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View Full Version : Mildly OT, nice article on the Big Boy 4-8-8-4s



Spin Doctor
12-25-2016, 04:39 PM
Bill Pierce over at Old Machine Press has a nice article on the UP's Big Boy over on his site. I will edit in the link
https://oldmachinepress.com/2016/12/20/union-pacific-4-8-8-4-big-boy-locomotive/
My Nook HD won't let me jump betwee tabs to copy and paste. His site has a number of interesting articles on different engine, aircraft, auto and rail projects. What I find awesome is the skills of the Pattern Makers, Tool Makers and Machinists needed to bring these dreams to fruition even they were not ultimately successful

DATo
12-25-2016, 04:53 PM
We have one of those in my town. I had an opportunity to work on the restoration but I was already involved in too many other projects at the time. I have often considered making a brass model of it though. Maybe someday.

kf2qd
12-25-2016, 08:22 PM
A long since passed friend used to have some pictures from the ALCO plant in Dunkirk NY. There were many of those big locomotives in various stages of construction. I recall that one shop had over 20 locomotives in various stages of construction at one time.

mixdenny
12-25-2016, 09:13 PM
What does the leading truck do?

Dennis

RB211
12-25-2016, 09:38 PM
What does the leading truck do?

Dennis

Leads the engine around corners. They often have heart shaped swing links. Haven't seen the drawing of the BigBoy, but would expect the same.


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JoeLee
12-26-2016, 12:01 AM
Leads the engine around corners. They often have heart shaped swing links. Haven't seen the drawing of the BigBoy, but would expect the same.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Really nice pictures, I love old trains, what a work of art. I'm not old enough to remember seeing any of them in service.
One time a guy at a local model RR club told me that the lead wheel group and rear wheel group aided in getting the engine rolling. I've heard the term booster used before. I often wondered if he knew what he was talking about because there was no drive linkage visible. I always thought they were for support or to help carry the weight of the engine.
I also remember hearing that some of the tenders had boosters also.

JL.................

RB211
12-26-2016, 08:03 AM
Really nice pictures, I love old trains, what a work of art. I'm not old enough to remember seeing any of them in service.
One time a guy at a local model RR club told me that the lead wheel group and rear wheel group aided in getting the engine rolling. I've heard the term booster used before. I often wondered if he knew what he was talking about because there was no drive linkage visible. I always thought they were for support or to help carry the weight of the engine.
I also remember hearing that some of the tenders had boosters also.

JL.................

I've never seen a leading truck bolster, but rear truck bolsters did exist, very few and far between. Rear truck helps support the weight of the firebox on super powers


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gambler
12-26-2016, 11:33 AM
nice read. thanks for sharing.:)

Ironwoodsmith
12-26-2016, 01:33 PM
I believe that engine was articulated. Too long for normal curves. I remember the engine and tender came in over a million pounds

old mart
12-26-2016, 02:21 PM
I've never seen one, the largest steam engine*I ever saw was the 6218 at Fort Erie in Canada, back in 86. Still there now according to Google Earth.

john hobdeclipe
12-26-2016, 07:37 PM
What does the leading truck do?

Dennis

As RB211 said, the leading truck helps guide the engine around curves. The truck does not swing or pivot freely. As it enters a curve, the linkage causes the truck to raise the main engine frame slightly. This resistance to free swiveling plus the added weight on the truck then helps pull the engine into the curve.

Paul Alciatore
12-26-2016, 08:57 PM
Nice read. Thanks.

I did see one of them up close some decades ago. They are real monster, brutes. You gotta love them.

Mister ED
12-26-2016, 09:28 PM
I would really like to see one of the Big Boys in person some day. I have worked on the Pere Marquette 1225 (a 2-8-4 Berkshire) back in the early '80's. That train is finally restored and makes runs through mid Michigan. It was also the inspiration for the book "Polar Express" (note the 1225 number).

doctor demo
12-26-2016, 09:42 PM
I would really like to see one of the Big Boys in person some day.

The California Rail Museum in Sacramento has a cab forward 4-8-8-2 on display that is the last of a fleet operated by southern pacific.
Just a little smaller than the Big Boy but still very impressive. Oil fired if I remember correctly.
Worth the price of admission if you are ever in the area.

Steve

POLAR10
12-26-2016, 10:19 PM
There is one on display at the Museum of Transport in St.Louis, Mo.
Union Pacific #4006 ALCO/1941 S Big Boy Largest successful steam locomotive 4-8-8-4

RB211
12-26-2016, 10:19 PM
Henry Ford museum has this... Close enough to a Big Boy.
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161227/a4c2b516cd13bb06f29dcd28b26d1957.jpg
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161227/f56bf1f877cdf1af4d354f8cf043d995.jpg

Scranton, PA has Big Boy 4012.



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danlb
12-26-2016, 10:20 PM
Thanks for mentioning that one. I've not been to that museum in ages, so it's time to go again.

I have been to Railtown 1897 Jamestown, and enjoyed the tour there.



Dan

J Tiers
12-26-2016, 11:18 PM
Depending on which unit, those Allegheny locos like 1601 in the Ford museum may have actually been heavier than the Big Boy.

Apparently the design team lied about the weight, which led to some lawsuits when that was finally realized. One railroad running them refused on the basis of weight to allow them to be delivered over their tracks to another, and were told they had been running that weight all along on the ones they had. That let the cat out of the bag.

Info from the book I have on them.

All the wheels of s loco were linked by a system of springs and hangers to distribute the weight. The leading and trailing trucks took some of the weight. They also were restricted in movement sideways, so they would have pulled the nose of the frame around as the loco entered a curve.

A "booster" was mentioned...Sometimes a booster was built into the trailing truck, a couple cylinders and cranks to provide extra pulling power when needed. The Allegheny was originally supposed to get a booster but it was never implemented.

RB211
12-26-2016, 11:30 PM
Look here for booster engines. This page reminded me that tenders may have them on the leading truck. Some one made a scale live steam booster engine for his loco.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booster_engine


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JoeLee
12-27-2016, 12:26 AM
I'm still trying to find some pictures of how the coal was fed to the fire box from the tender. Somewhere I read that there was some type of auger feed because no person could shovel it fast enough. I've looked at several pictures and don't see anything connected between engine and tender other than the coupler and brake hoses.

Here it is, found it about half way down.


"A large, mechanical stoker auger transported coal from the supply in the tender to the engine’s firebox; no regular fireman could keep up with the Big Boy’s prodigious need for fuel."

It said that the tender also carried water. How was the water added to the boiler. Had to be some piping involved. I doubt they had to let the fire burn out and the boiler cool before water was added. How did they add water to a hot boiler??

I wonder how long it took to get the engine ready to roll from a cold start. I'll bet it had to take a full day to get that fire burning hot enough and all that water boiling.

JL.................

JoeLee
12-27-2016, 12:47 AM
Here is a picture of the fire box door inside the cab. From looking at pictures of other engines, the coal was shoveled in through that opening. So where is the auger feed ??
I'm guessing that those T shaped pipes you can see through the opening are the heat exchangers.

Look at all those valves....... I would think they would be tagged or marked.

JL....................

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/f6/33/cb/f633cbacfd260e578c1887e06262f77f.jpg

J Tiers
12-27-2016, 01:39 AM
Auger and spreader system likely under those floor plates that hinge up. Some did poke up under the doors.

Water would be pumped in by a feed pump, or, more recently, by injectors. There would be two ways to add water, letting it get under the level of the crown sheets in the firebox could mean an explosion. One 2-6-6-6 (allegheny) did blow up for that very reason, a known "low water" engineer and fireman let it get too far.

Some of the valves you see would control steam to the injectors or pumps.

DATo
12-27-2016, 02:50 AM
The St. Louis BIG BOY 4006 ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqAKmP3EOJw

The auger system is shown at about 1:48

BIG BOYS in action ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDCn1Nrs3-g

JoeLee
12-27-2016, 09:20 AM
OK, thanks............ I can see the auger in the video, that's kind of what I envisioned, but none of the other pics I've seen show any connection between tender and engine. There had to be some feed tube between the two and it would have to flex or pivot to allow for the two going around curves.

Also, I was wondering...... what makes the smoke puff out of the stack with such pressure???? Is there air being forced into fire box ? a forced air box or something ??



JL...............

john hobdeclipe
12-27-2016, 10:11 AM
Also, I was wondering...... what makes the smoke puff out of the stack with such pressure???? Is there air being forced into fire box ? a forced air box or something ??

JL...............

Exhaust steam from the cylinders is directed up the smoke stack. This arrangement creates the draft that pulls air into the firebox and pulls the hot gasses through the tubes in the boiler and into the smokebox, then up the stack. This is where the "choo choo" comes from. As each cylinder exhausts, a blast of steam is sent up the stack, four blasts per revolution of the drivers.

When a steam locomotive is standing still, another system is used to blow some steam up the stack and create a draft to keep the fires burning.

old mart
12-27-2016, 10:12 AM
The exhaust steam is directed upwards in the base of the smokestack where the venture affect helps to draw the heat and smoke from the fire through the boiler and out.

JoeLee
12-27-2016, 10:16 AM
Exhaust steam from the cylinders is directed up the smoke stack. This arrangement creates the draft that pulls air into the firebox and pulls the hot gasses through the tubes in the boiler and into the smokebox, then up the stack. This is where the "choo choo" comes from. As each cylinder exhausts, a blast of steam is sent up the stack, four blasts per revolution of the drivers.

When a steam locomotive is standing still, another system is used to blow some steam up the stack and create a draft to keep the fires burning. OK, that makes perfect sense........... that explains why the puffs of smoke pulse with the chug chug of the cylinders.
Never knew that.

JL................

RB211
12-27-2016, 01:28 PM
Yep, Auger is below the floor plates. It would bring coal to a platten where steam jets would blow the coal throughout the firebox. One had to be careful to not over do it and snuff out the fire with too much coal. Heard stories of coal floating in the firebox, the draft was so strong. I've ridden in two steam locomotive cabs. One has to realize that these things have audible AND tactile feedback when operating. When the steam operated air or water pump depending on engine, makes a cycle, a THUMP is felt through the entire engine knowing it is operating, and if the engineer cuts off too muchh on the Johnson bar, the locomotive will start learching, or a clanging can be heard in the running gear as the slop in the valve train is not held at a constant tension. Just looking at these things statically, cold, not running, only tells 5% of the story.

Mister ED
12-27-2016, 01:48 PM
Henry Ford museum has this... Close enough to a Big Boy.

Yep, I have visited that one a few times.


Depending on which unit, those Allegheny locos like 1601 in the Ford museum may have actually been heavier than the Big Boy.

I believe the Alleghenies also had a higher rated HP than the Big Boys.

Baz
12-27-2016, 01:57 PM
A few additional snippets: The exhaust steam or blower when stationary is directed up the "petticoat pipe" which is under the chimney and has a flared out lower end so you can see how it gets its name. The steam jet coming out of the nozzle has to completely fill the flare of the petticoat to efficiently create a vacuum and the nozzle is adjustable (like a garden hose jet) on some engines. The design of this area is critical in getting a steam engine to work well and many new locos had to go back for a rework or suffer when the chief engineer was too pompous to admit his error.
Once the engine was moving well the 'Johnson bar' or 'regulator' in the UK which is the main steam valve is kept fully open otherwise you have a pressure drop across the valve which would result in the steam expanding and cooling at this junction which is pointless and wasteful. For speed control the gear or reversing lever (or screw) is used to move the valve linkages so that less steam is admitted at each stroke and can expand more in the cylinder which is more efficient but reduces raw power hence speed control. This gear lever has a latch that engages various notches in a plate (quadrant) to hold it in the selected position. Thus moving the lever to give more efficient working is known as 'notching up'. On larger engines the gear mechanism is so heavy it has to be steam assisted.

IdahoJim
12-27-2016, 02:31 PM
The California Rail Museum in Sacramento has a cab forward 4-8-8-2 on display that is the last of a fleet operated by southern pacific.
Just a little smaller than the Big Boy but still very impressive. Oil fired if I remember correctly.
Worth the price of admission if you are ever in the area.

Steve
I was fortunate to see one of these at the age of 6. This was at Santa Susana in the Simi valley. My older brother road me down to the station on his bicycle handlebars. I remember the engine really scared me. My brother and I were talking about this event the other day. I don't remember, but he said we got to go up into the cab.
Really enjoyed the story and pics.
Jim

john hobdeclipe
12-27-2016, 02:37 PM
...I'm not old enough to remember seeing any of them in service...
JL.................

OK, now I'm curious.

Besides myself, how many of you guys are old enough to remember steam locomotives in daily revenue service?

IdahoJim
12-27-2016, 02:38 PM
OK, that makes perfect sense........... that explains why the puffs of smoke pulse with the chug chug of the cylinders.
Never knew that.

JL................
Me either, but I always wondered about it.
Jim

danlb
12-27-2016, 03:33 PM
OK, now I'm curious.

Besides myself, how many of you guys are old enough to remember steam locomotives in daily revenue service?

That's a good question.

We took the train from San Francsico Ca to Columbus Ohio and back in 1959. I was not yet school age. I barely remember the train itself since we were inside the darn thing the whole trip. I remember being delighted by riding in the glass domed observation car.

The reason I'm not sure if any were steam was because all the major amusement parks had steam engines back then. I can remember riding on at least 5 steam trains, the most recent being last year in Sonol, Calif. Because of all of those, I don't know if any of the others were steam or diesel.

Stepside
12-27-2016, 03:43 PM
The question about who has seen one operating in daily service.

When I was 6 my father had a "Feed and Fuel" in Bellevue, a little town East of Seattle. Daily the "Sumas Hotshot" would go past the back of the store on its way to Canada. It was going at whatever was top speed for that portion of the track. It would shake the store enough to upset all the Baby Chicks that he had for sale. I was required to stay inside the building and watch through the open warehouse doors. There was one siding outside the doors and then the mainline. This would be 1950 and shortly thereafter the store went away so I don't know when they changed to diesel.

Pete

J Tiers
12-27-2016, 04:08 PM
I've seen a few on the railroads, mostly when I was pretty young.

But, there was one company owned at Koppers Coke in St Paul that operated for many years as I was growing up. I always liked to watch that one.

JoeLee
12-27-2016, 04:23 PM
Me either, but I always wondered about it.
Jim It looks like they diverted steam all over the engine to run other things. That must have taken away from the efficiency of the engine quite a bit. I'm sure the coal feeding auger was also run by steam.

JL..................

RB211
12-27-2016, 04:41 PM
It looks like they diverted steam all over the engine to run other things. That must have taken away from the efficiency of the engine quite a bit. I'm sure the coal feeding auger was also run by steam.

JL..................

Everything was ran off steam. Most of the efficiency lost was at the cylinders. Think total efficiency was around 12%?


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Baz
12-27-2016, 05:44 PM
Steam was also used for heating in a passenger train, and the vacuum/pressure brakes. Just as in a steam ship the winches and power steering would be steam.
Locomotives are a lot less efficient than ships engines owing to not running a condenser and mostly not being compound. But when comparing with diesels note that the latter often have their power quoted as gross to impress and forget to mention that the supercharger takes 1/3 of that power.

I can remember walking past the engine (probably Britannia 4-6-2) and the driver leaning out after arriving at Paddington and on another occasion meeting my father arriving in Devon behind probably a West Country (also a pacific). Sadly I was too young to be interested and had no idea they would not last until my teens. We lived (still do) on high ground and could see the puffs of steam passing along the view about 7 miles away. This line still exists but only runs preserved diesel occasional excursions because the infernal American company that bought the station with running rights on the line doesn't care about the small money tourist and local traffic potential. My view now includes umpteen wind generators.

J Tiers
12-27-2016, 06:50 PM
Everything was ran off steam. Most of the efficiency lost was at the cylinders. Think total efficiency was around 12%?


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Maybe even as low as 9% or less if the boiler was being "forced" to get max power. Non-condensing, one pass through the boiler for the hot gas, minimal feedwater heating when forced, minimal boiler insulation, relatively small fireboxes, etc. The machines were made for max POWER in general, not necessarily efficiency, because having to maintain many extra pushers in steam (and doing nothing much of the time) was not very efficient either.

There just was not room enough on a locomotive (nor cost) to put the efficiency-raising devices and systems in place. That can be done in a non-moving power plant, but not a locomotive that has to fit through the "clearance" limits of the railroad, and must get around curves, etc.

But there definitely WERE some compounded locomotives. Mallett compounds, for instance.

RB211
12-27-2016, 07:13 PM
Maybe even as low as 9% or less if the boiler was being "forced" to get max power. Non-condensing, one pass through the boiler for the hot gas, minimal feedwater heating when forced, minimal boiler insulation, relatively small fireboxes, etc. The machines were made for max POWER in general, not necessarily efficiency, because having to maintain many extra pushers in steam (and doing nothing much of the time) was not very efficient either.

There just was not room enough on a locomotive (nor cost) to put the efficiency-raising devices and systems in place. That can be done in a non-moving power plant, but not a locomotive that has to fit through the "clearance" limits of the railroad, and must get around curves, etc.

But there definitely WERE some compounded locomotives. Mallett compounds, for instance.

I think in Australia, they actually had condensers on some of their locomotives to reclaim the water in areas that had little to no water.


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