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Mallard is fastest steam loco?
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   Author  Topic: Mallard is fastest steam loco?  (Read 3318 times)
GP72ACe

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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #20 on: Aug 6th, 2005, 6:56pm »
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Quote:
One of my favorite engines, still in service, is # 3751, ex-Santa Fe 4-8-4 Northern. Just about in my neighborhood. She routinely pulls lots of cars, with Santa Fe helpers in full red warbonnet livery. And does not exceed 100 mph. The condition of the tracks and associated freight traffic probably has a lot to do with that
I'd say that what has the most to do with that is the signaling of the line and the signal capabilities of the locomotives.  Lines with CTC only have that FRA-mandated MAS of 79 mph—been that way since the ICC issued that rule back in 1950.
 
Anyway, time for an image of the subject of this thread, I reckon?  Mallard is a good-looker, and probably the best example of British streamlining...
 


« Last Edit: Jun 3rd, 2006, 1:34pm by GP72ACe » Logged
Pennsy
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #21 on: Aug 6th, 2005, 8:14pm »
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Hi Alan,
 
True enough, but the desert area above Cajon Pass is cleared for 90 mph for passenger trains. And as you get out to the wilds of the unpopulated areas along interstate 40, heading towards Arizona, you can really open her up. Santa Fe crack passenger trains, Super Chief, Chief, Chieftain etc. routinely would bury the speedometer needle in that area.  
 
Try that link again, it didn't work as written. Some of the British Steamers were, in fact, quite "handsome".


« Last Edit: Aug 6th, 2005, 8:15pm by Pennsy » Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #22 on: Aug 7th, 2005, 6:01pm »
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Don't forget, if you want to see an A-4 you don't have to cross the Pond to do it.  There is one in Green Bay, WI at The National Railroad Museum.  This one is named Dwight D. Eisenhower.  
Here is a link: http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive.cfm?Display=1323
 
CHESSIEMIKE


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Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
George_Harris
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #23 on: Aug 18th, 2005, 5:07am »
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Look at the statistics on the British A4 and those on any of the US 4-8-4's being discussed, and you can see immediately that these guys are not playing in the same league.  
 
The British locomotive was designed and built to haul light trains at high speeds on a high quality track on multitrack railroads with fairly straight alignments.  They operated by a system of token working and frequent manned "signalboxes" (towers)where as part of the process everything was very precisely timed and controlled.  Therefore, average speeds over relatively short sections was easy to calculate.  How light were there trains?  If you read some of the things written in England about their high speed runs with steam they will talk about trailing train weights of 90 tons to 120 tons or thereabouts.  Even if the train hauled by the Mallard was much heavier, it would still have been a very light train by American standards.  Look at the info on the General Eisenhower:  The weight on drivers is 148,500 pounds, which works out to an axle weight on the drivers of 49,500 pounds.  With a total empty weight of 130 tons for engine and tender, even filled with coal and water the weight probably did not go over 150 tons.  The standard British track structure of the time was 95 lb/yard bullhead rail laid in 60 foot lengths with squared joints laid on "chairs" bolted to the ties ("sleepers" in English terminology)  So, you had a light engine with good steaming capability pulling very light trains.  These trains were also very small in cross section.  British clearances keep even to this day their train size to 9 ft 3 inch wide - only above platform elevation - by 13 ft 0 in high.  I believe that the coaches were between 8 ft 6 in and 8 ft 9 in wide.  126 mph is really not so amazing for the situation.  Unless they were having high speed dynamics problems of some kind, the power and train weight would have probably enabled them to hit even higher speeds.  
 
Compare this with the American situation:  A train of 10 standardweight steel coaches weighed in at around 800 tons.  These 4-8-4's weighed in at around 70,000 lbs per axle or more, plus leading and trailing wheels and six axle tenders.  These locomotives were about 10 ft 8 in wide by 15 ft or more high.  Coaches were about 10 ft wide by about 14 ft high.  Our track structure was also less rigid, even if the train weight had been the same.  The standard at the time would be rail weights of 100 to 130 lb/yd in 39 foot lengths with staggered joints with spikes into the ties.  While the Milwaukee Atlantics and Pacifics were lighter, they were still much larger and heavier than the British locomotives.
 
The Brits did not and will still never recognize the US method of recording "OS" times at towers as being sufficiently accurate to prove anything.  Therefore, even if Pennsy or NYC could show time between towers 30 to 50 miles apart that resulted in a calculated run time of 150 mph or more, the English would never admit that the Mallard had been beat.
 
George


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petey
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #24 on: Feb 22nd, 2006, 7:36pm »
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This is an amatuer question, but why didn't English steam have headlights?
They didn't have open range-------the engine would follow the track, and the track new were it was going, so the engineer/driver didn't ned to see ahead?
They had very powerful flashlights?


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George_Harris
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #25 on: Feb 23rd, 2006, 1:44am »
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I have heard many reasons for this.
 
They do have headlights now, but I do not know when that started.  After the end of steam, that is for sure, and steam ended around 1970.  
 
I think a lot of it is that they never had lights from the beginning, so they were somewhat like a blind man who had no idea what it would be like to be able to see.  
 
They developed operating systems from the beginning that made it possible for trains to operate without the "driver" (they never called them engineers) being able to either see the track at night or read train orders.  What he did have to be able to see was the signals.  Trains had marker lights on the front to show what their classification was, but these were not for the purpose of illuminating anything.  
 
During WW2 they actually considered being able to run without lights a very positive thing as it make it difficult for the German to see the trains to shoot ro bomb them.  
 
The British railroads were built in a fully settled country.  Most right of ways were fenced from the beginning.  Most were built double track from the beginning.  Most roads were grade separated from the beginning and those that were not were manned and had full gate like barriers that were across the track when the road was open and swung across the road when a train was to pass.  Every station was manned and stations were close together.  There were semaphore signals with oil lit lights in the approach to each of these stations.  Switches were thrown from the station or from "signalboxes" (interlocking towers to us).  You had to have a physical "token" in hand for the section of track on which you would be running.  They did not appear to be concerned about animals, livestock, or people on the track.  The whole system was (and I think still is) a lot more labor intensive than the American way of operating and the freedom and authority of the train crew was much more constrained.
 
When the track circuit was developed full signalling became the norm on almost all lines, and is now a requirement in the UK for any line carrying passenger trains, now matter how few or how slow.  
 
With all this in place, a train driver could run his schedule without being able to see anything except the signals.  This situation prevailed for something better than 130 years before they even began to think about headlights.  
 
Most of Europe in some form or fashion followed the British model for operating, but I do not know what the various practices were on headlights.
 
The reason by the way that the Flying Scotsman was given a bell and headlight when it toured the US years ago was because it was a legal requirement to operate on US track.  
 
You must also recall that the level of literacy in 19th century England was quite low.  By using the "token" system, there was no need for any form of written train order to direct train movements so the train drives did not have to be literate to be able to do their job.  Almost from the very beginning, an American railroad engineer was considered a high quality job and literacy was expected and necessary.  The English are horrified that we would ever do such things as expect a railroad to safely operate by a timetable and train order system where it was expected that the train crew without on the spot supervision would decide properly where they had to pull in to clear a train of superior right.  
 
George


« Last Edit: Feb 23rd, 2006, 4:51am by George_Harris » Logged
Virginian
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #26 on: Mar 13th, 2006, 2:09pm »
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...."of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are it might have been."
In a flat out race, I sleep assured in my knowledge that a Milwaukee F-7 would have smoked an A-4, and would not have required a major shopping afterwards, either !  The Brits will also never admit that the Mustang was a better fighter than the Spitfire, but it was.  
The sad fact is that Guiness is the only "recognized" repository of "World Records", and Mallard holds it there.  I can only suppose that no one in the US gave enough of a hoot to do a documented run.  As noted above, the differences between the U S and British rail equipment was (and is) vast.  Beginning with I think the C&O F-16s in 1913, no other locomotives in the world ever equalled the U S in maximum engine axle loadings.  Our rail is about 50% heavier.  Our biggest steam engines topped 1,000,000 pounds.  I think we wrapped up the horsepower and tractive effort wars.  And we have more 'A' bombs than anybody !!!!!!!


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RDG484
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #27 on: Mar 13th, 2006, 3:22pm »
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I think the Pennsy S-1, No. 6100 could have easily made mince meat out of the Mallard.  
 
Just me 2 pennies.


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Passenger_Extra
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #28 on: Mar 13th, 2006, 6:29pm »
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on Aug 6th, 2005, 12:51pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi All,
 
Seems to me that the argument is moot. The USA never was in the race for the world's fastest steamer. Most data is not "official" since there was no one with a stopwatch and a carefully measured mile involved.  The Brits were, apparently, big in that area. We, on the other hand, were more interested in faster schedules and on time arrivals. There were no steamer powered schedules that relied on speeds over 100 mph to maintain their schedules. So, no interest in how fast they COULD or couldn't go.  
 
One of my favorite engines, still in service, is # 3751, ex-Santa Fe 4-8-4 Northern. Just about in my neighborhood. She routinely pulls lots of cars, with Santa Fe helpers in full red warbonnet livery. And does not exceed 100 mph. The condition of the tracks and associated freight traffic probably has a lot to do with that. In her present condition, she probably is capable of exceeding 100 mph, but who would authorize it Once again, a moot question.

 
 
I don't doubt the 3751 could do a hundred, with the right consist, etc.   N&W J-4's and more likely, the Burlington's 5600's possibly did it on a regular basis where they had enough straight and level running.  As you say, the brass hats would look the other way to allow passenger engineers to make up time.
New York Central was known for that too with the Niagaras.  
PX


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k41361
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #29 on: May 24th, 2006, 12:57am »
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There were quite a few steam locomotives in the USAthat were good for 100 mph or better.The fastest was the PRR T-1.There was a wonderful article in the Keystone, a publication put out by th PRR Historical Society.I ran off the copies of the article but unfortunately I never got the date of the issue.I'll guess four to five years ago.Anyway,the person that did the article interviewed many a fireman and engineer that rode the T1's.120 mph was done many times.But there are many reports of 125,130 and yes 140 mph.Hard to believe but read the article.It's very convincing.
Bill Withun,the curator for the Smithsonian Institute has the record of a mechanical engineer from th Franklin Railway supply Co.It seems a  part,I don't know which part,that his company made was breaking on some of the T1's.So he road a train pulled by a T 1,I believe somewhere in Ohio,without the railroad knowing about it and found out why the part kept on breaking.He was timing the train at 140 mph over a few miles.
It must have been scary though because one of the engineers or fireman said at the speeds they would go,they would pass crossing gates before they even started dowm.
It was a new concept in steam locomotives.I believe if the diesel wasn't on the scene the bugs would have been worked out and that may have been the best passenger steam locomotive in the states.
Terry P.


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PW_bullet_train
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #30 on: May 28th, 2006, 2:39pm »
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One small, often-overlooked fleet of locomotives that could have beated Mallard is the group of 4-8-4's operated by the Atlantic Coast Line.  With their straight-as-a-rifle-bore right-of-way, there is no reason why they could have not reached speeds at least in the 110-120 range.  
 
Just my two pennies.


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NewYorkNewJerseyRR
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #31 on: Dec 6th, 2006, 5:13pm »
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I think Mallard is the worlds fastest! Although it would have been neat to see an NYC Hudson or a T1 break a speed record!
 
Although after reading this, I think that a PRR could have gained the record:
 
Finally in 1920, Gresley was able to return to his plans for an express passenger Pacific, which by now included his conjugated valve gear.The K3s exhibited valve over-run at high speeds, so the maximum travel was reduced. Unfortunately, this reduced the locomotive's performance. The boiler design was inspired by the Pennsylvania Railroad's K4 Pacific design. The boiler was reduced to the GNR loading gauge, but still kept a tapered shape and tubes less than 19ft long.  


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90Fan
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #32 on: Dec 6th, 2006, 10:32pm »
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I know how "unscientific" the data is, but...
 
PRR 7002 was the fastest steamer ever!
 
And I will not be persuaded otherwise!


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52_2006

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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #33 on: Dec 8th, 2006, 3:02pm »
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Do you still think Mallard was faster than 05? Have you read the linked article in the first post of this thread completely?My impression is that when it did it's test run they stopped her accelerating when she reached 200. If you closely read that website, you must come to the conclusiuon that at 200 she was not at the end of acceleration, she could have done more.


« Last Edit: Dec 8th, 2006, 3:04pm by 52_2006 » Logged

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George_Harris
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #34 on: Dec 9th, 2006, 2:09am »
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Quote:
Do you still think Mallard was faster than 05?  My impression is that when it (the 05) did it's test run they stopped her accelerating when she reached 200.

That 200 is kilometers per hour, so it is about 125 mph  (Take mph and multiply by 1.609344 to get km/h.  Yeah, simply using 1.6 is close enough for most things.)
 
The discussion actually has two parts.  First what was actually done, and second, what could have been done.  
 
There was actaully very little attempt by anybody in the US to get out and make a provable speed record with a steam locomotive.  Generally, when these very fast runs were being made in the US, they were usually with scheduled trains carrying the general public. By doing this several rules were being broken by the engine crew in the process, so they were not exactly going to publicise their results.  The company officials that winked at these goings ons were not going to publicise them too loudly either, as if anythig went wrong they would be the ones held responsible.  So to a great extent high speed running in the US was covered by a conspiricy of silence.  
 
Conversely, in Europe there seemed to be in the same general time frame attempts to post speed records as a matter of national pride.  I will leave alone any comments about the national psychologies involvved.
 
At this point the question of whether on a straight and level playing field of good quality track the Mallard, the O5 or any of several American engines would have won is something we will never actually know.


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Redwards
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #35 on: Dec 9th, 2006, 8:54am »
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Mr. Harris hits the nail on the head.  I picked up a few back issues of Trains and Classic Trains to read some high speed steam stories.   In "Last Chance" from the Aug 1993 issue of Trains, John Crosby describes a Pennsy T1 hitting 120mph while making up lost time (on a railroad with a 79mph passenger speed limit) between Crestline, OH and Fort Wayne, IN.  In "How Fast Could They Go?" from the Spring 2002 issue of Classic Trains, a Milwaukee Road F7 is reported to have maxed out a speed recorder at 120mph for 5 miles on a Chicago to Milwaukee run.  The mechanical engineer who was interviewed believed the engine could have been travelling up to 125mph during this period.  At the risk of beating a dead horse nobody will ever know the true speed capabilities of the American locomotives.    
 
I noticed the German Steam website seems to discount the Pennsy S1's abilities:
 
"And how did the massize Pennsylvania R R duplex, #6100, ever get credited with 140 mph on a normal heavy weight service train, when all serious research shows it would have had difficulty reaching it's 120 mph design speed on even the lightest train?"
 
Is there a source for this claim?  What is the source for this "serious research"?  
 


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Henry
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #36 on: Dec 9th, 2006, 1:57pm »
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on Dec 9th, 2006, 8:54am, Redwards wrote:       (Click here for original message)
8<---
"And how did the massize Pennsylvania R R duplex, #6100, ever get credited with 140 mph on a normal heavy weight service train, when all serious research shows it would have had difficulty reaching it's 120 mph design speed on even the lightest train?"
 
Is there a source for this claim?  What is the source for this "serious research"?  
 

 
That's what I thought when I read that comment. Who knows what he meant by "normal heavy weight service train" as 500t seems about normal for Europe and 1000t for America. I would think the S1 would smoke the rails with a 250t consist or lighter like the 05 002 had. The S1 had lots of grate area, a 300 PSI boiler and 84" drivers. It certainly had quite a bit more boiler HP than the 05 002 and Mallard.
 
It's a shame that PRR and MILW never set up documented speed trials for for the S1, T1 and F7. We'll never know what speeds they were really capable of reaching.
 
Henry


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atlpete
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #37 on: Dec 10th, 2006, 12:23am »
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Good job Henry, sincerely  
We're truly at the point of almost pure conjecture, and yet we haven't (at least from the formal program proposition) considered many other railways with serious and relatively late steam efforts including the former USSR, JNL and SAR. For my money the French (SNCF- those total engineering zeros) could have likely figured out a way to capture this title as well as any of the other rail speed titles they hold, at least as well as the aforementioned organizations. But sticking to the virtual "Guiness/Marquis de Queensberry/AAR/ASAE/ whatever" rules I think the Mallard is (still) the one record wise. It's truly a shame the CMStP&P (or CB&Q or AT&SF) didn't rise to the occasion and obliterate that record, because they could have done so very easily (and unofficially did) what with all that homegrown (often 2nd generation German) engineering talent . BUT .. again it's all just conjecture.


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atlpete
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #38 on: Dec 10th, 2006, 12:47am »
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BTW as an aside, I'm a Pennsy fan but speed-wise I have to think the IC, C&NW, CMStP&P, CB&Q, SAL, RF&P,  ACL, and NYC had as many or even speedier steam powered schedules as the Pennsy, at least pre- and early post war.  You may have to go back to those Trains mag survey's or an O.G. to dig it out, but NE Corridor aside the PRR wasn't in the discussion regardless of their latest whiz-bang steam project, at least as far as regular schedules early post war. Something tells me those Canadians weren't too far from beating the Pennsy either on those Montreal/Ottawa to Toronto runs too.

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George_Harris
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Re: Mallard is fastest steam loco?
 
« Reply #39 on: Dec 13th, 2006, 4:22am »
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Henry/Redwards:
 
I have seen enough German engineering to have lost any awe I may have ever had for it.  Every analysis is based on a set of unquestionable foundational assumptions developed by a set of academic experts.  Basic engineering says if you get results that don't match the theories, you revise the theories.  German engineering seems to function on the basis that if the theories you are taught say something does not work, you ignore all data that would contradict the theory.  Our railroad system does about 10 impossible things before brakfast on most days if you analyzed it using the basic theories in German Railway engineering.  Our trains have axle loads that are too high to be safe, our rails are too hard, our signal systems don't work properly, the method of loking we use for switch points is unsafe, wood ties with spikes are unsafe at all above very low speed light axle load branch lines, and on and on.  
 
Chances are the statement, "And how did the massize Pennsylvania R R duplex, #6100, ever get credited with 140 mph on a normal heavy weight service train, when all serious research shows it would have had difficulty reaching it's 120 mph design speed on even the lightest train?" is based on someone's checking of the basic parameters of the T1 against the German theories.  The data probably all fell off the ends of their scales, so they decided it could not work.  No further analysis necessary.  If it doesn't match the theories then it can't work.  No need to go see it work.  What you would be seeing would be a figment of your imagination, because the theory has already given the answer.  
 
George


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