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 Post subject: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:56 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
As we await the return of 611, I count myself among the fortunate to have seen and ridden behind the mighty "A". What a machine! The what could have been-s had 1994 not ended the way it did. We've seen the 3985 haul a load of containers and the Ringing train. I often wonder what special consists the 1218 could have headed up in addition to the 100 empty hopper consist. Here are a few of her from 87 and 88.
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Heading North near Doraville GA with one of those long excursion consists.
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The trains were long enough to feel slack action at the back end.


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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
As a tribute to O Winston Link here are these again in black and white. N&W's A's and Y's I must say just look more natural in black and white. (Just wish I had shot the third with a steadier hand.)


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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I, too, was lucky enough to ride behind 1218 under steam. I'll never forget leaning out of the tool car at night, on a run from Valdosta, GA to Jacksonville, FL and listening to her run flat out. I could see lights come on at porches all along the line when people inside must have heard something they'd clearly never heard before. Countless people bust out their front doors to see what was making all that noise.
It was like being inside a O Winston Link photograph. Of all my memories regarding trains, this is right near the top.
I feel horrible for all those who never got the chance to at least see this beast moving under her own power. But the NS steam program ended as 1218 was in the middle of a lot of work. She really didn't run for very long when you look into the timeframes for her second service life. 1218 today isn't nearly in the shape that 611 was when they pulled the plug in 1994.
But if recent years have taught us anything, it's that you can no longer say, "This will never happen..."

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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
Posts: 1102
Location: South Carolina
I'm also very glad I went to the effort to ride behind it. I distinctly remember thinking "This is just too good to last, I better ride behind while I can". I drove the family ~300 miles to ride an excursion out of Atlanta. Half-way there on I-20, the oil light came on in the car (a 1987 Ford Taurus) at 70 MPH. NOT good.

Due to what was later found to be a bizzarre but apparently common failure (both rear main bearing bolts broken!), the car had begun leaking oil at the rate of a quart every 30 miles or so. Should I try and find a mechanic? What to do? I had tickets to ride and a schedule to keep. I stopped at a Walmart and bought a couple of ~$4 gallon jugs of Havoline and stopped every 30 miles and topped it off. At one point a college girl following a little too closely behind me in a red Mazda Miata actually had to cut her windshield wipers on!

I nursed the car there, made it to the hotel, rode the excursion the next day, and nursed the car back (total oil consumption something like 4 gallons of oil!), and later fortunately had the car repaired under warranty (and it lasted another 100k miles with no engine issues).

It was worth all the effort and stress!

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The Ultimate Steam Page
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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:51 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3727
Location: Maine
Let's not consider her "out of the game" quite yet. There is always hope, drive, and vision.

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"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I'm not even look at dreaming of 1218 back in steam anytime soon. She was in the shops for a lot of work when NS pulled the plug on the program and very little was finished when 1218 was returned to Roanoke.
A restoration of 1218 to operation wouldn't be nearly as bad as some park engine that'd been cold for decades since regular service, I'd guess, but she'd need a LOT of work to get her moving again.
Baby steps, I'm focusing on 611 back in steam and after a few years, if there's a chance of 1218 joining the NS program again, it'll happen soon enough I'd think.

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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
Having this one steam again would really take some planning, funding, and a genuine assessment of demand. The initial cost of returning the machine to operation is one thing, but the big ones like this have to be on a different curve from even the large Northerns.

I may be wrong about this but the UP re-tubed its Big Boys on a more aggressive schedule than they did shorter boiler locomotives – practical experience taught them that the cost of re-tubing them was a better investment than running the risk of a tube breaking on the frontier. Maybe someone can speak up here on this. I’ll assume the longer the tube, the greater the stress on the tube at the sheet. Also, superheater units aren’t exactly light weight, rest inside the tubes, and have to rattle and vibrate a bit. All of this can add up to a shorter practical life of the tube installation.

These things are two engines under one energy plant – steams MU if you will. That brings up another question regarding an articulated locomotive’s front engine. Were the front engine frames under more dynamic stress than the rear with its 2 attach points on the rigid boiler?

Nuff for now and hats off to WMSRR and the restoration of 1309…


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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:14 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:38 pm
Posts: 234
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Going over a point that was mentioned in a thread linked to the basket case thread, there was mention of a large amount of stress cracks on the pedestal jaws of the frames. These were noticed and repaired by NS during the restoration.

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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
Here's a clip of 1218 during the overhaul that was incomplete when the plug was pulled in1994.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bA4jdnf3PY


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 Post subject: Re: Beautiful Brute - 1218
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3727
Location: Maine
1218 is in better shape than you might think. All her essentials are still with her, although piled inside her boiler. Having been through one restoration in the near past, I think she may well turn out in steam once more. Lots of people want to see her steam again, and we know for a fact, she can do it! Just running her on "fan freights" would garner NS with laurels unimaginable.

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