Old 09-27-2009, 05:46 AM   #1
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Default Toughest Grade

What non class 1 railroad has the toughest terrain and grades?
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:11 AM   #2
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2.6% over Keating Summit on the WNY&P has to be up there...
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:18 AM   #3
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2.6%? That sounds pretty wussy to me.
There's got to be something better!
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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There were some pretty nasty grades on Tennessee Pass, that is until it was abandoned.
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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2.6%? That sounds pretty wussy to me.
There's got to be something better!
Mt. Washington Cog, but it probably doesn't count for this thread.

I need to get to Keating and see those Alcos smoking up the hill. Won't look so wussy then, lol.
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Old 09-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #6
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Tennessee Pass isn't abandoned, just mothballed.
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Old 09-27-2009, 03:08 PM   #7
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The Everett Railroad has a short stretch close to 6%, but its on a spur so not sure if that counts.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has a grade of around 5% though during a cab ride some one mentioned that a few years back they ran a special funeral train with a couple NS units, one of the GSMR engineers rode in the engine as a "pilot" and mentioned that there was some kind of device that gave a constant feedback of the grade and mentioned that it hit 7% for a very short stretch.

The Caldwell County Railroad in NC has a few steep grades though no one seems to have an exact number for them. They look just as steep, if not steeper than the 5% grade at Tweetsie Railroad. Especially when coming south into Hickory, NC right after crossing HWY 321. It is also said that their GP 16's are only rated to handle 4 loaded cars on the hill coming into Granite Falls NC. Though this year one engine pulled 17 empties in one train.

As mentioned the Tweetsie Railroad also has some steep grades though I do not know if tourist railroads count. (GSMR is freight/tourist)
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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L&C's Richburg Hill is supposed to be around 4.7%. I've rode in on a passenger excursion and some parts felt like a roller coaster.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:04 AM   #10
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MRL,,,,,,,Lots of long 2.2, horse shoe curves and tunnels= gnarly
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:38 PM   #11
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The Madison RR in Indiana has the steepest non-mainline grade in the US at nearly 6%. The grade sees little service, though to the best of my understanding is still active. One of the toughest mountain railroading shortlines of which I can think is the San Luis & Rio Grande out of Alamosa, CO. They cross the highest pass of any railroad in the US, at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on LaVeta Pass. The grades on both sides are quite steep, I believe in the 3% range. It's a little unnerving on this line, as on the way down to the town of LaVeta from the pass, we passed wreck sites from the two runaways in the last decade. One was recent enough to have cars still piled up on the site in 2006. On that particular day, we had 3 3000 hp units and 17 loads, and nearly stalled on a couple of occasions when one of the units acted up. The second the bell started ringing you could immediately feel the grade drag us down.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:25 AM   #12
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ummm, yeah MRL and or Utah Railway Co. (Mullen Pass / Stevens Pass & Soldier Summit respectively). Don't know much of the East, so couldn't tell ya.

I do hear B&LE (CN) has a steady climb on one of their Lines.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:08 PM   #13
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Crawford Notch in New Hampshire is mostly 2.75%.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:29 PM   #14
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The Madison RR in Indiana has the steepest non-mainline grade in the US at nearly 6%. The grade sees little service, though to the best of my understanding is still active. One of the toughest mountain railroading shortlines of which I can think is the San Luis & Rio Grande out of Alamosa, CO. They cross the highest pass of any railroad in the US, at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on LaVeta Pass. The grades on both sides are quite steep, I believe in the 3% range. It's a little unnerving on this line, as on the way down to the town of LaVeta from the pass, we passed wreck sites from the two runaways in the last decade. One was recent enough to have cars still piled up on the site in 2006. On that particular day, we had 3 3000 hp units and 17 loads, and nearly stalled on a couple of occasions when one of the units acted up. The second the bell started ringing you could immediately feel the grade drag us down.
Mike,
Madison RR DOESNT run on the hill anymore. The hill hasn't seen service in 15+ years. The track is still there, But at the bottom of the hill there is a road that has been paved over the tracks, So there is NO crossing at all.

But yes, Mike is right...Madison Hill which belonged to the Pennsylvania Railroad YEARS ago is the steepest grade. The grade is 5.89%! Which is the steepest in the U.S.

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Old 10-29-2009, 04:01 PM   #15
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2.6%? That sounds pretty wussy to me.
There's got to be something better!
Wussy or not, the sound of four 251's in run eight at Keating Summit can't be beat!
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