Alco S2 ATSF: Long Hood Forward?

BigJake Jan 10, 2021

  1. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I searched and could not find this. I will soon receive a couple of N scale Alco S2's in ATSF Blue & Yellow livery.

    I have searched photos online, and it appears the zebra-striped S2s ran long hood forward, but the only suggestion for the Blue/Yellow direction is some that were coupled cab-end to cab-end (indicating long hood forward.) Were Blue/Yellow units just re-painted zebra-striped units, or were they new orders from Alco?

    Also, since these were mostly used for switching, it is possible that photos showing LHF operation were just pushing/pulling a cut of cars, and not necessarily how they would run "over the road".

    I doubt the cab details in N scale will tell me either...

    Anybody have knowledge of how the ATSF blue/yellow S2s were configured/driven over the road?

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I just realized something about the Heber Creeper train in Utah... Years ago, we took the kids (now grown) to see the Thomas the Tank engine visiting there during the holiday.

    Anyway, I remember riding in the first car behind the locomotive (not TtT, but a short, Alco-style switch engine). I had never thought of this, but I remember sitting on the left side (facing forward) of the car, and looking forward, seeing the engineer running the train, on the left side of the cab (at the far, front end of the loco). I never thought anything about it until now, trying to figure out the "proper" forward direction on my new S2's. They must've had a LHF configured cab, but were running it cab-forward for visibility!
     
  3. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not sure...but I run mine LHF whether switching in the yard or taking a few cars over to the concrette plant on the other side of the layout. LHF just looks better to me. JMO.
     
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  4. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    If the yard switchers were running over the road, it was almost always on a local. It was not often that a yard switcher would run a long distance freight. If the yard switcher were running over the road, it ran in whatever direction it happened to be facing. As many locals were turns, the locomotive ran facing one way in and the other way out.

    Road switchers on locals ran in whatever direction they happened to be facing. On a turn, it was similar to the yard switcher. On long distance trains, usually multiple units were necessary, thus usually, the crews could find a locomotive that faced the appropriate direction to lead. If the turn did require two or more units, you tried to run them so that one locomotive on each end was facing in the appropriate direction.

    On the passenger trains, be they intercity or local, the road switchers ran in whatever direction they happened to be facing, although there were exceptions. SP did turn their Trainmasters, GP-9s and SD-7s/SD-9s at Mission Bay and College Park.

    I do not know what happened if a yard switcher worked a passenger train. This did not occur often, but it did occur. I do not know if ATSF ever assigned a yard switcher to a passenger train. SP regullarly assigned a GE seventy tonner to an Arizona local passenger train (that actually ran quite a distance, for a local). The only photographs that I ever have seen of it show the locomotive's facing long hood forward. I do not know if SP turned it at each end.

    Turning anything required time (READ: money) and possibly crews, due to work rules in labour agreements. This would have cost even more money.
     
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  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not aware of them ever leaving the yard. The Santa Fe's drag freight speed limit was 50 even back then (manifest 70, passenger 90, speed all you dare if you're behind schedule) and I don't think they ever allowed Blunt trucks or AAR switcher trucks out on the road.

    They did run switchers in multiple pushing cuts over the hump in classification yards. I don't think they wired any S2s for that, but they did with both EMDs and Baldwin S12s. Originally those ran cab-to-cab, but in the early sixties they wired them with mu through the nose, and ran them nose-to-nose for better visibility.

    I'd suggest long hood forward for collision protection for the crew. That was something crews pushing strings over the hump didn't have to worry about.

    Besides,
    Not JYO. MO2.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  6. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    The long hood would be forward on a switcher. In a yard, which end was forward wouldn't make any difference. The engines were oriented based on where the engineer sat relative to the switching lead. The engineer will be on the side where he can look down the switching lead to see the switch crew, regardless of whether that is forwards or backwards.

    If you are standing on the lead, facing down the row of switches, and all the tracks break off to the right, the engineer will need to be on teh left, so the switcher will be "backwards". If you are standing on the lead, facing down the row of switches, and all the tracks break off to the left, then the engineer will want to be on the right, so the switcher will be forwards.
     
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  7. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Alco built the last S2's in 1950 and Santa Fe started the blue and yellow paint scheme around 1960 so any blue and yellow S2's would have been re-painted from the zebra stripe scheme.
     
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  8. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting! So, did ATSF S2's have controls on both sides of the cab?

    Or did they have to turn the loco according to which side the switches were on? Were there any yards of substantial size where all the switches were on the same side, so they didn't have to turn a loco based on where/what the switcher was doing. Or did they use different locos for different moves, based on which way it was facing (and therefore which side of the loco the engineer was on?)

    Or were crew rules such that two men were in the cab at all times it was moving anyway, back then? (engineer and brakeman? though I've heard that for a short time, a fireman was still required in the diesel cabs!)

    As you can guess, I'm pretty ignorant of these details of operations... Oh, man, I wish my grandfather were still around, to "edumacate" me!
     
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  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Yes.
     
  10. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    We have a former ATSF S2 in our collection and it is set up for long hood forward operation.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I noticed the helium car in the photo, and I was just reading about the Amarillo Railroad Museum, which has a lot of info about the helium plants in the panhandle area on their website. I was searching about Alco S2's, and their site came up. But they have a former Rock Island S2.

    Apparently the large majority of S2's were delivered in long-hood-forward configurations, but some were not, and some others were converted to cab-forward later.

    Thanks for the ATSF-specific info.
     
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  12. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Initially the early switchers were run long hood forward as crew protection.
     
  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Our car at the museum in Houston is #1237.
    [​IMG]

    At plant outside Amarillo.
    Cars at Amarillo Plant.jpg
     
  14. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I read the Engineer's Union demanded that because steamers had the boiler that was perceived to give crew protection. Except the SP Cab Forwards.
     
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  15. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Probably not. Some were equipped that way, but they were rare.

    Generally yards are a pyramid shape. That means that the engineer would need to be on the same side n both ends of the yard, which means the engines could be facing the same way on both ends.
    There was no requirement that the engines HAD to be facing a certain way, and if there were switches on both sides (a diamond shaped yard), then it really didn't matter.

    If they ard had double sets of switch engines them might put engines cab to cab or hood to hood so they could be on the "right" side all the time.

    Generally no, they wouldn't waste a lot of time spinning engines. On a lead job generally the engine would spend a full shift switching on one side or the other, so the engine would be pointed in a specific direction. If you are out in an industrial area, its pot luck, you just switch it regardless of which way the engine is pointed. That's one of the reasons crews were so big back then was to have people to pass signals. Onece crews all had radios the direction wasn't as important.

    There were no rules that I have ever seen that required two men in a cab at all times or when a brakeman was on the off side. Some labor agreements (not rules) required engines to have a fireman, some did not. By the 1980's most jobs could be operated without a fireman. Even with a fireman, there was no rule that they had to be in the cab at all times.
     
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  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    They existed. World War II caused some rules to be relaxed because of the manpower shortage. But any locomotive of 45 tons or more had to have a fireman. That's why 44 tonners were popular, even with Class I roads, even though there were few places a switcher that light would do them any good.
     
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  17. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Y'all are right; I shouldn't have stipulated "at all times". Two men assigned/working/etc. perhaps: in essence, another pair of eyes for the engineer.

    Thank you all for your insights into working railroads!
     
  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I didn't realize those were so heavy empty! Must have been very high pressure. Otherwise, they would be heavier empty than full! (assuming "empty" did not mean "vacuum") Maybe they were so heavy to allow pulling a vacuum (preventing collapse), to get all the helium out.
     
  19. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Yeah, they could carry only carry a load of 4000 pounds of pressurized helium. At atmospheric pressure that would still be a very large volume of gas. I don't know how many cars would be needed to fill up a NAVY blimp. When "empty" they still had a little helium in them making them a tiny bit lighter than if they had purged them with regular air. Nothing you would notice in a car that heavy to begin with.
     
  20. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    All this talk about helium cars recently, and I can't seem to get any !!! GRRR !!! :mad::mad::mad:
     

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