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NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/2/20 3:31 p.m.
ScottyB said:

that's very interesting about the tractive effort, i had no idea.  considering the terrain throughout the appalachians i can understand why they'd need something with the highest possible grunt.  

The Big Boy is kind of an odd engine in some regards.  They always get assumed to be the biggest, baddest, most powerful steam locomotives, but they really weren't. I suppose part of it is that impressive 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement and the fact that they were named Big Boys. That name actually was given to them by an Alco employee, who chalked it on the smokebox door of the first one. UP was going to call them Wasatches. 

In terms of horsepower, the Chesapeake & Ohio's class H8 2-6-6-6 Allegheny was rated at 7498hp @ 47hp, compared to the Big Boy's 6000hp @ 37mph. And the Big Boy wasn't even second, it was actually third, with Western Maryland's M-2 4-6-6-4 Challenger coming in second at 6345hp @ 50mph. Now, its true that C&O had access to much better coal than UP, and the Allegheny's 6-axle trailing truck allowed for a massive firebox, plus Lima was a stellar buildedr, which could account for those power numbers. But, horsepower, as applied to a steam locomotive, is a pretty nebulous concept and it stands to reason that C&O and Lima may have conspired on that power rating a poke in UP and Alco's eye.

C&O Allegheny

Western Maryland M-2 Challenger

Most tractive effort? The UP Big Boy isn't just not on the podium, it's not even in the top 10. N&W's Jawn Henry coal turbine, Virginian's 2-8-8-8-4 Triplex and Virginian's 2-10-10-2 actually make up the top 3, but they were all essentially experimental prototypes. The first true successful mass-produced engine is N&W's Y6b 2-8-8-2 compounds after their 1950s modifications that made 170,000lbs of tractive effort. The Big Boy is all the way back in 12th, with 135, 575lbs of tractive effort.

Longest engine? Again, the N&W Jawn Henry turbine is right on top, at 161 feet. The C&O's three M-1 turbines were second at 154 feet. The Big Boy comes in third, at 132 feet, with Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range's 2-8-8-4 Yellowstones knocking on its door at 126 feet.

Heaviest? The C&O M-1 is on top at 1,233,970lbs total for engine and tender. This is followed by both Erie and Virginian's Triplexes, then the Jawn Henry and then the Big Boy at 1,208,750. The C&O Allegheny was 1,098,750. But if you take tenders out of the equation, the Allegheny was heavier at 778,000lbs, compared to the Big Boy's 772,250lbs. UP used a larger, heavier tender because they had to go longer distances between water and coal fill-ups.

 

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 5:33 a.m.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 5:34 a.m.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 5:35 a.m.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 5:36 a.m.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 9:29 a.m.

Something you don't see that often is an unstreamlined N&W J Class. These were the same as the #611, but without the shrouding. Still a handsome engine, but they never get the glory of their streamlined brethren.

ScottyB
ScottyB Reader
6/4/20 11:07 a.m.

thanks for the Y6 pictures Nick.  is it just me or are the front pistons are those locomotives absolutely monstrous compared to most?  that's one thing that stuck out to me when i saw 2156.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 11:51 a.m.
ScottyB said:

thanks for the Y6 pictures Nick.  is it just me or are the front pistons are those locomotives absolutely monstrous compared to most?  that's one thing that stuck out to me when i saw 2156.

There's actually a good reason for that. The N&W Y-series were compound-expansion engines. The rear cylinders use high-pressure steam directly from the boiler. After exiting the rear cylinders, the now low pressure steam is piped to the front cylinders. So the front cylinders have a much larger diameter to offset the lower pressure. This made them much more thermally-efficient, since you were using the steam twice, The problem was that those large cylinders caused clearance issues with tunnels and loading platforms and such, so you were limited in size. And those pistons were so big and heavy that they would cause stability issues at higher speeds, so most compounds were limited to around 30mph or so. N&W worked some sort of black magic on the Y6s and they would do 50mph or so. Those Y6s were not of this world.

Most articulated engines, like N&W's Class A 2-6-6-4s, were called simple expansion. The cylinders were all equally sized and the boiler fed all 4 cylinders simultaneously with equal-pressure steam. They were faster, because they didn't have those big pistons up front pounding back and forth, and they were easier to maintain, but they were less efficient. The simple-expansion pretty much took over after the 1920s, and quite a few compound-expansion engines were converted to simple-expansion, but some railroads did not give up on compounds. N&W, obviously, kept building their big Y-series, and C&O purchased some compound-expansion 2-6-6-2s, class H-6, in 1949, being the last steam engines that Baldwin built.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 2:12 p.m.

O. Winston Link's night time shot of a Y6 helper locomotive at Boaz Siding while the crew waits around.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/4/20 2:16 p.m.

Another brillaint O. Winston Link photo of an N&W Y-series

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP Reader
6/4/20 4:50 p.m.

There is so much history to be learned from this thread. Thank you Nick for giving us all the stories!

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
6/4/20 5:45 p.m.
NickD said:

Another brillaint O. Winston Link photo of an N&W Y-series

As much as I love trains, I can't even imagine how loud it must have been in the third floor of that nearest building.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
6/5/20 6:24 a.m.
NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 7:36 a.m.
kazoospec said:
NickD said:

Another brillaint O. Winston Link photo of an N&W Y-series

As much as I love trains, I can't even imagine how loud it must have been in the third floor of that nearest building.

Not just the noise (which would have been bad enough, especially at low speeds) but the smoke and cinders and ash as well. You'd pretty much have to leave those windows closed at all times

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/5/20 8:57 a.m.

In that picture at least 2 of the 3 third-floor windows are visibly open, and not just a little, either.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/5/20 8:57 a.m.
DjGreggieP said:

There is so much history to be learned from this thread. Thank you Nick for giving us all the stories!

Yes, thanks Nick! This thread has been great.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 9:31 a.m.
Duke said:

In that picture at least 2 of the 3 third-floor windows are visibly open, and not just a little, either.

Knowing how O. Winston Link worked, those might be open either to reduce glare, or he has some of his lighting banks in those buildings and didn't want the glass to interfere with the flash. Link was an absolute photographic genius, really worth reading about him. In the '50s he was making these huge flash bank setups with thousands of different bulbs that he would locate all over a scene and connect with thousands of feet of wire and then rig to fire in sequences to get the lighting juuuust right. And then, because he was shooting in film, if the positioning of the train wasn't right, or one of his light banks didn't fire or any million of other things went wrong, he wouldn't know until he got back and developed the film. And then he'd have to try and catch it again.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 9:56 a.m.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 1:43 p.m.

Hmmm, that looks like a N&W Y-series but it has keystone number plates? What's the deal? Well, that is a PRR HH1-class 2-8-8-2, which in reality was a N&W Y3.

The PRR bought 6 of them in 1943 from the N&W to help out with the traffic boom. They were mostly used for helper service and hump yard switching, as the arrival of the brand-new J1s made them a bit superfluous. PRR scrapped them all by '51. N&W also sold a few to ATSF and UP.

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
6/5/20 1:49 p.m.
NickD said:

Woah, I'm guessing neither of the bottom two layers who clear modern intermodal traffic.  Great pic!

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 1:57 p.m.
kazoospec said:
NickD said:

Woah, I'm guessing neither of the bottom two layers who clear modern intermodal traffic.  Great pic!

The Richmond Triple Crossing traces it's origins back to the 1890s, so, yeah, piggyback traffic wasn't even thought of when they built it. Its been a popular publicity shoot site over the years

A postcard from the early 1900s

A 1949 photo

A 1966 photo

A 1994 photo

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/5/20 3:23 p.m.
NickD said:

Hmmm, that looks like a N&W Y-series but it has keystone number plates? What's the deal? Well, that is a PRR HH1-class 2-8-8-2, which in reality was a N&W Y3.

The PRR bought 6 of them in 1943 from the N&W to help out with the traffic boom. They were mostly used for helper service and hump yard switching, as the arrival of the brand-new J1s made them a bit superfluous. PRR scrapped them all by '51. N&W also sold a few to ATSF and UP.

One of PRR's other run-ins with N&W articulateds was during WWII. The PRR had largely let their steam fleet stagnate headed into WWII, while they focused on electrifying large amounts of trackage. Their biggest and heaviest engines were their I1sa Decapods, which while numerous and powerful, were plodding and slow and outdated. With the WWII traffic boom and the realization that they could not afford to electrify their entire operations, they needed to purchase new steam locomotives. But the War Production Board was not allowing any new designs to be fielded. Any steam locomotives constructed had to be of a proven existing design. So the PRR borrowed a N&W A-class 2-6-6-4 articulated and a C&O T-1 2-10-4 to test. The PRR preferred the non-articulated C&O Texas, and so was born the PRR J1. Quite why the PRR did not choose the A-class is unknown, as the N&W engine was known to be a superb fast freight engine. It was more powerful and able to negotiate sharper curves than the C&O. Maybe they didn't like the added expense and complication of an articulated engine? No one really knows. Although I wonder what a N&W A would have looked like in PRR guise: keystone number plate, headlamp high on top of the smoke box, streamlined cab like the J1's

neverdone
neverdone New Reader
6/5/20 5:35 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

I remember this picture when it was done in Trains iirc... man that was a while ago!

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 Dork
6/6/20 10:18 p.m.

I visited the O Winston Link Museum about 12 years ago in Virginia. It is worth it for the photography alone even if you are not a train person, and it is equally worth it for the history if you are not a photography person. Highly recommended. 

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
6/8/20 7:30 a.m.

Went for a walk up in Cazenovia, NY this weekend. They have a trail that was the old Lehigh Valley branch line that went from Cazenovia to Chittenango to Canastota Sylvan Beach to Vienna (pronounced Vye-Anna) to McConnellsville and terminated in Camden, NY. It actually started out as the Canastota & Cazenovia Railroad, then became part of the Elmira, Cortland & Northern Railroad and then fell into the Lehigh Valley's hands. By '38, the LV had abandoned everything after Canastota. By '67, the rest was abandoned. And by '76, the Lehigh Valley ceased to exist, rolled up into Conrail. It's a nice trail, goes down through the gorge between Cazenovia and Chittenango, following the river pretty closely. Had to be a scenic ride back in the day. The old Lehigh Valley station and a caboose are still at the Cazenovia end.

"The railroad that continued to endear itself to me was the Lehigh Valley... The Valley seemed to outclass its Eastern rivals from all standpoint of operations but somehow couldn't hold on. I deeply regretted seeing the Valley go, more than any other pre-Conrail road. I know my feelings are shared." - Don Ball Jr., 1980.

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