North East Rails
Rolling Stock & Steam FAQ
Steam, Rolling Stock & Misc Info
Prototype FAQ Part 1
From: Urban_Fredriksson@icl.se (Urban Fredriksson)
Subject: rec.models.railroad FAQ PROTOTYPE part 1 of 2
rec.models.railroad FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS
PROTOTYPE QUESTIONS (PART 1 of 2)
This started out as part of the rec.models.railroad FAQ,
but now I feel that it belongs in the misc.transport.rail.*
This part contains the following subjects:
ROLLING STOCK, PASSENGER CARS
Can anyone tell me about CN passenger cars?
The CANADIAN NATIONAL smoothside lightweight passanger cars were
painted CN olive green and black with a black roof and black ends.
Sides were green from the bottom of the window up and black from the
bottom of the window down. Yellow stripes at the top, between green
and black just below the window and at the bottom. CANADIAN NATIONAL
was in yellow and centered above the windows. The individual car name
was yellow centered in the black area of the car and yellow and red
crests at all four ends centered in the black area of the car side.
(Use CDS dry transfers)
(Use Scalecoat CN Green #72).
Sleeper cars are in the E series (4 sections, 8 duplex roomettes, 4
double bedrooms). Selected names are: Erikson, Edson, Elgin, Emerald,
Emperor, Enterprise, Essex, Euclid, and Eldorado.
The "Cape" series had 2 double bedrooms, 2 compartments and a lounge.
Selected names in this series are: Cape Race, Cape Breton, Cape
Chignecto, and Cape Porcupine.
A good reference book is "Canadian National Railway Story" by Patrick C
In 1953, CN placed orders for 302 cars, including a single order with
Pullman for 92 sleeping cars, 17 parlor cars and combination parlor and
meal service cars, 12 combination sleeping and meal service cars and 20
full dining cars. The remaining 161 cars were coaches ordered from
Canadian Car and Foundry. CN then determined this was not enough and
at the end of 1953 ordered an additional 57 coaches from Canadian Car
and Foundry and 30 baggage cars from National Steel Car Corporation in
The 218 coaches built by CC&F were identical, however the sleepers were
of various designs. Besides the 4-8-4 "E" series there were 20 "Green"
series cars (6 roomette, 4 double bedroom, 6 open section). 15 of these
were leased to Pullman for international service and had Pullman in
yellow on the four top corners of the car. Individual names include:
Greenmount, Green Point, Green Lane, Greendale, Green Harbour, and
Another type, the "Bay" series (10 roomettes, 5 double bedrooms) also
had some leased to Pullman. Individual names in this series are:
Buckley Bay, Hudson Bay, Glace Bay, and Thunder Bay. There were a total
of 6 cars in this series, of which 4 were leased to Pullman and had
Pullman in yellow in the top 4 corners.
All "E" series cars were operated in Canada.
The "Cape" series also had cars leased to Pullman with Pullman in
yellow on the four top corners of the car.
Also, in 1950, Canadian Car and Foundry built 20 "I" series sleepers
according to plans and specifications supplied by Pullman Standard.
These were lightweight smoothside 24 duplex roomette cars with 6 wheel
drop equalizer trucks. Individual names include: Indigo, Ingelow,
Innes, Iroquois, Inverness, Iris, Isabella, and Irvine.
All the cars (389 total) ordered in 1953 came with 4 wheel trucks.
As for sources, "Canadian Railroad Modeller" is the only magazine
available in Canada, and have not done any articles on CN passanger
cars (yet) and I don't know if they will. The book "Canadian National
Railway Story" is where I got the above information, but it does not
provide plans, just small pictures.
Another book with good pictures of these cars that I remembered and
looked at last night is "More Classic Trains" by Arthur D Dubin
(published by Kalmbach). Interestingly, this book also has a section
on CP but does not show any of the smoothside lightweight passanger
cars owned by CP.
CNJ AND READING PAINTS
Regarding RDG paint schemes:
Yes, the solid green (often called "candy apple green") color is the
scheme on the CSX ex-D&H GP39-2's. The D&H 7400-series units are the
former Reading ones, and they were delivered in the green paint.
They've gotten many different D&H paint jobs, and the CSX didn't BUY
them - they RECLAIMED them! CSX was the owner of the lease, and when
the lease came up, they were power short and just took 'em back and
renumbered them into the 4300-series. It's pretty funny, too - the
three units that were rebuilt by M-K Mountaintop that were repainted
into Lightning Stripes lasted little more than a year... shame...
The colors haven't changed much, though!
The "Bee Line" service scheme is indeed the yellow/green scheme. The
"Bee Line" slogan only appeared on the C630's and U30C's, if memory
serves me correctly (any GP's get this?).
Co-Bo WHEEL ARRANGEMENT
What advantage (if any) was supposed to accrue from the Co-Bo wheel
Quite simply the Co-Bo arrangement was used to reduce the maximum axle
load and therefore inprove the route availability. The engine is at the
three axle end of the locomotive.
I can only assume that the weight distribution of the Metro-vics was
such that a Co-Co arrangement would have resulted in the wieght being
distributed too much to one end (i.e. the axle loads at one end would
have been much less than at the other). This is not permitted on BR
as it can cause derailments at speed. There are many other regulations
regarding very very basic variations like this, including the
difference between wheel diameters on the same truck and between trucks
under the same vehicle etc.
ROLLING STOCK, PASSENGER CARS
Can anyone tell me about CP passenger cars?
I will limit my discussion to lightweight smoothside cars and stainless
steel fluted cars.
Roof painted black, carbody painted all tuscan red with yellow
lettering and name. I use Scalecoat CP Tuscan Red (# 69) and CDS dry
transfers, however you can also use "Champ" decals if you prefer
decals. The sleepers were cars in the "Grove" series. (10 roomettes,
5 double bedrooms)
Some individual names are Ash Grove, Beech Grove, Cedar Grove, Maple
Grove, Oak Grove, Spruce Grove, Walnut Grove, Palm Grove, Willow Grove
(noticing a similarity yet?).
The name "CANADIAN PACIFIC" was centered above the windows and car
individual name was centered below the windows. If you get the CDS,
there will be a small picture included showing where everything goes.
There is a great picture in the 1993 Canadian Railway Scenes calander
of the smoothside lightweight cars.
The book "Canadian Pacific Railway", by Patrick C Dorin and Nicholas
Morants', "Canadian Pacific" are great reference books.
Stainless Steel cars:
Obviously SS with a tuscan red stripe across the carbody above the
windows with a yellow CANADIAN PACIFIC centered and a tuscan red plate
with the individual car name centered below the windows.
There was an excellent series of articles in the "Canadian Railway
Modeller" magazine on kitbashing to make these cars:
Sep-Oct 1991: "Chateau" series sleepers and "Park" series
Nov-Dec 1991: The dome/buffet and "Manor" series sleepers
Feb-Mar 1992: Articles on the "Coach" and "Dining Cars"
May-Jun 1992: Article on the Steam Generator car
In the fifty's there were beaver shields on the four ends of the car.
Selected names of "Chateau series cars (8 duplex roomettes, 3 double
bedrooms, 4 open sections) are: Chateau Cadillac, Chateau Dollard,
Chateau Laval, Chateau Montcalm, Chateau Viger.
Selected names of "Manor" series cars (4 roomettes, 5 double bedrooms,
4 open sections) are: Abbott Manor, Bell Manor, Carelton Manor, Fraser
Manor, Mackenzie Manor, Wolfe Manor.
Is double-heading prototypical?
Southern Pacific does it all the time.There are other railroads that
put engines in the middle of the train (actually not right in the
middle) but I do not know which.
If I am not mistaken, the mid helpers are put more towards the front
of the train. Example:
F = Freight Car
D = Diesel Engine
C = Caboose (optional)
Please do not count the Fs, but a good ratio is 40/60 if the train has
100 cars. Last week a friend of mine was at the Tehachapi loop
in southern California and he said that a coal train went by with 10
engines, with 6 midhelpers.
Here is a bit more about typical North American practices (diesel locos):
Nearly all trains run with two or more locomotives. A mainline train with
only one engine is very rare, and 5 or more engines are by no means uncommon.
Branchline or secondary trains nearly always have two or more
locomotives, shortlines commonly run with one or two units. For regular
operations, outside mountainous areas with steep grades, locomotives are
almost always on the front of the train. In areas where steep grades
require more power, helper locomotives are added. Helpers may be added
to the front of a train, somewhere in the middle of the train, or at the end.
Rear end helpers are probably the most popular, followed by mid-train
helpers. Head end helpers are not used all that often, as they can
provide more force than the couplers can take, leading to broken couplers.
Head end helpers are often called "snappers" becuase they tend to snap
The <+> SBB CFF FFS (Swiss state railways) will be doing this in the
future at mountain lines (with the new 460 loco). Basically, they
simply couple two freight trains together. The 460 uses the ep line
(installed in modern cars for braking) to transmit digital signals --
much like digital model railway.
So you can soon see piggyback trains like this:
<-- direction (L = loco, C = car)
on the Gotthard line.
The reason for mid train locomotives is to reduce drawbar pull on the
headend. It is not uncommon for a coal train to approach 350,000 lbs
of pull. Freight cars in general are only designed to take 250,000 lbs.
Where the units are in the train is determined by tonnage and power.
The purpose is to make the remotes pull more tonnage than pushing on
the cars ahead of them. On a loaded coal train there is not much
problem, but on a mixed frieght with a lot of light top heavy cars,
the remotes can push the cars in front of the track.
Remotes also help equalize train brake responce time since there is a
a air charging/discharging source in the train.
What are "dynamic" brakes
Diesel-electric locomotives have motors attached to each axle. Normally
power is supplied to the motors causing the wheels to pull the train.
However, due to the magic of electromagnetics, if the wheels are turned
by an external force (such as gravity pulling a train down a hill) the
motors will run as dynamos, generating electricity. Since energy is
conserved, this electric power has to come from somewhere, which in
this case is the kinetic energy of the engine. In simple English,
running the motors as dynamos will put a drag on the engine, which can
be helpful when running a very heavy train down a long grade.
The amount of electric power generated is substantial, and it has to
be used up somehow to cause a drag on the wheels. This is done by
using a bank of resistors which convert the electricity to heat which
is then radiated away. On some EMD locos these resistors appear as a
bulging grille near the center of the roof although the SD50/60/70
series had enough hood room to put them behind the cab. CP Rail's
SD40-2Fs are also without the bulge. Alco, GE, FM, and BLW
locos with dynamics have extra grills somewhere on the loco, but no
bulges like the EMD "blister". On older Alcos (like RS3's) and on the
Baldwin DRS/AS types, these grills were in the short hoods.
Model shells are often offered with these external indications of
dynamic brakes, although they of course have no function. A given
prototype locomotive is usually available with dynamic brakes although
some allow both options.
EUROPEAN RAILWAY DESIGN
Recently I got access to some European layout designs and I began noticing
some differences in design philosophy. One thing I noticed is that the
European designs emphasized passenger/freight stations, loco facilities
and marshalling yards, but have little or no tracks going to industry
The question is this: Is that a reflection of the actual railroads?
In other words, is it true that Euro railroads do NOT serve many
industries directly? Is traffic mainly freight station to freight
station (the legs to and from the railroad filled in by trucks)?
Industrial spurs and sidings are very much an important aspect of
European railroads, at least in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
I think one reason layout books favor passenger operations is that
this is the aspect of railroading that the average European can
most readily identify with. In central Europe, almost all cities
of reasonable size have a substantial amount of passenger service.
And, even in the smaller cities, you may find as many as four or
five different *types* of passenger trains calling each day.
On a layout, a passenger station still provides for quite a bit
of operation, since there are through cars that go over from
one train to another, and some trains split or merge at junction
points. A stop by a long-distance train will also be timed to
coincide with stops by one to four (or more) local trains, some
of which may be just as long as the long-distance train, and others
of which may be comprised of a single self-propelled rail car.
Unusual events, which can, of course be duplicated on a layout, can
lead to interesting compositions. For example due to a last-minute
failure, a railcar may be replaced with a locomotive and a single
coach. Having been short of motive power at peak times in the
last few years, Austria has even pressed into service some
electrics which are officially classified as museum stock.
Also, many passenger trains -- particularly locals -- may also
carry express and maill cars, which can lead to some interesting
Note that the major European structure builders (Vollmer, Faller,
Kibri, Pola, etc.) do supply a range of industries, so these are
not left off layouts completely. I think it's basically a matter
of emphasis. In many U.S. areas you never even see a passenger
train, so people in those areas are more likely to focus on
As for freight stations: You can think of them as multiple
industries within one site. At a single freight station you can
spot a wide variety of freight cars, waiting to be loaded or
unloaded -- a wider range at least than would normally show up at
any single industry.
In Switzerland and Belgium, this is certainly true. Near Geneva, for
instance, there is a recent industrial area which is directly served
by the SBB-CFF. It makes for interesting switching at the nearby CFF
station of "Vernier-Meyrin" (soon to become a freight only station -
shame on them).
HIGH SPEED TRAINS
Which high speed trains are in service today?
Here I have collected the trains of the world that are faster than 200
km/h. If possible, I have included the train composition in angle
brackets: T = locomotive; A = first class car; B = second class car;
C = club/dining car; D = luggage car; R = restaurant car.
JR East/Central/West (Japan):
Shinkansen 100; 8.88 MW; 1277 seats; 230 km/h; 1985
JR Central: Tokio--Osaka (Tokaido)
JR West: Osaka--Hakata (Sanyo)
Shinkansen 200; 17.6 MW; 275 km/h; 1989
JR East: Omiya--Morioka (Tohoku), Omiya--Niigata (Joetsu)
Shinkansen 300; 12 MW; 300 km/h; 1991
JR Central: Tokio--Osaka (Tokaido)
Shinkansen 400; small profile; 240 km/h; 1992
JR East: Yamagata--Fukushima
TGV PSE; 6.45 MW; 270 km/h; 200 m; 386 seats
In service between Paris and the south-eastern part of France (high
speed line Paris--Lyon) since 1981. Two units can be coupled together.
Models: Jouef H0; Lima H0.
TGV A; 8.8 MW; 300 km/h; 237 m; 485 seats
In service between Paris and the western part of France (high speed
line Paris--leMans/Tours) since 1989. Two units can run together.
The TGV Atlantique holds the world record: 515.3 km/h.
Models: Jouef H0, Lima H0.
DB DR (Germany):
ICE (401/801--804); 9.6 MW; 250 km/h; 411 m; 759 seats
In service since 1991 on the three lines Hamburg/Bremen--Muenchen,
(high speed lines Hannover--Wuerzburg and Mannheim--Stuttgart).
Models: Fleischmann H0, Maerklin H0; Fleischmann N, Trix N.
[Editor's Note: The top speed has been reduced to 250 km/h as Mark Brader
informs me that the original 280 km/h is a futures number.]
BR (Great Britain):
IC 225 (Class 91/Mark V); 4.7 MW; 225 km/h
In use at the east coast main line London--Edinburgh.
IC125 (Class 43/Mark 3); 2x2250 hp; 201 km/h (125 mph)
Two power cars (Bo'Bo'), one at each end of train with 7 or 8 Mark 3
coaches. All formations include buffet or restaurant facilities. Used
on Great Western main line (London Paddington to Bristol/South
West/South Wales) and 'cross country' services (North East to/from
South West) and other services.
RENFE AVE (Spain):
TAV; 8.8 MW; 250 km/h; 200 m; 329 seats
These trains are very similar to the TGV. Since 1992 they run on the
new line (normal gauge) between Madrid and Sevilla.
ETR 450; 250 km/h (Pendolino); 1st class only
From Roma to Torino, Venezia, Genova, Napoli and Bari
What paint schemes did the Northern Pacific use?
The old scheme has grey roofs. The car body is dark green with a light
green stripe down the windows. Either side of the light green stripe
has a yellow pin stripe separating it from the dark green background.
Lettering was in yellow. The light green was rounded off near the
front on the engine. Atlas's FP-7's are painted in this scheme.
In the mid 50's when airlines were beginning to draw passengers the NP
decided it needed a new look. They added dome cars to their trains and
contracted Raymond Loewy to come up with a new modern look. The bottom
1/3 of the cars (and engines) were painted a light misty kind of green,
at the top of the light green was a white stripe about two inches wide
(except on the front of the locomotive where it expanded to about 6").
Above the white stripe was a very dark green (supposedly the color of
blue moonlight on pine trees). The dark green was the predominant
color. It extended from just below the windows up and including the
roof. Lettering was in black on the light green lower part of the car.
The "North Coast Limited" was in white over the windows on the dark
green part. The railroad name was also placed over the door at the
end of the car. (i.e. "CB&Q", "NP", and "SP&S")
How are the cars in local freight trains blocked? Suppose a train is to
service industries A and B several miles apart. Each has its own spur
siding. At each industry there are empty and loaded cars to be picked
up and there are empties and loads to deliver. Additionally, there are
empty and loaded cars at A destined for B. How are such cars
arranged in the train at the beginning of the run and where are they
placed in the train at each industry? Are there general rules?
The rules vary from prototype railroad to railroad, as well as how
ambitious the yard crew is and/or how strict the yardmaster is when
the train is originally made up. Generally a rule book outlines how
the train _must_ be set up (to comply with various federal and local
safety rules, such as distributing weight, keeping hazardous material
away from the crew) and how the train _should_ be set up (minimum
number of switches and/or "respots" of existing cars, minimum amount
of time blocking other trains). Model railroaders get to invent their
own rules and procedures (appropriate for the period and location being
modeled). A number of model railroad books have chapters of creating
such rule books for your empire; "The V&O Story" and "Realistic
Operations for Model Railroads" come to mind. The recent series of
articles on Saluda Grade in RMC contained extracts of the lengthy)
rules that govern just that short stretch of railroad.
Does anyone know of any books out there on the signaling protocols of various
The 'standard reccomendation" is for All About Signals, published
by Kalmabch, *.5 * 11, paper, BUT they seem to have let it go out of
print. For a specific road, the Operating Rules of that road are the
final authority (or, in some cases, the Employee TT). The AAR does have
a set of reccomended standards, but each road meets its own needs.
V0.3 Modified to include searchlight/colorlight aspects used by NORAC.
Does not include Position_Light, Modified_PL (I), or modified_PL (II),
or Color_Position_light. Quasi sorted by rule number.
Some indications and meanings. Derived from PennCentral practice,
there is some, though not complete, commonality across RRs. Transit
systems tend to be even more individualistic. This is DRASTICALLY
simplified, to keep the length managable. US Interlocking Signalling
is generally described as "speed signalling" in that each aspect
conveys an unambiguous speed at which the trains should operate. This
interacts with the "block signalling, to display "zero" (STOP_AND_STAY)
when the block signalling requires it. Speeds FULL, LIMITED, MEDIUM,
SLOW are defined in the Employee TT, for each stretch of track and for
each class of train.
The indication may involve one, two or three heads, either "high"
or "dwarf" (low mounted, trackside). While indications are similar
and related, they need not be identical. BN means aspect used by BN.
CCOR means aspect used by Consolidated Code of Operating Rules, which
governs many Western US railroads. The BN or CCOR Indication/rule may
vary slightly, but i feel the "sense" is the same. N is NORAC rules,
a common set covering Conrail, AMTRAK, etc. Trying to keep this
manageable. NOT AUTHORIZED FOR USE IN OPERATION OF TRAINS.
Rule numbers are from NORAC, 1991.
C Three Head High Signal C Two Head High Signal.
C C Two Head "dwarf" Signal | (etc....)
| C (Same indication/rule) |
N BN CCOR PC Aspect Name Indication
X X X G G CLEAR Proceed at maximum
R R authorized speed (281)
R | G
| | G G
X X X R R MEDIUM CLEAR Proceed at medium speed
G G (usually, half maximum)
R | G (283)
| | R(f)
X X X Y Y APPROACH Approach next signal
R R prepared to stop. (285)
X X X R R MEDIUM APPROACH Proceed at MEDIUM speed
Y Y prepared to stop at
R | Y next Signal. (286)
| | R(f)
X R R SLOW CLEAR Proceed, not exceeding
R G SLOW speed, usually 15
G | G MPH. (287)
| | R
X R R RESTRICTING Proceed not exceeding
R Y SLOW speed, expecting to
Y R | find track occupied,
| Y | switch thrown against
you, etc. (290)
X X X R R STOP_AND_PROCEED The "#" indicates the
R R presence of a "number
R | # plate", which makes it
# # R # Stop and Proceed,
| | R R expecting to find track
X X X R R STOP_SIGNAL Stop_and_Stay (292)
R | R
| | R R
So far, so good. The indications are fairly intuitive: High/Medium/Low
speeds map to head positions. These (mostly) govern through interlockings,
where allowable speed varies depending on the design of the switch, which
And this was the original (ca 1900 situation). But there arose a
need for more indications....
N BN CCOR PC Aspect Name Indication
Y(f) Y Y ADVANCE APPROACH Proceed expecting to
R Y Y find next signal at
R R | APPROACH. (281D)
| | |
X Y Y APPROACH MEDIUM APPROACH next signal
G Y G at MEDIUM Speed. (282)
X R G |
| | |
R MEDIUM APPROACH SLOW MEDIUM speed, APPROACH
X* Y next signal at SLOW
| NORAC: MEDIUM MEDIUM speed APPROACH
APPROACH MEDIUM (!) next signal at MEDIUM
n/a R MEDIUM ADVANCE Proceed at MEDIUM Speed
Y APPROACH next signal at APPROACH.
Y (Following signal at
| STOP. I find the rule
n/a G G
Y Y ADVANCE APPROACH Proceed, Approach next
R G | MEDIUM Signal at MEDIUM Speed.
| Y |
(note how arcane these are getting...)
Y Y Y APPROACH SLOW APPROACH next signal
Y R X R at SLOW Speed. (284)
R G G
| | |
SLOW APPROACH SLOW speed, APPROACH
X Y next signal prepared
R stop. (288)
These change, over time, and from RR to RR. If researching a particular
RR, try to get their Book of Rules of the Operating Department and an
Employee Time Table, which will discuss their practice. At any one time,
the indications in use on one RR are unambiguous. Mostly.
I have omitted the "flashing" aspects (mostly) , which move the speed
allowed up one "increment": thus "medium clear" would become "limited
"If its not all Red, its not Red at all". That is, unless all heads
are red, the reds become "place holders". Concentrate on the other
colors and their positions.
The PC "course" most of this is lifted from, in a couple places, just
gives up and says "this violates the memory rules, just remember it."
In the face of such expert advice, who am I to quibble?
I have omitted much related info, to keep this of managable length.
A few (more) notes on switches. Signals are located in advance of the
switch which they "protect", to allow the crew time to get the train to
the right speed. Trains do not respond rapidly to control inputs.
Thus, signal location is determined by authorized speed and grade,
among other things.
Switches can affect signals indications in several ways:
If the switch is open, a train from a direction which is at
risk must be signalled to stop.
If a switch is set to allow an opposing train to make a
conflicting move, other trains must be signalled to stop.
If a switch is designed for high speed moves (longer radius of
points, etc.) the signal should give a less restricting
Thus, the same train, at the same point, may receive any of several
different indications, depending on conditions ahead. Similarly, the
same track layout may be differently signalled, depending on switch
Some of the signals will be under remote control from an interlocking
"tower" or CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) board. The operator
typically selects "clear" or "stop". The aspect presented in the field
will be determined by local conditions: switch design, location of
trains, setting of switches, etc.
What is the relation between prototype rail weight and HO rail "code"?
Not much, really. Rail is weighed in pounds per yard, which correlates
with rail height in an irregular way. Code is rail height, measured in
1000ths of an inch, so code 100 rail is 0.1 inch high. You can
prototype rail tables from the AREA standards or the Maintenance of
Way Cyclopedea (look in any good engineering library and you should
What is the difference and which weight/code would be protypical for:
a) a heavy trunk line
From memory, code 100 is prototypical for heavy Pennsylvania
Railroad mainline rail from the 1930's, where I believe they used
152 pound per yard rail. I think that some modern mainlines use
a thin cross-section 120 pound rail that is almost as high.
Code 83 is closer to prototypical mainline rail for most HO
modelling purposes. It is a fair approximation of 120 pound per
b) passing tracks on said trunk line
c) branch line tracks
Use code 70 or code 83 rail. Code 70 is a good approximation of
90 to 100 pound rail.
d) industrial spurs
e) harbor and city railroading
It depends on the commodity being hauled and the traffic level.
Code 70 is reasonable on any heavily used spur, but code 55 and
even code 40 are not-unprototypical for rarely used spur tracks.
particularly if they are old or if they were originally used
for interurban or trolley lines.
It's worth noting that prototype railroads had already religated
their 60 pound per yard rail to branch lines before the turn of
the century, and most of this rail was retired from service in
the 1890's. I can show you a number of railroad culverts in
eastern Iowa with dates around 1895 that are built with stone
sills bridged with 15 foot lengths of surplus 60 pound rail.
These bridges survived into the diesel era!
Operationally, if you run equipment with NEM flanges (just about
anything made in Europe), you'll have few problems on code 83 and
code 100 rail, but code 70 and smaller will pose problems with
the flanges hitting the spikes.
This problem is even worse with smaller rails! With code 40, even
NMRA flanges are sufficiently oversized that they tend to hit the
spikes, so you've either got to use scale wheelsets (NWSL makes
fine scale HO wheels), glue your rail down or use solder and PCB
ROLLING STOCK, CONTAINERS
Does Triple Crown Services use containers?
Yes, Triple Crown Services is using containers. The Atalanta-Alexandria
service that I see going through Charlotte, NC is now using 45, 48, and
53 foot containers instead of Roadrailers. I have not seen and
TripleCrown trailers, but the 53 footers are on truck chasis, because
they won't fit any of the container flats. 45 and 48 footers are
carried on standard COFC flats or articulated well cars.
I haven't seen any doubles yet on the TCS, but I have started to see
doubles on other trains going north of Charlotte. I don't know if
they've received the clearances fixed all the way to Alexandria.
NS is also running double stacks between Charlotte and Columbia, SC.
I have heard that the doubles are running to Charleston, but I haven't
been down there.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, TENDERS
Can someone tell me about those big yellow UP tenders that I see being
pulled behind the black tenders on the remaining UP steam?
The yellow tenders were gas turbine tenders which used to hold
'bunker C' fuel oil. (They hold water now.) At present, the only
available models come with scale brass gas turbine locomotives.
What can anyone tell me about the Weehawken Railroad in New Jersey?
The Weehawken terminals were the main passenger terminal, and I think
freight also, of the West Shore Railroad. Whether that is the company
that built them or whether they took over an already existing terminal,
I do not know. The line came into Weehawken through a tunnel under the
Palisades, and terminated in a large yard and terminal there. From
Weehawken, passengers rode ferryboats into Manhattan; freight rode on
car floats - barges propelled by tugboats. The West Shore circa the
1880s extended as far as Buffalo (the company's full title was New
York, West Shore and Buffalo), parallel to and in many places within
sight of the New York Central line. It attempted to compete with the
Central, but could not make a living at it. It was eventually bought
up by the New York Central, but in common with most of that road's
acquisitions maintained a semi-autonomous existence. From Schenectady
west, most of the line is now abandoned and has been for many years,
though bits and pieces survive as industrial spurs, a bypass around
Rochester, etc. From Schenectady to New Jersey, it is Conrail's
principal freight access to metropolitan New York. Selkirk Yard is on
the West Shore and Conrail's access to New England is via the Alfred
E. Smith Bridge that leads out of Selkirk across the Hudson.
In modern times (since 1950) the West Shore passenger service shrank
back from Albany to Kingston (including connecting trains on the
"Ulster and Delaware" to Oneonta) and finally to West Haverstraw,
which until the mid fifties (?) was the terminus of an extensive
commuter service. The large green ferry boats and the tugs and barges
emblazoned with the New York Central emblem were common sights on the
Hudson River. I believe that there always has been a freight
connection from the West Shore Line to Jersey City, and dating I guess
from Penn Central times (at least since Conrail), this has become the
destination of the freight coming down the West Shore - the former
Pennsy yards in Jersey City that is (Greenville I think, and Oak
Island.) Weehawken as I understand it (though I've never been there
to see) has pretty much "dried up and blown away", railroad-wise at
least. There is periodic talk of re-establishing a terminal there for
commuter trains, which would seem to make some sense, although I'm
sure they'd get more business if they were routed into Hoboken or Penn
Station. Clearly there is a market for commuter service in the area
between the New Jersey and New York (now called the Pascack Valley
Line) and the Hudson River, and probably even as far north as Kingston.
The New York, Ontario and Western used trackage rights on the West
Shore from Cornwall to Weehawken, and its trains shared the Weehawken
terminal until the O&W was abandoned in 1957.
Recommended reading on Weehawken: Carl Condit's two volume work,
"The Port of New York: A History of the Rail and Terminal Systems
vol. 1: from the beginnings to Pennsylvania Station"
and vol. 2: from the Grand Central electrification to the Present"
(University of Chicago Press).
See the various chapters dealing with the New Jersey side of the
river; maps of the various lines and their terminals are included.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, PAINT SCHEMES
Were all U.S. locomotives painted black?
Almost all engines were painted black.
As for the few exceptions:
Souther Pacific Daylight
Santa Fe Blue Goose
Southern Crescent Limited
New York Central
Baltimore & Ohio Cincinnatian
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, THEORY
How do steam locomotives work?
Steam engines came in three basic varieties: reciprocating pistons,
geared drives, and experimental turbines. All work by boiling water
to make pressurized steam, and the energy in this steam is used to
move the engine.
While the earliest American engines burned wood for fuel, most steam
engines initially used coal, and towards the end of the steam era, oil
was used primarily to get around air pollution regulations.
In Britain, coke was the usual fuel in the early days of railways.
This was a result of Government regulations dating at least as far back
as 1829 that locomotives must "effectively consume their own smoke".
Coke, being free from impurities, generated very little smoke and was
hence the fuel of choice.
Other fuel choices included: peat, turf, and even electricity (as in
electric elements heating the water to steam)
The fuel was burned in the firebox and the hot gases were channeled
along a series of parallel tubes to transfer the heat of the gases to
the water, thereby generating steam.
In a reciprocating piston design the pressurized steam is sent into
cylinders, which were usually mounted on the outside front end of the
frame. For those engines with externally mounted pistons, the main
rod connects from the piston to drive wheel by means of a half-crank -
a protuding knob on the wheel. Other wheels are connected to the drive
wheel by side (or coupling) rods attached to a half-crank on each wheel.
For those engines with the cylinders located internally (ie: inside the
frame) the main rod connected to the drive wheel via a crank axle.
The main rod and half-crank converts the linear motion of the piston to
the circular motion of the driving wheels. There are many variations on
this design, such as using multiple cylinders to increase the amount of
energy extracted from the steam but they all fall into the category of
improvements to the basic design.
Note that once the steam has been used it is exhausted to the
atmosphere, which is why the tender on a steam locomotive is mostly
water and a relatively minor amount of fuel. Note that this design
with lots of exposed moving parts is also significantly sexier than a
diesel electric... [Original author's opinion]
In Britain, a special "condensing engine" were used in the original
underground railways. In these, the steam was led back to the water
tanks to condense, although it could also be routed to the open air
for above-ground work.
A geared locomotive follow the same principles as outlined above,
except that the main rods drive a crankshaft instead of a half-crank
on the wheel.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, COMPOUND/ARTICULATED
How did they "balance" the effort of the multiple engines?
To my knowledge, all articulteds had just one "Johnson Bar" in the cab which
operated all 4 (or 6) sets of valve gear in tandem. The linkages are fairly
obvious, especially on early locomotives. True Mallets were compound, so
the same steam was used in first the rear high pressure and then the front
low pressure cylinders, which tended to balance the work - the front engine
couldn't run away from the back without starving itself of steam. Simple
articulated just relied on the designer to put nearly equal locomotive
weight on the front and rear engines. In spite of this, I understand it was
difficult to get the proper load thru the front load bearing mechanism, so
that the front engines were more prone to slipping. When they did, the
engineer had to cut back on the single throttle, reducing steam to both
engines. per Gareth Quale
Most US articulateds were not true Mallets and used simple expansion. I believe
that they had a simple single steam control and indeed often suffered
from the front engine slipping before the rear, something most models
don't simulate(!). The Erie (and others) Triplex was of course an
exception to this. Given that many of the US true Mallets had the
ability to run simple or compound[*], presumably there were more
controls as described above. per Mark Ayliffe
My experience on NSW 60 class garratt (4-8-4+4-8-4 simple artics) suggests
Bob's right. Most of work done in design office, rest done by slipping
(usually front engine on 60 class) until in synch. Very interesting to watch
doublehead 60's on coal trains slip out and into synch... all 32 drivers, 4
engine units, 8 valve gears, 2 crews, throttles all over the place and then
come together.....woof, woof woof and stride away with load. per Derick Wuen
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, CAMELBACK
What was the reason for the CamelBack engine?
The Wooten firebox on the Camelback was designed to burn culm, which is
a high-grade waste (or low-grade coal, take your pick) produced by the
anthracite "breakers" or preparation plants in the anthracite area of
northeast Pennsylvania. The combination of higher ignition temperature
required for anthracite in the first place and the clinkering produced by the
low-grade (high-ash) coal and rock in the culm required the larger grate
area of the Wooten firebox.
Why would the railroads want to burn this low-grade stuff? Because it was
extremely cheap, and in at least some cases free! IIRC all of the anthracite
roads resorted to camelbacks for smaller power around the turn of the century
-- Reading, New York, Ontario & Western, Lehigh Valley, at least , as well as
the D&H. Similar fireboxes were used on some Great Northern and, especially,
Northern Pacific power, in particular the more modern articulateds, for the same
reason, to expand grate area to burn low-grade coal. In these cases it was
low-Btu high-moisture lignite from North Dakota and subbituminous coal
from Montana and Wyoming. None of these designs resulted in camelbacks
though. Bruce A. Collins email@example.com
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, GEARED
What can anyone tell me about geared steam locomotives?
There are three basic designs for geared steam locomotives: Shay-type,
Heisler-type and Climax-type. Shays are named by their inventor E.
Shay and consist of two or three vertical steam cylinders driving a
crankshaft (just like a straight four cylinder gas engine does) that
runs horizontally along the length of the locomotive. This crankshaft
is geared into the small drivers (usually around 30'' - 40'' in
diameter) to produce forward and backward motion. The steam cylinders
were located on the right side of the locomotive as was the rest of
the drive train.
Heisler-type uses two steam cylinders in a V formation to turn a
crankshaft that also runs horizontally along the length of the
locomotive. This shaft is in turn geared into the driver axles
instead of the drivers themselves as in the Shay. The Shay had the
shaft, gears and universal joints exposed on the right side (when
facing forward) of the locomotive. The Heisler had the shaft, gears
and universal joints running down the center of the locomotive.
Climax-type uses two steam cylinders that were sloped forward but
parallel to the locomotive to driver the shaft which was geared into
the driver axles (similar to Heislers).
Although the Shay's exposed drive train might lead one to believe it
was more susceptible to damage, it was also the engine's greatest plus.
Almost no early logging railroads and only a few of the largest later
ones had terminal facilities in the sense that a common-carrier
railroad did. Usually when the drive train broke, it was on a 6%
incline, in a curve during an early snow in October. The exposed
drive train in this situation was easier to fix than the `protected'
drive train of the other types.
All three styles had small drivers (30''-40'' in diameter) and very low
gearing (top speed for a geared locomotive is usually < 15 mph) to
acheive their ability to climb mountains and turn very tight radii.
Shay's were supposedly able to make curves that would shine their
driving light into the back of the cab (that is a joke). All three
styles were very forgiving of poorly laid track and would stay on the
rail much better than a rod engine.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, HEISLER
What is a Heisler?
A Heisler is a type of geared steam locomotive. The pistons move
diagonally (think of the arrangement of a longitudinaly mounted V8
engine in a car, only there are only two pistons in a Heisler). These
pistons power a drive shaft under the center of the loco, which via
gears drives four wheel trucks at the ends.
The Heisler has the unique property of having been designed by an
actual diploma'ed engineer, where all the others were kludged up by
Roaring Camp & Big Trees (near Santa Cruz, CA) has several woodburners,
including a Shay and a Heisler. Mt. Rainier has one. Most logging
locos were woodburners, for fairly obvious reasons...
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, Fireless
These locomotives are specially suitable for switching service where fire risks must be
absolutely eliminated. In place of a boiler, this type is fitted with a cylindrical tank which is
charged with steam and hot water from a stationary plant. The storage pressure usually
approximates the working pressure of a locomotive boiler; but the pressure of the steam is
considerably reduced before it enters the cylinders. As the steam is drawn from the storage
tank, the pressure in the latter becomes reduced. When thls occurs, however, a portion of the
stored water evaporates, and the steam supply can thus be maintained until the storage
pressure drops to the cylinder working pressure. The locomotive should then be recharged.
The cylinder proportions are such, however, that the locomotive can move itself on very much
less than the normal working pressure.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, WILLAMETTE
Wasn't the Willamette also a type of geared locomotive?
The Willamette was a Shay. E. Shay had a patent on his locomotive,
thus they were built exclusively by Lima until the patent ran out.
Then Willamette built some on the West Coast.
You are correct that Lima had Shay patents, and that Willamette
later built similar locomotives. However, A Willamette is NOT a Shay.
"Shay" is a brand-name, like Ford or Toyota. You wouldn't say that
a Pontiac is a Chevrolet, even if they are functionally identical
mechanically and share a lot of the same parts.
The Lima company had a trademark on the name "Shay". No other company
could sell a similar locomotive and call it a "Shay". "Lima" was the
name of a company (and probably also a brand name), *and* "Shay" was
also a brand name.
I agree that the Willamette locomotives were visually and operationally
(nearly) identical to Shays.
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, THEORY
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, COMPOUND/ARTICULATED
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, CAMELBACK
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, GEARED
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, HEISLER
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, FIRELESS
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, WILLAMETTE
- WEEHAWKEN, PROTOTYPE
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, PAINT SCHEMES
- STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, UP TENDERS
- ROLLING STOCK,CP PASSENGER CARS
- CNJ AND READING PAINTS
- Co-Bo WHEEL ARRANGEMENT
- ROLLING STOCK, CP PASSENGER CARS
- DYNAMIC BRAKES
- EUROPEAN RAILWAY DESIGN
- HIGH SPEED TRAINS
- NORTHERN PACIFIC
- ARRANGING CARS
- TRACK CODE/WEIGHT
- ROLLING STOCK, CONTAINERS
North East Rails © Clint Chamberlin.
Photos for personal use only. All rights
reserved by original owner of image.
Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is