Railway Preservation News

Dynamometer Cars in Existence?
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Author:  superheater [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

Are there? In operable condition?

What was the key data gathering mechanism in the car?

It would seem that as an academic project, it would be really interesting to test some existing locomotives, especially something where say, a lempor exhaust has been installed and instead of running the data through a 1920's mechanical measurement-run it into a PC, if in fact this is feasible.

If you can duplicate with reasonable accuracy, train physics on MS Train Sim, running a 5 year old PC... well..

If I had only studied, instead of goofing off my freshman year in engineering...I still think people my age will develop a variant of carpal tunnel known as "post pac-man stress disorder"..

Author:  david griner [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

It is believed that the UP dynamometer car #210 is yet functional and road serviceable.
When we were developing information on the smoke problem at Durango, Matt Janssen and Mike Lewis created a complete testing device which converted physical inputs into computer data. With this system we were able to see real time events i.e. temperatures,pressures, etc. directly on the screen and to store that information for later evaluation.
There are devices for converting all of the different types of physical inputs including strain gauges into computer data.
We show examples of the Durango work on our site.

Dave Griner

Author:  Frisco1522 [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

If I'm not mistaken, the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis has an IC car.

Author:  whodom [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

IIRC the N&W's dynamometer car is in the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke. At least as recently as the mid-1980's, General Electric had an operational dynamometer car. I rode it on one round trip between Roanoke and Winston-Salem comparing the performance of EMD SD-50's and GE C36-7's in ~1983.

Dynamometer cars in steam days had mechanical devices built into the couplers that would measure the force transmitted and plot this out on a mechanically driven plotter, along with the speed readings, taken from a mechanical speedometer. Other data, such as boiler pressure, throttle position, cutoff, etc. had to be verbally relayed back from the locomotive. Fuel and water consumption had to be determined by measuring the fuel and water added to the tender and then measuring what was left at the end of a test run. All this info would later be manually "crunched" to determine horsepower, thermal efficiency, etc.

As David mentions above, it is no longer necessary to have a fully equipped dynamometer car to perform detailed motive power testing. Personal computers and off-the-shelf sensors can accomplish wondrous things these days.

Author:  David Farlow [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

I think the Nickel Plate one is preserved in Bellevue Ohio.

David Farlow

Author:  sbhunterca [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

You could check with the Rail Division of the National Research Council of Canada's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, to see if NRC's ex- Canadian Pacific dynamometer car is still available for research projects.


National Research Council Canada
Centre for Surface Transportation Technology
2320 Lester Road
Ottawa, Canada
K1V 1S2
inquiries. CSTT@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

General Information
Telephone: (613) 998-9639
Fax: (613) 957-0831

Steve Hunter
Cardinal, Ontario[/url]

Author:  Frank Hicks [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

The Illinois Railway Museum owns, and occasionally operates, Milwaukee Road dynamometer X5000. This car has seen some restoration work lately and I believe is on the short list to go into the next barn built at IRM. There's also a CB&Q dynamometer at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.

Author:  Erik Ledbetter [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

C&O's car "DM-1" is at the B&O Museum in Baltimore; it's now installed next to their partially-restored troop sleeper on one of the new high-platform tracks, and is often open for visitors to walk in and see the interior.

Author:  Don C. [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

How about SP #137 at CSRM and B10, ex NP #276, at LSRM?

Don C.

Author:  wilkinsd [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

Yes, it's the car that the IC used, but I think it was also partially owned by the University of Illinois. I believe it is complete. That probably makes UofI to be the only university that had both an Interurban test car and a steam road dynamometer car.

A lot of former dynamometer cars met inglorious ends being used as work train cars. I think the NKP car is a shell of her former self.

Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailles, KY has the shell of the L&N Dynamometer Car, which was built for the NC&StL and sold to the L&N in the 1930s or 1940s.

Author:  fredash [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

The University of Illinois also had a stationary plant whose test bed came from the C&NW (Kaukauna WI, and West Chicago, Il) . Purdue and Columbia University also had stationary plants. A stationary test plant was better at controlling water and coal quality than a test car. It also allowed measurement of exhaust gases and cinder output. The Urbana test plant building still stands, but it is a physics lab disconnected from rail service.

You are correct that only the Uof I had electric and steam test cars operating at the same time. Purdue may have had both, but if so their operation was decades apart.

Author:  Bob Kutella [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

Technically I would claim that IRM has two, as we also have MILW X5001 in the collection. It served as the 'other' MILW dyno car, until being remodeled for a superintendants car and is more caboose looking than anything else. Although as a dyno it looked like a caboose! No measuring or other dyno gear inside now, and for many years previous.

Bob Kutella

Author:  Bill Dennehy [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

The car body of an ex NC&StL, L&N dynamometer car is currently preserved at the Bluegrass RR Museum in Versailles, KY. Unfortunately the interior was gutted long before the Museum acquired the car.

Author:  Ron Goldfeder [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

Illinois Central dynamometer car #30 was jointly owned by the IC and University of Illinois. The railroad built the car in 1943, replacing an older wooden one. The same test equipment was used in both, owned by the university. This dated to 1907 and consisted of the hydraulic cylinder under the car attached to the front coupler and the measuring instruments and roll paper table inside to gather the data. It was last used to test a steam locomotive in 1952 and used once behind a diesel in 1955. It was donated in 1969. Several rolls of data came with it and are now in the museum library, but I can't say when they were made off the top of my head. It is still intact in all respects.

Author:  Brian Norden [ Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dynamometer Cars in Existence?

The Southern Pacific car is at California State RR Museum. The website for the Museum says:
Southern Pacific No. 137 Standard Steel Car 1926 Dynamometer
Gift 12/1979 of Southern Pacific. Serviceable.

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