lead engine to control the brakes on other K-36s when double- or triple-heading. Later in life, they did receive steam line hookups. As of today, nine of the ten still exist (the #485 was scrapped in 1955 when it fell in a turntable pit), with five at the C&T and four at D&S. Of those nine, eight are still in operational, with #483 stored inop since 1977 at Chama. They look similar to a K-27 but have a larger boiler, shorter stack with larger diameter, and the cylinders are straight up-and-dowm.

K-37: By 1938, the D&RGW needed more narrow-gauge parts. Records indicate that they considered building 2-8-8-2s by combining K-36s together, or ordering cleansheet 2-8-8-2s with extended wheelbases to reduce bridge loading. Sadly, they decided not to construct 3-foot gauge articulated, instead sticking with what they knew, in the form of Baldwin-built outside-frame superheated 2-8-2s with 44" drivers. Interestingly the ten K-36s, #490-#499, were built using boilers taken off old standard-gauge C-41 Consolidations. As a result, the K-37s were again bigger, and more powerful than their predecessor although 2% lighter. They also had all the same weight restrictions as the K-36s. The #490 was dismantled in 1962 and the #496 was dismantled in '55 but the remaining 8 survive. Of those 8, two are currently operational, the #491 at Colorado Railroad Museum, and the recently restored (and converted to oil-burning) #493 at D&S. D&S also at one-time operated the #497, but found it hard on the track and traded it to C&T, who ran it for 9 years before it went out of service. Due to the #497's propensity for being rough on track, D&S traded off the inoperative #499 as well, thinking the issue was endemic to the K-37s, only to later learn the issue was isolated to a problem with the #497's trailing truck. The rest have all been out of service since the D&RGW's end of narrow gauge service, with no current plans to return them to service.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/25/21 10:54 a.m.

The K-28s are my favorite of the D&RGW Mikados, largely because of that odd asymmetry to the front end. I can't think of another engine in the US that had the firebox door offset to one side.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/25/21 11:05 a.m.

A K-28, #474, doubleheads with K-37 #492 on a 23-car freight, with K-37 #493 shoving on the far end.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/25/21 12:02 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

The K-28's have a similar awkward quirkiness to them as Shays do. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/21 6:20 a.m.

Damn, Amtrak's Empire Builder derailed in rural Montana yesterday. At least 3-people we’re killed & many were injured.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/27/21 8:50 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Oahu Railway & Land Company was so impressed with the K-28 design that they ordered four of them from Alco and had them shipped down to Hawaii. They were numbered #60, #70, #80 and #90 and while mechanically identical, they had a much more conventional smokebox layout. While a good-looking engine, they were certainly less visually distinct than the D&RGW engines. All of the OR&L engines were scrapped. They were relatively short-lived engines though, only about twenty years of life. During WWII, the OR&L was run pretty much 24/7 by the military moving supplies and material, which chewed up the equipment and infrastructure. After the war, the OR&L tried to get the ICC to allow them to raise their shipping rates to help pay for rebuilding, the ICC denied the request and so the OR&L abandoned their mainline. The #60 was in the process of a rebuild when the decisions was made to abandon, and so OR&L finished out the overhaul in hopes of being able to sell it, it was completed and placed in storage in 1949 and, when buyers failed to materialize, it was scrapped in 1966. The #70, #80 and #90 were all retired in 1948 and sold and scrapped in 1953.

68TR250
68TR250 HalfDork
9/27/21 10:26 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

My cousin's daughter was on that train that derailed!  She suffered a broken collar bone.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/27/21 3:44 p.m.

In reply to 68TR250 :

Damn, that's horrible but I suppose still relatively minor compared to others. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/27/21 8:03 p.m.

Just watched an NBC segment on the Amtrak derailment. They had a pic from the rear that showed the train had just passed through a switch & it sure looked like the 2nd to last car didn't make it through the switch, pulling the last car off & tossing it onto its side. 

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