ACL Passenger Diesels from the 40's

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ACL Passenger Diesels from the 40's
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, February 7, 2020 7:37 PM

I have the book 'Atlantic Coast Line - standard railroad of the South' by  William E. Griffin Jr.

One of the photos in the book show a train passing Moncrief Tower in Jacksonville in January 1947, being hauled by one of the company's E6's - The photo shows a 'cable' or 'hose' descending from a fitting or fixture just under the top headlight housing to the grab iron above the firemans side footboard step.  What???

In loolking at other photos of E6's and E7's from the 40's period, each A unit seems to have some kind of 'fixture' about 1 to 2 inches in diameter underneath the top headlight housing.  The fixture is not present on E8's from the 50's,  The fixture only appears on engines painted in the ACL's purple & silver livery of the Champion Davis era; not the black with a yellow stripe livery of the Rice era of the ACL.

I have never seen this 'fitting' on any other company's A untis?  Any ideas of what its purpose is?

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 7, 2020 9:39 PM

There has been quite a bit of controversy about this over the years.  First it was thought to be the train communication signal line when a cab was trailing, then it was the special connection for the early electropneumatic brake system, then it was a combined logic and power cable for mid-consist connection.  The hose appeared to have a gladhand on its outer end, not a connector.  

Here is a page of discussion on the topic.

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00BeNf

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 8, 2020 7:52 AM

Overmod
There has been quite a bit of controversy about this over the years.  First it was thought to be the train communication signal line when a cab was trailing, then it was the special connection for the early electropneumatic brake system, then it was a combined logic and power cable for mid-consist connection.  The hose appeared to have a gladhand on its outer end, not a connector.  

Here is a page of discussion on the topic.

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00BeNf

Thanks for the link.  The overall concensus of the comments is that while there are many valid theories, no one really knows.   Another element of history lost in time.  I did notice that two of the commenters were the authors of the two ACL books that I have. 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 8, 2020 9:22 AM

BaltACD
The overall concensus of the comments is that while there are many valid theories, no one really knows.

That is, at the end of the day, the fascinating take-home message.  This despite the research that actually went to the guys who probably installed and maintained it... or thought so, anyway.

Note that is is at least theoretically possible that the connection was implemented for one thing, then converted to another at a later date.  (And then plugged off and later removed still later.)

 

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Posted by ruderunner on Saturday, February 8, 2020 4:38 PM

lacking a photo im going to guess they're mu retrofits.  Iirc ACL typically ran their unit circus style vs back to back.  I've seen a hatch in a nearby location in several photos of various e and f units. And if memory serves,  the mu connection was fairly high on the rear. 

Modeling the Cleveland and Pittsburgh during the PennCentral era starting on the Cleveland lakefront and ending in Mingo junction

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:04 PM

ruderunner
lacking a photo im going to guess they're mu retrofits.  Iirc ACL typically ran their unit circus style vs back to back.  I've seen a hatch in a nearby location in several photos of various e and f units. And if memory serves,  the mu connection was fairly high on the rear. 

In searching around the net - I am amazed at the paucity of photos of the operation of the ACL during the 40's & 50's.  Even http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/ has few pictures of the period.

What is being talked about in this thread IS NOT covered by a hatch cover - it is right out in the open, several inches below the top headlight fairing and above the nose door.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:34 PM

When I first saw this thread I did manage to dig up a couple blurry photos with this mystery attachment, but now I can't find them.

It is definitely NOT the standard 21/24/27/whatever pin MU port, though it may have been a custom version of that as is stated in the thread Overmod linked. 

And I suspect it is not the communication/supplementary air line either, that has always been down below the drawbar with the brake pipe hose. 

I would have guessed that it was something to do with the HSC brake system, which was also speculated on in the other thread. 

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:43 AM

Keep in mind that there are two doors flanking the headlight casing, in quite a few ACL pictures, and these are discussed in some of the posts in the thread I quoted.  The one on the fireman's side of the nose is supposed to be the definitive connector for the special brake system, but as I recall they never discuss how the 'switchable' mode for the proportioning was implemented.

It is clearly something meant to connect a trailing slant nose to the passenger consist, perhaps even two 'mutual' slant noses facing each other as part of an ABA consist turned funny.  The fellow who saw a gladhand connection at the end was pretty unambiguous about it.  This leads me to wonder what might have involved air as a control signal in the very early days that was subsequently, perhaps quickly, replaced with something electrical, and still later substituted into another kind of connector (or better 'automated').

Perhaps a little outside-the-box thinking will get us to the right research line.

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:47 AM

A photo would help...if nothing else than to confuse the rest of us blind mice!

.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:21 AM

BigJim
A photo would help...if nothing else than to confuse the rest of us blind mice!

Would be nice if I could find one on the Web -- so far, I can't.  If anyone does, pleeeeeease link its URL here.

The referenced photographs are apparently in two books.  One is Warren Calloway's "Atlantic Coast Line: The Diesel Years" (the specific picture is on p.97).  The other, mentioned without specific pages or images, is Griffin's "Atlantic Coast Line: Standard Railroad of the South" (which is badly in the toils of the rare-book scamsters if you want a copy!)  I have neither book, and in any case would be leery of making a scan for open Internet posting of even of a small part of an image in a copyrighted work ...

It is possible that Prince ("Atlantic Coast Line Railroad", 2000) has a picture of the arrangement somewhere.

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