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great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)


Russell Courtenay
 

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Eugen Takacs
 

Do not forget, the steam locomotives were designed to work almost continously ( from regular maintenance termin to the next one). Today it is not the case, they are fired up probably once or twice a month and this creates lot of unexpected troubles and also the teams are not anymore in situation the provide repair on the ride. 
Eugen


Gesendet von Yahoo Mail für iPad

Am Dienstag, Mai 12, 2020, 19:03 schrieb Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech@...>:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Randy Lee Decker
 

Well the Sumpter Engines Tie in to Johns engines works for me.  That was interesting Russell...  
 I do know the NYC did testing.... Every RR must have...    as they were trying to pinch every penny they could near the end of the Steam Era and the new Hudson's and Niagara's were so efficient with 300lbs+ pressure and scoop water tenders the costs to run them nonstop from NY to Chicago on one full tender of coal each way... made them 40% more economical than Diesel just from a financial study and they could run @ 100 -120 MPH with almost no mechanical issues in comparison to the new Diesels that did take a beating at those constant speeds.   Diesels made sense in the yards...but the Big Road engines were ameliorating fast.    
    The maintenance was cheaper on steam at that time as the facilities were already in place but the workers wages began rising very fast after WWII..... and it took so many men to run Steam in comparison and so many highly trained machinists and millwrights and boilermakers all organizing and unionizing... compared to the human costs of Diesel the financial logic of Steam was projected to flip flop quickly even by 1950 and then rise from there and wages certainly did.  So the crews were scrubbed and Diesel was the inevitable answer.    
The Steam Engine itself running on simple coal did beat the Diesels in every way.  This is often forgotten in RR history.  The human costs were what changed the outcome.   

Randy 

On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 2:10 PM Eugen Takacs via groups.io <eugentakacs=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Do not forget, the steam locomotives were designed to work almost continously ( from regular maintenance termin to the next one). Today it is not the case, they are fired up probably once or twice a month and this creates lot of unexpected troubles and also the teams are not anymore in situation the provide repair on the ride. 
Eugen


Gesendet von Yahoo Mail für iPad

Am Dienstag, Mai 12, 2020, 19:03 schrieb Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io>:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Charles Kinzer
 

Steam did not really “beat the Diesels in every way”.  Steam had far more down time for maintenance (diesels had more operational availability).  Steam had to make frequent water stops.  Steam couldn’t be operated multiple unit like diesels (requiring multiple crews).  Steam was much heavier and more damaging to track and bridges.  Steam had vastly lower starting ability where diesel electrics can develop maximum tractive force even at zero MPH.

 

It is true that it is possible for the most modern of steam locomotives to be as “efficient” as a diesel electric in terms of work accomplished per BTU’s of fuel burned.  But the steam engine had so many liabilities beyond that as evidenced by normally entrenched thinking railroads abandoning steam engines very, very rapidly.  Since diesel electrics (at least initially) cost more than steam engines, that would suggest the diesels beat steam in almost every way to justify the higher initial cost, not the other way around.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 11:36 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Well the Sumpter Engines Tie in to Johns engines works for me.  That was interesting Russell...  

 I do know the NYC did testing.... Every RR must have...    as they were trying to pinch every penny they could near the end of the Steam Era and the new Hudson's and Niagara's were so efficient with 300lbs+ pressure and scoop water tenders the costs to run them nonstop from NY to Chicago on one full tender of coal each way... made them 40% more economical than Diesel just from a financial study and they could run @ 100 -120 MPH with almost no mechanical issues in comparison to the new Diesels that did take a beating at those constant speeds.   Diesels made sense in the yards...but the Big Road engines were ameliorating fast.    

    The maintenance was cheaper on steam at that time as the facilities were already in place but the workers wages began rising very fast after WWII..... and it took so many men to run Steam in comparison and so many highly trained machinists and millwrights and boilermakers all organizing and unionizing... compared to the human costs of Diesel the financial logic of Steam was projected to flip flop quickly even by 1950 and then rise from there and wages certainly did.  So the crews were scrubbed and Diesel was the inevitable answer.    

The Steam Engine itself running on simple coal did beat the Diesels in every way.  This is often forgotten in RR history.  The human costs were what changed the outcome.   

 

Randy 

 

On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 2:10 PM Eugen Takacs via groups.io <eugentakacs=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Do not forget, the steam locomotives were designed to work almost continously ( from regular maintenance termin to the next one). Today it is not the case, they are fired up probably once or twice a month and this creates lot of unexpected troubles and also the teams are not anymore in situation the provide repair on the ride. 

Eugen


Gesendet von Yahoo Mail für iPad

Am Dienstag, Mai 12, 2020, 19:03 schrieb Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io>:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:

Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

 

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

 

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

 

Russell Courtenay

Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 

 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

 

Kurt Youngmann



On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

 

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

 

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon

 

_._,_._,_

 


Russell Courtenay
 

Good points about efficiency of late steam locomotives. I was reading about the NYC Hudsons, the later ones put out something like 6300 horsepower while using like 30% less water and coal than the previous model! I’m sorry I don’t have the numbers in front of me but this is astounding! 

Can you imagine a new car getting 30% better fuel mileage and 30% more horsepower than your 3 year old model at about the same price?!?

Did John have more than one Hudson on the G&D?

But technology advanced tremendously in the 1930’s with stronger steel, ability to cast the whole frame with integral cylinders and valve gear hangers in one piece and ability to build stronger, safer boilers without a computer in sight! Must’ve been an awesome time for technology, you know, except for the Great Depression thing...

Of course these same advancements lead to better, lighter Diesel engines (the first Diesel engine of 1898 made 30 hp and I think it weighed 10 tons), capable of running for long periods of time at high speed. 

But all these manufacturing advancements that lead to a lower need for maintenance and labor also lead to a higher dependence on such manufacturing- there was just no way to build or repair many of these things in the home shop anymore. 

And as they got more efficient they needed specific, more refined fuels. No more could the farmer fuel his tractor on the chaff leftover from the wheat he was harvesting, he had to buy fuel from the fuel dealer. The coal had to be the right quality and type to power these big machines to tremendous speeds. I think you can see where this is going- a world commercial/ political supply chain that is TOTALLY off topic. 

I find it interesting how many of us long for this simpler machinery that worked well as long as the men maintaining and building it knew what they were doing, and we create this in our own little world of our model railroad, follow and dream of others miniature worlds and the spirit they created there. 

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 12:35 PM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

Well the Sumpter Engines Tie in to Johns engines works for me.  That was interesting Russell...  
 I do know the NYC did testing.... Every RR must have...    as they were trying to pinch every penny they could near the end of the Steam Era and the new Hudson's and Niagara's were so efficient with 300lbs+ pressure and scoop water tenders the costs to run them nonstop from NY to Chicago on one full tender of coal each way... made them 40% more economical than Diesel just from a financial study and they could run @ 100 -120 MPH with almost no mechanical issues in comparison to the new Diesels that did take a beating at those constant speeds.   Diesels made sense in the yards...but the Big Road engines were ameliorating fast.    
    The maintenance was cheaper on steam at that time as the facilities were already in place but the workers wages began rising very fast after WWII..... and it took so many men to run Steam in comparison and so many highly trained machinists and millwrights and boilermakers all organizing and unionizing... compared to the human costs of Diesel the financial logic of Steam was projected to flip flop quickly even by 1950 and then rise from there and wages certainly did.  So the crews were scrubbed and Diesel was the inevitable answer.    
The Steam Engine itself running on simple coal did beat the Diesels in every way.  This is often forgotten in RR history.  The human costs were what changed the outcome.   

Randy 

On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 2:10 PM Eugen Takacs via groups.io <eugentakacs=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Do not forget, the steam locomotives were designed to work almost continously ( from regular maintenance termin to the next one). Today it is not the case, they are fired up probably once or twice a month and this creates lot of unexpected troubles and also the teams are not anymore in situation the provide repair on the ride. 
Eugen


Gesendet von Yahoo Mail für iPad

Am Dienstag, Mai 12, 2020, 19:03 schrieb Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io>:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Warner Swarner
 

Russell,
Well researched and written. Very informative.  I did not know that was where those great 2-6-6-2s wound up.  
May I have your permission to repost this Article to our local G gauge group up here in Or-e-gun?  Many might enjoy knowing this. Or even- email me your longer version.  This is fascinating about the change over to diesel effect.  John Allen would have enjoyed this.  He was quite animated in his aversion to “Dismals” taking over the railroads.  
There was quite a real conspiracy in Southern California in that era that favored ripping out the electric Red Car rail system to put in those well loved freeways.  
Warner Swarner
 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:03 AM, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech@...> wrote:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


mdmccaf
 

Russell: Wonderful, informative, and inspiring post!  Thanks.
El Loco




Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: "Russell Courtenay via groups.io" <walruswebtech@...>
Date: 5/12/20 2:02 PM (GMT-07:00)
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

Good points about efficiency of late steam locomotives. I was reading about the NYC Hudsons, the later ones put out something like 6300 horsepower while using like 30% less water and coal than the previous model! I’m sorry I don’t have the numbers in front of me but this is astounding! 

Can you imagine a new car getting 30% better fuel mileage and 30% more horsepower than your 3 year old model at about the same price?!?

Did John have more than one Hudson on the G&D?

But technology advanced tremendously in the 1930’s with stronger steel, ability to cast the whole frame with integral cylinders and valve gear hangers in one piece and ability to build stronger, safer boilers without a computer in sight! Must’ve been an awesome time for technology, you know, except for the Great Depression thing...

Of course these same advancements lead to better, lighter Diesel engines (the first Diesel engine of 1898 made 30 hp and I think it weighed 10 tons), capable of running for long periods of time at high speed. 

But all these manufacturing advancements that lead to a lower need for maintenance and labor also lead to a higher dependence on such manufacturing- there was just no way to build or repair many of these things in the home shop anymore. 

And as they got more efficient they needed specific, more refined fuels. No more could the farmer fuel his tractor on the chaff leftover from the wheat he was harvesting, he had to buy fuel from the fuel dealer. The coal had to be the right quality and type to power these big machines to tremendous speeds. I think you can see where this is going- a world commercial/ political supply chain that is TOTALLY off topic. 

I find it interesting how many of us long for this simpler machinery that worked well as long as the men maintaining and building it knew what they were doing, and we create this in our own little world of our model railroad, follow and dream of others miniature worlds and the spirit they created there. 

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 12:35 PM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

Well the Sumpter Engines Tie in to Johns engines works for me.  That was interesting Russell...  
 I do know the NYC did testing.... Every RR must have...    as they were trying to pinch every penny they could near the end of the Steam Era and the new Hudson's and Niagara's were so efficient with 300lbs+ pressure and scoop water tenders the costs to run them nonstop from NY to Chicago on one full tender of coal each way... made them 40% more economical than Diesel just from a financial study and they could run @ 100 -120 MPH with almost no mechanical issues in comparison to the new Diesels that did take a beating at those constant speeds.   Diesels made sense in the yards...but the Big Road engines were ameliorating fast.    
    The maintenance was cheaper on steam at that time as the facilities were already in place but the workers wages began rising very fast after WWII..... and it took so many men to run Steam in comparison and so many highly trained machinists and millwrights and boilermakers all organizing and unionizing... compared to the human costs of Diesel the financial logic of Steam was projected to flip flop quickly even by 1950 and then rise from there and wages certainly did.  So the crews were scrubbed and Diesel was the inevitable answer.    
The Steam Engine itself running on simple coal did beat the Diesels in every way.  This is often forgotten in RR history.  The human costs were what changed the outcome.   

Randy 

On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 2:10 PM Eugen Takacs via groups.io <eugentakacs=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Do not forget, the steam locomotives were designed to work almost continously ( from regular maintenance termin to the next one). Today it is not the case, they are fired up probably once or twice a month and this creates lot of unexpected troubles and also the teams are not anymore in situation the provide repair on the ride. 
Eugen


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Am Dienstag, Mai 12, 2020, 19:03 schrieb Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io>:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Greg Komar
 

Warner,

 

ripping out the electric Red Car rail system…

See: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” - 1988

 

Greg Komar

gkomar@...

813-453-0997

"An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can't put you down unless you allow it to get inside you."


From: GandD@groups.io [mailto:GandD@groups.io] On Behalf Of Warner Swarner via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 7:57 PM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Russell,

Well researched and written. Very informative.  I did not know that was where those great 2-6-6-2s wound up.  

May I have your permission to repost this Article to our local G gauge group up here in Or-e-gun?  Many might enjoy knowing this. Or even- email me your longer version.  This is fascinating about the change over to diesel effect.  John Allen would have enjoyed this.  He was quite animated in his aversion to “Dismals” taking over the railroads.  

There was quite a real conspiracy in Southern California in that era that favored ripping out the electric Red Car rail system to put in those well loved freeways.  

Warner Swarner

 



On May 12, 2020, at 10:03 AM, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech@...> wrote:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:

Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

 

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

 

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

 

Russell Courtenay

Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 




On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

 

Kurt Youngmann



On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

 

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

 

***


“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon

 


Russell Courtenay
 

Quote away, I’m fine with it. 

Just remember the ‘hypothesized’ part (spellcheck doesn’t like that word), that all just burst from my fingertips. I’ve researched it for years but like the results of a common hay baler, not everything is 100% hay, there is probably a toad or rat in there if you look closely enough.

I didn’t save any longer version except what is between my ears but could think one up, given enough time.

I took a rare nap after my last post and woke up in a different, spacey world. As the song says ‘everything just seemed to move...’, still recovering from this CoronaBug.

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 5:56 PM, Warner Swarner via groups.io <wbswarner@...> wrote:

Russell,
Well researched and written. Very informative.  I did not know that was where those great 2-6-6-2s wound up.  
May I have your permission to repost this Article to our local G gauge group up here in Or-e-gun?  Many might enjoy knowing this. Or even- email me your longer version.  This is fascinating about the change over to diesel effect.  John Allen would have enjoyed this.  He was quite animated in his aversion to “Dismals” taking over the railroads.  
There was quite a real conspiracy in Southern California in that era that favored ripping out the electric Red Car rail system to put in those well loved freeways.  
Warner Swarner
 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:03 AM, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech@...> wrote:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Randy Lee Decker
 

Warner,  there was sort of a documentary movie about railroads in general.....  but it included all this fascinating info in it  concerning the ALCO companies last efforts to build the perfect machines... and they did. (right down the road from my house)  They also mentioned the UP Northerns and Big Boys because American Locomotive CO was working in conjunction with the UP and the NYC engineers, all together during these later years, in developing this "last generation" of massive road engine designs.    
   They showed two men pushing a Niagara out of the shops on flat ground to prove the perfection in building and the roller bearing technology...  the 4-8-4 Niagara's were the same engine as the UP's 4-8-4 Northerns… and per pound the most powerful/efficient machines to ever move heavy passenger or freight.   The J3a Hudson engines were designed with even larger diameter drivers, covered with the famous streamlining and built for sustained 120 MPH passenger operations from NY to Chicago.     And they far outperformed any of the Diesels of the day.... by far.... and would still be able to beat any Diesel with Cost per Mile.....  In fact, the difference in coal to oil in price today would make them even more efficient.   organizing labor after WWII and rising wages and the need for highly trained personnel to drive and repair the fleet was their doom. And today even finding mechanics to do this work requires training as these gigantic machines have no real comparable equal in regular use today.   Here's a list I copied of the tests.... 

Cost comparison Steam versus diesel, 1946 NYC road trials[2]
Running from New York (Harmon) to Chicago (928.1 miles or 1,493.6 km) and return
Note: dollar figures quoted in 1946 US dollars.
To get 2019 US dollar figures, multiply by 13.17
Steam S-1 'Niagara'
(six locomotives)
Diesel E7 4,000 bhp two unit
(six locomotives)
Diesel E7 6,000 bhp Three Unit
(estimated by New York Central)
Approximate relative first costs
(as at December, 1946)
100% 147% 214%
Total drawbar horsepower 5,000 hp 3,320 dbhp 4,980 dbhp
Relative first cost,
in dollars per horsepower
100% 265% 258%
Total annual mileage per locomotive 288,000
(310 trips per annum)
324,000
(349 trips per annum)
324,000
(349 trips per annum)
COST PER LOCOMOTIVE Actual As
percentage
of total
Actual As
percentage
of total
Estimated
(by New
York Central)
As
percentage
of total
Repairs $102,528 31.48% $114,048 35.6% $162,000 38.4%
Fuel $118,080 36.26% $90,720 28.3% $136,080 32.3%
Water $8,928 2.74% $1,296 0.4% $1,620 0.4%
Lubrication $3,168 0.97% $9,720 3.0% $14,580 3.5%
Other Supplies $1,440 0.44% $648 0.2% $648 0.2%
Enginehouse Expense $28,800 8.84% $32,400 10.1% $32,400 7.7%
Crew Wages (Two men) $55,987 17.19% $64,120 20.0% $66,290 15.7%
Vacation Allowance (3%) $1,670 0.51% $1,912 0.6% $1,976 0.5%
Social Security & Unemployment Tax (8.75%) $5,040 1.55% $5,767 1.8% $5,962 1.4%
Total Cost Per Mile (Operating) $1.1307 $0.9896 $1.3011
Total Annual Operating Cost $325,642 $320,630 $421,556
Fixed Charges
(Interest, depreciation, insurance)
$24,453 $38,841 $56,640
Total Annual Cost Per Locomotive $350,095 $359,471 $478,196
Total Annual Cost Per Mile Per Locomotive $1.22 $1.11 $1.48
Total Annual Cost Per Locomotive Drawbar Horsepower $58.35 $108.27 $96.02

    
If I can find the movie, I will send the info along, I saw it years ago.   
Randy   


On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 7:56 PM Warner Swarner via groups.io <wbswarner=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Russell,
Well researched and written. Very informative.  I did not know that was where those great 2-6-6-2s wound up.  
May I have your permission to repost this Article to our local G gauge group up here in Or-e-gun?  Many might enjoy knowing this. Or even- email me your longer version.  This is fascinating about the change over to diesel effect.  John Allen would have enjoyed this.  He was quite animated in his aversion to “Dismals” taking over the railroads.  
There was quite a real conspiracy in Southern California in that era that favored ripping out the electric Red Car rail system to put in those well loved freeways.  
Warner Swarner
 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:03 AM, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Michael Rozeboom
 

On 2020-05-12 3:36 p.m., Charles Kinzer wrote:

Steam did not really “beat the Diesels in every way”.  Steam had far more down time for maintenance (diesels had more operational availability).  Steam had to make frequent water stops.  Steam couldn’t be operated multiple unit like diesels (requiring multiple crews).  Steam was much heavier and more damaging to track and bridges.  Steam had vastly lower starting ability where diesel electrics can develop maximum tractive force even at zero MPH.

 

It is true that it is possible for the most modern of steam locomotives to be as “efficient” as a diesel electric in terms of work accomplished per BTU’s of fuel burned.  But the steam engine had so many liabilities beyond that as evidenced by normally entrenched thinking railroads abandoning steam engines very, very rapidly.  Since diesel electrics (at least initially) cost more than steam engines, that would suggest the diesels beat steam in almost every way to justify the higher initial cost, not the other way around.

 


EMD targeted the finance people, who paid the bills, not the man in charge of motive power.  They would show up with a nice presentation on how EMD's diesel electrics could improve productivity. Which to bean counters means "save money".

It did not take long for EMD to convince them of the great gains to be made in productivity, especially how much more productive the shop forces could be if you switched to diesels.  The bean counters took note, and if EMD was able to offer competitive financing, that helped seal the deal. Never mind that per horsepower they cost more, there were immense savings to be had.

Some railroads saved so much that they went out of business.




--




Michael Rozeboom


Team Amiga

DCC Wiki Admin


Randy Lee Decker
 

Well for what its worth this is all off topic anyway...  but I simply posted the facts of the study..... nothing to debate really...  and they are pretty revealing.  Diesels LOST hands down across the board against these new Super Engines from ALCO.   Steam Technology could not be taken any further than this really.  Other than the small nuclear reactors to create steam for a turbine.... The only real difference that totally killed Steam on all the big roads... was the highly skilled labor needed to keep them running and the wages that were growing exponentially with the industrial boom after WWII.   A kid could run a diesel....   

The most interesting story is the 2-6-6-2's that Russell has info about being sold to South America...  I did not know much about any of that.     It's good to see the enthusiasm for something in here..    Some of the more direct John Allen related posts get only a few comments...  

Randy 


Charles Kinzer
 

“Nothing to debate really”?  MANY other “real differences” were the aforementioned ability to multiple unit diesel-electrics and many more aforementioned very important differences like eliminating water stops and lower weight.  Something not aforementioned is that you can pretty much turn on a diesel-electric and be on your way, but not at all true with a steam engine.  And they are easy to turn off.  Easy to change for different service with different gearing.  All weight is on driven wheels.  And the EMD FT introduced dynamic braking (a bit of a game changer) as demonstrated in 1939.  (There is some possibility of reversing valve gear to have the equivalent of compression braking in a steam engine, a little like the “jake brake” in trucks, but it quite touch and has some problems.  There is also the “water brake” scheme which I don’t think was used much anywhere.)

 

And the notion that accountants made the decisions to switch to diesels ignores the fact that most railroad presidents at the time approved such decisions and were typically long time railroaders with lots of railroading experience having often worked up the ranks.  They looked at the finances, to be sure, but not purely from an accountant perspective.  Like most long term entrenched businesses, they had a lot of entrenched inertia investment into steam and initially resisted change.  They had accepted diesel-electrics for some switching and for some passenger, but strongly resisted them for heavy freight based on their false belief that diesel-electrics weren’t up to the challenge.  Even the most extreme steam sycophants at the time were roundly proved wrong about that.   Also, the big three steam manufacturers, with inertia of their own (to their ultimate demise), kept arguing steam was still superior.  But the advantages of the diesel-electric became so obvious that the decision to change became obvious and the change over remarkably massive and quite swift.

 

Had WWII not hamstringed the steam locomotive manufacturers into being restricted to make steam only while EMD had clear sailing for diesel-electric development and production, Lima, Baldwin, and Alco might have had a chance to better compete in the diesel-electric market.

 

John Allen had the luxury of letting his interest in steam rule the day because he made all his rules.  If he had to deal with the actual realities of real railroads, the G&D might well have been fast becoming dieselized.  But I have to admit that the G&D roundhouse with its interesting garden tracks (exterior storage tracks) is a more interesting seen than a boxy diesel maintenance building.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 9:57 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Well for what its worth this is all off topic anyway...  but I simply posted the facts of the study..... nothing to debate really...  and they are pretty revealing.  Diesels LOST hands down across the board against these new Super Engines from ALCO.   Steam Technology could not be taken any further than this really.  Other than the small nuclear reactors to create steam for a turbine.... The only real difference that totally killed Steam on all the big roads... was the highly skilled labor needed to keep them running and the wages that were growing exponentially with the industrial boom after WWII.   A kid could run a diesel....   

The most interesting story is the 2-6-6-2's that Russell has info about being sold to South America...  I did not know much about any of that.     It's good to see the enthusiasm for something in here..    Some of the more direct John Allen related posts get only a few comments...  

Randy 

 


Victor Bitleris
 

There is a thing called "dynamic augmentation" that a lot of steamers were subject to it prior to the 1940's designed locos.  This was the additional pounding from the main and side rods as they went up and down and put a lot of stress on the rails and bridges, so when these locos went over bridges, they slowed down quite a bit.  The Niagara 4-8-4's were not subject to this phenomenon, due the really high quality bearings and perfectly balance rods.  It was amazing seeing these locos run so smoothly.  Just look at any video of N&W 611 and you will be amazed at how slick the motion is on that loco.
Yes, steamers really got into their own in later years, but alas, the maintenance requirements are what did them in.  Any kind of boiler requires timely maintenance to maintain a safe environment.  Water and steam all over the place helps deteriorate metal also.  And then, there is the pollution aspect.  Just ask any grandma who used to hang out clothes if she lived near the tracks.
Regards, Vic Bitleris Raleigh, NC


From: GandD@groups.io <GandD@groups.io> on behalf of Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 10:06 AM
To: GandD@groups.io <GandD@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)
 
Warner,  there was sort of a documentary movie about railroads in general.....  but it included all this fascinating info in it  concerning the ALCO companies last efforts to build the perfect machines... and they did. (right down the road from my house)  They also mentioned the UP Northerns and Big Boys because American Locomotive CO was working in conjunction with the UP and the NYC engineers, all together during these later years, in developing this "last generation" of massive road engine designs.    
   They showed two men pushing a Niagara out of the shops on flat ground to prove the perfection in building and the roller bearing technology...  the 4-8-4 Niagara's were the same engine as the UP's 4-8-4 Northerns… and per pound the most powerful/efficient machines to ever move heavy passenger or freight.   The J3a Hudson engines were designed with even larger diameter drivers, covered with the famous streamlining and built for sustained 120 MPH passenger operations from NY to Chicago.     And they far outperformed any of the Diesels of the day.... by far.... and would still be able to beat any Diesel with Cost per Mile.....  In fact, the difference in coal to oil in price today would make them even more efficient.   organizing labor after WWII and rising wages and the need for highly trained personnel to drive and repair the fleet was their doom. And today even finding mechanics to do this work requires training as these gigantic machines have no real comparable equal in regular use today.   Here's a list I copied of the tests.... 

Cost comparison Steam versus diesel, 1946 NYC road trials[2]
Running from New York (Harmon) to Chicago (928.1 miles or 1,493.6 km) and return
Note: dollar figures quoted in 1946 US dollars.
To get 2019 US dollar figures, multiply by 13.17
Steam S-1 'Niagara'
(six locomotives)
Diesel E7 4,000 bhp two unit
(six locomotives)
Diesel E7 6,000 bhp Three Unit
(estimated by New York Central)
Approximate relative first costs
(as at December, 1946)
100% 147% 214%
Total drawbar horsepower 5,000 hp 3,320 dbhp 4,980 dbhp
Relative first cost,
in dollars per horsepower
100% 265% 258%
Total annual mileage per locomotive 288,000
(310 trips per annum)
324,000
(349 trips per annum)
324,000
(349 trips per annum)
COST PER LOCOMOTIVE Actual As
percentage
of total
Actual As
percentage
of total
Estimated
(by New
York Central)
As
percentage
of total
Repairs $102,528 31.48% $114,048 35.6% $162,000 38.4%
Fuel $118,080 36.26% $90,720 28.3% $136,080 32.3%
Water $8,928 2.74% $1,296 0.4% $1,620 0.4%
Lubrication $3,168 0.97% $9,720 3.0% $14,580 3.5%
Other Supplies $1,440 0.44% $648 0.2% $648 0.2%
Enginehouse Expense $28,800 8.84% $32,400 10.1% $32,400 7.7%
Crew Wages (Two men) $55,987 17.19% $64,120 20.0% $66,290 15.7%
Vacation Allowance (3%) $1,670 0.51% $1,912 0.6% $1,976 0.5%
Social Security & Unemployment Tax (8.75%) $5,040 1.55% $5,767 1.8% $5,962 1.4%
Total Cost Per Mile (Operating) $1.1307 $0.9896 $1.3011
Total Annual Operating Cost $325,642 $320,630 $421,556
Fixed Charges
(Interest, depreciation, insurance)
$24,453 $38,841 $56,640
Total Annual Cost Per Locomotive $350,095 $359,471 $478,196
Total Annual Cost Per Mile Per Locomotive $1.22 $1.11 $1.48
Total Annual Cost Per Locomotive Drawbar Horsepower $58.35 $108.27 $96.02

    
If I can find the movie, I will send the info along, I saw it years ago.   
Randy   

On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 7:56 PM Warner Swarner via groups.io <wbswarner=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Russell,
Well researched and written. Very informative.  I did not know that was where those great 2-6-6-2s wound up.  
May I have your permission to repost this Article to our local G gauge group up here in Or-e-gun?  Many might enjoy knowing this. Or even- email me your longer version.  This is fascinating about the change over to diesel effect.  John Allen would have enjoyed this.  He was quite animated in his aversion to “Dismals” taking over the railroads.  
There was quite a real conspiracy in Southern California in that era that favored ripping out the electric Red Car rail system to put in those well loved freeways.  
Warner Swarner
 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:03 AM, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Reading lately about steam efficiency trials by America Coal Enterprises in the 1980’s, they found that fuel costs between steam and diesel were almost the same though petroleum prices are quite volatile (ridiculously low currently). Steam locomotives generally did not BREAK DOWN as often as diesels but steamers did require a full specialized maintenance crew to KEEP them operating. Unfortunately, much of these tests were deemed ‘unconfirmed’ because the testing equipment was not working or setup correctly (among many other issues) according to crews. 

To which I add exorbitant, hypothesized detail:
Diesel locos take specialized, precision parts to operate because of their relatively high speed (1000 rpm or so) and constant running of the engine whereas steam locomotives operate at much lower rpm (200 at full throttle) and generally idle for much of the time (of course idle for a steam engine is 0 rpm where a diesel is around 200 rpm 24/7).

The moving parts of a steam engine (pre Superpower Era at least) are usually repairable in the local railroad shop but diesel parts must be replaced by manufactured parts- for example a steam piston, cylinder or valve can be brazed, repacked, machined and put back in service but a damaged diesel piston, valve or cylinder must be replaced with a new one from the factory. 

This is why in the 1970’s in Guatemala when  they could no longer obtain repair parts for their diesel fleet (they were under import restrictions because their government was not cooperating with the US and Europe), they pulled the mothballed, worn out narrow gauge steam locos out of storage, did some basic maintenance and in shop repairs (their shop crew still had steam repair experience as they were using steam regularly in the mid 60’s) and ran their steam locos for nearly a decade till political relations improved! 

They then got loans from the US and purchased more US made diesels in the early 80’s. Sadly most of these 3 foot lines are now out of service and many kilometers of track has been removed by illegal organized scrapers...

I learned this history because Sumpter’s huge 2-6-6-2s were sold down there in 1947 and were still in use in the mid 60’s, though they were out of service and piles of parts by the early 1970’s. The Sumpter restoration organization tried to recover them but was unsuccessful because of the same governmental issues. 

Evidently the crews did not like the ‘mini-Mallets’ and were superstitious about their use, though they were powerful, capable machines, when operated and maintained properly. 

Sorry it is so long, I shortened it several times...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On May 12, 2020, at 10:12 AM, Kurt Youngmann <tgobbi@...> wrote:

Well, how’s that for irony???

Kurt Youngmann

On May 12, 2020, at 10:27 AM, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Our local 2-8-4 club told me its fed reg but the diesels break down more often than the steamers!

***

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon


Randy Lee Decker
 

Ohhh dear...  the facts are the facts.  the study was done.. I simply posted them.  I am not arguing with anyone here, please don't do this.  I have no interest in it.   If anyone simply read the costs for the steam and the costs for comparable Diesels (3) pulling similar loads the truth is all there in B&W.    Just simple fun facts.  I honestly thought they were well known. 

Randy 

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

“Nothing to debate really”?  MANY other “real differences” were the aforementioned ability to multiple unit diesel-electrics and many more aforementioned very important differences like eliminating water stops and lower weight.  Something not aforementioned is that you can pretty much turn on a diesel-electric and be on your way, but not at all true with a steam engine.  And they are easy to turn off.  Easy to change for different service with different gearing.  All weight is on driven wheels.  And the EMD FT introduced dynamic braking (a bit of a game changer) as demonstrated in 1939.  (There is some possibility of reversing valve gear to have the equivalent of compression braking in a steam engine, a little like the “jake brake” in trucks, but it quite touch and has some problems.  There is also the “water brake” scheme which I don’t think was used much anywhere.)

 

And the notion that accountants made the decisions to switch to diesels ignores the fact that most railroad presidents at the time approved such decisions and were typically long time railroaders with lots of railroading experience having often worked up the ranks.  They looked at the finances, to be sure, but not purely from an accountant perspective.  Like most long term entrenched businesses, they had a lot of entrenched inertia investment into steam and initially resisted change.  They had accepted diesel-electrics for some switching and for some passenger, but strongly resisted them for heavy freight based on their false belief that diesel-electrics weren’t up to the challenge.  Even the most extreme steam sycophants at the time were roundly proved wrong about that.   Also, the big three steam manufacturers, with inertia of their own (to their ultimate demise), kept arguing steam was still superior.  But the advantages of the diesel-electric became so obvious that the decision to change became obvious and the change over remarkably massive and quite swift.

 

Had WWII not hamstringed the steam locomotive manufacturers into being restricted to make steam only while EMD had clear sailing for diesel-electric development and production, Lima, Baldwin, and Alco might have had a chance to better compete in the diesel-electric market.

 

John Allen had the luxury of letting his interest in steam rule the day because he made all his rules.  If he had to deal with the actual realities of real railroads, the G&D might well have been fast becoming dieselized.  But I have to admit that the G&D roundhouse with its interesting garden tracks (exterior storage tracks) is a more interesting seen than a boxy diesel maintenance building.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 9:57 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Well for what its worth this is all off topic anyway...  but I simply posted the facts of the study..... nothing to debate really...  and they are pretty revealing.  Diesels LOST hands down across the board against these new Super Engines from ALCO.   Steam Technology could not be taken any further than this really.  Other than the small nuclear reactors to create steam for a turbine.... The only real difference that totally killed Steam on all the big roads... was the highly skilled labor needed to keep them running and the wages that were growing exponentially with the industrial boom after WWII.   A kid could run a diesel....   

The most interesting story is the 2-6-6-2's that Russell has info about being sold to South America...  I did not know much about any of that.     It's good to see the enthusiasm for something in here..    Some of the more direct John Allen related posts get only a few comments...  

Randy 

 


Charles Kinzer
 

I’m pointing out that those “facts” leave out a LOT of “facts”.  It is also always suspicious who creates “facts” and for what purposes.  How they are presented.  What are omitted.  And what are included.

 

If that study was the do all and end all of the competitiveness of steam versus diesel, it is inconceivable there would have been the rapid abandonment of steam that occurred.

 

I have already listed a myriad of diesel-electric advantages that the chart doesn’t address at all.  The conclusion that “steam is better” based on that chart requires ignoring all those other advantages, as that chart does.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 1:00 PM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Ohhh dear...  the facts are the facts.  the study was done.. I simply posted them.  I am not arguing with anyone here, please don't do this.  I have no interest in it.   If anyone simply read the costs for the steam and the costs for comparable Diesels (3) pulling similar loads the truth is all there in B&W.    Just simple fun facts.  I honestly thought they were well known. 

 

Randy 

 

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

“Nothing to debate really”?  MANY other “real differences” were the aforementioned ability to multiple unit diesel-electrics and many more aforementioned very important differences like eliminating water stops and lower weight.  Something not aforementioned is that you can pretty much turn on a diesel-electric and be on your way, but not at all true with a steam engine.  And they are easy to turn off.  Easy to change for different service with different gearing.  All weight is on driven wheels.  And the EMD FT introduced dynamic braking (a bit of a game changer) as demonstrated in 1939.  (There is some possibility of reversing valve gear to have the equivalent of compression braking in a steam engine, a little like the “jake brake” in trucks, but it quite touch and has some problems.  There is also the “water brake” scheme which I don’t think was used much anywhere.)

 

And the notion that accountants made the decisions to switch to diesels ignores the fact that most railroad presidents at the time approved such decisions and were typically long time railroaders with lots of railroading experience having often worked up the ranks.  They looked at the finances, to be sure, but not purely from an accountant perspective.  Like most long term entrenched businesses, they had a lot of entrenched inertia investment into steam and initially resisted change.  They had accepted diesel-electrics for some switching and for some passenger, but strongly resisted them for heavy freight based on their false belief that diesel-electrics weren’t up to the challenge.  Even the most extreme steam sycophants at the time were roundly proved wrong about that.   Also, the big three steam manufacturers, with inertia of their own (to their ultimate demise), kept arguing steam was still superior.  But the advantages of the diesel-electric became so obvious that the decision to change became obvious and the change over remarkably massive and quite swift.

 

Had WWII not hamstringed the steam locomotive manufacturers into being restricted to make steam only while EMD had clear sailing for diesel-electric development and production, Lima, Baldwin, and Alco might have had a chance to better compete in the diesel-electric market.

 

John Allen had the luxury of letting his interest in steam rule the day because he made all his rules.  If he had to deal with the actual realities of real railroads, the G&D might well have been fast becoming dieselized.  But I have to admit that the G&D roundhouse with its interesting garden tracks (exterior storage tracks) is a more interesting seen than a boxy diesel maintenance building.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer 

 

 


Randy Lee Decker
 

Lots of things could be discussed here Chuck  Including the fact that the NYC eliminated ALL water stops from NYC to Chicago.  Again your talking about steam in general on many roads.   A DIFFERENT TOPIC OF DISCUSSION...  One I did not try and begin... BTW.  
  The NYC pans along the water route to Chicago and back.. also increased the massive centipede tender capacity for Coal making non stop runs between the two cities and averaging 110MPH and setting records.  It took three diesels to equal this and the early diesels had trouble keeping these speeds without serious breakdowns...  Now please let me reiterate that in the end... The Diesels Won.  but it was the crews of highly trained personnel and rising wages figured into the costs of operations that killed Steam for the most part. Again I am specifically speaking of the NYC Niagara's and Hudson's that were the height of what Steam could offer... This was a Fair test....  and they won.  
 The NYC engines in these last days of Steam beat the diesels pound for pound.. "technology vs technology"   They had level ground... and profitable locations in NYC and Chicago... it was the perfect test bed for the two technologies.  And the ONLY time I know of that a Fair Test was ever done by a railroad without any bias from any Diesel salesmen.     Just straight up costs...  and Steam actually won the technology battle….  but Labor made it to costly.    

Looking at many of your points we are not that far off in our thinking..  But I GAVE specific statistics about a specific study...  Debating apples when I am posting a story about oranges serves no purpose.  If you see my point? 


Randy     

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 4:14 PM Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

I’m pointing out that those “facts” leave out a LOT of “facts”.  It is also always suspicious who creates “facts” and for what purposes.  How they are presented.  What are omitted.  And what are included.

 

If that study was the do all and end all of the competitiveness of steam versus diesel, it is inconceivable there would have been the rapid abandonment of steam that occurred.

 

I have already listed a myriad of diesel-electric advantages that the chart doesn’t address at all.  The conclusion that “steam is better” based on that chart requires ignoring all those other advantages, as that chart does.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 1:00 PM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] great video of up 4014 - totally unrelated to g & d (but of interest to all railfans)

 

Ohhh dear...  the facts are the facts.  the study was done.. I simply posted them.  I am not arguing with anyone here, please don't do this.  I have no interest in it.   If anyone simply read the costs for the steam and the costs for comparable Diesels (3) pulling similar loads the truth is all there in B&W.    Just simple fun facts.  I honestly thought they were well known. 

 

Randy 

 

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

“Nothing to debate really”?  MANY other “real differences” were the aforementioned ability to multiple unit diesel-electrics and many more aforementioned very important differences like eliminating water stops and lower weight.  Something not aforementioned is that you can pretty much turn on a diesel-electric and be on your way, but not at all true with a steam engine.  And they are easy to turn off.  Easy to change for different service with different gearing.  All weight is on driven wheels.  And the EMD FT introduced dynamic braking (a bit of a game changer) as demonstrated in 1939.  (There is some possibility of reversing valve gear to have the equivalent of compression braking in a steam engine, a little like the “jake brake” in trucks, but it quite touch and has some problems.  There is also the “water brake” scheme which I don’t think was used much anywhere.)

 

And the notion that accountants made the decisions to switch to diesels ignores the fact that most railroad presidents at the time approved such decisions and were typically long time railroaders with lots of railroading experience having often worked up the ranks.  They looked at the finances, to be sure, but not purely from an accountant perspective.  Like most long term entrenched businesses, they had a lot of entrenched inertia investment into steam and initially resisted change.  They had accepted diesel-electrics for some switching and for some passenger, but strongly resisted them for heavy freight based on their false belief that diesel-electrics weren’t up to the challenge.  Even the most extreme steam sycophants at the time were roundly proved wrong about that.   Also, the big three steam manufacturers, with inertia of their own (to their ultimate demise), kept arguing steam was still superior.  But the advantages of the diesel-electric became so obvious that the decision to change became obvious and the change over remarkably massive and quite swift.

 

Had WWII not hamstringed the steam locomotive manufacturers into being restricted to make steam only while EMD had clear sailing for diesel-electric development and production, Lima, Baldwin, and Alco might have had a chance to better compete in the diesel-electric market.

 

John Allen had the luxury of letting his interest in steam rule the day because he made all his rules.  If he had to deal with the actual realities of real railroads, the G&D might well have been fast becoming dieselized.  But I have to admit that the G&D roundhouse with its interesting garden tracks (exterior storage tracks) is a more interesting seen than a boxy diesel maintenance building.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer