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Author Topic: Tank Locomotives  (Read 2428 times)
Hamish K

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« on: July 17, 2009, 11:20:22 PM »

In a thread below there was an off topic discussion of tank locomotives that understandably annoyed the thread originator. However as it is an interesting topic I have started this thread. In the earlier posts suggested that there were no standard gauge main of branch line tank locos in the USA apart from switchers. Although tank locomotives were much less common in North America compared to the UK, Europe or even Australia there were some. A common use world wide for tank locomotives was for suburban passenger (commuter) services. The CNJ  had 2-6-2t and 4-6-4t locomotives for this. The Boston and Albany used  4-6-6t s in suburban service. In Canada both the Candian Pacific and Canadian National had 4-6-4t locos.

Forneys are a type of tank locomotive. They were used on standard gauge elevated lines before these were electrified. They were also sometimes used on other duties, e.g. the Illinois Central had 2-4-4t locomotives in suburban service.

Mason bogies are also tank locomotives. While most commonly associated with narrow gauge there were standard gauge examples.

I have no doubt that there were other USA and Canadian standard gauge tank locomotives used in roles other than switching or industrial use.



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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 10:13:32 AM »

Ray,  You are correct.  But on the other hand as the water goes down, so does the weight.  They do not had much water or fuel.  I don't know how far they could go with the amount of fuel they carried.  Someone may know, but as modelers, we don't care.  We never run out of water or fuel.
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 11:40:14 AM »

Or hot air! Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 01:18:59 PM »

One of the other "ideal" tank lokies is the old, original Varney Docksider.  This model was once so common that very few HO layouts didn't have at least one.  It was all cast metal and would pull about 10 cars on the level.  In later years the models got downgraded severely, with plastic shells and cheap motors.  Note that PFM also imported a B&O Docksider back in the '60's that was also very nice.  It too was cast metal (not brass) and had full working valve gear. 

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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2009, 09:52:53 PM »

[...]but as modelers, we don't care.  We never run out of water or fuel.

This is slightly off topic but still interesting.

I was looking through the NMRA spec and found some CVs in the 800 range (894 and 895 to be specific) that are actually coal/fuel and water remaining with the locomotive stopping at 0.

Spec here: CVs

I don't know what decoders support this, but if the cost were not prohibitive I would definitely love to have them in my locos (new dynamic to operation).

-Matthew Newman
My Layout Blog

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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 01:30:46 PM »

Yeah, Runner, I've been around a while.  I had a Varney "Old Lady" for a while (same engine as the Casey Jones, but with a 2-8-0 mech.).  My first HO loco was a Hi-F Atheran F-7, followed by the miserable Atheran Little Monster 0-4-2T.  It was so tail-heavy that the trailing truck spring actually had to hold the drivers down on the rails.  You can imagine what that did to the pulling power.  OTOH, the Athearn USRA 0-6-0 was a reasonably respectable cheap loco model.  All that, of course, was long ago and far away.

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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 06:31:10 PM »

In a thread below there was an off topic discussion of tank locomotives that understandably annoyed the thread originator. 

Bloody right it did. But Tanks are interesting toics. But that thread was for posting about a train that your plannging to or have made.


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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 08:33:20 AM »

Roger the hot is amazing a train show isn't FAA certified.

Hamish - You got me thinking about the perfect locomotive for my upcoming copy of the Inglenook Switching Puzzle. The purpose of the layout (which will measure 4'x 1.5' is to give attendees at train shows something to operate. I have noticed, at most of the train shows we vendor, the public can look at trains in operation, they can buy trains, but rarely can they operate a layout. The Inglenook puzzle will challenge even the best is possible we may interest others in our hobby.

More to the point: I have been searching for the perfect locomotive for this game. Most of the road switchers are too large; and the ultra small diesels are just too light. Your thread on tank engines got me looking and I will be purchasing a Mantua tank engine which should be heavy enough to move a maximum of 3 - 40' cars on a level surface. Thanks for the thread! If you are remotely interest in either switching or micro layouts check out my other post at:

I have an all metal Mantua tank engine that I replaced the running gear with NWSL motor, gearbox & flywheel...runs GREAT 7 really pulls.  I installed a valve gear kit that was available at that time, they are probably still available somewhere.   Now I have to try to stuff a decoder in somewhere since i went DCC.  Jerry
CNE Runner

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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2009, 08:56:19 AM »

Well, well, seems I was part of an 'annoying' post? We certainly wouldn't want to be part of that. 'Tell you what; I have removed all my posts except this one - and I wish to extend my apologies to anyone I may have offended by going off thread.


"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
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