N&W 611 News

I'm sitting here watching 1987 footage of #611 and #1218 pace each other on dual mainline tracks at speed West of Roanoke Va. 1218 had a freight consist while 611 14 passenger cars.  We just had no idea how lucky we were.....not a diesel in sight....a show that will NEVER ever happen again. I wish someone would have told me this was end of an era.....I honestly thought it was the start of a new era. Not my photo......

Dave, I couldn't make that NRHS convention, but I know several people who rode that trip. It was made very clear to them at the time that this likely would never happen again.

I just think it's funny that my ad, brother and I visited the museum at Roanoke in 1981 (either than or 1980). I saw 611 and 1218, with no clue that plans were afoot to get 611 back into steam and 1218 left with the same goal not too long afterward (thankfully before that nightmarish flood that hit the place a few years later).

I was lucky enough to see and ride 611 and 1218 (I even got to sit in the cab while it was under steam once), with the caveat of my older friends of, "ride it while you can because it could be gone tomorrow." When the axe came in 1994, 1218 had been sidelined for a while already. I really don't think it shocked too many people at the time. I'm just glad I got to see them both in steam and happy for those who have recently seen 611 and hopefully will get to see in steam in the future (I live way too far from where 611 will likely ever run, so I doubt I'll see her running again).

I did not 'attend' the convention....but did chase one day. I lived in Charlotte at the time and could not get off work as I took time off for the Charlotte trip. 

I used to climb on 611 & 1218 at the old VMT down on the river.....before the 1985 flood that trigger the move.  Seeing those locos sitting static display to running I thought (hoped?) we were going to see  more and more of it. I did not see the litigation, greed and other issues that have brought us to where we are today. I was to optimistic. 

AMCDave posted:

I'm sitting here watching 1987 footage of #611 and #1218 pace each other on dual mainline tracks at speed West of Roanoke Va. 1218 had a freight consist while 611 14 passenger cars.  We just had no idea how lucky we were.....not a diesel in sight....a show that will NEVER ever happen again. I wish someone would have told me this was end of an era.....I honestly thought it was the start of a new era. Not my photo......

Freight consist? Was that the 100 car empty coal train that 1218 pulled?

J 611 posted:

To add another troubling layer to this whole fiasco; there has allegedly been a theft of around $100,000 dollars worth of parts from the 1309 project...this project is in trouble

There's actually a facebook page that claims to "expose" the 1309 project. I highly suggest searching for it, very interesting to read. According to the page, one time somebody got stuck inside the locomotive (forget where, but according to the page it was a place that if he knew what he was doing he shouldn't have gotten stuck) and the fire department was called, requesting the jaws of life. Supposedly, had the fire department not said forget it, a critical component would have been cut. Luckily, the guy wasn't on the heavier side and was able to get out after some effort. If there's any truth to this the project is absolutely in trouble.

GenesisFan99 posted:
AMCDave posted:

I'm sitting here watching 1987 footage of #611 and #1218 pace each other on dual mainline tracks at speed West of Roanoke Va. 1218 had a freight consist while 611 14 passenger cars.  We just had no idea how lucky we were.....not a diesel in sight....a show that will NEVER ever happen again. I wish someone would have told me this was end of an era.....I honestly thought it was the start of a new era. Not my photo......

Freight consist? Was that the 100 car empty coal train that 1218 pulled?

No, different one.

GenesisFan99 posted:

There's actually a facebook page that claims to "expose" the 1309 project. I highly suggest searching for it, very interesting to read. According to the page, one time somebody got stuck inside the locomotive (forget where, but according to the page it was a place that if he knew what he was doing he shouldn't have gotten stuck) and the fire department was called, requesting the jaws of life. Supposedly, had the fire department not said forget it, a critical component would have been cut. Luckily, the guy wasn't on the heavier side and was able to get out after some effort. If there's any truth to this the project is absolutely in trouble.

Now that is a good laugh!  I think someone is having fun with that page.  Don’t believe everything you read online.

  So assuming NS Corp would allow a deadhead move of 611 where would you think would be a good place to run her?For me Tennessee would be a good to go because going to tvrm as part of there Rail fest with at least one trip to Summerville Ga  and then going north to Nashville to run on the Nashville Eastern with the Tennessee Central equipment should be a good start. 

John 2584 posted:

For me Tennessee would be a good to go because going to tvrm as part of there Rail fest with at least one trip to Summerville Ga 

TVVRM already has two very nicely-restored SRR locomotives (4501 and my beloved former-ET&WNC engine, # 630, which was my first cab ride at the age of 11); they really don't need another engine, especially a 4-8-4. Summervile is a great day trip, I rode it myself behind 4501 in 2016 (from the obs car; well worth the extra $), but the line is hardly a great place to run a racehorse like 611...

Ok, I apologize for the posts. We shouldn’t bash NS either because they decided to no longer host 611 excursions. It is what it is. There are several non class 1 railroads to enjoy steam in the eastern states. John I don’t know where it can go. There are very limited options in Virginia besides NS.

They are going to have a US built locomotive. The B&M 3713. Won’t be done for a few years at best. The problem with Roanoke is that unlike Steamtown and TVRM there’s no 50 mile short line to run 611 on. Not sure if the Buckingham Branch could be an option since it connects with NS north of Roanoke.

p51 posted:
John Pignatelli JR. posted:

Steamtown I bet would love to have an USA built and run steamer, the 611 would definitely be the queen there.

One things for sure, the good people of Roanoke and VTM wouldn't likely appreciate 611 going to Yankee land!

The 611 did operate on an excursion or two out of Chicago on the C&NW way back when in the late 1980's.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:
p51 posted:
John Pignatelli JR. posted:

Steamtown I bet would love to have an USA built and run steamer, the 611 would definitely be the queen there.

One things for sure, the good people of Roanoke and VTM wouldn't likely appreciate 611 going to Yankee land!

The 611 did operate on an excursion or two out of Chicago on the C&NW way back when in the late 1980's.

Rusty

Yeah, I meant more than a trip or two. I can't imagine anyone liking the idea of turning over 611 to some Yankees for the long term!

Robert K posted:

The problem with Roanoke is that unlike Steamtown and TVRM there’s no 50 mile short line to run 611 on. Not sure if the Buckingham Branch could be an option since it connects with NS north of Roanoke.

The Buckingham Branch leases the ex-C&O main from CSXT and passenger excursions / steam are prohibited*. I heard when 614 was moved dead in tow to Clifton Forge to be displayed there CSXT was not informed of the move ahead of time (was supposedly done at night?) and was very upset with the Buckingham Branch. So I would say the Buckingham Branch is not a viable choice for any steam on the ex-C&O main.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...gham_Branch_Railroad

 

*The Bremo to Dillwyn portion which is the original Buckingham Branch RR is owned outright by the BB and passenger excursions powered by diesel have operated on this section. I know because I photographed two of them in different years long ago.

Here's a link I found online showing a BB excursion:

http://hawkinsrails.net/shortlines/bb/bb_ride.htm

 

It appears BB still operates passenger excursions:

http://buckinghambranch.com/se...er-excursion-trains/

How could B.B. move 614 without CSX knowing what it was? NS hauled 614 down from Reading, PA no problem it was stored at Port Clinton, PA at the RBMN. It was displayed at the VMT before going to its current display site. Ross admitted about CSX’s steam ban, that’s why nothing is being done with it and why the Greenbrier Express motive power was switched from 614 to diesels because CSX wouldn’t have allowed 614 to power the train period. The GBX was cancelled and coaches auctioned. And if NS is following suit in order to keep its railroad free of liability and to save money to please Wall Street and its shareholders then l’m afraid Virginia will be steam free this year and perhaps beyond. Mainline excursions with motive power other than Amtrak diesels in the eastern US could be a thing of the past now. Even the upcoming E8 excursion to Altoona could be the last excursion for the E8’s due to PTC mandate. I guess if a loco isn’t PTC equipped, it won’t be able to lead a train on a railroad with PTC installed. All these Amtrak crashes aren’t helping the situation. I think NS simply threw in the towel with excursions.

Robert K posted:

 Even the upcoming E8 excursion to Altoona could be the last excursion for the E8’s due to PTC mandate. I guess if a loco isn’t PTC equipped, it won’t be able to lead a train on a railroad with PTC installed. 

I don't see what's preventing the E8s from being equipped with PTC. Most E units today, especially E8s, have had some form of modernization and aren't true to their as-built configurations. All of UP's E9s have Roots-blown 16-645s in them producing 2000 hp. Original E9s had twin 12-567Cs, producing 2400 hp. Another example is the only other operational UP-painted E unit, E8 #942. It retains its original twin 12-567Cs, producing 2250 hp, but scars from Chicago commuter service are very noticeable. #942 is fitted with a beacon atop the cab and had a HEP generator installed in the rear (generator is not currently operational, essentially a bucket of rust now but it's there). Another noticeable difference is #942 has had its #2 main generator replaced, as it was really abused in commuter service. 

If PTC keeps them running, I say install PTC. The ever-growing snowball for older equipment can be slowed down, and modernization while staying as true as logically possible is the way to do this.

Robert K posted:

Is PTC going to ban all locomotives without it just like you can’t run a non cab signaled locomotive in the lead in cab signal territory?

I've been wondering that as well, what with the media (and some in the industry) with renewed pushing for PTC starting with the Dupont Amtrak 501 crash in December.

I wonder if this affect Amtrak sponsoring/running trips with steam on the head end in the future?

I profess to know nothing on the subject, and am instead asking the question.

p51 posted:
Robert K posted:

Is PTC going to ban all locomotives without it just like you can’t run a non cab signaled locomotive in the lead in cab signal territory?

I've been wondering that as well, what with the media (and some in the industry) with renewed pushing for PTC starting with the Dupont Amtrak 501 crash in December.

I wonder if this affect Amtrak sponsoring/running trips with steam on the head end in the future?

I profess to know nothing on the subject, and am instead asking the question.

Well, the "steam operators fraternity" have been working on the "PTC issue" for quite some time. Although NOT much is "published" about what the NKP 765, CMStP&P 261, SP 4449, and of course the UP steam shop have been doing, the various teams are indeed making progress. Thus, the hand-wringers over "steam being dead", can just patiently wait!

Hot Water posted:
p51 posted:
Robert K posted:

Is PTC going to ban all locomotives without it just like you can’t run a non cab signaled locomotive in the lead in cab signal territory?

I've been wondering that as well, what with the media (and some in the industry) with renewed pushing for PTC starting with the Dupont Amtrak 501 crash in December.

I wonder if this affect Amtrak sponsoring/running trips with steam on the head end in the future?

I profess to know nothing on the subject, and am instead asking the question.

Well, the "steam operators fraternity" have been working on the "PTC issue" for quite some time. Although NOT much is "published" about what the NKP 765, CMStP&P 261, SP 4449, and of course the UP steam shop have been doing, the various teams are indeed making progress. Thus, the hand-wringers over "steam being dead", can just patiently wait!

From a thread on another forum about cost to equip a locomotive with PTC and Mr. Levin's PRR E8's:

"A quarter of a million dollars is the one out there in the press over recent months, with the most recent example being the Minnesota Commercial a few weeks back discontinuing serving a customer by trackage rights because of the expense to equip two locomotives with PTC.

In fact believe it's been posted earlier in this thread that Mr. Levin's estimate was also high to equip these with PTC, and I assume he doesn't have anything to gain by inflating the actual expense (Didn't he say he believed it was into 6 figures per unit?). Everyone I've read quotes from is saying it's far more expensive than $28,000 per unit, with the most optimistic I ever saw being $70,000 (Which was an admittedly low ball estimate from an industry trade group over half a decade ago before I suspect anyone had a finalized system even ready to actually install).

s there any difference in technology and standard between what has to be put into a switcher that has to tread a few feet out on an interchange versus an Amtrak-certified installation on a 100-mph diesel that is expected to use PTC and Amtrak's ACSES in passenger service?

And would that account for the cost difference between the $28K system and the six-figure price being cited for the E8s?

There are several systems depending on application and territory. From the FRA "Status update on Positive Train Control Implementation", August 2016, Page 3:

"The three most widely used systems are: (1) the Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS), a derivative of BNSF’s original ETMS system, and the predominant system being implemented by the Class I railroads; (2) an updated version of ACSES (known as ACSES-II), modernized to comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements of PTC and being implemented by most of the railroads operating on the Northeast Corridor; and (3) Enhanced Automatic Train Control (E-ATC). In addition, there are some individual “one off” systems being deployed by railroads, which make use of the features from one or more of these three most common systems."

Yes, the difference in systems and capability accounts for a tremendous difference in price. An Amtrak-compliant system for operation on the NEC in passenger service (ACSES II) could indeed be up as high as the $250K range, per unit, installed and certified."

 

From the above it does appear that Amtrak compatible PTC comes at a higher cost than a system designed to work on a freight railroad's PTC.

Hot Water posted:

645,

Just my opinion but,,,,,,I wouldn't believe EVERYTHING you read on that "other forum".

True - just like one can't believe everything here or on other forums either. I just tossed that out there for the sake of discussion. Do admit that's an awful wide range of cost to equip a locomotive with PTC if the $28K to $250K figures are for real. I'm sure Amtrak's system has more requirements but not to the tune of up to $222K more going off the $28K low end figure as a starting point.

Out of curiosity has 4449 been equipped for PTC yet or is that still being looked into or underway?

645 posted:
Hot Water posted:

645,

Just my opinion but,,,,,,I wouldn't believe EVERYTHING you read on that "other forum".

True - just like one can't believe everything here or on other forums either. I just tossed that out there for the sake of discussion. Do admit that's an awful wide range of cost to equip a locomotive with PTC if the $28K to $250K figures are for real. I'm sure Amtrak's system has more requirements but not to the tune of up to $222K more going off the $28K low end figure as a starting point.

Out of curiosity has 4449 been equipped for PTC yet

Not yet.

or is that still being looked into or underway?

We are well past the "being looked into", but still "negotiating" concerning just what will ACTUALLY be required. Reportedly the FRA has already relented on the demand for "shutting off the power" in the event of a PTC initiated penalty brake application. The "shutting off the power" is obviously VERY easy to do on a diesel locomotive, but a bit more involved on a steam locomotive, especially one without a frontend throttle.

 

trainroomgary posted:

N&W 611 On Saluda (An Assault on America's Steepest Class-1 Grade)

Published today: Feb. 15, 2018 - Play time about ten minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...ature=em-uploademail

That was in the fall of '92, wasn't it? Man, it was amazing to see her stall like that. I remember people were laying bets on if this would happen even before 611 passed the foot of the grade.

As I recall, there was a huge push to get NS to run 1218 up Saluda but she's been in the shop for a year when this happened and never steam again. Such a shame, I would have loved to have seen 1218 walk right up this grade...

Hot Water posted:

645,

Just my opinion but,,,,,,I wouldn't believe EVERYTHING you read on that "other forum".

Yeah, there are lots of folks there who profess to be 'in the know' but even I can tell they're talking out of what we always called in the Army, "their forth point of contact"...

Hot Water posted:
645 posted:
 
Out of curiosity has 4449 been equipped for PTC yet

Not yet.

or is that still being looked into or underway?

We are well past the "being looked into", but still "negotiating" concerning just what will ACTUALLY be required. Reportedly the FRA has already relented on the demand for "shutting off the power" in the event of a PTC initiated penalty brake application. The "shutting off the power" is obviously VERY easy to do on a diesel locomotive, but a bit more involved on a steam locomotive, especially one without a front end throttle.

Thanks for the answers. Sounds like the basics are covered for PTC in regards to steam and just need to make things official for PTC requirements as they relate to steam. I had forgotten about that "cut the power" provision which is simpler to accomplish on a diesel or electric - not so on steam.

Do you know if the PTC system is same for both BNSF and UP or are there a few differences? I assume 4449 will go with just the BNSF version of PTC for now until (if ever) UP allows non-UP steam to operate on their tracks again.

645 posted:
Hot Water posted:
645 posted:
 
Out of curiosity has 4449 been equipped for PTC yet

Not yet.

or is that still being looked into or underway?

We are well past the "being looked into", but still "negotiating" concerning just what will ACTUALLY be required. Reportedly the FRA has already relented on the demand for "shutting off the power" in the event of a PTC initiated penalty brake application. The "shutting off the power" is obviously VERY easy to do on a diesel locomotive, but a bit more involved on a steam locomotive, especially one without a front end throttle.

Thanks for the answers. Sounds like the basics are covered for PTC in regards to steam and just need to make things official for PTC requirements as they relate to steam. I had forgotten about that "cut the power" provision which is simpler to accomplish on a diesel or electric - not so on steam.

Do you know if the PTC system is same for both BNSF and UP or are there a few differences?

Both use the same Wabtec system.

I assume 4449 will go with just the BNSF version of PTC for now until (if ever) UP allows non-UP steam to operate on their tracks again.

 

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