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Author Topic: Steam locomotives  (Read 13697 times)
Inder


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« on: September 04, 2007, 12:26:43 PM »

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the hobby.  I started a week ago.  I purchased a Kato Amtrak set but I've always been fascinated with steam locomotives so I picked up a Bachmann consolidation.

I really like it a lot. I've been looking at pictures and I've been reading about steam locomotives online but I don't seem to find information regarding their average speed.  All I see is information on records they set at 100+ miles per hour and I am not interested in that.
Also, what's a realistic amount of cars they pulled, I can't seem to find that either.
I'm gonna make a trip to Barnes&Noble to pick up a few books on these magestic giants but I bet you they will be filled up with dates and high speed records but no information I am looking for.  I want to know how long it took them to warm up the boiler in the morning  before their schedule and how often they had to stop to get more water and fuel.  My grandpa told me so much about these machines but unfortunately I was too young to care about his stories.  He would tell me that they had steam valves that would release steam while the engine was idling and so you had to keep your distance and so forth...
Will you guys please help me with this.  Anyway if you know of a good book I would greatly appreciate your recommendation. 
Thank you.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 01:17:10 PM »

Welcome, Inder.  I hope you enjoy this marvelous hobby and I hope you find steam locomotives as fascinating as I do.   You ask a lot of good questions, but the answers are very complex. 
First, just like automotive vehicles, steam locomotives were designed to do a variety of tasks - some were fast but relatively weak while others were slow but very powerful.  Obviously two things that relate to speed is how level the track is and how heavy is the train being pulled. 
We identify steam locomotives in two major ways, by their type name and by their wheel arrangement.  The wheel arrangement is important because you can get a good idea of how fast and how powerful the locomotive is by the arrangemen. 
All steam locomotives have drivers.  In addition a lot have pony wheels, at the very front and trailing trucks, under the cab.  These wheels are always smaller than the drivers and are not connected to the cylinders like the drivers are.  By this system, your Consolidation is a 2-8-0, which means two pony wheels, eight drivers, and no trailing trucks.  As a general rule, locomotives with two pony wheels were freight locomotives and were fairly slow but powerful.  Another loco with eight drivers is the 0-8-0, which means it only has drivers.  This configuration in the U.S. was normally a switcher, which often had even smaller drivers than a freight loco.   A bigger firebox gave more energy, so the 2-8-2, or Mikado came about. 
Four pony wheels normally indicated a passenger locomotive like the 4-8-2 Mountain.  After awhile even more power was needed and railroads developed the 2-8-4 and the 4-8-4. 
Another factor is that passenger locos tended to have fewer drivers, but larger than freight, so the 4-6-2 and 4-6-4 were very common. 
There were also steam locomotives with two sets of drivers.  These were normally articulated and had patterns like the 2-6-6-2 USRA light articulated. 
So.  The more drivers, the later the development, generally, so a 2-6-0 is an older design than the 2-8-0 which is more powerful.
Four wheel pony trucks tend to identify passenger locomotives, which went faster than freight locos. 
The more trailing trucks, the more powerful, so a 2-8-4 is more powerful than a 2-8-2 which is more powerful than a 2-8-0,
I hope this has helped. 
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 02:04:35 PM »

Inder,

To ad some info to the great info Gene has given you, here are some very general guidelines about steam locomotives and train lengths.

A Consolidation, like your Bachmann model would be able to pull about 4,000 tons on level track, that is about 70 or 80 loaded 40' box cars. BUT, few railroads had completely level routes, so its capacity would be reduced depending on how steep the grades where.

In practice, a single Consolidation, on a line with mild grades (less than 1%), would pull a train anywhere from 30 to 50 cars. As for speed, it would pull such a train at a maximum of about 45 mph and average about 35 mph.

The Mikado (2-8-2) type Gene metioned, was only a little more powerful, but measureably faster because it has a better balanced suspension and a larger firebox to produce steam faster. A Mikado would typically handle a 60 car train at speeds of 40-60 mph.

As Gene said, the factors of steam loco design, use, speed, power, etc, are vary complex. The examples I have given you are very general and subject to some assumptions that are not explained. But I thought some general info like this may be of interest based on you questions.

Some more quick examples:

A 4-6-2 Pacific could handle about 8-12 passenger cars on level or mild grades, but might only handle 3-5 in mountain districts. Even the smallest of this type could easily cruise at speeds in the 70-80 mph range.

The 4-8-2 was one of the first designs to balance speed and power. Some railroads (like the C&O) used them as passenger locos in mountainious areas, while other railroads (like the NYC) used them as fast freight locos on fairly level routes.

Northerns (4-8-4) where the ultimate acheavement of balancing power and speed.

Again, this just begins to scratch the surface, good luck and have fun.

Sheldon
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BillD53A

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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 04:46:49 PM »

You should be able to count the revolutions of the driving wheels.  If you cant the loco is going too fast.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 05:35:39 PM »

Bill, for a freight or switcher, that's close to being correct.  OTOH,  that is not true of a passenger engine at speed. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
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Summertrainz


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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2007, 06:37:24 PM »

at average speeds ill put straight and simple
it depends on kind , amount of cars and age

this doesnt nessecerly factor in the kind of loco

in 1829 (when the planet locomotive was realased)
the top speed was between 15-30 miles per hour

in 1849 the top speed was around 40 to 50 miles per hour

in 1869 the top speed was around 70-100 miles per hour

in 1899 the top speed was around 100 and 110 miles per hour

and stayed at that for steam in risk of malfuction and other dangerous possibilities. and with the invention of electric trains the focus was taken away.


The fastest  steam train was the mallard of the 30's 40's and 50's which broke the steam record to this day at 126 miles an hour
now there are electric and diesel trains which can easily pass that speed
but its surprising what water pressure could make move
at around 1950's steam loco's began disapearing for more efficent kinds
there are still some for tourism use.


i my self find steam trains much more appealing because of there sort of trade mark chug and such
was the first
i think the best

enjoy steam  Grin
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Paul W.

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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2007, 07:14:13 PM »

Inder, welcome aboard!
This site is a wealth of knowledge. All of the previous posts have answered most of your questions. One question you asked is "how long does it take to bring the locomotive up to operating pressure". This is something that can be rushed, but a slow steadily increasing pressure is the way to go. I know at Strasburg PA, they take 24hrs to bring a locomotive from no fire up to operating pressure. That allows the metals to heat slowly and evenly vs rushing just to get enough pressure.

Welcome to this great hobby!
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Happy Steamin'

Paul
BaltoOhioRRfan


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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2007, 08:13:54 PM »

Welcome, Inder.  I hope you enjoy this marvelous hobby and I hope you find steam locomotives as fascinating as I do.   You ask a lot of good questions, but the answers are very complex. 
First, just like automotive vehicles, steam locomotives were designed to do a variety of tasks - some were fast but relatively weak while others were slow but very powerful.  Obviously two things that relate to speed is how level the track is and how heavy is the train being pulled. 
We identify steam locomotives in two major ways, by their type name and by their wheel arrangement.  The wheel arrangement is important because you can get a good idea of how fast and how powerful the locomotive is by the arrangemen. 
All steam locomotives have drivers.  In addition a lot have pony wheels, at the very front and trailing trucks, under the cab.  These wheels are always smaller than the drivers and are not connected to the cylinders like the drivers are.  By this system, your Consolidation is a 2-8-0, which means two pony wheels, eight drivers, and no trailing trucks.  As a general rule, locomotives with two pony wheels were freight locomotives and were fairly slow but powerful.  Another loco with eight drivers is the 0-8-0, which means it only has drivers.  This configuration in the U.S. was normally a switcher, which often had even smaller drivers than a freight loco.   A bigger firebox gave more energy, so the 2-8-2, or Mikado came about. 
Four pony wheels normally indicated a passenger locomotive like the 4-8-2 Mountain.  After awhile even more power was needed and railroads developed the 2-8-4 and the 4-8-4. 
Another factor is that passenger locos tended to have fewer drivers, but larger than freight, so the 4-6-2 and 4-6-4 were very common. 
There were also steam locomotives with two sets of drivers.  These were normally articulated and had patterns like the 2-6-6-2 USRA light articulated. 
So.  The more drivers, the later the development, generally, so a 2-6-0 is an older design than the 2-8-0 which is more powerful.
Four wheel pony trucks tend to identify passenger locomotives, which went faster than freight locos. 
The more trailing trucks, the more powerful, so a 2-8-4 is more powerful than a 2-8-2 which is more powerful than a 2-8-0,
I hope this has helped. 

Depends on what road you model steamgene,

B&O, was more complex, a 4-8-2 on the B&O pulled Passengers and Freight(although most video i have on dvd is a 4-8-2 pulling a freight).  2-8-0's also saw a mix operation. and 0-8-0's on the B&O were primarly yard goats, however they did do some local coal drags(thats what i've read anyway).
 B&O also used 2-8-2's for local passenger service.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2007, 09:04:03 PM »

Depends on what road you model steamgene,

B&O, was more complex, a 4-8-2 on the B&O pulled Passengers and Freight(although most video i have on dvd is a 4-8-2 pulling a freight).  2-8-0's also saw a mix operation. and 0-8-0's on the B&O were primarly yard goats, however they did do some local coal drags(thats what i've read anyway).
 B&O also used 2-8-2's for local passenger service.
   

I knew somebody was going to go to exceptions!  The 4-8-2 and the 4-8-4 were both dual service.  Earlier, the 4-4-0, the 2-6-0, and the 2-6-2 were also dual service, as was the 4-6-0.  The C&O used 2-8-4s for passenger service as well as a few 2-6-6-6's.   We have on record a post on a 4-6-2 used for light freight. 
However, I'll stand by my overview.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2007, 10:26:46 PM »

The exceptions, that's endless.

Yes, the B&O used mikes (63" and 70" drivered ones) for passenger locals in the mountain areas, but the prefered power for those assignments, even on the B&O was a light Pacific (70" drivers).

Many south eastern lines used Pacifics and "Mountains" as dual service locos. The gentle grades allowed this.

The NYC had a large fleet of 4-8-2's, I don't think one ever pulled a passenger train on that railroad. Yet on the B&O, their 4-8-2's where so effective at dual service, they never owned a 4-8-4!

Sheldon

« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 10:56:06 PM by Atlantic Central » Logged
Hoople

I like BIG steam.


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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2007, 10:32:32 PM »

Well Gene, your not going to like it- but...

"Four pony wheels indicates a passenger engine"

Now when, oh when, did the Union Pacific Big Boy ever pull revenue passenger trains. (Not troop trains.)

I know you meant mostly indicates, but I had to post. 
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-Hoople-

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SteamGene

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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2007, 11:35:05 PM »

I've never figured out why the UP did the 4-X-X-4 pattern, other than to be different.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
rogertra


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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 12:59:49 AM »


"Four pony wheels indicates a passenger engine"


In Canada, 4-6-2s were regularly used on mixed and freight trains right up until the end of steam. 
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Inder


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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2007, 03:04:26 AM »

Wow,
This is going to take some time to digest.
Thank you all for the wealth of information.   I will go back and read it a few more times - will need to.  It's where you got the big number of drive wheels but then the locomotive's task is not so strenuous where it gets confusing.  I know that the 0-6-0 was a switcher.  I got that much down.
Or for example, I read that the Spectrum 2-8-0 is a great puller but a 2-6-6-2 is not.  I don't understand why this is so.  I have a 2-8-0, it is indeed a phenomenal engine and I am waiting for a 2-6-6-2 so I will see how well it compares.  The more drive wheels the better it should be is what I reckon.  Maybe it has to do with the articulation.  In any case I have some reading to do.

I read lots and lots of posts here in the 31 pages you have under general discussion and it's all very helpful.
One phrase stuck to my head and had been cracking me up all day:
"When first you open the Katsup bottle
first a little, then a lotto" ...something like that.

That was good stuff.  Not to veer off the topic but that's what stuck to my head while playing catch up here.

Anyhow thanks for all the info and I'm glad I signed up here.
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ebtbob


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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 05:22:16 AM »

Inder,

        One thing to remember about model engines regardless of whether they are electric,  diesel,  or steam - they will not pull what the real ones did in almost every case.    The size of your trains will be dependent on the size of your railroad and whether it is flat or not.   I have a figure E shaped railroad that measures roughly 16 by 26 and find that any train over 35 cars is too long.   That means it actually looks strange,  or as many of us say,  it overwhelms the railroad.  If you were to be at my place,  and see a larger type steam engine go by with 35 cars,  it would look like a long train,  where in the real world,  that would be considered a short train.  As you get into the hobby you will be able to tell how long your trains should be.
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