Last regular use of steam in the US

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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby Triplex » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:42 am

I believe that PSE&G's 0-4-0 fireless cooker ran at an electric generating station as late as 1974.

If we count firelesses, many ran later than that.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=304251
North American Rayon used this engine until 1992.
http://www.steamlocomotive.com/lastofsteam.php
Eliminating all one-offs, there's still a later one I hadn't heard of before: Sensient Flavors, fireless to 1994.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby wjstix » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:33 pm

An asterisk on the CO&E is that they were a new railroad in the seventies, so are a little different from railroads that operated steam from the steam/diesel transition era and beyond. They were kind of a steam-tourist railroad that became a "real" freight-only steam railroad.

It can be hard to pin down who continued to run steam the longest. By the end of 1960 mainline steam was really gone, and the remaining steam engines in service belonged to tiny short lines, industrial railroads etc. Most of them dropped the fires by 1964-65.

For a common carrier railroad, DRGW narrow-gauge steam worked until 1967 or '68 I believe.

Keep in mind too that railroads sometimes continued steam on the roster for excursion service, like UP and CB&Q, plus some kept engines "stored serviceable" for some time. Some DMIR Yellowstones weren't officially retired until 1967, but hadn't run since 1960 or so.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby GSC » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:22 pm

UP and Steve Lee have said that 4-8-4 #844 has never been considered "out of service".

The last steam in regular service in Pennsylvania was the Wanamie Colliery, extracting the last life out of two Vulcan and one Porter 0-4-0Ts by 1967. The engines still exist, although doubtful they will ever run again.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby trackwelder » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:06 am

where did they ever end up?
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby GSC » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:26 pm

Numbers 4, 7, and 9 were the last ones. 4 and 9 were at Pine Creek in NJ for many years. www.njmt.org They were sold in the late 70s to Dale Suiters and went to Ohio, I believe. They later were sold through an equipment broker, and I don't know where they wound up. Last I heard, all three still exist. Somewhere.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby Gadfly » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:35 pm

During the heyday of the Southern/Norfolk Southern excursions, I worked as a clerk/Agent. Engines such as 4501, 2716, and NW 611 ran regular passenger summer trips. It wasn't all that uncommon to find steam engines pulling the occasional revenue freight as an Extra or "Displaying for following section" flags. It was done to get the engine(s) back to meet their scheduled trains OR because there was a breakdown somewhere on an excursion. To do it, they would simply use the engine to get 'em over the road and move a little freight in the bargain. NO sense in running any engine light if they could help it.

2716 came into Charlotte one evening after a passenger excursion, and the Terminal Trainmaster asked the Super if he could 'borrow' 2716 for awhile and build some revenue pickups with it. They were short on power, so permission was given.

A yard crew was called (remember: in 1980 there were STILL a few people on the RR qualified on steam) and for the next 6 hours or so, we were treated, as we worked in the office and walked the yard tracks, to, "CHUFF-chuff, CHUFF-chuff, CHUFF-chuff, CHUFF-chuff" and a plume of smoke over the yard.

"AWRITE, 2716, SHOVE AHEAD INTO 7 RABBIT (local nickname for the yard tracks), 3 CARS------3-------1-------50 FEET---------20 FEET------10 FEET-----THAT'LL DO WHEN YOU GET STOPPED, OVAH!!!" All of this was accented by deep, melodious whistle signals as 2716 proclaimed its presence into the night. For those few hours, as I worked, all the railroad people, including me, grinned at this unusual "visitor" on our railroad! For a short time, it sounded as if it were 1940 again, and we were transported back in time. You know, except for the unusual locomotive sounds, I realized that not much had changed in those 40-odd years insofar as operations were concerned. Except for the visiting engine out there in the yard, the Form 19's were the same, the Clearance Cards were the same as 1940, the procedures were the same, and I could have actually BEEN in 1940--like a dream. About the only thing different were the computers winking at us. To that Trainmaster, a former conductor, it was just like then, for HE had worked with steam power (as had quite a few still employed at that time), and I think he was enjoying it a bit TOO much! :)
It was like that when I was at outlying stations and here came this freight by me pulled by 4501, and I was required to be out there to watch him by or hand up to him.

I say over the walkie-talkie, "Yer train's lookin' good on the East Side, 4501, Over!

He'd come back, "Thankee, Y'all take care, 4501 Out!" (Whistling for the crossing)

It even FELT like 1940. Except for the radio! ;)



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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby b&m 1566 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:38 am

Gadfly – Nice post, I enjoyed reading it. You don’t get to enjoy many stories like that now a days.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby tj48 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:20 pm

Now that they are hauling freight does the Strasburg Railroad's steam engines count?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HuuvS1t4fw
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby Passenger » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:16 pm

tj48 wrote:Now that they are hauling freight does the Strasburg Railroad's steam engines count?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HuuvS1t4fw


Is that a regular scheduled service? :)
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby #7470 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:34 pm

How about the Mount Washington Cog Railway? They have been running steam since the tracks were laid to the summit of Mount Washington. As far as I know, the railroad opened in 1869 with locomotive "Old Peppersass" being the first to climb to the summit. The purpose of this line has always been to transport visitors to and from the mountain which to this day, they still do. Even though they only run steam once a day now, the cog has been running steam to the summit as a regular revenue service since it opened its doors.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby Norge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:40 am

I don't know if this has been covered in this thread or another, but I believe UP has never retired #844. Does than entail regular use?
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