1 ... 235 236 237 238 239 ... 250
NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/30/22 4:21 p.m.

It was a full 19 years after the #3829 and 8 years after the #5000 that Santa Fe finally committed to buying an order of 2-10-4s, and they went with the 5001-series, #5001-#5010, from Baldwin. They featured 310psi boilers, the 74" drivers that only ATSF ordered on a 2-10-4 (most Texas-types used 63" drivers, with 60" outliers on the Central Vermont, and 69"/70" on the C&O/PRR design), one-piece frame, but friction bearings on the axles. They also replaced the #5000's Elesco feedwater heater with a Worthington SA.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/30/22 4:24 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 1:27 p.m.

The third of the Santa Fe's "Big Three", alongside the 2900/3700-series 4-8-4s and 5011-series 2-10-4s, was the 3460-series Hudsons. In 1927, ATSF had ordered ten of the 4-6-4 wheel arrangement, but like the Berkshires that Santa Fe purchased the same year, they were a 1923 locomotive with a 1927 wheel arrangement. They were really little more than a 3400-series Pacific with a larger firebox and a 4-wheel trailing truck, down to the 73" drivers, and ATSF even seemed to recognize this in that they picked up where the 3400-series Pacifics, #3400-#3449, left off, with the first of the 4-6-4s being #3450.

In 1937, applying the lessons learned on the 3700-series 4-8-4s, Baldwin constructed an additional six 4-6-4s, #3460-#3465. The boiler package was very similar to a 3700/2900-series, rated at the 300psi of the later wartime engines. It ran on 84" drivers, meaning that mechanically it was also very comparable to the Milwaukee Road F7 4-6-4s and C&NW E-4 4-6-4s in terms of driver size and boiler pressure, as well as near-identical cylinder sizes. Shortly after deliver, in December of 1937, the #3461 led a train from Los Angeles all the way to Chicago a distance of 2,227 miles to set a world's distance record for a steam locomotive., averaging 45mph, including stops, with extended 90mph running.

Its worth noting that after only 2 months in service, Santa Fe contact Baldwin with a litany of complaints, including many steam leaks, misalignments, and overheated bearings and bushings, likely caused by the high boiler pressure finding any weak points in the design. Whether any of the other 3460s were so afflicted, and what Baldwin's response was, is lost to time. A rebuild in 1944 gave them a new arrangement of flues and tubes, a water circulator and two thermic syphons, and a Worthington feedwater heater, resulting in what was the largest and most powerful of the 4-6-4 wheel arrangement, although like the C&NW E-4s, they struggled to exceed 90mph for reasons never determined.

The 3460s were the first of the Santa Fe's "Big Three" to fall, simply because they were a one-trick pony. The 4-8-4s were primarily passenger power, but proved capable in freight service, and the 2-10-4s were primarily freight power but could pinch hit in passenger service if required. The 3460s though, with six 84" drivers, were just too slippery to work in any sort of freight service. The closest they came was when they were assigned to the Fast Mail Express, a mix of heavyweight and lightweight mail cars with the occasional coach tagged on the end. In the late 1940's Santa Fe limited the cutoff to 60% to reduce the tendency to slip the drivers at high speed on wet rail, and this made them even less suitable for any dual service use. In 1949, #3463 was assigned to Clovis on the Scout as a test run.  All the way from Clovis to Belen, about 200 miles, is on a grade, 1% westbound ruling and 1.25% eastbound ruling and the 3460s were shown to be inferior to the 4-8-4s on this territory, and that confirmed that the 3460's were best suited for the territory east of Wellington, and there they stayed until retirement. Bt May, 1951, the 3460s were only averaging 362 miles per day, and by February, 1952, they were only averaging 278 miles per day. On December 3, 1953, the #3463, the last in service, was drained and stored and never was called for duty again. Meanwhile, the 2900s/3700s, and 5001/5011s stayed active right up until 1957.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 1:38 p.m.

ATSF #3461 fitted with an experimental skyline casing in an attempt to keep smoke out of the cab. As well as being aesthetically questionable, it likely wasn't very effective, since it was later removed and all the 3460s were instead equipped with the extendable smokestack that ATSF used on the 4-8-4s.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 1:50 p.m.

Nicknamed the Blue Goose, the #3460 was the sole streamlined Santa Fe steam locomotive, and was painted a light blue, white and silver that was never seen on any Santa Fe equipment before or after. There was actually supposed to be a 4-8-4 streamlined to match, the #3765, but they realized that the streamlining would add too much weight to the engine, and so the plans were shelved, although #3765 had already received stainless steel hand rails and a new pilot in preparation. Unlike many other streamlined engines, the #3460 wore her streamlining right up until the end of service, although by the time this photo was taken in 1939 (just two years after delivery) the shrouding over the cylinders had been removed, likely at the behest of the shop crews, and the numbering on the tender below the stripe had been removed. Despite her unique streamlined status, she's shown on the front of the Fast Mail Express, with eight mail cars and two passenger cars.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 2:36 p.m.

The #3463, fitted with the extendable smokestack that they received, with the Fast Mail Express at Holly, Colorado, 12 cars in length and making turns for 85mph. The irony was that while the 3460s were intended as premier passenger power when delivered, they largely spent most of their careers relegated to secondary service. Sure, they'd show up on the front of the Chief occasionally, but between the arrival of diesels and the greater power of the 3700s and 2900s, they largely worked assignments like the Fast Mail Express, local passenger runs, or second and third sections of the big-name trains during the vaction seasons.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 2:41 p.m.

#3460, the Santa Fe's newest passenger power and their sole streamlined engine, hauling a number of antique fishbelly baggage cars on the Fast Mail Express

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 2:42 p.m.

The #3461 with it's skyline casing removed and replaced with the extendable stack.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 3:51 p.m.

ATSF #3765 at Glorieta, NM with the Chief. You can see the new pilot and the polished stainless steel handrails that were applied in preparation for the aborted streamlining.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 4:43 p.m.

One of the earlier 3450-series 4-6-4s at Wichita in 1940. This is after the 1937 rebuild that bumped them up from 73" drivers to 79" drivers, cut 34 tubes out of the boiler, and added a 28" combustion chamber and two thermic syphons to the firebox. Some interesting features are the angled-forward cab, twin sand domes, the Baldwin disc drivers (they look similar to a Boxpok Type A but the raised lip around the opening is a giveaway that they're Baldwins), and the Elesco horizontal feedwater heater tucked under the smokebox front on the pilot deck.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/3/22 4:47 p.m.

Class leader #3450 in as-built configuration in 1927, still equipped with the original 73" spoked drive wheels. There is also some sort of curious experimental smoke deflector contraption on it. It clearaly didn't work, because it vanishes from the #3450 in later photos and none of the other nine 3450s were equipped with it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 9:12 a.m.

All of Baldwin's efforts for designing the ultimate steam locomotives for Santa Fe were pretty much rendered moot within two years, when a two-unit 2700hp machine known as the EMD Model F rolled out of La Grange. Yes, according to the engineering department, it was known as a Model F, but it was the marketing department that came up with the name FT, for Freight Twenty-seven hundred horsepower. Santa Fe had lightly dabbled with diesels before, with the old Winton 201-powered boxcabs #1 and #1A and the EMC E1, as well as a single EMC E3, but hadn't really taken the plunge. The FT changed all that though, when Santa Fe watched it pass by every water stand in the southwest, unhook from it's train, and then, with no extensive servicing involved, turned around and went back out on a run.

Santa Fe gave EMD fits though, when they had a request for the FTs that they wanted to purchase. EMD designed the FTs as semi-permanently coupled sets, with a drawbar attaching a single A-unit and a single B-unit. The front of the A-unit had a conventional coupler but no M.U. cable receptacle, while the rear of the B-unit had a regular coupler and an M.U cable hookup. This meant you either ran a single FT in a 2700hp A-B set, or you could hook it up back-to-back with another FT set as a 5400hp A-B-B-A. Santa Fe wanted theirs equipped with a regular coupler on the back of the A-unit and the front of the B-unit. One reason was that they wanted the flexibility to run them in A-B-A or A-B-B or A-B-B-B sets, balancing the horsepower for the job and potentially freeing up A-units for other jobs. The other reason was an impending fight with the unions who, as a method of avoiding crew cutbacks, were insisting that every cab unit must have a crew even though it was completely unnecessary for the operation of the locomotive. Of course, the railroad was not about to pay a second crew to sit in the cab of a trailing unit and do nothing, so being able to run A-B-B-B lashups kept the 5400hp unit but ditched paying a second crew.

EMD though hadn't anticipated such a modification in the original design. There was no room at the rear of the lead section and at the front of the trailing section for a standard draft gear, drawbar and coupler! It solved the problem with a special coupler the shank of which curled around the top of the traction motor. This meant that there was no draft gear, which is what allows the coupler to slide in and out and absorbs the slack action of the train when starting and stopping. There was still draft gear on the back of the B-unit and the front of an A-unit, if you were running A-A/A-B-A/A-B-B-A, as well as on the car it was coupled to, and it apparently was never really an issue with the FTs. After ATSF requested this modification and EMD delivered, many other railroads also ordered their FTs with couplers, or retrofitted their existing fleet, and EMD took note and designed the replacement F3 to be used as individual units.

By the mid-1950s the FTs began showing their age and the railroad began trading in some of the early high mileage units on new locomotives, with the first of these units being traded in on four new GP9s in February 1957. By 1960 EMD was offering attractive trade-in programs to replace four worn out FTs with three new GP20s, then GP30s and GP353s, so the FTs were traded in large numbers, giving up their still-useful Blomberg trucks for use under the new locomotives. All the Santa Fe's GP20s, 30s and 35s originally rode on traded-in FT trucks. The FT carbodies were cut up for scrap and not one Santa Fe FT, the largest fleet of that EMD groundbreaker, survived scrapping.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 10:28 a.m.

While the EMC/EMD FT was much more mechanically uniform than a lot of its competitors (cough, Baldwin Centipede, cough) they were still a very early production model and they had some mechanical oddities that differentiated them from a lot of later EMD machines. This made them incompatible, or at least unfriendly, with later machines and resulted in the fairly early retirement of FTs. One of the big ones was that the FT lacked automatic transition.  

Transition is a method to keep the voltage and amperage in the working range for the traction motors and generator. If the amperage gets too high, it can overheat the motors, damaging them. If the voltage gets too high, the generator will not be able to put out enough voltage, and the horsepower will drop off. High voltages can also damage electrical components like rectifiers, or you can get a flashover, which also damages things.

The reason voltage and amperage changes on a DC motor is that as the motor turns, it creates a voltage called Counter Electromotive Force. Essentially, the motor is acting like a generator. The faster the motor turns, the higher the CEF. To get it to act like a motor, the voltage from the generator simply has to be higher than the CEF of the motor at whatever speed it is turning. The resistance a motor provides to current flow also changes as the RPM of the motor changes. It is very low when the motor is barely turning, but increases as the motor RPM increases. That means the current passing through the electrical system can be high at low speeds, but drops off as the speed increases. This is the opposite of the voltage change.

Therefore, the designers of locomotives have to worry about high amperage at low speed, and high voltage at high speeds. There are limits to both. Note that none of this affects the pulling power of the locomotive, other than for short time ratings. It is only necessary to avoid damaging the components. One way of increasing the resistance of the motors is to put them in series. Two motors in series will have 1/2 the current passing through them as the same two motors in parallel. The down side of this is that as the RPM increases, the voltage of the motors in series will rise at twice the rate of the voltage of the same motors in parallel. So, the solution was to wire them in series-parallel and then transition to full parallel.

So on a 4-axle EMD FT, for example,  at start, the motors are set up in two strings. Each string has two motors in series, and the strings are wired in parallel. This reduces the currents to 1/2 of what they would have been had all motors been wired in parallel. The current with this series-parallel arrangement is within the acceptable range for normal service at lower speeds. Now, as the locomotive accelerates, the voltage climbs in proportion to the RPM of the motors, while the current will drop off. It will reach a point where the voltage becomes too high for the generator, which will not be able to put out enough voltage to overpower the CEF of the motors. At this point, the locomotive will have to transition to keep accelerating. Transition means that the motors will be reconnected from series/parallel into all motors in parallel. The effect is that the voltage will drop to 1/2 of what it had been, and the current will double. Everything is again moved to within the working range of the locomotive, and there is room to continue accelerating.

By the time the later F3s (referred to as F5s) rolled out, transition became an automatic process, but FTs and early F3s did it all manually with a lever on the control stand. When they were running as pure sets of FTs, this wasn't an issue, but later in their career, when they were paired up with GP7s or the like that had automatic transition, you still had to manually transition the FTs. Some of your early automatic transition engines came with a lever that could be used to switch trailing units, or your fireman had to go back and transition them manually. This was a hassle and there were likely some FTs that had damaged generators or traction motors when crews forgot to transition them, which resulted in FTs largely being grouped together. There were ways to retrofit a manual transition locomotive to automatic transition, but the lower horsepower of the FTs and other odd features, meant that most of them never received it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 10:50 a.m.

Another oddity of the FTs that led to their relatively early retirement was the cooling fan system. While the F3s, E7s and GP7s all used electric cooling fans, the early E-units and the FTs used mechanically-driven fans. The system was a marvel of mechanical engineering, with a belt-driven PTO that incorporated a clutch, universal joints and a multi-speed gearbox. That being said, it was finicky and more parts to maintain, and while in operation, the fireman would have to go back into the engine room of each unit, check the temperature gauges for each engine, and then speed up or slow down the fan to maintain operating temperature. It's easy to assume that, if or when an FT was paired up trailing other more modern units, a crew might forget that they needed to go back and adjust the fan speeds and overheated a prime mover.

There were also other issues with the lack of M.U. cable receptacles on the nose of the A-units, that the A-units didn't carry steam generators, and the earlier air brake system. They were also pretty rapidly outpaced in the horsepower department as well. It resulted in a machine that just never quite fit in with later offerings, and needed too many fundamental changes to make it worthwhile to run through a major rebuilding/upgrade program. The FT may have broken the steam locomotive's back, but they were also relegated to the history books in fairly short order, with many of them being traded in for F3s or GP7s.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 12:26 p.m.

Back on the subject of transition, there were outliers that didn't use transition for various reasons.

A lot of your switcher locomotives were only used at low speed, and so they didn't have any system of transition. It wasn't necessary, and so by making them permanently series-parallel, it saved on money. Like always, there are exceptions, for example, Lehigh Valley's SW8 "pups" that were capable of transition and had dynamic brakes and M.U. hookups. Or Long Island Rail Road's MP15s that they paired up with the Alco FA "power packs" on commuter runs.

Baldwin, Lima-Hamilton, and a lot of the early lower horsepower Westinghouse-equipped Fairbanks-Morse locomotives completely eschewed transition. They ran permanently in series-parallel and used field shunts to weaken the electrical field of the traction motors through the use of shunting relays. The problem with field shunting is that as the field is progressively weakened, the commutation of the motors becomes progressively unstable, resulting in heavy arcing. It also just wasn't very efficient or effective. As those familiar with them recalled, Baldwin road switchers would pull like a bastard at low speed but then start to stall out around 35mph and struggle to break 40mph (same thing would happen on an automatic transition locomotive if it failed to transition). Once they exceeded 40mph, they had a rated "dropoff point" where the tractive effort fell off above 40mph. 

As horsepower increased but electrical systems struggled to catch up, you ended up with some weird systems that used a combination of field shunts and transition. Some of those units would be Alco RS-27s, Alco C424/5s, EMD GP30s, and EMD GP35s. The EMD GP35 stands out in particular for it's nightmarish sixteen step transition process, a nightmare to setup and troubleshoot, and prone to frequent issues (ironic how a lot of FTs, which lacked automatic transition, were traded in on GP35s, which had an absurdly complicated automatic transition). Later on, there were retrofit kits to simplify the transition process with a solid state system, but a lot of railroad's also de-turboed their GP35s and installed Dash-2 electrical systems to turn them into GP38-2s. In the case of the C424, D&H had a batch rebuilt with C420 engines and electrical systems, calling them C424ms, to avoid the goofy transition on them.

Once technology progressed, with replacement of DC generators with AC alternators and advancements in DC motor tech, transition became a bit less relevant. GE Dash-8s, for example, had enough capacity in their alternators and motors, that they didn't need transition. And AC traction made it completely irrelevant.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 4:43 p.m.

I mentioned the Lehigh Valley "pups" in the last post. Those were neat little machines that the LV ordered in 1950. The Lehigh Valley served a number of coal mines on the tightly-curved, lightly-railed Mahanoy & Hazelton Division, with empty coal cars going up-grade to the mines and loaded cars coming down. This situation called for very specific motive power, and so Lehigh Valley ordered eighteen SW8s from EMD that had M.U. connections on both ends and dynamic braking. This way they could hook 4 or 5 SW8s together, send them rattling over the road and drag the empty cars up the M&H Division. The SW8s would then split up, taking empty coal cars to the various mines, then bringing loaded cars back. They would assemble a train, then hook the SW8s together, and then go drifting downgrade with a loaded train, dynamic brakes whining.

The giveaway for the dynamic brakes was the hood section closest to the cab. Look at SW7 #107 on the left, where the hood slopes downwards towards the cab. Now look at SW8 #273 on the right, and you can see that the hood is flat towards the cab. It also has the cooling grilles on the sides of the hood, and on top of that rearmost hood section is a 36" fan on top of the hood, for cooling. Those who remember operating them recall that with the dynamic brake assembly crammed up against the cab, they were very loud when in dynamic braking mode.

The SW8s lost their dynamic brakes after LV was folded into Conrail. Conrail reassigned the SW8s to yard service, where they didn't need dynamic brakes anymore. The fan was removed and the opening plated over, and the grilles on the sides were also plated over as well.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 4:50 p.m.

Five of the Lehigh Valley SW8 "pups" roll a westbound freight downgrade with an oversize load. They are utilizing the weed-grown LV Mountain Cut Off, rather than the Central Railroad of New Jersey's Back Track (LV was handed CNJ's operations and trackage in Pennsylvania by the bankruptcy courts after the CNJ's 1967 bankruptcy). Presumably, the oversize load was too large for the tunnel at White Haven, and so they've been forced to route it over the mostly-inactive Mountain Cut Off.

The Back Track was the preferred route for most LV and CNJ traffic between White Haven and Laurel Run at that time. There are four routes actually in this photo. From left to right: the LV Mountain Cut Off to Laurel Run and Coxton, the CNJ Back Track to Laurel Run and Ashley, the abandoned CNJ Ashley Plane to Ashley near the highway (you can just see the telegraph poles above the highway) and higher up on the distant mountainside, the abandoned, and remarkably inaccessible, LV passenger main to Wilkes-Barre.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/5/22 4:59 p.m.

Looking like business as usual on the Lehigh Valley, this is actually the Conrail era. The pups haven't been reassigned or had their dynamic brakes removed and are still working the old Mahanoy & Hazelton at Treichlers, PA.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 8:01 a.m.

An excellent side shot of an ex-LV pup in the Conrail era, showing the different contour of the hood to accomodate the dynamic braking.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 8:57 a.m.

One of the ex-LV SW8s in tow. Check out the "En Route For Overhaul Altoona Back Shop" note on the cab. Likely to keep it from getting commandeered by any of the yards it passed through while making it's way to Altoona.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 9:19 a.m.

The #8673, now in Conrail blue and with the dynamic braking grids plated off, crosses the Railway Express Agency on the ex-LV line at Easton, PA. A sister ex-LV pup is in tow.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 9:21 a.m.

Amazingly there is an ex-LV SW8 that is still in operation on former LV rails, and even still operates over the old Mahanoy & Hazelton Division that they originally called home. That is Reading & Northern #803.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 3:30 p.m.

A couple years ago, the R&N even did a special charter trip for the Lehigh & Wyoming Valley Chapter of the NRHS, where they lashed up all three of their SW8s (ex-LV "pup" #803 and two other conventional SW8s) with a cut of empty coal cars and their caboose and ran them up over the Mahanoy & Hazelton Division, posing for photos with them.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/6/22 3:32 p.m.
NickD
NickD MegaDork
10/7/22 8:27 a.m.

1 ... 235 236 237 238 239 ... 250
Our Preferred Partners
6Nexor9MMS3UkPAkoHs4oDMhJmDF3C72ZkfIVuMzmN6lNZdHKETgAeWs55RGRIBA