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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed there are a couple distinctive shapes to tenders from the earlier steamers, but I can't seem to find any reference that indicates the usage and time period for them. I'm hoping someone can help me understand why they had these two shapes and what they would be appropriate for? My best guess at the moment is that one is for wood and the other is for coal, but is anything really ever that simple? :)

There is also a difference in the loco's driver size. This one has 52" drivers:


This one has 63" drivers. The difference in driver size appears to correlate with the different types of tenders.


Thanks for any light you can shed on this...
 

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Some models of steam locomotives used different tenders, depending on what they were used for.
For example, the PRR Decapod used a small tender if it was in switching or local service, and a much larger ‘long haul ‘ tender for road freights.
If you buy a new locomotive, the tender will probably be appropriate for the model. If you buy used, from eBay for example, it may or may not be correct for the loco. It’s makes for interesting research, which is part of the fun of the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you buy a new locomotive, the tender will probably be appropriate for the model.
Well that's part of the conundrum here... both of the locos shown above are from the same Bachmann line, and as far as I can tell the tender that is shipped with the loco is dependent on whether you request 52" or 63" drivers when you order. I just can't find any related info on what time period each model is appropriate for so I was hoping the difference in tenders would give me a clue.

@Big Ed -- Thanks but I've already scanned through that wikipedia page and didn't see anything helpful. Maybe I missed something?
 

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Well, it’s a good question. Who knows really if the tenders are that accurate for a given model? The driver size should be a good starting point for looking into it.
 

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Can't help with the tender 'luvin'...

But didn't the driver wheel size have to do with
the intended purpose of the locomotive?

Think gear ratio.

Basically the larger drivers were used on
passenger locos because the RR wanted
faster trains and the larger wheels gave that.

The smaller wheels gave the loco more pulling
power...the smallest used on switchers and the
larger on big freight locos.

Don
 

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I think the larger driver sizes were for passenger engines and the smaller were for freight. My K4s and Atlantics have large drivers and Mikado, Consolidation and Decapod all have smaller drivers.

As far as the tenders, I seem to remember hitting a dead end on researching them myself a while back. IIRC, many roads built their own, and used what they had available. That may explain the differences in the photos between the NYC and B&O models.
 

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Driver size was how your changed the gear ratio of a steam loco. If it had 42 inch drivers it was designed for low speed but ability to pull hard. Eighty inch or eight-four inch drivers and it was designed for very high speed pulling only a short express pasenger train. In between, such as 63 inch drivers, was and intermediate: a loco retty good at everything but not excellent at anything.

As to the tender, don't assume the model is accurate to the actual. Model manufacturers mix and match. What the loco really had depending on its purpose and the railroads policy and what grade of coal and water and how many stops to refuel there were along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@DonR -- yeah that makes a lot of sense, and I know the 4-6-0 was quite popular for both types of use. What stumped me though was when I looked up the D&RGW roster they had one of these Baldwins (#759) with 63" drivers and it looks like it was used for freight. Contradictions everywhere and I'm just getting more confused.

@prrfan -- Don't rely on the road name as an indicator, Bachmann sells the same names in both versions for this line of locos.

I also found a pic from Nevada Northern for one of their 4-6-0s (#40 which was restored) which looks identical to this model, except their loco had 69" drivers but only a top speed of 55mph. I guess I'll probably end up going with the step-sided tender (second picture) as that seems common for the D&RGW area, I just wish I could find more information about them.
 

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Your conundrum is caused by the fact that your assuming that steam locos are like cars, or appliances, or to an extent diesel locomotives: a certain loco comes in a certain configuration with a certain kind of tender. They didn't. Basic physics could rule out some configurations, but basically the railroads customized locos and tenders based on what they wanted the loco to do. The railroads often built their own, especially tenders. Need more water? Lengthen the tank (and thereby the tender -- most of the storage capacity was water in any case). Want more coal? Raise the sides of the coal hopper. Want to use oil? Replace the coal hopper with a tank.

To give you an example, I have a book called "New Haven Power", which covers everything with an engine ever operated by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad. The section on 2-8-2 Mikados, of which the New Haven had only 24, is 28 pages long. Each loco has at least two different tenders, frequently more. Some were modified to burn oil, some never were, and several are shown with two different sizes of drivers. The entire section of diesel and electric locomotives is only about 20% of the book. Fully 75% of the content is devoted to steam locomotives and their changing configurations. Now granted, the New Haven went belly-up in 1969 and was merged into the Penn Central, so that has something to do with the smaller number of diesels and electrics, but still.

So you can take one of two approaches. Do the research, find out exactly what the wheel arrangement, configuration and tender appearance was at any given time (hopefully, your chosen prototype has something as comprehensive as "New Haven Power" available), and either find an appropriate commercial model, or modify one to suit. Or you can say "close enough" and pick one that looks good to you. Either is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@CTValleyRR -- sure, that makes a lot of sense and doesn't really surprise me that railroads would get as much versatility as possible out of their equipment, but it seems like these two designs were present in quite a number of different railroads which is leading me down this path of thinking there must have been some function to those designs that led to their common use.

I believe the D&RGW locos I'm looking for were numbered 751-759. Unfortunately I can only find a single picture of 759, and even the sites I usually visit for information don't have any pictures either. I think this will definitely be a case of settling for 'close enough', I guess I'm just trying to figure out if there was a distinct time period between the two tender styles.
 

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The basic function of the tender dictates your size and shape. Once the basic concept was more or less standardized in the early 19th Century, the shape of the tender was, too. The designs aren't identical, but they're close enough that you have to really know what you're looking for to see the differences. Most model railroad manufacturers just use a generic model anyway. The style with the higher front end was built to handle longer distances or heavy grades, both of which require more coal and water.

Unfortunately, for things like this, the internet can often only take you so far. Older images exist in libraries and historical societies all over the country, but the bulk of it hasn't been digitized and put online. There are literally millions of photos of the New Haven Railroad available to the public, but to see all but a small percentage of them, you actually have to visit the UConn central library in person and dig them out.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
More good info, and I appreciate it. I think I've settled on the version with the smaller drivers as the goal is to double-head them hauling a loading coal train up through a mountain pass (I really just wanted an excuse to double-head a train and these looked right for the job). That one is shown in the first picture with the straight-sided tender, which also happens to be a lot shorter, and since my main turntable will only be about 65-70 feet the length will also be important (although I'm still trying to find a reference on the length of these models).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I'm excited... got one of the 52" non-lettered locos ordered, plus a tsunami 2 steam sound decoder. This will be my first experience with a commercial sound unit. I was experimenting with sound from an ESP32 (like an arduino) last year, so it will be nice to have something to compare against.

Oh and I did find one reference to the dimensions on these models. The longer one is 66' in length, so the one with the shorter tender that I ordered should fit a 65' turntable.

I don't suppose anyone knows if Bachmann supplies the plug to wire the DCC decoder to? Something that fits to the socket on the loco? I would assume they include that in the box since it's supposed to be DCC-ready but they use a non-standard plug arrangement.
 

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I don't suppose anyone knows if Bachmann supplies the plug to wire the DCC decoder to? Something that fits to the socket on the loco? I would assume they include that in the box since it's supposed to be DCC-ready but they use a non-standard plug arrangement.
Mine had a standard NMRA 8-pin socket... in the tender. I installed a Digitrax DH126PS decoder. It was a tight fit - I couldn't imagine getting a speaker to fit in there too.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Nice, I see you got the same one. I've heard that after a 20-minute break in these locos run beautifully -- how has your experience been?

The tsunami board I ordered was the specific number given for this loco, so it *should* fit with the speaker. I also found a customizable baffle I can print with my 3D printer, so I need to make up a couple to fit the two speakers I have and see how the sound quality comes out.
 

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It and my Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidation run great.

The 2-10-0 Decapod, not so much. It shorts in the turnouts and the last time I tried to run it it would not budge. So it sits on a siding 'til I can get a roundtuit.
 

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Re: Driver sizes - Larger drivers for high speeds, lower drivers for lower speeds. Passenger locos usually had drivers around 72" up to 90" in diameter. Freight engines used drivers between about 55" and 63". Now, there is some overlap in that range between 63" and about 72". Many modern freight steamers (circa late 1920's - 1940's) used 69" drivers for faster over-the-road service. Some passenger locos, like those in commuter service, had drivers in the mid-60's range. They weren't going to go 80 mph, and the smaller drivers gave more "dig" for accelerating away from frequent stops. BTW, the conventional formula is that the diameter of the drivers is approximately equal to the maximum speed capability of the loco. Not hard and fast, but a useful guidepost.
 
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