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Erie E8s as freight locos (at least plausible?)

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Erie E8s as freight locos (at least plausible?)
Posted by Brammy on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:06 PM

I have set of Erie e8s I usually use as passenger locomotive. Recently I was thinking they would look pretty sharp pulling a freight. I know the EL regeared their e8s for freight service, but that doesn’t help my poor Erie e8s. From all the books I looked at, I can’t find a single photo of an Erie e8 pulling anything other than a passenger train. However, photos of that era online and in print may not prove the negative. So, I am curious if anyone knows if there was a chance the Erie e8s could have pulled a freight, or were they 100% only used on passenger traffic?

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:30 PM

Enough power?

 E-L_E8-826_chi by Edmund, on Flickr

November, 1966. Chicago, Ill.

I used to train-watch along the Erie between Meadville, PA and Marion, Oh. There were many instances through the early 1970s that I saw Es on freight and once, an Alco PA. They traded in the PAs rather early, though.

Several of my Erie books show E-L passenger engines on freight. Those photos can't be posted here, though.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrongmain/8619538577/in/album-72157632666034229/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrongmain/15802029999/in/album-72157632666034229/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrongmain/25929868653/in/album-72157632666034229/

 

Hope that helps, Ed

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:57 PM
The gotcha is, those are EL e8s. I am inquiring into the Erie two-tone green E8s pre-merger. My googling usually turns up plenty if EL e8s in freight service, However, pre-merger Erie e8s I haven’t seen in freight service.
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, June 24, 2019 3:14 PM

Sorry.

I'm not aware of seeing any ERIE E8s in freight service.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Erie1951 on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:35 PM

I lived a stone's throw away from the Erie main in Northern NJ and only saw E units in passenger service in the pre-merger or post-merger years. The freights that I saw were always pulled by geeps or FT lash-ups. 

Russ

Modeling the early '50s Erie in Paterson, NJ.  Here's the link to my railroad postcard collection: https://railroadpostcards.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:39 PM

Erie1951

I lived a stone's throw away from the Erie main in Northern NJ and only saw E units in passenger service in the pre-merger or post-merger years. The freights that I saw were always pulled by geeps or FT lash-ups. 

 

 

Thank you. That is exactly the information I was looking for. I wasn't sure about post-merger days and that answers it!

 

Thanks again.

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:18 PM

Brammy
I wasn't sure about post-merger days and that answers it!

I thought the photo links I provided were post-merger?

Oh well, maybe next time.

Ed

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:18 PM

As reported by Diesel Era, the Erie-Lackawanna Alco PA's actually were regeared and served in freight service for a couple years.  However, it was a big railroad and only some of the units--not all of them--ran on freight.

It is also true the E-units lasted much longer than the PA's in freight service.

John 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:24 PM

Erie1951

I lived a stone's throw away from the Erie main in Northern NJ and only saw E units in passenger service in the pre-merger or post-merger years. The freights that I saw were always pulled by geeps or FT lash-ups. 

 

Russ,I thought the Erie had more RS3s then Geeps? I have Vignettes Of The Eria-Lacawanna Volumes 1&2 (Clear Block Video) and there's a lot of the Alco RS3s in those videos. 

Larry

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:44 PM

gmpullman

 

 
Brammy
I wasn't sure about post-merger days and that answers it!

 

I thought the photo links I provided were post-merger?

Oh well, maybe next time.

Ed

 

 

They were. The lack of clarity was on my end. I was thinking of the period where the railroads had merged, but the new branding and paint schemes hadn't taken effect, and the regearing hadn't happened.

Kinda one of those, "Look, Bob. I know you said those e8s are never, ever used for freight, but we have a new way of doing things so put those units on the eastbound, ok?"

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Posted by Erie1951 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:49 AM

BRAKIE
Russ,I thought the Erie had more RS3s then Geeps? I have Vignettes Of The Eria-Lacawanna Volumes 1&2 (Clear Block Video) and there's a lot of the Alco RS3s in those videos. 

The Erie had RS3s configured with steam generators for passenger service and without for freight. On the main, long freights weren't pulled by the road switchers, but used elsewhere for shorter ones. I remember the commuter trains being headed up by the passenger RS3s very well and even got a cab ride in one when I was a kid. Smile, Wink & Grin

Russ

Modeling the early '50s Erie in Paterson, NJ.  Here's the link to my railroad postcard collection: https://railroadpostcards.blogspot.com/

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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 10:10 AM

     According to the EL roster in the June 1968 issue of Extra 2200 South, The Locomotive Newsmagazine, the Erie brought 52 GP-7s and 6 GP-9s to the marriage, while the much smaller Lackawanna brought 20 GP-7s.  The Erie supplied 19 RS-2s and, 54 RS-3s while Lackawanna contributed 18 RS-3s.  The EL's count would have been 78 geeps to 91 "tubs" (ALCo RS's).

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Posted by Erie1951 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 11:32 AM

NHTX

     According to the EL roster in the June 1968 issue of Extra 2200 South, The Locomotive Newsmagazine, the Erie brought 52 GP-7s and 6 GP-9s to the marriage, while the much smaller Lackawanna brought 20 GP-7s.  The Erie supplied 19 RS-2s and, 54 RS-3s while Lackawanna contributed 18 RS-3s.  The EL's count would have been 78 geeps to 91 "tubs" (ALCo RS's).

 

Good info. Thanks! Thumbs Up

Russ

Modeling the early '50s Erie in Paterson, NJ.  Here's the link to my railroad postcard collection: https://railroadpostcards.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Brammy on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 7:28 AM
Also, this may be a situation where I allow myself some creative license and allow for the incorrectness. Because those units would look great pulling a freight train.
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Friday, June 28, 2019 6:05 PM

A "creative license" use could be that a unit on a fast freight developed a problem, and the only suitable replacement at that terminal/yard was a passenger E unit...

Though I’ve not seen prototypical proof of this, it is at least plausible.

Ricky W.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, June 28, 2019 8:35 PM

Brammy
Also, this may be a situation where I allow myself some creative license and allow for the incorrectness. Because those units would look great pulling a freight train.
 

If you allow for "all things railroad" then a E8 may have been press into freight service on a hot trailer train or perhaps a reefer block. PRR was not above using a passenger locomotive on a local between runs.

Larry

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Posted by Brammy on Friday, June 28, 2019 9:15 PM

BRAKIE

If you allow for "all things railroad" then a E8 may have been press into freight service on a hot trailer train or perhaps a reefer block. PRR was not above using a passenger locomotive on a local between runs.

 

 

I belong to a club, and model two eras, sort of. I model the EL and pre-merger railroads, with an emphasis more on the EL, and modern-day Union Pacific around 2007- present. As such, I tend to work on making sure a train I run is consistent but don't need to worry about being completely correct. So, no EL/Erie power pulling my stacks. I am always willing to have a historian comment on incorrectness, accept the feedback, and go on my way.

It is not overly likely I will run the E8s as freight often. However, if I am planning on running my passenger train and bring a freight of that era, I may decide against also bringing two more locos and use the e8s.

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, June 29, 2019 8:23 AM

No railroad would buy an E8 for dual service.  They have too little tractive effort to haul much freight and to high a minimum continuous speed (mostly because of traction motor gear ratio) to get over much of a grade with any tonnage without cooking the traction motors.

That said, as passenger service dwindled, railroads like EL found themselves with a roster full of E8s and little money to replace them with good, new freight locomotives.  So, they found niches where they could economically use them in freight service.  These would be short, flat routes with relatively small trains.

Another place they would be an okay fit would be on short intermodal trains or mail trains.

Perhaps you can envision a situation where you have some M-F passenger service and the E8s are used on an extra section of a short freight train on weekends.  

It's always good to have an interesting, plausible story to go with what you're doing - sometimes more than it is finding prototype story to match....

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Saturday, June 29, 2019 12:01 PM

In the late 70s and early 80s the Milwaukee used E units in orange and black on grain trains at 10 to 20 mph.  I don't know if they were regeared.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, June 30, 2019 6:01 PM

    For all those interested and, have access to the September 1968 issue of Trains magazine, in the Railroad News Photos section on page ten, is a photo of one good reason NOT to run aging E units on other than passenger trains.  There is a photograph of Penn Central mail and express train 5 at Depew, NY.  The train is stopped on the four track main, headed by GP40 3044 and three E7s, two of which are former NYC units, the 4004, and the 4014.  The 4004 and the 4014 are wreathed in smoke and the caption says the engine crew is manning the fire extinguishers to deal with the blazing traction motors under them.  That flexi-van consist looks to be about 25 cars long, easily within the capabilities of the GP40 which was added when the E's "began to falter", according to the caption.  Depew is not in mountainous territory so, maybe old age is catching up to the E's. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, June 30, 2019 8:45 PM

NHTX
That flexi-van consist looks to be about 25 cars long, easily within the capabilities of the GP40 which was added when the E's "began to falter", according to the caption. Depew is not in mountainous territory so, maybe old age is catching up to the E's.

That's nothing new for PC  motivepower.. The majory was running on bailing wire,duct tape and high hopes of the crew on finishing their run.. Another thing 4 or more units was needed in case two or more units failed enroute which was common..

The E units was failing on passenger trains as well as the passenger cars.

Larry

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, June 30, 2019 9:26 PM

    With passenger traffic drying up and being of little use for anything else, why put money into something basically useless.  Wring the last bit of life out of 'em and call the scrap man.  Most owners of passenger power followed this route in the 70s.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, July 01, 2019 2:03 AM

But Erie Lackawanna couldn’t afford to buy new diesels. So they re-geared their fleet of Grey/Maroon E8’s for freight service. I’ve seen photos of them on Google from the 1970’s pulling freight trains eastbound and westbound. I don’t recall seeing any Erie Green E8’s in freight service. 

Erie’s Green E8’s were used in passenger service only. The Black/Yellow F7’s handled freight.

I would love to see a picture of all Green E8’s or one Green E8 on the headend pulling a piggyback or a general freight. If such a thing actually happened on EL, it was extremely rare and probably a one-time only thing.

EL was weak like all the roads in the northeast, but somewhat stronger than PC, where locomofive failures/derailments occurred frequently and freight trains were becoming lost all over the railroad. 

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, July 01, 2019 7:33 AM

ATSFGuy

Erie’s Green E8’s were used in passenger service only. The Black/Yellow F7’s handled freight.

I would love to see a picture of all Green E8’s or one Green E8 on the headend pulling a piggyback or a general freight. If such a thing actually happened on EL, it was extremely rare and probably a one-time only thing.

EL was weak like all the roads in the northeast, but somewhat stronger than PC, where locomofive failures/derailments occurred frequently and freight trains were becoming lost all over the railroad. 

 

I have done as exhaustive research on this as possible, and yes, I can’t find a single photo or reference to a Two-tone pulling a freight. Of course, some Erie passenger trains had enough box cars on the front I was fooled into thinking it was a freight train. That said, if YouTube was around in the 50s, I would make all of our lives easier since there is so much good information out there for reference.

As I mentioned, it might not stop me from running my E8s every now and then on a freight, but I won‘t make it a regular occurance. 

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Posted by NHTX on Monday, July 01, 2019 11:45 AM

Brammy, what you do on your layout, with assets you own, in the privacy of your own home, is nobody's business but yours. Enjoy your Erie E-8s!

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Tuesday, July 02, 2019 1:20 PM

Take a picture of those Green HO Scale Erie E8's pulling a freight train on your layout, the first two face fowards and the third one backwards, I'd love to see it!

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Posted by Autonerd on Friday, July 05, 2019 9:34 PM

NHTX
one good reason NOT to run aging E units on other than passenger trains... That flexi-van consist looks to be about 25 cars long

Technically, Flexi-Vans would have been considered passenger equipment, sort of -- they were treated same as "head-end" cars (baggage, RPO, express box/reefer) and were run on NYC passenger and express trains. You'll find 'em behind all sorts of passenger equipment, though I don't know if this was still the case in the PC days.

NYC always seemed to have lots of cars behind few locomotives... it was, mostly, the "Water Level Route". A real pain at my club which has 2% grades in the mountain region. Thank goodness for Proto Es, PAs, and Eries, two of which can haul a 15-car passenger train through the hills. :)

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Posted by Autonerd on Friday, July 05, 2019 9:37 PM

PS, to the OP: It's your train, do as you like. :) Dunno if it was Erie practice, but it's possible, perhaps even plausible, that an E with a freshly rebuilt engine could have been "test run" on a freight, or that a motive power shortage could have had them scrambling for anything. Such shortages and breakdowns resulted in some rather unlikely consists in the late New York Central/Penn Central era. "DId the engine start? Great, dispatch it!"

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Posted by NHTX on Saturday, July 06, 2019 1:40 AM

    The Proto Es, PAs and Eries have an advantage over their prototypes, in that all of their axles are powered (C-C) wheel arrangement like an SD-9, RSD-12 or H24-66.  The prototypes' center axle is an unpowered idler which reduces the weight on the drivers, thus tractive effort, making for a smoother ride at higher speeds.

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Posted by Brammy on Sunday, July 07, 2019 11:04 AM

ATSFGuy

Take a picture of those Green HO Scale Erie E8's pulling a freight train on your layout, the first two face fowards and the third one backwards, I'd love to see it!

 

Here you go!

 

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