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Model Rail Rider
Did it happen often enough that a 0-6-0 with a sloped tender would run in reverse (facing the wrong direction but with it's train still behind it) while returning from switching a small town due to lack of turning (ie. turntable) facilities?

does that question make sense? I saw it happening on some passenger and freight lines on youtube but those were in the UK and tank locomotives...


Any "0-X-0" type locomotive was designed to be a switching locomotive. They were frequently run in reverse during their switching moves, that is the reason they had a sloped tender for better visibility. They also were intended to be run at low speeds. They were used in local delivery/pickup and transfer runs on many railroads. Running tender first was not the ideal way to run a steam locomotive mainly for visibility and crew protection reasons so it was done as little as possible. They also were usually operated slower in reverse and switchers were slow enough to begin with.


Well-Known Member
Starting in the late 1800's, steam locomotive designers realized that a leading/pilot truck would help to steer the engine and stablize it at track speeds, moreso in passenger trains. Soon they resorted to dual axles in the pilot trucks for even better tracking and stability, and also to support the larger engine weights forward of the lead driver axles. This included larger cylinder saddles as engines developed more horsepower.

A 0-6-0 and its larger sisters were not meant to run at track speed. They were meant to support all their weight on three or more axles so that they developed all possible tractive effort to move long cuts of cars in switching yards, and to do humpyard work when possible/practicable. They were not intended to run faster than about 30 mph for about 90% of the time.

However, there is at least one incident of a 0-6-0 being pressed into road service when the passenger head-end power broke down that was published in Classic Trains magazine perhaps five years ago now. It was a slow journey, but at least the passengers were delivered.

All this to say, it wasn't unheard of, but it would have been strictly as a last resort. I even have video of a CPR 4-6-4 that was refurbished and run for a few months in early 1960's in New York until the authorities ruled that it could not be used because the original certification papers were missing. It ran tender forward for the return trip...but it had that trailing truck which was so important for track speed.


Well-Known Member
Switchers did run in reverse on some routes. Some were fitted with pilots on their tenders for operation in both directions. By all means run it that way. I have photos of this somewhere.


Model Rail Rider
thank you everyone! I picture my railroad being a rather small one so I am going to go with it. I have never been one to 100% adhere to rules anyways.


Model Rail Rider
Thanks Carey! If it was 100% unrealistic I wouldn't do so but the more I look the more it seems like this kind of thing did occur. Enough so that it isn't a crazy or off the wall notion. Now all I need is for my track to come in and I can get started.


old school
Looks like a Great Northern...possibly the Empire Builder or the Oriental Limited as they had touble in the mountains with some of the E and F series diesels.

What kind of trouble did they have? I always thought that pic was neat and likely rare to have see that happen.


Model Rail Rider
from wikipedia...

"In some instances, particularly on branch lines having no turnaround such as a turntable or wye at the terminus point, locomotives ran in reverse with the tender leading the train. In such instances, a headlamp (US) or headcode lamps/discs were placed on the leading end of the tender. Locomotive crews often rigged a tarpaulin (or the locomotive's storm sheet, if available) from the rear of the cab roof to the front of the tender to provide protection from the wind and to prevent coal dust being blown into the cab. Tenders designed for more frequent tender-first workings were often fitted with a fixed cab panel and windows, providing an almost fully enclosed cab."


Milw Road in SW Wisconsin
That GN ABA set of FT's are the Marias Pass helpers. The GN bought special ABA sets(with the FTSB booster) and no D/B for use on Marias Pass. IIRC they were originally numbered in the 5900 series and were renumber to the 300 series.

Nice Photo!

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