• Hello All!/Need information on the Pennsy J1 and Q2

  • Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads
Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

Moderators: slide rules, Typewriters

  by TheOldDessauer
Hello, everyone. I am new to Railroad.net and look forward to talking about all things railroading with you.

I am a player of the video game Train Simulator 2015 from Dovetail Games. They have a blog called Engine Driver.com where the player community can post proposals for new locomotives, rolling stock and routes that they would like to see made for the game. I am writing an article proposing that they make a Pennsy J1 2-10-4 for our Horseshoe Curve Route. The article is almost finished but I would like to end it by contrasting the J1 with the Q2. The problem is I am lacking some very important information regarding where these two locomotives regularly operated.

1) I know that the J1 regularly operated West from Altoona and around the 'curve to Pittsburgh. I am also aware that they regularly handled trains across Ohio, Indiana and on to East St. Louis in Illinois. I was wondering if they ever ran between Harrisburg or Altoona (I can find no pics of them doing so...) or if they were precluded from this because of minimum turning radius, clearances, or axle loadings? Did they ever operate into Chicago?

2) My sources are poor regarding where the Q2's regularly operated. Some have suggested that because of their long, rigid wheelbase that the Q2s could not easily fit through the curves found in mountain territory and thus were pushed "out West", spending most of their careers running west from Crestline, Ohio, and across Indiana into Chicago. However, I recently saw a film clip of a Q2 drifting down HSC that would seem to contradict the first statement. So, where did the Q2's regularly operate? Did they have problems negotiating mountain trackage that pushed them out west? Why/when did they start to accumulate at Crestline?

I am not a professional historian or writer; I'm just a railfan. However, I would like this article to be factual and to make a good impression with the hopes of getting Dovetail Games to make the J1 for the game. Any help would be appreciated.

The Old Dessauer
  by jaygee
Sounds like you have it fairly well nailed on the J1. I have a movie of a J1 on the Mid. Div., but they were not "legal" there, and this has to be a real fluke. What is not generally known, is that the Big Jay was cleared for use on the Shamokin Line, and almost certainly would have seen action there, but for the loss of the traffic base. There were only a few details that needed worked out to make it happen. West of Altoona, the J1 was boss, and while a Q2 could be seen now and then, it was quite rare....rare enough that I suspect that there had to be a special reason for routing that engine east of Conway . Of course you find plenty of J1 action west of Pittsburgh / Pitcairn, and Columbus was a terrific place to find dozens of them being dispatched to the far corners of the system. You could even find them in Louisville. It's sort of appropriate to think of these two machines in much the same way as you'd think of the SD40 and SD45, twenty years later. The Q2 wound up being a waste to a degree on a 50MPH freight railroad. And to increasingly cost-phobic Pennsy, they became gas guzzling, maintenence hogs. The Jay was cheaper, better on fuel, less restrictive on operation, and would do anything the Q2 did at 50 MPH. The Q2 also developed some unique problems that might have been sorted out had Diesel power not been knocking at the door. Water carryover was one. In the end, the J1 would operate effectively in a hostile environment that would sideline many of the other Pennsy standbys. It was amazing the Penn could get any work out of them at all, given the complete lack of care given the remaining steam in the last couple of years. As for the Q2, they stayed pretty much on the mainline routes where heavy tonnage and speed had them making sense. Conway to Chicago or St. Louis was a good place to find the Duplex freighters...but by 1954-55, the show was over for these big Dudes. The last were retired and sold for scrap in 1956. The Jays held on til the bitter end, and some 25 or 36 were retained as part of an emergency reserve after '57. They were retired in July 1959, when all steam related anything was trashed. From then on it was just waiting for a good deal from scrap dealers in Pittsburgh and Columbus