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Old 05-04-2013, 07:51 AM
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Want to know how to build your own Locomotive?

Hi Guys and Gals!
I've come across another very interesting video that shows the build up of a 1928 Canadian Pacific Steam Locomotive. It's a little long but you can't build a Locomotive in one day! It go from plate steel to a finished engine. Did you know that train wheels have tires on them?
Let me know if you enjoy or find these videos I occasionally post are interesting to you. I personally love any form of transportation vehicle.

Thanks

BB

Silent Cinema in Quebec, 1896-1930 - Moving Pictures - The Miracle of a Locomotive

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Old 05-04-2013, 09:49 AM
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Not only do they have tires, but if the engineer (a "hoghead" in railway-speak) get a little too enthusiastic with the brakes, he can lock up some (or all!) of the wheels and skid the wheels along the tracks. The resulting flatspots are known as "flat tires".

Repair involves truing them on a humongous lathe

When car races a train to a crossing and the engineer hits full emergency stop, he can skid the whole train. Just think of the number of flat tires to be fixed!

When you are sitting at a crossing and the train passes, It is a good bet that at least one train car will be pounding the track (you can hear it) from one or more flat tires! (Not good for the rails either! Can cause the rail to fail, and a huge headline about the resulting trainwreck)
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:47 PM
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My God did those guys work hard. Yes this stuff is damn interesting BB. I had a treasure in my life when I moved into this house. The neighbor was a 92 year old man who moved here from Ireland in 1922 and went to work for Southern Pacific, for which he retired in 1966. I would go over there and he would tell me stories and show me pictures of the time this film was shot, he gave me a few things that I recently donated to the local train Museum at the very yard he was "yard master" I believe was the term for many years. There was a time a train had the land speed record!


Brian
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:26 PM
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Yeah but they made it look easy. It's all in knowing how to make the weight move for you. How would you like to be working around those crucibles when the are pouring . You sure would have to trust the guy tipping the bucket! The machinery was incredible!

I'll bet your neighbor was just a wealth of information.

BB
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:45 PM
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BB, he was remarkable, he and his wife LIVED the train industry their whole adult life and died less than a year apart at 95 after being married 72 years. He had photos of them living in a train car in Truckee covered in snow. He worked in the Sacramento roundhouse that the California Rail car museum is located, he had stories that blow the mind. I may have mentioned this here before but you will have a very good grasp on this. When he lived in Truckee he would walk to Reno (about 35 miles?) in a "shift" inspecting the track! Then he did another inspection with a mirror on the end of a stick that he would inspect under the lip of the track for cracks. His boss would have road a rail car down that track and put chalk marks under the lip that he had better report where he saw them!
I was a paint rep at that time and use to sell paint to the Skunk Train up on Willits. They had a repair station in Fort Bragg that I would go into often and when I got home I would go next door and tell him about what I saw some old engine or something, he would light up telling me all kinds of facts about it.

He was something else, still to this day there are pieces of RR track all over the back yard of the house he lived in next door. Including the clothes line, it's made from narrow gauge track!



He was a caractor if there ever was one and like I said, a treasure in my life to have had him next door. These are old houses (mine made in 47) and when I moved in and talking to him and his wife Betty over the little 4' high back yard fence I felt like I was living in a Norman Rockwell print. That fence is long gone, that was 10 or so years ago and I now have a renter living there and the little fence we use to talk over is long gone.

There is a street in Niles where he was the Depot Master (I think that's the term) named after him.

Brian
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:56 PM
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You a lucky man Brian. Was he relatively tall and a big man, wore silver framed glasses?

BB
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by boothboy View Post
You a lucky man Brian. Was he relatively tall and a big man, wore silver framed glasses?

BB

Nope and he didn't even where glasses as I remember! He moved in SLoooooooooooow motion as you can imagine. I wish I could give you the visual, try to imagine. He is in the back yard walking to the garage to drive his 78ish Volvo with 12K original miles on it (no kidding) and I say hi to him over the fence. He would stop, and slooooooooowly rotate his head into my direction........raise it so he is looking over the fence......and say "Hi Brian". We are talking REALLLY slow, and then get in that car and drive it! Yeow! When he needed to renew the license at I think it was 92 or 93 he made the choice to not renew it.

He told me a story about some lady movie star (wish I knew the name) who was on a train that got stuck in the snow in the Sierras somewhere. He went to get her in a motorized railcar going many miles with this dolled up movie star next to him.

I was lucky enough a few years ago to be able to ride in one of those. A guy I knew thru Scouting had a couple and and invited me to go for a ride once when he was at an event going thru Niles canyon. It was a nice day but raining, what a cool thing to do cruising thru the canyon in this tiny little box on the tracks with the little windshield wiper going.

Check this out BB, those tracks use to have to be maintained by this volunteer RR club who has a few trains they run thru the canyon one weekend a month. It was the old SP track that they stopped using when they went to multiple track and a little better path. So check this out, after 9-11 SP decided or was forced by the Government or something to restore and maintain this track incase it is needed in an emergency being this is a main thoroughfare thru the hills. If the track they use now were to be damaged they would be able to use this old track that they hadn't used in MANY decades. This was very good news to the volunteers being it was very expensive to keep it up. Not only this a main road was widened a few years later and the train trestle over this road would certainly have needed to be removed. This trestle was a very important part of the vintage train rides as it went into Niles to the depot. There is no way they could have paid to have it rebuilt, SP did the whole thing as part of this emergency back up route!

They do a Christmas train called the "Polar Express" that is very popular along with the Wine train which my wife and I did one time, what a great day that was with a grand wine sommelier on board discussing pairings and what not. I knew NOTHING about this before, after that day I still no nothing but at least I have a slight grasp on what I don't know.

Like I said, I love trains.

Brian
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:41 PM
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My father was a railroader (CNR) and I was fortunate enough to be EXACTLY the right age to have some fantastic experiences. My dad was "stationed" (pardon the pun) at a very small town that was the last / first stop (depending on direction) before/after crossing to/from the Canada/USA border.

There were still STEAM locomotives on that little branch line, especially on the passenger trains. The diesels could never keep the same schedule as the huge 6000 series Mountain Class steam locomotives. On some of the freights there were also steam engines. I often got to ride in the cab when they were switching cars onto sidings etc.

I also got to ride in the cabs of the first (F-series "streamliners") diesels.

I have been a lover of the impressive, mind-blowing power of the huge steam locomotives ever since. Yes I know, the disease-els are way more efficient, they can be linked and only ONE crew is needed to run a 4-engine consist, the newest mainline diseasels actually have more tractive power than the steamers, but still.....
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave57210 View Post
My father was a railroader (CNR) and I was fortunate enough to be EXACTLY the right age to have some fantastic experiences. My dad was "stationed" (pardon the pun) at a very small town that was the last / first stop (depending on direction) before/after crossing to/from the Canada/USA border.

There were still STEAM locomotives on that little branch line, especially on the passenger trains. The diesels could never keep the same schedule as the huge 6000 series Mountain Class steam locomotives. On some of the freights there were also steam engines. I often got to ride in the cab when they were switching cars onto sidings etc.

I also got to ride in the cabs of the first (F-series "streamliners") diesels.

I have been a lover of the impressive, mind-blowing power of the huge steam locomotives ever since. Yes I know, the disease-els are way more efficient, they can be linked and only ONE crew is needed to run a 4-engine consist, the newest mainline diseasels actually have more tractive power than the steamers, but still.....
Very cool Dave, any particular stories would be appreciated.

Brian
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:57 PM
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Any trains coming into Canada, or going out of Canada had to be inspected by Canada Customs, from end to end. That meant my Dad, as the local rep for the railway had to accompany the Customs inspector as they "walked the train"

Go through the cab, then with one customs agent on one side of the train and one on the other, check every boxcar door to ensure it was sealed (travelling in bond, tin seals applied). Sometimes I was allowed to walk with them.

When we found a boxcar door was that unsealed, they would open the boxcar door and check the inside. It was a game on their part to toss me up into the car with instructions to check it all out and tell them what I found. Then they would hoist me back out and we'd go on to the next car, checking for door seals.

When we got to the end, we would climb up into the caboose and ride back. It was a real shock (the first time) to discover that the train would not be stopping to let us off, but we would jump onto the (wooden) station platform as the caboose rolled past at about 15-20 mph. The first time terrified me, but after that I was an "old hand" (at age 5 or so)

Now you have to remember that this was in a very tiny town of about 250 or 300 people, and in a valley. No TV service unless you built a humongous TV antenna on a huge tower. The hotel had one. Virtually no-one else did. (No guys, there was NO satellite dishes available. This was two or three years before Sputnik I.)

For a little kid, it was a matter of huge interest to watch the night passenger train arrive and depart. The huge Mountain Class 4-8-2 would bring the train (usually 2 baggage/mail cars, 2 day coaches, a "dinette", 2 sleepers and a full dining car) in around the curve just over a mile away, the engineer already shutting down from the high speed run.

The train would "ghost" into the station, the huge whitewall tires of the locomotive rolling past and gently stopping with the first sleeper beside the west end of the platform and the second baggage car near the east end. People would get off, people would get on. The mail was handed to the postmaster, fresh milk & eggs were handed to the grocer, newspapers were handed over to (whoever) etc.

About 5 minutes later the conductor would yell "Board" and wave a lantern. The engineer would begin venting huge clouds of steam through the steam chests and through the cylinders with all valves open. This is done to preheat the cylinders and purge any liquid water that would otherwise cause hydrolock and generally make for a bad day all around. Then the exhaust valves are closed down and the pressure of the steam begins to be exerted on the small pistons. As the piston completes its stroke it exhausts into the (much) bigger cylinder above it, using the steam twice (compound engine).

The steam is actually used a third time, as it is finally exhausted through the smokestack, drawing huge amounts of air with it. This air is drawn though the firebox, creating forced draft, and super-heating the fire, raising boiler pressures. (For any who may have wondered, that's why the "choo-choo" sound corresponds to puffs of smoke from the stack)

The engineer juggles power and traction (steel wheels on steel rails - not like racing slicks on asphalt!) and the sounds of occasional wheelspin are heard as the train pulls out, looking, from a distance, like a string of jewels as the lighted windows move through the night.

Diesels are more efficient, but they are just not the same. They are like a new, high-tech car. They do everything very well, but they have no soul.

Sometimes I was allowed to ride in the engine cab when switching was being done. The steam engines were living things, they had smells and sounds and heat and fire and dials and gauges and things that were moving. When I rode in the cab of a disease-el it was like riding in a bus. A loud engine sound and we moved. Period. May as well watch it on TV now.

The very earliest (oldest) steam engines had been coal burning ones. They had cleaned out their fire grates in the station yards , creating huge piles of cinders. My dad used cinders for our driveway, hauling them home in a trailer behind his '49 Chev. (I'll tell you about that trailer - which I now own - later in a separate thread)

By the time I was nine years old, the gargantuan, fire-breathing steam engines were gone, replaced by sleek disease-els that ran nearly an hour slower on a 150 mile route, but cost less to run and to operate and to maintain, and allowed many workers to be laid off.

At that time, my dad was transferred and we moved into the city.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:50 PM
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Damn that was interesting reading Dave, thank you so much and I have a clearer understanding of romance of the steam train and things I didn't know at all of course.

Thank you so much.

Brian
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:22 AM
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Dave those stories are wonderful!
What a sorry society we have become when it's frowned upon to toss a 5 year old out of a moving train. In those days if you didn't stay on your feet and took a header Dad would pick you up and say" don't worry, you'll get the hang of it." Now-a-days it would be repeated 1500 time a day by the media about how the father was put in jail, Mom would have her own talk show about child abuse and bringing up a clumsy kid and would have gotten a boob and lip job to boost her esteem.The manufacture of the shoes the kid wore would have been sued ( they're the best shot at any real money) and the kid would be on Ritalin. John Wayne must be spinning in his grave.
I wanna go back to the fifty's!

BB
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:02 PM
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The Tennessee Valley Raiload Musium runs an Old Baldwin steam locamotive on local excursions. One of the cool things they do is allow 2 people at a time to purchase cab passes and ride in the locamotive with the fireman and engineer. My son in law and I did that a few years ago. It was really a special experience. If any of you guys get to Chattanooga I highly recommend it.

John
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:52 PM
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A couple of folks have PM'd me to ask about "what's an F7?" and What do the numbers mean when you say 4-8-2 etc.

4 leading wheels 2 each side (small ones right behind the so-called cow-catcher). These actually steer the locomotive around corners

8 Drive wheels

2 more small ones under the cab

The truly humongous ones were the Union Pacific Big Boys which were 4-8-8 4 and the Challengers which were 4-6-6-4 with two sets of pistons/drivers per side.

For a pic of an F7, check out this Wikipedia: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
/wiki/EMD_F7

and for a pic of the Mountain Class that pulled passenger trains when I was a little munchkin : CN U-1-f - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And for those who wondered about my Dad's trailer

When I was growing up, the town had no services such as welders, etc, so my dad went to the nearby town of Roseau, Minnesota to have a trailer built. The guy who did it was experimenting with self-propelled toboggans like the ones he had heard that Armand Bombardier was making in Quebec. He later went into production of them, under the name Polaris. Polaris Snowmobiles, Polaris ATVs and Victory Motorcycles are the result - all "descendents of" my dad's utility trailer which I now own.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:25 PM
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This was my desktop image on one of my computers for years. The first time I saw this old girl, she was a static display in a park in Cheyenne WY. This picture was taken three years ago as it passed through Lawrence Kansas. In that between time span it was restored to operating condition. Isn't she beautiful! I was doing a show about a hundred miles away a couple of days earlier and saw that it was scedualed to pass through. So I made a little detour. Breathtaking!

Dave mentioned a Challenger type Locomotive. Well here she is. She's a four-cylinder simple articulated 4-6-6-4 Challenger-type steam locomotive She is the only operating locomotive of her type in the world and one of two left! Here is her story.
Union Pacific 3985 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BB
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