Author Topic: On the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales  (Read 219 times)

Wayne Laepple

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On the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales
« on: November 21, 2021, 08:03:04 PM »
Here's a neat video on the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales, shot this past week. There was a multi-day "Great Little Trains of Wales" event, and here's a South African Railways NG13 Beyer Garratt struggling on the grade with wet rail. If you listen carefully during some of the slips, you can hear one engine slipping while the other one keep pulling hard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v38bKJ0CM24

Wayne Laepple

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Re: On the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 08:42:04 AM »
I am told that the front engines on these locomotives were always considered slippery, since as water was used, there would be less and less weight on the drivers. In addition, the front sanders were steam-operated, and in places where it got colder, condensation would form inside the sand delivery pipes and clog the flow. The rear sanders were mechanically actuated by a series of levers and cranks through the rear cab window. Not a great arrangement, either. The NG16-class Garratt at the Puffing Billy Railway in Australia had all this replaced by air-actuated sanders, although running the air lines was a challenge for the engineering and mechanical departments.

John L Dobson

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Re: On the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2021, 12:30:24 PM »
The SAR's two-foot gauge Garratts weren't really designed for hill climbing. They were designed with a low (6-ton) axle load to provide relatively high power for lightly-laid, twisty, lines. Unlike the Ffestiniog's Fairlies, they only have one regulator, so it isn't possible to 'baby' the front power bogie to clear water and muck off the rails whilst the rear bogie does the work, as is normal practice with a Fairlie.
John L Dobson
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john d Stone

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Re: On the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 03:09:16 PM »
I'm surprised the driver (doesn't sound right, but trying to stay with the British theme) was able to get things rolling again after that stall! A couple of trips ago, I was on my usual intermodal run to Philly. Railroads now seem to be addicted to distributed power, so my two 4400hp GE's were separated by 3500'. Leaving Acca, in Richmond, the distributed unit failed to load. Ringing up the dispatcher, I told him of the situation. I knew we could get over the road in a reasonable fashion, we had about 4200 tons and about 7000' of train. The question was whether or not we could make it across the Baltimore Belt Line. With a long grade, exceeding 1% for a good portion and that portion being nicely curved, it has been the downfall of many tightly powered freights. We were a few hundred tons under the tonnage, but the long cars and damp rail would make things close. Not wanting to be delayed and full of misplaced pride, I told the dispatcher we'd make it. When we got into the BE dispatcher's territory, at the entrance to Baltimore terminal, he informed us that we'd be pulling through the Mt Royal siding and cutting off the setoff in said siding. This siding is on the worst part of the grade and 10mph to boot. Gulp. "Do you think you can still make it?" "............yes...sure." As we headed in the greasy siding at the prescribed 10, I could feel the train tightening up behind us. The 6th notch was as high as I could go and still sorta hold the rail. 9..8...7.....6.....5 not looking good for the home team. A nice coating of leaf grease was challenging GE's wheelslip protection and shaving our speed ever lower. An old trick is to play the independent against the wheels to clean some of the goop off and keep a runaway wheelslip from killing the momentum completely. Distributed power means that the engine brake would also apply on the dead unit, so that option was out. Down to 2, BE dispatcher calling "I032?" We hit a little straight stretch at the east end of the siding, conductor dropped off and the speed climbs back up to 4. Slipping and chewing rail through the east switch, we attained better rail conditions on the main. The speed slowly gets up to 10. Made it! The conductor cut the rear 2000" off and hung a new EOT and a van brought him to the headend. Off to Philly!