“The Most Detailed Steam Locomotive Diagram I’ve Found Yet!”
by Emmett R Smith
I am just now reading for the first time — and with great enjoyment! — Alfred W Bruce’s 1952 book, The Steam Locomotive In America: It’s Development in the Twentieth Century, W W Norton & Company (1952). Needless to say, as a neophyte railfan I am puzzled — and intrigued — by the technical vocabulary. What has really gotten my goat is trying to understand the distinctions between, for example, rigid outside-bearing and radial inside-bearing trailer truck.
Of course context is nine-tenths of definition, even or maybe especially in as comprehensive and information-dense a write up as Mr Bruces’s, and I am only just finishing the fourth chapter of twelve. Nonetheless, I have been ramming around online trying to google loads of technical terms. This is a process productive of, in the main, only more words! Some of these are indeed bad ones, mine, in “French!”
Now I am a visual sort of person, so it is with satisfaction that I post here the following link:
It is from The Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History website:
And, it is a schematic right-hand diagram from 1899, of an American 4-4-0 locomotive. This is especially helpful as Mr Bruce’s history starts with an account of the 19th century state-of-the art steam locomotive. The diagram here zooms nicely and is as detailed as any I’ve found yet online. For example, it gives a picture also of what driver suspension equalization was, and I can thus see how this — basically a shock-absorption system — works in connection with the leafspring suspension of the day.
[Emmett R Smith
[all text-rights reserved & all other rights revert to holders
[30 August 2009]