Author Topic: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.  (Read 466 times)

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Offline DoctorZ

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In July, 2019, the largest Steam Locomotive ever built came to Minnesota.  As a Rail Fan as well as a Storm Chaser/Spotter, the wife and I used our Storm Chasing skills to chase the locomotive through Central Minnesota and shoot this video:


Offline gwwilk

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 08:29:38 AM »
Thanks for the fascinating video [tup]  Great job. \:D/ =D> \:D/

It looks like the engine and train made a big impression all along the route.  The skills needed to operate this beast are almost lost, but somehow UP managed to assemble a crew for the tour.

The UP Railroad is near and dear to Nebraskans without which our state would look much different.  It's nice to see a bit of RR history so admirably refurbished by the Steam Shop in Cheyenne, WY.  And it obviously works!

I initially wondered about the role the entrained diesel engine was playing, but it became obvious the farther I got into your video that it was merely along for the ride 'just in case'.

Here is an Omaha World-Herald piece about the Big Boy and its restoration.  (I'm not sure if you can view it without a subscription, but I'm hopeful that you can.)
Regards, Jerry Wilkins
gwwilk@inebraska.com

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 09:43:47 AM »
Very nice and you know the value of a tripod!

This really was an event.  I'm here in Eau Claire, WI and work got in the way of watching it come in, but several friends were able to figure out where to go to be on a crossing as it passed.  The whistle was amazing, according to their reports (ears still recovering).

Thanks for sharing this and it must have been a treat to be able to take the time to get those views.  For those of us who couldn't, thank you. Dale
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Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 11:33:08 AM »
I used the tripod at the Crossing shots, but it's pretty hard in a moving vehicle.

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 12:30:21 PM »
I've wondered how much some people put into their equipment to have image stabilizers, both mechanical, in camera and then post processing to get the stable shots.  I know drones have some camera stabilizing abilities.

Your shots were well composed (and the trouble shooting while moving is something that is a son of a gun, but I wonder if anyone who posts those sweeping back and forth, blurred images, videos even looks at their work after they shoot? 

Thanks for the superior video of this amazing train.  I'll be retired next year and I hope that in the next couple of years they will run this engine again.  It must have been a big chunk of their advertising budget to do this, but hope they would get riders from station to station willing to pay enough to partially finance this.  The enormous numbers of people along the stops (all wanting to step into your field of camera view, having arrived an hour later than you did to stake out your choice of a good location) shows the interest we have in this history.  I recall going to the railroad museum in Green Bay, WI (you don't have to be a Packers fan to go there) and being amazed at the collection and display they have there.

Thanks again,
Dale

Oh, as a PS, did you say what equipment you used to capture the video?  A camcorder?  A DSLR with video capabilities?  The tripod shot seemed to have a very nice telephoto capability as you pulled back from the initial sighting of the engine coming down the tracks.


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Offline ocala

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2019, 01:25:35 PM »
Great job on the video.
Surprised to see all the people who turned out for the run.

Offline ValentineWeather

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 01:51:57 PM »
Made me think of this
Randy

Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2019, 02:04:08 PM »
The camera is a Canon XF300.  It has built in image stabilizing and an 18X zoom.  I tried to stabilize it even better while riding with a pillow on the window ledge, but I discovered that this hampered the focus while zooming.  I ended up just holding on to it for dear life hanging out the window.  Fortunately the train only went 38 MPH.

The other problem was not only were there droves of Foamers (rail fans) lined up along the tracks for the entire length of the chase; but people were driving like they were running from an EF-5 Tornado!  We'd be in position when all of a sudden two or three cars would pass on the sides of us, or on the shoulder then cut in front and slam on their brakes.  No one wanted you to be able to pace the locomotive for long and we'd catch up when the roadway split off from the tracks then gradually get pushed farther and farther away by rude motorists.  My wife kept having to swerve, accelerate, and slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.  It didn't make for a very smooth ride especially when I'm hanging my entire camera out the window at 38 MPH.  If it wasn't for my 18X zoom, I would not have gotten as much as I did.

As for the popularity of the train, it was insane!  Some people compared it to Elvis coming back to life.  On a Facebook group for rail fans in the Twin Cities area only, 1.5 Million people said they were going to attend the showing at St. Paul's Union Depot.  The locomotive was only there on display for two days!

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2019, 02:50:28 PM »
I love your comment about how the people were driving, like fleeing and EF-5.  Down in tornado alley, I understand they drive towards such events with equal abandon.

But people have no manners any more.  You got me interested in other posts on UTube, and found a few others with decent video, and some drone shots.

There was one guy on the top of his RV with a tripod and some guy pulled up next to him and, making use of the great platform and lucky parking spot, climbed up on his camper and initially blocked the view of the other photographer.  Sheesh.

But we tried to see the engine at its stop in Altoona, WI where it overnighted and the traffic was insane.  We did see some steam going up, but the crowds were too much and finally my son who was driving and wife navigating took my advice and we went to have a nice supper at the Altoona Family Restaurant.

It's stalwarts like yourself who let those of us with newer cars, less daring wives, and lacking nerves of steel to hang our expensive glass out the window to see such wonders, although pictures inspire while being present amazes.

I've included one link to another video from the road, out west if I recall, where there must have been even more post-processing to stabilize the image he was shooting.  I have a hard time getting a still shot of a thunderhead out the window, say nothing of a moving train from a poorly maintained road.

Thanks again.  Dale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWx6bAliZik

A drone flies in formation with it at about 4:20 point in the video, and brings to question how many drone collisions there were during the train's trip across the country.

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Offline vreihen

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2019, 03:10:20 PM »
I initially wondered about the role the entrained diesel engine was playing, but it became obvious the farther I got into your video that it was merely along for the ride 'just in case'.

Excursion railroads sometimes drag along diesels to provide head-end power (HEP) for the passenger cars in tow if they are lacking an old HEP car:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-end_power

I'm not sure that the SD40-2 they were dragging has HEP, though.

Union Pacific's Heritage Fleet supposedly has federal exemptions from the new mandatory PTC (positive train control) requirements, but that might be another reason to drag a modern diesel along with the excursion.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2019, 03:14:36 PM »
Dale, so far the best video I've seen is the 5 minutes of RAW footage shot thru Echo Canyon, Utah.  The scenery is breath-taking.  If you look past the locomotive in the background you can see a line of chasers following on the other roadway.

The most amazing thing about the train chase was no cops!  It was quite the opposite of when we chased the Solar Eclipse back in 2017.  They had cops everywhere and signs saying you were NOT allowed to stop alongside the highway to watch.

I've posted that adventure on here too:
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=36763.msg377929#msg377929
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 03:19:09 PM by DoctorZ »

Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2019, 03:17:50 PM »
I initially wondered about the role the entrained diesel engine was playing, but it became obvious the farther I got into your video that it was merely along for the ride 'just in case'.

Excursion railroads sometimes drag along diesels to provide head-end power (HEP) for the passenger cars in tow if they are lacking an old HEP car:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-end_power

I'm not sure that the SD40-2 they were dragging has HEP, though.

Union Pacific's Heritage Fleet supposedly has federal exemptions from the new mandatory PTC (positive train control) requirements, but that might be another reason to drag a modern diesel along with the excursion.....

I believe that was an SD70, not SD40-2 in the consist.

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2019, 03:22:44 PM »
Now I've been Utubing around watching more videos of this thing, darn you DocZ for getting me started.

Oh well, the lawn and fixer stuff can wait a few minutes until my coffee is finished.

I now have all sorts of questions which someone might know.

It appears that the two sets of drive wheels are not always synchronized, and it stays on the track.  I guess this means that they aren't balanced depending upon each other and that going around a bend or slippage makes them change.  My conclusion is that there is no dependence upon them being in the same spot of rotation.  Does anyone know if the left and right sides are linked or do they drive independently?

How about explaining the smoke coming out.  Sometimes it shows running down the track at a stable speed and all of a sudden the grey or white exhaust goes black as night but for a few seconds, and other times (start ups, especially) there is constant black smoke.  Is that when they add coal to the firebox?

Speaking of smoke, convection alone couldn't pull that kind of draft.  I recall that sometimes the steam exhausted from the drive cylinders was routed through to the stack and vented upwards to create more draft.   Did that always happen or just when needed?  Did they ever have fans inside the stack to pull the air through faster?

I've heard it said that sometimes sand was drizzled onto the tracks to provide better traction when it was polished or slippery, but didn't that just wear things out faster?  I've seen some video of where the drive wheels sort of spin out, like a muscle car burning rubber.  I assume that was not a good thing to happen.  Do electromotive diesels have the same problem?

I'll quit after this one, but one of the videos showed the Big Boy and another steam in tandem.  I know electronics can control a while bunch of locomotives in tandem on modern trains, but how would one know how much to push or how to try to stay at the speed of the lead locomotive?

Thanks for the fun, guys.  I'm sure there are tons more questions out there waiting to be answered about a bygone era when every one of these was known by most train-linking kids by age 8, like how much water/hour, how much coal, when did they have to get rid of the burned coal remnants, and all that.

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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2019, 03:37:54 PM »
I sure hope this string is in ChitChat or the admin is going to be pissed about the free floating stream of consciousness.
/2 hour
My oldest son and I had planned to go see the eclipse, and after overnighting in Omaha, headed towards DeWitt, Nebraska, the home of the Vice Grip tool.

Wonderful time, a small town with a lot of character and the most friendly folks you'd want to meet.  The clouding up started about 1/2 hour before the first darkening, and while cloudy enough to not see where the sun was in the sky at all, got a really weird feeling as the area darkened quickly, birds flew around like at dusk, and it cooled of a lot.  A few people had attempted to drive out of the clouds but don't know if they were successful or not.  The clouds began to clear ten minutes after totality, but only got a few glimpses of the sun with a little chunk out of it as we headed back towards Des Moines, where we chased an amazing rainbow and the back side of some grumpy looking thunderheads.  With an unfortunately severe accident ahead of us as we neared Des Moines  (fatality, but not due to the eclipse watchers we learned) we had truly stop and start traffic for 10 miles or so which took over an hour and a half until we got routed off the interstate, and in a downpour and not really much for direction of where to turn, so we just followed the pack.  The whole thing was an adventure, but I do have several pix of the overhead signs on the interstate heading towards Lincoln about NOT pulling over during the eclipse.  You don't see those very often.  Thank goodness we have another one coming up in a few years if I can live that long.   

A young friend took up an offer to drive out to Jackson Hole, WY to watch where it was crystal clear, and the reported eclipse experience of seeing the dark sky, stars near the sun beyond the corona, and feeling a 20 degree temperature drop during totality.  I keep telling him how incredibly lucky he was to have had that experience.

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Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2019, 03:39:53 PM »
Now I've been Utubing around watching more videos of this thing, darn you DocZ for getting me started.

Oh well, the lawn and fixer stuff can wait a few minutes until my coffee is finished.

I now have all sorts of questions which someone might know.

It appears that the two sets of drive wheels are not always synchronized, and it stays on the track.  I guess this means that they aren't balanced depending upon each other and that going around a bend or slippage makes them change.  My conclusion is that there is no dependence upon them being in the same spot of rotation.  Does anyone know if the left and right sides are linked or do they drive independently?

How about explaining the smoke coming out.  Sometimes it shows running down the track at a stable speed and all of a sudden the grey or white exhaust goes black as night but for a few seconds, and other times (start ups, especially) there is constant black smoke.  Is that when they add coal to the firebox?

Speaking of smoke, convection alone couldn't pull that kind of draft.  I recall that sometimes the steam exhausted from the drive cylinders was routed through to the stack and vented upwards to create more draft.   Did that always happen or just when needed?  Did they ever have fans inside the stack to pull the air through faster?

I've heard it said that sometimes sand was drizzled onto the tracks to provide better traction when it was polished or slippery, but didn't that just wear things out faster?  I've seen some video of where the drive wheels sort of spin out, like a muscle car burning rubber.  I assume that was not a good thing to happen.  Do electromotive diesels have the same problem?

I'll quit after this one, but one of the videos showed the Big Boy and another steam in tandem.  I know electronics can control a while bunch of locomotives in tandem on modern trains, but how would one know how much to push or how to try to stay at the speed of the lead locomotive?

Thanks for the fun, guys.  I'm sure there are tons more questions out there waiting to be answered about a bygone era when every one of these was known by most train-linking kids by age 8, like how much water/hour, how much coal, when did they have to get rid of the burned coal remnants, and all that.

I can tackle two of your questions, Dale.

1. The Big Boy and all other steamers that I know of don't burn coal.  They run on #5 heating oil.  Only the 261 Steamer still runs on all coal.  Google "Friends of the 261" for more info on that locomotive.  It's based out of Minneapolis.

2. Modern diesels have computers in their motors that apply power to the wheels.  It is hard to make them slip, as this grinds down the rail head and is costly to repair, not to mention slipping reduces traction.  Modern diesels use their diesel engine to power an electric turbine to produce either AC or DC electricity.  It is the electricity that propels the locomotive down the track.  There are advantages and disadvantages to AC vs DC and some locomotives produce both and covert between them during operation.

To my knowledge Steamers are wholly controlled by the engineer.  When the Big Boy and 844 ran in tandem doing the double header, those engineers had to be VERY well trained to coordinate the pulling power.  But just like driving a car, steering a ship, or flying a plane, locomotive engineers get a "feel" for the train and can adjust their throttle and brakes to compensate.

Offline Jstx

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2019, 03:59:16 PM »
Thank you so much, DoctorZ, for capturing these images of Union Pacific 4014.
F'in A awesome! The technical and logistical effort required that you invested in this is incredible, but I'm sure you had a h3ll of a time. Somebody mentioned 'coal' when 4014 was stoking up, this Big Boy was converted to oil-burning during its' restoration; an earlier UP working oil conversion on #4005 had failed in ~1947.

The Big Boy's [4-8-8-4] 'biggest' size status isn't resolved, yet. The C&O Alleghenys [2-6-6-6] possibly weigh slightly more, and are more powerful. Can't hardly quibble over beasts that each weigh more than a million and a quarter pounds though. Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum has an Allegheny on display.
I'm hoping that the UP 4014's extended system tour gets down to Texas, 'cause I will be there.

I too have been a railfan since a kid in the 1950's, I was lucky enough to actually see a few working steam engines, as diesels were replacing them. My dad was a photographer and taught me film developing and printing by the time I was eight or so, and I took hundreds of railroad pictures.
A school buddy and I spent a lot of time around 'the tracks' and railyards. We were even given inside tours of a few idling diesel engines, F-types, way back then. The railroad 'dicks' even tolerated our scrambling around.
And the town ice house was right there next to the yard, ahhh, the cool [with it 100F+ here every day now, it would be nice to hang out in there again, A/C just isn't the same].

A couple of decades+ ago I was TDY'ed in San Antonio, I had a nice corporate apartment that overlooked Olmos Creek and the short haul railroad that hauled 'rocks' or whatever from quarries north of town into the city [IIRC, now that area is a ballfield]. The creek and edging woods and fields made good exploring for me and my then young kids.
So, one afternoon one of the trains was approaching southbound, we were near a small trestle, so I had the 'bright' idea to go under the trestle while the heavy train passed a few feet overhead [plenty of standing room]... :roll: We got under there as the train came around a bend up the track.
Ruh-oh, the noise and vibration was simply beyond incredible as that train crossed the little trestle. The girls started out freaking out, then they actually liked it. You can't get a 'ride' like that on any ride at Sea World or Six Flags. Holy carp, watching the underside of a locomotive and cars pass just overhead was beyond awesome. Try it sometime before y'all croak...  :shock:

Thanks again, don't usually do streaming/utoob, but that vid of UP 4014 was well worth it, DrZ. Well edited too.

Links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Big_Boy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_4014
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Heritage_Fleet
https://www.up.com/heritage/steam/4014/
https://www.up.com/heritage/steam/schedule/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-6-6-6
https://web.archive.org/web/20080127121645/http://www.steamlocomotive.com/allegheny/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Henry_Ford#Greenfield_Village
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_F-unit


Offline Jstx

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2019, 04:57:01 PM »
Now I've been Utubing around watching more videos of this thing, darn you DocZ for getting me started...

I now have all sorts of questions which someone might know.

It appears that the two sets of drive wheels are not always synchronized, and it stays on the track.  I guess this means that they aren't balanced depending upon each other and that going around a bend or slippage makes them change.  My conclusion is that there is no dependence upon them being in the same spot of rotation. 
Right, each set of driving wheels on these articulated engines [the 8-8 of the Whyte notation 4-8-8-4 'Big Boy' locomotives] are driven by huge steam cylinders just ahead of each set and linked by the driving rods to one wheel, which is then linked to the other wheels in that set. The two sets [here] turn/follow the track independently. Some locos are "compound", and actually drive one wheel set with high-pressure steam, and then the second driving wheel set uses 'used' exhaust lower-pressure steam for power. They do get out of sync, no prob. Non-articulated engines usually have only one set of driving wheels, like the 2-8-2 Mikado.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-8-2


Does anyone know if the left and right sides are linked or do they drive independently?
Each of the driving wheels is connected by an axle to its' mate on the other side of the loco, and linked via drive bars to any other drivers in its' set, so no, they're not independent.

How about explaining the smoke coming out.  Sometimes it shows running down the track at a stable speed and all of a sudden the grey or white exhaust goes black as night but for a few seconds, and other times (start ups, especially) there is constant black smoke.  Is that when they add coal to the firebox?
Yes, extra visible smoke is a pretty good indicator of an 'under load' condition. Although periodically, steam is routed into the engine flues to clean them [as was done aboard steam-driven vessels: IE: 'blowing the tubes' on a oil-fueled naval destroyer]]. The UP #4014 was converted to burn oil as part of the recent restoration.So like diesel locos [trucks, etc] extra/darker smoke exhaust usually indicates 'load'.

Speaking of smoke, convection alone couldn't pull that kind of draft.  I recall that sometimes the steam exhausted from the drive cylinders was routed through to the stack and vented upwards to create more draft.   Did that always happen or just when needed?  Did they ever have fans inside the stack to pull the air through faster?
Yes, both exhaust steam and smokebox fans can be used, depending on type.

I've heard it said that sometimes sand was drizzled onto the tracks to provide better traction when it was polished or slippery, but didn't that just wear things out faster?  I've seen some video of where the drive wheels sort of spin out, like a muscle car burning rubber.  I assume that was not a good thing to happen.  Do electromotive diesels have the same problem?
Sanders are usually stock equipment, don't cause that much wear. Those 'domes' above the engine tube are often sand storage.

I'll quit after this one, but one of the videos showed the Big Boy and another steam in tandem.  I know electronics can control a while bunch of locomotives in tandem on modern trains, but how would one know how much to push or how to try to stay at the speed of the lead locomotive?
The engineer's learned skills.

Thanks for the fun, guys.  I'm sure there are tons more questions out there waiting to be answered about a bygone era when every one of these was known by most train-linking kids by age 8, like how much water/hour, how much coal, when did they have to get rid of the burned coal remnants, and all that.
Older family members told stories of people picking up dropped coal from the tracks during the Great Depression [1930's].

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2019, 05:27:20 PM »
Jstx,
Thanks for the comments.  It does help clarify and inform.

And they were not "stories" about picking up coal... it happened and out of necessity. 
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Offline vreihen

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2019, 05:33:28 PM »
I believe that was an SD70, not SD40-2 in the consist.

Yes indeed, you are correct!  UP replaced their SD40-2 that used to run the same number.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline Jstx

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2019, 06:17:40 PM »
Jstx,
Thanks for the comments.  It does help clarify and inform.

And they were not "stories" about picking up coal... it happened and out of necessity.

Thanks, railroads are still fascinating.

Yeah, picking up coal, one of them was my mom as a girl, and her mom, tough times.
Per my Ancestry research and limited family history, her 'real' biological  dad was a bit of a bounder, having quickly divorced grandma when mom came along [later stepdad was OK]; a pattern he used with others, both before and after her.
Can't hide from those Ancestry records, heh. Don't know how he did it back then in widely separated towns, with the 'bad' highways, etc. By rail? He was fairly well off though, a WWI vet too.

Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2019, 06:45:47 PM »
It was mentioned that many are hoping the Big Boy visits their State.  I think that's the plan.  I heard that the Midwest tour was chosen because BNSF and Union Pacific have been upgrading their tracks to haul heavier loads due to the North Dakota Oil Fracking, etc.  Other railroads like Norfolk & Southern, CSX, Kansas City & Western have not completed their upgrades.  The upgraded track is necessary to support the weight of the 4-8-8-4 safely.

With that said, UP is planning another excursion to California in October.  As for the rest of the country, you can sign up and receive updates and schedules of when 4014 and 844 are going to run here:
  https://www.up.com/heritage/steam/club/index.htm
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 06:48:25 PM by DoctorZ »

Offline sacreyweather

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2019, 07:13:39 PM »
I'm glad you have gotten to see her. I'm waiting for the 4014 to come to Arkansas. It will most likely be at least a year, if not several before she makes it down here. And yes, steam train chasing is very similar to storm chasing. I took my wife steam chasing one time, back in 2004-2005 when UP 3985 came to Arkansas. I am no longer allowed to steam chase because of it, which is okay. I look back and think how am I still alive from all that train chasing I did back in the 80's and 90's is beyond me. Talk about doing some stupid crap, just to get a photo!!!!!

On the question Dale asked about the drive wheels. There is an axle, and the drive wheels are also "quartered". This means there is always a 90° offset to one sides' position versus the other side.

On the diesel being along, yes, it is there "just in case" there is a problem with the the steam engine, no it normally does not supple HEP (head end power) for the passenger cars. There is usually at least 1 dedicated power car in the passenger consist. Also on the diesel, it is normally controlled from the steam engine cab. They have MU controls to run it. On the 4014, it was my understanding, especially during its break in runs to Utah, that the diesel was put into "dynamic braking" mode to act as a load the 4014. This made a lot of folks think the steamer was being "pushed", when in fact it was not. When they had the diesel in dynamic braking, the 4014 did not even know it was there.

Having the VERY rare honor of being in the cab of an operating steam locomotive (Cotton Belt 819) at track speed, back in October 1993 when I was 25, I can tell you it is loud as heck, the engine rides like a rock (you feel every bump, dip, etc. in the track) it is hot in the cab (this was in October when this trip was made. I can't imagine doing this across the desert in the summer time!!!!)

I believe it is the UP Steam Program's intent to have the 4014 visit all of the states that they service. I hope this is the case. Anywhere this engine goes, every Tom, Dick and Harry will come out of the woodwork to see it. Traffic will be a nightmare on a good day.

As for its ability to travel over the UP system, it is the weight rating of the bridges and lack of appropriate turning facilities, that will be the limiting factors as to where this engine will be able to go. There used to an "E" rating system that was used for how much a bridge could handle based on the axle weight rating. The main drivers on 4014 weigh around 67,500 lbs each. This is their working weight. Most of the UP main line has at least 133 lb rail, which can handle cars up to 286,000 to 315,000 each. Most of the freight cars I see are rated 286,000 lbs.


John
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Offline vreihen

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2019, 08:37:46 PM »
I guess those of us in the northeast are lucky in that we have the Steamtown National Historical Site in Scranton, PA.  They have a large static collection, a running excursion locomotive or two, and a complete roundhouse with turntable and working steam locomotive overhaul shops to tour.....
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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2019, 09:51:39 PM »
Our kids and grandkids will not believe us when we tell them of the things we did back then, like having to pick up coal to keep warm.  Why?  Just twist the dial on the thermostat!

In the late 1950s on our farm I was in charge of keeping the three wood stoves going in the long house we lived in.  No insulation in the attic, of course, and the walls had crumpled up newspaper in them.  No crap.

My dad recalls having to haul the milk from the morning and last night to the little town 5 miles away in time to catch the daily, DAILY, run of the train which was like semis now.  And they shipped bags of bluegrass seed they had stripped to Stevens Point, about 30 miles away.  And of course the stories about sawing and stacking ice and covering with sawdust to have cool water and keep milk in the house for a day or two.

Yeah, things have changed, but it is worth looking back once in awhile.  We just had Pioneer Days here, and about six old steam engines were there.  Big stuff, but not that many horsepower for their size.  I recall as a kid having a county fair that was a big deal and some guy always had his full sized steam there, along with one I wanted so bad, about the size of a lawn tractor now.

I lament that trains have lost their importance until it comes to super heavy stuff.  When I was that kid in the 50s and early 60s the sight of a semi coming down the state highway was reason for excitement; there just weren't many at all.  Then the interstates came.

Enough, you'll think Ive gone senile if I keep on.  And we won't get into one room schoolhouses!
Dale
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Offline DoctorZ

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Re: Storm Chasing Techniques Used For Chasing The Big Boy Steam Locomotive.
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2019, 12:06:43 AM »
Well Dale, you might be interested in joining the model railroad club in your area.  They are in the process of building a pretty nice HO Scale permanent layout.  Some of their members are also members of our Minnesota Garden Railway Society (MGRS).  I've been waiting for them to get closer to completion of the layout so I can go shoot some video of it.

http://www.westwisconsinrailroad.club/