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Wednesday of last week, ATSF northern 2926 moved for the first time since her retirement in 1953, albeit under compressed air. The New Mexico group decided that the first moves should not be under steam, as to not damage equipment if adjustments are needed. This friday (June 24th), the 2926 will make her first move entirely under steam. 21 years in the making, we have another Santa Fe Northern running!



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@BillYo414 posted:

…I wonder how they ran on compressed air? Just plumb a big storage tank into the engine and pull it along on a flatbed?

The “…big storage tank…” is the boiler. They connect an air compressor to the boiler and run it…for long time. Once the boiler is pumped up to whatever pressure the compressor can achieve, the compressor is disconnected and the engine can move. We’ve done it with 765 several times.

Last edited by Rich Melvin
@BillYo414 posted:

It's exciting to see so many steam engines come to life!!

I wonder how they ran on compressed air?

Instead of filling the boiler with water and having a fire in the firebox to make steam, they simply filled the boiler with compresses are from an external air compressor (probably about 150psi).

Just plumb a big storage tank into the engine and pull it along on a flatbed?

Nope.

Well, let's hope that the locomotive can actually power some excursions.  It's a challenge.  The locomotive is located in an area without much population and also without a ready supply of conventional passenger cars, but it is truly a magnificent - and huge - machine.  Perhaps those who are bringing her back to life have a plan.  

Let's hope that something to develops.  It would be a shame to see it run out its boiler time running back and forth at 10 mph on auxiliary tracks.

@sleepmac posted:

The following  might be heresy. It may come down to few if any steam locomotives running on open trackwork. Instead, functioning steam locomotives will run in place on rollers. At least visitors will get a sense of seeing the rods move and wheels turn, smoke and whistle, etc.

Dan Weinhold

And just who in the wide wide world of sports would pay for THAT arrangement?????

Another issue, maybe.  Were the 2900's the heaviest Northerns built?  Is that another limiting factor?

They were the heaviest 4-8-4s built - but ATSF never used the term "Northern".   ATSF correspondence and blueprints refer to their 4-8-4s either by the class number (2900) or as "New Mountains", "Heavy Mountains" or "Mountains 4-Wheel Trailer".     This was a consistent practice on the ATSF - note similar notations for Mikado, Pacific, and Santa Fe 4-wheel trailer.   This blueprint index dated 1927 (digitized by the Kansas State Historical Society) shows 3751 class as Mountain 4 Wheel Trailer.

00308258

Here you see a blueprint of Class 3700 - Mountain Type from this blueprint book.

00308504

A copy of Blueprint for 3751 -  somewhere I have another one that lists it as a "Heavy Mountain".   The following are sourced from railroading online: http://www.railroadingonline.c...drawings/index.shtml

c3751-1

Finally, a blueprint for 2900 class.  No "type" listed.

c2900

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@Rich Melvin posted:

The “…big storage tank…” is the boiler. They connect an air compressor to the boiler and run it…for long time. Once the boiler is pumped up to whatever pressure the compressor can achieve, the compressor is disconnected and the engine can move. We’ve done it with 765 several times.

Ya know...it makes so much more sense that they can do that once you point it out. I can't believe I didn't realize that's how it's done.

I also read "we've done it 765 times" instead of "We've done it with 765 several times."

There are some commuter passenger cars for the runnout of ABQ.  But these are modern and need HEP.

Maybe that's their plan.  I hope not, but it's better than nothing.

There is that line from ABQ to Santa Fe.  But no turning facilities in Santa Fe.

Dominic, the Santa Fe Southern track (the former Santa Fe, NM, branch) is not well suited to the heaviest 4-8-4.  BNSF is not likely to allow the engine out on the very busy transcon, which leaves the Glorieta Subdivision, single track, mostly ABS/TWC (with a few semaphores still active), and two trains a day (Amtrak Nos. 3 and 4).  The passenger trains are not a big obstacle, but sidings are often blocked with stored cars.  The "horny toad" line toward El Paso is another lightly trafficked route which might be available.  But Santa Fe, NM?  Not highly recommended.

Nobody would be more pleased than I, to see successful excursions run behind this engine.  The organization which has the engine has not said much, publicly, about plans or partnerships which could result in mainline operation.  Perhaps they are planning and keeping it quiet until agreements are reached.

Can a non PTC locomotive run on PTC trackage if between two points the railroad is sealed, that is, no other trains or locomotives would be running?

After January, 2022, no train will be allowed to depart its initial terminal without having an operational PTC-equipped locomotive or push-pull control car on the front.  So the answer is, effectively, no.  Can't do it with Absolute Block.



Last edited by Number 90

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