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Pennsylvania GG1

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Pennsylvania GG1
Posted by Levantine on Monday, November 15, 2010 8:02 PM

Some time ago I visited the railroad museum in Roanoke, Va., and saw a GG1 on exhibit.  Climbing up to cab level and peering into the window, I was surprised at how cramped a space the engineer had.  With such a massive locomotive--and no prime mover involved--why would there be so little room for the crew?

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Posted by MJChittick on Monday, November 15, 2010 9:42 PM

There was alot of equipment inside a GG1's carbody.  In 2009 Classic Trains did a feature on the GG1.  I found a link on the Classic Trains website you should find of interest as it contains cutaway drawings of the interior layout.  Enjoy

http://ctr.trains.com/Online%20Extras/Equipment%20Rosters/2009/04/GG1%20in%20layers.aspx

 

Mike

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Posted by Levantine on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:36 PM

Thanks, Mike.  One more question.  In the schematics I see a hinge at the midpoint of the articulated frame.  From which end of the locomotive did one truck swing, when rounding a curve?  Or was there some sort of pivot at the mid-point of each truck?

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Posted by beaulieu on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:46 PM

Before the advent of modern power electronics the equipment needed to control that amount of power was much larger and required a lot of cooling.

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 1:05 PM

Levantine

Some time ago I visited the railroad museum in Roanoke, Va., and saw a GG1 on exhibit.  Climbing up to cab level and peering into the window, I was surprised at how cramped a space the engineer had.  With such a massive locomotive--and no prime mover involved--why would there be so little room for the crew?

Big old transformer,a whole mess of  tap switches to control the voltage, equipment blowers, motor driven air compressor, and a steam generator with water and fuel oil tanks.

All that, and they really weren't  any larger than and E44 or E60.

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

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Posted by JimValle on Monday, November 29, 2010 4:51 PM

During their lifetime that was the one complaint most frequently heard about the G motors, namely a very cramped space for the crew and restricted visibility forward.  Pennsy's box cabs had great visibility but the crews were always accutely conscious of the fact that in the event of a collision they were toast!     

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Posted by cefinkjr on Monday, November 29, 2010 5:18 PM

Levantine

Thanks, Mike.  One more question.  In the schematics I see a hinge at the midpoint of the articulated frame.  From which end of the locomotive did one truck swing, when rounding a curve?  Or was there some sort of pivot at the mid-point of each truck?

Check this view of the running gear alone: http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/images/online%20extras/gg1%20in%20layers/gg1-12-1024.ashx.  That pivot you see between the two main frames is the only one you're going to find (except the pivots of the lead and trailing trucks).  The weight of everything above the running gear rested on bearings on the tops of the two frames.  Do you think they might have been heavily greased??? Big Smile

Your asking about "truck swing" indicates you are thinking in Diesel terms.  Forget Diesels; think steam-era technology.  If you remember that a PRR Class G locomotive was a 4-6-0 and understand Pennsy's habit of combining class letters as needed to accurately describe a new locomotive, you'll realize that a GG-1 was two Ten Wheelers, back-to-back.  Now look at that picture of the running gear again and it will make more sense to you.

You may be interested to know that a GG-1 rode "like a Pullman".  At least, the one I rode once from 30th Street Station to Lancaster did.  Meanwhile, an NYC (ex-CUT) P1a that I had ridden from GCT out to Harmon rode like it had flat spots on every wheel.  I never understood this since the two motors had the same wheel arrangements and were very close to the same weight. 

Chuck
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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 29, 2010 6:31 PM

Perhaps the NYC engine did, in fact, have flat spots.  It would not be the first engine to have them and it would not be the last.  The Independent brake can be a terrible tool in the wrong hands.  A application of the automatic (train) brake can flat spot engine wheels if the engineer does not keep the engine (independent) bailed off.

cefinkjr

You may be interested to know that a GG-1 rode "like a Pullman".  At least, the one I rode once from 30th Street Station to Lancaster did.  Meanwhile, an NYC (ex-CUT) P1a that I had ridden from GCT out to Harmon rode like it had flat spots on every wheel.  I never understood this since the two motors had the same wheel arrangements and were very close to the same weight. 

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Posted by Levantine on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 7:27 AM

Thanks for that, cefinkjr, and it does make the picture clearer.  But I'm still confused.  If the carbody was one piece, and the driving wheels were divided between two hinged-together components, and the full weight of the locomotive rested on those two components--then did each end of the carbody slide across the top of its end of the running gear when rounding a curve?  If so, what enabled the opposite ends of the body to slide at the same time, and to the same degree?  Wouldn't the pull of the train behind cause one end of the loco to remain stationary, while the other end did the sliding?  Isn't this the way it worked with an articulated steam locomotive?

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 10:21 AM

You might be able to get some clues from here: 

http://files.asme.org/ASMEORG/Communities/History/Landmarks/5618.pdf 

"Each frame casting has a pivot bearing and two spring-mounted side bearing plates joining it to the locomotive body."

Apparently the two pivot bearings kept the locomotive laterally and longitudinally centered over the frames and the two pair of sprung bearing plates bore the load towards the ends of the carbody.  The springs allowed lateral motion between the frame and carbody.

 

 

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Posted by cefinkjr on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 10:32 AM

Working backward through your questions:  Don't forget that the couplers are attached to the frame and, even with the joint between the two main frames, there is absolutely NO slack allowing the resistance of the train to "cause one end of the loco to remain stationary, while the other end did the sliding".  (OK, there might have been 1/64" of slack.)  The point is that the presence or absence of a train had no influence on the lateral shifting of the car body and the electrical components.

As for both ends sliding at the same time and to the same degree, I imagine the bearings included a self-centering feature similar to that in many steam locomotives.  (See my earlier post: Think steam-era technology.)  I wish I could draw you a picture but a description will have to do: Imagine a very large piece of steel with a shallow V on its top surface.  Attach that to the frame.  Now put a second piece on top of the first but with a shallow V on its bottom surface.  The car body rests on this piece.  Finally, imagine a round steel (or brass?) rod --- the actual bearing --- between those two hunks of steel.  The weight of the car body will tend to keep it centered above the frame below.  That, in essence, is how the front engine of an articulated locomotive was kept centered under the boiler and, I suspect, would be very similar to the actual device used in a GG1.

Chuck
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Posted by Levantine on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 7:24 PM

Many thanks, cefinkjr and oltmannd.  That was the most impressive-looking piece of railroad equipment I think I ever saw.  I wish somebody somewhere had one still in operation.

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 1:56 PM

What was impressive was standing on the platform in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1977 and watching two of them pulling a 20 car train South on one of the inner tracks. Might have been the Silver Meteor but am not sure. The air was alive with ozone and I really got a sense of the power given off by those two black painted monsters.  I recall the green ones in Sunnyside Yards in the very early 60s. Yes, they are impressive!

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Posted by cefinkjr on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 8:50 PM

54light15

What was impressive was standing on the platform in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1977 and watching two of them pulling a 20 car train South on one of the inner tracks. Might have been the Silver Meteor but am not sure. The air was alive with ozone and I really got a sense of the power given off by those two black painted monsters.  I recall the green ones in Sunnyside Yards in the very early 60s. Yes, they are impressive!

Two?  Must have been winter or a power transfer.  One could have handled 20 cars.  Two were required on ore trains when Labrador ore was being shipped to Pittsburgh via ore boats to Philadelphia.  How's that for versatility?

Chuck
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Posted by nyc#25 on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 9:52 PM

  In the classic PRR days only ONE would be used on 18-20 car trains.

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Posted by DSO17 on Thursday, December 02, 2010 2:59 PM

     As the Gs worked through the 1970s it became more common to see two of them MUed on the heavier passenger trains like the Florida trains. Out of respect for their age, I guess.

     Usually freights would get a pair, but sometimes a lighter train such as the Trucks, or empty grain or hopper cars would get a single G. Nothing else would get a freight train over what is now called the North East Corridor like a pair of Gs that got good signals.

     A youtube search of "prr gg1 cab" will bring up a couple movies of GG1 cab rides.

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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, December 02, 2010 5:01 PM

They were run in multiples because the maintenance wasn't adequate on them.  At the end when the AEM7 engines or E60s were on order and close to delivery they were run into the ground.  One of the trains of scrap engines that had as many as 25 drew the comment that maybe when they got to their destination a couple would still be running.  I am glad to have grown up in Northeast Philly near the corridor and have fond memories of halting play in a park to watch them roar by.  I was 12 before I knew there was anything beside GG1 engines. 

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Posted by FTGT725 on Thursday, December 16, 2010 4:46 AM

Did the GG1s have a fireman back in the day and if so, what were his duties?

In my experience, the light at the end of the tunnel is usually the train.
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Posted by edbenton on Thursday, December 16, 2010 7:03 AM

Keep the Steam Boiler that was powered by Oil Running.

Always at war with those that think OTR trucking is EASY.
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Posted by Levantine on Thursday, December 16, 2010 7:47 AM

Or maybe the union just kept him on board for the ride?

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Posted by cefinkjr on Thursday, December 16, 2010 9:40 AM

FTGT725

Did the GG1s have a fireman back in the day and if so, what were his duties?

As far as I know, there was a fireman on every GG1 until the very end.  In addition to tending the train heat boiler, his most important duty was calling signals and blowing for grade crossings.  This doesn't sound like much but the engineer's visibility to the left front of a GG1 was absolutely terrible.  On a long curve to the left, the engineer was literally flying blind.  Knowledge of the railroad helped with grade crossings and cab signals were great, but neither was as good as an alert eyeball.

I don't recall any specific ones, but I'm sure there were also situations where a ground man could not be seen from the engineer's seat.  He might have been able to move to a position where the engineer could see him, but the fireman relaying his signals across the cab was a whole lot more convenient.

Chuck
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, December 16, 2010 10:18 AM

When Amtrak was running GG1's between New Haven and Washington, crew reduction had already taken place under Penn Central, and firemen were dropped.   I know this for sure because I occupied the fireman's seat between New Haven and Penn Station, since a close friend was engineer and invited me to the cab.   It was summer, and the boiler was not fired.   The train was Amfleet with a power car on the rear (diesel generator for head-end power, automatic in operation).  The specific day I rode was t he 50th Anniversary of the amalgamation that formed the New York New Haven & Hartford Railroad.

 

I still maintain that the New Haven EF-3 was an even better locomotive, event though there were only 10.   Also 4-6-6-4, and also rode like a dream.   Really the same concept, but a newer design.   Far  far better crew comfort and visibility, for sure.   Never needed double heading with 100-car freight trains up the Hell Gate Bridge inclines.

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Posted by DSO17 on Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:05 PM

     After most of the firemen came off freight trains in the 1960s, the GG1s in freight usually, but not always, ran without a fireman. If there was no fireman, the front brakeman would occupy the fireman's seat unless the conductor was on the head end, in which case he would usually occupy the fireman's seat and the brakeman would ride in the rear cab. The rear cab of a G was a good place to keep an eye on the train.

    

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, December 16, 2010 2:31 PM

GG-1 visability was equivalent to that of steam locomotives of the period when the GG-1's were built.

cefinkjr

 FTGT725:

Did the GG1s have a fireman back in the day and if so, what were his duties?

 

As far as I know, there was a fireman on every GG1 until the very end.  In addition to tending the train heat boiler, his most important duty was calling signals and blowing for grade crossings.  This doesn't sound like much but the engineer's visibility to the left front of a GG1 was absolutely terrible.  On a long curve to the left, the engineer was literally flying blind.  Knowledge of the railroad helped with grade crossings and cab signals were great, but neither was as good as an alert eyeball.

I don't recall any specific ones, but I'm sure there were also situations where a ground man could not be seen from the engineer's seat.  He might have been able to move to a position where the engineer could see him, but the fireman relaying his signals across the cab was a whole lot more convenient.

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Posted by cefinkjr on Thursday, December 16, 2010 3:51 PM

BaltACD

GG-1 visability was equivalent to that of steam locomotives of the period when the GG-1's were built.

Agreed.  And because of the poor visibility from a steam locomotive cab, I doubt that even crossed the minds of the GG1 design team.

On  the general subject of PRR GG-1s, did you know that PRR had a G-1?  I started a short training session at Wilmington, DE shops right after the PC merger and, during my welcome by the shop manager, I was asked that question.  I thought he was pulling my leg, but he pointed out the window of his office and said, "There it is now."  "It" was half of a GG-1.  The story he gave me was that it had been badly damaged in a collision and could not be repaired.  On the other hand, the rear (at the time of the collision) had not been damaged at all.  The shop cut off the damaged parts, welded a piece of sheet steel over the open end, and, voilà!, they had a G-1 yard goat.  The best part was that it had been written off the books so was essentially a free engine.

Chuck
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Posted by DSO17 on Thursday, December 16, 2010 5:43 PM

     I think the manager was pulling your leg. The half-GG1 was supposed to be a snow blower.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:46 PM

Shops cobbled together any number of specialized pieces of equipment to suit their local needs

Witness

http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/6/1/0/6610.1137762000.jpg

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, December 16, 2010 7:37 PM

Concerning the poor visibility froma GG1 or a steam locomotive, the old timers said it wasn't that big of a deal.  You couldn't stop on a dime anyway!

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Posted by cefinkjr on Thursday, December 16, 2010 10:16 PM

DSO17

     I think the manager was pulling your leg. The half-GG1 was supposed to be a snow blower.

Then the Wilmington Shops used a snow blower to move other motors around the shop area.

Chuck
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, December 17, 2010 5:29 AM

Regarding visibility and operation of Amtrak passenger trains without a fireman on the GG-1s, recall that Neew Haven Penn Station is entirely grade separated, and now NY - Washington is, and only had one grade crossing at the time of Amtrak GG-1 operation.

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