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 Post subject: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
As the Y6b thread got rather derailed, I figured I’d reopen the subject a bit wider. We’ve seen various proposals and such for new build locomotives.

The argument for new builds seems fairly strong with the engines built for various companies to a degree in recent years. Newer locomotives require less maintenance than their antique counterparts, they can be more efficient and many design “niggles” ironed out to make them operate far better than when they were originally in the wild.

Such locomotives make economic sense from a railway’s point of view as well. They’re newer engines that can handle the weekday traffic or be thrown into service on heavy gala and event days to supplement the roster. Tornado’s “rock star” status seems to cement, at least in the UK that it’s steam itself that is still considered romantic and the age of the locomotive has little bearing on its popularity.

Now this should be said the reason I am talking about the idea of new builds is as a fundraising vehicle in and of itself. Steam on trains tend to mean you can charge a premium due to the perception of “rarity”. Being able to maximize this ability is something railways should consider and if new builds would offer a significant saving outside of initial investment (as seen in Switzerland and elsewhere) then it could be considered above rushing restoration on what could be unsuitable motive power.

So, here’s the important questions.

Why have most engines built or being built so far not taking advantage of the new technology developed since they were put together? Porta proposed a staggering 200 page document for the A1 Tornado that would’ve made it a cruising locomotive suitable for the UK network rail and future proofed it for the increasingly tight demands Network Rail imposes on steam services.

How different are US and UK heritage lines in terms of traffic? What’s the average train weight and how would that affect what sort of motive power would be suitable? A UK 2-6-2T can typically haul a 300 ton or so train, are US trains significantly heavier and thus would need something larger to take into consideration?

What sort of style would be suitable for such engines? With many lines being effectively shortlines, my impulse says that tank engines would make far more sense to these roads, but there seems to be little evidence of large scale tank engine usage from what I have seen in the USA outside of suburban services.

Also, are there more details of the person who proposed newbuilds to similar core concepts at all? I am interested in seeing what it would look like.

And if not, what would you feel would best represent American Railroading for Heritage lines in the US? Classical American 4-4-0's? Baldwin 2-6-0s?


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
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Location: Danbury, CT
I think the 2-8-0 Consolidation and the 2-8-2 Mikado are probably the most common arrangements represented in heritage operations in the US. Would most agree?


Keep in mind that tank engines in the US and UK are different animals. Tank engines in the US weren’t really intended as road engines, but as switchers. There are several organizations that have hosted traveling tank engines that can speak on the suitability of such a locomotive in their operations. The Railroad Museum of New England hosted both the LVC #126 and the FC #75 from the Gramling family. I think it’s safe to say that we all thoroughly enjoyed their visits. We found both locomotives to be capable of operating over the line on which we operate with what we consider a normal consist of equipment. However, we were not able to operate at the speeds and provide the mileage that we normally run. This was due to factors such as the ride of the locomotive, crew comfort, and supply of consumables like water and fuel. We were able to determine that the tractive ability of our Sumter and Choctaw lumber Baldwin 2-6-2 Prairie type is similar to that of those tank engines, thus making the 2-6-2 a viable possibility for our operation. If the consist were to grow, it might be a different story. It was retired for that very reason by its previous operator. If we can’t pull it off with the #103, we’ve got a bigger player in the stable that would be more than capable. Howard can speak on this better than I can.

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Last edited by Mount Royal on Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:03 pm
Posts: 139
Location: Pennsylvania
Mount Royal wrote:
I think the 2-8-0 Consolidation and the 2-8-2 Mikado are probably the most common arrangements represented in heritage operations in the US. Would most agree?


I would (seeing as there are 2 2-8-0s and 1 2-8-2 operating within 100 miles of where I live).


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5255
I have always thought that a 2-6-2 Prairie made the most sense. Not the low drivered lumber/industrial/short line examples, but those from "granger roads" with larger drivers and a nice sized firebox; CB&Q, CGW, Milwaukee Road, Soo Line, NP, Wabash, GN, Santa Fe. I think the Southern Pacific also had some. The type is not too heavy, but still great for tourist/museum operations and the rear trailing truck helps on back up moves. Just my 2 cents.

Les


Last edited by Les Beckman on Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1051
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Les Beckman wrote:
I have always thought that a 2-6-2 Prairie made the most sense. Not the low drivered lumber/industrial/short line examples, but those from "granger roads" with larger drivers and a nice sized firebox; CB&Q, CGW, Milwaukee Road, Soo Line, NP, GN, Santa Fe. I think the Southern Pacific also had some. The type is not too big, but still great for tourist/museum operations and the rear trailing truck helps back up moves. Just my 2 cents.

Les


I pretty much proposed the same thing a couple of years or so ago, one that could be carried on it's own flat car, that did not exceed "Plate F", which is the clearance template of shorter tri-level auto racks and could operate over most of the national rail network. I figured something like 54" drivers, allowing for sustained operating at around 40 mph, that would allow for efficient operation around 25 mph or so, and be short enough for clearance. Also, a slant back tender would be a great feature for operating on lines with no turning facilities. I was met with some push back, but mostly radio silence. I don't think the will or the money is here, at least not at this time.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
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Location: South Carolina
Trains published an article a few years ago, and, IIRC, short line steam tourist operators agreed that 3 driving axles were optimum for most of their operations.

A 2-6-2 would seem to fit the bill nicely.

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:28 pm
Posts: 337
I believe Erik Ledbetter was the author of that article. That article, plus the Aarne Frobom article about sustainable steam, were keepers for discussions on preservation and steam.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5419
Location: southeastern USA
You fit the locomotive to the requirements of the service. If you are going to build one new, you damn well want to know that it will do the work you want it to do. Choosing one wheel arrangement for all is impractical unless we all need the same job done......

I go back to my proposal for customizing across wheel arrangements, cylinder size, and driver diameters by using common parts for multiple designs. You could build a prairie, ten wheeler, mogul, , 0-6-0, 0-8-0 or logging consolidation with very similar boilers, the same cylinder casting, identical drive wheel centers, etc. Going for heavier trains? OK, larger cylinders and a bigger boiler which can also be shared among others in its range. Minor differences in bore and stroke can be handled with liners and head thicknesses.

We could theoretically even set up digitally controlled water jet cut frames for different wheel arrangements by duplicating pedestal cutouts to order in the program, not in a foundry or forge.

One size doesn't fit all, but multiplying production runs across several users the cost can be reduced by being shared instead of making everything a one off.

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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The steam engine for the railroads were designed for their base needs and its territory. Whats one thing for Britain is something else for an American railroad and if its west/east coast. north or south, warm southern running or supercold winter north, or if it has to run thru frequent tunnels like the cab forwards. One other thing is the territory it runs and where coaling and water is stationed. Say a berkshire fully coaled at Ft Wayne could make its run successfully to Chicago without recoaling or watering. We don't have this setup today, which is why 765 carries an extra tender, modded high coal retainers for the tender and drag hopper cars full of coal behind it for its runs. The ACE project our buddy here C&O614 has already persued the new locomotive possibility with a modern coal locomotive. With the T1 underway the ACE project may still have potential in finding a way to go forward if one picks that up. But a full railroad return to steam means amping back what a steam engine needs, perhaps with today's technology there may be newer ways to deal with the quantive needs of the steam engine.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 94
If I could I would build an Erie 4-6-2 b/c where i live the Erie ran through there. It would have a high mounted headlight and a Vanderbilt tender. It would have upgrades like an all wielded boiler, roller bearings on all axles. Instead of using coal for fuel it would run on used cooking oil and or ethanol it's cleaner, cheaper, and powerful. I would use cooking grease to grease the rods if that could be done? I live near the Akron-Canton area of Ohio so building a new steam locomotive could be more economical because it's in the rust belt. Timken plant is not that far so getting the bearings would be easier and cheaper b/c it would a short drive. You could get new boiler made and be easier to ship because of the location.

If anyone would want to build a new steam locomotive take this to heart location location location it would determine how much it will cost you to ship the new parts, outsourcing the work and how long it will take to build.

your thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5419
Location: southeastern USA
Again, you define the service before you decide on the locomotive. Building an Erie pacific without a well researched and supported plan to operate it enough to earn its keep as well as recover its capitalization is simply foamy fantasy.

Has your part of the rust belt revitalized itself with modern fabrication industry? If so, might be a good place...... once you have a project ready to be started.

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:46 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1051
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Dave wrote:
You fit the locomotive to the requirements of the service. If you are going to build one new, you damn well want to know that it will do the work you want it to do. Choosing one wheel arrangement for all is impractical unless we all need the same job done......

I go back to my proposal for customizing across wheel arrangements, cylinder size, and driver diameters by using common parts for multiple designs. You could build a prairie, ten wheeler, mogul, , 0-6-0, 0-8-0 or logging consolidation with very similar boilers, the same cylinder casting, identical drive wheel centers, etc. Going for heavier trains? OK, larger cylinders and a bigger boiler which can also be shared among others in its range. Minor differences in bore and stroke can be handled with liners and head thicknesses.

We could theoretically even set up digitally controlled water jet cut frames for different wheel arrangements by duplicating pedestal cutouts to order in the program, not in a foundry or forge.

One size doesn't fit all, but multiplying production runs across several users the cost can be reduced by being shared instead of making everything a one off.


How many newly-built steam locomotives do you think the tourist/preservation community could support anyway? I'm thinking that one that is the best compromise for the most potential operations is about the best we could hope for in this day and age. My thought was a locomotive that can be successfully moved in a regular freight train with minimal special handling requirements; that can pull enough seats to make it pay to bring it in, yet operate economically, and as cleanly as possible, so as not to seriously offend the NIMBYs; that would come into an operation for probably 3 to 4 weeks at a time, with a six or seven month operating season, rotating say every other year or so between semi-regular client railroads for their special events. I don't think the excursion business in the U. S. for the foreseeable future could support more than one newly built engine like that. I just don't.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:52 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
I think you are correct to some extent - but it's a more complex picture than that. We're already seeing some overhauls and restorations cost as much or only marginally less that a new locomotive would cost, with the result being less efficient and more costly to maintain in service without the more supportable new technologies that could be introduced. Reducing operating and maintenance costs and down time does matter - and the speed at which future overhauls can be executed is also worth considering. I had an interesting conversation with Bill Pettijean over 25 years ago about how to make steam easier to maintain - he had some fascinating ideas about such things as wheel centers which could be removed from axles without being pressed on and off which would open up a lot of opportunities if combined with roller bearings and cannon boxes.

It seems to me that we could certainly include design characteristics that would make for the ability to reduce height without heavy equipment or complex disassembly for transport - stacks, domes ands cab roofs seem to be the most critical potential impediments.

The overall most critical factor is the totality of the market for any and all steam operation, whether it be new or old. The old model is diminishing - are we developing a new model that will either sustain or grow? If not, it doesn't matter......

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:46 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
So I've been reading this and I've got a few things that I think bare considering as a checklist of sorts...

1) What is the average train an operation is hauling?
2) What's the distance on the round trip?
3) What sort of grades are regularly dealt with?
4) Are turning facilities available at either end of the route?
5) What are you trying to interpret with the new build?
6) What's the estimated cost to construct the locomotive?

Now there was mention that a prairie might do it, but is that realistically the case? I think it's safe to say that it's an option, but not the only one if you're looking at a new build. I think that a forney could be viable... Looking at some of the roads just in New England, a few of them had some burley ones while others were much smaller, such as the examples below;

New Haven
Image

Boston and Maine
Image

Montpelier and Wells River
Image

Bristol
Image

Two South Manchester Examples
Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of newbuilds
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 am 

Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:19 pm
Posts: 40
"A staggering 200 page..."

A 200 page specification is not "staggering" - unless you're referring to just one section related to one application - and even then, for a modern piece of equipment? Not so much. The painting instructions for many Pullmans took 2-3 pages. Specifications into the 20s and 40s had well over 200 pages, including 50 or more that were lists of drawings. The "train" Specifications (as for the UP 1st Streamliner trains. the large C&O order (even broken down into various Lots), the SOU/L&N/AWP/etc/ sets, the M-K-T/Frisco sets, etc.) were well over 200. The Power Car portion of some of the UP (& IC) spec. ran well over 100 pages (with drawings factored in). Specifications for a Superliner ran over 400. New cars are far more. EVERYTHING has ot be specified in detail. For a steam vessel I wouldn't be a bit surprised that the boiler & controls were over 200 pages. The biggest boon to paper companies are Lawyers, regulations, laws and such.


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