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Steam & Excursion > Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!


Date: 08/10/19 03:33
Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: LoggerHogger

Over the years, those that have followed my posts here have seen me show the photographic work of a number of railfans who spent decades photographing steam motive power as a hobby.  Mixed in with these hobbyist railfans there have been a few me that worked as locomotive engineers who also were able to carry their cameras to work with them and record steam while on their jobs.  These fortunate few men were named, Arey, Farrow, Boyonton, and Pennington along with a few others.

One more man needs to be included in this discussion of steam engineers who were railfans, that of David J. Welch.  Mr. Welch was born in 1879 and spent his entire adult life working for the Southern Pacific out of Tracy, California.  Welch lived in a modest house on 9th Street in Tracy not far from the SP roundhouse there where he worked out of from 1903 until the 1950's.  During his years with the SP, Welch recorded thousands of images of SP power and trains in the Tracy yards and out on the SP system.  During his vacation, Welch would bring his camera along and photograph by the SP and other railroads all over the West.  His photographic legacy is simply amazing.

In this fine self-portrait, Welch has captured himself along with SP #1783 soon after he was promoted to engineer out of Tracy.  You can certainly see the pride he has for his job and the locomotive that he was assigned to on this sunny 1910 day.

We are lucky that back in the days of steam there were men like David J. Welch that so loved their jobs that they used the acess they had at their railroads to give us an in-depth look at what the life of a railroader was really like during that now long-gone era.

Martin



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 03:47 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 08/10/19 04:32
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: wcamp1472

Looks like #1783 was built as superheated....

Is it possible that the engine is of ‘recent’ construction as superheated?

1910 would have been at the dawn of the the superheated era — where the builders were just beginning to perfect the techniques of the early manufacturing steps.

Also, it looks like #1783 was built with Stephenson valve gear ( inside the frames). It’s main advantage was its inherent characteristic of being a “lead-advancing” ‘gear’.

Like in automotive ‘spark-advancing’

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 05:04 by wcamp1472.



Date: 08/10/19 04:58
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: wcamp1472

Ooops... fat fingers hit wrong key..

..., spark advancing allows higher engine rpms. ‘Outside’ valve gears, or “radial gears”, are built as fixed-lead locos, non-advancing.

So, 1783 would have been a speedy engine... superheated, and smooth running.

I’d suspect the he knew, and was proud to assigned to run her. He would have been proud to take his picture with the new loco and it’s modern construction —- C.C. air compressor, maybe early application if he 6-brake valve, electric lighting, and other modern refinements ...

The Stephenson gear’s main
disadvantage was that it very soon wore itself badly, and valve timing & events became very sloppy...

But when new, they could go like the wind...

As superheating became more common, the longer-lasting radial gears, like Walschaert, became the preferred valve gear.

But for now, this engineer was very cognizant of the advances this engine represents. He was properly proud to be the engineer...

Thanks for that, 1910 was very early for a ‘modern’ engine refinements and loco designing & manufacturing skills.. ( The design work for the engine would have started , probably, 2 years earlier...)

W.
(Not proofed, yet)

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 05:03 by wcamp1472.



Date: 08/10/19 07:59
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: King_Coal

Rails really worked a long time back in the day. Had a few long timers when I worked on the MoPac in South Texas in the '80's. One engineer had started in the early 1920's on the San Antonion and Aransas Pass.  An excess of 60 years of employment.

The SSW had a clerk from either Tyler or Corsicana that was in his mid-90's at the Texas Safety Awards presentation in Dallas in 1985 IIRC.

The comment on Mr. Welch living close to work is also interesting. Probably necessary for the physical call that was common back in the day.

Thanks for sharing.
 



Date: 08/10/19 08:57
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: Elesco

Wes,

How do you tell from the outside that the engine is superheated?

Also, in 1910 the headlight should have still been atop the smokebox.  I'm suspecting this is a later photo, despite the date marked on the negative (or maybe the print, since the lettering appears black).

Below is another Mogul in 1918.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 09:02 by Elesco.




Date: 08/10/19 09:04
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: HotWater

Elesco Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wes,
>
> How do you tell from the outside that the engine
> is superheated?

My first guess would be the more modern spool valves, instead of the old style slide valves.

> Also, in 1910 the headlight should have still been
> atop the smokebox.  I'm suspecting this is a
> later photo, despite the date marked on the
> negative (or maybe the print, since the lettering
> appears black).
 



Date: 08/10/19 09:50
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: LarryDoyle

Jack is right. Slide valves are difficult to keep properly lubricated with superheated steam.

The outside steam pipes are a clue, too. Though many saturated engines were retrofitted with superheater and piston valves with inside steam pipes - sometimes with a complete new cylinder/valvechest/saddle (such as our DMIR 332), or sometimes retaining the cylinders/saddle but installing new "kit bought* bolt-on outside admission valve chests.

The outside steam pipes on the engine photo above hints at newly built superheated inside admission valves.

-Larry Doyle, part time forensic ferroequinologist



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 10:43 by LarryDoyle.



Date: 08/10/19 10:52
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: Earlk

I don't see the 5 bolt heads on the upper rear portion of the smokebox where the superheater header is attached.  That is how I always spotted a superheated engine.



Date: 08/10/19 11:04
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: callum_out

Earl beat me to it, was doing eye strain looking for the header attachment as well. Heated small locomotives wtih
spool valves might not have been really common in 1910, whereas a soak with the same equipment might have been,
ie before my time!

Out



Date: 08/10/19 11:29
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: elueck

If you compare the 1918 photo of the 1826, you can see the 5 bolt pattern that holds the superheater that Earl was referring to  just above the smokebox inspection port at the rear of the smokebox.  There is none of that on the earlier photo of the 1783, so no superheater.  Often, on the firemans side, there is also the superheater patent plate, if the super heater was factory installed.



Date: 08/10/19 11:30
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: PHall

King_Coal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Rails really worked a long time back in the day.
> Had a few long timers when I worked on the MoPac
> in South Texas in the '80's. One engineer had
> started in the early 1920's on the San Antonion
> and Aransas Pass.  An excess of 60 years of
> employment.
>
> The SSW had a clerk from either Tyler or Corsicana
> that was in his mid-90's at the Texas Safety
> Awards presentation in Dallas in 1985 IIRC.
>
> The comment on Mr. Welch living close to work is
> also interesting. Probably necessary for the
> physical call that was common back in the day.
>
> Thanks for sharing.
>  

Locomotive Engineer and Clerk are not exactly physical jobs, so yeah you could hang in there past 70.
But how many employees in the more physical jobs like maintenance of way or in the shops hung around past 35 or 40 years?



Date: 08/11/19 06:04
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: gbmott

Something just doesn't look right with the front coupler of 1783.

Gordon



Date: 08/11/19 06:26
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: LoggerHogger

gbmott Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Something just doesn't look right with the front
> coupler of 1783.
>
> Gordon

There is nothing wrong with the coupler.  It is simply open.  You see the metal pilot sheild below it for the air hoses.

Martin



Date: 08/11/19 11:31
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: Earlk

elueck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you compare the 1918 photo of the 1826, you can
> see the 5 bolt pattern that holds the superheater
> that Earl was referring to  just above the
> smokebox inspection port at the rear of the
> smokebox.  There is none of that on the earlier
> photo of the 1783, so no superheater.  Often, on
> the firemans side, there is also the superheater
> patent plate, if the super heater was factory
> installed.

There is a superheater patent plate on the 1826..



Date: 08/11/19 11:35
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: Earlk

I'm not an expert on SP steam, and don't have any reference material, but I recall that some classes of SP 2-6-0's were built as Vauclain Compounds in the early 1900's.  when they were rebuilt as simple engines, they got piston valve cylinders installed.  Later on they got superheated.



Date: 08/11/19 12:30
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: callum_out

I have the same recollection and many were done on an individual basis and not part of an overhaul program.

Out



Date: 08/11/19 19:48
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: Elesco

Here is some background information on the locomotives discussed above.

The 1783 was built in 1902 or 1903 as a Vauclain compound and rebuilt to simple sometime between 1907 and 1915. 

The 1826 (and 1828) were built in Sacramento in 1918 (probably from extra parts, working around the federal requirement for purchasing only USRA spec locomotives during the war).  In the picture above it was brand new.  The 1828 is shown below in 1946.

Reference is A Century of Southern Pacific Steam Locomotives by Guy Dunscomb.




Date: 08/13/19 14:02
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: johnsweetser

The SP started painting numbers on locomotive cabs instead of tenders around March of 1917 so the photo posted by LoggerHogger had to have been taken well after 1910.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 14:04 by johnsweetser.



Date: 08/19/19 11:53
Re: Some Railfans Were Able To Enjoy Their Hobby While At Work!
Author: TracyRail

Martin,

I love this photo, and I'm also grateful for the legacy that David Welch left for us, which you described perfectly.

In this photo, my eyes drift to those odd-shaped buildings in the distance beyond the pilot. Could they be repurposed box cars, perhaps?

DJ




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