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Offline Vanvlak  
#1 Posted : 29 July 2020 14:41:50(UTC)
Vanvlak

Malta   
Joined: 01/06/2019(UTC)
Posts: 48
Location: Naxxar
This morning I received a 2nd hand S3/6 (Märklin 3092) in the mail, and admiring its nice green colours, I decided to seek out images of the prototype - which were easily found, as 3673 still exists.
One of the videos shows her pulling several coaches, assisted by another steam loco, or a diesel loco.

You'll have to forgive my naive question, which probably is the result of coming from a country which has not operated trains since 1931, a little before my time: when running a train with more than one loco - especially in the case shown at one point in the video where the S3/6 heads the train and a shunting diesel pushes at the tail (at around 4:30 into the video) - how are two very different locomotives coordinated to maintain an effective traction without compressing or straining the carriages?


Thanks,
John


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Offline Alsterstreek  
#2 Posted : 29 July 2020 15:33:49(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Portugal   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Views messages in topic : 4,805
Location: Southwesternmost
Helper service (pushing) in the steam locomotive age: Both locomotives were staffed and controlled individually, communication was by whistle signals. Nowadays, communication is via radio service.
Offline Vanvlak  
#3 Posted : 29 July 2020 16:37:01(UTC)
Vanvlak

Malta   
Joined: 01/06/2019(UTC)
Posts: 48
Location: Naxxar
Originally Posted by: Alsterstreek Go to Quoted Post
Helper service (pushing) in the steam locomotive age: Both locomotives were staffed and controlled individually, communication was by whistle signals. Nowadays, communication is via radio service.


So it's just coordination by the engine drivers?
That IS impressive. I thought there was something more complex behind this!
Thanks very much
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Offline DaleSchultz  
#4 Posted : 29 July 2020 18:21:49(UTC)
DaleSchultz

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,425
In modern museum trains you will often see the main feature, such as the preserved steamer, at the front. The Diesel locomotive is present as it as the required safety features and braking/electronic capabilities, and in case of failure of the museum loco. The Diesel loco is therefore not actually providing traction most of the time.

Yes, the drivers that handle double-heading and push assists were skilled and really had to know what they were doing.

Some modern trains have the traction control connected so the motive power can be control from a single cab.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
Offline kiwiAlan  
#5 Posted : 29 July 2020 22:14:42(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 5,233
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
In 2012 my wife and i had the pleasure to take a train from Berlin Charlotenberg station to hannover and return to celebrate 21 years since the fall of the berllin Wall and the opening of the train corridor. The organisers thought they might get enough people for 5 or 6 coaches - they ended up with a maximum length train of 15 coaches plus an overflow of people that had another train the next day.

Because the train was maximum length with a Br01 at the front to be able to maintain modern train schedules they also had a Br232 diesel at the rear to provide enough horsepower to keep the speed up, and accelerate at a decent rate. This did produce the occaisional interesting incident of lack of co-ordination between the two loco crews resulting in the diesel attempting to push a train while the steam lokfuher was attempting to put the brakes on. If you have ever been on a train when a loco is attempting to couple to it and the loco is pushing to compress the buffers while the coupling is attached then you will know the effect i am talking about.

Offline kimballthurlow  
#6 Posted : 30 July 2020 05:14:36(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 5,856
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Hello John,

Your question about rear pusher engines is quite erudite, because the logistics took some planning on the part of the crews.

Some of the most classical movies of pusher (helper) engines at work in the days of steam was on the Norfolk and Western Railway in Virginia USA.
The pusher sequence was well documented.
This 5 minutes was taken in the early 1950s and describes the process quite well, though it is part of a more comprehensive release on DVD called Pillars of Smoke in the Sky (Herron Video).

I don't know how one could fail to be unmoved by the sight of these behemoths (and their drivers) tackling the Blue Ridge on their way to the tidewater port at Norfolk.
Pillars of Smoke
This particular segment shows both lead engines and the helper. You can hear the helper whistle (one long blast) to the lead engines at the start of the push.
There is more whistling in the full video, each whistle is meaningful to the crews.

There is no danger in bunching up the train because of the weight involved.
There are no buffers on US trains - all the forces are transmitted through buck-eye couplings.
At the top of the grade the helper engine just slows and drifts back (the buck-eye couplers were left open at the start) while the complete train continues forward.

Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail (USA and Australia) - 3 rail (English Hornby Dublo) - a few old O gauge.
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Offline Vanvlak  
#7 Posted : 30 July 2020 08:26:29(UTC)
Vanvlak

Malta   
Joined: 01/06/2019(UTC)
Posts: 48
Location: Naxxar
Dale - thanks for that insight, I should have imagined that a shunter could, in some cases, serve as a failsafe.

Alan - cool, must have been fun. The only steam-pulled/pushed trains I have ridden are the much smaller Harzer Schmalspurbahnen ones - great fun, still.

Kimball - thanks very much for the explanation and the link too. The distance between the locos (see around 1:45 into the video) indicated by the remote plume of the pushing locomotive is impressive. Must need excellent coordination.

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Offline kiwiAlan  
#8 Posted : 30 July 2020 16:22:35(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 5,233
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Vanvlak Go to Quoted Post

Alan - cool, must have been fun. The only steam-pulled/pushed trains I have ridden are the much smaller Harzer Schmalspurbahnen ones - great fun, still.


It was a very interesting trip.

There is another story that I heard about UK helper locos, if the lead loco engineer thought the pusher crew were not doing their part in helping the train up through a tunnel he would put the coal shovel in the fire for a bit and get it good and hot. Then he would take it out and pee on it. This would create a strong ammonia stench in the tunnel, and I guess the air currents around the wagons as they came past would drag it with the train. Once the pusher loco reached the stench they would get some steam on to get out of the horrid stench as fast as possible ... Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Offline Vanvlak  
#9 Posted : 30 July 2020 16:37:50(UTC)
Vanvlak

Malta   
Joined: 01/06/2019(UTC)
Posts: 48
Location: Naxxar
Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Vanvlak Go to Quoted Post

Alan - cool, must have been fun. The only steam-pulled/pushed trains I have ridden are the much smaller Harzer Schmalspurbahnen ones - great fun, still.


It was a very interesting trip.

There is another story that I heard about UK helper locos, if the lead loco engineer thought the pusher crew were not doing their part in helping the train up through a tunnel he would put the coal shovel in the fire for a bit and get it good and hot. Then he would take it out and pee on it. This would create a strong ammonia stench in the tunnel, and I guess the air currents around the wagons as they came past would drag it with the train. Once the pusher loco reached the stench they would get some steam on to get out of the horrid stench as fast as possible ... Laugh Laugh Laugh



I hope this was a goods train, because if it is effective, the passengers would REALLY learn to close the windows when passing through a tunnel.Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh
Offline kiwiAlan  
#10 Posted : 30 July 2020 16:51:57(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 5,233
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Vanvlak Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Vanvlak Go to Quoted Post

Alan - cool, must have been fun. The only steam-pulled/pushed trains I have ridden are the much smaller Harzer Schmalspurbahnen ones - great fun, still.


It was a very interesting trip.

There is another story that I heard about UK helper locos, if the lead loco engineer thought the pusher crew were not doing their part in helping the train up through a tunnel he would put the coal shovel in the fire for a bit and get it good and hot. Then he would take it out and pee on it. This would create a strong ammonia stench in the tunnel, and I guess the air currents around the wagons as they came past would drag it with the train. Once the pusher loco reached the stench they would get some steam on to get out of the horrid stench as fast as possible ... Laugh Laugh Laugh



I hope this was a goods train, because if it is effective, the passengers would REALLY learn to close the windows when passing through a tunnel.Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh


yeah, passenger trains would be run to a schedule, so would have a bigger engine and rarely needed a helper. Goods trains would tend to trundle along with the loco at its limit of capability as far as I can tell.
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