Kevin’s Komments 05/24/2024

Headlamps and other Details

I’ve been working on the Cincinnati Northern locomotive roster for a while now. I’ve started looking closely at details on the locos (possible modeling project??). One of the early steamers that has caught my attention is CN #110, an American (4-4-0) built by Brooks (builder # 974) in 1883. CN #110 was acquired with the acquisition of the Cincinnati, Jackson, & Mackinaw in 1897, formerly CJ&M #28. Going through the details (on a loco, or in general when doing research) sometimes takes you on unusual trips, including down paths of bad assumptions. I decided to show the path traveled while studying this loco’s details.

Take a look at the headlamp for CN #110, photo taken in 1905.

Now compare that headlamp to CN #110’s sister loco, CN #111, (same builder & background). CN #111 has been renumbered NYC 7#035, hence this photo is after 1905, when the Big Four took control of the Cincinnati Northern. The headlamp appears to be an old oil lamp, maybe left over from its original build. (The assumption that the headlamp is a remnant of its origins turns out incorrect!)

CN #110, #111, & #112 were all built by Brooks at the same time in 1883.  They were all sold to the Michigan & Ohio.  Then, the M&O, along with the three sister locos, was acquired by the CJ&M in 1886.  That led to the acquisition of the CJ&M (and all three locos) by the CN in 1897.  A look at the 3rd sister, CN #112, after being renumbered NCY #7034 shows still a third headlamp.  This headlamp is an electric lamp, as shown by both the shape and the generator/dynamo on top of the boiler near the cab.  This headlamp was definitely an upgrade, since I’d guess that all (3) locos were originally sold with oil headlamps (like shown in the picture of #111).  By the way, this picture was taken at the Van Wert turntable.  Check out the rails of the lead tracks at the edge of the turntable pit.  They appear to meet and require a little shaving right at the edge.

When I compared the shape of CN #110’s headlamp with common railroad headlamp parts (cast HO part listings by a reputable supplier), it came up as an arc lamp. But an arc lamp would require a generator/dynamo like the one of NYC #7034 above. There appears to be no generator on CN #110. Is this headlamp a newer style version of an oil lamp? (To match the headlamp in an HO model, I will likely purchase the arc lamp casting because it is nearly identical in shape to the headlamp shown in the picture.) Another item I noticed on the 1905 pic of CN #110 is that it appears that the fuel in the tender may be fire wood.

Take a look at this old photo of the Van Wert roundhouse. Quick observations in the past caused me to assume there was stacked firewood near the turntable—fuel for the locos. Behind it are what appear to be two loaded gondolas on the track next to the wood stack. I’ve never been able to clearly make out the load, but it hints at being cut firewood.

In a 1910 photo of the roundhouse and turntable, the stack of wood is gone. In the two photos above, sister locos CN #111 & #112 (NYC #7035 & #7034, respectively) that were taken after 1905 (after the CCC&StL took over and renumbered the locos based on NYC numbering), the tenders are filled with coal. My first conclusion was that the early locos acquired by the CN were mostly wood burners that were converted to coal burners around 1905, when the CCC&StL took over.

Then, I looked at an old photo of CJ&M #12, which ended up being CN #115 (made by Rhode Island Loco Works). That’s a coal load in the tender. It also has the traditional oil headlamp.

I found a photo of CN #111 while it was still numbered for the Cincinnati Northern. There are three important details to note: 1) The fuel is coal. 2) The oil headlamp in the later picture appears to be a replacement of a headlamp that resembles the arc lamp-style headlamp that was on #110! 3) There appears to be no generator/dynamo, so again, the headlamp is likely not an arc lamp, but it certainly isn’t the oil headlamp shown in the later picture!

Here’s a picture of Michigan & Ohio, M&O #1 (likely taken in the mid-1880s), which ends up becoming CJ&M #16.  Then it becomes CN #111—the same loco pictured above that eventually becomes NYC #7035.  There appears to be coal in the tender.  That’s definitely the oil headlamp expected (probably the original).  It has a diamond stack that was changed out for a straight stack before the above pictures were taken.  Both the steam and sand domes were modernized between the pictures.  Air pumps were added later.  The photo of CJ&M #12, two pictures above, shows nothing (as expected) at this spot in front of the cab on the engineer’s side.  These locos were built in the early 1880’s.  Air brakes were not required for interchange service until around 1900.  The law passed in 1893 and allowed a 7 year grace period for upgrades.  So most locomotives were upgraded with air pumps in the early to mid-1890s’s.

Going back to CN #110, we see the Westinghouse air pump mounted in front of the cab on the engineer’s side. I believe that’s the air tank mounted below the cab. If you look at M&O #1 above, you don’t find either an air pump or an air tank. Instead, there’s the small, unrecognized appliance where the air pump was later installed.

One thing I’ve learned while investigating the early CN steamers is that most air pump upgrades were mounted on the engineer’s side. This is opposed to modern steam, where the air pumps were usually either mounted in front of the fire box on the fireman’s side, or at the front above the pilot. NYC #1724 is an H6a, Mikado (2-8-2) built by Baldwin in 1918. It was one of the Mikados that serviced the CN line in the ‘30s & ‘40s. You see the Westinghouse cross-compound air pump along with one of the air tanks in front, below the side board. There’s another air tank on the opposite side near the same spot, a little closer to the smoke box.

This is NYC #2376, an H10b Mikado that was captured in Jackson yard. #2376 likely did not directly service the CN – She’s a little heavier Mikado, hence likely stayed off the lighter rail of the Cincinnati Northern line. Note the cross-compound air pump above the pilot in front. Many of the larger steamers would have a second air pump mirrored on the opposite side of the pilot. (I can’t tell from this picture whether there’s a matching air pump on the opposite side of the pilot.) A few years ago, I might have mistaken the pump on the side in front of the fire box as an air pump. This is a water pump for the feedwater heater system

Getting back to CN #110, I began to wonder why this was the only CN loco picture I could find that seemed to show firewood in the tender. I zoomed in on the load as close as I could get, and maybe it’s not wood! I began to look at it as large chunks of coal. I had been thinking that CN #110 was a wood burner for almost a year before I began to realize it didn’t make sense. It didn’t match the rest of the locos, region, and era.

Then I went back to that early photo of the CN roundhouse at Van Wert. My perspective was definitely off. Those pieces in the stack are much too large to be stacked firewood. While I can’t put a guess on what the stack is, I don’t think it’s firewood.

A few other details that caught my attention:  The pilot wheels on CN #110 appear to have 10 spokes.  The pilot wheels on CN #111 appear to have 11 spokes!  Check out the difference in the driver wheel counter weights.  Look at the changes in the marker lamps and flag holders from the CN versions to the NYC upgrades.  Check out the two different styles of straight stacks.  (I believe they call the style on the CN #110 as a “capped” stack.)  Look at the tender on CN #110 (it appears to be the original tender).  Then look at the tender on NYC #7035.  It looks like they added boards to the coal bin to increase the volume.  Finally, look at the tender on NYC #7034.  They upgraded to a modern tender!  Also, on NYC #7034, they replaced the spoked pilot wheels with modern solid wheels!

CN #110 rode the rails for around 30 years.  Her two sisters lasted closer to 40 years each.  All three of them served five different railroads: M&O, CJ&M, CN, CCC&StL, and NYC.  They saw upgrades in almost every aspect and appliance.  So, which version do I model?



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