• Smoke Lifters

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by urrengr2003
I am aware some number of L & S Class locomotives were equipped with smoke lifters (elephant ears). Can any reader of this post substiante their use on J Class locomotives?
  by NYC_Dave
I think this is a myth which arises from time to time. I haven't seen any kind of written or photographic evidence to substantiate it. A "doctored" photo appeared on another NYC website to show what a Hudson would look like with smoke lifters.
  by Alcophile
I don't believe any J-Class locomotives had smoke lifters. You're right in that some L, but all S-Class locomotives wore smoke lifters.
  by onder
Im not sure but I believe one of the Staufer books
has a pix of a Hudson with lifters and twin sealed
beam headlight as carried by the later 6000's.
  by Noel Weaver
onder wrote:Im not sure but I believe one of the Staufer books
has a pix of a Hudson with lifters and twin sealed
beam headlight as carried by the later 6000's.
The Staufer book "Thoroughberds" on pages 54 to 61 inclusive have pictures of the original Hudson no. 5200 with wooden
shields on the front while the engine was performing tests around 1927. I looked through the two Staufer books in my
collection and these were the only pictures that I found with anything even resembling smoke lifters or "elephant ears".
Noel Weaver
  by rlsteam
The "doctored" photo of the Hudson with deflectors (unless there's another one somewhere) is by me, at http://www.railarchive.net/fantasysteam/index.html . It's not a NYC page, it's my "Fantasy Steam" page, though I have other imaginary NYC steam in my "New York Central Collection," http://www.railarchive.net/nyccollectio ... _steam.htm . All these are clearly designated "fantasy" or "imaginary," so I hope no one is confused. They are definitely "doctored," since I do have a Ph.D. -- Richard Leonard
  by Allen Hazen
Rlsteam (Richard Leonard)--
I ***LIKE*** your "as never were's"! I've fantasized about some of them, and have one quibble: I think the PRR classes for their Hudsons, Northerns (and Challengers) would have been P1, R5 (and GG-5): going by the example of their steam L-1 and electric L-5, I think they had the idea that the class numbers would skip to -5 for an electric with the same wheel arrangement as the -1. P5 would have been given that designation when it was still thought conceivable that they MIGHT get a steam 4-6-4 (which I'm sure they wouldn't have wanted to call a "Hudson"!). A few years later they decided to start the series with the electrics (R-1 and GG-1), but if I had to guess I'd predict that the PRR motive power department was traditional enough that they would have wanted to leave the same gap if they had later bought steam R or GG types. (How's that for nit-picking?)

In the 1980s a book was published of paintings of proposed but un-built British locomotives, including an LMS 4-8-4-- sorry, don't remember author or title. The American philosopher David Lewis was also a devoted railway fan, and a member of the Great Western Society: when he published a book about "possible worlds" and the logic of counterfactuals (in which he used examples from railway history), he wanted to use the painting of the Great Western's unbuilt Pacific of the late 1940s (design drawn up just before the railways were nationalized) as cover art, but his publishers wouldn't let him. Sob.

...There is at least one un-faked photo of a New York Central Niagara without smokelifters, I think in one of Stauffer's books: the smokelifters of one Niagara were damaged in a minor accident, and the locomotive put back in service before they were replaced.
  by rlsteam
Allen, you're not by any means the first to "quibble" about my Fantasy Steam ideas. I have a long email from another viewer taking apart my ideas about several locomotives. But since it's all in fun I have taken no remedial action. By the way, I found at least two photos of Niagara 6000 minus deflectors, one from each side, either on the Internet or sent me by someone. They were invaluable resources in constructing my "J4a" and "J4b" Hudsons. But naturally I can't put the original, undoctored photos on any of my sites for comparison because they don't belong to me. -- RCL
  by Allen Hazen
Yes, your fantasy locomotives are "all in fun" and I think I took them in the spirit you intended. (Surely a long disquisition on the philosophical underpinnings of the Pennsylvania Railroad's locomotive classification system could ONLY be undertaken in fun!)

...My own feeling is that fantasy locomotives can also be ways of investigating REAL railroad history: it can be instructive to ask why various plausible fantasies DIDN'T get built. Your S3a freight-service Niagara is an idea I've often wondered about. The New York Central used 4-8-2 Mohawks in fast freight service, the Nickle Plate used 2-8-4 Berkshires, with the same 69" driver diameter, in similar service on a very similar route! Would a small-drivered 4-8-4 have combined the best features of both? The 4-wheel trailing truck would have allowed a somewhat larger firebox than the Mohawk's two-wheel. (The NKP Berkshires had somewhat greater grate area than even the last NYCRR Mohawks.) Theoretically this should have allowed a bit better fuel efficiency: perhaps -- particularly with higher post-WW II coal prices -- an S3 derived from a Mohawk by grafting on a larger firebox might have made good sense.

Thanks again for the images!
  by clehman
I have a booklette of Eastern train photos I was given by my Dad when he was alive. It is apparently a series, as there are two or three of them, the others cover Midwest and Western trains. If I remember correctly, they were published by Kalmbach in the '40s or '50s in large horizontal format. I also remember one photo showing a NYC steam-powered passenger train going East (South) along the Hudson River, and there are small smoke deflectors on the locomotive, which the caption says is a Hudson. I'll get the booklette out and try to scan that photo. I tried a few years ago with a different scanner, and it did not come out very well at all. The photo is dark to begin with, and the only reason you can tell the loco has small smoke deflectors is that the one on the engineer's side stands out against the light water of the Hudson River. You cannot see the one on the fireman's side at all, and there is probably no way to make out the loco's number, or even confirm it is a Hudson. If I get a decent scan, I will post it here in a few days. Carl
  by NYC_Dave
It is possible the photo was of a Mohawk rather than a Hudson. In a distant frontal view it is difficult to distinguish which is which. I have seen photos of Mohawks with three different types of smoke deflectors that were apparently experimental. The deflectors on 3114 looked like small 'European' type smoke deflectors. 3120 had similar deflectors without the inward bend at the top and mounted higher. 3117 had a kind of 'shroud' on top of the smokebox that extended from the front of the smokebox back to the sand dome.
The photo of 3114 below was taken at Elkhart,IN in 1943. It is from the Railfan.net ABPR Image Archives .

http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?/ ... yc3114.jpg
  by clehman
The photo may be a Mohawk, but the caption says it's a Hudson. I will take a very close look this weekend and see if I can tell if it is indeed a Hudson, or a Mohawk. The smoke deflectors are a little smaller than the ones in the photo you attached. They would be similar if the ones in your photo did not have the bent in toward the smoke box. I think they are close to the ones you describe as European-type on the 3114 - so the photo I have may be of the 3114. I'll post either the results of my close inspection of the photo or the photo itself soon. Carl
  by clehman
Attached is the photo and caption from the booklette Trains Album of Photographs, Book 1, Eastern Railroads, published by Kalmbach Publishing Co. in 1943. As can be seen in the caption, they refer to the locomotive as a Hudson, but it is impossible to read the number or even tell the wheel arrangement. Therefore, it is impossible to say whether it is a Hudson or a Mohawk. Notice the smoke lifter on the engineer's side. Carl
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by rlsteam
I am wondering if the object is really a smoke lifter. It seems too small to have that function. Are you sure it is not some odd trackside structure (not a signal, but something else) that just happened to be there? I believe the locomotive is a Hudson, not a Mohawk. It does not look like an L3, and the L2s and L1s had the footboard pilot (this locomotive has a "cowcatcher" pilot) and, with a few exceptions, were not used in passenger service. The L4s were not built yet and had the flat "Selkirk" front end. The locomotive looks to me like a J1 Hudson. Thanks for posting the image!
  by Allen Hazen
Re: "Are you sure it is not some odd trackside structure...that just happened to be there?"
Or maybe even something out on the river? The dark blob (all I can see on the computer screen) looks symmetrical top/bottom, as it would if it were the combination of something sticking up from the water with its reflection in the water.

(I am by no means confident that this is what it is-- I'm not even sure it's what I'd bet if you asked me to bet on an identification. But in the interests of canvassing all alternatives...)