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Steepest Railroad Grade
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   Author  Topic: Steepest Railroad Grade  (Read 3882 times)
George_Harris
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Posts: 3845
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #40 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 3:57am »
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OK, I have just skimmed through the posts in this thread.  It seems that we have gone full circle here, starting with Madison Grade in Indiana and ending with the same.  There are some repetitious posts simply because people did not go back and read what was said before.  I am guilty of that, too, because I came real close to repeating myself two years apart.  Senior moment?  
 
Anybody with anything to add on any of the really steep grades discussed, such as operating restrictions, elevations, mileposts, traffic, features of the track, etc., feel free, but let's try to make sure we don't run around in circles.   In particular, anyone wanting to claim any grade steeper than the ones on Mark's list, which I consider sufficiently well documented to be accepted, please try to provide some form of foundation for the claim.
 
Baring that, I think we have a solid conclusion summed up in Mark Foster's post of January 11, 2005
 
Quote:
Since I started this topic let me try to summarize the info we have to date. In order to avoid comparing apples to oranges is seems to me we need to have three different categories.  
 
1. Steepest mainline grade: Norm Anderson has submitted Raton Pass on the BNSF at 3.25%. I know of none steeper and unless someone else can come up with another candidate, Raton will be the winner. When you consider that Saluda was 5.03% , or 1.78% steeper it makes you realize just how awesome Saluda was.  
 
2. Steepest grade on a common carrier railroad: I submitted the Madison, IN grade on the former PRR at 5.89%. Nothing steeper has been submitted. There was some question as to whether this was still in operation. The web site of the Madison Railroad seems to indicate that this shortline still operates over this grade into its namesake town.  
 
3. Steepest grade on a tourist railroad: Several of you have submitted the Cass Scenic, a former logging road. The steepest actual gradient seems to be in question with a max of 11% mentioned. We really need to pin down what is actually the steepest grade on that road. In any event the Cass Scenic with its Shay engines seems to be the winner in this category.  
 
Comments please.  
 
Mark

 
Cable hauled, rack railroads, etc. are disqualified.  If anybody wants to discuss these, they you should start a new topic for whichever type it is.
 
George


« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2007, 4:06am by George_Harris » Logged
skytrainzastron
TRAINing
Posts: 11
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #41 on: Mar 20th, 2007, 2:09pm »
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on Mar 20th, 2007, 3:57am, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
OK, I have just skimmed through the posts in this thread.  It seems that we have gone full circle here, starting with Madison Grade in Indiana and ending with the same.  There are some repetitious posts simply because people did not go back and read what was said before.  I am guilty of that, too, because I came real close to repeating myself two years apart.  Senior moment?  
 
Anybody with anything to add on any of the really steep grades discussed, such as operating restrictions, elevations, mileposts, traffic, features of the track, etc., feel free, but let's try to make sure we don't run around in circles.   In particular, anyone wanting to claim any grade steeper than the ones on Mark's list, which I consider sufficiently well documented to be accepted, please try to provide some form of foundation for the claim.
 
Baring that, I think we have a solid conclusion summed up in Mark Foster's post of January 11, 2005
 
 
Cable hauled, rack railroads, etc. are disqualified.  If anybody wants to discuss these, they you should start a new topic for whichever type it is.
 
George
In the iddle 1950's while visiting in Fairmont,West Virginia,I was looking a half mile across a valley to another hillside becuase i could hear the enticing cacophony and peculiar rhythm of some little steam engines.They were mostly concealed behind tree's and banks as they wound around the hill going up.A high angle was obvious to me.It almost looked like a ski jump.I am going to search some archives in rail system's and see if I can find any specific's.(When will we empty the mystery box?)


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George_Harris
Moderator
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Posts: 3845
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #42 on: Dec 20th, 2007, 7:12pm »
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You have got to occasionally enjoy eating words here.  
 
Maybe it could be considered too short to qualify, as it was only 800 feet long, but according to the AREA Bulletin #690, Nov-Dec 1982, up until 1950 the Western Maryland had a 9.1% grade on their Vindex Branch, which was a 3 mile long coal mine branch.  Now, I have no idea where that is.
 
The 5.9 to 6.0% Madison Indiana grade was something like 3 miles long.
 
George


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Spooler734
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Posts: 2099
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #43 on: Dec 21st, 2007, 8:30pm »
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on Dec 20th, 2007, 7:12pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
You have got to occasionally enjoy eating words here.  
 
Maybe it could be considered too short to qualify, as it was only 800 feet long, but according to the AREA Bulletin #690, Nov-Dec 1982, up until 1950 the Western Maryland had a 9.1% grade on their Vindex Branch, which was a 3 mile long coal mine branch.  Now, I have no idea where that is.
 
The 5.9 to 6.0% Madison Indiana grade was something like 3 miles long.
 
George

 
The Western Maryland main reason to own shay locomotives was the Chaffee Branch (Vindex), which is located somewhere close to Oakland, MD in Garrett County.


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This year is the Western Maryland Scenic Railroads 25th anniversary! Plan your visit this 2013 season at www.wmsr.com
cn2220
Historian
Posts: 3101
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #44 on: Jun 14th, 2008, 6:23pm »
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on Mar 13th, 2006, 9:43pm, rocko59 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi There was a mining RR on Vancouver Island in the early 1900's that had a mile of 13% grade,

 
There was another railway on the Island with a wicked grade. The Victoria and Sidney Railway(later a Great Northern Subsidiary) had a ruling grade of 7%.  
A short V&S train has just made it down the hill(look closely behind the train, follow the road up) bound for Victoria.  

 
 
A little history of the V&S hill. Apparently the original ROW, with a ruling grade of about 2% would have run right through Victoria's water supply(Beaver Lake) on a trestle. In order to avoid contaminating Victoria's water supply, the Victoria and Sidney decided to go for the route around the lake, which would require climbing the 7% grade through Royal Oak.  
 
The V&S was abandoned in 1919, 2 years after Great Northern had jumped ship. Competition from the other 2 railways(BC Electric, and Canadian Northern pacific(later Canadian National)) and bus lines killed the V&S.


« Last Edit: Jun 14th, 2008, 6:26pm by cn2220 » Logged

Tyler

Long live the GE`s!!!!
George_Harris
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Posts: 3845
Re: Steepest Railroad Grade
 
« Reply #45 on: Jan 4th, 2018, 10:10pm »
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Yes, it has been almost 10 years, however the subject recently came up.  The White Pass and Yukon has a grade stated as being 3.9% starting just east of Skagway cresting at White Pass.  The Skagway to White Pass distance on the railroad is 21 miles, and I believe that 14 of it is at the 3.9% rate.  Thinking of Saluda as being the steepest and it being out of service, I told someone that this was the steepest railroad grade in service in North America.  I was also considering that being for grades operated by adhesion, not rack or cable, and not transit system.  Some could argue that WP&Y should not be part of the railroads under consideration, as it is 3'-0" track gauge.  It is also now solely a tourist operation connecting with cruise ships.

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