Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

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Allen Hazen
Posts: 2473
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

Post by Allen Hazen » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:58 pm

The PRR, famously, rented a number of big ATSF 2-10-4 in the summer of 1956, to help move ore from the Cleveland docks. What was going on?

Nowadays, when the locomotive fleets of all the big North American railroads are dominated by the same small number of models from GE and EMD, there are no problems in renting another railroad's units if you need to(*), but things were different with steam. I can think of at least two reasons why it might have been ... complicated ... for PRR to use Santa Fe's big engines. (i) Santa Fe's engines had larger driving wheels than PRR's (74" vs 69"), and so a slightly longer rigid wheelbase: somebody surely worried at least a bit about how they would cope with PRR's switches and yard trackage. (ii) Santa Fe's locomotives were oil burners and (though I think PRR may have converted a few locomotives to oil firing during a prolonged post WW II coal strike) PRR would have had to make special arrangements to fill their tenders. (Oil fired steam locomotives don't burn diesel fuel but a heavier "bunker" oil, so they couldn't just be sent to the diesel facility to refuel.)

So it couldn't have been a casual matter: there must have been a strong reason for renting Santa Fe's engines.

But PRR itself was not much more than a year away from full dieselization! They must have had yards full of their own idle steam locomotives. So why rent? Had they already scrapped (or at least deferred repairs on) enough of their own J1 2-10-4 that they didn't have any spare when the ore business boomed?
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(*) PRR, of course, was a pioneer here: noticing that the busy season on their lines wasn't at the same time as the Maine potato harvest, PRR for several years leased a bunch of Bangor & Aroostook geeps for part of the year.

urr304
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:04 am

Re: Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

Post by urr304 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:46 pm

I think you got a lot of the reasons in what you wrote.

The AT&SF 2-10-4's were stored in servicable condition in the midwest while PRR had a number of J1's not servicable so it would have cost them a lot to shop their own engines for the expected time required.

I recently saw a picture of one of the Santa Fe engines being refueled from a tanker truck.

I thought the use was on the Sandusky branch between Columbus and Sandusky.

The GP9's ordered that finished steam were not yet delivered from what I have read.

Allen Hazen
Posts: 2473
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

Re: Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

Post by Allen Hazen » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:06 am

Urr304--
Thanks for informative reply!
When I wrote "Cleveland" it was from memory. I lived in Pittsburgh where I first became a railroad fan (is your web name a reference to the B&LE's southern connection?), but I've never spent much time in Ohio and am a bit vague about its geography...
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In the modern era, refuelling preserved steam locomotives from tanker trucks for excursion runs is pretty normal, but I think this is the first time I've heard of it for working freight steam, though it must have happened in many places, particularly when a number of Eastern railroads temporarily converted some steam locomotives to oil during post WW II coal strikes.

ExCon90
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Re: Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

Post by ExCon90 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:17 pm

urr304 wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:46 pm
I thought the use was on the Sandusky branch between Columbus and Sandusky.
True.

urr304
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:04 am

Re: Why rent Santa Fe 2-10-4?

Post by urr304 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:20 pm

Here is a link to an informative article on the use of the Santa Fe 2-10-4's.

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/prr%20santa%20fe.htm

My user name specifically refers to the preserved URR 304/DM&IR 604 in Greenville, Pa which I had something to do with its placement.

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