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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 4:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 821
Location: Byers, Colorado
Not to detract from all the technical points raised in this thread, but there is a very simple explanation of why some engineers just yank the throttle wide open, with no finesse. If you have a pool of engineers, a certain percentage are going to be throttle jerkers --- we call them "three throttle" forward/stop/backwards. I've also heard it quoted as slack, forward, and reverse.

These guys often handle the air the same way. While those of us who were raised right do our best to slow down gradually as we are signaled to do so, stopping the train exactly when our helper's hand comes down (or lantern, or he says "that'll do"), you have a certain percentage that don't set the air at all until they get a washout sign.

The trainmen know who to watch out for, and who to trust. The better you can take signs, the higher seniority will be the help that bids on your job.

_________________
Ask not what your locomotive can do for you,
Ask what you can do for your locomotive,

Sammy King


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 2094
What was the cover date of the first person T-1 story in Trains? I recall maybe late 1980s.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Los Altos, CA
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Several years ago one of the Kalmbach magazines had an insightful article regarding the short life and urban legends surrounding the T1's. Also, Vernon Smith wrote about them in his book One Man's Locomotives. Among the things that I learned were:
1. While the production run of T1's was building, PRR upper management decided to dieselize all passenger trains ASAP. The VP of western lines then unsuccessfully tried to have them canceled before any more money was spent. Failing that, he tried to sell them off to other railroads, also before they were completed, also without success. All this is indicative to me of PRR's left hand not knowing what it's right hand was doing.


The January 1979 issue of Trains had an article written by W.A Gardner, who worked with PRR, and later EMD. As the story begins, Gardner is at Harrisburg, waiting for PRR's first E7s, 5900 and 5901. The station was crawling with RR management, but it turns out the first T1 was arriving the same day, and that was what attracted the attention. At the time, nobody was paying attention to the E7s. Gardner saw the way the wind was blowing and went to work at EMD.

This story is a keeper. It was republished in Great American railroad stories : 75 years of Trains magazine.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Northern Virginia
To all those who read the C&O magazine article on the T1's and commented at length - thank you!!! It made all the effort 16 years ago worthwhile. The much maligned T1 is finally getting its proper consideration.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Northern Virginia
Regarding the January 1979 Trains mag article, I've used it as a glaring example of the myths surrounding T1 mileages. Part of this article compared the T1 and two new E7's on test from EMD (pp48-50). It shows how entertaining but unsupported hearsay can get much wider distribution and have more influence than dry, dusty old facts. I’ve found considerable reason to question the quoted T1 mileage during the time from Sept 1945 through April 1946, the 6-month period mentioned in article. During that time, the E7's ran 69,000 miles, about 11,500 miles per month. The author was told that the highest mileage T1 during that period ran only 2,800 miles. According to mileage reports from the Chief of Motive Power's office, 5504 was the highest mileage T1 at the time, posting 40,642 miles since its in-service date of 12/5/45. This is an average of about 8,294 miles/month. For the month of April 1946, it posted 10,793 miles, only slightly less than the E7's at that time. Also during April, 5512 posted 11,442 miles and 5508 posted 10,942 miles, also about the same as the E7's. Maximum mileage figures for the T1 fleet stayed in this range until March 1947. I could never understand where the 2,800 mile figure came from. It’s certainly not supported by any existing data.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Los Altos, CA
Dave Stephenson wrote:
Part of this article compared the T1 and two new E7's on test from EMD (pp48-50). It shows how entertaining but unsupported hearsay can get much wider distribution and have more influence than dry, dusty old facts.


The author worked at PRR during the time in question and presumably had access to the data. I am willing to go with his recollections unless alternate data surfaces that refute them. To me, the most significant part of the story was where the brass was engrossed the just-delivered T1 and ignored the E7. At least one of the EMD's got preserved at Strasburg.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 2094
Thanks for the replies.

The 1979 article is not the one I recall. I remember a first person story about a crew that got a T-1 on the head end late in the steam era and decided to see what the engine could do.

As the magic 8-ball says “please try again.”

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1119
My late father-in-law, a 1939 hire on the PRR, was a machinist and gang foreman at Harrisburg. He spent many a night preparing T-1's for the fleet of westbound passenger trains that funneled through Harrisburg in the evening hours. Among other true stories he told me, he said there was a growing pile of pieces of shrouding that had been removed to permit access to various appliances and moving parts that could not be replaced in a timely manner. He also noted that a great deal of time was spent tinkering with various little adjustments and fixes to try to keep them going. His worst nightmare was having to get in between the frames and behind the drivers to get to the valve gear gearboxes. They were typically covered with grime, cinders and road dirt. Since the access to the gears inside was from the top, it was imperative to clean as much of this crud off the top of the box as possible so it didn't fall into the gears.

He also noted that a pair of K4s engines was always kept hot and ready to roll at a moment's notice to substitute for a T-1 that wasn't quite ready. The Harrisburg roundhouse foreman had a litany of excuses that he could trot out to explain to higher authority why a T-1 wasn't able to make it.

"Steam engines were a lot of dirt and hot water down the back of my neck" is how my father-in-law explained life in the steam roundhouse. He was one of the first machinists to be sent to LaGrange when the first E-7's put in an appearance.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:28 pm
Posts: 373
Quote:
wesp

Thanks for the replies.

The 1979 article is not the one I recall. I remember a first person story about a crew that got a T-1 on the head end late in the steam era and decided to see what the engine could do.

As the magic 8-ball says “please try again.”

Wesley


I think you may be referring to the article written by John R. Crosby:
http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/259651.aspx?page=1


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Northern Virginia
JohnD - That's the one!! One of the great pieces of first-person railroad writing!!! John Crosby really had a way with words.


Last edited by Dave Stephenson on Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:45 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Northern Virginia
psa188 - I referenced the CMP reports and have copies, so other PRR data does exist. The originals were at the Hagley library IIRC. And yes, after a few months, the E7's had mileage and everything else in their favor. FOr the T1, it was all over but the shouting.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 2094
Quote:
I think you may be referring to the article written by John R. Crosby:
http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/259651.aspx?page=1


Thank you! The article was just as good as I remembered.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1649
Dave Stephenson wrote:
To all those who read the C&O magazine article on the T1's and commented at length - thank you!!! It made all the effort 16 years ago worthwhile. The much maligned T1 is finally getting its proper consideration.

A couple of points stood out to me from your article: 1. the duplex drive cancels (or maybe "reduces" is the better word) the advantage of having all drivers work together to lessen wheel slip; 2. boosters, wow why weren't these on all steam locomotives? Were they not on the T1 due to difficulty installing them on a centipede tender?


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 510
Location: Bowie, MD
G. W. Laepple wrote:
His worst nightmare was having to get in between the frames and behind the drivers to get to the valve gear gearboxes. They were typically covered with grime, cinders and road dirt. Since the access to the gears inside was from the top, it was imperative to clean as much of this crud off the top of the box as possible so it didn't fall into the gears.



If you are in the mid-Atlantic region and want to see this sort of arrangement first hand, check out the Franklin valve gear box on the C&O 490 at the B&O RR museum. On 490, it is mounted on the center of the frame right behind the cylinders, just in front of the first driver axle. I don't even understand how a person could get up in there without crawling along under the axles from the back of the locomotive or via a drop pit. Then, it appears there is only enough room for a single person who would need to remove the large, heavy lid by themselves.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: PRR 5550 Update: Boiler Assembly
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:08 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 915
Location: Philadelphia, PA
C&O 490 has the Franklin Type A Poppet Valve System (oscillating cam), same as a PRR T1. C&O's later and larger L-2-a 4-6-4's 310-314 had the newer Type B System (rotating cam). The parts were largely outside and much more accessible. PRR 5500 was retrofitted with the Type B system.

The 5900-5901 E7's ran every day; Harrisburg to Detroit one night and back the next.

The T1's were fast. John Crosby's story had the speedometer pegged at 120 mph* leading to a discussion with the Chief Dispatcher at Ft. Wayne. They had received a late train at Crestline and made up time so it was a "don't do it again" moment.

There's a phrase "you give them what thay want whether they want it or not." The question is whether the Management at Broad St. wanted the Blue Ribbon trains to go 120 mph on jointed rail. I rode the P70fbR's with modern 2E-P5 trucks on the NY Division but they had a certain vibration at 80+ mph.

Then there's the matter of braking from 120 with a freewheeling steam engine and the cars' brakeshoes bearing on the wheels. How do you dissipate the heat?

Phil Mulligan

* Crosby's speed run was approximately where PFW&C E2 7002 ran 127.1 mph in 1902.


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