A2 986 - Coming Together

 
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mod note:

let the Gauge conversion diversion go away, leaving this thread for the A2 guys.

otherwise I'll prune........

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  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

I'm glad to see the A2 out and about; it's been too long since an A2 graced the rails, in steam and alive.
To me the A2s represented in appearance, classic steam locomotive design, with clearly defined boiler, cab, domes, funnel, wheels & etc. Later designs tended to blend the components as boilers and cylinders grew to the maximum dimensions the kinematic envelope would allow.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The A2s were the VR as I knew it.
Looking forward to seeing 986 on a train up Glenroy, as with all the so called high speeds passes on Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo the NE seems to be more steam friendly these days.
Lot more running in I suppose before then..................
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
I'll go right along with both Lockspike and YM-Mundrabilla. The A2 was the steam passenger loco when I was a kid. There was nothing fancy or ornate about the design, but it combined functionality with a very pleasant appearance. At speed, with four or five cars and the ubiquitous CE or CW van, they were a superb sight. I am eagerly awaiting that same sight again.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

The A2s were the VR as I knew it.
Looking forward to seeing 986 on a train up Glenroy, as with all the so called high speeds passes on Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo the NE seems to be more steam friendly these days.
Lot more running in I suppose before then..................
YM-Mundrabilla
Apparently she'll only be initially accredited to run at a max speed of 80 km/h, even on the Seymour racetrack.

Regardless, she'll be a sight to see.
  Clarke Hudswell Junior Train Controller

The last 'Steamrail News' advertised an exclusive member's preview day on Saturday 14/11 (A2 986 having entered service on 18/11/1915), to celebrate the loco's 100th anniversary. So I made the long trip down to Newport and was somewhat disappointed to see only a couple of dozen members turn up. But the Steamrail guys (thanks Warren Hall) put on a good day for us, everyone had the opportunity to ride in the cab up and down the yard and later numerous photo run bys were made on the outer track. Warren had the A2 powering against the brakes, full regulator and about 18" cut-off. Nothing like that has been heard since 1963! If you have heard the ARHS vinyl LP records (also available on disc recently), you would know that an A2 sounds nothing like an R class. Unlike the R's harsh beat, the A2 exhibits a wonderful deep, booming note, and is very loud too. It really did makes the hairs on the back of one's neck stand on end.

Why did not more turn up? Maybe the younger enthusiast does not understand the importance of the A2 class to the VR. As others have said above, the A2 WAS the VR. Between 1925 when most of the 4-4-0 AAs were scrapped (one hung on till 1938), and 1951 when the Rs arrived, the 185 A2 locos and the 4 S class were the only big wheel locomotives the VR had.

The history card for 986 shows its total mileage run as 1,379,329 miles. To put its historical importance in perspective, the 3 R class locos still operating (707, 711, 761) clocked up only 445,373 miles between them. In other words, A2 986 on its own provided the VR with 3 times the work provided by the 3 R class locos combined!

Your next chance to see this wonderful machine will be, I was told, during the Open Days at Newport in early March 2016, and it will by then be fully painted (black) and complete with smoke deflectors.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland

The history card for 986 shows its total mileage run as 1,379,329 miles. To put its historical importance in perspective, the 3 R class locos still operating (707, 711, 761) clocked up only 445,373 miles between them. In other words, A2 986 on its own provided the VR with 3 times the work provided by the 3 R class locos combined!
Clarke Hudswell
As you would all know the decision to order the 70 R Class proved to be a mistake !

At the time the US EMD were perfecting diesel motive power wile the UK were still refining steam & electric motive power.
Foreign currency restrictions at the time required VR to buy from the UK.

How would of things turned out If the 70 R Classes were changed to 70 extra B Class diesels and the 60 J Classes were changed to 60 extra T Class diesels.
(Stream probably would of ended In the late 50's ?)
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The last 'Steamrail News' advertised an exclusive member's preview day on Saturday 14/11 (A2 986 having entered service on 18/11/1915), to celebrate the loco's 100th anniversary. So I made the long trip down to Newport and was somewhat disappointed to see only a couple of dozen members turn up. But the Steamrail guys (thanks Warren Hall) put on a good day for us, everyone had the opportunity to ride in the cab up and down the yard and later numerous photo run bys were made on the outer track. Warren had the A2 powering against the brakes, full regulator and about 18" cut-off. Nothing like that has been heard since 1963! If you have heard the ARHS vinyl LP records (also available on disc recently), you would know that an A2 sounds nothing like an R class. Unlike the R's harsh beat, the A2 exhibits a wonderful deep, booming note, and is very loud too. It really did makes the hairs on the back of one's neck stand on end.

Why did not more turn up? Maybe the younger enthusiast does not understand the importance of the A2 class to the VR. As others have said above, the A2 WAS the VR. Between 1925 when most of the 4-4-0 AAs were scrapped (one hung on till 1938), and 1951 when the Rs arrived, the 185 A2 locos and the 4 S class were the only big wheel locomotives the VR had.

The history card for 986 shows its total mileage run as 1,379,329 miles. To put its historical importance in perspective, the 3 R class locos still operating (707, 711, 761) clocked up only 445,373 miles between them. In other words, A2 986 on its own provided the VR with 3 times the work provided by the 3 R class locos combined!

Your next chance to see this wonderful machine will be, I was told, during the Open Days at Newport in early March 2016, and it will by then be fully painted (black) and complete with smoke deflectors.
Clarke Hudswell
Without a red buffer beam too I hope. (People would have thought that I was dead if I hadn't said that).Smile
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
As you would all know the decision to order the 70 R Class proved to be a mistake !

At the time the US EMD were perfecting diesel motive power wile the UK were still refining steam & electric motive power.
Foreign currency restrictions at the time required VR to buy from the UK.

How would of things turned out If the 70 R Classes were changed to 70 extra B Class diesels and the 60 J Classes were changed to 60 extra T Class diesels.
(Stream probably would of ended In the late 50's ?)
Nightfire
Then we would never have had all these lovely low mileage Steam locos to preserve and run!

But yes, I'm sure the Vic Gov't had no say in it (the Forex restrictions would have been a ComGov decision) but what a huge cost to the VR and therefore the Victorian Taxpayer that turned out to be. I shudder to think what an R or J class cost in today's $$$ and many were scrapped or retired with very low miles on the clock.

BG
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
A2 986 mad a rare weekday run out onto the mainline today.

Test runs between Newport and Sunshine. I spotted it running tender first through Brooklyn towards Newport just after 4PM this afternoon. Looked an absolute treat in its immaculate black paintwork with its recently installed smoke deflectors.

Sorry no photos as I wasn't exactly expecting to see it, I was just on my way home from work when I happened to see it run through the Somerville Rd level crossing.
  Factory_Fill Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne VIC
A2 986 made a trial run to Geelong today.

Here are some shots of the return journey.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNoRxe4Tp_A
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Well done Factory_Fill - great to see the A2; all complete and stepping it out nicely. I saw heaps of them when I was a kid, and I'm glad to see one again. Thanks for putting up the video.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

A great looking locomotive and a credit to those who restored her.  Quite an interesting sound too - a lot deeper with a real "choof" about it.
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
Well, when they run a tour with it you'd envisage all steam fans to be on it like a fat kid on a cupcake.?
Which is to be encouraged, as its a reflection of the efforts that the organization and it's volunteers put in over many years, the results of which attest to a damn fine job.

Regards
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
I think I'm right in suggesting that 986 did a load test this weekend - any news/photos et al?
  Highrailer Assistant Commissioner

Location: Somewhere out on the track......anywhere around the country
I think I'm right in suggesting that 986 did a load test this weekend - any news/photos et al?
Valvegear
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Thanks for posting. Provided one can grit the teeth and ignore the inane commentary, it's worth watching.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

SRV on Facebook are advertising a members only (and members invite) test run to Seymour and back on July 30.  Quite appropriate given that the N.E line was used for the A2 test runs back in 1908, 1916 (superheated), and 1935:

1908: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10678717
Footplate ride article: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10648780

1916: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2106117
Footplate ride: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2110003

1935: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11014719 & http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11018186

A direct comparison this time around is rather moot, given that this test run will go via Sunshine and Albion, and be limited to 50 mph...
  Clarke Hudswell Junior Train Controller

Great links, Carnot, thankyou.


I'm booked on the test run, I am not old enough to have travelled behind an A2 before, so this is important history for me.


I have the original performance graphs taken from the Dynamometer Car records during the testing, in 1934 and 35, that we now refer to as "Modified Front End" modifications and tests. It is interesting to see the progression from the 700 dbhp saturated A1 burning State Mine coal to a 1240 dbhp A2 with the full front end (and back end and superheater) mods on Maitland coal. Not sure how the coal compares these days, maybe we will have to truck the Dyno Car back to Vic and do the tests again!
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Great links, Carnot, thankyou.


I'm booked on the test run, I am not old enough to have travelled behind an A2 before, so this is important history for me.


I have the original performance graphs taken from the Dynamometer Car records during the testing, in 1934 and 35, that we now refer to as "Modified Front End" modifications and tests. It is interesting to see the progression from the 700 dbhp saturated A1 burning State Mine coal to a 1240 dbhp A2 with the full front end (and back end and superheater) mods on Maitland coal. Not sure how the coal compares these days, maybe we will have to truck the Dyno Car back to Vic and do the tests again!
Clarke Hudswell
I didn't realise that you were that young.................
At least the coal will not be worse than State Mine (or Indian, without which there will be no green smoke).
You might at least have been game to try Glenroy. Another day, perhaps. Smile
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I have the original performance graphs taken from the Dynamometer Car records during the testing, in 1934 and 35, that we now refer to as "Modified Front End" modifications and tests. It is interesting to see the progression from the 700 dbhp saturated A1 burning State Mine coal to a 1240 dbhp A2 with the full front end (and back end and superheater) mods on Maitland coal. Not sure how the coal compares these days, maybe we will have to truck the Dyno Car back to Vic and do the tests again!
Clarke Hudswell
I think it's really interesting that the original 1908 loco test managed 1140 H.P at Glenroy (although that was probably "indicated" rather than "drawbar" H.P?? - if that's the case then dbhp was probably around 930 or so).   There are so many variables with steam locomotives...
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
SRV on Facebook are advertising a members only (and members invite) test run to Seymour and back on July 30.  Quite appropriate given that the N.E line was used for the A2 test runs back in 1908, 1916 (superheated), and 1935:

1908: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10678717
Footplate ride article: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10648780

1916: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2106117
Footplate ride: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2110003

1935: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11014719 & http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11018186

A direct comparison this time around is rather moot, given that this test run will go via Sunshine and Albion, and be limited to 50 mph...
Carnot
Reading the above newspaper articles highlights how despicably journalistic and media talents in general have slumped since the 1930s.
Many journalists today would be totally unable to even transcribe the above reports sensibly and accurately.
It is interesting that the 1935 report mentions a load of 400 tons (406.5 tonnes) as the passenger load whereas at the end of steam the full goods load for an A2 on the NE was 385 tons.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Journalists used to ask relevant questions and seek to report facts. Today it's mostly opinions, spin, sound-bites, and emotion.

Schedules and worn out locos probably had something to do with reduced load limits. I remember reading about a double heading A2 fan trip in the early 1960s that barely made it up the hill to Woodend... Mind you there was a strong headwind too.
  Clarke Hudswell Junior Train Controller

I have the original performance graphs taken from the Dynamometer Car records during the testing, in 1934 and 35, that we now refer to as "Modified Front End" modifications and tests. It is interesting to see the progression from the 700 dbhp saturated A1 burning State Mine coal to a 1240 dbhp A2 with the full front end (and back end and superheater) mods on Maitland coal. Not sure how the coal compares these days, maybe we will have to truck the Dyno Car back to Vic and do the tests again!
I think it's really interesting that the original 1908 loco test managed 1140 H.P at Glenroy (although that was probably "indicated" rather than "drawbar" H.P?? - if that's the case then dbhp was probably around 930 or so).   There are so many variables with steam locomotives...
Carnot


Yes, one would assume it was ihp, particularly as they were measuring that value with the poor Engineer in his shelter on the front of the loco ("secured an airy perch in the open" as the article says). The dyno car charts are all dbhp values, there are no indicated hp figures for comparison that I can quote for you.

One test though measured the difference in power between Maitland and State Mine coal (A2 974 in ‘33 and ‘34, pre mfe). SM coal gave 715 dbhp, Maitland 830. As you say, there are so many variables, that is just one, but probably one of the most significant ones.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Yes, one would assume it was ihp, particularly as they were measuring that value with the poor Engineer in his shelter on the front of the loco ("secured an airy perch in the open" as the article says).
Clarke Hudswell
My father was one such engineer, taking Indicator Cards, perched behind a temporary steel screen set up as a rudimentary windbreak.
He took the Cards on the first test run of H220 in February 1941, and I have those original cards, and the test log book, in my possession.
He also rode the Spirit of Progress many times doing the same job. Two engineers went, and, traditionally, the one who lost the toss sat out the front on the Down at night, and had the Up run in daylight in the cab. Apparently, it was a source of great fascination for people watching the Spirit depart from Spencer Street, to see a bloke calmly sitting out there, facing a 3 hours & 50 minutes non-stop run to Albury.
Dad was out the front on an Up SOP when it went through a flock of sheep at 70 mph (courtesy of a failed fence), and threw them everywhere like the bow waves  of a ship. He was lucky that he wasn't collected by one.
As a kid, I loved the tales he told of these runs.

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