NC&StL 576 As Delivered and Now

The photo on the right shows a 570 Series loco as first delivered in the Fall of 1942 (my birth year) and they were quickly dubbed "Yellow Jackets" for obvious reasons. The 576 as it appeared on home rails after 65+ years in Nashville's Centennial Park on March 9th is in photo on the left. As,delivered, they had cast conical smoke box fronts and wide skirting painted yellow. For ease of maintenance, the conical fronts were later replaced and the wide skirting removed, so that the running boards were painted with a single stripe of yellow paint.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

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Through the generous cooperation of the CSX, the 576 was towed to its restoration site at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum last Saturday. Thanks to its lateral motion drive boxes on the main and lead axles, the 576 easily negotiated the left leg of the wye at Nashville and Eastern's Southern Junction. She now rests under a shed on the museum grounds, and the plan is to wall-in the structure so it is fully enclosed.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

We are very fortunate to have a generous, charitable community here in Nashville, and we also have a few Hollywood celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Dolly Parton that call Nashville home. Dolly, for example, operates two coal-fired narrow gauge steamers at her Dollywood theme park near Sevierville, TN, so she is a steam fan. The 576 is a genuine Nashville artifact, and it follows there is a lot of hometown pride that will undoubtedly translate into financial support.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

In my conversations with Shane Meador, the project leader, this aspect has not yet been decided. Many of us would like to see this engine restored to its original and graceful design, but cost and maintenance issues must be considered. Perhaps a cast aluminum cone would be easier to deal with than a steel one at least in terms of weight? The wide running board stripes would be an easier modification.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

For further information on the NC&StL J-3 Dixie Class 4-8-4 576 and her brethren, please see the informative article in the December, 1963 issue of Trains by David P. Morgan and also the Richard E. Prince history of the NC&StL steam locomotives reprinted by the Indiana University Press. Both references include many photos and data of this remarkable class of locomotives. These 1942 ALCO products incorporated many modern steam locomotive design features such as a one piece Commonwealth Foundry cast bed frame with integral cylinders, steam chest and main reservoir plus bracketing for piping to avoid boiler studs and also provision for lateral motion drive boxes on the main and leading drivers. Timken roller bearings were applied to all axles, including the tender. A multiple valve throttle was also included in this design. The 570 and 580 series of these engines gave reliable round the clock service during WW II, and were fast and smooth dual service locomotives. 

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

Personally, for the J's I much prefer all of the different versions in the un-shrouded and un-skirted state.

For the cone, cast aluminum of that size and shape would still weigh quite a bit.  If they could create an aluminum inner frame and shroud in thin aluminum sheet, it would be much lighter, but at the size still difficult to maintain.  I would think for the skirting there are many options they could use to get the look, but be easy to remove for maintenance.

TEXASSP: A sheet metal cone over an aluminum frame is a great idea! And maybe a hinged assembly would make for easier access? I do like the more graceful look of the conical nose, much like the Canadian National 6060, affectionally dubbed the "Bullet Nose Betty":

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

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Although aesthetic taste varies, I personally prefer the full conical design of the front end as the designer, Clarence M. Darden, intended. Again, no decision on this aspect of the restoration has been decided as of this post, and both cost and ease of maintenance will factor into the final decision.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

The CN 6060 was a 4-8-2 Mountain class with a full Vanderbilt tender, but with her wide running board striping and conical nose, this Canadian cousin to our own 576 was also a most handsome engine! Also, since their mechanical department did not see fit to change the conical nose, perhaps they had,some type of internal hinge assembly to make it easier to open for service without having to use a crane? Finally, as a Nashville tour guide for Canadian visitors in the late seventies, I once met and spoke with an ex-CN engineer who actually ran this loco, and he had high praise for both its speed and smooth handling!

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

Tinplate Art posted:

The CN 6060 was a 4-8-2 Mountain class with a full Vanderbilt tender, but with her wide running board striping and conical nose, this Canadian cousin to our own 576 was also a most handsome engine! Also, since their mechanical department did not see fit to change the conical nose, perhaps they had,some type of internal hinge assembly to make it easier to open for service without having to use a crane?

Maybe they didn't have to open it very often if it was oil fired.

Finally, as a Nashville tour guide for Canadian visitors in the late seventies, I once met and spoke with an ex-CN engineer who actually ran this loco, and he had high praise for both its speed and smooth handling!

 

TexasSP posted:

For the cone, cast aluminum of that size and shape would still weigh quite a bit.  If they could create an aluminum inner frame and shroud in thin aluminum sheet, it would be much lighter, but at the size still difficult to maintain.  

Fiberglass construction might be an alternative as well. I believe they use that to reconstruct nose pieces on some WWII aircraft restorations.

Minor addendum:  the Canadian National "mechanical department" did actually remove some of the Bullet Nose Betty smokebox cones, when they were converted to oil and moved west for service in the Winnipeg vicinity, circa 1959-60. Their front ends were reminiscent of CN's magnificent semi-streamlined Hudsons, in that form.

Additional tidbit:  Baldwin calculated the NCStL J3's drawbar horsepower at 3500.

Guess we can all get huffy over the news folks stating that "historic train towed to museum".   

 I believe the nose cone on the CNR U1fs are of sheet metal construction with 4 bolts on the smokebox door and 4 additional located around the headlight(see pic)

 They were all coal fired when constructed at MLW in 1944.

  As mentioned previously some of the class were transferred out west to Winnipeg after 1955 and again in 1957 , with all being converted to oil but the later locos retaining their bullet noses with added vents directly below the headlight

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PAUL ROMANO


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