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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:06 am
Posts: 17
At the end of the day, railroads are not here to function as a museum or to appease historians or photographers or "buffs". They are not here to keep people employed whereas technology or changing business conditions may have eliminated certain job functions. They are here to provide a service to their customers at a rate that provides for a profitable return on the investment in the railroad. You are free to purchase ownership in a railroad if its a publicly traded company and express your feelings through the appropriate channels if you do not agree with the current management's direction.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 894
Location: NJ
NJ Transit installed cab signal on C&O 614 maybe 20 years ago. Did it close the throttle, in addition to making an automatic application, if a stop signal was passed? My guess, as others have suggested, was that if there was a throttle interface, it was air activated, as in some sort of expandable/collapsible linkage to the front end throttle.

I suspect the technology exists to interface PTC with at least modern steam (front end throttle equipped) if so desired. The air brake interface should be just the same as on a diesel or electric. I think UP is making a political or economic decision, not one based on practicality.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2115
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
How many times did people declare the UP steam program was 'dead' due to all the supposed issues with Ed and the delays on getting 4014 under steam?
How many times did we all hear that 4014 was going to just be cosmetically restored and that's that?
How many times have people declared the UP steam program was going to end, in the years before 4014 was even a dream?
None of those turned out to be true.
Heck, I once talked with yet another 'bigwig from Omaha' to swore to me that they were pulling the plug on 4014 (about a year into the rebuild) the Monday after he got back to the office. I'd love to find the guy now and ask him what the deal was with that.
Frankly, I'll believe it all when I see it actually happening.
If the UP program ever ends, I'd bet it'll end really fast and with no warning, much like NS's did.

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 57
Sorry to say, but I take this with a grain of skepticism. I have probably heard a dozen different "UP steam is ending rumors" for years. First it was TrainOrders decrying Ed and claiming he killed 844. Then it was the rumor that 4014 was going to be canceled before completion. Then it was the lack of PTC. Then it was PSR was supposed to kill it after May 2019. Then it got shifted to "after 2019." Each one the rumor is off, and UP steam is still hitting the rails year after year.

2019 I think made a success for UP. Did you read the reports that stock prices for UP jumped up when 4014 hit the rails? PSR is obsessed with Wall Street performance, and if the PR blitzes triggered by steam keep helping their stock value, then UP Steam still has a place in their corporation. Until then, any rumor is just idle speculation.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:54 am
Posts: 19
UP Steam Club email wrote:

....and planning is under way for 2020 steam activities.



The skeptic in me will believe that when they announce some activities.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9432
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
I have been in the position several times where people in very high places on the railroads in question told me "[railroad fantasy] WILL NEVER HAPPEN, end of discussion!", or told me whatever project was dead/whatever.

Six months later, those same "people in high places" were answering to THEIR bosses, "Which track did you want it on again?"

One classic example: The move of PRR GG1 4935 from Strasburg to Washington Union Terminal and back for the centennial of WUT. The guy whose job it was to say "HELL, NO!!!" got overruled by the top.

Until the people in the top boardrooms say it's dead, it ain't dead.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 57
Headend Shield wrote:
UP Steam Club email wrote:

....and planning is under way for 2020 steam activities.



The skeptic in me will believe that when they announce some activities.


I mean, Ed was encountered in Roseville on February 2 as reported by Railfan & Railroad inspecting clearances. It's on R&R's Facebook page. Then their Steam Club email yesterday said "planning is underway for 2020 events."

What more do you want?


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2115
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
xboxtravis7992 wrote:
What more do you want?
When 4014 was returned to duty, something none of us could have really ever expected, I immediately started hearing and reading those griping that 3985 wasn't already back in steam as well. I did a face-palm several times at the very idea. I, too, asked myself, "What more do these people want?"
Hey, you're talking about railfans. They want 3985 in steam again, At least one turbine in operation, a couple more Centennials as well, and God-knows-what else. Heck, I've heard people demanding they return the other 4-8-4 in the Cheyenne roundhouse to operation to double-head with 844...

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:54 am
Posts: 19
xboxtravis7992 wrote:

What more do you want?


Oh, you know, something like a schedule with dates on it.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:04 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2620
Overmod wrote:

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.


How is that handled on a diesel locomotive? What happens when you have to make a backwards movement? Granted, you can "swap ends" if you've got an engine on that end pointing the correct direction. But what if you don't have cab leading in that direction? Or maybe it's a local and only has one unit, and they need to run long hood leading in one direction? How do they handle the offset at that point?


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 978
This is from October, but Fred Frailey says UP has not been able to make up the massive decline in coal: http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/fred-frailey ... to-up.aspx

"So that is our quick, train-centric tour of Union Pacific. It's telling us several things. First, the company would be in a world of trouble were it not for the energy economy of the Gulf Coast. The collapse of PRB and Colorado coal (from 52 trains a day to 28 on the PRB side) contributed to falling train counts on the eastern half of the railroad, as did longer trains brought about by UP's adoption of Precision Scheduled Railroading principles... And I think the reason for the business losses by UP, CSX and NS is that they are all married to achieving ultra-low operating ratios, which is the percentage of operating revenues consumed by operating expenses. They choose to do this by gutting the payroll (possibly including marketing departments) and raising rates to the point that customers desert them."


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4186
Location: Maine
Reality check, please! The announcement states 3985 is retired and no decision has been made regarding her placement. NOTHING OFFICIAL SAID THE STEAM PROGRAM IS DEAD! All this other talk is conjecture based on fear.
UP has the only un-retired steam loco in the USA, and they're damn proud of it. So relax, or you'll hurt yourselves!

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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm
Posts: 115
... you can poo-poo the report all you want, I'm just telling you what he told me.

These guys don't make up stories out of whole cloth... they tell us what they've been told.

The company can change it's mind, for sure, but it looks like they've made up their mind on this.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:49 am
Posts: 7
Sad to see this, but time and money always have to factor in somehow. Hopefully 3985 will receive a nice cosmetic restoration and get donated somewhere where it'll be cared for.

Say what you want about all the "the steam program is ending" posts, but go look at some of the threads on other forums (specifically the one currently on the OGR Forum) and then try saying that you'd rather read some of those posts over these.


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 Post subject: Re: UPRR announces retirement of 3985.
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2512
Location: Northern Illinois
PMC wrote:
This is from October, but Fred Frailey says UP has not been able to make up the massive decline in coal: http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/fred-frailey ... to-up.aspx


The whole article is rather pointless without train tonnage data. I routinely see trains on the ex C&NW west of Chicago that are two or three units, a whole lot of cars, one or two more units, and a whole lot more cars. Twenty years ago this would have been two trains... now they run it as one with the second train's units running as distributed power.

I'm sure tonnage per train is up, although can't tell if it still equals the t6otal tonnage of pre-distributed power days.

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