Excerpt from Trains, volume 8, 1947
It’s a refreshing experience to pick up impartial yet authoritative material on this steam-versus-diesel question. And A Practical Evaluation of Railroad Motive Power is just that — it does not present the diesel as a wonder-working machine which can cure any corporate ill, from falling passenger revenues to a hopeless bankruptcy, nor does it imply that the development of modern reciprocating steam power eliminates the need for diesels.
The book is written by New York Central's Paul Kiefer, the man responsible for the largest postwar fleet of diesels on any railroad and the engineer who created the NYC’s triumvirate of modern steam power (Hudson, Mohawk, Niagara). It is based on the postwar comparative locomotive tests of the Central. While these tests were conducted exclusively between steam and diesel power on the main line, tentative figures are also given for gas-turbine, steam-turbine and straight electric locomotives. Kiefer's little volume is essentially a fundamental work, as its author takes pains to point out in its introduction, and thus the field remains open for a really exhaustive treatment. But the book does represent a serious attempt to analyze the true merits of each form of motive power. In it you will find out how rapidly 1000- and 6000-horsepower Electro-Motive diesel passenger machines accelerated standard 16-car trains in comparison with Hudsons and 4-8-4’s. And you’ll discover a basic list of steam and diesel advantages and disadvantages, neatly summarized on the basis of on-the-road tests and not drawing board theories.
As American Locomotive Company’s Joseph B. Ennis writes in his forward, these observations "are worth the careful study of anyone interested in railroad operation.” — D.P.M.
Excerpt from Mechanical Engineering, volume 70, 1948
Paul Walter Kiefer, recipient of the ASME Medal, is an eminent engineer, executive and pioneer in the development of road capacity testing of steam locomotives. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Railroad Division, a Fellow of the Society and author of many papers on motive power and rolling stock. In 1946 he received an honorary degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J.
Mr. Kiefer studied engineering at the night school of the Cleveland YMCA, the Central Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, and later continued an intensive night-study course in locomotive and car design in New York. As part of his training he completed a four-year machinist apprenticeship at the Collinwood locomotive shop of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad Company. From 1916 to 1918 Mr. Kiefer was locomotive designer and leading draftsman in the Office of Mechanical Engineer of the New York Central System. He served in various capacities of increasing responsibility and in 1926 became chief engineer of motive power and rolling stock in charge of the equipment engineering department.
Journal of the Franklin Institute, presentation of the Henderson Medal