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Topic Summary
Posted by: Mark_Foster Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 12:22pm
With Saluda now railbanked what is the steepest mainline grade in the US that is currently in operation? Railroad, location and gradient. Exclude cog roads like the Mt. Washington and the Manitou & Pikes Peak.
 
I expect it's been long abandoned by now, but in the late 40's the steepest railroad railroad grade was on the PRR's short branch into the Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana. Does anyone remember what the maximum gradient was on that line? A long, long time ago I saw a picture of the unique locomotive the Pennsy ran on this line. I vaguely remember it being an 0-8-0 or an 0-10-0 saddletanker, obviously a one-of-a kind engine specifically designed to put the maximum weight on the drivers to be able to pull the Madison grade.
 
Mark
Posted by: zwsplac Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 1:11pm
There was an article in Trains a couple years back on the Madison grade. For some reason, I think it may still be in operation by a shortline, the Madison Railroad. According to George Elwood's site, it is the steepest in America at 6%.
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 4:13pm
While not the all-time steepest railroad grade, the Lehigh & New England's Summit Grade on the Bethlehem Branch was a tough pull up the hill with loaded coal and cement drags. It was a long 2.74 percent grade and steep enought that trains had to pass through the summit at 5 mph according to an LNE timetable.  
 
Even steeper was the Summit Hill Branch which was about 4% in the Anthracite Coal Belt area.
Posted by: Norm_Anderson Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 5:35pm
For steepest grade on a true mainline, I nominate BNSF's Raton Pass grade on the Colorado/New Mexico border (3.25%), as well as the original grade up Cajon Pass (still in operation as the shorter of the two tracks between Cajon and Summit), at 3.2%.  The Cajon grade was so steep that UP predecessor LA&SL partnered with AT&SF to build a second track, two miles longer, to preserve the 2.2% ruling grade from San Bernardino to Summit.  This co-operative venture led to UP's being granted trackage rights in perpetuity over BNSF's Cajon line between Riverside Jct. and Dagget, CA.
 
Regards,
 
Norm
Posted by: T.C.SHRED Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 7:53pm
I'm not sure but pretty certain that the steepest grade east of the Mississippi(boy thats hard  to spell ) is Dayton hill on the New York & Lake Erie (former Erie) the line ran from Buffalo to Salamanca once upon a time.
Posted by: RDG484 Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 8:20pm
The Reading's Mahanoy & Shamokin line had an outrageous 2.6% grade from Locust Dale to Locust Summit, PA.  It is still in use by the Reading & Northern.  This was part of the main route from Philadelphia to Williamsport.  Some of the heavier freight trains used the much easier-graded Cattawissa Branch, which ran due north of the M&S.
Posted by: kotaro Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 10:19pm
Here is aphoto of Madison Railroad  
http://hometown.aol.com/ma393/railroad/madison.htm#
 
 photo of 0-10-0 locomoive "Ruben Wells".
http://hometown.aol.com/ma393/railroad/locomotives.htm
 
And old cog locomotive "M. G. Bright"
 
Posted by: Norm_Anderson Posted on: Jan 7th, 2005, 10:29pm
Yowzah!!!
 
"Before leaving Yard Limits, train crews shall obtain Track Warrants, Clearance Card, an an ANCHOR!!!"
Posted by: Strasburg 1223 Posted on: Jan 8th, 2005, 11:31am
Cass Scenic Railroad has grades up to 11 percent!!!!!
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Jan 10th, 2005, 2:15am
Looks like all the asnwers are here, so I will add only 2 things:
 
To Strasburg 1223:  Are you sure about that 11% at Cass?  Even the loggers seldom went over 6%.  Since steep grades tend to be exaggerated by some, even if Cass provides that information, I would be somewhat skeptical without some sort of survey information.  
 
Madison to North Madison, Indiana:  I believe the 6% grade portion, which was between those two points has been abandoned.  AT least, that is the way it is shown in the SPV railroad atlas.  The railroad north thereof is now operated by a short line.  There was also an article about this grade in Trains sometime around 1960.  Pennsy had a couple of GM C-C diesels, I forget what model, bought specifically for this grade when they phased out steam.  They had detailed operating instructions, including that the power would always be on the downhill end of all movements on the grade.  I believe that rule went back to virtually day one of the railroad.  This line was competely straight on the steep grade portion, if I remember the Trains article correctly.  I will check more.
 
George
Posted by: CHESSIEMIKE Posted on: Jan 10th, 2005, 6:33am
I believe the 11% portion at Cass is a small stretch above the second switchback.
CHESSIEMIKE
Posted by: Strasburg 1223 Posted on: Jan 10th, 2005, 8:29am
I think most of it is 9% grades....Which is still really steep. They really pump the Shays up in the morning because they make them do their own switching and assemble their own train!! That is really neat to watch. It starts of in the valley and the you work your way up the mountain until you reach the second railroad crossing. then it goes from about from 2% to about 5% or 6%!!! then it gradually gets steeper as it goes on.
 
 
             BTS
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Jan 10th, 2005, 10:32am
Hi All,
 
Quite correct. The steepest trackage attempted by any engine using only traction on the rails would have to be a logging operation etc. We are talking geared steamer territory, Shays, Heistlers, etc.  
 
If you want to stick to long distance RR's, class 1, etc. you probably would be hard pressed to find anything as great as 4 %. Cajon pass is quite steep and is under 3.5 %.  You can routinely see long freights battling the hill at slow speeds with horsepower on the point approaching 50,000 HP. Not for the faint of heart, it is quite a sight, and the sounds will blow your mind. For the Alco fans, yes, lots of black smoke. For those that want to see this, lots can be seen from as far away as Interstate 15 Freeway rest areas etc. Telephoto lenses are recommended. Your mike on your videocamera will do a very nice job with its zoom lens. If you can record it in stereo, you have it made.
Posted by: Mark_Foster Posted on: Jan 11th, 2005, 6:30pm
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 aother 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
Posted by: Virginian2004 Posted on: Jan 14th, 2005, 5:12pm
Before you declare Cass the winner - how about Mt Washington cog railroad.
I saw a documentary about it and the engines/boilers are angled to keep water on the fire box during the steep climb. It could be that Mt Washington can beat the 11% of Cass. Can anyone confirm this?
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Jan 14th, 2005, 6:24pm
Hi All,
 
If you want to add a cog railway, and not limit the discussion only to traction, you should add cable as well.  
 
Angels Flight in Los Angeles is a funicular, powered by a cable, and the steepness of the grade is measured in degrees from the horizontal. It is between thirty degrees and forty five degrees. The cars are set to provide horizontal seating for the passengers. Check out the photo of one of the cable cars. This one is Olivet. Its twin is called Sinai.
Posted by: Norm_Anderson Posted on: Jan 14th, 2005, 6:59pm
Alan, that's a good shot of Angels' Flight.  I remember riding the cars when I was a kid in the '50s, and how disappointed I was when they shut it down.  (It had already become a rather "dowdy" operation when I first rode it.)  Looks like today it's better than ever.  That 45* angle of climb would be a grade of 100%     (the "percentage" of gradient being number of feet up (or down) per 100 feet of horizontal).  There are likely many cable, cog, or other rail lines that could boast 100% grades, so my vote goes to "steepest grade in regular use, by adhesion only".
 
Regards,
 
Norm
Posted by: orulz Posted on: Jan 14th, 2005, 8:17pm
While far from a mainline, there are a couple other grades worthy of note in the mountains of North Carolina, on the Murphy Branch of the former Southern Railroad: Balsam Gap and Red Marble Mountain. Red Marble Mountain, with a grade of 4.4-4.8%, is owned and operated by the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, a tourist railroad, but they don't run any scheduled excursions over it anymore, using it mostly to haul chicken feed to a farm in Andrews, NC.
 
The climb to Balsam Gap, where the railroad passes under the Blue Ridge Parkway, has a grade of 4.0-4.4%, and this segment of track is still in active use by Norfolk Southern.
 
Here's an interesting page on the steep slopes in NC: http://www.polkcounty.org/saludagrade/History/measuring.html
Posted by: kotaro Posted on: Jan 14th, 2005, 9:29pm
Although not in America, the electric railway(tram?) of Lintz, Austria is a steepest grade of the world, I think.
http://www.tramway.at/t-044199.htm
 
They say 10.5%, adhesion.
Posted by: CHESSIEMIKE Posted on: Jan 16th, 2005, 12:43pm
on Jan 14th, 2005, 5:12pm, Virginian2004 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Before you declare Cass the winner - how about Mt Washington cog railroad.
I saw a documentary about it and the engines/boilers are angled to keep water on the fire box during the steep climb. It could be that Mt Washington can beat the 11% of Cass. Can anyone confirm this?
Mt. Washington Railway Co. has grades as steep as 37.41%, but uses a rack system to help get up the mtn.  The average grade is around 25% at the top.  I thought we were talking just adhesion is why I did not bring them up.  If you want to go off the deep end, than look at the Mt. Pilatus Railway in Switzerland.  They use a Locher rack system to climb sections of 48%.  
CHESSIEMIKE
Posted by: Mark_Foster Posted on: Jan 16th, 2005, 1:43pm
Chessie is right. It was my intent when I started this thread to limit it to grades on adhesion roads. I excluded cog railways, even specifically mentioning the Mt. Washington  and Manitou & Pikes Peak RR's as examples. Though they don't count for purposes of this survey, it's still interesting to read your posts about cog and inclined plane roads.
 
Up until 1955 I lived near Thornton, Illinois which was the site of a huge deep rock quarry. The quarry was bounded on the East by the C&EI mainline and on the West by the Milwaukee Road secondary to Southern Indiana, the ex CT&SE. A highway passed roughly mid-way across the quarry with the active pit North of the higway and the originally quarried pit South of it. The latter pit was the site of the engine house for the trains that hauled  rock in the quarry and the base of the inclined plane which hauled the cars out of the quarry to the ground level rock crusher. The grade of that inclined plane was approximately 45% and as a loaded car was raised an empty one was lowered on the adjacent track. The quarry engines were 0-4-0 saddle tankers with a coal bunker behind the cab and a part of the locomotive. Cars didn't have trucks but rather had only four wheels similar to European rolling stock. Couplers were link and pin. The engines were run by one man, a combination engineer and fireman. A tunnel blasted out of solid rock ran under the highway and a gauntlet track ran through the tunnel.  This quarrying operation was so huge that 8-10 trains were in simultaneously operation. Loaded trains would approach the gauntlet track through the tunnel at full speed blowing their whistle continuously to alert any empty train returning from the inclined plane to the working quarry face to stop until they cleared  the gauntlet.  As a boy on many a Summer day I rode my bicycle over to the quarry and spent hours sitting just off the roadway, dangling my feet above the tunnel, watching and listening to the sounds of the continuous parade of the little quarry engines and their trains. It was a bonus to see the passing C&EI and Milwaukee road trains.
 
Mark
Posted by: BC_and_A_railway Posted on: Jan 16th, 2005, 1:51pm
Thats so cool!!I bet that was awesome to watch.Are there any pics you have or on the net?
 
 
BC&A RR
Posted by: rocko59 Posted on: Mar 13th, 2006, 9:43pm
Hi There was a mining RR on Vancouver Island in the early 1900's that had a mile of 13% grade, they used small Shays on it, the first was a 10 ton, then bigger. It was called The Lenora & Mt Sicker. here's a link for it. The engine always ran with the front up so water would stay on the crown sheet. I hope they don't mind me posting this pic, it's publicly accesable anyway. Best Regards,  Russell  
http://forums.railfan.net/forums.cgi?board=Vancouver;action=display;num=1131052951
Posted by: NJ Railfan Posted on: Mar 14th, 2006, 11:35am
don't forget about the 55% grade on the CSX River Line.
Posted by: ErieAtlantic7597 Posted on: Mar 14th, 2006, 1:22pm
   
   If I remember right, was'nt there a nasty grade on the Erie main line just a short way into New York state from New Jersey. Black Rock cut comes to mind. I don't know what the grade was, but I do know that many freights required double pushers on the back end. Somebody refresh my memory if this is wrong info, thanks.
 
   Take care,
 
   Bruce
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Aug 3rd, 2006, 5:12pm
on Jan 7th, 2005, 1:11pm, zwsplac wrote:       (Click here for original message)
There was an article in Trains a couple years back on the Madison grade. For some reason, I think it may still be in operation by a shortline, the Madison Railroad. According to George Elwood's site, it is the steepest in America at 6%.

Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Aug 3rd, 2006, 6:44pm
on Jan 7th, 2005, 12:22pm, Mark_Foster wrote:       (Click here for original message)
With Saluda now railbanked what is the steepest mainline grade in the US that is currently in operation? Railroad, location and gradient. Exclude cog roads like the Mt. Washington and the Manitou & Pikes Peak.
 
I expect it's been long abandoned by now, but in the late 40's the steepest railroad railroad grade was on the PRR's short branch into the Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana. Does anyone remember what the maximum gradient was on that line? A long, long time ago I saw a picture of the unique locomotive the Pennsy ran on this line. I vaguely remember it being an 0-8-0 or an 0-10-0 saddletanker, obviously a one-of-a kind engine specifically designed to put the maximum weight on the drivers to be able to pull the Madison grade.
 
Mark

Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Aug 3rd, 2006, 7:23pm
I have a text book,Ghost Railroads Of Indiana.It is by Elmer S. Sulzer-it is a 1998 reprint of a 1970 text.The Madison grade is (or was)6%.The grade opened in 1841 using 8 horses.With the horses,cars were let down by gravity.In 1850,the Marion was rebuilt into a rack and pinion and renamed the John Brough.It weighed 43 tons.In 1868,the locomotive Reuben Wells came along.It was a ten wheel drive tank type,with the tender also a part of the chassis.No trucks,all weight on drivers.It ran till 1898,went on reserve to 1905,returned to Pennsylvania Railroad,1940.It then went to the Indianapolis children's museum and is apparently still there.There was another tank type,the M.G. Bright.Also a second rack locomotive.The grade itself measured 7,012 feet in length.There are photos of trains running the grades,the locomotives,and the cut with rail work being laid.A donkey engine(stationary)is alongside the track in the cut photo.One of my favorite books-I,m sure you can find one.I tried to post photos,but it must be too complex for my computer today.(humor)
Posted by: Section10 Posted on: Mar 14th, 2007, 7:20pm
Greetings from a new member.
This thread caught my eye and I submit that the steepest adhesion RR grade was by the Porterfield & Ellis logging railroad which operated  in Ontonagon Co. in Michigan's upper peninsula from 1916 to 1928.  The steepest was across the East Branch of the Ontonagon River and was 20% on each side.  Another of their tracks crossed Rousseau Creek and was 15% on each side.  The East Branch crossing is now a part of the North Country Hiking Trail.  A friend of mine's father did some research on this and he said that no engineer could be found to operate the train so the company took a young logger from the woods crew who didn't know any better and taught him how to run it.  It was a wild ride!
This data is from a book called 'History and Cultural Resources:'  A historic overview of activity in the Ottawa National Forest by Mid-America Research Center;  Loyola University of Chicago.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Mar 15th, 2007, 2:27am
on Mar 14th, 2007, 7:20pm, Section10 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Porterfield & Ellis logging railroad which operated  in Ontonagon Co. in Michigan's upper peninsula from 1916 to 1928.  The steepest was across the East Branch of the Ontonagon River and was 20% on each side.  Another of their tracks crossed Rousseau Creek and was 15% on each side.  

20% is so close to the limit of adhesion for a locomotive to just make it up the grade by itself, foget about pulling or pushing anything, I will have to say that I am from Missouri (Show Me, for those who don't know this expression) about this.  Now, if you get me a survey, I will concede, otherwise, I suspect 20% to be an exaggeration, or else so short that you could make a little bit of a run for it and get past it.
 
The Madison Indiana grade is generally considered the steepest adhesion grade in common carrier railroad service.  There was an article about it in Trains Magazine in the late 50's early 60's.  Pennsy had a couple of SD's assigned specifically to it, and a lengthy set of rules and procedures for operating the grade.  Among them, the power was to always be on the downhill end of the train.  This grade may now be out of service.  
 
George
Posted by: Section10 Posted on: Mar 15th, 2007, 7:19am
The footnote to this story says that the information was referenced from an article in 'Trains' magazine by Clinton Jones in June, 1969 called "World's Steepest Adhesion Rail".
Posted by: TAB Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 10:29am
Hey NJ RALFAN…Re: your post in Reply #23…Now this is what I like to see…someone with a sense of humor. Would this be where the line goes over Storm King Mountain or am I on the wrong side of the river?...Tom
Posted by: electro soundwave Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 12:47pm
nah, that's where those young punks decided to take the rails and make a ramp for them to jump thier engines, sort of like tootle
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 1:24pm
on Mar 16th, 2007, 10:29am, TAB wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hey NJ RALFAN…Re: your post in Reply #23…Now this is what I like to see…someone with a sense of humor. Would this be where the line goes over Storm King Mountain or am I on the wrong side of the river?...Tom
It seems wires have gotten crossed.My reference was to the madison grade in southern Indiana.The Ohio River happened to become a natural border between Indiana and Kentucky.Anything of a high hill,or approaching mountainous terrain doesn't occur until you get into Kentucky.I just checked some geology of the rail road section,which I had forgotten.The Madison line has to climb out of the Ohio River valley at that point,in it's own peculiar path,that being the main reason for the unusual elevation.The highest point in Indiana is in Wayne county,called Hoosier Hill somewhat north and east of Madison,around 100 miles(1257 feet).Madison is around 800 feet.So it's almost entirely the river valley factor.I dream and get lost on long rides thru hilly places.I had worked each of these details out around 2000 when my brother and I had a basement full of HO railroad and a small club gathering.The details automatically escaped.---skytrainzastron
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 2:52pm
Mechanics,physics,missing information,and how is it possible?I mentioned in an e-mail to James Rouse that brass wheels on HO models provide better traction on the nickle-silver than steel wheels.I conjecture that on some of the old lines someone knew of a different steel alloy in either the rails or wheels or both,or it just so happened at places and times to be different.That would provide one boost.Also,standard gauge Shay's have reached 250 ton's in weight.I think Cass county West Virginia is a specific on that.I have one more article somewhere in my stacks of magazines which I now recall.One Shay registered 300 ton's as a locomotive by way of adding a second tender with drives.In the "hodge-podge"you could come up with some anomalies in drawbar pull.In a Railroad magazine,may 1977,on page 45 ther is an article with a photo of a steel shaving taking the form of a "flower"which was produced by a Canadian Pacific diesel of 393,000 pounds during slippage.That may provide some insight about possible wheel to rail physics.-----
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 4:53pm
My mistake-I'll send a separate item-
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 7:29pm
Canadian Pacific "flower" peeling during wheel slippage--
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 16th, 2007, 7:46pm
The flower
Posted by: Hogger_Bob Posted on: Mar 18th, 2007, 3:49am
Hi everyone!
 
I'm new just a minute ago so I'll jump right in.
 
The heaviest grades I have operated on were of the late, great Southern Pacific.  When working out of Roseville on the mountain to Sparks, the ruling grade was 2.4%.  I transferred to the Oregon Division in 1983 and worked the now short-lined Siskiyou branch where grades were as steep as 3.1%.  Here, 900 tons per unit was max with a limit of 2,700 tons on the drawbar.  The trains were always around 7,200 tons, so we wound up with a four unit road engine and a five unit helper.  Of course these were the old SD40s, SD45s and SD45T-2s.
 
I'm glad to be aboard here, and I'm looking forward to what I am sure will be informative exchanges.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Mar 18th, 2007, 10:44pm
on Mar 16th, 2007, 2:52pm, skytrainzastron wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In a Railroad magazine,may 1977,on page 45 ther is an article with a photo of a steel shaving taking the form of a "flower"which was produced by a Canadian Pacific diesel of 393,000 pounds during slippage.That may provide some insight about possible wheel to rail physics.-----

This is the sort of thing you do not want to happen.  Track guys HATE wheel spin.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Mar 20th, 2007, 3:57am
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
Posted by: skytrainzastron Posted on: Mar 20th, 2007, 2:09pm
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?)
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Dec 20th, 2007, 7:12pm
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
Posted by: Spooler734 Posted on: Dec 21st, 2007, 8:30pm
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.
Posted by: BCOL764 Posted on: Jun 14th, 2008, 6:23pm
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.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Jan 4th, 2018, 10:10pm
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.