Steam Powered El trains at terminal stops.

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Steam Powered El trains at terminal stops.

Postby railfan365 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

For many decades now, the New York City subway/el complex has only 3 places where trains actually turn around: The 2 loops at South Ferry, and the old City Hall Loop. At ALL other terminal stops, they deal with all EMU trains being double ended and change ends, almost always in conjunction with a crossover or a series of crossovers to get the train on the right track. My question is: Prior to the middle of 1903 when all service was elevated and some or all of the service was powered by steam locomotives, how did they deal with changing directions? If they did it by running an engine around the rest of the train, that would explain why the archival photographs sometimes show the engine going boiler first and others show it runnning cab first.
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Re: Steam Powered El trains at terminal stops.

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:49 pm

There are far more loops and ways to turn trains in the system than South Ferry and City Hall. They're just not on the road...
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Re: Steam Powered El trains at terminal stops.

Postby NorthWest » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:08 pm

My understanding is that the locomotives were not turned and were simply run in both directions facing one way. However, they usually switched consists at each end of the line, with engine 1 pulling into the terminal station with the consist and detaching from it. Meanwhile freshly fueled and watered engine 2 attaches to the rear of the consist and pulls it the other way, leaving engine 1 behind so it can reverse to a fueling/watering siding to repeat the cycle.
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Re: Steam Powered El trains at terminal stops.

Postby railfan365 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:46 pm

Interesting. That also covers the frequent fueling and watering required by tank engines.
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