Paul W. Kiefer, New York Central

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Paul W. Kiefer, New York Central
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, February 26, 2017 9:57 PM

Does anyone here on Classic Forum know what happened to Paul Kiefer after he did those tests with his outstanding Niagara's vs. Diesel tests ..you know where he wupped 'em. 

He seems to have disappeared and I can't find anything about him. Must have broke his spirit to see his Hudson's, Mohawk's and Niagara's go to the scrap pile ...if he lived long enough to see that happen. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:00 PM
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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:34 PM

Thank you Wanswheel- you know when people ask you if you could have dinner with 3 people who would you choose, ... definitely Paul Kiefer is one of my three chosen. 

1953 retired from NYC... wonder how he felt about it all. Cannot imagine. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Monday, February 27, 2017 12:16 AM

Excerpt from Trains article, January 1979, “Best-Selling Passenger Diesel of All Time" by David P. Morgan

The definitive diesel-vs.-steam test occurred during October 1946 when Paul W. Kiefer, chief engineer motive power and rolling stock of New York Central, pitted two 4000 h.p. E7 sets against six Niagara 4-8-4's in premium passenger service between Harmon, N.Y., and Chicago, 928 miles. Kiefer, who designed not only the Niagara but the Hudson before it, wrote about it in "A Practical Evaluation of Railroad Motive Power." Selectively read, the book heartened traditionalists. Each E7 duo averaged 28,954 miles in October, barely shading the average 4-8-4 production of 27,221. Average annual operating costs per mile was computed at $1.22 for the 4-8-4, $1.11 for the two-unit E7… But Kiefer had to admit that one month did not equal a year, that in winter steam was subject to loss of pressure, frozen ash pans, semifrozen coal, and intermediate refueling.

In effect, the conclusion of the tests appeared on the cover of the February 15, 1947, Railway Age, in an EMD ad headlined "The Century passes its Millionth Mile behind General Motors Diesel Power." In those days, where the Century went, Central followed.

https://milwaukeeroadarchives.com/Steam/NewYorkCentralAPracticalEvaluationofRailroadMotivePower1948.pdf

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 27, 2017 9:56 AM

So he retired at 65.. was likely mandatory, however was he considered as upper management? He left when things were relatively still intact, maybe NYC's last good year before it all went to pieces. He knew his steam locomotives were doomed but could he have foreseen the rest of the story?

Got to witness from a distance, and thankfully was spared, the formation, then meltdown of Penn Central...and the beginnings of Conrail.

The man's contribution to the overall US economy, even the world's,  is not measurable, yet somehow I doubt he was that wealthy. Compare today and those that are beyond the beyond wealthy for contributing not anything close to what he did. 

Many tragic things throughout history but not saving a J3a and a Niagara are somewhere on that list.

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Posted by wanswheel on Monday, February 27, 2017 1:45 PM

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

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/001600325090322X

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