U36B and Autotrain

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U36B and Autotrain
Posted by MLG4812 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 12:51 PM

Greetings,

  From studying some of the history of the Auto-Train, it appears that this was a historically significant train in that it was one of the first long-run passenger (O.K...passenger/autorack) trains to my knowledge that used strictly freight power on its head end..the G.E. U36B. The F7's, GP9's, etc. all certainly pulled their share of passenger runs but the U36B was specifically manufactured for freight only. These units were not the greatest freight haulers (slippery) but they seem to be great passenger locomotives. Perhaps GE missed an opportunity in its application as a high hp (3,600!) 4-axle passenger or commuter loco. I guess my question is: if the U36B could have survived, could it have become a commuter or local passenger variant locomotive. Does its chassis have room for a HEP generator? Just look at The GP40-2...dozens of commuter networks (and Amtrak) have different variants of that unit running all over its lines. If it were able to add Head End Power to the U36B (without adding length to the chassis), what would it be called..U36B-P? U36BP? Just curious..thank you.

MLG4812 

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Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, June 28, 2018 2:57 PM

Closest thing would have been the NJDOT/EL U34CHs.  They had HEP driven off the prime mover (like an F40PH).

Could you have shoe-horned in an HEP skid into a four axle GE.  Uh, maybe.  Conrail insourcing looked, very briefly, at doing something with U23Bs.  I got queasy thinking about it - too much work for our little group.  All that shaft driven equipment...

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Posted by narig01 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 3:06 PM

Auto-Train's reasoning for buying the U36B had more to do with having locomotives that were being used by host railroad Seaboard Coast Line, then getting passenger locomotives. (Down to putting EMD Blomberg trucks under the locomotives)

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, June 28, 2018 3:24 PM

U23B had a V12 engine, the U36B had a V16.  Less room to play with.

For comparison, to accommodate a HEP genset EMD F40's either had to be built on a longer frame or use up the rear porch space.

Could the genset have been mounted inside a high short hood, like CN's Tempo RS18's?

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Posted by MLG4812 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 7:55 PM

"Closest thing would have been the NJDOT/EL U34CHs.  They had HEP driven off the prime mover (like an F40PH)."

Yeah..cramming that big 16 cyl. engine into that small 4-axle frame probably wouldn't leave much space for a HEP gen-set. Would probably have to turn it into a "screamer" and draw the hotel power from the p-m like you said.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, June 29, 2018 12:33 AM

4 axle U-Boats don't have a steam generator compartment behind the electrical cabinet? I thought that was standard on GE's domestic U-Boat line, which would be a potential place for a HEP gen-set to have been located if one was desired.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, June 29, 2018 12:46 AM

Besides Auto-Train's, were any 4-axle U-boats ever built for passenger service?

I only know of 6-axle ones, Santa Fe's U28CG and U30CG, the Amtrak P30CH and of course the aforementioned U34CH.

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Posted by SSW9389 on Friday, June 29, 2018 3:27 AM

On the six axle side NdeM had 20 U36CGs built in 1974. There may be 4-axle Uboats with steam generators in GEs export Universal line. 

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, June 29, 2018 6:57 AM

Santa Fe had U28CGs (hood) and U30CGs (cowl) with steam generators.  Not particularly sucessful as passenger engines, ended up in the freight pool.  Amtrak's P30CH was more or less a HEP version of the U30CG.

All of Auto-train's passenger equipment was steam heated, with ex-GN or ex-NP "heater" cars made from express boxcars or locomotive tenders that looked a lot like the ex-CN auto carriers Auto Train used.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, June 29, 2018 7:37 AM

In a similar vein, six-axle models in Alco's Century line had space behind the cab for a steam generator, I believe that only some Mexican C628's were equipped with an s/g.  No such space was available on the four-axle models except for the longer nose on C420's, only MON 501-502 and LIRR 200-229 were equipped with steam generators.

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Posted by SSW9389 on Friday, June 29, 2018 7:58 AM

The 10 UD18Bs NdeM #8000-8009 were built with steam generators. Those units were built in 1956. 

 

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:00 PM

So Autotrain's "Disco Painted" U36B's used traditional steam generators to power the passenger cars instead of a HEP system?

Does anyone know what thier dispistion status was after the Autotrain stopped running after a series of accidents? 

I know Amtrak brought back the service in the early 80's.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:26 PM

ATSFGuy
So Autotrain's "Disco Painted" U36B's used traditional steam generators to power the passenger cars instead of a HEP system?

Not unless there were a LOT of automobile carriers with extraordinarily well-insulated steam lines.

Read his post again.  He noted the 'steam heat' required external heater cars in the consist.  Presumably the electrical services were handled, as typical in that era, with axle-driven generation and batteries. This should make the situation clearer for you.

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Posted by erikem on Saturday, July 28, 2018 11:48 PM

FWIW, the UP had to build a few steam generator cars for the "City of Everywhere" as the last cars in the consist where not getting much steam. Several of the cars were rebuilt baggage cars with 3 axle trucks at least at one end to support the weight for the fuel and water tanks.

UP's post war equipment standardized on axle driven generators for lighting and A/C - the trains spent enough time above 25mph to keep the batteries properly charged.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, July 29, 2018 2:08 PM
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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, July 29, 2018 2:11 PM

Cool!

Note how the quality of on-board food service is a big selling point...

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, July 29, 2018 2:43 PM

SD70Dude

Cool!

Note how the quality of on-board food service is a big selling point...

Yes, they had movies (Battlestar Gallatica) in the lounge car with popcorn, along with roving muscians on board.   I think Amtrak borrowed some but not all of their ideas.    They had plans for a Chicago to Denver train before L&N ran them out of business with their horrible track.

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