Railway Preservation News

What kind of tender trucks are these?
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Author:  TrainDetainer [ Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of tender trucks are these?

J3a -

A couple of notes on your linked pics - The Taunton engine is the Calumet, c/n223. Probably not export - Calumet & Hecla RR and Hecla & Torch Lake come to mind first, and C&H Mining Co. had a 'Calumet' Fairlie built by Mason. Why no sand box? They weren't required, probably cost extra at that point, pretty sandy in Michigan so maybe they didn't figure they didn't need them, or just weren't convinced at that time that sanders were of definite value. RRs often provided their own headlights post-delivery, but the lack of brackets/platform is interesting.

The NBR #7 (c/n 531) truck doesn't look all that special to me - a fairly common side-rocker-bearing archbar truck, although it's interesting that it has a stretched wheelbase and the springs don't rest directly above the boxes, but looks like it was common for at least the Mason NBR engines.

Wallace didn't have any info on the Mason 'demonstrator', if you don't have his book, and boy do I wish I had that USMRR engine locked up in a barn somewhere.

Some additional thoughts on the curved frame truck design - I tried several different variations, including an equalizing beam/swing motion design with both a long single spring group and the twin groups, the first reasoning being the appearance in one pic of a mechanism visible through the hole in the name plate. I eliminated this design possibility fairly quickly because of two things, space constraints and the fact that every good quarter view of these trucks has more than a little clear space/view under the tender frame (and it's not from builder's photo masking). There is clearly very little to these truck frames. Any equalizing beam design would require a center bearing, and at least one pic seems to confirm that there is only a very slender center pin present, as I drew. The arched transom/single casting design was suggested by all that open space and a greatly enlarged hi-res version of the OP's low angle Antelope pic, which shows the upward bottom arch from the far side of the front truck fairly well, and no lower mechanism or spring plank arrangement. I think the cast bolster may have a slightly higher arch to it than I drew, but that would mean spring groups with very different arches/end heights. It's a definite possibility though as I've seen some (photographic) examples of ellipticals like that from the period.

The side bearing rocker is fairly well visible/established and a simple support mechanism for it seems most likely, given what appears to be a desire for a relative simple truck design (again precluding a complicated/bulky swing/beam design). I took the rocker design from a combination of what's pictured and Hinkley and Baldwin drawings.

If any one can come up with other information/ideas on these trucks, please post.

Author:  TrainDetainer [ Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of tender trucks are these?

Ron -

I strongly think this design was from an 'outside' vendor/inventor. McKay and Aldus and others built engines with these trucks (early on too), although that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't a Mason design. Could have been anybody, could have been that Mason (or others) improved/tweaked the design as much as possible. I really think someone else came up with this design, maybe built a prototype, marketed it in a trade periodical and got a few bites, probably due to aesthetics and (advertised) simplicity. It happened a LOT back then, and some of the stuff you see in adds is down right comical. Epic fails aplenty.

I spent hours searching for a patent in the 1860s and found nadafrickin'thing, so it may also be that a patent was never granted, probably because they failed so quickly that any attempt to do so was worthless. The other place to look, although I doubt there is much out there, would be maintenance records from L.V., Eastern, and the few others who bought them to see if there's any mention.

The only other detail info I have are enlargements of the better scans, see my previous post to J3a. I realize the boxes I drew are not exactly to what's shown in the Highland Light litho, but I was just experimenting with the possibility of some type of secondary springing/flexibility there. The bearings seem to have nothing to do with the main frame design beyond that.

As an aside, there does seem to be a little detail variation in these trucks between the different lithos and photos, but overall I don't see any glaring difference in principle. I always take lithos with a grain of salt, as they are always subject to artistic interpretation and technical/financial concerns, even though some people insist on taking them as gospel, just like with old topographical maps being used as track maps by some.

I also think that given Mason's abilities and the fact that he only put out relative few of these, listed as customer request by Wallace, they were probably did not originate with him. He did fail at some things, but it seems like his goals put good function (slightly) above aesthetics. I wish we had a photo where we could read what's on that name plate....

Author:  Ron Travis [ Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of tender trucks are these?

TrainDetainer wrote:
Ron -

I strongly think this design was from an 'outside' vendor/inventor. McKay and Aldus and others built engines with these trucks (early on too), although that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't a Mason design. Could have been anybody, could have been that Mason (or others) improved/tweaked the design as much as possible. ....

Yes, I agree that the curved sideframe design may not have been originated by Mason. My main thought in suggesting that it was Mason’s design was as an alternative to the possible implication that the customer for the Highland Light designed the truck. But I had overlooked the fact that McKay & Aldus manufactured the same design as indicated in the OP here. What other builders used this truck design?

In Abdill’s book, CIVIL WAR RAILROADS, a photo of Mason locomotive, shop #225, named William Kidder for the Wilmington & Weldon RR, also shows this truck with the swayed sideframes.

Author:  Ron Travis [ Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of tender trucks are these?

Train Detainer,

We have also discussed the type of tender trucks with tender side sills carried on elliptical leaf springs which transfer loading to the tops of the journal boxes; and have a telescoping center bearing that controls truck pivot, but carries no weight.

Apparently, with those trucks, the truck bolster and side frames are solidly connected to form a rigid “H” shaped frame. Therefore, as the wheels on each side individually rise and fall when passing over track irregularities (which differ from track surface on the opposite rail); the “H” form must twist within the truck bolster.

This element of the design seems problematic. It has the truck bolster twisting like a spring torsion bar, and that would seem to be prone to inducing fatigue cracking in the bolster.

What would be needed to remedy this is a pivot joint between the ends of the truck bolster and each side frame which would allow the side frames to rotate independently from each other in a vertical plane.

Regarding the sway frame trucks shown in the original post and as you have drawn their concept here, do you believe the curved side frames are solidly connected to the truck bolster to form a rigid “H” frame?

Author:  TrainDetainer [ Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of tender trucks are these?

Ron -

Sorry for the delay. From the lithos and pics I have, it appears the arched sides are riveted to the main/center casting, so I do think the frame is a rigid H shape with no pivoting, just frame flex/warping. My main reason for experimenting with journal springing in the drawing study was primarily to see if there was enough room for it in there to compensate for rough track and frame rigidity. Both of these problems (with the lack of adequate compensation) seem to me to be primary reasons for the design's failure, with the secondary reason of load-bearing limitations. I take the short production period and such limited use as an indicator of the futility of the design, which should have been obvious to any master mechanic if my drawings are reasonably correct. It's aesthetically interesting, but just not functional for the job requirements.

Still, I'd like to resolve the questions about this piece of the technological development puzzle that made it at least as far as getting recorded in actual use. And the 'box-less' H frame design didn't go away - I'd compare some features of it to some modern designs like the (albeit inside bearing) trucks on the SPV cars now on another thread.

I had googled Arthur Wallace of the Mason Locomotives book but it appears he's no longer with us. Does anyone know what became of his material?

A second possible source of info might be Mallory Hope Farrell. Does anyone have contact info for him?

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