New River Train, Steam or Diesel?

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?

Railfan Brody posted:
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.

Not true.

Is railfan grease a common problem?

No, not at all. The only "greased rail" that I have ever encountered was done by the railroad employees trying to be helpful.

 

I thank NS for allowing steam again and for allowing you guys (Fort Wayne) to come to PA three different years. Now it seems that NS is allowing only the 611 to run excursions. Since NS is still allowing ferry moves for 765, would a return visit to Steamtown be possible? And Steamtown has the Delaware Lackawanna to Water Gap to run excursions on. But, since NS owns the line from Sunbury to NY state, would they allow the 765 to run to Binghamton and back with an excursion train? The trip was cancelled in 2015 due to CP, they didn't want it so they made the insurance so high that the sponsoring group threw in the towel and cancelled the trips. Hunter Harrison was head of CP then and he is a big pain in the a, he hates steam and won't allow it on his railroad. The line was transferred to NS a week after the excursions were to happen. You were lucky that CP let you ferry to Allentown (well to Dupont on their rails then and RBMN and NS to Allentown) by putting the DLW heritage unit up front.

It's tough to make a return to Steamtown work financially. It takes 6 days of deadheading to get there and back. Without the ability to run excursions on the deadhead route, as we did in 2015, it simply does not work. We cannot cover the cost of 6 days of deadheading with only one or two weekends of trips out of Steamtown.

This is also why a return to the R&N is unlikely. It's just too far from home base.

Railfan Brody posted:
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?

No, it is not a common problem.

I have experienced only two instances of purposely greased rails in 34 years and almost 100,000 miles running the 765.

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