Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets  Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC
Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets  Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC
Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets  Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC
Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets  Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC
Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets  Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC

Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC

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Norfolk & Western Railway's Magnificent Mallets Y Class 2-8-8-2s by Warden SC
Norfolk and Western Railways Magnificent Mallets by William E Warden Y Class 2-8-8-2s
Soft Cover
Copyright 1993  
60 pages
Development of the N&W Y-Class 2-8-8-2 from 1910 to 19325
Roster of N&W 2-8-8-2 Locomotives10
N&W's Wandering Y's13
Y-2 Photographs17
Y-3 Photographs18
Y-4 Photographs21
Y-5 Photographs23
Zenith of The 2-8-8-2-The N&W Y-625
Y-6/Y-6a/Y-6b Photographs99

Back in steam days, every railroad had its "workhorses." These were versatile locomotives that could handle just about any job an imaginative road foreman of engines could dream up.
Originally designed for slow "drag" service, workhorses were quite at home doing humping and yard switching. They could wander down remote branches with locals, help push 100-car coal drags up tortuous grades, or muscle work trains out on the mainline. And if circumstances demanded it, power a manifest freight or two--a chore that would sometimes require doubleheading two workhorses. This versatility frequently allowed workhorse locomotives to survive long after more glamorous steamers had been replaced by diesels.
A workhorse could be of almost any wheel arrangement. Most popular in this service in post-World War II days were 2-8-2s and 2-10-2s. Norfolk & Western Railway had its workhorses too-but the N&W was, and still is, no usual railroad.
Instead of a single 2-8-2, the N&W workhorse was the equivalent of two 2-8-2s but with a single boiler and firebox and operated by a single crew. In short, the N&W's steam workhorses were the various Y-class articulated 2-8-8-2s with the forward set of eight drivers pivoted with respect to the boiler to allow the locomotive to negotiate sharp curves. It is no coincidence that the last steam locomotive to be called for online service before the N&W declared itself 100-percent dieselized was a workhorse 2-8-8-2.
Not only were the Y's articulated, but they were also compound or Mallet locomotives (named for Swiss designer Anatole Mallet, who originated the concept, and whose name rhymes with "alley").
A compound locomotive used steam twice. It compound  used steam locomotive engineer-at around 10 mph.
Additionally, some of the last Y's were built with an arrangement for giving the low-pressure cylinders a shot of high-pressure steam directly from the boiler whenever faster acceleration or extra tractive effort was needed (see page 9). This latter feature was also added to many older Y's as they entered Roanoke Shops for overhaul.
The reusing of steam in compound locomotives squeezed every last BTU possible out of it before it was finally exhausted. Thus, all other things being equal, the thermal efficiency and maximum tractive effort of a compound Mallet locomotive were considerably greater than that of an articulated being operated "simple," that is with the boiler steam fed directly into all cylinders and none of it reused except to create a draft. As is so frequently the case, however, all other things were NOT equal and the Mallet never reached the level of efficiency envisioned by its inventor.
From the time the Baltimore & Ohio received the first Mallet built in this country, an 0-8-8-0, in 1904 until 1924 when the N&W became the sole builder of them, the term "Mallet" was almost synonymous with "Articulated." And even until the very end of the steam age, simple articulated locomotives were frequently, albeit erroneously, referred to as Mallets. Old habits do not die easily.
If Mallets truly were at least somewhat more efficient than simple articulateds, why did Alco, Baldwin, etc., suddenly stop building the compounds in the 1920s and concentrate on constructing only simple articulateds?
Speed, which railroads seem to have discovered in the 1920s, just as motor trucks were taking to the highways in significant numbers, was the primary was first fed directly from the boiler into a pair of high-pressure cylinders. The high-pressure cylinder exhaust, instead of being shot up the exhaust stack directly, was fed to a pair of low-pressure cylinders through flexible (because of articulation) piping, and the low-pressure exhaust was then transferred to the stack. In order to keep the exhaust plumbing as uncomplicated as possible, the low pressure cylinders on a Mallet were placed up front as close to the stack as possible.
Most of the N&W's later Mallets also had a provision for "jump starting," wherein boiler steam could be fed through a reducing valve directly into the low-pressure cylinders at startup. Thus a Y could be operated "simple" at low speeds. This feature was generally cut off-at first automatically and in later years by the reason. Running trains faster was the only way for the rails to retain their freight business, and Mallets were inherently slow. Then too, the introduction of the feedwater heater, which used exhaust steam to heat incoming boiler water, made the efficiency of a simple articulated comparable to that of a Mallet-about 7 percent.

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