ADMIN: Re: Pennsy, Arrogance, and Bad Management,What? Think again!
Mike Brock <brockm@...>
Well, at least we have found something more interesting than bananas to talk about today. While some rather critical comments regarding Pennsy mgt's position relative
to frt car design and even steam loco design have been made recently, these
comments are entirely permissible and even proper...given that they were
made in the context of historical information and are no doubt supported by
facts. At the same time, contrary views supported by facts have been presented and these are also welcome and proper. The members will reach their own conclusions...as they should...regarding the pros and cons of the Pennsy's mechanical dept during our period. The policy of the STMFC has always been to submit facts...even conclusions...but always within the philosophy that members are free from criticism.
I will note that, IMO, critical characteristics of Pennsy frt car design should, I think, not be
taken as some kind of vendetta against the Pennsy or those who model it but,
instead, should be considered as part of the richness of RR history. And the same goes for other RRs. I'm reminded once again of my narrow gauge friends contempt for large standard gauge RR's because of their supposed lack of "character". Little do they know. Back in the '40's UP President George Ashby refused to join UP CEO Harriman for dinner during an inspection tour and during the blizzard of '49 which closed the UP's mainline through Wyoming, Ashby chose to visit Las Vegas rather than work to get the line open. That took character. Which he no doubt needed a few weeks later when he was seeking new employment.
While I suppose it is easy to take shots at such a large target as Pennsy, one can usually find less than admirable traits or equipment associated with any RR. Hence, there are those horrible UP "bath tub" 4-8-2 and 4-6-2 steam engines [ thankfully dismantled before my time period ] or the equally offensive M-10000 things [ known to cause healthy people stomach disorders upon one look ]. And, where else should one look but to SP to see a design [ thankfully not implemented ] for an F unit diesel cab to be placed on a cab forward steam engine? Santa Fe? Well...speaking of mechanical departments, did anyone else conceieve of anything as bizarre as an articulated engine with a hinge in the boiler? [ well, technically the feedwater heater was in the front part ]. They actually built and operated the beast. And, of course, the Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 was only slightly more successful than the Virginian's Triplex disaster which was soon separated into two engines as was the Santa Fe's 2-10-10-2's [ I'll avoid mentioning Erie's triplex version to avoid Schuyler's wrath <G> ]. At least the Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 was safe...on one occasion one was involved in a "run away" on Cajon Pass but since it wouldn't go faster than 35 mph it didn't derail.
Anyhow, I certainly don't react by thinking of the Pennsy in a negative way but,
rather, find it interesting...even enjoyably so...that they could be so
oblivious to other RR's concepts in frt car design. Thus, while the x29 [
note, no "-" <G> ] and its many variations may have been obsolete well
before production ceased, a model of a RR during the period should have many
examples running about. After all, modeling a real RR is the process of
creating an "accurate" impression of it, including models of obsolete cars
of other RR's that might be found on it.
One might also find fault with GN and NP for building box cars with wood
sides when steel was the material of choice. In this case, of course, such
designs were driven by other considerations rather than believing that wood
was a superior material.
For those interested in the subject of Santa Fe and Pennsy steam loco
design, there is a very good book, One Man's Locomotives by Vernon Smith, on
the subject from one who worked in the mechanical dept of both RR's. Smith
was quite involved with poppet designs on both
RR's. BTW, he did not consider the Pennsy T1 a failure and listed several
"fixes" that would, he felt, resolve the slipperiness of the engines if
diesels had not solved the problem before they could be implemented. Testing of these engines on the C&O and N&W produced rather negative results when done in mountainous territory but similar results would have occurred there with the aclaimed NYC Niagara. Tests on flat territory produced very positive results and, of course, the T1 was designed for just those conditions. An excellent evaluation of the Pennsy T1/N&W J tests can be found in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of The Arrow published by the N&W Historical Society. It concludes that large 4-8-4s such as the UP and NYC engines could operate at high speed with no problems and that the complexities of duplex drive were not needed. It also notes that retirement of the T1 was not due to inadequacy of design but, rather, to competition from a superior design...the diesel.
Mike Brock...wearing two hats today, STMFC Owner and STMFC member
Peter J. McClosky <pmcclosky@...>
Mike Brock wrote:
... Thus, while the x29 [
I started looking at trains a 4 year old living one long block from the SP Chandler (Burbank) branch in the very early 1950's. (Off topic, but I even saw a very strange, for a 4 year old, locomotive running on it. It was running backwards and had the tender behind the smoke box door... A cab forward, but I did not know of them!)
I do not remember seeing a single Pennsy car until I move closer to Taylor yard, in the late 50's.
In my new home, I could see, and with binoculars examine, the SP Main Line in Glendale, CA, and it was on that line that I saw my first Pennsy car (a "small" box car).
To keep this steam era and freight car related, in my HO model fleet, I have exactly 1 (one) Pennsy box car.
I model the SP in the transition era, and I do not plan on acquiring any more Pennsy cars.
Peter J. McClosky
On Mar 23, 2007, at 9:44 AM, Mike Brock wrote:
....Santa Fe? Well...speaking of mechanicalSeveral of them, in fact.
And, of course, the Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 was only slightly moreAll true, but please note that these monstrosities were all constructed
before John Purcell became the Santa Fe's chief mechanical officer in
1912 and immediately began to get rid of them, as well as to bring the
Santa Fe's obsession with compound locos to an abrupt end in favor of
simple locos with Schmidt superheaters. The accomplishments of the
Santa Fe's mechanical department under Purcell, H. H. Lanning, and
Charles T. Ripley, culminating with the remarkable 4-6-4s, 4-8-4s, and
2-10-4s built for the Santa Fe between 1937 and 1944, are documented in
great detail in a new book by Larry Brasher, Santa Fe Steam Locomotive
Development, recently published by Signature Press. This is essential
reading for anyone interested in steam locomotive history and
technolopgy (as well as in the introduction of diesel-electric
cj riley <cjriley42@...>
I would be tempted to argue about the validity and aesthetics of streamlined
locomotives, but that is a distraction we do not need.
--- Mike Brock <brockm@...> wrote:
While I suppose it is easy to take shots at such a large target as Pennsy,
Don't get soaked. Take a quick peek at the forecast
with the Yahoo! Search weather shortcut.
Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
Mike Brock wrote:
Well, at least we have found something more interesting than bananasI'm telling ya Mike, it's the bananas that does it every time. Bananas one
minute, Pennsy failures the next. Happens every time. Gotta love it! :D
I just had occasion to look at Walter Luca's "100 Years of Railroad Cars.." (Simmons-Boardman) and ran across
a plan and picture of the UPs early attempt at a metal boxcar.
Keeping in the theme of the previous threads but within the constraints of this list...
......now THAT was one ugly Steam Era Freight Car!!!!