Monday, May 19, 2008

Early Streamlined Trains

Preserved Chesapeake & Ohio No. 490 "Class L 4-6-4" steam locomotive showing the streamlining that was applied to passenger train locomotives in the 1920s and 1930s. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Maryland.

The Comet was a diesel electric streamliner built in 1935 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company. Smaller than the other streamliners, it was a three-car, double-ended train that could operate in both directions and thus did not need to be turned at destinations.

It was initially placed into service between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island on a 44 mile, 44 minute schedule as advertised. This service lasted until the beginning of World War II, when increased traffic volume overwhelmed the capacity of the Comet, after which it was placed on local commuter services around the Boston area. The trainset was withdrawn from service in 1951 and scrapped.

Between 1947–1948, Baldwin built three unique coal-fired steam turbine-electric locomotives, designed for passenger service on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). The 6,000 horsepower units which were equipped with Westinghouse electrical systems were 106 feet long, making them the longest locomotives ever built for passenger service. The cab was mounted in the center, with a coal bunker ahead of it and a backwards mounted boiler behind it.

These locomotives were intended for a route from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio but could never travel the whole route without some sort of failure. Coal dust and water frequently got into the traction motors. While these problems could have been fixed given enough time, it was obvious that these locomotives would always be to expensive to maintain and were considered (at the time) to be complete failures. All three were scrapped in 1950.

New York Central Observation Car at Rensselaer, New York, September 17, 2003. Observation car "Hickory Creek" formerly served on the 20th Century Limited.


Major Pepperidge said...

All of 'em are beauties... my appreciation for trains came later in life, but now I just love 'em in all of their variety!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW, these are all beauties! The Baldwin 47/48 "coal-fired steam turbine-electric locomotives" were beasts! Reminds me of the Spruce Goose, not in style, but in FORM!

Neat grouping, thanks for the show!

The Blue Parrot said...

Don't forget that the MILW had it's beavertail observation lounges that predated the Skytop cars.

Also fine cars were the Tap Lounges. All around the MILW had class at one time.

And who could forget the Bi-Polars! Probably the finest streamlined electrics, with apologies to the GG1 fans of the Pennsy.

And there is a distinct difference between pre and post war streamlining of trains, too.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

They are beauties...and when you ride in feels like you have gone back in time. Awesome!

Thanks for all the info BLUE, appreciate it all.