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@RickO posted:

Ed said it was being pushed in the Facebook post at the beginning of the thread. He just watered it down with technical jargon.

The very fact he stated "the pressure vessel was leaking so bad" is a good indication that 4014 isn't up to the task.

Whether that's UP's fault or Ed's I guess could be debated next.

I wonder how it passed the hydro test ? The boiler should not be leaking at all.

@Rich Melvin posted:

All the Class 1 railroads have power stored. It's a combination of business levels being down and the movement to PSR, Precision Scheduled Railroading. PSR has allowed the railroads to get a bit more efficient, so less power is needed.

FWIW, this video was posted in 2017 and from some googling, UP didn't implement PSR until late 2018. 

I'm not saying you or anyone else is wrong - I'm just saying that I think UP has the coin to spend on the steam program, if they wanted.

Looking at the 765 pulling the curve is amazing. In my opinion steam locomotives were way ahead of their time. The power coming from the two cylinders is hard to imagine. I agree that the diesels were hardly working and the 765 was doing most of the work. I’ve been to the curve once and when diesels are running, the deep thunder of the engines are overwhelming. I didn’t hear that in the video.

@RickO posted:

Fair enough. I didn't realize Ed was referring to his overall experiences. I assumed he was specifically speaking related to 4014 on the road.

One must be very careful relative to what he says from one year to the next. He loves to speak in "technobabble", which also tends to be fairly short on truths. Thus one of the main reasons that he does NOT participate in any of the steam locomotive technical organizations, such as the Mechanical Standards Committee (which includes representatives from FRA, and most all of the major steam operators).

@MartyE posted:

A video I shot onThe Curve in 2013.  What it doesn't show is everyone got out and had to push!  LOL!  Just kidding.

Marty:

Was this the Sunday or Monday trip? My youngest son, my sister and I were on the Saturday trip and there was a double stack on number three track as we went west around the curve. That rules out your video being shot on Saturday.

I also had in mind you rode the train the Saturday trip as I remember seeing you with your camera at the Lewistown station prior to boarding. In fact, you’re in my video I shot at the station as 765 was pulling up for boarding to begin.

Curt

Last edited by juniata guy
@rrman posted:

I always assumed (wrongly I guess) that particular diesels (Amtrak, CSX, BNSF etc) were required for PTC information and/or responding to cab signals for the particular road, and to give a shove if necessary, otherwise they were just along for the deadhead ride.

Actually the Cab Signal equipment, as well as any PTC equipment, must installed be on the lead/controlling locomotive. That is why NKP 765 is herself equipped with the former PRR, now NS, Cab Signal & and Train Control system, and really doesn't require a diesel behind (except for long moves in order to stretch coal usage, as Rich has already explained).

On steam excursions operating under the Amtrak insurance umbrella, such as more recent SP 4449 trips, the Amtrak diesel provides HEP (480 volt three phase AC) for the passenger cars.

Currently, the UP is experimenting with a "remote" PTC system on the trailing MU'ed diesel unit, with some sort of controls to the air brake system on 4014 (simplified explanation) . Attempting to have the PTC computer screens mounted and powered in the cab of 4014, or another steam locomotive, is quite a challenge.

@Hot Water posted:

Actually the Cab Signal equipment, as well as any PTC equipment, must installed be on the lead/controlling locomotive. That is why NKP 765 is herself equipped with the former PRR, now NS, Cab Signal & and Train Control system, and really doesn't require a diesel behind (except for long moves in order to stretch coal usage, as Rich has already explained).

On steam excursions operating under the Amtrak insurance umbrella, such as more recent SP 4449 trips, the Amtrak diesel provides HEP (480 volt three phase AC) for the passenger cars.

Currently, the UP is experimenting with a "remote" PTC system on the trailing MU'ed diesel unit, with some sort of controls to the air brake system on 4014 (simplified explanation) . Attempting to have the PTC computer screens mounted and powered in the cab of 4014, or another steam locomotive, is quite a challenge.

The remote PTC system sounds like a really cool idea.

O.K. Apples and apples was mentioned a few times. The closest "apple" is 2 axles shy.

Patiently watch this video of a UP articulated, pay special attention at the :24 second mark.

Maybe turn up the volume just a "bit" for full enjoyment....be careful though.

If anyone has video of 4014 operating at this level of intensity please post. I'm not denying it, just haven't seen it.

Now if the "bean  counters" said " no more of that with the bigboy",  I get it.

(not my video)

Last edited by RickO

I don't understand what initiated this thread.  It is the UP's locomotive.  They are the UP's tracks.  If the UP wants to be running a diesel along with the 4014 that is their prerogative, whether needed or not.  Was Ed's answer in response to a comment that running a diesel with the 4014 cheapened the experience?  Was it in response to concerns that the 4014 might not be up to the job?  If so the answer falls short.

Last edited by Bill N
@Bill N posted:

I don't understand what initiated this thread.  It is the UP's locomotive.  They are the UP's tracks.  If the UP wants to be running a diesel along with the 4014 that is their prerogative, whether needed or not.  Was Ed's answer in response to a comment that running a diesel with the 4014 cheapened the experience?  Was it in response to concerns that the 4014 might not be up to the job?  If so the answer falls short.

Hello Bill N,

The point is that individuals have begun to question the level of integrity of the restoration of the locomotive.  A machine of this caliber should never really need a diesel behind it given the size of its consist.

When experienced individuals in the field of locomotive restoration started asking questions, along with folks who have an understanding of machine repair and restoration - Ed found it necessary to put out a statement to explain the reasoning for the diesels presence.

However his sighted reasons do not align well with reality and still leaves many unanswered questions with folks who know this business. 

Personally I'm not a professional boiler maker nor an experienced locomotive mechanic.  However as a experienced powertrain engineer having and still designing these systems ranging from cars, trucks, off highway vehicles and now very large military systems along with numerous years of debugging and resolving operational issues with these systems, his explanations do not FULLY justify the diesels presence.   That's just my personal belief.   

Other locomotive operations with steam do not routinely use a diesel and their boilers are significantly smaller and yet are capable of doing the same level of work and then some without any aids.    When you look at the overall context you'll start to come away thinking something is amiss.

Some have stated here that the boiler doesn't steam well, if true that would explain the diesels presence.   Additionally if that is indeed the case, it means that the coal to oil conversion process wasn't as successful as initially envisioned.

@feet posted:

Whatever the problem is you'd think they would correct it.

That's a good point. You would think that if there was some sort of issue that it would have been corrected by now.

The facts that we know of are: #1) UP runs a diesel with 4014 and other railroads running steam generally do not. #2) We have Ed's statement as to why they do this.

I don't have the technical knowledge to definitively say that there is a real reason why the UP uses a diesel and that Ed is covering up that reason but it is an interesting discussion. It is my hope that there is nothing wrong with the locomotive mechanically and (speculating here) that maybe Ed feels an attachment to it so he doesn't want to push it hard and therefore have the diesel do some of the work? Please don't bite my head off here. This situation is strange to me and as I said I am just speculating.

From what I was told, as much as anything, it's very high water consumption that leaves very little breathing room for error on the distance they run.  Less to do with the steam engine itself and firing abilities, but if something messes up on the railroad ahead of them, the diesel allows an extra measure of safety without running low on water.  The specific comment was that 4014 with 2 aux canteens gives about 200 miles or so, depending on conditions.  It's very thirsty.  One some of the days they run, you can see how that could potentially cause an issue if something up ahead screws up and they get stuck waiting for clear track.  I'm sure the scheduling can get interesting from a dispatcher's perspective throwing a 40mph steam train into a 60-70mph mainline railroad.  I think all of that is also why you are seeing more stops and lower mileage days and not the 200-300 mile days that used to be more common.



Having spent about 20 some odd days following it in 2019, here are my observations....

it basically did nothing on the run to Ogden in May.  No real surprise, given the timing and one test run.

It did work decently starting with the trip back from Ogden, and from that point on.  It would vary by the day.  Some days, they would work it fairly decently.  Some days not.  Often times, they would let the diesel boost them up to speed coming out of a stop with a light/medium throttle for draft, then 4014 would take over.  Coming out of the Duluth area southbound, we found a crossing just after a speed restriction over a bridge, and it was doing 100% of the work accelerating up to 40mph and sounding very good.  There were about 3-4 people there to hear and see it.  That fall, it sounded very good coming out of Tuscon, AZ on a hill there.  We got it twice on that hill (once fairly slow in the curves at the bottom and then up to speed on the straighter sections near the top), and the diesel was just along for the ride.  We had many more incidents where we picked a spot that it should have sounded good, and it wasn't doing much of anything.  It's a game of chance.

To an extent, the 4014 reminds me a lot of N&W 1218 in some regards.  Way too much locomotive for the train it's pulling the vast majority of the time.  The A was the same way--there were large portions of the system where it coasted much of the day once it got up to speed.  Fact of the matter is that a UP 4-8-8-4 on a 10 car train is barely letting it breathe right.  If you really want to hear it work hard, chances are far and few between.  They do exist, but a fair amount of planning and especially luck is required.

Last edited by kgdjpubs

Interesting debate between authentic running the Big Boy versus a fake run for show.  I like railroad museums.  All the engines are dead.  Seeing any steam live on real rails is a great sight to see IMHO.  I didn't make it to see the Big Boy run because the crowds were too thick and I had to drive too far and that was a turnoff.   I have seen a few at museums.  I was able to climb on 4017 stand inside the cab and walk inside the tender.  That was pretty cool.  Seeing one actually roll by probably would be pretty cool, too.

I've been reading the back and forth on this and am totally disgusted.

Near as I can tell, most (likely all) of us are here because we have some sort of affinity of railroads, trains and the model train industry.  You would think that we would, therefore, be happy with or supportive of the preservation of those parts of the industry that we are most fascinated by.

Here's how I see it:

Without the restoration of 4014, people like me, just young enough to have missed the mainline steam era, would not have the chance to see a "Big Boy" except as a rusting hulk, sitting quietly and idlily in a museum somewhere, perhaps with a coat of black paint slapped on it as a "cosmetic restoration."  There are still 7 of those, at least one with the drivers and/or connecting rods cut, out there for those of you whose personality issues will not allow you to see an operating one.

I saw 4014 operate under its own power as it pulled into Duluth in 2019.  Yes it had cut off the train, including the diesel, and yes, it was at a crawl that I could've easily walked next to.  The explanation was twofold, that they were operating on track they were unfamiliar with and unsure of, and that the crowd density suggested an extra measure of caution.  Frankly, I don't care if either of those were true.  It was proof enough for me that the old girl was capable, at least in some fashion, of operating on her own, not just a "hot water heater being pushed about by a diesel."

Not all personalities are going to mesh.  If that's your reason for not caring for the 4014 program, so be it.  It's not reason enough to drag it down for those who are enjoying it and it's not your duty to warn us all of those issues as well.  Most of us are adults and capable of deciding for ourselves if Ed Dickens is a better PR person than he is engineer or boss.  Truth is, in over 40 years of working for other people, I have yet to have a boss, manager or supervisor that wasn't, at least at some point in our work relationship, an ***.  Most were better at doing their job than they were with relating to the people that worked for them.  My own Father, who I love and who passed away at the end of June,  could be described as a "street angel and house devil."  People who met him loved him, thought he was charming.  They didn't have to live in the same home with him and witness his temper, deal with his favoritism and his preference to members of his in-laws to his own family.  Ed Dickens may be (I have no personal experience with it) a terrible person to work for, yet there are those that did work with him on this program.  On the other hand, however much you may think he could've done better, he got the job done, is doing a seemingly good job of "selling" the UP program, and is giving *thousands* like me the opportunity to see something we would otherwise not have a chance to.

The whole Challenger issue - all of us have pet locomotives we'd love to see operating again.  I never got to see the Challenger run, either, and would likely been among those who mistook it for a Big Boy if I had. (Like many, I didn't know the difference until I started watching the 4014 restoration.)  Either Ed or UP has made the choice to sideline her and I agree that it's unfortunate.  I still can't see that as a reasonable basis for denigrating and debating the validity of the Big Boy program with those whom it brings joy to.  Personally, I'd love to see an operating SP cab forward.  I don't see that as a reason to call 4014 crap.

Finally, look what the Big Boy program has done for the modeling industry, that thing that allegedly brings us all together in this forum.  Sure there would've been a fair number of Big Boy models sold anyway but I would bet you'd be hard pressed to find a manufacturer, in any gauge or scale, that would tell you the program didn't do anything to boost their sales or grow interest in the hobby.  That alone, from me, is worth a "thank you."

I hate reading some of the longer posts that rant on and on in this forum so I apologize for the length of this one and appreciate those of you who've stuck with me to this point on this one.  I finally had enough of the tripe that's been spewed because some have an axe to grind with an individual or their perceived "correct method of operation" and refuse to recognize that there are view points beyond their own.  I felt this needed to be said so thank you for reading.

I have been friends with Ed since the mid-eighties. I'm not in his close inner-circle of friends, but we still know each other quite well. I have never worked for him, as HW has. He is a very respectable man. Sometimes when you work for a company and in charge, you need to be a Boss-hole. Sometimes his hands are tied by company. If the UP says diesels must be along, not much ED can do but fallow orders.

Last edited by Chuck Sartor
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