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 Post subject: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:11 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
Well, I've been seeing more and more on some of the Western Maryland's 4-8-4s lately, and (with most things that find me) it leaves me puzzled. One of the things that I've read on those northerns is that they were considered "ugly". While I wasn't alive back in the steam days, nor can I pretend to have been, how in the world does a steamer be considered "ugly". Does it come down to the looks or how they preformed what they were built for? I think this would apply to many steam engines, like the CP 3100 and 3101, or the I1 decapods that the PRR ran. Again, having only seen little on these engines, my curiosity is peaked. But what about the Reading T-1s? Was it the fact that they could do more than just haul coal over the mountains, or was it the use of one of their number on the AFT that made the survivors a classic?

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:03 am 

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Eight drivers was ideal for track curvature. Ten drivers required lots of measures to tolerate curves. A four wheel trailing truck supported a large firebox, and a four wheel lead truck was ideal for safety at high speed.

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:50 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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I have never heard anyone complain about the northerns as being ugly. To some extent, ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but there are some principles of balance and proportion that can be quite objective.

In my opinion, the engines that stand out as ugly were the 4-4-0s originally built with a short smokebox and diamond stack, that were later rebuilt with an extended smokebox and a shotgun stack. This conversion ruined their looks, and it affected many if not most of the early 4-4-0s.

Generally, I think the best looking engines were from the 1900-era before they grew in size to fill up the clearance diagram, which made all their features appear more compact. But a lot of people like the biggest and the latest, so they naturally see beauty in those attributes.


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:32 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:58 am
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Location: South Jersey
Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Symmetry,balance, eye appeal or what ever you want to call it is matter of taste to some degree. Myself, I am not fond of the odd headlight/number board arrangement on the former C&O 614 nor find the streamline casings on engines such as the N&W 611 particularly appealling.

On the other hand some of best "lookers" in my opinion would have to include the RF&P Generals, Governors and Statesman engines, the AT&SF Northerns,Western Maryland Potomacs, ACL 1800's and DL&W Poconos. Some arrangements of appliances as well as cabs and tenders are the result of design for service concerns and the eye appeal thing kinda gets second place consideration.

Reading Company T-1's were/are not too bad,but the screwy headlight placement tucked up under the bell after about 1927 or so on engines like the G-1sa is plug ugly. They looked much nicer with the high headlight and round number plate as built. Again,in my opinion and eye.

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
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IC had some nicely proportioned engines whose looks were damaged by the boxy sandboxes and the corrugated sheet metal pilots.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
filmteknik wrote:
IC had some nicely proportioned engines whose looks were damaged by the boxy sandboxes and the corrugated sheet metal pilots.

Steve

Speaking on the IC engines, didn't their mountians get scrapped? While not related to the northerns, figured I'd post my findings.
http://steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive.cfm?Display=425
http://steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive.cfm?Display=757
As for the IC engines looking damaged by the addition of boxy looking aparati, I think that they look great.

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:20 am
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Athough PRR never had any northerns I think that the M1a with the headlight on the stand and not the ugly postwar with the generator on the stand were some of the best looking engines of all. When most other roads put there headlight in the middle PRR kept it up high making it different and in my opinion better looking


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
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Location: Pacific, MO
As has been said, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I favor the southwestern look of Northerns, such as Frisco, MP, SSW, RI and such. I'm sure if the T&P would have had 4-8-4s, they would have been pretty. Southwestern RRs had more clearance and as such didn't have such stubby stacks and low cabs. They always balanced out the front ends with slightly below center headlights, front hung bells and pumps on the pilot beam.
It's all just a matter of opinion.
Oh BTW IC still has two 4-8-2s if I recall. The 2500 at Centralia, IL and another one down in MS. Too bad all the 2600s are gone. IC is an acquired taste, kinda like Scotch.


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
Frisco1522 wrote:
As has been said, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I favor the southwestern look of Northerns, such as Frisco, MP, SSW, RI and such. I'm sure if the T&P would have had 4-8-4s, they would have been pretty. Southwestern RRs had more clearance and as such didn't have such stubby stacks and low cabs. They always balanced out the front ends with slightly below center headlights, front hung bells and pumps on the pilot beam.
It's all just a matter of opinion.
Oh BTW IC still has two 4-8-2s if I recall. The 2500 at Centralia, IL and another one down in MS. Too bad all the 2600s are gone. IC is an acquired taste, kinda like Scotch.

Well, what's the difference? 2500 and 2600 class engines from IC look the same to me.

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
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Not a world of difference between 2500s and 2600s. 2600s had a front end throttle and a monstrous tender, but other than that basically the same.


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 11:39 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Frisco1522 wrote:
Not a world of difference between 2500s and 2600s. 2600s had a front end throttle and a monstrous tender, but other than that basically the same.


The other difference, if I remember correctly, was where the two respective classes could operate. On the Kentucky division, the 2600s did not usually operate past Central City, while the 2500s could go all the way into Louisville. I think this had more to do with the turntable in Louisville than anything else. The big 2-10-2s also rarely, if ever made it all the way into Louisville for the same reason.

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Location: Back in NE Ohio
Unlike WLA, I have always been partial to the classic C&O "Tripartite" nose design of the Greenbriers and Kanahwas. I'm less partial to the "flying" air pumps on the Pacifics and non-streamlined Hudsons, but they do seem to fit with the Alleghenys.

I also generally do not like the protruding Elesco feedwater heaters found on top of many smokeboxes. Sometimes it works, usually on brutish looking freight engines, like T&P 610, but usually not.

I think the best-looking late-era steam locomotives are the ones with some, but not too much, external piping, appliances and "jewelry". The NKP Berks probably are among the best-looking examples of what I have in mind (I know there are a lot of sand pipes coming off the dome, but somehow it works). Few designs work better than a center-mounted headlight. I'm also not crazy about things like the GTW triangular nose-mounted number boards. Keeping the look simpler and less busy is probably the best policy, although I'm not that crazy about total streamlining either. 611 is nice, but looking at them side-by-side, I still prefer 614. The very bare and straight look of NYC Niagaras just leaves me cold. Maybe the best example of a well-proportioned locomotive is the classic, standard design USRA Light Mike. It's hard to do much better (I know it wasn't the authentic look) than ex-GTW 4070 in the late '70's, early '80's (hopefully the attached photo works).


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File comment: Hazel St., Akron, OH Oct. '83
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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 2:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:58 am
Posts: 55
Location: South Jersey
PaulWWoodring wrote:
I also generally do not like the protruding Elesco feedwater heaters found on top of many smokeboxes. Sometimes it works, usually on brutish looking freight engines, like T&P 610, but usually not.


Sometimes it is just right too. I offer CNJ Pacific 831:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 27
filmteknik,
If memory serves me the IC did not have any 4-8-4's. (someone correct me if I am wrong) They did have the 2400, 2500, and 2600 series of Mountains, with the 2600 being the largest constructed.

The 2500 were built from Lima 2-10-2 boilers on new cast frames in Paducah Ky around 1937.

The 2600's were about 9' longer and about 165,393lbs heavier combined engine and tender weight, being constructed from scratch in Paducah by the IC in 1942.

None of the 2600 class survived. Paducah requested a 2600 from the IC when they were being scrapped but only got Mike 1518. Attempts were made to save the 2613, but that deal fell through as well.
Hope that helps.
Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: 4-8-4 question; What made them "great" locomotives?
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 7:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5021
Bruce4501 wrote:
filmteknik,

None of the 2600 class survived. Paducah requested a 2600 from the IC when they were being scrapped but only got Mike 1518. Attempts were made to save the 2613, but that deal fell through as well.
Hope that helps.
Bruce


Bruce -

The story I heard is that the folks in the IC town of Centralia, Illinois also wanted a 2600, some of which were on the deadline there. The IC hierarchy (read President Wayne A. Johnston) didn't want to donate ANY steamer! Eventually the continuing pressure from the IC employees and local citizens there worked, and Johnston grudgingly agreed to give them an engine, telling the yard foreman to just grab the first locomotive that was in the scrap line. This turned out to be the 2500; the first of the 55 engines of that class. At least, that is the story as was told to me.

Les


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