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Western Railroad Discussion > Cab forward, what about the caboose?


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Date: 03/12/18 00:52
Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: lanewsman

I understand the idea of the SPRR's cab forward locomotives making fresher air available to the crew. But what about those who were in the caboose? Going through a tunnel, weren't they forced to breathe badly polluted air?



Date: 03/12/18 06:30
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: hotrail

I think its fair to say the only benefit was to the head end crew.



Date: 03/12/18 07:10
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: dcfbalcoS1

Depending on the length of the tunnel AND the train, most of the smoke make have been pulled out of the tunnel by the freight car. How much smoke was left for the caboose crew may only be known to them.



Date: 03/12/18 07:21
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: HotWater

dcfbalcoS1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Depending on the length of the tunnel AND the
> train, most of the smoke make have been pulled out
> of the tunnel by the freight car. How much smoke
> was left for the caboose crew may only be known to
> them.


True. Also, keep in mind that the smoke was the secondary problem in snow sheds & tunnels. The primary problem was the extreme heat in the cab of "normal" steam locomotives. Combine the heat with the exhaust gasses/smoke, and at slow speeds on 2.2% grades with many, many, many snow sheds/tunnels, locomotive cab crews were being killed. Thus, the development of the cab forward.



Date: 03/12/18 07:49
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: trainjunkie

Ever ridden an open vestibule on a steam excursion? It's like that for the rear end crew. Unpleasant at times, but nothing like the oven on the head end.



Date: 03/12/18 08:33
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: CPRR

Actually would this also be a problem during the diesel era also? I would assume that a lash up of early locos to late 1980’s would spit out quite a lot off fumes that up until recently would be bad to suck down your lungs.

There has to be some crew member still alive who could tell us how it was in a caboose.

How did they do it with passenger trains?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/12/18 08:43
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: tumulus

CPRR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Actually would this also be a problem during the
> diesel era also? I would assume that a lash up of
> early locos to late 1980’s would spit out quite
> a lot off fumes that up until recently would be
> bad to suck down your lungs.
>
> There has to be some crew member still alive who
> could tell us how it was in a caboose.
>
> How did they do it with passenger trains?


Last I was on the Zephyr going through Moffat Tunnel they asked everyone to stay in their cars for the duration of the tunnel transit - don't walk into the next car. I don't recall anything similar on other tunnels on the routes on which I've travelled.

- tum



Date: 03/12/18 09:14
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: BAB

tumulus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CPRR Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Actually would this also be a problem during
> the
> > diesel era also? I would assume that a lash up
> of
> > early locos to late 1980’s would spit out
> quite
> > a lot off fumes that up until recently would be
> > bad to suck down your lungs.
> >
> > There has to be some crew member still alive
> who
> > could tell us how it was in a caboose.
> >
> > How did they do it with passenger trains?
>
>
> Last I was on the Zephyr going through Moffat
> Tunnel they asked everyone to stay in their cars
> for the duration of the tunnel transit - don't
> walk into the next car. I don't recall anything
> similar on other tunnels on the routes on which
> I've travelled.
>
> - tum

Most of the stuff that was there is still there but with less of it.



Date: 03/12/18 09:16
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: colehour

tumulus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Last I was on the Zephyr going through Moffat
> Tunnel they asked everyone to stay in their cars
> for the duration of the tunnel transit - don't
> walk into the next car. I don't recall anything
> similar on other tunnels on the routes on which
> I've travelled.

I wondered about that also on my trip back in 2014. I suppose there was the possibility of breathing in fumes when going from car to car, but would that brief exposure be any worse than being stuck in traffic, especially with a bunch of diesel trucks? Of course, if there were lots of people moving about, perhaps a significant amount of polluted air might enter the cars.

This raises another question: Presuming the HVAC systems bring in outside air vs. simply recirculating the air in the car, is there provision for disabling this when going through Moffat?



Date: 03/12/18 09:32
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: LocoPilot750

Mid-train helpers wouldn't be any fun either.



Date: 03/12/18 10:03
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: 4451Puff

I haven’t Zephyr’d through Moffat in nearly 20 years, but in addition to staying put in whatever car you’re in, I think the HVAC was shut down for the trip through the bore.

Desmond Praetzel, “4451 Puff”



Date: 03/12/18 10:12
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: colehour

4451Puff Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I haven’t Zephyr’d through Moffat in nearly 20
> years, but in addition to staying put in whatever
> car you’re in, I think the HVAC was shut down
> for the trip through the bore.

That may have been the case, although I probably just don't remember. Thanks for replying.



Date: 03/12/18 10:56
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: TAW

colehour Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> This raises another question: Presuming the HVAC
> systems bring in outside air vs. simply
> recirculating the air in the car, is there
> provision for disabling this when going through
> Moffat?

That used to occur frequently in the Cascade Tunnel.

The tunnel was supposed to be clean before a passenger train, then the passenger train run through with no fans and the door open to avoid overpressure east or potentially a vacuum west because of the speed. There were a few who just couldn't get used to the fact that there hadn't been electric traction through the tunnel in decades. No 88, the Seattle - Minot (and later, Northtown) Dirty Ol' Freight Train should have seen No 8 by at Scenic on normal days. One guy would almost invariably take 88 through ahead of Amtrak then not have time to blow the tunnel. He's tell No 8 that the tunnel was dirty, keep the doors closed, close the vents, and go.

TAW



Date: 03/12/18 11:04
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: EtoinShrdlu

> and at slow speeds on 2.2% grades with many,

The vast majority of the sheds were between Emigrant Gap and Norden where the grades are between 1.2 and 1.6%. Still, even grades like this could lead to overheating the crew in the engine cab in confined spaces like a tunnel or showshed. On one of the more recent UP steam trips to Sac for some celebration at Old Sac (or possibly the dedication of the Jerry Lewis yard, forget exactly the occasion), the diesel helpers overheated and unloaded while the train was going through the big hole (1.1% grade uphill WB) even though the steam locomotive wasn't being worked. The train stalled, and the people on the steam engine crew almost passed out because of the heat until the UP steam crew realized what was going on, opened the throttle, and pulled the entire train out of the tunnel. From what I was told by others who were riding train, the passengers in the cars also experienced a lot of heat related discomfort.



Date: 03/12/18 11:35
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: HotWater

EtoinShrdlu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > and at slow speeds on 2.2% grades with many,
>
> The vast majority of the sheds were between
> Emigrant Gap and Norden where the grades are
> between 1.2 and 1.6%. Still, even grades like this
> could lead to overheating the crew in the engine
> cab in confined spaces like a tunnel or showshed.
> On one of the more recent UP steam trips to Sac
> for some celebration at Old Sac (or possibly the
> dedication of the Jerry Lewis yard, forget exactly
> the occasion), the diesel helpers overheated and
> unloaded while the train was going through the big
> hole (1.1% grade uphill WB) even though the steam
> locomotive wasn't being worked. The train stalled,
> and the people on the steam engine crew almost
> passed out because of the heat until the UP steam
> crew realized what was going on, opened the
> throttle, and pulled the entire train out of the
> tunnel. From what I was told by others who were
> riding train, the passengers in the cars also
> experienced a lot of heat related discomfort.

OK, lets get the facts correct. The year was 1999, and the UP 844 and 3985 doubleheaded from Cheyenne to Roseville, in advance of the California State Railroad Museum "Railfair '99" event (in order to have 844 come 'nose-to-nose' with 3985 at the Board of Directors meeting and dedication of the new J.R.Davis Yard). We added one GE diesel helper at Sparks, behind the auxiliary tender of 3985, prior to "attacking" the westbound grade to the summit at Norden. Upon entering the "big Tunnel" approaching the top, going westbound, the damned GE tripped the ground relay and stopped loading. Since there were so many "visitors" in the cab of the GE unit, what with all their luggage they couldn't get the electrical cabinet doors open fast enough to reset the ground relay lock. Since my Engineer on 3985 (I was Fireman) knew immediately what had happened, not to mention that the red light on the Diesel MU Control Box in 3985, came on, he went to full throttle on the Challenger! As a result of all the sever heat and exhaust from 3985 inside the tunnel, the prime mover on the now-not loading GE, quickly shutdown for lack of combustion intake air. We did NOT "stall inside the tunnel", but maintained a respectable speed on the grade, inside the tunnel. Once the whole train was clear of the tunnel, we stopped for a quick greasing of the rods on both 844 and 3985, prior to descending down grade westbound into Roseville.

As a side note, due to the exhaust blast from 3985 at full throttle inside that long (2 miles?) tunnel, it cost the UP over $50,000 to have the entire passenger train washed, prior to the big event. The UP Steam Crew spent 4 days washing the 844 and its auxiliary water tender, plus 3985 and its auxiliary water tender ( the 'Union Pacific' name on both sides of 3985's tender was covered over in black, oily soot). Many of the smoke detector alarms went off inside the various passenger cars during the "trip through the tunnel".



Date: 03/12/18 12:58
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: CZ10

tumulus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CPRR Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
>
> Last I was on the Zephyr going through Moffat
> Tunnel they asked everyone to stay in their cars
> for the duration of the tunnel transit - don't
> walk into the next car. I don't recall anything
> similar on other tunnels on the routes on which
> I've travelled.
>
> - tum

And it doesn't take more than a minute before passengers
start going between cars again (sigh). And yes, you can
smell the exhaust when they open the door.



Date: 03/12/18 14:21
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: johnsweetser

HotWater wrote:

> Combine the heat with the exhaust gasses/smoke, and at slow speeds on 2.2% grades with many, many, many snow sheds/tunnels, locomotive cab crews were being killed. Thus, the development of the cab forward.

In researching many early California newspapers, I've never come across any reports of SP engine crews being killed by heat and smoke in tunnels and snow sheds prior to the development of the cab aheads.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/18 14:23 by johnsweetser.



Date: 03/12/18 19:34
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: norm1153

"There were a few who just couldn't get used to the fact that there hadn't been electric traction through the tunnel in decades."

Was there actually electrification at any time through Moffat?



Date: 03/12/18 19:46
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: Spoony81

norm1153 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "There were a few who just couldn't get used to
> the fact that there hadn't been electric traction
> through the tunnel in decades."
>
> Was there actually electrification at any time
> through Moffat?

No

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/12/18 22:05
Re: Cab forward, what about the caboose?
Author: MojaveBill

Trains with cab-forwards often had mid-train and rear helpers.
Also, on a Pacific Railroad Society trip over the Tehachapis in the'50s, everyone on the rear platform of the observation car was told to move inside the car when we went through some of the tunnels. I believe the train had a cab forward on the head end.

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



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