Shameless Train Appreciation Thread

It has become apparent to me that Lmo and myself (and others hopefully) have long running obsessions with all things railroads, so I thought I’d start a train appreciation thread.

Found some cool photos of trains (new or old)? Post 'em up here.

I’ll start with this Texas & Pacific classic affectionately known as The Devil Train because it’s number was 666.

This hover train from back to the future blew my mind when I was little.
back_to_the_future_part_iii_large_18.jpg

Awesome!

Engine: Pennsylvania Rail Road S1
Designer: Raymond Lowey (pictured) U.S. Patent No: 2,128,490
see: Pennsylvania Railroad class S1 - Wikipedia

Year: 1939
Configuration: 6-4-4-6 (only engine ever thus configured)
Main driving wheel diameters: 84" / 2.13 meters
Length: 140 feet 2½ inches / 42.74 meters (longest engine ever built)
Weight: 608,170 pounds / 275,861.27 kg.
Tractive effort: 71,900 lbf / 319.83 kN
Top speed (estimated): 156 mph / 251.06 km/h
Fuel: Anthracite coal
Construction cost: $669,780.00 (final)
Total number produced: 1

Late in it’s life, hauling war materiél; forward coupler, and side streamlining shrouds removed for easier access for maintenance (WWII photo).

shown under “erection”
Cast “bed plate” extends from extreme left side of photo to extreme right - 77 feet / 23 meters; largest single-piece casting ever made for a locomotive application

Milwaukee Road Hiawatha Cedar Rapids lounge car designed by Brooks Stevens in 1948(ish) pulled by MIlwaukee Road 261 (4-8-4) leaving Hopkins, MN. I heard it from my house and sprinted over just as it was leaving so the only photos I got were as it was pulling away.
P5090064sm.jpg
P5090063sm.jpg

There is a fantastic book, filled with great train pics, called “Streamlined, a Metaphor for Progress”, has served me well over the years:

There is one of those, or a train very similar, stored behind a building in downtown SF… it’s amazing and should be in a museum, but it hidden behind a fence and a building, inaccessible to the public. Still looks very special

This is a control console for a siemens train that’s interesting…

Nice catch NURB.

The Stevens designed observation cars were known as “Sky Tops” and were built post WWII (1949).

The original “Twin Cities Hiawathas” (which were named for the route, rather than the engine) were first built in 1935, and pulled what was aptly named a Beavertail observation car. “Hiawatha” later evolved into a series of steam, and diesel engines.

I think what is most striking of all the “Hiawatha” is their consistent burgundy & orange on gray color scheme.

Engine: American Locomotive Company (ALCO) “A” Class
Flag: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad - aka: the Milwaukee Road
Designer: Otto Kuhler
see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiawatha_(passenger_train)

Year: 1935 (2), 1936 (1), 1937 (1)
Configuration: 4-4-2
Main driving wheel diameter: 84" / 2.13 meters
Length: 88 ft 8 in / 27.03 meters
Weight: 537,000 lb (244,000 kg)
Tractive effort: 30,685 lbf (136.49 kN)
Top speed (recorded): 112.5 mph / 181.1 km/h (first engines designed for 100+ mph sustained speeds)
Fuel: Oil
Construction cost: -
Total number produced: 4

4-4-2 Hiawatha

Engine: American Locomotive Company (ALCO) F7 (“Hudson”)
Flag: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad - aka: the Milwaukee Road
Designer: Otto Kuhler

Year: 1937-1938
Configuration: 4-6-4
Main driving wheel diameter: 84" / 2.13 meters
Length:100 ft 0 in / 30.48 meters
Weight: 216,000 lb / 98,000 kg
Tractive effort: 50,294 lbf / 223.72 kN
Top speed: -
Fuel: Coal
Construction cost: -
Total number produced: 6

4-6-2 “Hiawatha” It had to be a total gas to run this thing… .




Trav, what you may have seen in SF was the remains of an ALCO J3a class 4-6-4 “hudson”; skinned by Henry Dreyfuss in 1938. I want to know more about that engine in SF. Do you remember what street/area of town it is in?

The nose “crest” over the headlight was removed shortly after introduction, having proven to hinder maintenance.

yo! Great book… cool models… … gotta have it . . … there goes another “c” note… . easy come, easy go. … :wink:

It’s in SOMA/Potrero right near California College of the Arts. I’ve been meaning to snap some pictures of it for a while… maybe I’ll do it today or tomorrow and post

It’s even visible on Google Maps:

Great minds think alike… … Google Earth rules… … wonder it it’s visible from Street View?

I tried, but it’s just barely visible. Maybe you could ID it from the forehead showing?

http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=q8twm34sztxh&style=b&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&scene=13288636&encType=1

Judging from the “diagonal” strip running through that aerial image this must have been the “railroad” part of town. In Street View The Depot Dry Cleaners appears of one of the building adjoining this. And the building adjacent to the “train” is the “San Francisco Center for the Book”. Closer examination of the image makes me think what we are seeing is two Observation cars end-to-end, being used as an annex to the Book Center. You can just barely make out the rear “tail light”.


sad thing is, a lot of designers would call this beautiful meeting of Art and Design “styling” with a derogatory hint under the breath… NOPE, it’s design, and damn great design at that. Looking at these things stirs so much admiration for the many people that designed, engineered, and built them. I look at them and see people who really believed in a better tomorrow, and that the better parts of mankind might just outweigh the darker parts… when I look at todays trains, weather in the US, or abroad (but especially the US, I see refrigerators on wheels, costed down hulks of rolling metal with crap carpets. I don’t see any evidence of the optimistic rebels that ushered the transportation age in.

I look at them and see people who really believed in a better tomorrow, and that the better parts of mankind might just outweigh the darker parts… when I look at todays trains, weather in the US, or abroad (but especially the US, I see refrigerators on wheels, costed down hulks of rolling metal with crap carpets. I don’t see any evidence of the optimistic rebels that ushered the transportation age in.

Sad isn’t it. Almost three thousand miles of open country, and a rail system that is the disgrace of the world… … .

Engine: Lima Locomotive Works GS-4 class shown: SPR #4449 (nicknamed: “Coast Daylight” and “Sunset Limited”)
Flag: Southern Pacific Railroad
Designer: - in-house staff
see: Southern Pacific 4449 - Wikipedia

Year: 1941
Configuration: 4-8-4
Main driving wheel diameter: 80" / 2.03 meters
Length: - 101’ - 5" /
Weight: 475,000 lb / 215,000 kg
Tractive effort: 64,800 lbf (288,000 N), 78,000 lbf (350,000 N) with booster
Top speed (recorded): 100 mph /
Fuel: Bunker oil
Construction cost: -
Total number produced: 28

Southern Pacific #4449 “Coast Daylight”

Currently touring the U.S. northern tier states through October 2009: Loading...

Listen… … … .

Interesting stuff on that PPR S1. I was reading up on it and the wikipedia entry mentions that it’s fatal design flaw was that only 40% of the engine weight went to the drive wheels. That meant at operating speeds of 30-50 mph, it would have major wheel slippage which would eventually destroy the engine.

Another interesting note about the Milwaukee 261 is that when I saw it was possibly the last time it will be out in service. It’s boiler is due for re-certification, and if the wall is too thin, it probably won’t be repaired.

Looking at these things stirs so much admiration for the many people that designed, engineered, and built them. I look at them and see people who really believed in a better tomorrow, and that the better parts of mankind might just outweigh the darker parts… when I look at todays trains, weather in the US, or abroad (but especially the US, I see refrigerators on wheels, costed down hulks of rolling metal with crap carpets. I don’t see any evidence of the optimistic rebels that ushered the transportation age in.

Amen.

This is one of the main reasons that I think (hope) that we are reaching the end of capitalism. Money has become so important in every aspect of life that we would choose to have crap architecture, uninspired trains and cookie cutter houses just to save a little bit of money. I mean, let’s take Amtrak for example. It’s already losing money. How much more would it take to buy some really great trains?

LMO: Is the Pennsylvania S1 still existing?

Just the opposite on that one 914… competition (via capitalism) is what spurred those lovely trains, when railroad lines competed… now that it is all centralized in a subsidized semi private limbo we get crap.

Capitalism is why we have Apple at all, if we got rid of competition, you could be sure the bean counters would make sure all we had were beige boxes.

Exactly Yo. Other than Bombardier making Light Rail trains for use in this country (and a few other companies making small commuter rail trains), it’s pretty much just GE these days making freight and Amtrak locos. What we need is some large scale competition (capitalism) to bring the design up a notch. Just look at Boeing vs. Airbus. If only they’d get that Dreamliner off the ground…

I think your right LMO, it looks just like the observation car in the image. What are they for anyway?

I went by there yesterday and snapped some pictures over the fence. It wasn’t even easy to see such a unique vehicle, I had to almost scale the wall. I wonder what the story is on that train… ?


Yo, I think you are 100% right about the uninspiring design that comes out of some companies today. Suck all the money out of the design department, take away their say in development and what do you get? Boxes on wheels which make you feel worse when you see them, not even neutral… When I see these trains, I see a great balance of art & function in the design, and they are stunning

I do however think that there are a lot of designers out there working at the beige box companies, trying to slowly change their thinking and slip in as much design into the products as the companies will accept… and those are the companies that need design the most. It’s unfortunate that sometimes there is animosity between the more conceptual and the more production guys, when everyone is working toward the same goal of improving products