Roller Bearings and the Y6-b

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Oct 10 09:28:37 EDT 2019

Dave - 

I’m not sure that clearances had anything important to do with such a decision.  I think they put them on the last five A’s just to create the only roller-bearing rod articulateds in the world, and to have them available for passenger service when needed.  They were expensive, and being around Bristol towards the end I didn’t see enough rod bearing trouble to warrant putting them on the Y’s, and the Bristol line and the north end of the Shenandoah Division were the two places where they ran the Y’s fastest.  I did see a couple of results of hot main rod back ends, but they were accurately blamed on improper operation of the locomotive – running and drifting the engines with the reverse lever hooked up too high ( I personally witnessed two instances of the same thing on Southern excursions in the 1970s, one on Consolidation 722 and one on Mikado 4501 where their beloved (!) retired General Road Foreman of Engines Walter C. Dove was running them hooked up too high.  I doubt if they even contemplated putting them on the Y’s.

- Ed King

From: NW Mailing List via NW-Mailing-List 
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 8:03 AM
To: NW Mailing List 
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Subject: Re: Roller Bearings and the Y6-b

I'd like to throw another possible reason - roller bearing rods have large hubs and may have interfered with the clearance limits on  the lower part of the N&W's load gauge.  With the Y6's 58" drivers and 32" stroke, there's not a lot of room  for a roller bearing rod hub.  IIRC, load gauge interference was a problem with the P&LE's 2-8-4's and they had conventional solid bearing rods and 63" drivers.

Dave Stephenson

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 9:58:26 PM EDT, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:


      If you’re a Trainorders member (I am not)you can go back and read Wes Camp’s writing on this subject recently . Very interesting  There were

a lot of reasons why probably it never happened . 

Larry Evans

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