Penn Central 50 years

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 4:53 PM

Quoting rcdrye " PRR seemed to be determined to put a few of each at major terminals."--spread the misery?Smile

Johnny

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 5:37 PM

rcdrye
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...

This unreliable-Lima business is very sad to hear because the detail design of the engine and other physical systems on the locomotive was specifically done for long life and DFM.  Up to now, I had thought the "problem" with them was that all new production was deprecated almost as soon as the ink was dry on the BLH merger, in favor of far less maintainable invented-in-Eddystone designs.  It did not help that the Hamilton engine had no sensible upgrade oath to second-generation or larger power -- that was for free-piston engines -- but I thought it was a better choice for the intended service than the highly massive Baldwin/DeLa Vergne-derived engines were.

 

Baldwin's 606A and 608A were respectable but very late.

So late in fact that they missed the prospective cut for second-generation power.  Heaven knows the Belgian license-built engines were competitive into the Seventies ... for European and export power needs.  (And better standards of build quality and DFM, etc,etc,etc.)  I would argue that a 1500hp engine with a jewelry crankshaft that size is not a good fit apart from outfits like SMS that care about the advantages and work out the goofiness.

GE was the first to end up about even in cost, but without EMD's parts network in the beginning. 

But how much of early GE was precisely the cheap front-loading price advantage covering for a decreased running reliability and weird somewhat-over engineered tech that could go obsolescent alarmingly fast?

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 9:05 AM

Overmod
But how much of early GE was precisely the cheap front-loading price advantage covering for a decreased running reliability and weird somewhat-over engineered tech that could go obsolescent alarmingly fast?

It's no accident that U-boats went a lot faster than EMDs of the same generation.  Soo Line's 10 U30C's (800-809) showed up with great promise for the hotshot trains (by Soo's standards) between Schiller Park (Chicago) and Shoreham (Minneapolis).  First downgraded to Chicago transfer duty, later transferred to Twin Cities transfer duty so they were near the shop, rarely straying farther than Duluth/Superior.  They were eventually sidelined often enough that Soo bought out their leases before they expired (the lease option was part of GE's perceived price advantage) and traded them in.  They were out of road service before most of the F7s.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 3:03 PM

Answer: nobody.

Centipede train has dramatic low-speed acceleration with all those Westinghouse motors; one consequence of the engine architecture is there's enough available power even with the engine at idle to make power sufficient to take the light engine to 25mph or better.

Theoretical point at which rising S1 cylinder hp meets Baldwin constant-power hyperbola coming down is probably around 40-45mph; 'peak' of the horsepower curve for the S1 nominally higher than that (don't have the stats available to me).  So when the S1 gets to that speed its train will be well behind the Centipede's train but closing the gap.

At which point the ground-fault relay on one or both Baldwins starts kicking out, the engine starts 'souping', and it would be looking bad if it were not for the inception of high-speed slipping on the S1 forward engine that damages the valve gear and impairs practical lubrication and ruins the fire and pulls some boiler structure loose with the additional draft.  (Not as bad as the S2, but no fun).

Now, as noted in Thoroughbreds, don't put a third column in for the E7 powered train; it likely won't be up to speed by the next station.  But it will get there...

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 5:53 PM

Well thats depressing. Were the Centipedes not put up front on the Broadway at the start? There must have been some kind of test run beforehand. Guess they didn't get too far on the Broadway.  The S1 ran some passenger trains into Crestline, no? here and there, nothing regular I assume. 

No third entry...want to keep this with the biggest cast frame behemoths ever. I suppose the T1's sort of qualify and sure as heck not the E7's, but no to both. Did the Centipedes successfully conclude any passenger run start to finish? You really don't think either could handle even 5 miles flat out? I think the S1 from about the 2.5 mile marker on.

Baldwin must have been embarrassed, hope they made some amends that cost them, although the demise of Eddystone was far too severe. 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 7:18 PM

Intended as humor only.

The 'double Centipedes' were intended as diesel T1s, just as the T1s were steam GG1s.    Any consist anywhere will go 100mph with a single locomotive, no special tinkering or doubling hills necessary...

The S1 was overkill from the pre-Depression idea PRR had to run regular fleets at very high average speeds, getting rid of all its historic old bottlenecks with modern construction that would make the efforts of Rea and Cassatt and Atterbury, significant as they were, part of true high speed.  (The last vestige of this was the 'passenger' V1 Loewy was pushing circa 1947; it took Government incentive and money to achieve a hollow shadow of the idea with fancy MUs from New York to Washington over two decades later...

Now the S1 specs involved 1000 ton consists at steady 100mph.  Contrast that with doubleheaded K4s that could get to about 93 before starting to develop scary guiding and riding defects.  Think of it as two Milwaukee Atlantics instead of E6s under a common boiler ... and then tell me how long a train is represented by 1000 tons of the lightweight aluminum cars Mr. Klepper so liked in the Fleet of Modernism ... and who has platforms that long?  I have little doubt even with an effective FA over 5 this would be developing high-speed slipping and a host of other issues at 'max weight' even if track were ideal.

Could it be fixed?  Perhaps.  But even the T1 at 880 tons was 'surplus to many requirements'.  ASSUREDLY 16 great axles of power was more than needed even with primitive wheelslip control, just as 2 sets of 2 was too few.  I do not think the Centipede pairs were anywhere near as wack as the M-1s (and I am prepared to be as forgiving of railfan misstatement of fact regarding them just as I am for the production T1s) -- the problem was detail design on the one hand and fixing problems expediently when recognized on the other.  If there is ANY source of unreliability in your first-string passenger power it's bad; when it takes hours to troubleshoot what may be a simple issue, it only matters that the train was delayed.  And if there are a thousand little places a surprise showstopper can develop and they get worse and more numerous with mileage or age... you will be finding more and more excuses to use things that don't have all those failures...

Meanwhile, if you no longer have trains that need 6000 go at 100 mph, a Dilworth solution looks increasingly attractive.  Support it well ... and provide attractive financing options as well as reliable support... and you will not be too surprised at Centipedes going where PRR could use their alternate advantages...

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 8:48 PM

Great stuff. Thanks for the response and time. They were pulled off the Broadway right quick. 

Well they got stuck with 24 of them. Besides pushers on Horseshoe did they try anything else? Does anyone know why the UP rejected/cancelled the 2 they ordered? A very bad blind date, best forgotten?

Did Seaboard make out any better with them?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 01, 2018 7:12 AM

As far as I know Seaboard was delighted with them, and so was NdeM, both being railroads with comparatively light track but wanting higher speed (and perhaps valuing shorter overall power length).

The real tale, of course, is in the economics: Baldwin went to conventional carbody-on-trucks construction just as fast as they could, and the massive cast underframe/multiplicity of wheels, while having plenty of advantage for electrics, was recognized as overkill for most contemporary dieselization even by the end of the War (see Dolzall for what Baldwin was doing).

Had the Essl locomotive with 408s or even 412s been made to succeed, there would have been a big reason for the design.  I have always thought this was associated with the UP business (this was just after the experiment with condensing steam turbines). 6000hp Good ... 3000hp meh...

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Posted by K4sPRR on Thursday, March 01, 2018 8:40 AM

[quote user= Besides pushers on Horseshoe did they try anything else?

 

 

[/quote]

After the PRR downgraded the Centipedes even their assignments in helper service was plagued with problems.  The non-powered front pilot trucks had a bad habit of derailing trying to negotiate track curvature when on a hard push.  It did not take long for them to be placed in storage.  Some did return to limited service in helper service on more suitable tracks and ocassional hump service in eastern PA.  Other short lived assignments included ore trains. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, March 01, 2018 10:19 AM

I could see problems for Centipedes even as hump pushers.  Imagine what would happen with that long cast frame when they went over the vertical curve at the crest of the hump.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, March 01, 2018 10:22 AM

Seaboard's Centipedes could MU with anything else, at least in back - in fact all of Seaboard's Baldwins could.  The gave them an assignment flexibility the drawbar-linked pairs of PRR's BP60/BH50 could never hope to have.  I seem to remember that NdeM's did not MU, but as single units they didn't take up as much shop space when things went wrong.  NdeM had the usual turbo fireworks problem with the 608SC engine.  To fix that Baldwin developed the "Mexican Hat" piston - named for its shape, not the Centipedes' owner - about 1953, which fixed the problem of unburned fuel "souping" the turbocharger.  As seemed to be the case for lots of Baldwin's engineering, it was too late for most of their customers to care.  Nonetheless NdeM's Centipedes lasted into the 1970s, long after anybody else's.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 01, 2018 11:17 AM

Actually, probably comparatively little problem negotiating foot-of-hump to top-of-hump vertical curves, for the same reason Alco's high-speed mods to the Mallet chassis worked; the differential is taken up in the equalization and, presumably, the articulation joint between underframes could be eased a bit vertically if there is too much unloading of the outer axles or trucks.

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