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I suppose you could call somebody who grew up in Milwaukee and whose father took pictures of the A's and F7s a Hiawatha proponent, and let us not forget No. 6402 being the first steam locomotive to do an unambiguous 100 mph.

Vuillet's book and the Scribbins and King article both rely on a statement by Milwaukee CME C.H. Bilty on a test run of No. 100.  "I find that 19 miles of the run were negotiated in excess of 100 mph and that 5 of the 19 ... at a rate of 120 mph... when the hand comes to a stop against the peg I am inclined to believe that a speed of from 123 to 125 mph was reached."  This was on the Chicago & Milwaukee, the First Subdivision of the Milwaukee Division.  The racetrack is the Tomah - Wisconsin Dells, west of Milwaukee, and no special speed runs were performed there.

I have no special information about the European sources suggesting a top speed of 206 km/h (130 mph.)  Scribbins and King report that one of the F7s was tested on the Pennsylvania Railroad's stationary test plant in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where it spun the rollers at 560 rpm, approximately 140 mph.  The consensus among design engineers is that the Hiawathas were easily capable of sustained running at 125 mph, but the Milwaukee never put the 60 minute Chicago-Milwaukee timing that would have called for that capability into use.

(Send me a private email.  I might be able to locate the Classic Trains back issue if you're interested.)

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.

by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Sat Oct 22nd, 2005 at 09:47:01 PM EST
Something else occurs to me.  The Midwestern version of "The Great Race to the North" started when Burlington announced that it would be buying a pair of Zephyrs to provide a 6 1/2 hour Chicago - Savanna - LaCrosse - St. Paul - Minneapolis service.  Chicago and North Western modified some standard equipment and rebuilt some heavy 4-6-2s (2C1 if you will) for the 400, and Milwaukee designed a steam streamliner in order to be able to vary the capacity of its Hiawathas.  (Fixed consists are the bane of any high-speed service with dedicated equipment, including the Eurostar, Talgo, and Acela Express.

In 1934, a souped up steam locomotive could pull a seven to nine car train.  By 1937, Electro-Motive was rolling out practical diesel locomotives that could be applied as A-A, A-B-A, or A-B-B-A sets for however large a consist one desired (generally limited by the length of station tracks, particularly in Chicago.)  Under those circumstances, a claim of a world speed record for a steam locomotive was not something likely to be forward-looking.  Thus the 400s and the Hiawathas set the pace for the world in relative obscurity, although the diesels of the day actually had a lower top speed of 117 mph.  All the same, there are some great recorder logs of one of the diesels making up 11 minutes against the 75 minute Milwaukee to Chicago schedule!

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.

by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Sat Oct 22nd, 2005 at 10:03:26 PM EST
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