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 Post subject: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 3:24 pm
Posts: 456
Location: Scranton, PA
A few years back, while discussing the pros and cons of the first Steamtown trip to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the idea of a steam-east and steam-west train came up. To keep the cost down for the travelers, we couldn't dead head a steam locomotive. {Every Steamtown movement requires a payment to the railroads.} With the Portland wye just out of our reach, it was mentioned that we could have each steam locomotive connected to the consist on either end. This would allow steam both ways.

Has anyone seen this type of operation? I know most places don't have the luxury of two or more steamers to even allow this to come up. Since that discussion, the derailment of Oct 24, 2003 put the kibosh on looking into it further. Getting back to the subject; just how crazy is this idea, and would you buy a ticket to ride?

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:11 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5657
Location: southeastern USA
Less crazy might be to restore the 4-6-4T which was designed to haul commuters in either direction equally well. Might take several years done in house, or a few months by contractors elsewhere.


Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:20 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:02 am
Posts: 620
Location: Albany, Georgia
Back in the early days of the New Georgia Railroad, before the wye and connecting track to Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad was built, the runs to the village of Stone Mountain from the Zero Mile Post at Underground Atlanta would be run with S&A 750 on one end and ex-Southern E-8 6901 on the other. Before 6901 became available, 750 would pull solo out to Stone Mountain, run around on the siding, and pull back tender-first. Sometimes 6901 would run backwards to the village, run around and pull back to Atlanta. Lots of variations early-on.

On the SAM Shortline, current operations have a diesel locomotive on both ends of the consist. Operationally, it is easier to do it this way, and most of the passengers don't really care. When the tavern lounge obs car goes back in service, I suspect we will revert to having both locomotives on the head end west-bound, splitting the locos at Plains, and running back to Cordele with one engine on each end. Again, there is an operational need to do it this way, but that is another story. Only the lead locomotive is ever working. It is just easier to have two locomotives to work with.

Stephen S. Syfrett
Albany, GA

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:23 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1618
Location: Strasburg, PA
tim o'm wrote:
Has anyone seen this type of operation?

I did at Dordt in Stoom (the largest steam show by far that I have ever seen) which is held every other year in Dordrecht, Holland. Spread out over several miles, you take a steam tug to an outlying display area, and a train back. The train was powered by two identical European something-or-others (4-6-2's?) Each facing out on either end of an about ten car train.

Dordt in Stoom

"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:30 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 568
It means pulling one of the engines backwards for half the tripl

The 1225 group did something different when they were operating short trips in Michigan in the 1980's only they used a diesel to pull the train on the NB legs so that the steam engine was pointed south and chasers weren't shooting into the sun.

Bob H

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:37 pm 


are there any mechanical/wear or other issues involved with having a tender loco trailing at the rear, being towed tender first in effect?

AFAIK I recall there might be more wear involved as the rods etc are optimized for forward running?

obviously this probably wouldn't apply to slow speeds, or for short distances, or to some tank engines - it is something that occured to me before but I didn't get around to asking.


 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:42 am
Posts: 393
Location: Haslett, Michigan USA
Generally, a steam engine doesn't care which direction it's operating in. The "engine" part of a locomotive - that is, the cylinders, rods and drive wheels - work the same way regardless of which way the wheels are turning. What counts is the running gear. On most modern engines with lead and trailing trucks, both trucks exert a steering effect on the locomotive frame, turning on rocking bearings that lift the engine frame and use gravity to create a centering effect. Pre-World War I locomotives sometimes had trailing trucks that simply trailed: they supported the rear of the locomotive but had no self-centering function. These locomotives, or a 2-8-0 or 4-6-0 with no trailing truck, might show extra wear to the rear axles if operated in reverse. This might be especially true of the truck itself, which would tend to cock sideways.

The real issue with operating a steam locomotive in reverse is the engineman's neck. It starts to hurt from looking backward out the side window all the time. Hence the Diesel locomotive on the opposite end of the local trips behind the 1225, fuel costs notwithstanding. On the 1990-era trips, we didn't make the engine point south for the benefit of the photographers. Before the construction of the turntable at Owosso, there was no way to turn it, so the engine ALWAYS pointed south.

Aarne H. Frobom
The Steam Railroading Institute
P. O. Box 665
Owosso, Michigan 48840-0665

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:43 pm
Posts: 29
Our 2-6-0 started to wear the rear driver because our operation was pull push and we have a few tight curves. A flange lubricator or some sort should help slow this process.

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:49 pm
Posts: 135
Location: The Pinewoods of South Jersey
Way back when the EBT started operating as an "excursion" line and before the Shirleysburg wye was built, they did just that. There would be another engine that would deadhead in reverse behind each trip and then at the end of the ride, the outbound engine would uncouple and the deadhead engine would become the inbound engine and take the train back. Granted it wasn't as long a trip as you are talking about, but it has been done before.

Steam Professional since 1976
Former P-RSL Block operator

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:40 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:42 pm
Posts: 112
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
I once rode an excursion at the Gettysburg Railroad with no. 76 and 3254 (pre-Steamtown) at either end. Actually, it happened by accident; the longer special train (pulled by 3254) happened to meet the hourly train at the end of its run, and they just decided to combine the two trains for the duration of the trip. 3254 ran tender-first at the head end while 76 was dragged behind.

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:20 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 705
Location: Philadelphia Pa
Wilmington & Western did/does this all the time.

There are several reasons they do - Bridge weight limits, consist numbers and landscape.

Bridges were limited to 100 tons max prior to double heading prior to new steel bridges.

98 (4-4-0) is only capable of pulling 5 cars and a cab to Mt. Cuba...anything over that requires "assistance" and also, the surrounding landscape at the Mt. Cuba Grove prevents a run around track from being built.

(Generally though, regular runs will find the loco pushing the train back to Greenbank)

If the train is going to Hockessin and either exceeds 3 cars (98's "limit" on the hill) or more importantly, if the consist exceeds the passing track at Hockessin (5 cars), they will push pull the train...usually Steam on West end, Diesel on East end.

Those consists limit numbers differ for the 58 (0-6-0) of course.

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:53 am
Posts: 108
If you've got two steam locos available, why not try the simple solution to have doubleheaded steam on the point at all times? Run the locomotives coupled tender to tender; you'll only need to make a run-around move at Delaware Water Gap to change directions. Some of the purists will complain it's not a doubleheader in the traditional sense--but isn't the sound of back-to-back steam better than no steam in one direction? The sight of the locomotives running back-to-back won't make much difference to excursionists as they traditionally don't get to photograph Steamtown excursions anyways.

Frederick G. Bailey

 Post subject: Re: How crazy is this idea?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:16 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5557
Frederick G. -

I seem to recall seeing photographs of double headed steam with the front engine being the helper engine and running BACKWARDS! Not sure where I saw these photos, nor what railroad but I seem to recall that there were a couple of different photos of different locomotive combinations seeming to indicate it was a fairly common occurrence, at least on that particular railroad. Of course, this is not exactly what you had in mind but it does illustrate a prototype for double headed steam not running "elephant fashion."


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