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 Post subject: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3036
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Sometimes my mind wanders around, and lately the talk of replicating the PRR T1 got me to recalling a conversation with a retired Nickel Plate engineer, who recalled that the NKP was considering new steam passenger power before the road decided on the "Bluebird" Alco PAs.

The concept makes sense for the most part--NKP would have still had a lot of Van Sweringen road-Advisory Mechanical Committee influence in its decision making at the time (and the road would order what would be Lima's last steam locomotives a few years later)--but what was most interesting, at least according to this fellow, was what would have been the choice of design.

I would have thought the NKP would have considered duplicating C&O's L-2 4-6-4, which incorporated a lot of standard parts with that road's 2-8-4s (which in turn were a shared design with NKP and Pere Marquette 2-8-4s). Common parts would have included the tender, cab, trailing truck, and most of the boiler (the 4-6-4 boiler was somewhat shorter but the firebox end was identical, or at least that's what I would think from the data). Imagine my surprise when he responded that the proposed passenger engine would have been based on N&W's J-class 4-8-4! Said the management wanted a high-performance passenger engine, and that the Js had what they wanted. I commented that such a locomotive would be a good deal larger than anything else on the roster, but there was a precedent for that when the road bought its own 4-6-4s from Alco (Dunkirk) in the late 1920s.

The whole thing may have been a lot of hooey, but one never really knows. Anyway, does anybody have knowledge of whether a new steam passenger design was being considered by the Nickel Plate, and what it may have been based on?


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2080
The NKP Yahoo had a discussion on this very subject,

popped from the discussion

Quote:
I've never heard of this, but it seems like it might have been
logical, if the NKP Hudsons were having trouble with their loads or
just getting old. A logical configuration would have been 74 inch
drivers, like the Hudsons, with Baker valve gear, and perhaps 24x28
cylinders. No booster, obviously. Boiler would be a lengthened
Berkshire boiler -- the extra length would give it a bit of a lean and
lanky look.

The result would be rather more powerful than the NKP Hudson, and
equally fast.

One might wonder why not a C&O style Hudson, but I suspect that weight
limitations would make that unworkable. The 4-8-4 described above is
essentially the same, with lower axle loading.

Another option would have been to take the existing NKP Hudson design
and just modernize / enlarge it. In essence put a somewhat cut down
Berkshire boiler and Baker valve gear on the existing running gear.
This would probably give the same power as the 4-8-4 but might be too
heavy.

But, in the final analysis, was there a need for such a beastie? If
there were no diesels, then probably yes. In real life, probably not.

Interesting idea.

Karen Parker


Quote:
On further reflection, I'm not sure why the NKP would have considered a 4-8-4. They already had the Berkshires for their fast freight, so they certainly didn't need a 4-8-4 for freight service. Their passenger service was all flatland, so it's not at all obvious that they would have needed a 4-8-4 for that either.

If, a big if, they wanted a more power steam engine for passenger service, a 4-6-4 would have done nicely. It wouldn't have taken much to build a bigger, more powerful Hudson than the existing NKP Hudsons, since they were among the smallest and lightest Hudsons built. The probably wouldn't have needed something along the lines of a C&O Hudson either, if the existing 4-6-4s were doing the job. Perhaps something part way between the existing NKP Hudson and the C&O Hudson would be OK.

Karen




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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:07 am
Posts: 66
Location: Illinois
I would tend to agree with what was posted there from the yahoo groups. With the NKP rostering the very capable Berks on fast freights I would tend to think that a 4-8-4 along the lines of a "J" would have been a huge waste of dollars on the flat land Nickel Plate. I would think a enlarged Hudson would fit the bill better in terms of capability and operating expenses.

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The Norfolk & Western...home of the A's,Y's,M's,K's and the Mighty J's....well done Roanoke....well done.


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3036
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Did some checking on both the NKP 2-8-4s and the C&O 4-6-4s; I think a variation of the C&O engines would have worked for NKP. Although the heaviest 4-6-4s built, the original L-2 version was slightly lighter than the 2-8-4s.

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/berkshire/?page=nkp

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/hudson/?page=co

A question could be, were there places the NKP's Hudsons went that the 2-8-4s didn't? If so, that could be an argument against the "Van Sweringen" 4-6-4. If not, there would have been no problems with the big Hudsons on the NKP.

An interesting irony is that this pair of 4-6-4 designs (L-2s were the original engines delivered in 1942 with Baker valve gear, L-2as were a postwar engine with Franklin Type B poppet valves), which had a lot of Lima/Alco/AMC design elements and standard parts in them, were built by Baldwin!


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:59 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 634
Perhaps this is a question which I might already know the answer, but why not just build more Berks instead of designing a whole new locomotive? The Berks would perhaps have a bit too much power for passenger service, but could serve as dual service machines. We know the Berks were fast enough...


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3036
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Txhighballer wrote:
Perhaps this is a question which I might already know the answer, but why not just build more Berks instead of designing a whole new locomotive? The Berks would perhaps have a bit too much power for passenger service, but could serve as dual service machines. We know the Berks were fast enough...


That might have made some sense (and C&O's own Kanawhas were fitted for passenger service, and some regularly handled passenger trains in Virginia prior to the delivery of the the J3as in 1948*), but possible reasons to consider special passenger power would be (a) to keep Berkshires (and Kanawhas) in the productive freight service for which they were designed, and (b) to take advantage of the general characteristics of a passenger locomotive, which would include a four-wheel leading truck for steadier running in the higher speed ranges, and the use of larger drivers to keep machinery RPMs down, which would reduce maintenance costs to an extent.

Of course, the real answer NKP's management came up with was to buy the Bluebirds. . .which leads to other questions, such as why pick Alco PAs over, say E-units, and why order 2-8-4s after the purchase of these passenger units and the yard engines that were proving so effective on the road?

*An interesting point about the Kanawhas that were in passenger service prior to the delivery of J3as 610-614 was that they were in C&O's passenger color scheme. What the devil was that? Well, the two schemes were very similar--except that freight locomotive had rods and valve gear painted white or light grey, and passenger power had polished, bare metal rods.


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:07 am
Posts: 66
Location: Illinois
That is actually a good point about just using the Berks. As we have all seen the 765 has shown that it is very capable...I'm thinking back to the New River trips. I think maybe though a bit too much power for the NKP passenger trains back in the day?

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The Norfolk & Western...home of the A's,Y's,M's,K's and the Mighty J's....well done Roanoke....well done.


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 Post subject: Re: "New" (Postwar) NKP Passenger Steam?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:40 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3036
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
NW Class J wrote:
That is actually a good point about just using the Berks. As we have all seen the 765 has shown that it is very capable...I'm thinking back to the New River trips. I think maybe though a bit too much power for the NKP passenger trains back in the day?


Turns out the NKP did use its 2-8-4s in passenger service, and did want other locomotives to power passenger trains.

From the late John A. Rehor's "The Nickel Plate Story," pages 271-273:

Quote:
The wartime passenger boom had been accommodated by equipping 20 Berkshires and a number of USRA 2-8-2's for passenger duty. After the 1946 restoration of the Cleveland-Fort Wayne sleepers swelled the consists of trains 5 and 6 to 15 or more cars, the 700s regularly powered these trains between Conneaut and Chicago. This permitted the the Nickel Plate in 1946 to rebuild the Alco Hudsons with cast integral beds and cylinders and to apply roller bearing engine trucks to all eight 4-6-4's. . .

Even as the Nickel Plate was upgrading its fleet of passenger engines, the decision was made to completely dieselize the St. Louis and Chicago runs. With freight traffic booming after the 1945-1946 lull, the road could no longer afford to tie up its splendid S-2's on varnish; and the Hudsons simply didn't have the beef to cope with the expanded night trains and the new 70 mph mainline speed limit. Eleven sleek blue and gray 2000 horsepower A units were purchased from Alco during the winter of 1947-1948. . .

Two Bluebirds leaving Bellevue with a 15-car No. 5 could overcome the tough westbound grade easily enough to have their charge moving at 70 mph by the time they reached Colby, 6 1/2 miles out. The 177, and perhaps the 175, with perfectly squared valves and good coal, might have matched this performance; but it would have taken the likes of Tilly Palmer, Ivan Albright, or Fred Hilker to turn the trick.


Well, they did pick Bluebirds over new steam--but it's still interesting to contemplate that NKP may have been considering new steam, and that they chose PAs over E7s. It would be fascinating to find what the officers said as they considered the options.


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