4014 on the move!

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UrbanHermit
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4014 on the move!

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat May 04, 2019 1:45 am

I see that Union Pacific have just got their Big Boy 4014 up and running. When i heard some time back that UP intended to restore a Big Boy to running condition i wondered if I'd live to see it.

Just to inform (or remind) you, this locomotive last ran in 1959, and was in a museum in California from 1962 to 2013. It arrived at UP's shops at Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2014, but restoration didn't begin until August 2016. A locomotive at least three times bigger than anything that ever ran here, that hasn't moved under its own power for over half a century, has been made operational (including conversion from coal to oil firing) in less than three years.

Even though I know that UP is a big company with plenty of money and labour, and a fully equipped steam shop, I'm seriously impressed. Just shows what can be done if you have the willingness, the facilities and the dosh.

There are already some vids up on YouTube. i have to say, she does sound a bit clanky. And apparently they had to stop short of the intended destination to do a bit of fettling. But it's early days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvKfu_EGZIk
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UrbanHermit
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Re: 4014 on the move!

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat May 04, 2019 10:04 am

Another vid here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR7Q27cIEvo

Note the passing freight train at 11.50 with seven (I think) locos.

On watching the first vid again, I noticed one rather alarming thing. Unless the car it was shot from had right-hand drive (very unlikely), the bloke was driving and filming at the same time. Yikes...
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)

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Bufferstop
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Re: 4014 on the move!

Postby Bufferstop » Sat May 04, 2019 2:51 pm

I think it was being filmed through an open window from the rear seat behind the driver. The lack of any bodywork around the edges suggests the camera is in the opening. However I wouldn't have been surprised if an American did film a moving loco whilst driving, the questions asked on the Quora website suggest that in the US using phones and cameras whilst driving is seen as acceptable behaviour.
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UrbanHermit
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Re: 4014 on the move!

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat May 04, 2019 4:58 pm

There are some moments about halfway through where the outside mirror is in shot. It's definitely been shot from the driver's seat. Even if it is the largest operating steam engine in the world, is it worth risking life and limb (not to mention other people's lives and limbs) for?

Incidentally, and to get a bit nerdy, although most sources will tell you that the Big Boys were the biggest steam locos ever built, there is some dispute about that. Some claim that the Alleghennys (2-6-6-6s) built by Lima for a couple of railroads, most famously the Chesapeake and Ohio, were slightly larger (and more powerful).
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)

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Re: 4014 on the move!

Postby Bigmet » Tue May 07, 2019 9:59 am

UrbanHermit wrote:There are some moments about halfway through where the outside mirror is in shot. It's definitely been shot from the driver's seat. Even if it is the largest operating steam engine in the world, is it worth risking life and limb (not to mention other people's lives and limbs) for?.

It is quite possible that the filming may have been from a UP dirt service road adjacent the line. Whatever, traffic conditions outside urban areas on the Western plains are so different to Europe, the whole place is basically empty! Even I, the most safety conscious driver in the world, couldn't resist doing a driver changeover on the move at 60mph in the RV while on the interstate somewhere between Cheyenne and Laramie. No other vehicle in sight and you could see for miles and miles.

UrbanHermit wrote:...although most sources will tell you that the Big Boys were the biggest steam locos ever built, there is some dispute about that. Some claim that the Alleghenys (2-6-6-6s) built by Lima for a couple of railroads, most famously the Chesapeake and Ohio, were slightly larger (and more powerful).

The Allegheny wasn't physically larger or heavier, but could manage a significantly greater sustained power output, probably the largest ever seen from a steam loco.

But what it didn't have was that witty name 'Big Boy' - reputedly applied by a foreman on the front of the first built - which 'stuck'. Their fame was secured by the competent handling of the wartime transcontinental freight traffic in the Wyoming division, which has a climb into the Rockies that makes the Lickey incline look like a sloping drive access to your garage. It's impressive enough to sit and watch the immense trains with diesel lash ups going at it today. With a steam loco it is something else.

Both classes were extremely successful in service, but rapidly replaced by dieselisation. I notice that 4014 has Big Boy chalked on the smokebox front...

UrbanHermit
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Re: 4014 on the move!

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat May 18, 2019 8:38 pm

It's not really surprising that the C&O Alleghenies hold the record for measured horsepower. Although the firebox was actually slightly smaller in grate area than a Big Boy's, it was a better shape for efficient combustion (and hence power production). About half the length of a Big Boy's firebox was over the last two pairs of driving wheels, forcing the use of a shallower-than-ideal firebox; it must also have made it difficult to provide enough air access under the grate. On an Allegheny the whole of the firebox was over that six-wheel trailing truck, and it could therefore be deeper.

Lima, designers and builders of the Allegheny, had already proven the effectiveness of a big, wide and deep firebox for sustained power at speed in their very successful 'Super-Power' 2-8-4, and the 2-6-6-6 was in essence a 50% enlargement of that concept. It was an excellent configuration for a really powerful fast freight locomotive.

Unfortunately, the Chesapeake and Ohio Rail Road didn't use them for that. It put them to work slogging at slow speeds (25mph or less) up the steep grades of the Allegheny Mountains (hence the name) with super-heavy coal trains, and for that sort of work they were less well-suited. For hard slow slogging reliable adhesion is important, and the Alleghenies had only 65% of their weight on the driving wheels (with a Big Boy it was slightly over 70%). Worse, hard slow pulling would have transferred quite a lot of weight to the six carrying wheels at the back.

That didn't stop the C&O from being sufficiently impressed with their Alleghenies to expand the original batch of ten by stages to a total fleet of sixty, but it was only during the last year or two of their service lives, when they'd been displaced by diesels in the mountains, that they got a chance to show what they could do. It's been reported that the C&O management was astonished by how fast they could go with heavy trains.

The only other railroad to buy 2-6-6-6s from Lima, the Virginian, also used them for coal drags, as such traffic is called in America.

The real kings of the coal drags were the Norfolk and Western's Y6b 2-8-8-2s. These engines were compounds, long after every other American railroad had given up on them, and by admitting live steam to the huge low-pressure cylinders the tractive effort could be boosted to a whopping 152,000 pounds, as compared to 135,000 pounds for a Big Boy and 110,000 pounds for an Allegheny (or 40,000 pounds for a 9F...). (Tractive effort is not a measure of power, but rather of the maximum pull a locomotive can exert when starting from rest.) With just over 90% of the weight on the driving wheels, the Y6bs were unsurpassed for hard pulling at moderate speeds, which was exactly what the N&W wanted them for.

The N&W had the advantage that, as one of the only two American railroads that regularly built its own locomotives (the Pennsylvania was the other) it could tailor the designs to its specific needs – and did so with great success. All of the last generation of N&W steam locos – the J 4-8-4s for passenger, the Y6b 2-8-8-2s for coal drags, and the A 2-6-6-4s for fast freight – were outstandingly good at what they did.
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