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Rare photo of one of Virginian's mighty AE Class 2-10-10-2 (with it's massive 48" front cylinders) in operation

 

Over N&W rails just east of the VGN's passenger station in Roanoke, Virginia (date unknown)

 

Virginian AE Class 2-10-10-2.jpg

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Yes these were quite fabulous engines, the size of the LP cylinders was such that a man could almost stand inside one. Because of this and especially because of the momentum of these cylinders the engines were seriously limited in speed. This led to the adoption a few years later of simple articulated in order to use them on trains that needed more speed, this in turn developped into a full scale renaissance of the articulated concept (Alas not Mallet any more) such as the N&W class A, the challengers, Alegheny,and yellowstones and of course big boys.

However for lugging heavy loads up stiff grades at slow speeds the Mallet concept kept all of its pertinence around the world and locally on the N&W Y6 class built right up to the end of steam. The drawings of this mallet appeared in an old model railroader in the mid sixties. I beleive it set the world record for the diameter of the LP cylinders.

 

The fascinating photos show a boiler explosion due to low water. They are caracteristic of this violent accident, only too common on steam locomotives in which whatever the size of the engine the crew fell victim. I have seen photos of a mikado boiler in France hurtled three hundred meters (+Yards) away from the site of the explosion it rebounced two times in the process! The caracteristics I mention are the torn crown sheets and the staybolts over the crown sheet wrenched away from the said sheet by the violence of the explosion. This is not known to happen on gauge one models, what does happen, is that if you feed water in a red hot boiler (because you had let the water level run too low, prior to this) it developps flash steam at such a rate that it usually squeezes the fire tube flat. Although in theory it could happen to our small boilers, experience tells us that it usually is limited to that, which is still quite a bit of trouble to fix, usually requiring a rebuild of a new boiler. This is one of the challenges of live steam in gauge one, you really have to be on your toes with the water level. Although the consequences of a low water level on say a 7 1/4 " gauge models would be far more dangerous, it is so much easier to keep your level high because there is so much more water. Also large scale models, are rarely run flat out at over scale speeds as our small engines are, which in turn empties the boiler more quickly. Thus I find the running of live steam in gauge one provides the kind of excitement of being on a full size one at speed, where you have to be alert to all that is happening constantly.

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By the way I also love their Juice jacks too. Immagine one of those big EL -2 B  electrics in gauge one! I think a fellow did a pair in 1/29th scale but it was pretty crude model, never the less an impressive model no doubt.

 I did see the  rectifiers when I lived in the Boston erea in the sixties on the New Haven. I like those engines quite a bit also.

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