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NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 12:43 p.m.

A massive A-A-B-B-B-B-A-A lashup of SP FP7s and 21 passenger cars  grinds up the 2.2% grade at Tehachapi with a "Wildflower Special" a very popular excursion that ran one Saturday and Sunday in April from Bakersfield from Los Angeles to view the wildflower blooms in the desert and the Tehachapis

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 1:55 p.m.

Fairly new EMD SDP45s at Alviso, California with the Coast Starlight. Although technically an Amtrak train at this point, the leased SP power and cars make it look like it's still an SP operation. The big SDP45s had higher speed gearing and steam generators on a longer frame than a regular SD45, and SP also optioned dual control stands to allow easier operation in either direction. The ten SDP45s were purchased in 1967 to allow SP to phase out the old, tired E-units and Alco PAs on long-haul runs. After Amtrak was formed and SP no longer had long-distance passenger service, the SDP45s were bumped down to the Peninsula Commute, where they sent the Fairbanks-Morse Train Masters into retirement. The SDP45s also worked freight service on weekends, as was normal for most Commute locos, and when Caltran took over the Commute service, the SDP45's went into the freight pool. SP never rebuilt them to remove the underslung water tank, leaving them with a small fuel tank and short range between fill-ups.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 2:36 p.m.

A demonstration of the differences between an SD45T-2 "Tunnel Motor" and an SD45. Tunnel Motor #9247 has the radiator mounted down low on the body rather than in the "wings" up top on a standard SD45. Southern Pacific liked the pulling power of the big 3600hp 45-series EMDs but had issues with them overheating in the long tunnels and snow sheds over Donner Pass, so EMD cooked up the "Tunnel Motors" with the radiator mounted down low on the body, where they wouldn't be getting heated by the exhaust of the leading units. You can also see the L-shaped windshield that SP liked to order on their later EMD and GE locomotives. SP later phased them out because of the cost of the unique window shape and because FRA regulations started requiring stronger glass, but engineers said the visibility was excellent. And then there is the usual SP accoutrements, like the big pilot plow and the SP light package with the lights between the number boards and the flashing red light nestled in a notch on the short hood. As one person said, SP was a locomotive salesman's best friend, because they loaded their locomotives up with pretty much every option available and then some: dynamic brakes, pilot plows, extra lights, air-conditioning, steam generators, dual control stands, L-shaped windows, Tunnel Motor cooling systems, you name it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 3:32 p.m.

A head-on view of an SP U33C with the L-shaped windshield and "cobra" red flasher. The story goes that while SP was a big EMD buyer, they tossed some orders to GE after Alco closed in order to "keep EMD honest". SP actually tried to support fairly late in the game, buying 10 RS-32s road switchers, 70 S6 switchers, 10 C415 center-cabs, those 3 DH643 diesel-hydraulics, 29 C628s and 15 C630s, all of which were sizable amounts of total sales of those models. But the C630 really soured SP on Alco and made it hard for them to keep supporting the flagging builder. Alco tried using all-aluminum pistons in the C630, and they promptly started having failures, forcing Alco to come up with a fix for the issue, which was an aluminum piston with a steel cap. But when the company that was producing the updated steel-capped pistons got backed up, Alco just started shipping C630s out the door with the all-aluminum pistons again. SP's C630s were delivered with faulty pistons, then had failures, but were fixed by Alco, although by then the damage was done. In early 1970, SP leased to the Penn Central, but they didn't like them any better, nor did Burlington Northern or Louisville & Nashville and they returned in mid-1971 and were demoted to heavy switching duty. Even after the C630 failures, SP did give the C636 demonstrators a chance, but after they repeatedly burned up their traction motors during testing, SP decided not to buy any. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 3:44 p.m.

An image that shows just how big an FM H-24-66 is, with the roof being nearly level with the top of the bilevel commuter cars. Thanks to those vertically-opposed pistons engines, they had to be tall. You can also see more H-24-66s parked nearby and an H-12-44 switcher puttering about. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 4:21 p.m.

A big SP H-24-66 Train Master hums it's way through South San Francisco with a commuter run. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 4:54 p.m.

A torpedo tube Geep and a Train Master parked side by side. This angle shows the taller, vertical steps that you had to climb to get aboard the Fairbanks-Morse, versus the shorter and angled steps on the Geep. Crews appreciated the easier-to-climb steps on the EMD products. The running boards on the F-M are also considerably higher, so when walking from an F-M to any other diesel while they were in motion was a nerve-wracking experience, according to those who were around back then, because you basically had to climb up or down off the F-M.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/4/22 6:43 p.m.

Love the GOs and SDs.  My model RR when you and running will have SD45s in this scheme pulling coal empties through North and East TX.  UP has that train and route now.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/4/22 7:24 p.m.

While I have been lamenting not being able to be there for the opening of the Mountain Division at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farminton this weekend or being able to chase the R&N #425 and #2102 doubleheader next weekend, I got a pretty neat consolation price today. The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced today that on the August 27th and 28th Tri-State Excursion with #765 that I am attending, they will also have Little River Railroad #110, the smallest standard gauge Pacific ever built, at Hillsdale, Michigan hauling 25-minute excursions during the layover.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 10:35 a.m.

A better angle showing just how small Little River #110 is. Despite being a standard gauge locomotive, she only has 47" drive wheels, which is only 3" taller than the drive wheels on the 3'-gauge Mikados belonging to the D&RGW and 1" shorter than the drive wheels on the East Broad Top 3'-gauge Mikados. Weight is under 200,000lbs for the engine and loaded tender (the engine itself is only 109,000lbs) and she generates a miniscule 18,334lbs of tractive effort.

Also, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society pointed out that this event will make it the first time in 70 years that two steam-powered passenger trains have operated out of Hillsdale, Michigan in the same day

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 12:46 p.m.

In a similar vein of "First passenger train in X years", Reading & Northern ran another one of those National Museum of Industrial History rare-mileage charter trips with the RDC and went up through Tremont to Minersville. They made a stop at the ex-Reading depot in Tremont, making it the first passenger train to enter Tremont in over 20 years.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 4:58 p.m.

UP #4014 succesfully made it's jaunt from Cheyenne to Denver and back last weekend. I've seen some photos but not a whole lot of news. Presumably the lack of news meant that everything went okay. Still crazy that this was, at the moment at least, the only time that #4014 is hitting the rails this year.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 4:58 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 4:59 p.m.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
8/8/22 12:50 a.m.

SOO Line 1003 came through the area today. My buddy took this very unique picture in a viaduct ditch in the rain.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
8/8/22 8:51 a.m.

We don't talk about European railways much here, but this popped up in my YouTube recommendations and was pretty interesting. Only in German, but you can auto-translate the subtitles to at least get an idea of what the narrator is talking about.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/8/22 9:47 a.m.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington #9 and Bridgton & Saco River #7 lead the first revenue passenger train in 89 years to cross the Trout Brook at this weekend's opening of the Mountain Division

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/8/22 10:10 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/8/22 2:21 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Yeah, Soo Line #1003 ran a trip into Chicago over Metra this weekend. I don't know, Soo Line steam doesn't do it for me, aesthetically. I'm not a fan of headlights above the center of the smokebox door, like on Soo Line or Reading or GN power. It can be be slightly below center like SP or T&P power, on center like most railroads, or on top of the smokebox. Also, Soo Line power was fairly conservative in nature, no brooding Elesco feedwater heaters or cool superpower wheel arrangements. They mostly made do with Pacifics and Mikados and Ten-Wheelers, with the exception of a single Decapod and a quartet of Northerns.

It's nice that Metra remains rather excursion-friendly, like when Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society ran the Joliet Rocket excursion a couple years back (they even saw 75mph speeds out of NKP #765). 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/8/22 3:21 p.m.

I hear that UP has reactivated one of their hump yards, Davidson Yard in Fort Worth, a couple weeks ago and now Norfolk Southern is reactivating their hump yards at Macon and Bellevue. How many years have Class Is been saying "Hump yards are bad", while actual railroaders go "No, hump yards are efficient" now? Well, looks like another blow to the "genius" of Precision Scheduled Railroading.  I wonder when they'll actually throw the Wall Street types out of the big offices and put real railroaders in charge?

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 10:17 p.m.

I saw an interesting consist this weekend on the CSX NO&M sub. There were two CSX units in the lead, followed by a CN, NS & UP locomotives. It was a pretty long mixed freight & there was no DPU, so I'm not sure if it was just a  move, or if they were actually using foreign power. 
 

I wish they'd had a BNSF unit there just to have all the US class-1 railroads represented. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/9/22 12:00 p.m.

Some more photos from the WW&F's opening of the Mountain Division.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington #9 getting turned on the ex-Bridgton & Saco River "Armstrong" turntable that was installed at Trout Brook, the new northern terminus of the line.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/9/22 12:04 p.m.

According to the museum's Facebook page, the turntable has settled some and needs some final adjustment, so while they could turn the smaller and lighter WW&F #9, they found it too difficult to turn the larger Bridgton & Saco River #7. The solution was to steam it bunker-first north to Trout Brook behind #9, then use the turntable to change tracks and run it around to the other end, so it was boiler-first for the trip south.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/9/22 12:07 p.m.

Heading south to Sheepscot over the unusual covered pony truss bridge across the Trout Brook.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/9/22 12:09 p.m.

The inaugural southbound trip drifting into Alna Center before heading on to Sheescot.

With the opening of the Mountain Division, they now have 7 miles of track to operate over. They also now connect to the Trout Brook Nature Preserve, which I'm sure will also allow some tie-in events. Now, Harry Percival, the founder of the new WW&F, bought up almost the entirety of the original WW&F right of way, but for the WW&F to extend further north requires crossing Route 128, while to go south requires crossing Cross Road and then can only go so far before it runs smack into Alna Center. The big issue is that currently, because they do not have any grade crossings, they do not fall under FRA jurisdiction. Once they cross either 128 or Cross Road, they now fall under FRA jurisdiction, although the rules for them are a little different than say, Reading & Northern or Strasburg, because of the gauge, size and weight of their equipment. According to the WW&F, the plan is to one day cross Route 128, and they are already starting to implement some of the FRA requirements of their own accord in advance, but for right now they are happy with getting the Mountain Division open and they are busy with construction of new coaches and WW&F #11, as well as the return to service of WW&F #10. 

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