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 Post subject: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4186
Location: Maine
UP steam club article states 3985 "requires a frame up rebuild in the manner of 4014", ergo, it will be permanently retired. Financial cutbacks across railroad departments include the steam program. UP believe two active locomotive (and what locomotives they are) is sufficient for the moment. I hate to see 3985 euthanized, but better that than death by other means. Still sad.

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:00 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 132
I am not surprised about this after 4014 was done and 3985 will be retired. It makes sense to keep 844 4014 operating and not have 3985 in the mix. It's sad but what can you do?


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:08 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Alberta, Canada
Union Pacific got 30 years of good excursion and special service out of 3985. That's a far longer time period than her revenue service career, though perhaps not nearly as many miles.

Thanks to those recent years of excursion service, there is plenty of good quality video out there of this beautiful 4-6-6-4 doing what she was designed to do. As long as that footage survives, 3985 will never really be gone.

And it's not like this engine is being unceremoniously shoved into the deadline out in some weedy storage yard. By the sounds of it she will be kept in the steam shop, stored indoors and surrounded by people who care about her, perhaps only waiting for another rebuild one day.

That's a far better fate than many preserved locomotives could ever dream of.

Union Pacific, thank you for all the years of 3985, and here's to another 30 years of 4014 and 844!

Sleep well 3985, you will not be forgotten.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhgHrDbN4EU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHI5VHBwIfI

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 581
Pretty sure the #4014 was “permanently retired” as well. Anything is possible in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
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SD70dude wrote:
Union Pacific got 30 years of good excursion and special service out of 3985. That's a far longer time period than her revenue service career, though perhaps not nearly as many miles.


Yeah kind of my thoughts on the matter too. Pity I never got to see it running myself, but I have got to see UP 844 and UP 4014 running multiple times now. I'm only 25 going on 26, and I never thought I'd see a 4000 Class in steam in my life. Some of you here have probably been waiting for that longer than me!

If 3985 leaves UP property and ends up going to a museum, hopefully they have the foresight to put it under a roof and near an easy mainline access point. They used to say NW 611 was retired you know...


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:35 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm
Posts: 116
I'll tell you guys what.

I'm an employee of that railroad.

About a month before the 4014 was coming through our part of the railroad, there was an Omaha denizen at our yard office one day, whose job consists of overseeing the implementation of PTC system wide.

He was there to answer questions about PTC. I asked him a few questions about how it would affect me where I run an engine.

After those questions were answered, I said "hey, I've got one more question. On our steam engines, how did they integrate PTC on those, mechanically and electronically... that would be a nightmare."

His response... "...they didn't, and you won't have to worry about that for much longer."

I cocked my head over sideways, a little... puzzled... and said "what d'ya mean... I don't get it... they're not going to install the equipment on them for a while, or what? Is it going to take a long time?"

I thought he meant they hadn't got it figured out how to adapt the equipment to something with absolutely no electronics on it.

He said "No, there's not going to be any more steam program, or any other programs with the Heritage fleet. As soon as the Big Boy completes it's "tour", they're mothballing everything. Nothing is running. If it doesn't contribute to the bottom line, it's not moving."

I said... "but, they just spent all that time getting that thing back in running condition and it seems like they'd be shooting themselves in the foot if they did that. It'd be a public relations nightmare".

His reply: "... they don't care about the PR, they can weather any PR storm..."

He said in an euphemistic way that "some top of the food chain VP made some bad financial decisions with the Heritage program, and they were going to remedy the situation." He added that "...and it wasn't Ed Dickens. He is a good man."

This all occurred last summer. I hesitated to put it out on here when he originally told me all that, thought that maybe something would change. But, from the way the railroad writhes in agony at spending ANY money, I don't have any doubt he knew what he was talking about, now.

You guys wouldn't believe how much they're cutting... people, places and things...nothing's sacred. That darn "Precision Railroading" mentality, and dancing to Wall Street's tune, is ruining our railroad. Nothing's working right, morale is low, but you gotta "stick with the Plan".


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
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Location: Southern California
A month or month and a half ago, I had a conversation with a long-time SP/now UP employee who said that because of the pressures from the lenders/wall street the company was cutting back on employees and other costs and would terminate the steam program after completion of 4014's trip though the southern part of the system.

My thought about the 3985 has been that the railroad would have no reason to keep three locomotives operational. I would have expected the 3985 would be laid aside until time to start up a rebuild program so that it would be available when one of the other two ran out of FRA time.

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:40 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Do they not rely on the diesel in the consist to operate the PTC signals?

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:46 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm
Posts: 116
softwerkslex wrote:
Do they not rely on the diesel in the consist to operate the PTC signals?


That wouldn't be possible because the diesel is not the leading unit in the consist. The system knows where you're at down to the inch, I believe. It will not allow you to get past a stop signal/too close to a switch that is lined wrong/too close to a train ahead... anywhere you don't belong.

Since the diesel isn't in the lead, GPS wouldn't see the 200 to 250' of steam locomotive and nurse tank water tender ahead of the diesel, and your location wouldn't be accurate in the system.

Among other features, PTC will blow the locomotive horn unprompted... it knows where your lead unit is down to the inch. It can't blow the whistle on that engine....


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:50 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:27 pm
Posts: 470
Location: Milford,Mass
Hi All
I wish the UP would not retire # 3985, because the locomotive, was liked by so many railfans, and the general public.
Well from the posts on this thread, and IF the Union Pacific, is cutting back on their programs, something must have happened, within management.
Is the economy changing, why is the UP suddenly cutting back?
I do agree that many Steam Locomotives are not set up with PTC, I would hope that the Union Pacific, would do this, seeing that they always have plenty of money to spend. well, I guess not.
Changes within the company and management spell the bottom line is the railroad in business to run a railroad and move freight, or to please the public by running Steam Locomotives? , the bottom line to make money.
I am sorry to see the Steam Program end IF that is true, again how much of a money pit was it costing the railroad, that is an answer we will never know.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:52 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1751
Location: Strasburg, PA
The FRA has announced that they recognize the impracticality of installing PTC on steam engines, and is writing or has made allowances, so much of the internet hand wringing is uneeded.

I gather that steam engine PTC will mainly consist of a mechanism to apply the brakes if they overshoot their authority, similar to what has been in place on the UP engines for decades.

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 433
Location: Northern WV
That's known as the circle of life. Steam programs (as well as railfans) change over time and eventually come to an end. With my age (and health issues), I am all too aware of that. I remember Reading's Rambles but was too young to go on my own. I was fortunate enough to participate in the Chessie Steam Express & Safety Express programs as well as several Southern RR steam specials. Being on the east coast, I never was able to ride behind UP steam. Rather than lament the passing of a program, we should be thankful for the photos and memories the Class 1s have given us. I doubt if the PR from the restoration of a Big Boy has added to the UP's bottom line....and, in the hedge fund managed world we live in, that's all that counts.

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2621
WVNorthern wrote:
That's known as the circle of life. Steam programs (as well as railfans) change over time and eventually come to an end.


Union Pacific has always been the outlier to that. They have always had a steam locomotive on the roster. Always. UP 844/8444 was never retired, it has always been shown as active. There have been gaps in there when it didn't operate for some time, but it's always been on the roster.

I've heard far too many folks say "The Big Boy is the grand finale and then we park 'em all." Sadly, that could be true for now. But it would be a loss to a great history.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9438
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
In contradictory news:

This is an excerpt of what came over the "UP Steam Fan Club" e-mail this morning to me:

Quote:
Streamlining Steam Operations

As you're probably aware, beginning in October 2018 Union Pacific launched Unified Plan 2020, a bold new operating plan that implements Precision Scheduled Railroading principles in an effort to secure UP's place as the industry leader in safety, service and financial performance.

As part of this effort, the railroad streamlined its operations in all areas, including the Union Pacific Steam and Heritage Fleet programs. While there's no question these changes have impacted operations, the Cheyenne Steam Shop remains in operation, UP's Heritage Fleet continues to be housed in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and planning is under way for 2020 steam activities.

As a member of the UP Steam Club, you'll be among the first to know of upcoming steam schedule information, so keep an eye on your e-mail or our Facebook group for UP Steam Club updates.


Emphasis mine.

Further:

Quote:
The Challenger No. 3985 Will Remain Officially Retired

Since work was completed on No. 4014 people have asked about the fate of The Challenger No. 3985.

The short answer: There are no plans to restore No. 3985. Many years of hard operation have resulted in the locomotive requiring a complete frame-up restoration similar to what was needed to make No. 4014 operational. Historically, Union Pacific's steam program has had two steam locomotives on its roster, and that count will remain the same moving forward.

No. 3985 last operated in "regular" train service in 1957. It was retired in 1962 and stored in the roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, until 1975 when it was placed on display near the Cheyenne depot. A group of Union Pacific employees volunteered their services to restore the locomotive to running condition in 1981.

Where No. 3985 will ultimately reside is still in question, but it's safe to say the locomotive will remain officially retired from service.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:07 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Quote:
"The FRA has announced that they recognize the impracticality of installing PTC on steam engines, and is writing or has made allowances..."

Oddly enough the practicality of installing PTC (or, really, ATC as a superset of required ATS) on steam locomotives was established many years ago, in considerable detail. Quite a bit of the detail design remains applicable even today.

If you look at the history of the ATC provisions mandated in the Esch Act of 1920, you will find the stated purpose of stimulating private development in the required technical fields (something that had not really been present for automatic train control before WWI and Federal Control). That was part of the reason for the 'hard' requirement that every passenger railroad equip first one, then two divisions with some form of control by a stated date. It was also, unsurprisingly, well understood that a great many railroads' passenger trains would be operating with steam locomotives and that the systems could not just big-hole the Westinghouse and expect things to end well.

Quote:
"I gather that steam engine PTC will mainly consist of a mechanism to apply the brakes if they overshoot their authority, similar to what has been in place on the UP engines for decades."

The important thing that needs to be added is the position reference mentioned previously, but this can be basically as simple as a GPS core referenced to a small transceiver that can feed an accurately-determined position, with high assurance and reliability, to the PTC installation on a trailing locomotive. Technically this could be made 'portable' so that if the engine is required to make a backing move the 'tender drawbar' can become the effective leading end, but it is not difficult to incorporate a fixed offset into the GPS core programming that would produce this effect without having to move the installation -- assuming you are careful about making sure the programming applies when it must, and not when it shouldn't.

It is a very simple thing (both in principle and in likely practice) to implement an override on the locomotive cutoff (which is, after all, an air-operated servo device acting through proportional valves) that brings it controllably toward mid on either a penalty-brake application or a commanded speed reduction. It is also a simple thing to patch into an air-throttle system of the type so frequently specified in the late '40s (T1 5550 will have this option available, for example) and arrange to modulate it closed slowly enough to avoid the predictable kinds of trouble that might ensue if you 'slammed it closed'. A good modern system will be 'smart' enough to determine the appropriate rates for these two controls relative to road speed, commanded braking, outside conditions, etc. -- but a simple proportion map gets the job done just fine compared to the alternatives. We can take up proportioning the independent vs. whatever the PTC commands for the Westinghouse if that's still important after the above does its work.

This does require some modification to the 'historic fabric' ... tapping into up to four control lines and providing some parallel valves, piping, air dryers, and so forth. Personally I see this as minor, and relatively easy to 'reverse' if restoring to full historical configuration. At least a couple of the 1920s-era systems simply bypassed both ends of the power reverse through a dashpot, assuming that the remaining admission via the combination lever setup in the valve gear could be overcome by the brakes without pulling knuckles or whatever. Some were smart enough to note that, although it could be presumed that an alert engineer would close the throttle once the 'inevitability' of the penalty brake had been impressed on him, a principal point of ATS was to stop trains where the engineer was incapacitated or dead, and would not close the throttle, as safely as otherwise...

It does have to be said that by about 1923 there were tests that indicated many locomotives under full steam could be brought to a standstill just by applying the automatic brake. They do not mention whether or not engine damage, for example through driver spin or wheelslide under these conditions, would be 'optimal'. I am not sure I like the idea of bringing a large modern 4-8-4 under full throttle to an effective stop entirely with the automatic brake.

As I've said, I greatly appreciate that FRA, in the general spirit behind so much of part 230, has exempted steam from PTC requirements. But I also think that excursions, even running at no more than insurance-mandated speed, would clearly benefit from having functional PTC enablement, and that many railroads otherwise disinclined to permit excursions might become more amenable if full 'safe' operation by default can be provided.

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