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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:52 pm
Posts: 76
Okay. I'm somewhat of a novice when it comes to steam. I've run little bitty tea kettle engines at an amusement park and done some light studying on my own, and that's it. So I need a question answered. The UP steam program runs an eight coupled engine with eighty inch drivers all over the damn place. And, as we've seen recently, even off their own mainline.

My question is if, the 844 will gracefully round a curve, why wouldn't the Big Boy do the same in the same curve? Is there an issue with the articulation perhaps? Seems to me that if the curve is capable of handling an eight coupled engine with eighty inch drivers, then shouldn't it handle back to back eight coupled driver sets with sixty eight inch drivers? Somebody enlighten me.

Thanks,

Mike S.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:00 pm 

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Mighty interesting, especially the third party angle. Makes me wonder if a rail fan/nut/historian won a lottery.

Joshua

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
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Location: Faulkland, Delaware
I did something most people don't do. I contacted the UP directly.

My question to them was:
Is there any truth to the rumors that the UP will restore Big Boy #4014?

They responded:
We have looked into restoring a Big Boy because we were approached by a third party interested in supporting the effort. It is much too early to get excited about this -- all that we have done so far is evaluate what units are available to be restored. Should things continue to move forward, there is a lot more work to be done to determine whether this continues to be a viable project.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:12 am
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Location: cheyenne
The Big Boy has a lighter axle loading than 3985 and has 3/8 of an inch extra width, the big problems with the steamers are the centipede tenders no the locos.

This is a true story i know and look forward to seeing her arrive in Cheyenne in Feb 2013 ish

Mike Pannell


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:10 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Soddy Daisy, TN
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The (ALLEGED) problem with running a Big Boy on the Union Pacific of 2014-and-later is mechanical engineering. The track that used to be able to handle 4-8-8-4's has been reprofiled, re-engineered, recalibrated, realigned, etc. to handle heavy diesels and stack-pack trains.


Technically that would be in the domain of a civil engineer, us mechanicals would deal more with getting the engine running. ;)

car57 wrote:
The Big Boy has a lighter axle loading than 3985 and has 3/8 of an inch extra width, the big problems with the steamers are the centipede tenders no the locos.

This is a true story i know and look forward to seeing her arrive in Cheyenne in Feb 2013 ish

Mike Pannell


Not axle loading that would be the issue, but the lateral. Longer wheelbases on the Big Boys make it a little tighter, but still one could argue that the 844 doesn't straighten out curves.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:39 pm 
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If this turns our successful we're going have to look into getting C&O 1604 from the B&O Museum running. I'd love to see a big boy, I wish UP and associated party all the luck in the world.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:22 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:59 pm
Posts: 18
Track geometry changes since the 4000's ran would involve the elimination of deliberate guage widening on curves sharper than 8 degrees and reduction in superelevation of curves. The guage widening was to accomodate steam locomotives. The superelevation reduction was to reduce inside rail wear since UP was no longer operating passenger trains.

The effect of these changes would I think be worse on 844 since it has a longer rigid wheelbase. (I'm assuming Big Boys have lateral motion devices on both sets of drivers.) I think the most conservative approach to operation would be to restrict operations on curves to equilibrium speed. I think UP's policy has been to run at track speed. I think Steve Lee twitted (not tweeted!) the NS about that.

I still think the biggest logistical challenges to operation are turning the engine and bridges. It's not a question of maximum degree of curve, at least on steam era wyes. Big Boys can do 20 degrees. There are USRA engines that can't do that. The problem is the less than perfect tie and surface conditions found on most steam era wyes and a tendency to build new ones to the tighter curve limits of diesels. If it is indeed a third party financed rebuild, I think UP would be wise to include a wye reconstruction line in the project budget.

Based on some calculations I did for 1225 that put the highest equivalent Cooper's Rating on a 40' span, I would guess that Big Boys require the highest ratings at spans of 60' or so. UP's bridge engineers should run the numbers and compare them to their bridge lists so that management and the third party have some idea were they can run a 4000. Who pays for this and when should be part of any negotiations.

Time to install a continuous automatic blowdown, the foam is building up.

Andrew Adams


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
CoryClaxon wrote:
If this turns our successful we're going have to look into getting C&O 1604 from the B&O Museum running.


Who the @#!(*&% HELL is this "we" of which you (and a bunch of others flapping their jaws in a similar fashion about N&W 611, 1218, and 2156) speak?????????????

I realize the political fad of the past decade or so has been to dictate to others what to do with their own hard-earned money and assets, but come on......


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:58 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:29 am
Posts: 316
Location: Schuylkill County, PA
Andrew Adams wrote:
Track geometry changes since the 4000's ran would involve the elimination of deliberate guage widening on curves sharper than 8 degrees and reduction in superelevation of curves. The guage widening was to accomodate steam locomotives. The superelevation reduction was to reduce inside rail wear since UP was no longer operating passenger trains.



I was thinking about that too. It's no secret the lines have been re-profiled in the last 50 years, and are no longer *optimized* for 4-8-8-4s... but does that mean that running a 4-8-8-4 on the current profile is IMPOSSIBLE? That remains to be seen, but I suspect UPRR has some very smart engineers who would figure that out before they dumped a bunch of money into a 4000 series for her to be a yard queen.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:52 am 
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I like where the guy above was taking it. A big boy has a smaller wheel base, to me anyway, then the 844. But only because it is hinged in the middle to where its basically two smaller locomotives in one. I would think that if the 844 can round the curve then a big boy could do it as well.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:01 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 458
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
And I wonder who the third parties are involved? According to the Trains report, UP was approached by them not the other way around.


Steve Lee would qualify as being a "third party".

(He also tells a great story about the time a NPS Ranger kicked him off the big boy at Scranton...)

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 Post subject: Re: UP Big Boy more details
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:03 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
robertjohndavis wrote:
Hmmmm, the Newswire post makes me wonder if Brother Rimmasch is upping the "cool" factor?



So since he says, "no" can we open the speculation to include the California mystery man who did/didn't buy MILW #261?

Or the other usual west coast rumor suspects?

Rust never sleeps,

Rob

PS: maybe Tim Cook wants a Big Boy to pull the first load of American-made Macs? ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:54 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:41 pm
Posts: 814
Location: Bowling Green, KY
I somehow doubt that Mr. Lee (as the third party) has or has the desire to dump 2+million into a big boy.

The "mystery man" from Cali is not wealthy enough to fund this endeavor. He balked at the 261 when an "expert" told him it was going to cost 600k-800k to return it to service. He tried to find some partners to go into it with him but that didn't work out.

I give much credit to those making the point that a 4000 is no harder on track than a 800. Each engine has a rigid wheelbase of 36"ish less than an 800. The tender (as someone had pointed out) is harder on track than the locomotive and such tenders are already out and about.

Cheers, Jason


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:37 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
Wowak wrote:
I was thinking about that too. It's no secret the lines have been re-profiled in the last 50 years, and are no longer *optimized* for 4-8-8-4s... but does that mean that running a 4-8-8-4 on the current profile is IMPOSSIBLE? That remains to be seen, but I suspect UPRR has some very smart engineers who would figure that out before they dumped a bunch of money into a 4000 series for her to be a yard queen.


Impossible? Heck, no.

Implausible and/or unfeasible? Most likely, and highly dependent upon your precise definition of "plausible" or "feasible."

A Big Boy can't romp over the whole system to places like Sacramento, L.A., St. Louis, etc.--at least not easily like a Centennial or 844 can. So we're looking at a limited-applicability steamer, which would probably be confined to the Cheyenne area. Anywhere it might operate, we're looking at engineers looking over the track (on charts, clearance profiles or whatnot).

Now, if someone offers a guaranteed cure for cancer, an end to world hunger, universal cheap energy replacement for oil, and permanent world peace if a UP Big Boy is steamed into Durango, Orbisonia, Stewartstown, Alna Station, or Key West, certainly that *can* be accomplished. But in spite of there being some ridiculous Powerball lottery winnings lately, this still isn't likely. In my opinion, all of this Big Boy blather seriously detracts from the mission of the preservation of what we have already allegedly "preserved", and only sets the stage for further disappointment by dreamy-eyed enthusiasts, who will turn away from the whole field and sulk rather than tackle much more feasible projects like Car 57, the Stewartstown, EBT, C&TS, MEC 470, Frisco 1352, SR 722, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:48 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
I don't believe it detracts, but I can't believe the number of posts and froth, when despite enthusiasm, a locomotive hasn't been selected, nor has the company committed itself to this project! My contact at UP Steam Shop has taken a "no comment possible at this time" response. Relax folks, or all you're going to get is foam, and no beer.

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