ADMIN: Definitions of the Steam Era is now terminated

Mike Brock <brockm@...>

Well, as I noted earlier, for some RRs the end of the steam era occurred earlier than others. The last run by a steam locomotive on the Southern Railway occurred on June 17, 1953 so a Southern fan might say the steam era ended then. It is noteworthy that many Southern...that dieselized earlier than others did not have state of the art, modern steam locos. Hence, they had few engines that still had yrs of usage left in them. In 1954 service with steam power on the UP counted for 23% of all frt mileage, 25% of passenger mileage and 7.6% of switching. On the Eastern District, steam powered 34% of frt and 37% of passenger mileage. On July 1, 1955 there were 163 active steam locomotives on the UP including all Big Boys, 49 Challengers, 9 4-12-2s and 35 4-8-4s. By Dec 31, 1955 the number of active steam engines on the UP had increased to 422...about 42% of the number of diesels. However, it should be noted that the diesel usage on frt trains normally consisted of three times the number of steam engines so the numbers of trains given diesel power was about the same as steam. As far as steam power usage is concerned, a great deal depended on the location. UP, for example, desielized much sooner in the route Ogden-LA and Ogden-Portland than east of Ogden and, finally, east of Green River. Water was always a problem for steam power in the southwest so RR divisions in that area deseilized sooner than others.

By 1958 and 1959 the greatest use of steam power on the UP was found during the fall "rush"...primarily east of Laramie to Omaha. N&W was still going strong until '59.

It should be noted, BTW, that with UP, not only were diesels replacing steam locos but turbines were a major addition to up motive power planning.

Regardless of all that...including Southern's relatively early one said that the steam era had to be or was defined as that period when steam power was dominant or even equal in numbers of locos or with regard to mileage. The steam era might be defined as beginning when steam locos began to replace horse driven power. It doesn't really matter because, for the STMFC, our period begins on Jan 1, 1900. It ends on Dec 31, 1960 a date chosen arbitrarily but one by which time it was clear that the steam era on US RRs had ended. At no time was there any attempt to determine an accurate time for the era to have ended according to someone's theory. Nor will the period covered by the group be changed.

Now that we all know thoroughly about why the steam era was decreed for the STMFC as 1900-1960, we can now return to discussions about steam era frt cars. This thread...discussing possible time periods for the steam now terminated...unless the discussion deals with frt cars. Thanks.

Mike Brock

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