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Author Topic: Bachmann Locomotives limited to 2 degree grade????  (Read 18553 times)
rogertra


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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2012, 03:31:34 PM »

We'll try this again as my previous post seems to have disappeared.

Rangerover

2-8-8-4 wrote : -

"A 2-degree grade is actually 3.49% (100% times the rise in inches divided by run)--which is more than most railroads ever had on a mainline."

The photos you've posted under "Excuse me"  are of the Mount Washington Cog railway and what appears to be rope worked inclines on an ex UK colonial railway and subsequently the Cass Scenic Railway.  None of which could be classified as "mainline" as referred to in 2-8-8-4s original post.  So, the examples you've posted carry no weight to further your argument.

Steep grades, approaching 4% may be acceptable for a roundy-go-roundy 4 x 8 foot railway but are really not acceptable for a scale model railroad and they are too steep to be realistic.  The now closed N&W ex Southern Railway Saluda Grade excepted.


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Rangerover1944


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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2012, 03:49:41 PM »

I do believe we are talking about steam engine era, the pics I have posted are probably 100 years old. I do have one that is the steepest incline ever in the US. In fact it was in Pittsburgh Pa. Monongahela Line and it only dis banned in 1961 used for both freight and passenger. I'm just saying about how steep some grades were during the time. Of course engineering, research and development over the past 100 years have greatly improved most everything that we see today! And no railroad would ever go over a mountain such as they did years ago but remember it was the steam era. The 2-8-8-2 articulated loco's was built for such work in mountainous regions known to negotiate tight curves and hauling power. Used here in West Virginia where they replaced the 2-8-2's. They didn't have to MU 2 of these to haul, one 2-8-8-2 replaced the consist. As you can see in the pic both freight and passenger cars ascending. Now that would be something to model for the time era.

http://i1150.photobucket.com/albums/o619/Rangerover1944/MonIncline1905.jpg[/img]]
Monoline 1905

Didn't mean to start a flame war! Go ahead criticize me! Just stating the facts with pics! Jim
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Rangerover1944


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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2012, 03:57:20 PM »

Well I went a little off course with my post and not posting main lines, just saying that's all! The Cass Pic is here in West Virginia google search will cofirm that and it is still in operation like I said. I've been there a number of times and considering voluteering to help restore some of the Shays and Climax's, just haven't found the time. All lines here in West Virginia, including main lines, have some very steep inclines! I have no argument with anybody especially those who have never seen or traveled the trains here in west Virginia! Jim
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2-8-8-4

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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2012, 04:49:58 PM »

Not trying to offend anyone or be offended, just trying to stick to the facts.

Even the glorious epitome of 2-8-8-2 design, the Y-6B, was not designed for sustained operation on ridiculous grades--I think the N&W mainline grades--worst case--were in the 3% range, and only for relatively short stretches.

Also, the Western Pacific--which is a marvel of civil engineering for its time, was finished around or about 1909--well back into the steam era.  It featured more than 100 miles of sustained 1% to 1.1% grades, if I am correct, through the Feather River Canyon.  Those relatively modest but sustained grades enabled them to offer competitive freight service for much of the twentieth century, both steam and diesel.  They used 2-8-8-2's during the steam era over that division, but it also was a very well suited line for diesel power--thus they dieselized very early by about the end of 1952.  One reason the line is little used today is its remote location--I don't believe UP has much traffic in that area, and they choose to use the other routes instead.  However, the WP had one of the best alignments of any transcontinental railroad--and it was built during the steam era--it was the last transcontinental railroad completed, and the alignment was possible in part because they had access to explosives that previous builders did not possess.  (The other part being that they followed the river).

However, even by 1909 folks were avoiding the construction of steep grades.

(BNSF's current design guidelines require very flat grades).

East of the Feather River Canyon, for the desert run to Salt Lake City, the WP trains were assigned to a group of six marvelous challengers that were virtual copies of the UP Challenger--but in my opinion were much more attractive locomotives with nicer looking domes.  Because they toiled in the Nevada Desert, they were rarely photographed and are largely forgotten today.  Unfortunately for steam fans, the alignment of the entire WP plus the hard water conditions of the desert made it an ideal candidate for diesel power, so the beautiful monsters of steam passed too quickly...

John
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 05:05:38 PM by 2-8-8-4 » Logged
Rangerover1944


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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2012, 05:06:47 PM »

Steep grades, approaching 4% may be acceptable for a roundy-go-roundy 4 x 8 foot railway but are really not acceptable for a scale model railroad and they are too steep to be realistic.  The now closed N&W ex Southern Railway Saluda Grade excepted.


Hey it's my pike, I created it and it is a little more than a 4x8 it's small at 11x17 with a subway under it. Lots of mountains and tunnel's with overpass's and anybody that's seen it hasn't complained one iota. If they did "I'd show them the door and wish them a good day". What's even worse to some model railraoders probably is that I still use the Bachmann EZ Command, have been for 7 years but program with Digitrax PR3/JMRI. I'm quite satisfied with it including my spaghetti bowl of trains criss crossing over and under bridges that have the 4% grades on one of the peninsulas  and the same as the subway ramp from the top to the subway! Got to put a couple pics of this bad-boy layout on this site. Idea was taking from an old Atlas layout magazine from the 60's and in fact was supposed to be modeled in the Colorado Rockies. Wish all you folks have as much fun as I do creating and enjoying your own pikes! Jim
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Rangerover1944


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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2012, 05:19:45 PM »

I guess you guys picked up on the OP's original question. I didn't pick up on it till I read the part (traction tires). Definitely N gauge! Jim
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rogertra


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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2012, 05:24:52 PM »

"Didn't mean to start a flame war! Go ahead criticize me! Just stating the facts with pics! Jim"

No flame war here buddy, but the the photos you post do not back up your argument defending excessively steep grades on main lines.

You are posting photos of cog railways, rope hauled inclines, logging roads and funicular railways, none of which is a "main line" or class one railroad.  They are tourist railroads or logging railroads.

I believe it's generally accepted that the ex Southern Railway and latterly N&W 4% or so Saluda Grade was the steepest "main line" or class one railroad grade in the U.S. of A.  And that steep grade is an exception to the rule.

However, if you want 4% or steeper grades on your model railroad go ahead.  As they saying goes, it's your model railroad.  However, the usually unmentioned other side of that coin is that it is most often used to justify unrealistic or unprototypical modelling.

But do what you want and have fun doing it.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 06:23:15 PM by rogertra » Logged

jward


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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2012, 01:54:00 AM »

 How many mainline Class 1 freight railroads still in operation today have a switchback?

To my knowledge the answer is none--I rest my case.  
John


look up hagans, va. the l&n cumberland valley line has a double switchback which is still used to-day by csx. and yes, full sized trains run over this line. thye break the train into two sections to run through the switchbacks, and reassemble the train on the other side. i was fortunate enough to ride this line in 1978.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
2-8-8-4

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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2012, 09:36:43 AM »

Well--imagine that--I stand corrected Smiley

However, the use of switchbacks is still far from the norm.

OP, and others with very steep model grades partly due to space--absolutely, yes, it is your railroad and you should be able to run whatever it is on earth that can run on your railroad that makes you happy.

However, it is a little bit unrealistic to expect model locomotives to negotiate grades with train lengths that the real engines never could.  That was the main point I was attempting to make.  At least within HO (I can't really speak for the other scales) many people try to push the limit beyond anything that was remotely possible in the real world.

Best wishes to all.
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rogertra


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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2012, 01:41:26 PM »

2-8-8-4 says: -

 "... it is a little bit unrealistic to expect model locomotives to negotiate grades with train lengths that the real engines never could. "

I think the reason we do this, at least this is the reason I do this, is that we are modelling in a restricted space.  Most of us do not have an Olympic sized gym in which to build our model railroads.  My now gone GER was built in a 12 x 16 foot room.  The model was set on the border southern Quebec and Maine, just in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the railroads in this region were still fairly flat and grades were easy. 

However, in a 12 x 16 foot space I needed grades that would enable me to have visible tracks pass over hidden tracks.   This means a 31/2" rise in order to gain the required clearance.  This was done by using a descending grade for the St Pierre branch track that was eventually hidden and a rising main track grade for the visible track, thus splitting the need for the 31/2" height in half.  While that worked fine for me to pass the main track over the St. Pierre branch at Fox River, it didn't help in the climb from the hidden main staging where the grade was around 3% and on two 28" radius curves with a run of some  18 or so feet.

Even split grade solution gave me visible grades that were, for the region, unprotoypically steep yet I still need my steam engines to pull 16 cars plus van so as to give me a somewhat realistic and good looking train length in relation to the room size.  Scenic effects reduced the visible impact of the grade but it was still there and my steam models were still required to pull 16 car trains.  This is the reason, and I think it's a good and justifiable one, why we require and even need our steam engines to pull loads up grades that the prototype would have struggled with or found impossible to handle.

I have not mentioned diesels as they are usually not an issue, being far better pullers than steam and besides, you can always use multiple diesels.  And no, double heading or using helpers on my steam hauled trains was not an option as they were not used in the region I was modelling.
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Pacific Northern


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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2012, 03:42:31 PM »

The CPR mainline first built through British Columbia contained a stretch of track know as the "Big Hill"

This section of track had a 4.5% incline. CPR built a siding just to store pusher engines to help with the various trains passing through.

At the time of the construction, most railroads were still using 4-4-0's as their main engines. In 1884 CPR ordered two 2-8-0's from Baldwin just for pusher duty. At the time these engines were built they were the largest engines built. In 1886 CPR ordered two more of these engines and in 1987 started building their own in their shops.

In 1909 this stretch of mainline was replaced with the "Spiral Tunnels" which lowered the incline to 2.2%
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Pacific Northern
Desertdweller

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« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2012, 04:40:43 PM »

I have no documentation for this, but I think the last mainline use of switchbacks was on the Denver and Salt Lake Ry. to climb Rollins Pass.  This route was eliminated with the opening of the Moffat Tunnel.

Prior to this, switchbacks were used to get the Great Northern main line over the Cascade Mountains.  They were eliminated with the construction of the first Cascade Tunnel, in turn eliminated by the present Cascade Tunnel.

My last railroad assignment was on a railroad with a short distance of 6 per cent grade.
While technically on a main line, it was on an extension of the main line from its northern terminal north into a mining district.  So it only saw mine runs.  This was Cobre Hill near Baird, New Mexico.  Empties up hill, loads down hill.  This line was reopened about the time I retired, and I never ran a train over that stretch.

Switchbacks used to be a common way of getting trains over rugged territory.  They were common on narrow-gauge lines in Colorado, and were sometimes found on standard gauge railroads, but only as a temporary measure.  The Winona and Southwestern Railroad in Minnesota used switchbacks to handle the grades crossing Bear Creek Canyon in Winona County, MN until a high bridge was built.

I've run trains on industrial leads using switchbacks, and I didn't like them.  The first one I ran on was in downtown Hartford, CT.  Our railroad, the Connecticut Southern, used a switchback to get down into the Connecticut River Valley to serve a couple of recycling plants.  As is usually the case, the tail track (stub track) of the switchback is too short to hold a full spot of cars, so the switchback has to be doubled in both directions.  Someone with a sense of humor put an old road sign at the wheel stops at the end of the stub, "Bump"!

A worse case exists at the huge copper mine in Hurley, NM.  Here a steep grade leads downhill from the yard into the mine.  It ends at the stub end of a switchback.  There is a derail at the very end.  Beyond that is a more-or-less 200 ft. drop.  Again, the switchback stub only holds half a spot of cars.

The track leading back down from the switchback to the unloading tracks is maybe 4 per cent.   It goes down into an open pit mine.  18 car cuts of loaded acid cars are pulled into the mine, cut into two 9-car sets, pulled to the end of the switchback, and lowered into the mine for unloading, after pulling the two 9-car cuts of empties back onto the switchback and set out of the way.  It is quite a challenge for the engineer.  You have to set a lot of air (but not all of it, or you'll stall) and shove against the loads downhill, pushing against the brakes.  Stopping is achieved by chopping the throttle.
If you miss your spot, then you have a real problem!

Now that the concentrator is in operation, the loaded tanks are joined with empty gons inbound, and very heavy gons loaded with copper concentrate outbound.  It is an operation that requires a lot of focus.

Les
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Doneldon

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« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2012, 05:45:10 PM »

There are a few railroads purposely build to go up moutains (Pikes Peak and the Carmelit Subway in Israel) come to mind but these are passenger not freight Rys 

Joe-

I don't know about the Israeli railroad you mentioned but the Pike's Peak Railway is very unconventiomnal and completely unsuitable for actual transportation beyond the reason the railway was built in the first place: Tourist access to a desirable point before automobiles were widely available. The M&PP is an inclined railroad with a gear underneath which engages a cogged "bar" between the rails. The Mt. Washington Railroad in New England is another example of this construction technique. But where can a cog railroad go once it's off of its incline? The cars are all severely slanted so people can't even stay in their seats once the cars go to level.

                                                                                                                               -- D
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jward


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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2012, 10:34:48 AM »

i don't know about how anybody else does things, but having a steep grade can be useful if you want to run helper engines. on a typical basement sized layout, having a stretch of 3% forces 20-25 car trains to either get a helper on the rear, or double the hill. both were and still are common situations in real railroading. so, rather than being "unprototypical" these grades make the layout more true to the big ones.

remember, you can model everything to exact scale and not have much, or you can selectively compress everything and get alot more even if it isn't strictly to scale. 20-25 car trains are much more practical than the 100+ car monsters rolling by the house every day. and compressed trains need compressed grades to compensate.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Doneldon

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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2012, 01:53:02 AM »

i don't know about how anybody else does things, but having a steep grade can be useful if you want to run helper engines. on a typical basement sized layout, having a stretch of 3% forces 20-25 car trains to either get a helper on the rear, or double the hill. both were and still are common situations in real railroading.

Jeff-

I don't think doubling hills happens much at all these days due to the ready availability of strong, reliable motive power and the fact that trains can, in essence, take their helpers with them. A train's engineer can idle extra engines, saving fuel, but get them pulling upon reaching a grade. This is cheeper in the long run than having almost as many locomotives plus a large contingent of additional engineers standing by at the foot of every significant grade. But I certainly agree that building layouts so we can justify helper service is a great way to add some fun and, at least for railroads modeling the period when separate helpers were much more common, some complexity and operational realism to our miniaturized worlds.
                                                                                                                             -- D
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:50:19 PM by Doneldon » Logged
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