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An alternate evolution... by Atticus-W An alternate evolution... by Atticus-W
...of the oil-burning steam locomotive



I like to think that steam locomotives evolved the way they did for a reason... and when it comes to cab placement, that reason was fuel. The firebox and cab were always placed to the rear of a locomotive not for inherent convenience, but so that the crew could communicate while coal was being loaded by hand from a tender that was pulled behind the locomotive for safety’s sake. Thus, the crew had to perpetually peer around a huge boiler just to see ahead down the tracks... a significant nuisance that designers were quick to undo at the dawn of the diesel era.

So, my question of the day: why weren’t oil-burning locomotives built as cab-forwards as soon as oil-burning technology was developed, and a human stoker was no longer required to man the tender?
Well, the North Pacific Coast Railroad must have been thinking the same thing in 1901, because in that year they cobbled together a cab forward design out of a wrecked 4-4-0 by mounting a new oil-burning boiler “backwards” on the original chassis, putting the cab and firebox in front while preserving the stable 4-4-0 wheel arrangement. But engines aren’t really meant to be “cobbled,” and the resultantly awkward design, with the cylinders under the firebox, apparently didn’t perform very well and was shortly abandoned. But if the NPC had pursued the cab forward idea, they might have come up with a design like my first one up there... a Forney-like machine with a proper 4-4-0 wheel arrangement and a conventional engine-to-boiler layout. No complicated steam pipe plumbing to maintain, for starters...

The second design in my fictional cab forward history is the logical next step from the cab forward 4-4-0... the cab forward 4-6-0. This engine has a narrow-firebox boiler of nearly identical size to its coal-burning 4-6-0 counterparts of the era...

Finally, the third design is a cab forward “ Pacific”... in quotes because it is merely a rough counterpart to the true coal-burning Pacifics of the 1910s and ‘20s, and its 4-6-2 wheel arrangement is actually rather coincidental. The firebox doesn’t need a four-wheel truck to support it... the four-wheel truck on this design, like on the previous two designs, is necessary for speed, and is indeed designed more like a conventional lead truck than a conventional trailing truck (which is sort of the key to all cab forward designs, here and in real life). The two-wheel trailing truck on this design is arguably not necessary at all... I included it merely to stabilize the “hunting” motion of the rear-facing cylinders, and perhaps to better distribute the engine’s total weight.


So there you have it... an alternate evolution of the oil-burning steam locomotive. I suppose if I had to play devil’s advocate to myself, I’d point out that these machines would most certainly not be easily convertible to coal... unlike most real-life oil-burning engines. In real life, of course, the Southern Pacific was the only railroad to operate a successful fleet of cab-forward oil-burners... they being the exception, rather than the rule, as they might have been had I been a turn-of-the-century locomotive designer. =p


On the art itself: not the finest line art job, and I might have stuck this in scraps if the coloring job hadn’t saved it, which I think it did. =p Note too: the paint schemes are fictitious.
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:iconwatcher25:
watcher25 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
This is a viable design option for the use of burn able oils and increased safety from forward facing cabs

I appreciate your innovation and your vision of progression to use bigger engines for heavier longer trips ... Not to say back cab designs are poor...(maybe some mirrors or an elevated cab would be adequate) Just with their orb advantages and drawbacks....

People like you could give steam new life on the rails...
Reply
:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
Thanks for the analysis. =) I would hardly say that these designs are relevant today, but... maybe if I had suggested them 100 years ago they might have found some following... ;)
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:iconwatcher25:
watcher25 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
relevant considering the correct niche

as in where diesel engines are not as viable as a stem alternative like this:

including that this design would be steam and have alike safety similar to diesels: more viability

but yes, it would have taken off quicker had it been introduced 100 years ago... still, it is a viable design, just need the right niche
Reply
:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I'll race you! *climbs in 4-4-0 cab, wheeshing sounds instead of a thunderous chuff, missing cylinder cover* Better get out 'n push!
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014
Haha. XD
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
*4-4-0 starts wheezing on it's own* "Aw crap" *reaches 2.5% hill* "You know what? I don't know, that's what!"
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
finally, a non-articulated cab-forward!
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
As I point out in my description, such machines have existed in real life, but, for some reason, they never proved especially popular...
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It's just so many people worship that one SP Yellowstone (not that she isn't a good locomotive or anything)
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014
I guess she's just the most well-known type. =)
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Or that one in Italy, it had a cool-looking coupe vent-ish cab
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014
I would guess that that is the second-best-known one.
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Or a French one where they had it facing "forward" and it ran into a tool shed.
At least that's how I think the idea came about.
www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LO…
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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013

Very nice, glad that you did your research. But I would have to take issue with "The two-wheel trailing truck on this design is arguably not necessary at all... I included it merely to stabilize the “hunting” motion of the rear-facing cylinders, and perhaps to better distribute the engine’s total weight."

I would argue that it is absolutely necessary. Those cylinder castings are heavy, no matter which model loco it is. They would invevitably need support. If the cylinders were much smaller closer to the drivers, ie between the frames and centered above the first axle as in the Southern Q1 0-6-0, then elimination of the support axle would be possible.

 

As a matter of possibilities, looking at your 4-6-0, I would figure it would be more prudent to give it a deep/wide firebox than retain a narrow pit. It has already been established that about 50% of all heat absorbed by boiler is from the firebox, thus maximization of such surface area would be preferable. We now have a Hudson's trailing truck, so let's use it!

 

Otherwise, waiting for more!

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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013

I believe that your advice regarding the cylinders, although logical-sounding enough, is a bit unwarranted. ;) I do not believe that a large set of cylinders requires a truck of any kind to support it-- for example, refer to the Union Railroad’s large 0-10-2s: hawkinsrails.net/lagniappe/grp… .  Other railroads converted locos to do away with their lead trucks, too: www.steamlocomotive.com/santaf… -- and who can forget that the earliest American Mallets were huge 0-6-6-0s: www.calvertcentral.com/RR_OldM… ?


Regarding the 4-6-0: well, of course you are absolutely right that a wide firebox would have been a more efficient choice than a narrow one given the space available.  You are talking to the king of firebox aficionados here. XD However, my goal was to portray a design that was likely to have been built around the Turn of the Century, when narrow fireboxes were still largely in vogue-- I wasn't trying to design a thoroughly efficient engine based on modern sensibilities.  Remember that the "modern" Superpower firebox, as used above "a Hudson's trailing truck," wasn't developed until 1925.  Again, the four-wheel truck on my 4-6-0 is designed as a simple guiding lead truck, not as a firebox-supporting trailing truck (two very different concepts).


Thanks for the great critiques-- I love this kind of thing. ^^ Hopefully you will indeed be seeing more from me soon!

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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013

RE 0-10-2: I believe that the extra-long wheelbase would have spread out the nosing over a larger distance, minimizing track damage. The leading truck was removed to reduce the wheelbase so it could fit on turntables designed for old 2-8-0s; this was a perennial problem in Europe, hence marriage to absurdly small tenders. Also VGN AE 700 2-10-10-2 had same issue. Also, max speed was limited to 40mph for 0-10-2, but was on short stretches between yards, and not sustained like that for locos pictured here. And the 0-6-6-0 was never intended for high speed. Heck, the only compound articulated lok that was meant for high speed was the ATSF 4-4-6-2, and even that failed. The only loco I know of that succeeded at high speeds without leading wheels below cylinders was a GWR (?) 0-10-0T, intended to prove that steam could work well in suburban services. Only 1 was built, and thus AFAIK, no steam lok without pilot wheels beneath the cylinders ever operated at a decent road speed.

Lo siento.

 

RE 4-6-0: I have a book somewhere that depicts one firebox flaring out behind the drivers on a conventional loco, so that may be something to look into.

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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
I wasn't arguing that a locomotive without a lead truck operates well at speed-- I was arguing that a lead truck isn't necessary to support the weight of a cylinder saddle. ;) Of course a lead truck allows an engine to operate better at speed.  That is why all of the above designs were logically given four-wheel lead trucks.
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:iconredtailfox:
RedtailFox Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
another interesting design idea that would look cool in Trainz or on someone's layout
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Feel free to model them. I'd certainly love to see any progress. =)
Reply
:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
S. Berliner use to have a 4-8-4 and bigger unarticulated locomotive as cab forwards
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
But yeah, those could have been neat. I don't think I ever saw those particular drawings.
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Yeah. They like giving things more axles. >>
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
sometimes too many
the drawings are on the new site but not were they were before
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Cheers. =)
Reply
:iconrailroadnutjob:
RailroadNutjob Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011  Student General Artist
Oh darnit!

I've just become inspired to draw one of these, only as of a 4-8-8-2, and resembles a diesel locomotive!
Reply
:iconsimulatortrain:
simulatortrain Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Had to look this up again because I'm kinda thinking of doing the bottom one...
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
Late reply is late, but use an IHC Pacific. :meow:
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:iconmileswestern:
MilesWestern Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011  Professional General Artist
It'd be nice to see an SP locomotive with Scullin Disk drivers. Each is a nice study in period details from the diminutive North Pacific Coast 4-4-0 (not the #21?) to the beefy ATSF lokie to the still freelanced SP cab forward. I think however the detail placement on the Cab Forward looks more like something you'd find on eastern roads. I see more C&O style in there than Espee. Nice work!
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
I’m afraid you caught me-- I must admit that I did zero research as to road-specific details. ^^; (More fun to wing it, I always say... but perhaps the huge ol’ sand dome was stretching it.) And right, the “NPC” engine isn’t supposed to be No. 21... perhaps a fictional “22” instead. :D Thanks much for the in-depth critique-- I live for this kind of stuff. ^^
Reply
:iconjavajunkie1976:
Javajunkie1976 Featured By Owner May 21, 2011
Very nice backstory and concept. One thing I've learned over the years is NEVER apologize for the "mistakes" in your drawings. They are what they are given the time, materials and surroundings in which they were made.
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
Thanks much, glad you like. ^^ I guess it's silly to "apologize" for art mistakes, but you know... I have high standards. =p
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:icongarrulous-sama:
Garrulous-Sama Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice. :meow:
(It would've rocked if there was a 2-6-4 design, though. That would be a verrry interesting idea. =P)
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2010
Thank you much! ^^

(And like-a so? [link] =p )
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:icongarrulous-sama:
Garrulous-Sama Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome. :3
(How did i not notice that?! I love the cab design on this one. X3)
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
Thanks! ^^
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:icontrainboi:
trainboi Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
Reply
:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
Yeah, I know mate. XD I never said engines like these hadn't been BUILT before...
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:icontrainboi:
trainboi Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
I know...it just bears an AMAZING resemblance...
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
Not gonna deny that. =p

SPC No. 21 is another example, on the American side.
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:icontrainboi:
trainboi Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
Didn't know about it!
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010
Ah, vell, dere ya go then. :D
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:iconangelcuti:
Angelcuti Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010  Student
No problem!
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:iconangelcuti:
Angelcuti Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010  Student
For the LumberYard steam engine, trying to!
Couldn't find good one, but saw Youtube video of it! LOL

Try reading one of mah comments on RED BLU TF2 Boxcars! LOL
XD
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010
I vill look-- thanks! :D
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:iconangelcuti:
Angelcuti Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Student
Cabfoward loco seemly made me LOL myself.
Nice work, lad!

Besides, anyone of you heard of Spongebob Squarepant; Pest Of The West?

In Dead Eye Gulch, Spongebuck first arrives in town by train.
Somehow the train resemble what looks like a mix of an tugboat and a 19 century-ish cabfoward steamer as well.

Thanks!
Reply
:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
Actually, nevermind that-- I just found the Spongebob train. I've always wanted to see one done in the style of that show (they've always had nautical-themed buses, after all! :noes:)... but wow. That cabforward boat-loco does NOT dissapoint! XD

(You still need to show me the TF2 Lumberyard steam loco, though! XD)
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:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
Link me up to this Spongebob train plz. O.o

And thanks! XD
Reply
:iconretro-specs:
Retro-Specs Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2009
This detail is MOST impressive, Atti.
Reply
:iconatticus-w:
Atticus-W Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2009
Thanks very much!
Reply
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