OGR Webmaster posted:
Slipping is caused by rail conditions, not the locomotive.
The weather on the day we shot those cab scenes for "Runnin' That New River Train" is what caused all that slipping. A thunderstorm had moved through the New River Gorge about 5 am that morning. We were the first train east over the railroad after the rain that morning.
A thunderstorm on a railroad in the fall does two things...both of them bad.
- The wind gusts associated with the storm brings down leaves at that time of year. Wet leaves on the rail make the rail very slippery.
- The rain water puts a thin film of rust on the top of the rail. That rust is also slippery, making traction tough for the first train over the railroad after the rain.
Rail conditions change from day to day, depending on the temperature, humidity and weather. On a hot, dry summer day you could not make the locomotive slip if you tried. I have been in situations where at walking speed I opened the throttle all the way and the 765 just dig in and moved. 245 psi in the cylinders and no slipping. On other days, however, with wet rail, cool temps and high humidity, only 75 psi in the cylinders was enough to break the wheels lose.
The slipping in Ashtabula was caused by a well-meaning NS employee who greased the rails in the curve in the wye. He didn't realize that all he needed to do was grease the inside edge of the outside rail only. Instead he lathered grease all over the top of the rail on both sides! The 765 stalled there in the grease, unable to move ahead on the grade. We had to spread sand on the rail ahead of the locomotive by hand in order to get enough sand on the rail to counteract the grease.
I thought one of the rail fans greased the rails for their own entertainment, which is a really stupid and selfish thing to do. Is railfan grease a common problem?