Hol and Group - I have some questions on the disposition dates shown for
steam power in the back of the Corbin book.
Where "retired" is shown preceding the date, is that the date the
Mechanical Department at the Chicago General Offices wrote the locomotive off
the books? If so, then is it correct to assume that a communication
then went out to the division master mechanic to take that locomotive out of
service (if it hadn't already been done) and either store it for
scrap at whatever roundhouse it was located, or move
it dead-in-train to a central location (such as Galesburg on Lines East
or Lincoln on Lines West) for eventual sale as scrap? Continuing, isn't
it possible that a locomotive after being "retired" could stay on the property
for an extended amount of time in a scrap line waiting for scrap prices to
increase if they were low at the time of retirement?
Where "sold for scrap" is shown preceding the date, that's much more
definitive meaning the actual date the locomotive was sold to a scrap company
to be dismantled, correct? I would think that the contract with the
scrap company would stipulate that the locomotive had to be delivered
within a certain time frame for the quoted price to be honored, say 30
days, as market prices then and now do fluctuate. I've never seen an existing
scrap contract for a Q steam locomotive, but, having spent many years in the
scrap business, I would speculate the locomotives with their tenders were
purchased on a lump sum basis calculated from their recorded official
construction weights including delivery at the Q's expense to the scrap
I would really enjoy seeing a future BRHS Bulletin article on just how
the Q went about retiring and selling their steam power during dieselization
following World War Two. There had to be some kind of measured corporate
plan on what classes of steam power were to be eliminated first in
conjunction with what divisions were to be first dieselized and "why."
Dieselization as I understand was commenced on Lines West on the Casper, WY,
division in the early 1950s due to poor water conditions and the high expense
of maintaining water treatment plants, correct? Dieselization concluded on
Lines East on the Beardstown, IL, division not quite 10 years later
where coal and water were plentiful and inexpensive.
As for classes, it seems for the most part dieselization
was first focused upon passenger and switching locomotives, then expanded
into road freight locomotives. The Q as I understand took a more
"conservative" stance on dieselization than some competitors that purchased
diesels as fast as they could be built to quickly replace their steam power.
Other roads rushed to dieselize where as the Q held-on to 2-8-2s, 2-10-4s,
4-6-4s and 4-8-4s that remained in serviceable condition into the late 1950s.
Although the Q itself had virtually dieselized its yard, freight and
passenger train operations by 1955, it still rostered a good number of
serviceable steam locomotives that were stored at Galesburg and Lincoln
for seasonal traffic surges.
What brings all this up is that in collecting digital images of Q
steam power I occasionally come across discrepancies in image dates
and retired/sold for scrap dates. Some of the image dates can be
considered questionable, but some I think are accurate. So, when I find an
image of an O-1-A under steam on such-and-such a date, but the Corbin book
says the O-1-A had been retired prior to that date, I
wonder..... Is it possible that a "retired" but still serviceable
locomotive could be fired-up and used for a short amount of time, or does
"retired" mean it never ran again after that specific date? I think
sold for scrap dates are chiseled in stone and the locomotive had been
delivered to a scrap yard and dismantled by 30 or so days from the date. I
would appreciate any thoughts or comments on this subject. Best Labor Day
Wishes - Louis
Louis Zadnichek II