Tractive Power Went Into This Loco Effort, Published 8 September 1953Down at the Laurentian Club, at the usual post-prandial discussion, Roy Campbell found himself talking about the horsepower of locomotives. Then apparently he said to himself, "I'll ask Austin Cross."
Now the strange thing about all us rail fans is the number of things we don't know. Why a rail fan is supposed to be omniscient in the matter of railways I do not know. But the further truth is this: not only does a rail fan not know about many phases of railway lore, but he does not care. If you agree that I am an ignoramus on most railway facts, then you have the picture.
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For it Is a fact that the highest rails in daily use on a continental line are at Tennessee Pass on the Denver and Rio Grande where the line climbs to 10,242 feet; it is equally true that the Southern Pacific's high iron gets about 100 feet below sea level near El Centro in California; I know for a fact that trains run to the left English style between Fort William and the Manitoba border on the Canadian Pacific; that they also follow British rules on the Chicago and North Western from Chicago to Omaha. These are among the useless pieces of knowledge perhaps picturesque but all in all useless that I know about railways. But does Roy Campbell ask me something I can answer? No! Nor does anyone else.
So I don't know how much horse power an engine has. I therefore asked my friends. Taking them alphabetically the first is the Canadian National. I asked Bill Howard, their front man how much horse power a 6200 type had. Bill comes up with this:
"I am given to understand that our 6,200 type steam locomotive develops 2100 horse power at 50 miles an hour and that hoise power increases with speed but not proportionately."
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Less inscrutable but more verbose is Marc McNeil, of the Canadian Pacific which comes next alphabetically.
"There is no direct or simple answer to your enquiry as to how much horse power a steam locomotive of the CPR's 2300 series can exert. The hauling power of a steam locomotive is not translated into horsepower. The technical term is 'tractive effort'. In the case of a 2800 the tractive effort is 45,300 pounds without booster which adds 12,000 pounds
. . . Perhaps the most straight forward explanation of what a 2800 can do is this; given level ground, it can lift fifteen 100 ton passenger cars from a standing start and pull them on straight track with no gradients up to a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour. Marc."
Does that answer your question, Roy?
Ottawa Citizen 10 Sept 1953My thanks to Addison A. Schwalm of 141 Gloucester Street for coming to my rescue. All I really said was that a Canadian Pacific engine with five cars drew away from a Canadian National limited with with 15 cars and pulled by a 6200. This a certain Mr. Clarence O'Dair disputed.
"To me," writes Mr. Schwalm, "Mr. O'Dair made a rash statement in declaring that the CNR 6200's were the fastest and strongest in the world. In the first place, I do not think the CPR's 2800's which are Hudsons to the National's 6200's which are Northerns. There is no comparison. The Northern is the larger of the two. I do think the CNR's 6200 is the most versatile engine in Canada. They can haul 100 cars of freight and will run very fast on a passenger train."
The fastest thing I have seen on a heavy train is the Canadian Pacific's mammoth 3100 and 3101 which operate nightly between Montreal and Toronto.