return of ''B'" UNITS ?

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return of ''B'" UNITS ?
Posted by tomytuna on Monday, November 25, 2019 7:59 AM

Now that i see more class A RR using mid train helpers (DPU) and tail end units...why hasent a mfgr come out to make a "B" unit again. no neeed for "cumfort". Just remote controled like in hump yards. Could save money both in the mfgring and cost to end used. (the RR) just saying !

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 25, 2019 8:26 AM

But this would reduce flexibility in assignments and may mean that the B-unit doesn't get as much use over a time period, thus negating the economy of leaving out the cab.  Hostler controls would be needed on most Class 1s for maintenance moves.  But there may be cases where it would be pratical and efficient.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, November 25, 2019 3:46 PM

I imagine the manufacturers would be supportive.

In healthier times they started asking for a markup to leave the cab off, successfully driving away as planned the small amount of B-unit business that was redeveloping in the 1980's.

But I'm sure today that they'd view a special order as a blessing rather than a pain, and price the product accordingly to reflect the savings of leaving the cab off rather than deliberately attempting to discourage the customer. 

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Posted by cv_acr on Monday, November 25, 2019 3:52 PM

daveklepper

But this would reduce flexibility in assignments and may mean that the B-unit doesn't get as much use over a time period, thus negating the economy of leaving out the cab.  Hostler controls would be needed on most Class 1s for maintenance moves.  But there may be cases where it would be pratical and efficient.

That ^.

Modern engines can be used in any position - lead, trail, DP. Specialized "B" units are great in concept but trail-only locomotives reduce the number of leaders available.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 25, 2019 4:19 PM

cv_acr
 
daveklepper

But this would reduce flexibility in assignments and may mean that the B-unit doesn't get as much use over a time period, thus negating the economy of leaving out the cab.  Hostler controls would be needed on most Class 1s for maintenance moves.  But there may be cases where it would be pratical and efficient. 

That ^.

Modern engines can be used in any position - lead, trail, DP. Specialized "B" units are great in concept but trail-only locomotives reduce the number of leaders available.

'B' units reduce the utility of the locomotive and transform it into a underperforming asset.  It can't lead.  It can't be a single engine train.  I note that the roads that ordered 'B' units, to save on the equipment necessary to have a operating cab have stopped the practice.  With locomotives in today's world being an assett that exceeds $2M to purchase the carriers want every possible minute of utilization they can get.

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Posted by guetem1 on Monday, November 25, 2019 6:55 PM
Mr. Murphy is a busy little guy around railroads, units are often swapped between trains on line, we're having enough issues now with some units having PTC equipment installed and some coming off the dead line not. we often need replacement lead units, having a cabless unit available is counterproductive
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Posted by kenny dorham on Thursday, November 28, 2019 1:13 PM

Well, the OP saved me from starting a "B Unit" post of my own :-)

I have been looking at some of my (train) Photo Books and, like always, the B-Units really catch my eye. Like a caboose, the B's are something that a photographer no longer has access to. I wish that both were still in abundance, but i understand why they are not used anymore.

At 60 years of age.....i lament the loss A LOT of things :-(

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, November 28, 2019 7:52 PM

I have always, from when I was a young kid, been fascinated with covered wagon B units. Actually, all B units.

IIRC, the massive UP twin-engine diesels were originally brought out as B-units (to be used between pairs of more conventional 6-axle units). Then later on came a cab version. DDsomethings.

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Posted by IbanezGuiness on Thursday, November 28, 2019 9:20 PM

I caught one a few years ago :)))

 

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, November 30, 2019 9:49 PM

tomytuna
.why hasent a mfgr come out to make a "B" unit again. no neeed for "cumfort".

I predict that in another 25 years, they all will be "B" units.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, November 30, 2019 10:03 PM

Convicted One
tomytuna
.why hasent a mfgr come out to make a "B" unit again. no neeed for "cumfort".

I predict that in another 25 years, they all will be "B" units.

Still gonna need a cab for all the computer interfaces, and at least some rudimentary controls to move it around if the autopilot "crashes".

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:45 AM

SD70Dude
and at least some rudimentary controls to move it around if the autopilot "crashes".

Didn't the "B" units we are already familiar with have hostling controls that would allow an operator to move them around?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, December 1, 2019 11:53 AM

Convicted One
SD70Dude
and at least some rudimentary controls to move it around if the autopilot "crashes".
 Didn't the "B" units we are already familiar with have hostling controls that would allow an operator to move them around?

Reaching back to a Forum from 2009 see linked @

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/153565.aspx

and then stepping back to May 2006 a piece by Robert  S. McGonigal, titled :

"Booster units" "Dieseldom's foot soldiers" from the series ABC's of Railroading.

aee linked @ https://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/booster-units

And I think. I also  also remember a STORY(?) REFERENCING HOW THE CLINCHFIELD(?) utilized one of its "B" in a regular job of switching at a custiomer's mine load out(?)

So the answer is a Positive for most of the various "B" Units having a rudamentary set of hostler controls on board. Whistling

 

 


 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, December 1, 2019 12:00 PM

I believe hostler controls on B-units were optional, though it seems that many (most?) railroads did order them.

Later B-units, like the GP60B, did not come with hostler controls:

http://krugtales.50megs.com/rrpictale/GP60/GP60b.htm

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, December 1, 2019 12:11 PM

And this article includes pictures of the "B" units control area, looks as though there is ample room for computer innerfaces:

http://krugtales.50megs.com/rrpictale/GP60/GP60b.htm

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, December 1, 2019 12:22 PM

But there are no windows, making it difficult for a human operator to take over even if there was a full set of controls in there. 

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, December 1, 2019 12:50 PM

SD70Dude
But there are no windows, making it difficult for a human operator to take over even if there was a full set of controls in there. 

Well, they've got 25 years to work those kinks out...lol!

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:51 PM

Convicted One
... looks as though there is ample room for computer interfaces:

http://krugtales.50megs.com/rrpictale/GP60/GP60b.htm

He's right, you know.  NASA was flying F18s using only vision screens over a decade ago.  Plenty of room for screens, or an AR headset, and of course an adaptation of DPU in a handheld device for control.

And, of course, all the room in the world for a PTC-aware autonomous control setup...

There'll be lots of these around for some time to come, I suspect.  They're running solid 5-booster blocks of them in the Pacific Northwest.

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:25 PM

samfp1943

 

And I think. I also  also remember a STORY(?) REFERENCING HOW THE CLINCHFIELD(?) utilized one of its "B" in a regular job of switching at a custiomer's mine load out(?)

I believe that was the Haysi Railroad, who serviced a mine on the Clinchfield.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:42 PM

Backshop
I believe that was the Haysi Railroad, who serviced a mine on the Clinchfield.

Strange you should mention that thing.

http://clinchfieldcountry.com/photos/haysi/hasyicontrols.htm

Supposedly ex-B&LE 716B has a similar arrangement (but with a window, not a porthole) -- enlarge this picture and see:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3530297

 

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:43 PM
 

Wasn't one of the motives for B-Units due to RR's circumventing union's on how many crew members should be in the cab of Diesels in road service? Imagine if EMC's FT was a twin section unit akin to what they have in Russia having a second cab instead of a drawbarred cabless booster?

 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:57 PM

SD60MAC9500
Wasn't one of the motives for B-Units due to RR's circumventing unions on how many crew members should be in the cab of Diesels in road service?

It's a little more complicated. 

The original 'building block' idea according to Dilworth et al. came out of the limited horsepower per 'engine' for the early EMD V16s.  Part of the reason for the drawbar was that the two-unit "FT" was intended as a single locomotive, with a single road crew, with the overall consist weight used just as with steam locomotives to determine wage. 

Where the fun started to come in was when you had separate 'locomotives' MUed into a consist, and the unions tried the argument that there whould be a separate fireman on each of those ... not just one with the engineer on a locomotive with no fire to maintain ... just as there would have to be if you had MUed coal-fired steam.  KCS, as an example in point, had four-unit Erie-builts giving an 8000hp articulated locomotive, which only incidentally could be separated if one of its 'units' should require service.  To my knowledge there was never a requirement that more than one engineer was necessary on a locomotive of however many MUed units, but all sorts of dodges were used to number things so that you only had one "locomotive" -- the original ATSF L-A-B system being one relatively comical case in point.  In the very brief era where glass-reflector nose numbers were in vogue, you'd sometimes see the 'locomotive' number large on each of the cab noses, and only small versions  of the individual 'unit' subnumbering.

I believe we've discussed the exact chronology, and the decisions that led to the 'common-sense' (and more than a little safety-related) decision that only one engineer and fireman per consist were needed.  Perhaps needless to say, most of the multiple-units-with-the-same-road-number thing did not last long afterward. 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, December 2, 2019 10:54 AM

Just make it RCO capable then you can use a belt pack to move it around..

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, December 2, 2019 12:02 PM

rdamon

Just make it RCO capable then you can use a belt pack to move it around..

 
Not unlike NS 2120 and 2121.
 
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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 1:00 AM

Overmod, could you please explain the L-A-B system?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 1:23 AM

Let's say we have a A-B-A set of F-units, the three unit set will be designated as, say, 310.  One A-unit is 310A, the B-unit is 310B, and the other A-unit is 310L.  Because they have only one number the A-B-A set is considered to be only one locomotive for the purposes of crew assignments.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 6:42 AM

Adding to the above post, the unit designated as 310L would only display 310 on the unit itself.  The L suffix would only show up in assorted paperwork.

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 Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 7:28 AM

"L" for "last?"

Seems like A-B-C would have been more logical and intuitive.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 9:02 AM

"L" is for 'lead' (the first cab in the locomotive consist as assembled);

"A" for the first unit behind lead -- note that for the ATSF PA sets, this was what we'd call a B unit...

"B" for the second unit behind lead -- note that for the ATSF PA sets this was what we'd call an A unit...

Remember that at this point in the 'history' ATSF was considering the three-unit consist as 'one locomotive', with the sublettering denoting how the units were arranged in the consist for maintenance, not operational purposes.  This meant you needed an unambiguous way of distinguishing cab ends of what was essentially a bidirectional consist, and the ATSF method certainly accomplished that with a minimum of confusion. 

Yes, for four-unit consists ATSF could use L-A-B-C

 

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Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 11:56 AM

rdamon

Just make it RCO capable then you can use a belt pack to move it around..

 

 

I'm surprised that there isn't some kind of a "dongle" type device  that can be plugged into  the MU cables, perhaps with a bluetooth capability?

Since the "B" units were mu'ed, then local controls such as throttle, etc ....must already in place, requiring only an innerface, be it for a person(levers), or for a cyberlink(solid state).

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