Re: GSMR Steam Operations was Re: Re: black locomotive

David Pressley

I just read an article on Trainweb about the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad which runs standard gauge excursions out of Alamosa, CO over LaVeta Pass. (A great ride......I did it last summer behind an under-powered SP steamer). They have just bought a pair of 2-8-0's formerly from the Lake Superior and Ishpeming (and one via the Grand Canyon) from a defunct tourist operation further out west.

What a pity that the GSMR didn't get in on one of these available (and presumably operable) 2-8-0's.


Kevin Gilliam <> wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Pressley" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2007 7:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Tweetsie] Re: black locomotive

I'm not sure if GSMR could use a 2-8-2 at all. It was pretty much accepted
during the SR steam excursion days that the 4501 could not be operated on
the Murphy Branch any further than Balsam and why bother with just running
in Haywood County.
Back in the days of regular steam SR did run small 4-6-2's all the way to
Murphy though so a tiny Pacific would work.

The obstacles to running big steam on the Murphy Branch are the clearances
in Cowee Tunnel (thus the problem with the 4501), and the curvature on the
grade to Topton (which rules out a lot of engines, even if they can fit
through Cowee). Officially, the SR didn't run 2-8-2s past Addie (just to
the east of Sylva/Dillsboro). Presumably, that meant they were used on
Balsam, but not beyond. Speaking of rumours, there is a fairly good one
that the Ls 2-8-8-2s were used out there, but Addie would be the far point
also, if they didn't overload a bridge first. Don't know if anyone is alive
who could confirm or deny that one.

A Chinese SY (like the 142 in New Jersey and the other one at the now-closed
Knox and Kane) is fairly small as far as a 2-8-2 goes, and MIGHT be short
enough to fit through Cowee. I'm not quite sure what the clearances are in
Cowee, so an SY might be out also. Some of those logging 2-8-2s might be
small enough also, if you could find someone willing to sell you one.

A small Pacific would look great up there, but could it pull a train up the
grades? Regardless of where you go up there, it is uphill one way. Get
some of those peak trains in October, and a 4-6-2 would just slip its heart
out up there on the wet leaves. It would be some great video and
photography to be had, but not very efficient for the railroad.

Still, you are left with an issue of long trains, steep grades and tight
curves, and a low ceiling tunnel. Not a lot of options for motive power


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