EMC/EMD type AA Passenger Diesel MoPac "Delta Eagle"

1014 views
19 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: South Central,Ks
  • 5,863 posts
EMC/EMD type AA Passenger Diesel MoPac "Delta Eagle"
Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, September 30, 2017 3:23 PM

Late in the 1950's a couple of friends and I took a ride from Memphis TN to Tallulah,LA. Passenger Trains were beginning to loose their luster then.  Our trip was on the Missouri Pacific's Delta Eagle.   An early evening departure departure from Memphis and a late night arrival in Tallulah.  Left the next morning and arrived back about noon.  The main points connected were of course Memphis (Tn) and Tallulah(La), and Marianna (Ar) and Helena (Ar).

Here is a link to a copy of the original TT @  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lamadiso/articles/deltaeagle.htm

 The locomotive [MP 7100] was an early E type unit, and two coaches were its usual consist. The aft section of the locomotive was the baggage compartment {there was only one diesel engine, and there was a bagage door on the side of the engine). Built in 1940 and scrapped in 1962.

Sam

 

 


 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, September 30, 2017 3:33 PM

Interesting. Sounds like the perfect service to go to Budd RDC's...did they ever or simply discontimued the train altogether? 

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,074 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, September 30, 2017 4:35 PM

An E unit with a baggage compartment built in?  That's interesting, I didn't think EMD did any custom jobs with their E units, but since that's a pre-war locomotive maybe they were more willing to customize the units just to get their foot in the door.

Post-war, except for very minor details they weren't interested in customizing at all, it was "take it or leave it."  Then again, with railroads lining up to buy road diesels to replace the worn-out steam engines and it being a seller's market they could afford to be that way.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, September 30, 2017 4:41 PM

I suspect if you look at the list of stops in the attached ad, you will easily find an answer. In 1940 there was a rail market for that service; by 1962 not even an RDC would have likely paid.

As a possible aside, it would appear that at least part of the rationale for a two-car “locomotive” hauled train instead of something like a contemporary Motorailer was the presence of our old friend Jim Crow in the passenger accommodations (this is specifically mentioned in the inaugural-trip report).  If I am not mistaken, the AA6-hauled consist WAS actually replaced by rebuilt Motorailer 670 (which probably had better-than-RDC performance with 300hp Cummins engines and Allison TCs) and that’s the train that persisted to 1960 — Johnny will know.

Note that by the advent of the RDC in 1950, MoPac was going to buses to replace any trains that could be handled with ‘one car’ worth of baggage and seating ... this comes as less of a surprise when you find a crew of FOUR was required on the 34-seat Motorailer (engineer, conductor, brakeman and REA express agent)

There were other locomotives built with ‘half a locomotive’ arrangement - Baldwin factory-built one, SCL a couple of shovelnoses at least one of which survived in service into the early 1970s, and Milwaukee built a couple of ‘homebrews’, to mention a few.  Yes, this was the sort of market MUed RDCs with -2 or -3s in the consist, or RDC-4s for ‘minimal’ service, were intended to optimize...

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, September 30, 2017 5:00 PM

Overmod--Yes I thought about the Jim Crow Law thing but being a Canuklhead I was not sure and did not want to step in that puddle. 

Still, as you mentioned, it could/should have gone to MU'ed RDC's. 

Nonetheless it is a very unique service and train. Budd cars would have made it just another "meh". 

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: South Central,Ks
  • 5,863 posts
Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, October 01, 2017 9:18 AM

In response to what Overmod indicated, Firelock76 said, and Miningman asked:

 It would appear that not only locomotive manufacturers participated in 'customizing' off-the-shelf models to answer special needs, certain railroads utilized their shop facilities to 'kitbash' Smile, Wink & Grin while creating equipment for their special needs.

 Some 50 years, or so, after the 'AA type' was created, AMTRAK, at Beech Grove created the 'cabbage' or NPCU out of a worn out F40PH. [no engine,but a baggage compartment, and a fuel tank converted to a concrete filled, ballast tank]. Those units are still soldiering- on in the AMTRAK system.

see photos linked @ https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrBT4by8NBZL04AkAhXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZ3Z1b2hvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDVUkyQzNfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=amtrak+diesel+locomotives+cabbages&fr=hp-avast

To add 'my take' to what Miningman had indicated: The 'Delta Flyer' on the MoPac, and over on the ICRR 'The City of New Orleans', and other IC coach trains, as well as those of other railroads(L&N,GM&O,SCL,etc.) during the 1940's and beyond in the post war years provided an escape mechanism for parts of the Southern population to escape, low labor wages, a system of share cropping for the Southern agricultural labor market.

  Those trains mentioned and others that ran on a roughly,North-South axis provided labor to fuel the American war efforts, and the industrial power base of the entire upper mid-west; people who wanted to better their roles in life, fueled the passenger loads northbound, and those that were returning southbound to tell their families and relations of the opportunities they had found at the industries in the North. My 2 Cents

Sam

 

 


 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 01, 2017 10:00 AM

Yes, but the cabbage is primarily a way to implement true bidirectionality with just one prime mover, and not ‘waste’ two locomotives as ‘top and tail’ on consists that didn’t need them.  The baggage functionality is a sensible use of space on what the British call a ‘driving cab’.

I wouldn’t put the ‘Delta Eagle’ in with the ‘City’ or similar streamlined limiteds - a far closer analogy, I think, would be with the Rebels.  These are a bit like a cross between interurban and accommodation trains, providing service (as Johnny said) between a great many underserved points and more important cities, perhaps using higher speed as a means to get more intermediate points into a ‘daily’ round trip (the definition of ‘daily’ being a bit different in 1940 than it might be understood later!)

I understand that sometime after the early Fifties this service was in fact cut back to between Helena and McGhee, two somewhat unlikely ‘terminal’ destinations even for a single Motorailer instead of a bus.  Not surprising that even before the loss of mail contracts and the decline of REA this train, and shortly afterward the Motorailer itself, were gone... even in the absence of four-lanes or even US-highway-standard two-lanes like 82 in Alabama, there came to be better ways to serve what needs remained in previously isolated communities.

The story with 7100 is stranger.  We find it in Little Rock in the ‘50s MUed to, of all things, a PA (I suspect it was going to a shop there) and I have read, with no confirmation, that it received a second engine and that accounted in part for its survival to 1962.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 01, 2017 11:46 AM

sampfp1943 and Overmod- Great information. 

So these were quite important trains and vital, though somewhat underrated by history. 

I can imagine how busy they were during the war years and a bit beyond. 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 01, 2017 12:05 PM

Miningman
I can imagine how busy they were during the war years and a bit beyond. 

There’s a firsthand account of the situation on car 670 while it was still the ‘Eaglet(te)’ on the Screaming Eagles Web site.  (I would post the URL but crApple’s latest perVersion  of iOS has made impossible for mere humans to copy and paste it from an older phone. Perhaps from any phone.)

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 01, 2017 12:43 PM

Overmod-Found the site but not the story....I'll keep digging but can you provide a bit more info,,,,is the story titled as something?

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 01, 2017 1:27 PM

It’s the page for Motorailer 670, the “Eaglette”.

I found it on about p.12 of a search for MoPac 7100, right around the page with the 1953 pix with the PA in Little Rock.  A search directly for Missouri Pacific Motorailer will pop it up fast.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 01, 2017 2:05 PM

Good good...got it.

Engineer and cab glass enclosed gave a great view of the tracks ahead. Wow, thats ahead of its time. 

100 people packed into seating for 34. Terrific account of the train and some technical specs. 

These backstories on the WWII era need to come forth more ...there are so many stories, so much rich railroading that was tireless and pushed way beyond the limits all across the nation. 

I hope there is still more to uncover yet but that generation is gone now so we need to dig up historical records and accounts. Thinking a lot was classified but maybe enough time has passed that we can access it now. 

It was truly a Herculean effort unmatched by anything today. 

To paraphrase Paul Harvey  " I want to know the rest of the story". 

Not the fluff stuff we usually get. 

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • 3,050 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Monday, October 02, 2017 6:26 AM

Both of Rock Island's Rocky Mountain Rocket AB6 units were built with a single 567A and a baggage compartment.  Not too different from the model AA units doodlebugs built for the Seaboard in StLCC carbodies, one of which lasted 'til 1971 in Seaboard Coast Line service.

C&NW had a single engine babyface Baldwin version (5000A) used on Rockford locals (DR-6-2-1000/1) with a 606SC engine.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 3,876 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 02, 2017 8:18 AM

rc, do you know if any of these 'half-locomotives' had an RPO section of any length in addition to the baggage and express section?

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • 3,050 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Monday, October 02, 2017 10:26 AM

No RPO sections.  I assume Railway Express was handled.  The Post office had very specific requirements for RPO "apartments", specified in 15, 30 and 60 foot lengths.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,432 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, October 06, 2017 2:51 PM

rcdrye

Both of Rock Island's Rocky Mountain Rocket AB6 units were built with a single 567A and a baggage compartment.  Not too different from the model AA units doodlebugs built for the Seaboard in StLCC carbodies, one of which lasted 'til 1971 in Seaboard Coast Line service.

C&NW had a single engine babyface Baldwin version (5000A) used on Rockford locals (DR-6-2-1000/1) with a 606SC engine.

 

I saw the last of the SAL units in Tampa, in the spring of 1967l it  had a nice SAL paint scheme, and was handling the Venice section of the Silver Meteor. I next saw it in February of 1971 as I rode behind it from Lakeland to Naples and back; it was in the horrid black SCL paint scheme. In Naples, I talked with the engineer (no fireman), and saw that the front end of the diesel blocked the view between the two sides of the cab.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,304 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 08, 2017 9:34 AM

Deggesty
 
rcdrye

Both of Rock Island's Rocky Mountain Rocket AB6 units were built with a single 567A and a baggage compartment.  Not too different from the model AA units doodlebugs built for the Seaboard in StLCC carbodies, one of which lasted 'til 1971 in Seaboard Coast Line service.

C&NW had a single engine babyface Baldwin version (5000A) used on Rockford locals (DR-6-2-1000/1) with a 606SC engine. 

I saw the last of the SAL units in Tampa, in the spring of 1967l it  had a nice SAL paint scheme, and was handling the Venice section of the Silver Meteor. I next saw it in February of 1971 as I rode behind it from Lakeland to Naples and back; it was in the horrid black SCL paint scheme. In Naples, I talked with the engineer (no fireman), and saw that the front end of the diesel blocked the view between the two sides of the cab.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • 3,050 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, October 08, 2017 2:57 PM

BaltACD

 

Obviously the Seaboard railcars had 15 foot RPOs (middle door).  None of the "half-locomotives" did.
  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,734 posts
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, October 08, 2017 3:14 PM

What a handsome looking railcar. Outstanding.

  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 10,118 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:10 AM

One of the SAL motorcars (2028, I believe) was renumbered as SCL 4900 and painted black with white lettering and yellow trim.  It remained in passenger service until April 30, 1971.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy

Search the Community