• New Haven I-5 streamlined steam

  • Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
  by rdgrailfan
 
These are my favorite engines. does anyone know when they were withdrawn from service and scrapped?
It is a shame that none were saved!
  by Allen Hazen
 
Well, the I-5 may be gone, but the style of their streamlining influenced the New South Wales Government Railway (in Australia): the Class 38 Pacific' streamlining approximates to an I-5's. And at least one preserved exemplar still operates occasionally in excursion service.

(In answer to your actual question: there are people on this forum who can and I hope WILL give you a more exact answer than I can. Roughly: the New Haven eliminated steam by 1952 -- before the realization that total dieselization was coming and that steam locomotives therefore ought to be preserved had sunk in -- and I think mainline passenger operations were dieselized even before that. So the I-5 were probably out of service by 1950 or 1951.)
  by Statkowski
 
The only reason the I-5s stayed on as long as they did (steam was effectively dead from 1948 on), was because there wasn't anything powerful enough to replace them with for the main line Boston-New Haven run - they had to wait until the 2,000-horsepower Alco PA-1s arrived. The existing DL-109s, although the same overall horsepower, were worn out and couldn't pull long passenger trains and maintain speed.
  by Noel Weaver
 
The I-5's (Hudson types on most railroads but Shoreliners on the New Haven) were pretty much out of it by 1950. The engine
assignment book for April 30, 1950 still has all ten of them carried on the roster but only two of them were servicable and
they got little use by then. They were not really suitable for start and stop commuter service much of which was on branch
lines out of Boston and main line trains by then were in capable hands of Alco/GE road diesels for the most part. By October
2, 1950 only one the 1405 was still available and it showed DSF (dumped to save fuel) status. The April 29, 1951 books shows all of them off roster.
Yes it was sad to see them go along with all the other old steam engines but the New Haven management did not see any
sentiment in old locomotives and maybe the local communities didn't either. I don't recall of any effort to save even one
locomotive from the fleet as it existed in the late 40's and early 50's.
Noel Weaver
  by Allen Hazen
 
Thank you, Noel! I knew SOMEONE here would be able to replace my conjectures about the I-5 retirement date with documented facts!
---
As I recall, the I-5 were, of all the Hudsons on railroads other than the New York Central, about the closest to the Central's J classes in over-all size, but they were quite different in design philosophy. The I-5 had bigger cylinders: at low speeds (like: starting from a station stop), a J would have been unable to match them without its (expensive and maintenance heavy) trailing truck booster, but the J was undoubtedly the better design for cruising at a steady 85mph on straight and level northern Indiana trackage!
  by Noel Weaver
 
I am sure that some will not agree with me on this but I truly think the I-5 was the neatest looking streamline job that any
steam locomotive in the US ever had.
They had counterbalance problems which I have to wonder if were ever completely corrected. I think they would have done
better with Alco than they did with Baldwin but Baldwin's bid apparently came in lower than Alco's bid.
  by Allen Hazen
 
AAARRGHHHH!!!!
I don't know what I was thinking of (and why I was thinking instead of checking sources), but I was just WRONG when (post before last) I compared the I-5 with the New York Central H-class Hudson. Comparing cylinder dimensions with the J-3 (that's the appropriate comparison: the New York Central's late 1930's design, not the 1927 vintage J-1), the I-5's cylinders were
--one inch larger in stroke (30" vs 29")
--a half inch SMALLER in bore (22" vs 22.5"),
and the I-5's rated tractive effort of 44,000 lbs was only a few hundred pounds (so: less than 2 percent) greater than that of a J-3 without booster.

My apologies. I should learn to keep my mouth shut.
  by Rick Abramson
 
According to some accounts that I've read, the I-5s had better acceleration than the DL-109s which is why the I-5s remained on Nos. 26/27 The Merchants Ltd. for as long as they did. They were one great looking engine. Along with the MILW Class A Atlantics, the I-5s were one of the first engines to be delivered streamlined from a builder; predating the NYC streamlined J-3s.
  by Noel Weaver
 
If the diesel power was two 0700's or 0760's or a combination of the two, no steam engine, not even an I-5 would equal the
acceleration rate for speeds starting out up to maybe 35 or so. Above that it could be a different story.
As for I-5's holding on to the number one train on the NHRR, I do NOT buy that theory, in 1948 all of the I-5's were basically
set aside and replaced by diesels although they got a little bit of use in peak situations. Ask why steam got replaced
everywhere not only in the US and Canada but everywhere else too? Diesels were more efficient, cheaper to operate, did not
need water every 50 or 100 miles in order to continue and did an acceptable job.
The continued use of steam on the Merchants Limited is a nice story but it is just a story, I have never seen any concrete
evidence to back that up. It does sound nice though.
Noel Weaver
  by Statkowski
 
More or less agree with you, Noel. Yes, overall, diesel-electric was lower maintenance, etc., etc., but the more modern main line steam power held on longer in some cases not because diesel power wasn't available, but because the diesels couldn't do what the steam did. Witness the Nickle Plate's Berkshires, the Norfolk & Western's Class Ys, and even the Union Pacific's Challengers and Big Boys. From a bean counter's point of view, it was a royal pain in the rump to keep the "antique" stuff running, but from an operational point of view, it was a necessary evil. In the end, world wide, diesel-electric won out.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Statkowski wrote:More or less agree with you, Noel. Yes, overall, diesel-electric was lower maintenance, etc., etc., but the more modern main line steam power held on longer in some cases not because diesel power wasn't available, but because the diesels couldn't do what the steam did. Witness the Nickle Plate's Berkshires, the Norfolk & Western's Class Ys, and even the Union Pacific's Challengers and Big Boys. From a bean counter's point of view, it was a royal pain in the rump to keep the "antique" stuff running, but from an operational point of view, it was a necessary evil. In the end, world wide, diesel-electric won out.
Unfortunately maintaining two distinctive types of power helped kill steam especially on the Union Pacific. The Norfolk and
Western probably had the best overall performing steam engines but even the N & W abandoned steam and when Saunders
took over in, I think, early 1958 the rush to buy diesels was on. I rode on the N & W in June, 1958 just before the J's came
off the passenger trains and it had just been announced in Roanoke that enough diesels had been ordered to dieselize the
entire railroad. There were a lot of sad faces in Roanoke at that time. I think with the Nickel Plate it was economics too,
two different types of power and diesels were definately cheaper to operate, again a big rush to get rid of steam, I rode
this line too in June, 1958 and eastbound from Chicago to Buffalo we saw exactly one steam powered freight train pass by
in the other direction. Got a "cooks tour" of the facilities in Buffalo and only saw dead steam there but we were told that
a steam powered train was coming east later that day, we did not have time to linger as we were on our way to Canada to
see much steam on the CNR and some on the CPR as well. This was a great two week plus trip.
In so far as the New Haven was concerned, the I-5's were the only halfway modern steam power on the railroad, the rest of
them were not only old but most likely worn out as well. Older engines outlasted the I-5's because the I-5's were not really
good on commuter trains which made very frequent stops and they were also restricted on some of the lines in and out of
Boston which was steam's last stand on the New Haven Railroad.
As for the 0700's, they were what kept the New Haven Railroad running and moving the freight and passengers during
WW-II along with the electric motors on the west end.
Noel Weaver
  by Rick Abramson
 
As far as steam is concerned, I always found it interesting as to why the NH (to the best of our knowledge) never thought of testing the FTs. The PRR was totally against dieselizing according to the book Black Gold, Black Diamonds. Messers. Duer and Deasy who were high-up in PRR management stated that as long as they were "in control", the PRR would never own a diesel. They finally ordered 2 E7s which were considered "experimentals" on the PRR. They were totally amazed by their stellar performance and efficiency. The FTs certainly proved that on their demo trips around the country.
What I also find interesting is how the 0-6-0T at Van Nest outlived the I-5s! Its longevity was no doubt dictated by its falling into the perfect niche at Van Nest. Same situation as Noel stated about steam on commuter runs not using I-5s.
  by Statkowski
 
They might write songs about love making the world go 'round, but in the end, it's economics. Steam gave way to diesel, and diesel is giving way to electric where it's economically feasible.
  by Rick Abramson
 
Henry:

Imagine how PBM must be rolling around in his grave with catenary in South Station! He was so opposed to electrics.
  by Rick Abramson
 
This is a direct quote from Trackside, In Search of Southern New England Steam by John R. Canfield "It is interesting to note that because of their superior acceleration at mid to upper passenger train speeds - in comparison with the DL-109s - the I-5s were retained as regular power on the flagship Merchants Limited well into the diesel era!"
Whether or not this statement is true, I personally have no idea. I would certainly think that 2 DL-109s would accelerate faster.
Anyone out there ever run an I-5??