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 Post subject: steam locomotive boosters
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 1998 10:45 am 

I have a few questions concerning the operation of steam locomotive boosters that perhaps someone here could please answer.<p>I am assuming the booster engine is connected to the trailer axle (or tank axle on a tender booster) by some sort of sliding gear arrangement.<p>I was wondering if this gear arrangement shifts automatically (when the booster engine is started) or if the engineer has to use some steam or air actuated control system to engage the booster gearing?<p>If the gearing is engaged by some sort of engineer control, does the engineer have to (somehow?) get the booster engine running at about the same rpm as the axle to prevent damage when engaging the booster?<p>Also do any of today's excursion locomotives with boosters ever get into situations were the booster is needed? Any stories about this happening out there? The only video footage I ever seen of a booster being used was on an old Southern Ry. trip with 2716.<p>Thanks for any information!<p>Jim Robinson <br>

 Post subject: Re: steam locomotive boosters
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 1998 6:03 am 

Boosters, especially those made by Franklin Railway Supply of New York, operated only in forward direction. The reverse quadrant was equipped with a valve at the extreme end of its travel. By the time boosters were common, nearly all engine so equipped also had power operated reverse gear. The quadrant lever had a latch that would be flipped up to enable the control valve when the engineer wanted to engage the booster engine. Separate controls were provided to warm up the booster engine without engaging it. A gear on an arm was meshed between the booster engine crankshaft and the driven axle. This was usually when preparing to start a train and not trying to engage on the fly. This was held firmly engaged by the torque of the booster engine. This was moved by air pressure and controlled by the valve on the reverse quadrant. Once the train was started, the engineer would "notch up" on the reverse quadrant. At some point, the quadrant would be in a position where the control valve was no longer engaged and then the meshing idler gear would be released from the driven axle. This was typically at speeds no higher than 20 MPH. <p>1985 saw former C&O 614 use it booster to haul coal trains throu West Virginia's New River Gorge.<br>At some point the unit failed in dramatic fashion and according to one available video of the operation it "spewed gears" when it quit reducing their tractive effort by some 12500 pounds. <p>Currently the Grand Canyon Ry in Az has a tender booster offered for sale. I suspect there are not too many tourist or preserved excursion engine operators who use their booster owing to the complexiy and lack of replacement parts.<br><br>

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