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 Post subject: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:47 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Maine
No, not found in a warehouse, intact and ready to fire, I'm sorry to say, but pictured on Shorpy's site.

http://www.shorpy.com/node/1404?size=_original#caption

Enjoy.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
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Location: Chicago USA
At least GE, PRR, and N&W had the sense to build test units, not go whole hog with a new technology (even setting up streamlined coal docks) expecting it to work just fine. From the same folks who brought you The Train That Never Was.

And speaking of turbines of all sorts, the UP coal-fired gas turbine experiment had to have been the most bone-headed of any of these. Presumably more the work of the Bituminous Coal people than UP. But why try to put something like that aboard a locomotive before it's been tested and thoroughly debugged in a stationary plant where you can more readily monitor, modify, test, adjust, etc.?

It ran but the best minds couldn't keep the grit from wearing away the power turbine blades. It was a great idea and still is but apparently in all this time no one has totally solved the problem or you'd be hearing about stationary power plants using that system.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Maine
Switching over to PRR 6200 for a second, I understand she was voracious on coal while starting or getting underway. Once moving at speed, I think her appetite tapered off. Was she ever a reasonable engine to operate? Was there ever a time when motive power people said, "If we could only tweak "A", it would make the benefits of "B" worthwhile." She came so late in the steam era, what was the point of further exploration?

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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:32 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 907
I apologize in advance to all concerned if this has too tenuous a connection to 'preservation'...

There is some interesting correspondence at the Hagley that concerns these locomotives (as seen from the PRR motive-power point of view.

It may be valuable to remember that the 'real' PRR turbine locomotive, the V1 design that was greenlighted for production in 1944 (I'll return to this later) was not "electrical" in the sense that the Bowes drive was self-exciting. According to the surviving correspondence, the folks at Baldwin conducted a rather secret crash program to develop a 'competing' system in the immediate postwar years -- I don't know the precise chronology between the chassis for the 'modular' 6000hp project that became the Centipede and this turbine, but the upshot was that by '47 some of the PRR people were concerned that what Baldwin was building might invalidate applicability of one of the Steins patents -- and there was what I considered a distinct tone of relief in the correspondence when the chosen result appeared... the M1 was a Baldwin design essentially start to finish, and I would snarkily say 'brought to you by the wise heads who built duplexes in quantity without checking practicality well enough' but that would be both unfair and unwarranted.

In brief: the stillborn Chessie streamliners represented, for one shining moment, a single road consist too large for even a modern 4-8-4 to pull, and requiring an 'economically-challenged' number of contemporary passenger diesels. If you look at the grade profile, something with very good adhesion and low-speed power would have been appropriate, but reciprocating power had drawbacks in that area, and a design that could start a Chessie-sized consist (32 cars plus any head-end, if I recall the story correctly) reliably would probably not be that able to get it up to high speed. Just at this point, comes Baldwin with its 6000hp 'answer' -- right in that window between wartime and the 'end of modern steam' at the end of the '40s.

I fully concur about the testing-program advisability, but the same might be said about the original T1 testing in the early '40s -- evidently the testing didn't include much actual loaded running over uncertain trackage, particularly that with cross-level problems, or the high-speed-slip issue, compounded by the precise valve gear, might have been recognized and addressed sooner. From what I understand about the M1, it was mostly faults in detail design and construction 'philosophy' (similar to those that would plague the Centipedes) that were the source of the road failures; it is also perhaps true that once the Chessies were cancelled there was no particular use for the large, heavy, complicated turbines... and <putting on tinfoil hat> it might have easily become time for the Technology To Fail Quickly so the large sums invested in the thing could be written down quickly. Young & co. were certainly no strangers to elements of motive-power financing...

Meanwhile, over on the coal-turbine side: The BCR 'research' sinecure was largely over by the middle Fifties; increasing loss of interest in coal-fired economics in general causing many railroads to drop out of the (expensive) program as they felt they were being used to subsidize what by that point should be *directed* research programs conducted by railroads interested in using the Yellott-espoused coal firing directly. The UP was actively interested even after the BCR testing stopped, and the 80/8080 came along considerably later, and now (as it should be, imho) under railroad control and financing, not some outside agency or consortium.

People seem to be forgetting that this project was a triumph of cheap adaptive reuse (I am only invoking the spirit of 3463 for a moment in this context, so please, no more horsebeating or negative waves... ;-}). Main chassis: adapt one of those big electrics, now available for pennies on the dollar. Control cab with large auxiliary diesel: hey, why not use a PA, and preserve the unit a while for the time we do! And only a bit of adjustment to an unneeded centipede tender gives us a stable and good-tracking bunker for the oil and additional room for process equipment...

The ash problem was something of an artifact of the need to burn the coal so quickly at the required high mass flow; to my knowledge Hirsimaki's published material doesn't really cover the technical issue in the exact sense that conveys the problem. UP thought they had an adequate solution to this problem, and of course had operating experience with large turbine power by that time. I would note that by that time there had been EXTENSIVE testing of a variety of sorts in small and large-scale stationary plants, including the full-scale turbine testing described in the BCR stuff. Of course the operating model has to be predicated on cheap fuel; note how quickly the gas turbines were shut down when their heavy oil became a useful chemical feedstock... and UP's operating economics made high unit horsepower in power consists undesirable, at least for a while.

Yes, there have been 'fully practical' coal-burning turbines made since then -- read the history of the coal-burning Eldorado for an example. Economics, and consumer acceptance, become much more significant elements than practicability. One might note that this sort of power is the first best hope for small-scale "GTCC" Rankine-cycle bottoming on locomotives... ;-}

With respect to the S2: Of course a direct-drive turbine will use more steam at slow speed. PRR people were at some pains (as preserved in the Hagley records) to point out to people that the turbine made perfectly good power at low or even zero road speed... they quietly didn't say that it took a larger mass flow of steam to accomplish this than would be required at higher speed. There certainly doesn't appear to be anything in the record that indicates the powertrain did not work fine in starting and running any PRR consist appropriate for a single engine -- there was a far more ominous problem, perhaps associated with enginemen who didn't appreciate some of the running characteristics of the turbine.

If you just yanked thr throttle out to start, all the steam flow (including all that flowing directly through the turbine or around the tips) went into the very competent quad=stack front end. This could produce immediate and effective draft, nice and continuous, which would run the combustion-plume temperature much higher within even a second or two, just as the high steam demand would be causing interesting things to happen with DNB or worse inside some of the water volumes in the boiler structure. There is nothing but 'promise' in the PRR motive power comments on this locomotive until some time between 1946 and 1947, when the first reports of popping staybolts began to come in; there is a brief period where application of a welded boiler of different construction is considered; then the crawfishing about 'it's an experimental locomotive, not a production solution' becomes prominent.

The exploration, such as it was, would have been better applied to the V1, which would have had two turbines fed from an adapted Q2 boiler (with no waist-sheet problems in that chassis) making about 8000 hp. This locomotive was originally direct-drive, but acquired the (eminently sensible in this application!) Bowes drive quickly. There is a nice "TE/speed" curve surviving at the Hagley that features a number of locomotives of interest, including the S2, with the V1 curve overlaid on it to very good effect. There was, however, a problem, recognized at the time (and probably the proximate cause of the V1's cancellation) -- the water rate of an 8000hp V1 would have been even higher than that of a Q2, and even with large tenders, the range between water stops was something on the order of 110-130 miles. Just around this time PRR was watching diesel-electric units cross multiple divisions without required stops for other than ICC-mandated reasons. Cancellation of the extension of electrification to Pittsburgh came about this time; even first-generation diesels could do the job with net better cost-effectiveness -- and of course the situation changed dramatically as passenger volume started falling off.


RME


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:21 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:26 am
Posts: 44
Location: Princeton, NJ
RME:

Thank you for the great, informative post. And I don't see how it could NOT be considered "preservation"!


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:21 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2359
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
WOW and thank you for the awesome insight. I hope the folks who say the interchange is cluttered with foamers are reading that post. I need to spend some time at Hagley.

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If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:30 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Northern Virginia
I guess I'll follow this thread a bit more O/T.

The Chessie trainset was not going to be 32 cars each. C&O may have purchased 32 cars total, but this would have been for at least two trains and probably one spare set. They were all lightweight cars, and C&O had several small 4-6-4's rebuilt from heavy Pacifics scheduled to handle the split consist north and east of Charlottesville. I can't imagine that the J3/J3a's couldn't have handled the Chessie anywhere west of Charlottesville if the turbines hadn't worked out. None of this came about because the Chessie never ran IRRC.

The full story of the M1's has yet to be written, although a member of the C&OHS (name escapes me at the moment) is working on it. I believe he published a preliminary article recently in C&O History magazine and the documentation was pretty good. I think we need to be careful re: the M1's history Currently, their story seems similar to PRR's T1s up to about 15-20 years ago - mostly rumors and unsupported hearsay, and the taller the tale, the better. I believed the stories about M1's at one time, too, but now I'm reserving judgement until I read better documented publications.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:50 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Maine
Overmod, this is the clearest explanation of the coal turbine passing I've read. Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:14 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5021
Failures/successes aside, I'm wondering if the C&O M-1 class steam turbines were the LONGEST single units (locomotive and tender) ever built. Big Boy; Jawn Henry: Erie Triplex, Yellowstones, etc. Anyone have the figures?

Les


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:44 am
Posts: 629
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
The PA-2 control unit for Union Pacific's coal turbine (#8080) was the last surviving PA on the railroad and not traded in to EMD until mid-1968 when it was presumably scrapped across the way at Pielet Bros. UP's other PAs were all gone by the early '60s. I wonder if there was any sentiment at all for preserving her at the time.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:42 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 907
Regarding the Chessie consist: I was going from memory of a Trains Magazine article, now many years ago, which I thought mentioned very long consists -- I haven't been able to negotiate Google well enough to find the issue and date. I remember thinking at the time that the train would be so long that it would have to make multiple stops at any intermediate platforms...

Fact-checking, it would appear that only 46 cars total were 'special' for the Chessie, and this would have included those to and from connecting points. I think I had forgotten that the Hudsons were supposed to actually pull the train over some part of the route. I will happily stand corrected by any C&O historian who has access to materials covering how the train would be run, and what the consists were to be.

I have always liked the M1s and would greatly like to hear that much of their 'lack of success' was falsely reported. And I would look forward with great delight to a competent technical explanation of what the actual problems, and attempted solutions, were -- just as I have enjoyed that process for the T1s.

There is an untold story lurking in here somewhere. Remember that the V1, developed between the late '30s, greenlighted in 1944, and suspended by 1947, was a PRR design for a PRR that no longer had interest in new coal-burning power. But PRR had nominal control over a railroad that DID have such an interest... and lo and behold, in 1950 we hear that N&W is signing a contract for a turbine-electric... the little 'artist's rendition' of which is EXACTLY the chassis of the turbine-mechanical V1, and not the Baldwin turbine-electric.

However, by a couple of years later, N&W confirmed that the locomotive was to have electric, traction-motor drive (it's a whole article in Railway Age) and by that time the general details of the 600psi watertube boiler, chain grate like the M2 Automatic, and so forth were mature. I do not think, however, that the design had gone to span-bolstered trimounts like the ones that ultimately appeared on the TE1 (Jawn Henry).

Here's the thing: If coal dust and stray water were supposedly so lethal to traction motors, and slipping so much of an issue, why do we see N&W embrace an electrical version of PRR's mechanical system? Baldwin's designers were certainly no fools when it came to designing electrical chassis, either. Be interesting to see what the principal repeating failure modes were, and whether (with 20/20 hindsight, of course) they could have been corrected.


RME

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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Northern Virginia
RME,

You're not the same RME on SteamTech??

Drifting further off topic, but trying to convey information about a rare and important late steam locomotive technology.....

We are fortunate that the history of the N&W STE Jawn Henry has been covered in detail by Louis Newton in his book, "Tale of a Turbine," still available through the NWHS organization's Commissary (afaik). He was involved with this locomotive from day-one, and his account is second to none regarding the development of this particular locomotive and its technology. He's still very much around, at something like 85 years old, and I just talked with him the past weekend in Roanoke. If you want to know know more about this final development of the steam-turbine-electric, now's the time!! The NWHS archives has about 40 boxes of information about the locomotive. I know, because Louis and I have been through each of them in detail.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T C&O TUrbine #502
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:58 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 642
If someone is doing an in-depth study of these locos, then I may have something to offer. I have possession of several two cubic foot boxes of Westinghouse Electric Corp. correspondence files on the C&O turbine locos. These cover the entire period of (W) involvement in the project, including a large number of field service engineer reports on the operating experiences of the locos. I have had this material for some time, having rescued it from destruction in the 1970s.

However, while I am willing to donate the material, I do make some restrictions. I will not give it to an individual. It must go to some organization or facility where its preservation will be assured and where it will be open to access by any interested person.

I might add that I also have a similar set of files on the N&W turbine loco.

Should there be a serious, scholarly interest in this material, I am open to discussions on its future. This should be addressed by a Private Message and not through this forum.

As an aside, this information shows that the prime defect in the locos, from the (W) viewpoint, was fly ash getting into the electrical equipment and fouling contacts. This seriously affected the low voltage control circuits, causing many failures.


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