Happy New Year all, & my thanks for all the help that some of you have so far so willingly provided to a US RR rookie!.
I thought it would be fun/interesting to enquire what YOU would do in certain real-life RR situations BEFORE I give the answer. This one (the rocking tender) is really very simple - probably so basic that you would perhaps overlook it.
Consider the facts:
Initial outward journey 'chimney 'first', full coal, full water, running on time, as booked, so no rush.No problem.
First leg of return journey Tender first, still 3 hours of water on board & nearly full coal (*); steady running until clearing the turnout & curve onto the branch. No problem.
Now over 20 minutes 'down' so full regulator after the curve & all Hell gradually breaks out. WHY ??
(*) What would have happened if Tender had been nearly empty (i.e. much lighter) ??.
Well, NOTHING happened. Only later did we find out we'd nearly had a serious derailment.
At our first stop, whilst we turned & took on a 'top-up' of about a ton of coal, we quickly examined the tender springs, boxes & axles - no obvious defects. We changed over crewing, my mate now on the shovel & myself as engineer, for a really determined attempt to get to Leszno on time (to date the best run of my life !).
Now running chimney first she ran like a dream at up to 60mph between stops; see photos by my wife below:
It was only on finally 'booking off' duty 3 days later that we found out, quite by chance, that although a Pt47 was good for over 60mph chimney first she had a very strict absolute max linespeed of 40mph when running tender first -- & we'd been +50% over that !. Having an almost full tender is what probably saved us.
The Moral : Always know your loco before setting off !.
Now turned & coaled, myself on the regulator, waiting for the road. I've given my mate 'the wink' &, 1/2 an hour 'down' & knowing me, he knows what's coming so he's shovelling the black stuff on for all he's worth :
Regulator about 3/4, cut-off held at about 75-80 % !! :
Now nearly full regulator but cut-off still nearly 80% !!! :
The 3rd & 4th photos above are obviously in the wrong order despite my best efforts at trying to use Admin's photo system. (I'm still having problems inserting words & photos correctly). Passing by the camera I've still hardly reduced the cut-off so we are accelerating real fast for about a 325 ton train, almost full regulator.
This story reminds me of an incident on the Festiniog when we were running downhill ( tender first, almost empty ) with 'Linda'. My driver was nicknamed 'Crazy Horse' ( guess why ), and I was the fireman. On a section where the line is perched on a steep slope suddenly some sheep ran in front of us and seemed to disappear under the tender. Knowing what a carcass can do to a rather light-weight NG vehicle, I took a big breath of relief when they came out left and right unharmed....
Unfortunately Ray this is about the last of regular scheduled service passenger steam operated "old time railroading" , probably just about anywhere in the world - excluding 'tourist' lines. I shouldn't think it will last many more years, diesel electric lightweight multiple units already cover this route.