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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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Location: South Carolina
I remember that one well- I missed the newscast but a friend of mine who knew I was a steam nut recorded it on VHS for me (I still have that tape somewhere, but no means to play it!).

PS- I'd forgotten the bit about "What weighs several tons and has eight wheels?" (facepalm) But I'm sure everything else the TV news reports is guaranteed to be 100% scientifically accurate! LOL.

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:35 pm 

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David Wardale's The Red Devil and Other Tales of the Age of Steam, has an excellent section involving these tests. I won't spoil it for you, you can get the book, which has been recently reprinted by the 5AT group over in Great Britain. Sales link is here:

http://5at.co.uk/index.php/sales/Red-Devil-Orders.html

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:13 pm
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Yes, I purchased the reprint of Wardale's book and I recommend it for anyone interested in knowing about the last, best effort to keep Steam alive in the railroad business.


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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:23 am 

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Location: South Carolina
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
I have an original copy of the book and the current reprint.


Jeff- are there any differences of note between the two editions?

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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Location: South Carolina
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
Besides the cover, nothing that I could see.


Thanks.

It's a pity it couldn't have been an updated edition with new/additional photos and perhaps an updated afterward by Mr. Wardale. As I recall, he was completely unwilling to have a new run printed for quite a few years as he was unwilling to perform a complete proofread on a new edition and refused to allow it to be reprinted without a complete proofread (!). After some research, Adam Harris was able to basically do a high quality reproduction of the original book, and Wardale was willing to allow that to be published.

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I don't recall the year (had to have been after 1989), but my first visit to the B&O museum put me face to face with 614 for the first and only time. She was still in the markings for these tests, and even at the time I knew it'd been a while since the tests had been run.
Many of us recall the 'bright and shinning future' heralded in the RR magazines, how ACE3000s would be roaming the rails in the future. I knew a guy who used the plans published in Model Railroader to build an HO scale model. This guy went all out. For years after the program was killed, we used to jokingly ask how his lawsuit against Ross was going, to recover for all the time and supplies that went into a model which never saw the light of day once the dream died (people kept asking him to bring it to operating sessions but he never would).
I lost touch with that guy ages ago, I wish I knew where that model was today...

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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Location: South Carolina
p51 wrote:
I knew a guy who used the plans published in Model Railroader to build an HO scale model. This guy went all out. For years after the program was killed, we used to jokingly ask how his lawsuit against Ross was going, to recover for all the time and supplies that went into a model which never saw the light of day once the dream died (people kept asking him to bring it to operating sessions but he never would).
I lost touch with that guy ages ago, I wish I knew where that model was today...


I stumbled across this a few years ago- an ad for a hobby shop selling one of apparently a VERY limited edition run of brass HO scale ACE 3000's. The asking price was $6525 (!!!). I captured all the photos and information from the page and added a separate section to my pages on the model:

http://www.trainweb.org/tusp/ace%20model.html

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 7:17 pm
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Location: Ballard, WA
"Old 614" was only 36 when that story aired.


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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
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THE ACE 3000 could easily be successful if it was given a chance. The EPA approved its design but now the ACE 3000 would only be a dream since now the railroads are building more fuel efficient locomotives and now started building locomotives to run on natural gas. I also heard about the ATSF 3463 project to run on carbon neutral whatever stuff. I don't want to get into politics but I just thought to throw this one out. Ross could design a steam locomotive to burn bio-diesel made from marijuana or natural gas it could be called the ECO 3000. For the 614 herself performed well during the tests. I think Ross said that he and 614t were the only ones to get on the road because the fuel in the line congealed and crippled the diesels and I think he said it was January 15th and the wind chill was -60. I don't know about 614s future is going to be but I hope its a bright one. I say Ross's next project should be writing his memoirs after all he is the greatest steam excursion entrepreneur of all time.


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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:47 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
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Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Thanks Steamfan765 but let's be careful with the compliments as we don't want to start a NNN storm!!

David Wardale was let go from the ACE 3000 project as he was having difficulty remembering that Dante Porta was the boss and the final decision maker on all matters involved in engineering the prototype. Unfortunately this certainly colored his editorial comments.

The 614T project was run primarily so that the design engineers at Foster Wheeler and the software programers from IBM could obtain data from a steam locomotive in real heavy haul service under varying conditions and burning coals that ranged from 13,000 btu premium bituminous to 6,000 btu PRB lignite. The data obtained was voluminous and invaluable.

The project died because the world price of oil went from $ 32/barrel to $ 9/barrel and the main partners ( BN & CHESSIE) felt that the urgency to find a way off oil had ended.

Hard to say where a successful ACE 3000 would have taken us. It wasn't meant to be.

Yes, on one day we were the only train to get over the division on account of the diesels fuel was solidifying on account of minus 60 degree wind chills. Also on the day we burned the 6,000 btu lignite we ran completely out of coal about 15 miles short of Hinton. VERY luckily just as we ran out we came upon a long pile of old ties that had been cut into 1/3rd. long pieces. We formed a " bucket brigade" and passed hundreds of them up into the tender and burning them got us into Hinton. For 15 miles we had a mainline coal train being hauled by a " woodburner".
Obviously the Foster Wheeler ( and Dante) engineers had mis-calculated how far we could get with that fuel hauling a 4,500 ton coal train. They obviously added that to their lessons learned.

All in all, from a railfans perspective it was a hugely rich experience as for 30 days we were steam railroading with 100% reality. It was like stepping back into 1940 on the same division. Much credit goes to the crew who kept 614 going day in, day out despite the extreme cold and the demanding 6 day a week schedule. She never missed a beat.

Great memories!!

Ross Rowland


P.S. And we NEVER used a diesel helper !! Oh, for the good ole days!!


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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:40 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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> David Wardale was let go from the ACE 3000 project as he was having difficulty remembering
> that Dante Porta was the boss and the final decision maker on all matters involved in
> engineering the prototype. Unfortunately this certainly colored his editorial comments.

No need to recover this ground, as it was adequately addressed in at least one thread back in 2006. The thing I would like answered, though, is this:

Why, if Porta was the 'boss and final decision maker on all matters involved in engineering the prototype', did ACE persist so long with an overcomplicated, underpowered eight-drivered type, when Porta had moved on to better and more appropriate technologies for the purposes intended? Wardale seems to be saying that by 1984, Porta was favoring the Garratt design that became the ACE 6000-G, but ACE management was arguing against it ... that does not seem at this remove to show implicit faith in Porta's ability or opinions.

I am still somewhat puzzled by what actually occurred at the 1985 meeting where Chessie finally rejected ACE, seemingly in part because Chessie was insisting on full condensing long after Porta understood it was not likely to work well in regular coal-train service. What part of that was the result of 'talking up' the conjugated 4-8-4, essentially behind Porta's back, when it was fairly clear that the ACE 3000 would not and could not be made to conform to what Chessie needed for 'emergency' diesel power replacement? I would dearly love to hear Mr. Rowland's account of that meeting.

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Last edited by Overmod on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2438
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
co614 wrote:
David Wardale was let go from the ACE 3000 project as he was having difficulty remembering that Dante Porta was the boss and the final decision maker on all matters involved in engineering the prototype. Unfortunately this certainly colored his editorial comments.


I think Mr. Rowland is right in the aspect that when we read first-hand accounts of events, we need to evaluate sources. People, even the most good-intentioned, are biased. They may have agendas or axes to grind when we read their writing. Keeping that in mind, and not taking someone's written word for 100% face value is something you do when you evaluate sources.

I also think it's professional to never comment on personnel matters. As adults, we need to realize that reasonable people can disagree on things, even if that means you no longer want to employ them based on those disagreements.

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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I sometimes think some designs may have a more aesthetic desire behind them than just the adequate or inadequate power. The US seemed to never harness the Garrett and stuck to the traditional steam engine designs. But some US loco makers did make Garretts and exported them.

The ACE tender did not have power under it, for any engine its waste weight that could be harnessed for tractive effort. The N&W Jawn Henry was successful to a point and was just super powerful, but large and blocky. (all electric). Having boosters on the tender like many steam engines did added power even boosters on trailing trucks.

The thing to do is maybe a double 4-8-4 design with perhaps a beefed up boiler. You have to think about the 2-6-6-6 success or else you go back to the ole articulated design for the engine.

We will have to keep watch on the college's work on the 4-8-4, its good to know there's still this steam engine fervor flying around.

add...

For the comfort of the crews the ACE design for the cab matches to the current standards for crew comfort, its hot behind the ole steamers. But a modernized garrett may do the same thing. For the ACE, some N&W steamers they were adding metal material to the front drivers articulateds just to add more tractive effort and trackability. That could easily be done on the ACE. The smaller drivers and rods would keep pounding down.


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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:39 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Quote:
I sometimes think some designs may have a more aesthetic desire behind them than just the adequate or inadequate power.


One of Mr. Wardale's stated preferences -- and reasons for falling out with ACE -- is for steam locomotives to 'look like steam locomotives'. ACE took the exact opposite tack with the ACE 3000 (and, arguably, with the 2-10-2 and the 6000 G) -- making them look as much like contemporary modern diesels as possible. (I found the industrial design of the ACE 3000 appalling, just as I found the SDP40F it resembled to be appalling... time has healed some, but not all, of my dislike.)

There is still an open question as to how... well, ]modern' isn't the right word, we need a better one ... a reciprocating steam design has to be in order for railroads to consider it modern. (Mr. Wardale specifically mentions this as a requirement in 1985 from the Chessie people; I think it is reasonable to assume BN representative management felt similarly). I don't really have a very good answer OTHER than to say that fabricating something to be gratuitously ugly so that it isn't confusable with an esthetically-pleasing steam locomotive is not the right answer... ;-}


Quote:
The ACE tender did not have power under it, for any engine its waste weight that could be harnessed for tractive effort. The N&W Jawn Henry was successful to a point and was just super powerful, but large and blocky. (all electric). Having boosters on the tender like many steam engines did added power even boosters on trailing trucks.


Much of this is addressed in the discussion of the ACE 3000. It was a knowing, and conscious, decision to keep the tender trucks unmotored. (Reciprocating tender boosters a la Bethlehem Auxiliary Locomotive are not the right answer if reducing inertial augment forces at speed is a priority!)

I am still looking for a full description of the Lewty booster, particularly the arrangement to allow the axles to overrun the hydraulic motors without producing rotational shock. There are some auxiliary needs well-served by power hydraulics/hydrostatics; there are others best driven electrically. Either approach is possible with a Lewty-style engine, with better effectiveness than the usual plethora of small steam turbines...


Quote:
The thing to do is maybe a double 4-8-4 design with perhaps a beefed up boiler. You have to think about the 2-6-6-6 success or else you go back to the ole articulated design for the engine.


The double-4-8-4 is overkill for what a single engine can be optimized to do; a Garratt freight locomotive of equivalent power using Withuhn conjugated drive would not require more than 2-8-2 arrangement, which would keep both the length and the cost down. In my opinion, it would be further possible to build an effective locomotive at this scale using a Meyer arrangement (where only the firebox drops between the motor units, not the whole boiler cradle) and achieve what may be a full extra car's worth of additional trainlength for a given siding or yard approach capacity. (Which might be taken up with extra water, but that's another tale!)



Quote:
For the comfort of the crews the ACE design for the cab matches to the current standards for crew comfort, its hot behind the ole steamers.


I believe we've commented in other threads about how easy it would be to put not only a more comfortable cab on the ACE 3000 design, but one conforming to the most modern safety considerations. There are probably ways to keep the radiated heat in the cab down, although I suspect the approach might better be to control conditioned airflow rather than try to do the trick with insulation.


Quote:
... some N&W steamers they were adding metal material to the front drivers articulateds just to add more tractive effort and trackability.


I think ballasting with water makes better sense; considering how equalizing works (when practiced correctly) getting max TE appropriately on both units of a Garratt or Meyer is inherent in good design, not a matter to be fixed by sticking extra mass on the chassis somewhere. This is necessary on Mallets/simple articulateds because of the characteristics of the design...

Quote:
The smaller drivers and rods would keep pounding down.


Somebody better explain this to me. Smaller drivers always imply more pounding, not less, for a given road speed; the principal point of the Withuhn conjugated duplexing on the ACE 3000 was to allow the smaller wheels with acceptable augment at the required maximum speed -- I have always presumed that lightweight roller rods even on the inside conjugating pair would have been used.

Things get so bad on tender-size wheels that quartered rods of required physical capability ... even if roller-equipped and lightweight -- can't keep from waddling at required road speeds.

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 Post subject: Re: 1985 614T ACE Tests
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:29 am
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Location: Schuylkill County, PA
I was excited to learn that wind chill plays such a factor in the freezing point of diesel fuel. I'm also curious how the railroads solved the problem of diesl fuel freezing, since it seems they don't routinely call on 614 to move trains when we have extreme weather.


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