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THE GREAT TRAIN THREAD!!..

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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All the oldsters on my mother's side of the family were railroaders from the Spokane Wa. area. Milwaukee, Great Northern, and Northern Pacific. Had a great uncle that signed on as a fireman later to be an engineer with the Milwaukee in 1946 and retired in 1974. They lived in a railroad house in Newport Wa. and always had his pair of GPs idling next to the house, I remember listening to the "ying, ying, ying" at night when we would visit. In 1972 I got to ride along with him and his crew while they switched the Diamond Match mill and hauled loaded cars to Spokane and empties back.
Family get togethers with those guys were always fun when they started bashing each others railroads.
My Great grandfather was Irish right off the boat and he was the section manager on the Milwaukee Spokane to Kettle falls line for nearly 50 years. He was quite the character, Had another Great uncle that was an engineer for the Spokane, Portland, and Seattle in the Steam days.
Awesome stuff! My entire family DESPISED the CNR. It was Government fun at the time, where the CPR was and always will be 100% Corporate ownership with zero Government interference.
CN always got the big Government grants so they had money to burn on the huge C636 MLW/Alco units with 16 cylinder 251s, and they spent stupid money developing the “safety cab” which was a wide cab for road switchers that was semi isolated from the frame. I guess they’re now pretty much standard industry wide, but at the time GP9s with a wide cab did look kinda goofy.
They had stupid taxpayer money to blow and I guess some of their stuff benefitted the railroad industry in general, but still…..
CN always liked big power Northerns, many with crazy wild streamline shrouding, where CP put their money into the slightly smaller Hudsons. CP Hudson streamlining made them look like a rolling beer can. The earlier naked Hudson’s like 2816 look much better to me.
But CN was, and still is a taboo subject in my extended family’s homes.
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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Those Brit engines had huge driving wheels, at one time they figured a well balanced engine was good for 1MPH per inch of driver diameter, some did far better than that.
CPR built several streamlined 4-4-4 high steppers with 84”? drivers Along with matching lightweight coaches. They were built for high speed inter city commuter service. Think the 1930s version of the Acela Express, and we’re blisteringly fast. But they were also lightweight, and very slippery on the rails. So much so that sand was continuously used throughout.
Those we’re the epitome of CP streamlining, but still nothing compared to some CN stuff with matching units on the GTW.
CP generally left the Soo Line to run independant, but CN, being Gov, couldn’t resist getting deep into GTW crap.
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12v71

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Awesome stuff! My entire family DESPISED the CNR. It was Government fun at the time, where the CPR was and always will be 100% Corporate ownership with zero Government interference.
CN always got the big Government grants so they had money to burn on the huge C636 MLW/Alco units with 16 cylinder 251s, and they spent stupid money developing the “safety cab” which was a wide cab for road switchers that was semi isolated from the frame. I guess they’re now pretty much standard industry wide, but at the time GP9s with a wide cab did look kinda goofy.
They had stupid taxpayer money to blow and I guess some of their stuff benefitted the railroad industry in general, but still…..
CN always liked big power Northerns, many with crazy wild streamline shrouding, where CP put their money into the slightly smaller Hudsons. CP Hudson streamlining made them look like a rolling beer can. The earlier naked Hudson’s like 2816 look much better to me.
But CN was, and still is a taboo subject in my extended family’s homes.
C636's... The Spokane, Portland, and Seattle had 6(?) of them at the time of the BN merger. The BN had no idea what to do with them being mostly GM powered. I remember seeing them on the old SP&S tracks along the Snake river headed into the south end of the Pasco BN yard still in the SP&S paint, they were quite the thunder makers. I think later they were sold off to the Cartier mine line in Canada.
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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C636's... The Spokane, Portland, and Seattle had 6(?) of them at the time of the BN merger. The BN had no idea what to do with them being mostly GM powered. I remember seeing them on the old SP&S tracks along the Snake river headed into the south end of the Pasco BN yard still in the SP&S paint, they were quite the thunder makers. I think later they were sold off to the Cartier mine line in Canada.
yeah, the Canadians loved those big Alcos, both 4 and 6 axle so not surprised. Alcos with the CPR were mostly kept in the East, where they were loved because they could start and roll those heavy ore drags much easier than GMs could. Maybe that lugging 4 stroke, although that shouldn’t make a big difference in turning a DC generator..
CN used their Alcos system wide.
You could hear those things coming for miles and miles with that 4 stroke thunder. You could literally FEEL an Alco in the air. GMs, you heard the fans long before you heard the prime mover.
 

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Found some more local Milwaukee pics, first is from 1980 when the BN was tearing down the speeder shack... Look at the old Ford pickup, turns out I know the owner and he still has it. Needs some work.
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This pic is from 1953, Milwaukee 849 and 890 double heading out of Ruff Washington headed south for Warden on the old Marcellus line. Just crossing road W northeast.
IMG_20160302_0031.jpg
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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849 and 890 being turned on the wye at Marcellus.
View attachment 190163
Heading out of Marcellus. View attachment 190164
Man, that’s one early Pacific. CPR was still erecting new Pacifics in their shops well into the 1950s. They were almost new when they finally dropped the fires and they went cold, but we’re held in reserve for years until snapped up by Steamtown.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t CPR own Milwaukee now? I know they have their tracks, but I’m not sure of the Corporate name. I had thought it was one of CPRs historical logos that appear on locos every now and then. Of course, SOO Line has always been CPR, they just finally folded the SOO into the parent a decade or so ago.
I miss those old boxcabs. They were absolutely unique on the western line.
They all had their ways over the mountains. Mke did electric, CPR did Rogers Pass and the Spiral Tunnels. If you ever have a chance to get out that way, the Spiral Tunnels are a cool spot to see. It’s a big hike, a d bring bear repellant and a rifle, but the hike is worth it. Spectacular scenery and an engineering marvel.
2E37E88A-CE34-4D8C-A9CF-821B3B52934E.jpeg

G3 Pacific definitely has the company look.
 
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12v71

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Man, that’s one early Pacific. CPR was stillerecting new Pacifica in their shops well into the 1950s. They were almost new when they finally dropped the fires and they went cold, but we’re held in reserve for years until snapped up by Steamtown.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t CPR own Milwaukee now? I know they have their tracks, but I’m not sure of the Corporate name. I had thought it was one of CPRs historical logos that appear on locos every now and then. Of course, SOO Line has always been CPR, they just finally folded the SOO into the parent a decade or so ago.
I miss those old boxcabs. They were absolutely unique on the western line.
They all had their ways over the mountains. Mke did electric, CPR did Rogers Pass and the Spiral Tunnels. If you ever have a chance to get out that way, the Spiral Tunnels are a cool spot to see. It’s a big hike, a d bring bear repellant and a rifle, but the hike is worth it. Spectacular scenery and an engineering marvel. View attachment 190361
G3 Pacific definitely has the company look.
Near as I know those were the standard engines Milwaukee used for branch lines with light rails, That was the main reason the Marcellus line was abandoned, the rails were too light to use 100 ton hoppers. That was the reason to doublehead those little engines.
 

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Near as I know those were the standard engines Milwaukee used for branch lines with light rails, That was the main reason the Marcellus line was abandoned, the rails were too light to use 100 ton hoppers. That was the reason to doublehead those little engines.
Looks like a standard USRA Light Pacific. Same reason CPR used so many Pacifics; light branch line rail that couldn’t take the big locos.
Right up into the 1950s there were a couple CPR light rail branch lines out in New Brunswick that still were serviced by genuine 4-4-0 Americans from the 1870s. The lines were limited due to low load ratings on the numerous trestles, aquaducts and bridges. About the only thing they did to modernize them was to install air brakes with the necessary pumps, and convert them to coal burners from wood.
Right up till the end they still had the old square valve gear and other than the modern straight stacks, they looked like they came right out of the Civil War era.
They we’re eventually replaced by GE 44 tonners, but that took years of negotiation because 44 ton units didn’t require a fireman, (just below the limit) so the Unions objected to the loss of a crew spot. They got around it by agreeing to maintain the fireman on those units. LOLOL.
Engine 29 has been preserved, and I think all the 4-4-0 relics were. I once saw 29 under steam in the early 60s. It was a cool thing for a kid to see a real “John Wayne train”. I guess I was lucky there, with my family being so connected in the company.
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ExCdnSoldierInTx

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Those things would bring 8 to 10 loaded cars out to the interchange at a time until they had enough to make into a real revenue run, then doubleheader with a Pacific into Fredericton where they’d hit the mainline.
What a way to run a railroad! LOL

Look at the old valve gear, circa 1880 or so….
 

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Those things would bring 8 to 10 loaded cars out to the interchange at a time until they had enough to make into a real revenue run, then doubleheader with a Pacific into Fredericton where they’d hit the mainline.
What a way to run a railroad! LOL

Look at the old valve gear, circa 1880 or so….
Stephenson type valve gear with slider valves, they worked for a long time until Poppets and Walshaerts came along. Stephenson didn't allow much in the way of steam advance. And slide valves... well.
Whoops, my bad, those do have early poppet valves. And some sort of outside valve gear. Hard to see til I blew it up on my phone.
 
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12v71

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Found some more Milwaukee pics, an aerial view of the Othello locomotive facility in 1955, and another view in 1980 a few months after Mt. St Helen's exploded. And the Milwaukee went bankrupt.

View attachment 190336
Interesting thing about this pic is in 1969-70 my grandfather would stop by and ask if I wanted to watch trains, we would drive thirty miles and sit by the little white shed on the left and watch them service locomotives and turn them on the turntable. this was one busy place at that time. The electrics were still running then, the main lead to the turntable on the right had a sand tower and the water tower was still up at that time too.
In those days you would meet the occasional employee that would give you a tour of the round house or engines sitting on the line. nowadays we would be a security risk.
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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Yep, Dad would do the same thing with me. He was Air Force then and we were always on the small radar stations across the north country.
He‘d take me to the closest CPR yard and bring me on in. He did some name dropping, showed a card he had and that’s all he needed. I had plenty of cab rides as a very young kid in the cabs of F Units as they were taken back to the roundhouse, turned, serviced, and pointed outbound on the correct track. Those things scared the ever lovin SHIT out of this toddler when the engineer would blow the brake valve in the cab and cause me to shit myself. Plus, leaning on that whistle right over your head was a bit much for young, sensitive ears.
Right there and then I knew I’d never be a railroader. They kept a few yard steamers running for yard work as well, and we got a couple runs around on those. Interesting, and that open firebox looked like the gates of hell to me, especially because it was at or slightly above my sight line at the time. They were mostly the 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 yard goats, which even though CPR had their own in house erectors, they still looked a lot like standard USRA stuff plus a vestibule cab. They rode like shit, even around the yard. I do remember that much.
They also always kept a few mainline steamers hot on standby reserve in case a diesel went down, which happened on occasion. Walking by those things sitting in the roundhouse, simmering away, they absolutely seemed alive to me.
I can’t imagine a railroad today giving a father and son the run of the place, no matter who they were.
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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Stephenson type valve gear with slider valves, they worked for a long time until Poppets and Walshaerts came along. Stephenson didn't allow much in the way of steam advance. And slide valves... well.
Whoops, my bad, those do have early poppet valves. And some sort of outside valve gear. Hard to see til I blew it up on my phone.
Those Americans still mostly exist as far as I know. 29 absolutely does, as they were genuine museum pieces when they were retired, and were quite in demand by the motion picture industry at the time.
 

ExCdnSoldierInTx

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This here was CPRs answer to the mountain passes in the very early 1900s. They worked well, but the Road wasn’t sold on the Mallet and ended up rebuilding them into decapods. Then decapod crested the passes until the Spiral Tunnels got completed and the big Texas/Selkirk 2-10-4s took over the mountain runs.
Those Mallets are some different kind of ugly. CPR always had handsome engines, but there was no helping these.
FYI, that gas headlight was only slightly scaled down for my proctologist when he did my rectal exam. 🤬
DA7F03F3-C0E7-438A-8E9C-57EFC7DC6468.jpeg
3D1FE126-7EA4-47F0-AD4F-3CBD58280CC4.jpeg
 

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This here was CPRs answer to the mountain passes in the very early 1900s. They worked well, but the Road wasn’t sold on the Mallet and ended up rebuilding them into decapods. Then decapod crested the passes until the Spiral Tunnels got completed and the big Texas/Selkirk 2-10-4s took over the mountain runs.
Those Malldts are some different kind of ugly. CPR always had handsome engines, but there was no helping these.
FYI, that gas headlight was only slightly scaled down for my proctologist when he did my rectal exam. 🤬 View attachment 190388 View attachment 190389
Oh dear god, that is ugly, never seen a pic of those before, only advantage I see is a short path from the high pressure cylinders to the low pressure cylinders. And without a lead truck they must have been limited to very slow running. The boiler doesn't look large enough to get much power or speed either. Several US railroads made the same boiler mistake. The Erie triplexes come to mind.
 

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Oh dear god, that is ugly, never seen a pic of those before, only advantage I see is a short path from the high pressure cylinders to the low pressure cylinders. And without a lead truck they must have been limited to very slow running. The boiler doesn't look large enough to get much power or speed either. Several US railroads made the same boiler mistake. The Erie triplexes come to mind.
Yeah that was their one and only try with a Mallet. They only lasted about 10-15 years before they were rebuilt into decapods. I heard 15-20 mph on the grades, but with those puny drivers you know it’d get rough and start tearing up bearings much faster than that. I can’t even tell you if they were articulated, although I assume they were.
Those Erie triplexes,.. I forgot about those. Another colossal failure.
CPR had a few home runs though. They hit the sweet spot with the Hudsons, and other than the Central, we’re by far the largest user of the type.
CPR also tried an experimental triple. Not a true “triplex”, but still had three cylinders.
A 2-10-4 for the big hill, 250 psi outer cylinders, and a frame mounted 850 psi high pressure cylinder.
It lasted 3 years and was, of course, deemed a colossal failure. But at least it wasn’t hideous.
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60ABFDC8-9C92-44A7-8EDC-C726F25B3417.jpeg
 
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