I was wondering if anyone had any information on why the Western railroads (SP, UP, GN, NP, with the exception of a small group purchased new by the ATSF) did not buy 2-8-4 steam locomotives new? Were 2-8-4s not suited to running on the grades/mountains out west? It seems like after the 2-8-2 and 2-10-2 most Western railroads went to large articulated locomotives for freight hauling, with the exception of the ATSF, which went to 2-10-4s (the ATSF didn't care for articulated locomotives). Was there something about the 2-8-4 wheel arrangement that made it better suited to the Easter railroads? Both the SP and ATSF bought Berkshires second hand from the B&M during WWII for traffic increases but they were quickly retired after the war.

Santa Fe, All the Way

Original Post

Also interested to read that not NYC, but a subsidiary?, used 2-8-4's.  I would only use 4-8-4's and 4-8-2's, if my short line justified them.  I was surprised that the C&O used 2-8-4's, certainly a mountain road that needed oomph to yank loaded hoppers down from mines. Given mountain curves, l thought tracking qualities of four wheel pilot trucks made sense and were used, but maybe was just thought, and not proven?  Baldwin, Alco, Lima engineers?  And the S-2....six wheel pilot?

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Chuck Sartor posted:

2-8-4 were the first modern super power locomotives. NKP and Erie are two examples of roads that used them for fast freight, instead of freight drags. Maybe they had more 'giddy-up' than pull. Most western roads seems to like 4-8-2's. Then on to 4-8-4's.

Plus, the UP needed much more HP for freight, and went with the Challenger type of 4-6-6-4s, totally 105 such locomotives. Conversely, the SP simply kept expanding their cab forward class, plus 4-8-2s, 4-10-2 three cylinders, and most improved 2-10-2s. The GN and NP used heavy 2-8-2s and simple articulated locomotives, respectively.

The AT&SF preferred non-articulated power such as their various classes of 4-8-4s and huge 2-10-4s.

A possible reason why Berkshires were common on Eastern roads but not on Western roads is that clearances tended to be tighter on the Eastern roads.  For example, locomotives on the New York Central had to be less than 15'3" in height.  (This is why the NYC / P&LE Class A-2a Berkshires had unusually short smoke stacks.)  On railroads that had less strict clearance requirements, it may be that something other than the 2-8-4 arrangement made more sense.

MoPac very much "enjoyed" the 1901s, but they needed more HP; hence the rebuilds.  

MoPac was the ORIGINAL Pacific RR, and,, unlike the UP/CP, it was already under construction during the War, but that very feature delayed it (as did a great deal of Congressional hem-hawing and investor chicanery).  The road was vital to the Federal Gov't, but it was damaged physically and financially, stunting its growth.  But the route was surveyed to the Pacific (eventually built upon by other roads).  

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

Curious as to what was route of MoPac to Pacific built on by others?   Through Colo., Wyo., southern route?  Also interested in how changing FRONT truck aided HP increase?  Smokebox extension, bigger boiler, or? demanded it?  "Chicanery" seems to be in the history of most of the western roads...

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Dominic Mazoch posted:

Before the Challengers, the UP did purchsed 3 cylinder 4-10-2 and 4-12-2's.  I think they wete converted to 2 cylinder. 

Only the 2-10-2s were converted to 2- cylinder. ALL the 4-12-2 3 cylinders remained that way right through until the end of steam.

Too rigid and too complex for mountain service?

The 4-12 -2 locomotives worked out the final years, after the Challengers were delivered, in the Nebraska and Kansas plains. A number of the 2-10-2s were used as helpers in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Remember that the UP didn't have many "sharp curves" in their mountains.

 

Dominic Mazoch posted:

The MOP had a route through the Ozaks that had a sawtooth profile.  With increased traffic with WWII, more HP needed.

And one can consider a locomotive rebuilt if the rebuild usrs the same frame?

The MoPac Berkshire to Northern rebuilds went from 63" drivers to 75" drivers, the frames couldn't possibly be reused.

Rusty

Think 2-8-4's tended to be eastern locomotives in that on the flatlands, they could pull all the tonnage that passing sidings would allow. In the west, those railroads needed much higher tractive effort to deal with mountain grades, so they began in the mid-1920's to employ 2-8-8-0's, 2-8-8-2's, 4-8-8-2's (SP cab-forwards) and 2-8-8-4's. 2-8-4's just could not meet their tonnage hauling needs in heavy gradient territory. 

Lou1985 posted:

So the basic reason that Western railroads didn't go for the 2-8-4 was the need for more power (for longer, heavier trains and grades) and the lack of size restrictions the Eastern railroads faced.

No....I don't think that's a completely correct assumption.

Least off, timing likely played a role.  If you had already upgraded to super power 2-8-4s, why switch to a 4-8-4?  If you had old Mikados or the like and they were tired, 4-8-4s would have more appeal if your RR passed on ordering Berkshires when they were first available. 

I submit that the timing of both World Wars was also a factor....in terms of what each RR was allocated and how old their equipment was prior to each War.

More importantly, you should understand that railroads needed to chose locomotives based on their particular terrain and their freight & passenger volumes.  Period. What worked for one may not have worked on another.....for a multitude of reasons.

As an example, steam lasted as long as it did on the Nickel Plate b/c their Lima Berkshires were perfectly suited for running fast freight and passenger trains on the relatively flat Lake Erie shoreline and Midwest terrain from Buffalo to Cleveland to Chicago to St. Louis.  These same locomotives would probably not have worked as well on the Norfolk & Western or C&O lines that hauled coal out of the Appalachian mountains.  (That said, the W&LE managed to run a number of Berkshires.....FWIW.)

In parts of Cleveland's East Side suburbs, the NKP tracks were sometimes only 50 feet away from the NYC tracks.  You often had NKP Berkshires racing NYC 4-8-2s to see who could outpace each other.  Same terrain, different RRs, different locomotive design choice....and no consensus as to which was "better".

Bottom line:  I don't think there is a right and wrong answer.  You have to look to each railroad to see what locomotive design made the most sense.  Answers will vary greatly.  Generalities are almost pointless.

Hot Water posted:
Dominic Mazoch posted:

Before the Challengers, the UP did purchased 3 cylinder 4-10-2 and 4-12-2's.  I think they wete converted to 2 cylinder. 

Only the 2-10-2s were converted to 2- cylinder. ALL the 4-12-2 3 cylinders remained that way right through until the end of steam.

Too rigid and too complex for mountain service?

The 4-12 -2 locomotives worked out the final years, after the Challengers were delivered, in the Nebraska and Kansas plains. A number of the 2-10-2s were used as helpers in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Remember that the UP didn't have many "sharp curves" in their mountains.

 

Hot Water, in your reply you wrote "2-10-2s"  when I believe you meant "4-10-2s."

The 8800/5090 class 4-10-2's were used on the LA&SL line between Los Angles and Salt Lake City.

Stuart

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

Stuart posted:
Hot Water posted:
Dominic Mazoch posted:

Before the Challengers, the UP did purchased 3 cylinder 4-10-2 and 4-12-2's.  I think they wete converted to 2 cylinder. 

Only the 2-10-2s were converted to 2- cylinder. ALL the 4-12-2 3 cylinders remained that way right through until the end of steam.

Too rigid and too complex for mountain service?

The 4-12 -2 locomotives worked out the final years, after the Challengers were delivered, in the Nebraska and Kansas plains. A number of the 2-10-2s were used as helpers in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Remember that the UP didn't have many "sharp curves" in their mountains.

 

Hot Water, in your reply you wrote "2-10-2s"  when I believe you meant "4-10-2s."

No, I did meant 2-10-2s, as the UP 5000 class were 2-10-2s. I can not find any information about UP 4-10-2s, however the SP had quite a number of 3 cylinder 4-10-2s.

The 8800/5090 class 4-10-2's were used on the LA&SL line between Los Angles and Salt Lake City.

Guess I'l have to dig further into the Utah Rails site.

EDIT: OK, found them. There were 10 4-10-2, 3 cylinder locomotives rebuilt in 1942 to 2 cylinder, and apparently ONLY worked on the LA&SL. The UP used many 2-10-2s on their system, especially in the Blue Mountains.

Stuart

 

 

Hot Water posted:
Stuart posted:
Hot Water posted:
Dominic Mazoch posted:

Before the Challengers, the UP did purchased 3 cylinder 4-10-2 and 4-12-2's.  I think they wete converted to 2 cylinder. 

Only the 2-10-2s were converted to 2- cylinder. ALL the 4-12-2 3 cylinders remained that way right through until the end of steam.

Too rigid and too complex for mountain service?

The 4-12 -2 locomotives worked out the final years, after the Challengers were delivered, in the Nebraska and Kansas plains. A number of the 2-10-2s were used as helpers in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Remember that the UP didn't have many "sharp curves" in their mountains.

 

Hot Water, in your reply you wrote "2-10-2s"  when I believe you meant "4-10-2s."

No, I did meant 2-10-2s, as the UP 5000 class were 2-10-2s. I can not find any information about UP 4-10-2s, however the SP had quite a number of 3 cylinder 4-10-2s.

The 8800/5090 class 4-10-2's were used on the LA&SL line between Los Angles and Salt Lake City.

Guess I'l have to dig further into the Utah Rails site.

EDIT: OK, found them. There were 10 4-10-2, 3 cylinder locomotives rebuilt in 1942 to 2 cylinder, and apparently ONLY worked on the LA&SL. The UP used many 2-10-2s on their system, especially in the Blue Mountains.

Stuart

 

 

Hot Water,

What confused me in you original post was the sentence "Only the 2-10-2s were converted to 2- cylinder."  All of the UP 2-10-2's were built as two cylinder engines. 

I found two good sources of information on the 4-10-2 types to be the books "Three Barrels of Steam" and "The Union Pacific Types - Volume One."

Stuart

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

Not west coast RR but the original Norfolk Southern also had Berkshires, fairly clean looking engines compared to others.

I have a Pacific Fast Mail book by Jack W. Farrell on the Bershires and Texas Types that has some data and photos.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Norfolk Southern #1 had small, clean-lined  2-8-4's that were sold to the Nacionales de Mexico, and worked until about late 1962/early 1963 in Mexico. These were the last North American 2-8-4's in regular service.  Some other often over-looked 2-8-4's domiciled out east were owned by the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, the Richmond, Fredricksberg & Potomac and the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo.

mark s posted:

Norfolk Southern #1 had small, clean-lined  2-8-4's that were sold to the Nacionales de Mexico, and worked until about late 1962/early 1963 in Mexico. These were the last North American 2-8-4's in regular service.  Some other often over-looked 2-8-4's domiciled out east were owned by the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, the Richmond, Fredricksberg & Potomac and the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo.

If I recall correctly the Norfolk Southern's 2-8-4's were the smallest of that wheel arrangement built.

Stuart

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

Stuart posted:
mark s posted:

Norfolk Southern #1 had small, clean-lined  2-8-4's that were sold to the Nacionales de Mexico, and worked until about late 1962/early 1963 in Mexico. These were the last North American 2-8-4's in regular service.  Some other often over-looked 2-8-4's domiciled out east were owned by the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, the Richmond, Fredricksberg & Potomac and the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo.

If I recall correctly the Norfolk Southern's 2-8-4's were the smallest of that wheel arrangement built.

Stuart

Very interesting y’all brought this up....the original NS, formerly the Elizabeth City and Norfolk Railroad, did indeed field 5 Berks #s 600-604.....they were Baldwin built and delivered in 1940....Elizabeth City is literally 5 minutes from my house, and the old station still stands today (thank god) ....neat stuff.........Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Berkshire President posted:

1. In parts of Cleveland's East Side suburbs, the NKP tracks were sometimes only 50 feet away from the NYC tracks.  You often had NKP Berkshires racing NYC 4-8-2s to see who could outpace each other.  Same terrain, different RRs, different locomotive design choice....and no consensus as to which was "better".

2. Bottom line:  I don't think there is a right and wrong answer.  You have to look to each railroad to see what locomotive design made the most sense.  Answers will vary greatly.  Generalities are almost pointless.

1. THAT would have been something to see! I wonder if any film footage exists?

2. That's probably the best take on all this.

Mark in Oregon

Strummer posted:
Berkshire President posted:

1. In parts of Cleveland's East Side suburbs, the NKP tracks were sometimes only 50 feet away from the NYC tracks.  You often had NKP Berkshires racing NYC 4-8-2s to see who could outpace each other.  Same terrain, different RRs, different locomotive design choice....and no consensus as to which was "better".

2. Bottom line:  I don't think there is a right and wrong answer.  You have to look to each railroad to see what locomotive design made the most sense.  Answers will vary greatly.  Generalities are almost pointless.

1. THAT would have been something to see! I wonder if any film footage exists?

2. That's probably the best take on all this.

Mark in Oregon

The NKP Berks would also come up against some NYC Niagaras as well.

Some NKP old timers claimed they could keep up with both NYC Mohawks and Niagaras.  I don't know how accurate that is/was....but it certainly makes for an interesting story.  I'd like to think it's at least plausible.  

"Power AT Speed"?  Perhaps.  

The Niagaras were used exclusively on passenger, and mail and express trains.  When I asked the NYC Superintendent if Niagaras were ever on freight, his answer was..."Why would we ever do that?  We have plenty of freight engines."  A Berk could not hang with a Niagara or 5400.  The NKP Berkshires were freight in steam days, although I caught 763 on May 18, 1958 hauling the NKP excursion train from Conneaut to Buffalo.  The engine replaced Hudson 175 at Conneaut, where it was pulled due to its inability to reach the 70 mph track speed with the long train.  It was very windy that day, which added to the problem.  The 763 with the excursion train departed Conneaut at the same time that a NYC M&E train also departed with two E units.  The Berk beat the "E's" to Erie.  I took two Anscochrome slides of 763 at Erie in the rain using flash....they were sold out of my collection since they were not good quality.  Wish I still had them!

My October 27, 1957 NKP Employees Timetable lists a maximum freight speed for Class S, H-5 and H-6 of 60 mph.  The fastest that I ever measured a NKP Berkshire was 763 just after Class repairs at Conneaut on a freight, at 63-66 mph coming off the long downhill grade east of Erie at Downing Road.  The only way that I was able to do this was to look at the main driver counterweight location in each frame of my 8mm movie, and do the math.  The NKP Berks ran best at 3500-4000 trailing tons, about 1 HP/Ton (really a drag freight number!), with minimal stops and about 100 cars, although at the end of steam they ran with much higher tonnage.  Conversely, the  NYC piled everything that they could behind EMD "F" units.  I watched one NYC train with 212 LOADED hoppers and two F7's that could not even make transition...as soon as transition was made, the speed would drop and the engines would go through backward transition, with severe slack action and run-in to the point that I thought the train would break in two....

Great post, Hudson.  Outstanding story and excellent prose.

Quick question, though:  In terms of tractive effort, didn't the NKP 765 or 779 and related produce around 64,000 pound feet of tractive effort vs. 61-62K lbs feet for a Niagara? 

Not a big difference and not wanting to start a debate as to which is "better".  I like 'em both!

I think I've seen (or may have) photos of Niagaras running freight through CLE in the early 1950s.  I also thought the Berks would hit 70-80 MPH running high speed freight West of CLE, through Bellevue.....but I could be wrong.

The CALCULATED starting tractive effort was just that...a calculation.  Most modern steam would exceed its calculated starting tractive effort since one factor in that calculation was the starting cutoff, which for most "full cutoff" engines is in the 82-85% range.  Modern steam could essentially "fill the cylinders" at starting, making the "starting cutoff" at the instant the crosshead started to move, at 1.00.  During this critical phase of starting a train, the coefficient of friction between the drivers and the rail came into play.  Designers found that driver slipping was reduced/minimized when the calculated starting tractive effort was less than one quarter of the weight on the driving wheels, which resulted in a "factor of adhesion" of 4.00 or more.  And sanding was the recourse when starting a heavy train.

The ratings for starting tractive effort you cited are correct for each locomotive.  Of course, the NKP Berk is a freight design and the Niagara was passenger.  The Berk has driving wheels that are 10 inches smaller than used on a Niagara, but the Niagaras ran at 275 psi while the Berks were 245 psi.  The Berks use a 25 inch cylinder diameter while the Niagaras were at 25-1/2.  Stroke was 34 on the NKP Berk and 32 inches on a Niagara.  (Each of the foregoing are factors used to calculate starting tractive effort.)  Each design was optimized for the service, and for lowest coal and water usage and component wear rate consistent with the application.  At the end of NYC steam, Niagaras were used on freight on the Big Four but since steam was phasing out there was no effort to use them in the service for which they were designed.

On a side note, Canadian Pacific did have a Berkshire on the drawing board but never went any farther than that with Buck Crump becoming president and pushing dieselization

  I have a photo in the book Canadian Pacific steam locomotives by Omer Lavelle showing a preliminary drawing

Al

I suppose you could turn the question around and ask "why didn't the Boston & Albany buy 2-8-8-4s?" Each railroad used what suited their situation. By the time 2-8-4s came along, Northern Pacific and Great Northern had been using huge Mallets to haul long drag freights for 15-20 years. Why buy smaller engines in the 1920's-30's when you could just buy bigger versions of what already worked for you, like NP's Yellowstones?

Distance does play a role, the distance from Boston to Albany would just get you from St.Paul to the Red River of the North. Your train still would have to cross North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington to get to the Pacific...roughly 1000 miles. One big engine hauling one big train makes more sense than two medium engines each taking half.

- Stix

What's interesting is that the Great Northern O-8 class 2-8-2's weighed more than any Berkshire (I believe) and had greater tractive effort (without booster) than any Berkshire as well.

Stuart

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

According to the book I mentioned, the NS engines had 63" drivers and weighed only 335,400lbs.  Built by Baldwin in 1940.  They had Semi-Vanderbilt tenders on 6-wheeed trucks and trailing booster trucks.  They were sold to the NdeM around 1951, 11yrs old.

Any models come close to the size of the NS engines?  I wouldn't mind having one!

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Add Reply

Likes (1)
Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×