Using switchers as their main Locomotive committing a sin?

caxu Oct 5, 2017

  1. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    An ALCO S-4 replaced a Consolidation on the Mechanicville, NY to Williamstown, MA turn, a distance of about 50 miles.

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  2. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    The Montour RR, another coal hauler like the Shawmutt, also used switchers. I heard the decision to go with the SW9's was based on tractive effort. I'm sure cost also figured in and apparently the switchers came out ahead. The Montour was not that long of a line and had many coal mines along its length. They did a lot of switching of cars at the mines and prep plant which also figured in..
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  3. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    Here in Southern California, UP uses Gensets for local service in some lines (otherwise, it will be older Geeps or SDs). And because mainline trains are larger and heavier (unit trains, intermodals, etc), the railroads will actually use mainline 6-axle locos for yard duty!
    ddechamp71 likes this.
  4. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Adding to Hank’s post, the B&M was one of the few railroads to MU their NW2s and other switchers. While used mainly on the branchlines, it wasn’t uncommon to see them lashed up with a F7B or GP7. Also the New England short line Claremont & Concord used GE 44 tanner center cab switchers for years. The current New England Southern of Central NH uses an SW1500 exclusively.

    And as has been said before, it’s your railroad so run what ya like!
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  5. jtomstarr

    jtomstarr TrainBoard Member

    Have to Love the L.V. RR, one of my Northeast childhood Rail Lines.. Some L.V. SW’s had DB’s I believe the L.V. Nicknamed these Pups.

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  6. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    I can go up the turnpike to Tulsa, OK and find two shortlines that started out as interurbans, and operate switchers exclusively: the Sand Springs Railway, Tulsa- Sand Springs, and the Tulas-Sapulpa Union, running from Tulsa to Sapulpa with a branch from Tulsa south to Jenks (part of the former Midland Valley). Both roads use EMD end-cab switchers.
  7. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    In several issues of Trains and Railroads of the Past, Mike Bednar, a former Lehigh Valley/Conrail employee, has mentioned running the LV SW8s on coal drags, using the term "Pups". Overall, Bednar tells great stories of railroading in his area back in the day, and I heartily recommend reading them.
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  8. jtomstarr

    jtomstarr TrainBoard Member

    I have two copies of the issues which feature the articles on the L.V. One copy I have in their sealed mailing envelop.

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  9. jtomstarr

    jtomstarr TrainBoard Member

    All, Here you are it is the top photo in EMD SWITCHERS WITH DYNAMIC BRAKES.

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  10. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Simpson Timber out of Shelton, Wa also used them on steep hills out of the woods.
  11. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    I believe that back in the full fledged steam era 0-6-0s , 0-8-0s, small tank engines and the like were used nowhere else but yards, industrial spurs, or steel mills. And the main line jobs always used the large stuff; Mountain, Pacific, Hudson, Connies, Mikes, et al. When the diesel eventually took over, RRs began to use anything to do anything, once MU-ing became possible..Now 2-3 small diesels such as Alco S4, or, 1-2 RS3s, F7, A/AB/AA (back to back), or with slugs, thru today, where Mac70s soloing or in tandem, are all the norm..IE, anything to do anything..Another reason for this is the fact that all diesels have the same (+-) diameter wheels,.. again making random lash-ups no brainers via MU-ing and which need only 1 crew to control these lash-ups...
    CAXU. If you have a MRR and it's mostly fictitious, use whatever power you enjoy seeing/controlling. If it's depicting a 1:1 scale RR, then try to do what it did or does.. It ain't that critical.. it's your RR ! Do what your RR needs to do....M, Los Angeles
  12. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Hard to say, considering minor lines were very seldom photographed. Yes, the guiding efforts of lead trucks were the rule rather than the exception in the U.S., though there's no rule of thumb which can be called immutable law. For example, by the late 1930s the Santa Fe had more Consolidations in switcher service than 0-6-0s. Meanwhile, in Europe, and particularly on the British Isles, where track was well maintained and speeds were not so high, 0-6-0s were regularly employed on mainline passenger trains.

    I don't know what driver diameter has to do with anything. Admittedly, bigger wheels goes to speed capability in steam engines, both because it allows greater distance per piston stroke and because there's more room for counterbalancing weight. But in diesels and electrics, gear ratios determine top speed, and driver diameter is just a portion of gear ratio. All it takes to achieve the same gear ratio with different diameter wheels is different gears.

    The main reason switchers were seldom used on the road was that neither Blunt nor Batz nor AAR Type A trucks were very good at staying on the rails at speed. AAR Type B and light, two axle Flexicoil trucks fixed that problem.
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  13. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

    Yep. When you're the President, Division Manager, Yardmaster of your RR, you can do the reverse and use an FP7 A-B-A lashup to do some switching chores while the SW7 switcher is out on the mainline.
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  14. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Here in Italy, but in general you can think of Europe, 060 steam switchers (without tender) were used both for switching and for some road service, on some lines up to the late sixties.
    Even after the end of steam, 060 rigid frame, and standard 4 axle switchers were used on mainlines for short hauls when their reduced max speed (usually around 50kph) was not an issue for other traffic.
    Below an 851 steamer, first used as a mainline loco for mountain roads (hopelessly in 2 or 3 units even for short trains) in the late 1890s, then mainly as a switcher, but its 65 kph max speed allowed also short mainline services like that in the 1960s on the Rovigo to Chioggia line, around Venice.

    Here instead a former USATC Whitcomb, used in Italy (however re-engined in the 60s) for heavy switching until a few years ago, quite a few times used as a mainline loco, especially on short branches.
    Here between Formia and Gaeta: a 5 miles branch mid way between Rome and Naples.

    d143 gaeta.jpg

    In any case, it is YOUR railroad, and I think everywhere in the world RRs needed to get things going in the most efficient or expedited way, regardless of "classifications" or whatever else.

    Sorry, no other data in wikipedia, unless you search the italian edition.
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