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 Post subject: Re: UP Big Boy more details
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I have to admit to still being skeptical, simply because there is so, so much that can still go wrong. . .but if this comes off, a plate of crow will taste mighty good! :-)

Thanks are still due to the UP though, both for keeping the engines running that they do have, and for not turning down steam--and their heritage--for what seem, at least to us, as unfounded fears of various sorts. . .

Trolley Ira has it right about the number boards. Union Pacific, like Southern Pacific and some other roads, used those lighted number boards as train indicators, doing this into the diesel age. A regularly scheduled train, such as a Daylight on the SP, would carry a timetable number, like 99. Extras would have the number of the road engine, with a letter X in front (for "eXtra"). In the case of a double-header like this one, the 4014 is the road engine, trailing the helper 4023. However, the train is moving as an extra with 4014 as the road engine, and so helper 4023 carries the train indication for Extra 4014.


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 Post subject: Re: UP Big Boy more details
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 7:10 am
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Location: Twitter @aheadofthetorch
Hmmmm, the Newswire post makes me wonder if Brother Rimmasch is upping the "cool" factor?


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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:51 pm
Posts: 6678
Location: Baltimore, MD
p51 wrote:
I think the better question is, does anyone think it can't?
As aswright pointed out earlier in this thread, who'd have thought NS would bring their steam program back or 765 would go 'round Horseshoe curve, if you'd asked a few years ago?


The problems that made the NS program go away, and that had to be surmounted to bring it back on former Conrail trackage, were logistical--insurance, traffic levels on a railroad with fewer rails than in the past, FRA standards, passenger equipment, etc.

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.

I have a hard-core Big Boy fanatic in my area. He's a mechanical and electrical engineer and a live-steamer. He's outlined to me the changes in curvature and superelevation that were made to Sherman Hill for the Big Boys, and tells me that the track isn't the same today.

Does anyone here remember how, when N&W 611 was first restored to operation, it was assigned a special speed limit of "track speed on tangents, 10 mph below any existing speed restrictions on curves"? That was because 611 had a higher center of gravity, some 10-18 inches higher than that of modern diesels, and the curves were no longer superelevated for J's and passenger traffic, but instead for drag freight traffic. And just because you can handle a six-wheel diesel truck over the track doesn't mean it can handle an eight-wheel rigid set of drivers with aplomb--let alone two in a row.

No one, not even UP on a good day, is going to rebuild curves, sidings, and wyes for an occasional use by a 4-8-8-4.

Having said this, the UP and/or some partners COULD get a chosen Big Boy running if for no other reason than "for the heck of it," and it could chug slowly and gingerly around some carefully-chosen trackage to show off the "mine's bigger than yours" syndrome. It would be wasted money, but money spent building the ever-bigger luxury yachts is also wasted, so who cares other than the stockholders or Big Boy custodians?

Having said that, I'd MUCH, MUCH rather see a repeat of this than any Big Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhgHrDbN4EU


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 Post subject: Re: UP Big Boy more details
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:26 am
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Location: Maine
I would like to state for the record, "Never is a long time".
Still, I will write to a person at U.P. steam shops and see what the story is from his viewpoint.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
The probability meter on this has moved off the peg, but it's a long way from blowing the pops. Since I imprinted on 4004 in Cheyenne at age 3, I really do want it to happen, but all the usual considerations of business plan and operational logistics still apply.

As a starting point for slightly less than completely uniformed speculation could I ask what exactly did UP do for their centennial celebration? At the time I was 9 and on the verge of a slide into HO modeling. I have a recollection of a picture of 8444 nose to nose with a DDa40X, but don't know where it was staged. I believe Golden Spike NHS was still using V&T engines in disguise.

For that matter, I don't know the end points for 759's operations on the Golden Spike Centennial Limited. Was that coordinated in any way with UP?

As for operations, let me just say that the Roadmasters better be demanding lots of wye rebuilding resources before they let a Big Boy loose. The bridge engineers might want to review the Cooper's ratings of any bridges outside of the Omaha - Ogden mainline, in case side trips are contemplated.

That foam you see is from the Founder's Breakfast Stout. No, really.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:56 am
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Location: Kirkwood, MO
to restore a big boy would be quite a tribute to american railroading history, but it would be a rather foolish move. Has everyone forgotten that we're in a not-so-good economy?

Not to mention, if you're taking a big boy anywhere, you have to investigate bridges (considering nothing has seen anything like a big boy in 60 years). The curves of a stretch of line would be in pain trying to handle a big boy.

Again, do i think it's a good idea? in preserving history, absolutely! in operating sense, it's a very foolish mistake. They better keep that thing between cheyenne and laramie.

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 Post subject: Re: UP to restore a Big Boy?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:52 pm
Posts: 61
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 10:00 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 10:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 6:57 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 10:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:12 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 10:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:10 am
Posts: 154
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 10:39 pm 
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Location: Carter County, KY
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: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:59 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 2:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:51 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 2:58 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 9:29 am
Posts: 307
Location: Nashville, TN
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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