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The 50,000th locomotive built by ALCO was a Pacific

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The 50,000th locomotive built by ALCO was a Pacific
Posted by graymatter on Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:50 PM

Warning; This article may be to sensitive to people who are  close to steam Locomotives. Reader descretion is advied. 

'The Railway and Locomotive Histrorical Soceity 1952 Bulletin No. 85'

EDIT 

Title was corrected thanks oldtime1

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Posted by oldline1 on Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:10 PM

Actually, it was the 50,000th LOCOMOTIVE built by ALCo..........not the "50,000th Pacific built by ALCO 1910".

Roger Huber

Deer Creek Locomotive Works

 

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Friday, May 19, 2017 1:35 PM

I'm not buying the consecutive number of the builders plates.  Alco was created in 1901 through the consolidation of Brooks, Cooke, and five other locomotive builders.  A quick Wiki search of the predecessor companies production wouldn't come much over a combined 15,000 (high end estimate) prior to 1901. Building a futher 35,000 in nine years would be over 10 a day.  Even with all of thier predecessor plants, it would still average nearly two locomotives per day per plant.  That seems rather high.

Ray 

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, May 19, 2017 3:09 PM

It does look suspicious.

According to this site:

https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Steam%20locomotive%20production

production in the US for the nine years was 42452.  Breaking that down is interesting.  Baldwin was the biggest.  Alco was apparently second.  And then who?  So we could arbitrarily guess and say Alco did 15000 in those years.  That means the comprising companies would have to have produced 35000 locomotives previously.  Total previous production of locomotives was 71000 (Bruce, "The Steam Locomotive in America).  So they'd have had to have made about half.  Which MIGHT work.  Except for Baldwin, it looks like Alco pretty much was "everyone else".

Finding real actual numbers would be a task.  And a half.  But from the above, I wouldn't be shocked to see the 50000 was right.  And I wouldn't if it wasn't.  

But, consider how embarrassing to Alco if someone (oh, I don't know, Baldwin????)(the Russians???) were to reveal the lie.  Oh, my, not good.

 

Ed

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:41 AM

7j43k

It does look suspicious.

According to this site:

https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Steam%20locomotive%20production

production in the US for the nine years was 42452.  Breaking that down is interesting.  Baldwin was the biggest.  Alco was apparently second.  And then who?  So we could arbitrarily guess and say Alco did 15000 in those years.  That means the comprising companies would have to have produced 35000 locomotives previously.  Total previous production of locomotives was 71000 (Bruce, "The Steam Locomotive in America).  So they'd have had to have made about half.  Which MIGHT work.  Except for Baldwin, it looks like Alco pretty much was "everyone else".

Finding real actual numbers would be a task.  And a half.  But from the above, I wouldn't be shocked to see the 50000 was right.  And I wouldn't if it wasn't.  

But, consider how embarrassing to Alco if someone (oh, I don't know, Baldwin????)(the Russians???) were to reveal the lie.  Oh, my, not good.

 

Ed

 

 

I have a (fairly rough) transcription of the Alco builder's list.

Schenectady started the combined number series at 25000 in 1901.

50000 sounds reasonable by 1910.

Peter

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, May 21, 2017 11:04 AM

A little tinkering with serial and production numbers wasn't unheard of, however. The first PA, advertised as ALCO's 75,000th locomotive, was actually not, but by changing the number more publicity could be garnered.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, May 21, 2017 11:52 AM

NorthWest

A little tinkering with serial and production numbers wasn't unheard of, however. The first PA, advertised as ALCO's 75,000th locomotive, was actually not, but by changing the number more publicity could be garnered.

 

 

Alco claimed to have made SN 50000 in 1910.

The source I mentioned says that 61109 locomotives were built in the US in the next 20 years.  Let's assume Alco built 1/3 of them.  That's 20,000 locomotives.

50,000 + 20,000 = 70,000

Alco would only have to build 5,000 more locomotives from 1930 to 1945 to get to the magic number of 75000.

Some of the above is approximating.  So it ain't exact.  But I am not seeing an obvious need for Alco to fudge the numbers.

 

Please explain your reasoning.  Are you saying the true number would have been something like, oh, 75012 or 74981; and they wanted a round number?  And in that case, what locomotive was the REAL S/N 75000?  Or are you saying they did some signicant inflation?  Because, up to now, we've been talking about the possibility of the latter.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, May 21, 2017 1:51 PM

The serial number for the initial demonstrator PA, later ATSF 51L, was builder number 75,000. I don't know the actual construction number, but ALCO hadn't reached 75,000 when it was built. GM&O recieved later PAs with serials 74,682 and 74,683 and Santa Fe 58L and 58B were 74,690 and 74,691. Several other railroads recieved later-built PAs that also had serials below 75,000. I'm guessing the true construction number was in the 74,670s. 

I don't know the 'true' 75,000th.

So not a lot of fudging, but certainly some, and so the 50,000 is probably not exact either, and could be off by a larger amount.

Some seem to have confused the unit with the one built for the American Freedom Train (74,696), but they were different locomotives.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, May 21, 2017 2:30 PM

Interesting.

So then the "error" in Alco calling the demo 75000 was .4%--what could be called a "rounding error".  Or not.

 

Thanks for the info,

 

Ed

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Posted by "JaBear" on Sunday, May 21, 2017 5:08 PM

7j43k
So then the "error" in Alco calling the demo 75000 was .4%--what could be called a "rounding error".  Or not.

Publicity/Marketing!!

Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, May 21, 2017 5:13 PM

Oh, yes.

It certainly wasn't an accidental error.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:52 PM

Alco built another prototype Pacific in 1924 which carried builder's number 65000, so 15000 onward from 1910, which carried the running number 5000 to fit with the New York Central who ran it as a demonstrator but purchased it and ran it as 6525 and later 4925 on the Big Four as a class K-5.

So Alco had done this well before they got to 75000.

Alco weren't alone in this:

In mid 1917, the Saxon Machine Works in Germany wanted their 4000th locomotive to appear impressive. They had in hand a group of large wheeled (1905mm) 2-8-2s class XVIII H for the Saxon State Railways, the first of which was to be their builder's number 3976. So they swapped builder's numbers with class of tank locomotives one of which, intended to be 4000, became 3976....

However, with nationalisation, the Deutche Reichsbahn renumbered the first locomotive as 19 005, rather than 19 001, because it had a higher builder's number.

Peter

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 2:29 AM

NorthWest

The serial number for the initial demonstrator PA, later ATSF 51L, was builder number 75,000. I don't know the actual construction number, but ALCO hadn't reached 75,000 when it was built. GM&O recieved later PAs with serials 74,682 and 74,683 and Santa Fe 58L and 58B were 74,690 and 74,691. Several other railroads recieved later-built PAs that also had serials below 75,000. I'm guessing the true construction number was in the 74,670s. 

I don't know the 'true' 75,000th.

So not a lot of fudging, but certainly some, and so the 50,000 is probably not exact either, and could be off by a larger amount.

Some seem to have confused the unit with the one built for the American Freedom Train (74,696), but they were different locomotives.

 

Looking at the list as a whole, it appears that the 7468x to 7469x series was a batch of unused numbers resulting from a cancelled order, possibly for steam locomotives, into which a batch of diesel locomotives was later placed.

The next ATSF PA/PB units after those in the 75000 - 75005 batch were built as 75315 - 75322, before those in the 7468x series.

The builder's numbers were not ever strictly chronological...

The first GM&O FA1/FB1 units, 73292 to 73320, follow a batch of Russian Decapods built the previous year, which I take to be filling a gap left by a cancelled order.

Peter

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