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Fastest Steam Locos

by MonteMontana Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:44:07 PM EST

I found this quote in an older book and thought you might be interested.  The book is "The Steam Locomotive in America: It's Development in the Twentieth Century" by Alfred W. Bruce, Bonanza Books, 1952.  The author was Assistant Vice President in charge of Engineering and Director of Steam Locomotive Engineering for American Locomotive Company (ALCO) so he has credentials.  He is talking about the Atlantic (4-4-2) and the ALCOs built for the Milwaukee road.  This quote is on pages 292 and 293 of the book: " Probably the most famous 442-type engines ever built in the United States were those in the Hiawatha class constructed for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific by the American Locomotive Company in 1935.  These engines were among the first in the United States to be completely streamlined and equipped with roller bearings.  Their ample boiler capacity, 19 X 28 in. cylinders, 84-in. drivers, and 300 psi made them about the highest-speed steam locomotives ever constructed.  During the time schedule stabilizing runs, the hand of the speed indicator was often reported against the pin at 128 miles per hour.  Exactly what maximum speed was reached is not known--but it was plenty."  He goes on to say "The run was over the water level route between Chicago and Minneapolis..." so gradient was of little significance; I suppose one could find the gradient profile for the run in the records of the Milwaukee Road, I have not yet looked on the internet.  Let me know what you think.  Monte in Montana; Milwaukee Territory at one time.  

Do you have any internet sources you could post?  Locomotives are not my forte, but there is always something to learn.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 08:50:39 AM EST
Here is an older blog about this topic on eurotrib
Also a web page on the topic

Enjoy.  It is an interesting topic.  Monte Montana

by MonteMontana on Tue Mar 6th, 2007 at 01:38:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a vague memory of reading an article in a UK steam mag on these locos where drivers would file mechanical reports complaining that the ride was rough at speeds in excess of 125 mph.

Hauling 1000 ton trains for mile after mile, up and down gradients, with the speedo wrapped round the end stop was some feat. Eat your heart out Mallard !!

Sadly, a "gentlemans" agreement between the companies competing on that route was that nobody would compete on speed. So the capabilities of the engines were never measured nor marketed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2007 at 01:56:41 PM EST

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