OTHER In The Beginning: Streamliners 1932-1938

acptulsa Feb 1, 2023

  1. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    In the beginning, there was the doodlebug. Primarily gas-electric, but often run on a rather unreliable, but cheap, fuel called "distillate", the most successful of these came from Brill, the trolley builder, and a little upstart called Electro-Motive. This company tended to buy engines from General Motors subsidiary and former automaker Winton, and carbodies from St. Louis Car. These EMC married together with their own electrical system.

    These widgets were most often found on branch lines. Many had, in addition to their power systems, only baggage, mail and express facilities. Passenger accomodations were provided in an old wooden coach, generally heated only by a coal stove and lit by kerosene. This nineteenth century-style of accomodation didn't exactly inspire passengers. And those doodlebugs that had seating on board weren't much better.

    Santa Fe M-190 was in many ways the culmination of these machines. It featured a more substantial Winton V-12 of nine hundred horsepower, four traction motors, and a mail-baggage section articulated to the little box containing the engine and cab. The articulation and a similar Winton distillate-burning V-12 were both features of the Union Pacific M-10,000 introduced two years later, though the UP quickly replaced the spark engine with a diesel.

    But there were two companies who were interested in making the doodlebug more appealing. With travel down during the Depression, and the new national highway system and the newer airlines competing for travelers' attention, it was high time. The prospect of reducing costs and increasing the appeal of certain modest mainline trains between medium size cities was an idea whose time had clearly come. The mighty Pullman-Standard began experimenting with aluminum construction.

    The UP would be credited with the first streamliner, and the Burlington with the first diesel streamliner, in 1934. But in 1933, an important intermediate step was taken by the Texas and Pacific. Budd was the other company that had been thinking hard about this sort of service. It was also the company that noticed that the most economical and reliable sort of internal combustion engine in railroad service was the diesel. But the big, thumping Ingersoll-Rand prime movers used in Alco-GE's pioneering boxcabs of the 1925-1928 period didn't particularly impress them.

    So, they went looking for diesels overseas. While there, they were accosted by a representative of Michelin, which thought they had developed a rubber--and pneumatic!--tire that could hold to a rail. Budd came back to the U.S. and discovered the Cummins diesel. They also, unfortunately, came back sold on these tires.

    A trio of railbus-like cars followed, two for the Pennsylvania and one for the Reading. The tires were license-built by Goodyear. The Reading gave up quickly on keeping theirs on the rail, but the Pennsy stubbornly kept at it until 1943, when they gave the Washington and Old Dominion a turn.

    More interesting was a two-car trainset built for the Texas and Pacific. Built of stainless using Budd's new shotwelding process, some effort was put into making it look appealing. Oddly, the passenger-carrying trailer didn't take advantage of the smoothness presumably provided by the rubber tires. The power car made up for that, for a short while, with no less than sixteen of them trying to handle its prodigious weight. These were soon replaced with eight steel rollers.

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    Another change was a pair of gas-fueled American-LaFrance fire truck engines. These weren't so well suited to the service, and after new trucks were installed, the power car was short enough on traction that the trainset earned the sobriquet Silver Slipper. The fancy doodlebug didn't last long. But the Burlington certainly benefited from the T&P's experiment.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
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  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    The Baltimore and Ohio experimented with streamlining way, way back before the turn of the last century. That didn't go anywhere. Well, it went between Washington and Jersey City a few times as the Royal Blue, but that was it. When the M-10000 and the Zephyr captured the public's imagination in 1934, however, the B&O Royal Blue was quick to jump back on the bandwagon.

    As a darling of Washingtonians, the road was able to secure a sizeable quantity of Progress Works Administration money from the New Dealers. They bought a trainset of modest length made of aluminum. They also built (or extensively rebuilt from old equipment) a 4-6-4 and an unusual 4-4-4 with watertube boilers holding 350 psi which they named Lord and Lady Baltimore, respectfully. The road had taken quite an interest in piping water through the boiler tubes. They also contracted with EMC for a copy of their demonstrators 511 and 512, a boxcab they numbered 50 which used the machinery later found in the earliest E units.

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    The watertube engines didn't last long. The EMC diesel did; you may visit it at the National Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood, MO. This is an appropriate home, as after the Royal Blue got newer equipment in 1937, all these experimentals were sent to then-subsidiary Chicago and Alton, to operate in the hotly competitive Chicago-St. Louis corridor as the Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge, from which they all retired.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
  3. fitz

    fitz TrainBoard Member

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    Then there was the New York Central.
    NYC 5x50 Century Niagara.JPG
     
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Streamlining first went south on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern. They went to Alco and ACF in 1935, and got two trainsets for operation between Jackson, Tennessee and New Orleans. They were the first of the early doodlebug-style diesel streamliners that weren't articulated; an extra coach shuttled south of Jackson, Mississippi, riding out of New Orleans on the northbound and returning on the southbound.

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    Two years later a similar connecting train was added to serve Mobile. They were popular enough to get themselves replaced with full-sized equipment within five years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Indeed so.

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  6. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Budd found two other customers besides the Q for their early trainsets. Unfortunately, they only bought one and shared it.

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  7. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    B&M 6000, Minute Man, nee-Flying Yankee, has been under reconstruction to operational condition over the years, but has stalled for the moment. The Flying Yankee Association is negotiating to purchase 6000 from the State of New Hampshire to continue its reconstruction.
     
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  8. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    One of the light trains the Burlington wanted to "reduce passenger resistance" to was their Chicago-Minneapolis service. There was plenty of traffic, but the C&NW and Milwaukee were dominating the corridor. That changed quickly. They soon bought bigger trainsets than the initial three car Twin Zephyrs.

    The Milwaukee's answer was the most fun--four drivers seven feet tall and a very modern little 300 psi boiler.

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    An interesting Pacific could be made from one of those boilers. Six six foot drivers should fit nicely, if the shafts were connected to the middle pair. If someone were to manufacture steamers today--to reduce passenger resistance--that might be the way to go.
     
  9. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    On the way to Dallas just minutes out of Houston Union Station.
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  10. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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  11. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    The UP's second streamliner, M-10001, was longer than the first, but used the same eight cylinder, six hundred horse 201-A diesel.

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    As a result, it was underpowered. A new V-12 of 900 horses was the cure, but making it fit required some major surgery. It got stretched like a limo, complete with an extra window on each side.

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    The similar Illinois Central Green Diamond (competition for the Alton's Abe Lincoln) started with the same eight, had the same problem, and also got more power prior to entering service. But apparently it was built with more room inside. Surgery was not indicated.

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Introduced just a year beyond our time frame in 1939, the LV's John Wilkes.

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  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    The Sunbeam began in 1925 as a heavyweight train. In June 1926 it took 6+1⁄2 hours each way, leaving Houston at noon and Dallas at 1:25 p.m. In August 1937 it scheduled fifteen regular and flag stops in the 6+1⁄2-hour run. The Sunbeam was re-equipped on September 19, 1937, as a streamlined train in the Daylight paint scheme. The T&NO rebuilt three older Southern Pacific 4-6-2 locomotives to the new streamlined class P-14. Here it is outbound from Houston crossing the MKT line at Eureka Junction, north west of down town.
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  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Interestingly, for the company promotional postcard, the artist squared up the tender and added an axle to the trailer truck.

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    Their own critique, not this Santa Fe fan's... :cool:
     
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  15. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    My wife and I were able to ride the Sunbeam before it was streamlined.
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  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    When the famous "Flying Hamburger" diesel railcars entered service, Henschel was one of the cities the Deutche Rail wanted to include. The Henschel Locomotive Works wasn't amused. In 1935, they built a tank engine, a 4-6-4T, for the service instead.

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    Like Reading's Crusader, there was an observation car at each end of the train. Unlike the Reading's engine, this was as bidirectional as the trainset, so there was no skirting on the back to hide the round end of the first car.
     
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  17. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Attitudes toward speed records in three countries:

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    Several witnesses, many gentry, and one a Peer of the Realm, saw it clocked at 126. Therefore the record is undeniable.

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    That is unscientific. Was there a hill? Would you award us the record if we drove a steam shunter off a cliff? Ours carried the same train each way over the track on the same day, and the slower pass was 124. That makes our record Official.

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    Oh, no. If we told you how fast you were going, you'd go blab to the wife, she'd have a cardiac conniption, and you'd turn around and sue us. You left Trinidad two hours late and got to Kansas City two minutes early. By our calculations, that makes her top speed Fast Enough.
     
  18. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Ah yes, Mallard at 126 MPH, five miles at an average of 120. Nigel Gresley was the LNER's design engineer I think. Not sure where the name Mallard was from.

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  19. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    When my daughter was working in York, England, my wife and I visited her there. Of course I insisted we visit the National Railway Museum there. Got to see the real McCoy.
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  20. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Blue paint?

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023

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