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Thread: Train Length in the steam era?

  1. #16
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    If I may enter into this conversation I know the original poster was asking for a technical solution, but in the interest of Trainz and setting up AI trains I would stick with the 40 to 50 car train. My reasoning is like on my route I have AI trains running that size as "traffic" trains because anything longer isn't as visually appealing or practical for just traffic.

    Dave

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    I have old 1950s Trains mags with Berkshires hauling 80 car coal drags and even the DRGW narrow gauge 2-8-2's ran trains of 40 cars.
    Theres this
    N&W A 1218 2-6-6-4
    The A class was the N&W's Challenger also built in Roanoke. The A class was not streamlined at all. They had a top speed of 70 mph. The A's would haul Fast freights and heavy coal trains up Blue Ridge. They would haul passenger trains if they were the only locomotive available. They would double head 100 to 140 car long coal train up to the summit then drop off the second locomotive. Afterwards they would grab 100 more cars at the summit siding from a set out train.
    https://forums.dovetailgames.com/thr...ue-ridge.2901/
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  3. #18
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    Way back in April 1956, Trains magazine printed an article written by David P Morgan entitled “Tide 470. This describes the journey of two Chesapeake and Ohio, 50 Ton capacity Hoppers from Wharton No 2 Mine at Barrett, West Virginia through to their ultimate destination at Newport News. Their 546 mile journey from the mine began a little after noon on Thursday June 2 and ended at the transhipment dock sometime after midday on Sunday June 5, 1955. For the record, the article was later used as the introductory chapter in Tony Koester’s book, “The Model Railroader’s Guide to Coal Railroading”.

    The journey was made up of 6 elements:-

    1. June 2 - 2.15 to 4.26 p.m. - Barrett to Danville - approx. 23 miles - loco Schenectady USRA 2-6-6-2 compound No 1498 with 105 cars – 6200 tons net.
    2. June 3 - 6.40 a.m. to 12.29 p.m. - Danville - St Albans - Handley - approx. 65 miles - Extra 2731 - Loco – Kanawha 2-8-4 No 2731 with 135 cars.
    3. June 3 - 1.15 p.m. to 6.15 p.m. - Handley to Hinton - approx. 73 miles - Extra 7089 Loco EMD F7 A-B-A combo 4500HP with 145 cars. (Elevation 631 ft upto 1,382 ft but ruling grade less than 0.5%).
    4. June 3 - 10.45 p.m. to June 4 – 4.07 a.m - Hinton – Alleghany - Clifton Forge – approx. 79 miles - Extra 7089 – Loco EMD F7 A-B-A combo 4500HP with 100 cars – 8200 tons gross. (Max elevation 2072 ft at Alleghany but ruling grade 0.57%). (Takes refuge siding at Alleghgany to allow passage of “George Washington”)
    5. June 4 - 11.00 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. - Clifton Forge – Lynchburg – Gladstone – Richmond - approx. 231 miles. ExtraXXXX Locos - 2 x EMD GP7 3000HP with 160 cars - 14000 tons gross - 11,200 tons net. Relatively level terrain.
    6. June 5 - 3.17 a.m. - 6.29 a.m - Fulton Yard Richmond to Newport News approx. 75 miles. Extra XXXX Locos - 2 x EMD GP7 3000HP with 160 cars ( plus 2 x GP7 pushers for first 4 miles at 0.63% grade PLUS assistance from 1000HP yard engine to start tonnage on grade).


    This doesn’t provide the one line answer to Lonnie’s original question but it might serve to illustrate some of the complexities and the issues that were involved in sorting about 50 different grades of coal and hauling each hopper to the right destination.

    On the Trainz front, as a matter of personal choice, I prefer to give AI a miss, “make my own steam” and drive in Realistic mode. I may be looking in the wrong place but as yet I haven’t found a Trainz steam loco that appears to be capable of taking 100 plus loaded cars up the gradients of “Hinton”, “Coal Country”, et al, so the question has never really been a problem.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitmilly View Post
    ... I may be looking in the wrong place but as yet I haven’t found a Trainz steam loco that appears to be capable of taking 100 plus loaded cars up the gradients of “Hinton”, “Coal Country”, et al, so the question has never really been a problem.

    John
    I'll have to disagree.... Without a "realistic" e-spec, a given Trainz steam locomotive won't be able to duplicate the pulling power of the prototype... Some steamer have them, others don't.

    The Trainz (payware) C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 can basically duplicate the performance of the real C&O 2-6-6-6s, e.g., I can start a train of 120 loaded hopper cars (twin hoppers typical of the era of the H-8s) from the coaling station at Thurmond and take that train all the way to Hinton. To get that train moving from a dead start you'll need to have mastered the technique of "taking slack" however... The first paragraph of this document will explain "taking slack" if you're not familiar with the term: http://www.csme-eprr.com/newsletter/newsletter.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by wva-usa View Post
    I'll have to disagree.... Without a "realistic" e-spec, a given Trainz steam locomotive won't be able to duplicate the pulling power of the prototype... Some steamer have them, others don't.

    The Trainz (payware) C&O H-8 2-6-6-6 can basically duplicate the performance of the real C&O 2-6-6-6s, e.g., I can start a train of 120 loaded hopper cars (twin hoppers typical of the era of the H-8s) from the coaling station at Thurmond and take that train all the way to Hinton. To get that train moving from a dead start you'll need to have mastered the technique of "taking slack" however... The first paragraph of this document will explain "taking slack" if you're not familiar with the term: http://www.csme-eprr.com/newsletter/newsletter.pdf

    I'm with you on most of your points.

    I agree, good e-specs are essential if you are going to drive in realistic mode and achieve anything remotely like steam prototype performance. Sadly there are a number of Trainz locos (US, British and probably other nationalities) that look the part but whose performance in REALISTIC mode is less than good. The H8 is indeed good and yes, I have also learned the technique and managed to get it to start and haul some very heavy prototypical loads. In the right terrain.

    However, Thurmond (at elevation 1,059 ft) to Hinton (at elevation 1,377 ft) is some 37 route miles when following the river and if my math is correct, equates to a mean average gradient of less than 0.5%. OK it's still a gradient but not very significant by any national standard.

    When I made my admittedly bold statement about not being able to find a Trainz steam loco capable of hauling 100 loaded cars up the gradients of the Hinton and Coal Country routes I had in mind the lengthy 1.5 to 3.0% grades that are a feature of all the branches on Hinton and on the "main line" of Coal Country. My experiences have brought me to the viewpoint that 25 x 50Ton cars is around the maximum for one steam locomotive (realistic mode) on any of these routes. Even then it has to be a really good e-spec. You can double and triple head and include any number of pushers/bankers. But that's another story

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitmilly View Post
    ...

    However, Thurmond (at elevation 1,059 ft) to Hinton (at elevation 1,377 ft) is some 37 route miles when following the river and if my math is correct, equates to a mean average gradient of less than 0.5%. OK it's still a gradient but not very significant by any national standard.

    When I made my admittedly bold statement about not being able to find a Trainz steam loco capable of hauling 100 loaded cars up the gradients of the Hinton and Coal Country routes I had in mind the lengthy 1.5 to 3.0% grades that are a feature of all the branches on Hinton and on the "main line" of Coal Country. My experiences have brought me to the viewpoint that 25 x 50Ton cars is around the maximum for one steam locomotive (realistic mode) on any of these routes. Even then it has to be a really good e-spec. You can double and triple head and include any number of pushers/bankers. But that's another story
    True, but you have to consider how things were in the real world of the C&O route's mainline route via the New River Gorge and its branch line operations that ventured into the highlands during the late steam era.

    Historically speaking, during the steam era on the New River division, there were zero -- count 'em, zero -- steam locomotives hauling "100 loaded cars" up the gradients of branch lines on the C&O's New River Division. All of the branches from the mainline run into the highlands, and in those highlands are where the mines were located. Thus, empty, unloaded hopper cars moved up those grades and loads moved down them. So, for example, on the Piney Creek branch, 100 empty car trains usually used two 2-6-6-2 Mallets to deliver empties to the yard in Raleigh (a location just off the boundaries of the Trainz New River route), and two 2-6-6-2 Mallets would take 100 loads back down to the Quinnimont yard. Even shorter trains when up/down the Loup Creek branch from Thurmond that were under the control of a single steam loco, or double-headed steamers, etc. The only loads going up grade on the branches were "supplies" going to the towns in the highlands -- anything from boxcar loads of food and merchandise for the company owned and privately owned stores and parts and supplies for wholesalers, to car loads of whisky, beer, and wine for the saloons.

    In general, long trains (~100 cars or so) moved on the mainline (usually handled by the H8s) and short trains (less than 100 cars, with 25 or so being more typical) traveled the branch lines (usually handed by 2-6-6-2 Mallets) and 2-8-0s.
    Last edited by wva-usa; January 7th, 2020 at 01:13 AM.

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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitmilly View Post



    However, Thurmond (at elevation 1,059 ft) to Hinton (at elevation 1,377 ft) is some 37 route miles when following the river and if my math is correct, equates to a mean average gradient of less than 0.5%. OK it's still a gradient but not very significant by any national standard.

    When I made my admittedly bold statement about not being able to find a Trainz steam loco capable of hauling 100 loaded cars up the gradients of the Hinton and Coal Country routes I had in mind the lengthy 1.5 to 3.0% grades that are a feature of all the branches on Hinton and on the "main line" of Coal Country. My experiences have brought me to the viewpoint that 25 x 50Ton cars is around the maximum for one steam locomotive (realistic mode) on any of these routes. Even then it has to be a really good e-spec. You can double and triple head and include any number of pushers/bankers. But that's another story
    I'm guessing you haven't looked into what kind of forces are involved in moving tonnage like this (100 loaded hoppers) up a grade and what kind of force a large steam locomotive could produce. Maybe you should look at a few figures and let them draw you back towards reality.

    Lets just pick something I've been playing with recently for motive power. A USRA 2-10-2B Heavy Santa Fe type loco. Rated at 73800 lbf tractive effort (0 to 10 mph for this loco) - a little more than a C&O H6 and less than the USRA 2-6-6-2 used on the Barrett to Danville run mentioned in your post above. It was used for heavy drag freight work after introduction in 1919. Some were still in use up to the end of steam in the US say 1956.
    Code:
    USRA 2-10-2B loco in working order        =   379300 lb 
    matching tender at 2/3 capacity           =   194500 lb
    100 50 ton loaded hoppers  = 144200 x 100 = 14420000 lb 
    1 caboose                                 =    47400 lb 
                                             ---------------   
    total weight of train                       15041200 lb 
    total drawbar weight - behind the tender  = 14467400 lbs    (7210 short tons)
    At 5 mph I calculate the total resistance for this train on straight level track is only 15800 lbf. 
    At 10 mph it's 17900 lbf and the loco is still be capable of exerting 73800 lbf at this speed.
    At 50 mph I calculate the total resistance to be 44300 lbf. Unfortunately this loco would be limited to say 23000 lbf tractive force for sustained work at this speed 
    based on the boiler's maximum evaporation capacity.  Top speed with this load I calculate to be about 35 mph but more likely the road speed would be 30 mph
    allowing for a reasonable time to reach it and maintaining that speed on curves and slight grades.
    
    Let's look at just the grade resistance for this train (total resistance would be the sum of any resistance noted above at that speed plus the grade resistance):
    at 0.5%    R =  75206 lbf
    at 1.0%    R = 150412 lbf
    at 1.5%    R = 225618 lbf
    at 3.0%    R = 451236 lbf
    So the "not significant" 0.5% is more than this loco can handle.

    The "moderate" 1.0 % is more that any single (real world) steam loco I'm aware of can handle. The C&O H8 2-6-6-6 mentioned in prior posts is rated at "only" 110200 lbf. It would stall out on a 0.62% considering other resistance factors and if you added in 1 or more curves on the grade it would not make 0.6%.

    At 1.5% any single loco capable of producing that force will start breaking couplers back in the steam era. IIRC the standard grade c couplers in use up to 70's was limited to 250000 lbf working load.

    At 3.0% let your imagination take over because you need 6 of these 2-10-2s (or 4 H8s) plus a smaller loco helping out distributed throughout the train - try handling that in Trainz. Not many railroads would.

    I do not believe you will find any steam locos in Trainz with realistic especs that can handle 100 50 ton loaded hoppers on 1.5 to 3.0% grades. A 1.5% grade is a very significant grade for any railroad. I don't believe any single steam loco in real life could handle the loads you described.

    I'll give you my calculated estimate of what the USRA 2-10-2B could handle on a long 1.5% straight (no curve) grade:
    25 loaded 50 ton hoppers with top speed at the crest of 10 mph or less.

    On a 3% that would drop down to 10.

    Bob Pearson
    Last edited by RPearson; January 8th, 2020 at 10:01 AM.
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  8. #23
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    There are some old dinky locos with utterly ridiculously high powered enginespecs, that could pull a 200 car loaded train up a 10% grade, even adding the invisible AI brake onto the train, would help boost a super long heavy train up a ridiculously steep grade
    Last edited by MP242; January 8th, 2020 at 03:22 AM.
    My 4325 car RGCX train is 53.24 miles long, and takes 1 hour to pass through town !

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wva-usa View Post
    I'll have to disagree.... Without a "realistic" e-spec, a given Trainz steam locomotive won't be able to duplicate the pulling power of the prototype... Some steamer have them, others don't.

    the performance of the real C&O 2-6-6-6s, e.g., /newsletter.pdf
    Hi Lloyd (wva-usa),
    Please excuse me for this off-topic, but is because your not-responding to me at the private emails.
    I wanted to discuss with you about the possibility of making freeware my USRA Mallet 2-6-6-2 payware locomotives (with your sound, script and smoke) available on your website. If you're agree, I want to make them available so, on my website.
    Best Regards,
    Radu

  10. #25
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    To: wva-usa and Bob Pearson - re your posts #19, 21 & 22.

    Thank you both for your comments, thoughts and information.

    Might I expand on my earlier statements because I think something got well and truly “lost in translation”.

    The initial query was Lonnie asking the average (?) number of cars in a US freight train during the steam era. There were various replies - 100 plus was a recurring answer – I responded with published details of a real coal train in 1955, its tonnage, route, mileages, staging yards, gradients and motive power. I concluded with a throw-a-way remark by saying that my primary Trainz concerns were Realistic/Cab mode driving in the Appalachian Coal road country and getting the trip workings up and down the gradients of those lines. Consequently the 1955 C & O trip problems weren’t normally a part of my Trainz operating routine.

    I also stated, somewhat ambiguously, that 100 car consists didn’t exist in my REALISTIC/CAB mode operations, as aside from any other factors, I hadn’t found a Trainz steam locomotive capable of hauling them up and down the gradients. In truth I had never expected to find one although I’m told that AI/DCC mode of operating can produce some staggering, if not exactly believable performances.

    Similarly, I doubted that any real steam locomotive with a 100 car/3.0% gradient capability had ever existed, at anytime, anywhere on this planet. You have confirmed it.

    Finally, I stated that 25 X 50ton capacity cars was in my experience around the maximum load for one steam locomotive on the gradients of the two mentioned Trainz routes. Again, further clarification was needed – I should have specified the principal Hinton branches and Coal Country.

    The 4 mile 200 ft climb from the New River Mine at Pax up to the tunnel mouth above Pax Siding varies from a 0.77% to a 3.38% gradient and is the opening feature of Hinton’s New River Mining Coal Run session. The main players are an H8 2-6-6-6 and 25 x 50 ton C&O Coal Gondolas; 2,618 tons fully loaded. This climb is feasible, provided as the driver you get all the settings right at exactly the right moment.

    I use a clone of Coal Country as the nucleus of my WIP PRR Osceola Mills Route. The 2.3/4 mile, 143ft climb (modified – 1.48%, 1.79% 2.40% gradients) between the original towns of Parker up to Peabody impose a limit of 11 x50 ton PRR GLa Hoppers (1,609 tons) on a PRR (K&L) Isa 2-10-0. I’ve tried to keep the ruling gradient on the new sections down to 1.2%

    I do not know how close (or remote) these two Trainz examples are to the real thing when set in comparable circumstance but the latter PRR example would seem to be approaching the figures put forward by Bob for the USRA 2-10-2.

    My apologies to you both if my loosely termed utterings caused concern.

    Regards

    John

  11. #26
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    Here's two cases of steam locomotives pulling 100+ car trains. First, is Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 #1218 pulling a 100-car coal train in 1987.

    IT'S FOOTBALL TIME, IN TENNESSEE!

  12. #27
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    And here we see Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 #3985 topping Archer Hill at 35 miles per hour with 143 double-stack intermodal cars tied onto its coupler.

    IT'S FOOTBALL TIME, IN TENNESSEE!

  13. #28
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    Most railroad in their Employee timetables and special instructions had restrictions based on Locomotive type and Grade of the route that listed Maximum Tonnage allowed for the Locomotive type and Also had tonnage restrictions for some Bridges as well. This tonnage would then be Divided up by car weight to give the Number of cars the train would be allowed to carry. For Example a Burlington route train pulled by lets say a K4 class 4-6-0 would be allowed to pull more tonnage between Lincoln Nebraska and My Home town of Ashland, because of it's somewhat flat route then it would be allowed to pull between Ashland and Grenta Nebraska, because of the 1% grade of Melia Hill.

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