Penn Central 50 years

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Penn Central 50 years
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:19 AM

 These powerful Alco's were the last locomotives ever ordered by the mighty New York Central and delivered in their paint scheme. So it ends there, all those locomotives, 4-4-0's, 999, Hudsons, Niagara's, Mohawks galore, Mikes, PA's, E7 & 8's, Baldwin, Lima's, all their history and contributions to moving people and freight and building Nations. 

Next stop the ill fated and destitute Penn Central. 

Enjoy this last glimpse of the astonishing and grand New York Central. 

And how about this rare bird beauty....

NYC 2059 one of 10 (2050-2059) Alco C-430 3000 HP

Originally posted this in String Lining last year but I don't think many saw it. We are already well into the merger in Mar. '69 and we are on the CASO in St.Thomas, Ont.

The NY Central is gone, the Penn Central is gone, the Alco C-430 is gone, the CASO is gone. 

The magnificient and huge Freight/Passenger Station is however still with us. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:21 PM

PRR unit in Canada...a very rare occurance until Penn Central.

Also front view of 2059, the last loco's ordered by New York Central and delivered in their paint scheme. 

St.Thomas 

Long time headquarters of CASO operations under Michigan Central/New York Central. 

Penn Central era began February 1, 1968. 

PRR 6301 leads NYC units (below) early Penn Central era. Alco C-628 2750 HP 3404-02 3/1965

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, February 17, 2018 3:29 PM

Man, those ALCO's looked formidable, didn't they?  More like weapons of war than locomotives.  Imagine them with cannon sticking out of the nose and tail and machinegun turrets along the top and you'll see what I mean.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 17, 2018 3:58 PM

Even harder to believe is that some C636s actually were delivered from Alco in PC paint; hard to remember they were so new when you'd see them on heavy freight.  One of these, going through Trenton in the early Seventies, had the loudest exhaust I have ever heard in a locomotive, more painfully experienced than heard.  And then there was the noble experiment of Hi-Ad trucks in both B and C styles, cutting-edge modern and fast as hell to a 10-year-old ignorant of anything like harmonic rock on worn-out track...

Air starters, those I never quite 'got'.  Except perhaps as budget alarm clocks, only need one for a whole subdivision and no need for a snooze bar ...

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:18 PM

Air start--Is that the super loud BANG! that rattles your bones. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 17, 2018 9:18 PM

Run through power. 

NYC/TH&B/CPR Buffalo/Welland/Hamilton/Toronto Yard. 

NYC 7431 and PC/ex NYC 7430 (see below) likely with a third unit. Toronto Yard 5/1970 Paul Mc Grane 

PC 7430 ex NYC 7430

Pretty snazzy looking and very clean 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, February 17, 2018 9:58 PM

Miningman

Air start--Is that the super loud BANG! that rattles your bones. 

Never been around any ALCOs, but newer EMDs also have an air start system:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=II94U1lpGjI

It has its ups and downs, from a crew's point of view the main advantage is that you can restart a dead unit simply by hooking up the main reservoir line from another locomotive, no fooling around with jumper cables.

The downside is that you need another locomotive for this, so air-start units cannot be manually shut down if you want to use them again later, as the starting air supply can leak off.

We had a incident a couple years ago where a train powered by 2 SD70M-2s was parked for a day, and the crew shut down both locomotives to save fuel as per our operating instructions.  When the new crew arrived to pick up the train they could not restart either locomotive, and had to wait for another train to stop and help.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Sunday, February 18, 2018 2:08 AM

Thank You.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, February 18, 2018 12:30 PM

Well thank you guys for the air start explanations and videos.

Here is the NYC on the CASO just before the merger. Those huge mail/mail storage trains were frequently seen over the CASO and continued on into the Penn Central era. The various Pennsy and NYC E units got real ratty looking as did the cars. Sometimes these were 30-35 cars long. They hustled along at a good clip but encountered several restricted speed areas as the deferred track maintenance caught up to operations in the Penn Central era. 

 Knew these trains were on their last legs just by their condition but the freights always looked ok. The C&O and N&W (Wabash) also had deteriorating track but appearances were kept up pretty well.

I was expecting that the Penn Central era would usher in new life for the CASO but how wrong that hope turned out to be. 

Conrail was around for a wee bit, not long. 

I can still picture Hudsons and Mohawks, 2-8-2's galore on the main and some smaller tea pots for the branches. That was some railroading.

NYC 4051 (E8A EMD 15311 4/1952) _4005 (E7A EMD 2870 10/1945

NYC 2028 leads freight on Canada Division mainline which also hosted C&O on trackage rights. 
Parallelling CNR's Cayuga Sub. which hosted Wabash (later, N&W then NS) on trackage rights. 
and crossed CNR's Dunnville Subdivision.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, February 18, 2018 3:27 PM

Canada Southern 

Rolling Stock 

 

Stencilled lettering inside circle reads: 

RETURN TO C.N.R.
VIA BUFFALO

FOR ORE LOADING
DANE, ONTARIO
CANADA

This iron ore traffic commenced in 1965 and continued until 1971 between Dane, Ontario, on the ONR and Jones & Laughlin steel mills in Pennsylvania on the NYC/PC. The participating road haul railways contributed cars to the pool based on the total mileage operated over their respective lines. The breakdown was 22% ONR, 40% CNR and 38% NYC. The total pool consisted of 345 cars - 75 ONR, 140 CNR and 130 NYC. Cars of NYC, TH&B, CASO and P&LE ownership comprised the NYC proportion of the pool. Lance Brown

 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 19, 2018 10:44 AM

PC 22882 caboose with some work cars ahead of it. The all too brief Penn Central era. St.Thomas yard.

Conrail 7435 (ex PC 7435 nee NYC 6035) GP9 GMD A1080 4/1957 
Windsor 4/5/1980 John Lameck/Sam Beck Collection

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, February 19, 2018 2:18 PM

Miningman
PRR unit in Canada...a very rare occurance until Penn Central.

Didn't PRR do transfers to Fort Erie from Buffalo?

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 19, 2018 2:37 PM

Yes, but just transfers, not out on the road. Pretty sure this was the only point where PRR entered Canada. I wonder if they ever sent over a  switcher on the Ashtabula in Port Burwell once in a while.

Baldwins to boot!!

PRR 8108 8105 Baldwin RS12's with a transfer from Buffalo to CNR. Fort Erie September 1963 Bill Thomson

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, February 19, 2018 5:14 PM

I'm not afraid to admit that the PC was my favorite road.  I started railfanning in 1970 at the age of 11 or 12.  The PC Pennroad branch in Detroit was only a block away from my house.  That summer, we flew to visit my aunt and uncle in New Brunswick, NJ.  They lived only 4-5 houses from the NEC.  They laughed when I'd run for the front door every time I heard the howl of a train.  I was an early subscriber to X2200S and loved taking roster shots.  The PC Junction Yard always had a lot of dead power and the employees were always friendly and helpful.  Several years later, when I was driving, I got stuck in the snow at the engine terminal.  One of the MoW employees hooked up a chain to his truck and pulled me out.  The good ole days...

PS--Anyone got any old issues of PC Railroader magazine they want to sell or photocopy?

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 7:30 AM

Overmod

Even harder to believe is that some C636s actually were delivered from Alco in PC paint; hard to remember they were so new when you'd see them on heavy freight.  One of these, going through Trenton in the early Seventies, had the loudest exhaust I have ever heard in a locomotive, more painfully experienced than heard.  And then there was the noble experiment of Hi-Ad trucks in both B and C styles, cutting-edge modern and fast as hell to a 10-year-old ignorant of anything like harmonic rock on worn-out track...

Air starters, those I never quite 'got'.  Except perhaps as budget alarm clocks, only need one for a whole subdivision and no need for a snooze bar ... 

The Australian C636s had air starters too...

I remember one in the shops at Nelson Point Port Hedland that was very reluctant to start, and being connected to the shops air system was running for minutes until they decided to try something else...

Before GE adopted alternators, the generator was just used as a starter motor.

Despite the CP Rail M630 in the video, Australian M636s had electric starters, that were a lot quieter.

I've ridden hundreds of miles in C636s and M636s fitted with Alco HiAd trucks and they always rode very well. On one occasion I leaned way out of the cab window in a trailing unit to watch the movement of the big coil springs in a sharp curve (well, sharp by our standards).

When BHP took over the former Goldsworthy Yarrie line, built with jointed 94lb rail, but upgraded with second hand welded 132 lb later, some harmonic roll was experienced from the HiAds which by that time were under C36-7s that had been built on the C636 underframes. There were six Dash 8s that had been built new with GE floating bolster trucks and they were found to behave better on the rougher track.

But to return to air starters... I recall heading out to Sydney Airport in the late 1950s to farewell our next door neighbour who was the senior engineer of the Royal Navy's Fourth Submarine Squadron which had been based in Sydney since WWII and remained there until the RAN got its own submarines in the 1970s. We were used to seeing poeple of to the UK by ship, but this was the first time anyone flew all that way.

The aircraft was a BOAC Bristol Britannia powered by Bristol Proteus turboprops. The first engine was started by by a ground compressor unit and i think that was the loudest thing I'd ever heard up to that time. I think they were able to start the other turbines using bleed air from the first, and the sound of the starter was muffled by the considerable whine of the first turbine. In those days you could stand on the hardstand separated only by a low fence from an international flight.

I was reminded of this in Port Hedland in 1976 when a Lockheed Electra arrived with a computer system for the port conveyer belts. There being no ground compressor unit within a 1000 miles in any direction, one of the Allison turboprops was left running for the two hours it was on the ground, and this became annoying some five miles away inside the railroad offices.

As to the sound of the C636, the 16 cylinder 251F had a single pipe exhaust manifold, unlike the four pipe manifolds on the twelve cylinder 251s on the state systems. Anyway, the sixteens produced a chugging noise very similar to the GE FDL engines quite different from the sound of a twelve cylinder.

There was a load bank at Nelson Point and I recall walking past a C636 locomotive at full throttle with my ears covered and noticing that I could feel the vibration through my steel capped safety boots.

Peter

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:48 AM

Interesting Penn Central lashup including first and second generation Diesels and the failed added colour to the mating worms logo. There was some criticism that their loco's were too stark looking so they added red into the PC but its soon faded to an awful shade of pink. Nothing was going right for Penn Central at this point. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 24, 2018 10:02 AM

Unusual and slightly weird looking RS3m.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 24, 2018 11:31 AM

Miningman

Unusual and slightly weird looking RS3m.

 

I believe what you have there is a fairly typical example of a 'DeWitt Geep'.  There is a 567 under the elevated cowling required for the greater engine height.  These were successful conversions that lasted many years... unlike the NYC project to put a 16-567 in a PB as a test, similar to something ATSF tried in a trio of subsequently famous PAs, for a very short time.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, February 24, 2018 7:39 PM

http://pc.smellycat.com/pics/equip/pc8062.jpg

Another more unusual rebuild.  Guess who originally built this?

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, February 24, 2018 7:45 PM

Image result for lima diesel engined emd

And the other (hint, they're not ALCOs...).

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 24, 2018 7:57 PM

 Definitely Lima's! They looked real sharp when new. RIP Lima

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, February 24, 2018 8:32 PM

Knew that one would be too easy for the quiz!

A shame Lima never really got their feet under them in diesel production. 

Wouldn't it be fitting if the successor company to either Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton or ALCO bought GE's locomotive business?

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 24, 2018 8:58 PM

My opinion is that those are exactly the kind of questions we need in the quiz to attract more participants. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 24, 2018 10:18 PM

I'm surprised that the NYC Limas made it into Penn Central paint. Don't think any of those quite handsome Pennsy big centre cab units Lima/Baldwin did. Obviously as Overmod stated, the 567 conversion was a success so they shouldered on, keep 'em going and use 'em up.  

Yes indeed a resurrection of a true builders name for GE would be fitting indeed. 

I mean besides building a nation and winning  the war, what else did Baldwin, Lima, Alco do? I suppose Alco sort of lives on, as a ghost anyway, at Bombardier. 

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, February 25, 2018 5:51 PM

Overmod

 Miningman

Unusual and slightly weird looking RS3m.

  

I believe what you have there is a fairly typical example of a 'DeWitt Geep'.  There is a 567 under the elevated cowling required for the greater engine height.  These were successful conversions that lasted many years... 

 
The Alco 244 and EMD 567 engines were very similar in dimensions...
 
Some thought regarding the size of the hoods of EMD switchers which were, if anything, lower than the Alco 244 hoods, would indicate that.
 
However, the EMD 567 was designed to allow the removal of complete power assemblies, the cylinder liner, head, piston and connecting rod in the field. By contrast, the Alco 244 did not allow the connecting rod to be pulled through the cylinder liner and changing such components outside a major workshop was discouraged.
 
The "hump" added to some RS-3 conversions was to allow the 567 power assemblies to be withdrawn without needing to remove the engine hood. Some of the NYC conversions had hinged hatches added to the original hood which served the same purpose.
 
I seem to recall being told that the engines were 12-567A engines removed from E-7s and so would be rated at 1000 HP, quite a drop from the 1600HP of the 244. However, the unit pictured has two 36 inch cooling fans which would suggest that the generator has a companion alternator added. So this might suggest that the engine and generator came from an E8, or that PC added the fans and companion alternator to the package.
 
I assume that the Lima units had some removable panels that allowed removal of the power assemblies.
 
Peter
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 26, 2018 10:13 AM

Did the Pennsy do any of these conversions? 

Did they ever consider, for a brief fleeting moment anyway, of repowering the Bp 20's ( Passenger Sharks) or the Centipedes? I suppose that would involve even the trucks and traction motors, utilizing only the carbody. They were certainly unique and quite visually stunning. Regardless, they were toast before Penn Central was formed.

On second thought, a Bp 20 and a Centipede in PC black with the mating worms logo would be a great disappointment to what they used to look like. 

Looking back it's such a shame we did not keep a set of each. They would be rock stars today. 

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Posted by K4sPRR on Monday, February 26, 2018 6:36 PM

Did the Pennsy ever consider conversions, yes they did.  In 1958 three Baldwin Shark freight units were damaged and repaired by ALCo.  The engine, main and auxiliary generator, and control system were all replaced with equipment found with ALCo 1800HP road switchers.  The running gear remained original, the engine was an ALCo 251, GE generators and Westinghouse traction motors.D

This attempt by the PRR was found to be successful but they also discovered from a cost standpoint it was not worth it thus refraining from any major conversions in the future. 

Due to the unusual configuration of Centipedes, mandating a mated pair to operate as a single unit, I doubt any conversion would have been feasible or cost effective.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 9:50 AM

The Shark conversions were interesting.  One 'traditional' thing about Baldwins was that it was difficult if not impossible to use the Westinghouse main generator, as it was wound to work with a prime mover that peaked just over 600rpm.  And another was the whole air-throttle MU control 'thing' -- Baldwin made a compatibility option but it was fairly expensive and its engineering details varied by unit 'as built', an infuriating thing for shop forces.

The three Shark rebuilds were essentially contemporary Alco road switchers above the deck, and bulletproof Westinghouse 370s below.  Note how easily the improvement to 1800hp was accommodated.

The problem was that you still had only 1800hp, in  stylish but not easy to see out of carbody, in an era rapidly moving toward high unit horsepower for four-axle units and higher unit horsepower on six axles for the jobs the rebuilt Sharks would do.

I might have toyed with the idea of something like the LRC locomotive engine and trucks as a rebuild for dedicated TrucTrain service if the urge to rebuild older power for 'tax' purposes had persisted in this respect a little longer.  But that would still be a locomotive suited to niche service.

Likewise there were some interesting possibilities with the BP20 'platform', either with two 251s or one enormous one.  Remember that the freight Shark conversion came a year after the very enlightening testing of a big six-motor 2400hp Alco on PRR commuter service in New Jersey, so there was great opportunity for converting the passenger Sharks that ran precisely there for so long instead of 'buying new'  In the event, of course, all the trains-off in the mid-Sixties freed up all sorts of paid-for Es (first E7s and then E8s) and the golden opportunity of government capital subsidy was just getting under way (CNJ GP40Ps being one very successful example), so there was a kind of 'hole' just in the years PRR was retiring and rationalizing weird nonstandard power -- even fairly good, or 'salvageable' power -- to get their expenses manageable etc.

 

The Centipedes were a high-speed chassis with low-speed engines.  They were a reasonable concept as such as late as Kiefer's report in 1947, but only if you needed relatively high speed on relatively light track with short length for the horsepower.  That was just the opposite of the Dilworth design philosophy in the F-unit era, and I think it's fairly easy to see which was a 'better' answer to railroad managements of that time.

Centipedes would make full sense only as a more reliable version of the Essl concept: 6000hp or more in a single unit.  I don't think there was any good way to get that many 251 ponies in that chassis and cool them too... and even then you still have traction-motor blower ducts that don't line up on curves, about a thousand brakeshoes needing fairly frequent replacement, and the whole 6000hp shebang out of service if any of the physical systems went bad.

NO point in rebuilding 'in kind' to 3000hp -- as with the Alco Shark rebuilds, not enough bang for the buck.  (But confess, it would be fun to see a pair of them with Shark noses...)

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:02 PM

Nice ...fascinating. 

How about a mythical race from a standing start between the S1 and a Centipede set. Say 5 miles out of Crestline on the Fort Wayne division. 

Who wins after 5 miles on straight track...5 miles, standing start. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 4:22 PM

In the end it was maintenance that made the biggest difference once the equipment trusts were paid up.  For every penny an EMD cost in maintenance, an Alco cost one and a half, an FM two and a half, a Baldwin three, a Lima four...  Baldwin's 606A and 608A were respectable but very late.  GE was the first to end up about even in cost, but without EMD's parts network in the beginning.  Baldwins, Limas and FMs were also needy, and didn't work well when less than adequate maintenance was applied.

It's really interesting to look at system assignments for various builders.  On railroads as different as Soo Line and SP, power from minority builders tended to drift toward shops that "liked" them and knew how to deal with them.  On the SP, that meant that FMs ended up in the Bay Area, and Alcos and Baldwins ended up in the LA basin and Oregon before pollution laws forced them out.  PRR seemed to be determined to put a few of each at major terminals.

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