Alco PA Locomotives - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, January 18, 2020 11:11 AM

charlie hebdo

Nice photos,  Sheldon. 

 

Thank you

    

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Saturday, January 18, 2020 12:54 PM

My displayed passenger train has a Southern A and a B EMD F unit, from American models (scale, except for the wheels). I got him to sell me dummies of each, since display was the whole point. My first exposure to trains was SOU, and I only saw E and F cab units. I was always disappointed that AF did not make an E or F unit. Alco PAs never ran where I was (mainly SOU and L&N), and that was the only type of covered wagon they made.

After decades of carrying my train stuff in a trunk from house to house, without ever even seeing it, I finally opened the trunk about 20 years ago. I decided to assemble the train I'd always wanted. I had four stainless steel passenger cars. In addition to getting the F units, I bought new a Lionel-Flyer diner. And on eBay I got heavyweight-style baggage car, coach, and 6-axle pullman; two are dark green, and the pullman tuscan red. It fills the whole wall, so I'm done.

The passenger trains I saw as a kid were always a mixed bag, not a perfect streamliner with all SS cars.

Much as I love AF stuff, and S-scale stuff, if I were to model (I won't) it would definitely be HO. Unless I owned a warehouse, which I don't.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, January 18, 2020 1:29 PM

Yes, S scale is very tempting. I considered both S and two rail O several times.

But with my love for big mainline trains on Class I lines, HO is the only good compromise between detail and space.

Your display sounds very nice, and very realistic, since few passenger trains were those "perfect" streamliner sets.

Some roads, like the B&O, virtually never tried for the perfect streamliner. Some versions of the National Limited and the Columbian were as close as they ever got.

And they never had a diesel loco scheme that really matched the passenger cars.

In fact, there is no period in B&O history when the whole passenger fleet had the same paint scheme.

Schemes included pullman green, solid blue, the well know blue and gray with gold trim, and the C&O ownership blue/yellow/silver schemes.

In 1965 when C&O ownership started the repainting to the b/y/s schemes, you could still find equipment in all of the previous schemes in use, despite an early 50's effort to make everything blue/gray. Then, cars were retired or sold long before everything was b/y/s.

Pullman green and solid blue head end equipment was rather common right up to the end. And even one high profile Pullman sleeper remained in the "Royal Blue" solid blue scheme until it was retired in the 60's.

And I know enough about the Southern to know your train is very representitive of how their trains typically looked.

The ATLANTIC CENTRAL has two passenger schemes, and we mix them all the time, except for the highest profile trains.....

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Saturday, January 18, 2020 1:40 PM

You certainly don't want the brass to see a marquee train wearing mismatched clothing.

Wait. You're the brass.

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:07 PM

Lithonia Operator

My displayed passenger train has a Southern A and a B EMD F unit, from American models (scale, except for the wheels). I got him to sell me dummies of each, since display was the whole point. My first exposure to trains was SOU, and I only saw E and F cab units. I was always disappointed that AF did not make an E or F unit. Alco PAs never ran where I was (mainly SOU and L&N), and that was the only type of covered wagon they made.

After decades of carrying my train stuff in a trunk from house to house, without ever even seeing it, I finally opened the trunk about 20 years ago. I decided to assemble the train I'd always wanted. I had four stainless steel passenger cars. In addition to getting the F units, I bought new a Lionel-Flyer diner. And on eBay I got heavyweight-style baggage car, coach, and 6-axle pullman; two are dark green, and the pullman tuscan red. It fills the whole wall, so I'm done.

The passenger trains I saw as a kid were always a mixed bag, not a perfect streamliner with all SS cars.

Much as I love AF stuff, and S-scale stuff, if I were to model (I won't) it would definitely be HO. Unless I owned a warehouse, which I don't.

 

Had you gone anywhere between Bristol and Memphis on the Southern, you could have seen Alco passenger locomotives through 1957--unless you were in the Atlanta area when one or more needed to be shopped. However, only one of the three trains between Bristol and Chattanooga had Alco power; the others had EMD power, and you could see the Alco power at night only between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Johnny

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, January 24, 2020 4:04 PM

Closely related were the FM Erie-builts.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, January 24, 2020 6:43 PM

Deggesty

Had you gone anywhere between Bristol and Memphis on the Southern, you could have seen Alco passenger locomotives through 1957--unless you were in the Atlanta area when one or more needed to be shopped. However, only one of the three trains between Bristol and Chattanooga had Alco power; the others had EMD power, and you could see the Alco power at night only between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Many years before the SOU PA-4s the Tennessean train had Alcoa either DL-103 or DL -109 (?) .  Have seen pictures of them at Bristol.  Item of note.  TheDLs ran thru on N&W during the coal miners' strike in VA ( 1948 ?).  N&W was very short of coal even though it did not have coal traffic to haul. 

After SOU moved them from the Tennessean ( retired ? ) it used various Fs until the PA-4s came on board.  They were numbered same as the DLs were 6900 - 6905 sub lettered NO&NE.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 25, 2020 8:09 AM

Yes, the Tennessean was powered by Alco from its inception until they were dropped. When the train was inaugurated, a picture of it was on the passenger timetables, along with a picture of the Southerner, powered by EMD.

Johnny

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Posted by leewal on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 8:54 AM

It all depends on the paint scheme, like D&H or NKP.

 

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Posted by RAY HEROLD on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 9:11 AM

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, providing you actually see it. The Pa is an E7 on steroids? It is shorter than the E7. The PA has almost perfect dimensions in the eye of this beholder, and that curvy thing you like is a rain gutter.

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:06 AM

It would be interesting that the heritage paint diagram on NS 1068 (Erie), which is an SD70ACe, is based on PA paint diagrams.

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 Overmod on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 11:32 AM

RAY HEROLD
The PA is an E7 on steroids? It is shorter than the E7.

But considerably more aggressive looking.  (See the physiological effects of steroid abuse!)

And its engine horsepower per cylinder is appreciably more (16 vs 24 for the same nominal traction power, even in a single unit).  

Kiefer's 1947 study of motive power explicitly recognized the importance of the shorter carbody in providing "locomotives" of 6000hp (and not just by comparison with Niagaras) -- I believe he mentions this for the Erie-builts as well, and it was a marketing consideration for both Baldwin with the Centipedes (surprising as that may sound today!) and to FM, later, with the 2000hp and 2400hp units with five axles.

And 65' is appreciably, observably longer than even the FPA carbody...

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Posted by PeteinWaterloo on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 10:03 AM

selector - is it appropriate to request that you and I communicate outside this forum? Moderator - comment about this request?   selector, made interesting observation in Mar '19 about Alco PAs and learning to change one's feelings. I am interested in speaking by email with selector as he lives on Vcr Island and has a beautiful pic of Selkirk on his post address. Apology in advance if this is improper. trainmanx0x@hotmail.com

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Posted by highwire on Thursday, January 30, 2020 12:13 AM
Like all 244-engined Alcos, they usually did, and usually were.
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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, January 30, 2020 8:51 AM

Bigger yet

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:15 AM

Note the greater carbody height on the E unit, made necessary by the engine position in the frame and the higher effective deck and manifold height of the 567 engine.  You'll see this again in some of the 'Christine Jorgenson' conversions of other locomotives to use EMD power (who has pictures of the mercifully-brief PA experiment on ATSF, involving our beloved 51, which I think after rebuilding was indeed by then L-A-C instead of the as-delivered L-A-B?)

One reason you often see EMD hoods applied over EMD engines is that they are the correct height, even if you get buffalo effects when you use them.

Now someone provide a Centipede picture, and compare its length with a comparable set of E7s...

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:07 AM

A lot depends on who did the re-powering.  Compare pictures of MKT FA1's (done by EMD) and SLSF FA1's (done by the road) in the repowering section of the DSG.  MP RS3's were repowered and somehow kept the old hood.

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 Overmod on Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:24 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
MP RS3's were repowered and somehow kept the old hood.

Look at the manifold and stack arrangement and say that again with a straight face...

 http://www.trainweb.org/screamingeagle/other/j_carson/mp1078.jpg

A far better argument would have been the "GP16" conversions of RS-11s on the same road, but the hoods they had to work with there were already higher...

http://www.trainweb.org/screamingeagle/other/behni/mp77_088b464d.jpg

... and they were already interesting for having ex-Baldwin Westinghouse electrical components (from, of all things, Babyface cab units!) -- someone more up on MP tech than I am would know if the main generators were exchanged then (as in the PRR Shark conversions), or if reduction gearing was used to preserve the slower-turning Baldwin generators for use with a higher-rpm Alco engine.  My default suspicion would be that engine and generator were replaced more or less as a unit, and it would be interesting to see the bedplate modifications made at that time...

 

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Posted by rusty_tracks on Thursday, February 6, 2020 12:42 AM

What in the world is that monstrosity in the top photo (GM&O)? I've never seen that locomotive before. Just curious. Surprise

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Posted by rusty_tracks on Thursday, February 6, 2020 12:49 AM

What is the locomotive in the top picture? I don't think I've ever seen this one before. I recognize the one in the bottom picture - that one I've seen before. Just curious. 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, February 6, 2020 6:31 AM

rusty_tracks
What in the world is that monstrosity in the top photo (GM&O)?

I presume you mean the Ingalls 4-S (road number 1900).  You will find it extensively described under that name.

It was not as 'weird' as a competitor for early first-generation dieselization as it looks today; compare it to the BL2, the Alco 'branch line' unit proposals Howard Fogg painted for Thomas Sawyer, and the Baldwin 'babyface' carbodies, all of which are rough contemporaries in the exciting early days of mass dieselization.

Ingalls was a major industrial company at the end of World War II, badly needing something to take the place of building large numbers of freighters.  They were by no means inexperienced in the 'core skills' needed to build a good first-generation diesel; the 4-S followed Baldwin's idea of using a robust and 'proven' diesel engine (Superior; there are Web sites devoted to the design) in a solidly 'ship-built' carbody with good trucks and traction gear.

To tie this in with the thread topic, the truly interesting Ingalls locomotive would have been their proposed 2000hp passenger locomotive, a direct PA competitor.  Their design was radically different from any other diesel passenger locomotive of the Forties, specifically including the Essl modular Baldwin; it involved using the relatively low-speed but robust Superior motor through a Bowes ship drive (something Ingalls had particular knowledge about as a maritime firm) with mechanical final drive probably through Cardan shafts, similar to the diesel-hydraulics (actually mostly hydrokinetics) of later years including the less-sophisticated drive on the Budd RDCs.  (This drive was also carefully pitched to PRR as solving the issues with the V1 mechanical stea turbine, which it did well enough to induce PRR to make up passenger carbody designs for it in the same era...)

As far as I know the only surviving documentation of the design other than what may be in railfan collections is in the Thomas Bowes collection at ISC in Philadelphia; the nominal advantage of the design is that road speed is independent of prime-mover crankshaft speed and there is no physical connection between engine and output shafts outside of the magnetic fields in the drive.  So very practical road speeds well above 120mph would be easily at hand as 'balancing speeds' for these locomotives, without the inherent birdsnesting problems of DC nose-suspended traction motors or the complex relay logic of contemporary diesel-electric designs.

IN my opinion the greatest thing that killed the Ingalls passenger 'revolution' was the implementation of the ICC order in 1947 (after the Naperville accident) re-imposing full Esch Act automatic train control on any passenger train going 80mph or faster by the very early Fifties.  Up to that time it appeared that a great many of the postwar 'streamliner revolution' trains would be continuing the general high-speed revolution of the earlier Zephyr/Hiawatha type, now with full-size easily-coupled consists; there are a few uneasy reports of 127mph speed on semaphore-signaled jointed-rail single-track lines (the speed probably being evocative of the American "127.1 miles per hour" speed record for PRR 7002, also invoked by Bruce of Alco in his book in the early Fifties) and this would, shall we say, have been both dramatically and inexpensively facilitated by the Ingalls Bowes-drive locomotives.  

Presumably this might have had similar slanted streamlined cab ends on a full-width carbody, Ingalls having invested in the jigging and cutting needed to produce the sheet metal for that cab.  Had the units been built in expected quantity for a revolution of postwar high-speed trains, the appearance might be less surprising than it is today.  Certainly most of the 'lightweight trains of the Fifties' locomotives were even more unusual and 'freakish' to our modern eyes...

 

Forum-related 'word to the wise' -- the current version of the software provides sequential page display without warning the user of exactly how many sequential posts or pages a given thread contains.  As new users view threads, they may comment on early posts thinking anyone reading their replies will easily see what it is they refer to in their posts ... while the original posts and their context are lost to sight and perhaps even to mind many months or years ago.  The Forum settings allow you to order posts in 'descending' order (last/newest first) and I recommend this to most new users as the 'default' setting once they're up to speed on reading the threads that interest them.

The other issue that is sure to arise at some point is so-called 'necro threads' -- new users come across topics using, say, Google, don't notice a Kalmbach-related thread is actually from somewhere around 2004, and excitedly go to the forum to pull up the thread and comment in it.  While this is appropriate in a very few circumstances, it is usually like a sharp stick in the eye to many people here, and the "preferred" thing is to start a new topic (on whatever the poster wants the focus of the ensuing discussion to be) and cite the older thread as inspiration or reference.

BTW: all new users are on moderation until they 'prove themselves', so don't be concerned if your posts or replies don't show up for hours but then mysteriously appear in correct chronological order, often well after many other posts have been made.  At least some of the moderators are pretty good about assessing new members and 'releasing them into the community' in a timely manner.  You are welcome to PM ('private-message') one or more and ask for early approval if this seems to be taking too long...

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