British Tornado Reached 100mph

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Millhouse
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British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Millhouse » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:09 pm

Caught this on Facebook earlier. Hopefully more video than this was taken.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YNelMB7a5c

I did not use the youtube function, as something appeared to go haywire when I hit submit (seems to be happening in Chrome).

Anyway, though I'm not AS big a fan of British steam as I am American and Canadian, my hat's off to 'em.

Mark D
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Mark D » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:50 am

Even if we could go that fast here, nobody would because of the pounding the engine takes. They're balanced, but not THAT balanced.
Still, that's cool. Way cool.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Millhouse
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Millhouse » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:27 am

Admittedly I do not know if any of the *external* shots catch the A4 at 100, but you can't help but notice the vibration in the cab when the speedo reads 100. Had to be bone-rattling for the cab crew when it reached that speed. Wonder what it felt like to ride behind it.

John Bohon
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby John Bohon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:25 am

And here 611 plods along at 40 mph and we think it is great. We are so far behind the Brits it is not funny.

John Bohon

Mark D
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Mark D » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:44 am

Two entirely different countries, governments geographies and cultures.
That J can go far faster than 40 mph, but I doubt it will go 100 or more because of the driver size. Wasn't designed to go that fast.
Back in the days of steam, like 1930's we did have passenger trains hitting 100 mph. Not cruising for long stretches at that speed, but hitting it on long straight stretches, then slowing to maybe 80 or less for curves and such. The Milwaukee Road with their high wheeled Atlantic's and later Hudson's on the Hiawatha trains were doing that daily between Chicago and the Twin Cities.
But today this would be cause for the railroads to throw any steam train running on their tracks off those tracks for good.
And frankly, I don't think anyone operating steam on the high iron in this day and age wants to run that speed. It plays hell with the engine and the crews are the ones who have to do all that extra maintenance that higher speeds bring.

I've seen 80 mph in the cab, (79) it's cool, it's fun, it's exciting, it's expensive and potentially more dangerous - and to that end there are a lot of paying passengers back in the cars who need to be considered when running faster than necessary.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

John Bohon
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby John Bohon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:40 pm

You are right about the high speeds being tough on locomotives. The 611 being all roller bearing would certainly reduce the impact on the running gear but the boiler still takes a beating at that rate of steam flow.

I think it has been pretty well established that the J class engines did run at speeds of 100 mph. There are to many eye witness accounts along with the official testing on the PRR that indicate they were capable of 100. I think the PRR train was 13 cars. It would seem they ran in excess of 90 on a pretty regular basis in service on the N&W. They must have survived pretty well since they were making more monthly mileage than about anything else on the rails at the time, diesel or steam. They were remarkable machines and of course 611 still is.

What my remarks were really referring to is the Brits are doing what it takes to run on the mainline under their conditions. 611 or any other steam locomotive plodding along at 40 mph does not fit into the flow of traffic on many of the NS mainlines. Raising the speed limit to a more acceptable pace would make the operation of steam trains less of a nightmare for the railroad. After a day of running on a busy NS mainline during the NS steam program a few years ago one operator upon introduction to a NS official was greeted with no hello but "Do you know you delayed 22 of my trains today?" Then he walked away without acknowledging the meeting. Of course other rules cause delays perhaps more than the speed limit. Stopping all opposing trains on double track just because a steam locomotive is pulling the train is pretty drastic in my opinion. I guess it is further proof the lawyers have won.

How fast is 261 allowed to run when it gets on the mainline?

John Bohon

Mark D
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Mark D » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:27 am

As far as I know we've always been authorized to operate at authorized track speed, but we seldom do unless track speed is 50 or less. But there have been times when we've run track speed. My first time firing the engine alone at speed was at 79 mph on the CB&Q 'Racetrack' in Chicago. We run it more conservatively these days because we're the ones who get to fix it, and parts ain't exactly cheap! Not much available for it down at NAPA.

You're correct on the J. My recollections without looking up data were that it generally ran around 80, a normal speed back in the day. I know it has a reputation for speed even with the short drivers. ESPECIALLY with the short drivers.
What amazes me about the 611 is that wreck when it went off a curve, rolled and slid down a high steep hill partly into whatever river that was. Though it was at the end of steam, they still dragged it back up the hill and fixed it to run again.
With steam long past its heyday most or all other railroads would have just scrapped it, maybe just cut it up right on the spot.

But, in any case, the American railroads did run at medium high speeds back in the steam days and into the early diesel days. Now the only high speed seems to be ACELA. (Amtrak Customers Expect Late Arrivals) As far as I know everything else is 79 or less. But to be fair, that is much more economical, safer in some respects and it still gets the job done.
Mark D.
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John Bohon
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby John Bohon » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:12 pm

The 611 rolled over onto the bank of the Tug River on January 22, 1956, hardly the end of steam on the N&W. In fact, at the time N&w was overhauling locomotives as always as far as I can tell. N&W did not buy diesels until most other railroads were completely dieselized. If there were any diesels on N&W in January 1956 they were few and far between. I looked up the old ICC accident investigation of the 611 wreck. The 611 had completed its most recent class repairs on November 23, 1955, almost exactly 2 months before the accident. In those two months the estimated mileage for 611 was 30,628 miles. In 1956 there were damn few diesels making 15,000 miles per month, much less steam locomotives.

The N&W was a very well run coal hauling road that was making a lot of money running steam locomotives and burning the product they hauled most. They were keeping lots of local people employed both on the railroad and in related industries and still making a lot of money. Management of the road was rightfully, at least in my opinion, satisfied with what they were doing. It was not until a change of management that the railroad started to buy diesels in large numbers. That change in management completed chasing off the steam engines by mid 1960. The first division completely dieselized was not completed until 1957.

The Tug River wreck is the reason the 611 survives today. Damage to 611 pushed it up the ladder for heavy repairs making it the last J to be that heavily overhauled. I am not sure if the locomotive bumped back by 611 was in the shop when steam repairs ended or never made it into the shop. I tried to find a date for the end of heavy repairs of steam locomotives but have so far been unsuccessful. It seems fate proved to be kind to 611 at the expense of an unfortunate sister.

If anyone has more details on late steam repairs on N&W and can complete or correct any information above I would love to know the details.

At least with 261 you have the ability to stay out of the way of other revenue traffic. The 40 MPH limit on NS makes that impossible in many instances. At least they occasionally let steam out on NS. The hell no, never, and don't even ask attitude of CSX gets rather old. All you can do is say it is their train set and they can do what they want with it.

John Bohon

Mark D
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Mark D » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:31 am

Well, although NS did (and I knew this but didn't go there) continue with steam much longer than the other railroads and for the reasons you mentioned, it still was at the very end of steam in this country. Not quite the very end for NS but even they finally began to dieselize in the '60s, just a few years later.

Just to change the topic, I did the 'math' and determined that steam has actually still been the primary motive force for trains on US railroads. Diesels are still Jonny come lately devices. Steam began in the early 1800's. Railroads had a few diesels around by the 1930's if I recall correctly, but they didn't really become common until after the war, although the railroads wanted diesels sooner, the war kept them from buying many until it ended. At that time, all but one railroad dieselized as fast as they could get them and scrapped steam engines as fast as they could get rid of them.

Too bad about CSX and it's not going to get any better with what's his name from CN via CP taking the helm now at CSX. Mr. "I hate steam" himself. I keep forgetting his name because I can't stand to hear or think of the name. He put CP's beautiful steam engine out of service and I doubt it will ever come back.

Mark D.
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Millhouse
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Re: British Tornado Reached 100mph

Postby Millhouse » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:56 am

Funny how numbers like that still work out, Mark (regarding steam locomotives in years still today being the primary form of railroad motive power in the entire history of railroading vs. diesels). Funny in a good way, really gives me perspective.


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