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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Had a very pleasant chat with LTC Joe Dale Morris USArmy (Retired) who operated this locomotive at Ft. Eustis. I have sent him a link to this thread. Hopefully he'll be interested in participating. He said that it was the easiest locomotive to run he'd ever had his hands on.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:52 am 

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Location: South Carolina
That's great; I'd love to hear from someone with actual experience running the locomotive.

I can imagine it was easy to operate as a diesel. That 3-position reverser handle would make the locomotive a LOT easier to operate in switching service. Just pull the lever 2 clicks back and you're in full reverse gear (and vice-versa). No need to keep steady pressure on a power reverse lever for 15 or 20 seconds while the gear slowly changes from full forward to full reverse, and no worries about hooking up once the locomotive is moving.

Like I said, it's a pretty clever arrangement.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:18 am 

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Hugh, what's that about 'two clicks back'?

Center is neutral, which is achieved at the cambox by centering spring pressure, and at the lever (presumptively, but almost certainly) either by air pressure or spring pressure on the two little 'button' valves.

You move the lever one way, and hold it, and the engine goes into forward; you move it the other way, and hold it, and the engine goes into reverse. One thing I expect to be resolved quickly via reports from the people who have run this engine is whether the lever is set up to hold position when engaged, or whether letting it go returns you to neutral (like a deadman control). Another is whether you can shift with the throttle open and, if so, how far open it can be.

If the system is set up as described in Kirchhof's patent, neutral includes some exhaust clearance, so the engine coasts rather than 'compression brakes' when the lever centers and the exhaust-valve followers ride up on that ring cam. During the time the shift assembly traverses to full forward or full reverse, the exhaust followers will drop down off that cam and there will be some compression back pressure. There were problems with type B (on ATSF) when drifting. Interesting to see how this was addressed here.

An issue not addressed so far is whether there is any sort of interlock with the cylinder cocks to ensure against hydraulic lock in the cylinders, especially in cold weather. I would be concerned that making the locomotive easier to run might make people forget this step might still be necessary. Various ways to do this, ranging from a simple alert light hooked to thermistors at the cylinders up to a full interlock on the control air to the shifter when the cylinders are cold and the cocks not opened.


RME

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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Location: South Carolina
Image

RME- Judging from the above photo of the actual reverse lever in 611's cab, the lever/valve appears to be similar to those used for automotive lifts, and IIRC, those do remain in position when released. The lever is in the center position, but the engineer appears to be working the throttle, which implies the locomotive is "in gear". It'd be easy enough to arrange the controls where you push the lever forward for a couple of seconds and then release to leave put the locomotive in forward gear, and do the reverse for reverse gear, but how would you get it to the drifting position? Of course, this could just be a posed photo and the locomotive wasn't actually in forward gear. Hopefully we'll hear the real story.

As far as requiring constant pressure on the lever, I can't imagine you'd want a reverse lever where the engineer had to constantly hold forward pressure on it on top of his other duties.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:32 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Yes, it was largely with regard to that picture that I have been asking the questions.

I can easily see why the analogue to 'precision' reverse would be valuable to a locomotive crew, but I have wondered whether the 'haptics' of a precision reverse should involve (as I think they should) a clear indication of exactly what the reverser's physical position is. (The precision wheel-type as used with Valve Pilot does this more directly than the lever type, of course, but is harder to slew rapidly). Is there anyone on here who has run NKP 765 and can describe in detail how the engineer knows the reverser's position?

In this case, there aren't any intermediate positions possible, and perhaps some danger if the shifter isn't positively in full position. If I were designing this, there would be some positive indication, possibly a light or a clear engagement sound, that would indicate I had engagement. If the actuating lever then just goes back on its own to central, "neutral" position, I would want some sort of unambiguous indication in the cab that I was actually in gear. Otherwise I'd have no idea whether I were in neutral, forward, or reverse and I'd have to go back and pull the lever to be sure. Only a matter of time before someone 'forgets' and opens up in reverse thinking he made the preselector shift to forward...

(I would note here that in a garage lift, you can tell IMMEDIATELY whether you've selected 'up' or 'down' on the valves; it won't be clear at all on 611 because all the 'magic' is hidden completely inside the valve-chest assembly and the only way to know would be to observe the end of the cam stack... a difficult thing to do from the cab. (Perhaps this is why the end cover was not installed, as shown in the picture of the gearbox end that was provided?)

I am still waiting expectantly to get pictures and descriptions of the control-air arrangements, most specifically how the air exhaust is arranged. I'm pretty sure that the air holds the shifter in position and there is no positive mechanical 'lock', but if this is done completely and modally when one of the button valves is depressed, how is that air exhausted when the other button is pressed? (In the garage lifts I'm familiar with, the 'up' button valve just pressurizes; the 'down' valve just dumps pressure. We don't have anything like that here, unless each button valve also has a vent from the other's line...)

There is also the issue of how you get the 'coasting' neutral position from either forward or reverse, for example when 'kicking' a cut of cars. "Neutral' is a position where there is NO control air, not a position where air pressure is balanced between the two sides (remember, proportional positioning is NOT your friend on this setup). However, if pushing the lever actuates and locks the air in the corresponding direction... how do you ever get back to neutral? (NB - it would be a simple thing to arrange a clutch-like lever on the reverser shaft, which when squeezed would spill the air and center the shifter correctly, and this would make the 'self-centering' system almost ideal for kicking, imho -- but nothing like this is visible in the picture). You could interlock with the throttle position, or with steam pressure, so that it would drop to neutral when the throttle was closed, and this might get 'round issues with drifting RC gear, but for one thing this would make slip recovery 'tetchy' (and this engine is already predisposed to be a bit slipperier than a 'normal' counterpart, since initial cam lift is quick and positive, but that's a digression here...). I for one would become infuriated rather quick if I had to keep reaching back over to push that lever every time I tried to move the throttle... and is this not a throttle that is likely to stick when first moved, so you'd want to bang it off 'closed' to get it to position?[color=#FF4000][/color]

I would thoroughly agree about not wanting to keep a hand on the 'reverse' lever all the time. But I'd want some indication, even if it's just a 'gear activated' light, to tell me if I were in forward or reverse engagement! In this case, 'suck it and see' with the throttle might indeed be a sucky approach... ;-}

I suspect definitive answers 'from the men' will be forthcoming, and soon. I'm waiting with more than usual delight.


RME

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:29 am 

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This is a most fascinating thread, and I too would love to see this engine run (but then, I would love to see ALL of them run, from "Hank the Tank" to both Alleghenies and all eight Big Boys--:-D), but one thing that hasn't been brought up here is that with an air-operated valve motion like this, with its automatic hook-up feature, we could have the makings of (drum roll)--multiple unit control for steam locomotives!

Think about it, MU operation is one of the huge advantages of the diesel, yet how do you MU steam engines? Throttles shouldn't be too much of a problem, but cut-off could be, particularly if your engines were of different types with differing driver diameters, with resulting different cut-off requirements due to differing equipment RPMs. Making the cut-off automatic for an individual locomotive gets around this.

Fascinating, an ACE-3000 feature that didn't rely on a computer.

I wonder if Ross Rowland, Steve Wickersham, Bill Withuhn, and the rest found this patent during the ACE-3000 work, or if it was something that might have been missed?


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:15 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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> one thing that hasn't been brought up here is that with an air-operated
> valve motion like this, with its automatic hook-up feature, we could have
> the makings of (drum roll)--multiple unit control for steam locomotives!

MU control for steam engines is nothing new. Some of the systems developed for ATC under the Esch Act provisions in the '20s featured the necessary 'proportional' valve control for throttle closing and reverser centering. There is a very interesting article in Railway Mechanical Engineer, August 1921, describing automatic cutoff control based on back-pressure, and this could very easily be adapted to any locomotive with a continuous power reverse, with far less difficulty (and better, more positive results) than converting to type D RC valves and drives and chests and so on.

The big problem at the time was that a fireman was still required for each locomotive, both to keep the fire and water straight and to 'optimize' anticipated steam generation in advance of requirement. Systems that can do those things can be built, but ask any SACA member how complex and expensive they become when even elementary combinations of circumstances have to be considered...

The primary concern I have with 'true' steam-locomotive MU is whether or not you want to allow unattended firing of a power boiler. Many state codes do not allow this, and I personally don't much care for the idea. It's one thing to have automatic firing in a stationary application, where an attendant can respond quickly to alarms or unusual conditions, or walk in periodically to check around. Quite another to have it in a vehicle without easy end-to-end access, even from the driving cab in use.

As an aside that shows some of the problems: We all know how to make a coal-fired boiler reasonably 'fail-safe' -- for example by dumping most of the fire. Think you can do this indiscriminately when there's fire danger near the track? Even shy of that, think of the comical fun if your 'safety system' dumps the fire, even when it was fully 'justified' in doing so, in an... inconvenient place. Like a timber bridge, for example, or where an adjacent siding might have chemical or fuel tank cars...

And even more comedy when the crew now has to get the train over the road again. Won't you have fun with the equivalent of a 'dynamiter' in the firing system control somewhere? And now with far, far more dangerous consequence than the sorts of things that happen to malfunctioning diesel locomotives...

In any case, the control modality for 'trailing steam' is much more likely to follow DPU specs than "MU" in the EMD 8-notch sense. For many reasons I probably don't need to go into in detail. That is more than just an incidental nitpick about terminology, though.


RME


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:43 am 

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!!@#$%^&!!!! I is an idiot!! Plumb forgot about the left side of the cab!! !!@#$%^&***!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:10 am 

Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 8:36 am
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Wow. All I can say. I just got back from my Annual Training and I am trying to digest all of the information that was put up since I had to pack up and go. I am hoping that LTC Moris will respond to this thread, and thanks to Doug for passing this along. I am going to send this thread to the guys and see what they are up to this week, and see if there has been anything more done on her over the Holliday.
I think for now that all we can do is wait for the pictures of the valves and cam boxes opened up at some point. For those of you who have asked about what you could do to help with the restoration of the locomotive, I will pass that request on to the owner and see if he would be interested in accepting. I would also like to let people who PMd me know that I will be getting back to you now as I make an attempt to catch up on the piles of non-railroad crap on my desk. Very sorry for the delayed response, I was not able to get close to a puter very much over the last week.
Thank you to everyone for reading and posting, I'm glad that so many people are enjoying this discussion. I have come across some more photos of the the locomotive, and I'll try to get them up soon.

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Last edited by brettcog2000 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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Jeff Lisowski wrote:
For anyone that didn't read the attached Ma & Pa story on #611 you really should.

It was a really good read.


Jeff -

In that story, the MA & PA reported that the 2628 (USATC 611) hauled 383 tons which they supposedly stated was about the maximum it could handle. I wonder how this figure compared to numbers 41-43, the heavy MA & PA Consolidations? I looked in George Hilton's book for tonnage ratings but didn't see anything. Maybe someone out there knows what the ratings were for the 41-43.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
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Overmod wrote:
Is there anyone on here who has run NKP 765 and can describe in detail how the engineer knows the reverser's position?

I


The 765 presently has an Alco Power Reverse, not the precision screw.


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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nathansixchime wrote:
Overmod wrote:
Is there anyone on here who has run NKP 765 and can describe in detail how the engineer knows the reverser's position?

I


The 765 presently has an Alco Power Reverse, not the precision screw.


Yea, 763 still has the Precision. I guess you'll have to wait on that one to get restored to find out. :-)

IIRC, there's a needle position indicator or something similar.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:07 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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nathansixchime wrote:
Overmod wrote:
Is there anyone on here who has run NKP 765 and can describe in detail how the engineer knows the reverser's position?

I


The 765 presently has an Alco Power Reverse, not the precision screw.


I was going on the basis of an old Trains Magazine article, in which I recall their describing how the 'lever' actuator was manipulated when the engine was run (it also described how the booster was used, if that contributes anything...

I remember there being two kinds of "Franklin Precision" reverse, supposedly with the lever actuator coming later and being considered an improvement on the wheel. That might be mistaken.

Yes, I'd expect there to be a fairly long scale with a needle indicator of some kind. Does anyone have a picture of the setup when one of these would be run with a Valve Pilot apparatus -- would the cutoff hand in the Valve Pilot's gauge have to be calibrated against the reverser's indicator? (Or was that more 'precision' than operating situations generally warranted! ;-})

The 'real' question -- which may apply to the Alco reverse -- remains how the engineer can quickly increase or decrease the amount of cutoff (say, when encountering slippery conditions) and then return to the 'original' position of the reverse. Would he just look at the scale and know where the needle position correlated, or were there any mechanical 'aids' to help him set it (I was thinking somewhat along the lines of tabulator stops on a typewriter...)?

Hope that makes some small amount more sense than my original?


RME


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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
I believe the "screw" type of power reverse had an indicator so the engineer could see where there gear was set.

Also, the sets I've seen included an air switch allowing the engineer to quickly move the gear, using the wheel for smaller adjustments.

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 Post subject: Re: USATC 2-8-0 No. 611
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:25 pm 

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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Not quite on topic, but not too far off (I hope) is this WW II Army film I stumbled onto, in which several S-160s show up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHgqUoVq ... ure=relmfu

British counterparts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51EdcJS9r00

No S-160s, but USMRR at work in Iran:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi02XKM6fO8


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