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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:12 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1457
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Les Beckman wrote:
Elliott -

I was always a bit surprised that Chinese 2-8-2's were offered to U.S. tourist/museum railroads, but no 2-6-2's. Must have been a reason for that.


I had a chance to see and photograph the Chinese 2-6-2's at Anshan Steel in 1987. My understanding of them is that they were primarily industrial switchers. I don't remember them as being especially large. Perhaps one or two were saved for display, but I'm fairly sure none remain operable.

The SYs that came over here were part of a very deliberate effort by Mr. Conrad and some others to bring a group in while new ones were being built, modified to U. S. standards, like having right-hand drive. The later effort by Henry Posner that brought QJs in came over 20 years after Datong quit building them, so they imported some of the best of the ones that remained, but were as-built Chinese (like having left-hand drive).

 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:10 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Les Beckman wrote:
I don't quite understand the idea of moving such a locomotive around to different operations. The Gramlings, Viscose #6, etc., are already doing that today.

Never underestimate the marketing value of "something new/temporary/different."

I'm just going to make up some wild and crazy examples:

Imagine one of the Grand Canyon Ry.'s steamers (when they had more than one in operation) on the Verde Canyon RR for a month.

Imagine Wilmington & Western 4-4-0 98 going up to Strasburg for a bit of rebuild, and then spending a month on trains there in non-prime season. Would you drop everything to go shoot a 4-4-0 on the the Strasburg again? Or they got permission to run some other loco in the repair queue in service for some shakedown runs--like a 2-8-2T Minaret? How about if the Middletown & Hummelstown found the money to both have their 91 repaired at Strasburg and borrow Strasburg's 89 for a season--assuming Strasburg had a half-dozen or more steamers in reserve (like some UK lines do) and could spare her?

Imagine if the WMSR could easily lease another beefy 2-8-0, or even a hauler like a Russian Decapod, to tide things over until 1309 gets repaired?

"Only railfans care about that stuff"? But what if it gave a line a chance to market steam as a more-frequent basis (see WMSR's "Mountain Thunder" marketing)?

This is where there's a bit of a disconnect between the assumption that only railfans like steam. It feels a bit like steam in the US is this sort of caged off "special occasion" thing where all the foamers and rail fans turn up with cameras in hand camping out the best spots. If you're a family that can be intimidating and it only takes that one git to turn a family off of steam or even railways forever.

This happens in the UK as well but usually to a lesser extent and during Gala weekends (and some railways are breaking the Gala traditions in order to appeal to more people), one railway recently just making it a gala weekend and not raising ticket prices, the end result as they made more money than they had the previous year with higher ticket prices.

You also have to bare in mind that good old issue of "distance" with the UK and US to hand likely makes sharing and transport a little less practical than over here.

Within about an hour of me are the Midland Railway - Butterly, The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, the Great Central Railway, The Battlefield Line, The Severn Valley Railway, Telford Steam Railway, Peak Rail, Chasewater Railway, Foxfield Railway and Churnet Valley.

I don't think there's a similar cluster of lines in the US!

This makes equipment swapping a little easier as most moves are dealt with within a day or even a few hours. This is true of most movements across the wider UK as well.


One question that has been niggling me, what's the usual line speed for heritage lines stateside? That should be the real basis of any such new design (and why I think the LVM800, or a derivative might be best).

Here in the UK it's the 25mph of the Light Railway/Transport Orders and the awkward result is the engines often fall between two stools in their designs, the main line engines struggle to pull decently at such a low speed that has to be regulated (the NYMR is notorious for this) and the industrial shunters of the UK will be worn out fairly quickly if pushed to those speeds!

Hence the recent "scramble for tank engines" which has been under way in the UK both in terms of restoration and newbuilds, they'd fit both traffic demand and can hold steady at the kind of speeds most heritage lines can run at.

So with that in mind, would 63" drivers be all that necessary? A 70mph capable road engine would be nice sure, but if it's never going to do it...

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