High Hood Locomotives

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Sunday, September 13, 2020 12:16 PM

NP Eddie

Just a short note from the GN and NP. The Northern Pacific ordered their early RS units with short nose forward, which cost them an extra $550.00.

The Great Northern ordered all their road switchers the long nose forward. The last ones were the GP20's in the early 2000 series.

After the 1970 merger, I bid on and received a crappy relief job on the XGN side. One X-NP engineer (Farrell) hated the X-GN SD7's because they ran long forward and he had a hard time using it in switching.

Ed Burns

 

Besides all of their other "attributes", the ALCo RS (road switcher) locomotives had a low long hood in relation to the cab, so they were true road switchers inasmuch as it least seems that the operator can see out in both directions, in steeple-cab fashion.

Did ALCo/MLW put the low long-hood feature to good use in coming up with the original LRC locomotives.  These diesel electrics weren't as light weight as originally expected, but they had a low profile matching the low profile LRC coaches.  VIA has replaced their aging MLW LRC locomotives with Genesis units, which are fairly low profile as far as a GE offering goes.

At the speeds they operate, the goofy look of a Genesis pulling a string of LRC cars is probably not big deal in aerodynamics, but still it is dramatic how much the height of a Genesis diesel sticks out above the LRC cars -- it looks like a teacher leading a kindergarden class on a field trip?

Was there something special about the ALCo diesel engine that they could get such a low long-hood height of the RS locomotives and a low carbody for the LRC?  All other diesel locomotives appear to be getting taller and taller -- do they even meet Plate C anymore?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, September 13, 2020 2:22 PM

EMD had a low long hood on all their end-cab switchers too.

I don't think GE has ever made FDL powered units with a low long hood, though the Cooper-Bessemer powered 70-tonners fit this description.  

The Genesis was designed to fit the restricted clearances on Amtrak's northeast corridor, and does so quite well.  No need for it to be any smaller.

On all the freight cowl units there is some space left between the top of the engine and the roof, but the frame could always be redesigned to sink the engine into it, kind of like a intermodal well car.  I have no idea what strategy was used on the LRC to achieve the lower profile.

We should have bought HSTs instead.  It's pretty embarrassing that we somehow managed to beat British Rail in the unreliability contest.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, September 13, 2020 4:28 PM

Visibility forward 'over' the long hood  at least on the RS2/3 was not that great; there were two little windows that in my brief experience on one were used to observe the stack from the running positions -- they were perfectly oriented for that.  It does not seem to me that subsequent long hoods were any lower.

Perhaps the more interesting low-profile high-speed locomotive was the one from FM -- getting that engine into a low-profile carbody, with the large radiators for high heat rejection at high horsepower, was an achievement!  Interestingly I have never heard horror stories about them: they seem to have failed because their trains did, not because they did not run as expected.

Dave Goding will be the definitive reference on how to lower an engine in either a freight or passenger frame -- I suspect that the EMD proposals to line up with Amcoach profile were a good example.  I would at least try to do this with an integral sled (or sled mounts) with the traction alternator tightly integrated and room left to make the whole shebang isolated.  The question then is, with the prime mover dropped, where you accommodate the fuel system... 

I'd be interested to read a discussion of how the LRC locomotives should have been designed, including how to fit a suitable 251 into them.  Of course I'd be even more interested in why a top-and-tail power-car arrangement comparable to the HST's was never used on this equipment... it's not as if there were some barrier between Britain and Canada in those years; look at the wonders Hawker-Siddeley produced on demand.  Was it that nobody really wanted to pay for the inherent speed?

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, September 13, 2020 5:05 PM

...But then we wouldn't have had those cool Dofasco trucks.

...and that wham wham wham sound while idling

...and the obligatory puff of black smoke when under way 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, September 13, 2020 5:06 PM

Overmod

I'd be interested to read a discussion of how the LRC locomotives should have been designed, including how to fit a suitable 251 into them.  Of course I'd be even more interested in why a top-and-tail power-car arrangement comparable to the HST's was never used on this equipment... it's not as if there were some barrier between Britain and Canada in those years; look at the wonders Hawker-Siddeley produced on demand.  Was it that nobody really wanted to pay for the inherent speed?

The LRC was originally intended to operate at 125 mph, just like the HST.  But the weight of the locomotives grew significantly throughout the design process, so this could not be achieved on the existing track.  So we ended up with a expensive new train whose top speed was barely higher than the existing equipment.  

The LRC was also intended to be run as sets with a locomotive on each end, and they sometimes were.  This is pure speculation, but I suspect that the lower top speed and shorter trains meant that only one locomotive ended up being needed to make the schedule, only 100 LRC cars were built and VIA continued to use conventional equipment on most longer trains.  

If you want to make a reliable LRC I would start by removing the 251 and replacing it with a Valenta.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, September 13, 2020 6:15 PM

SD70Dude
This is pure speculation, but I suspect that the lower top speed and shorter trains meant that only one locomotive ended up being needed to make the schedule

No need for speculation: a given consist that requires 2 locomotives to 'just' make 125mph will get to 100 with one, and of course if even that speed isn't needed, more cars might be added in proportion to the lower speed...

Acceleration is also a factor, and with longer distances between stations timekeeping might be possible even with relatively low speed recovery from stops and checks.

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Posted by bogie_engineer on Monday, September 14, 2020 5:53 PM

Overmod

 

Dave Goding will be the definitive reference on how to lower an engine in either a freight or passenger frame -- I suspect that the EMD proposals to line up with Amcoach profile were a good example.  I would at least try to do this with an integral sled (or sled mounts) with the traction alternator tightly integrated and room left to make the whole shebang isolated.  The question then is, with the prime mover dropped, where you accommodate the fuel system... 

I'd be interested to read a discussion of how the LRC locomotives should have been designed, including how to fit a suitable 251 into them.  Of course I'd be even more interested in why a top-and-tail power-car arrangement comparable to the HST's was never used on this equipment... it's not as if there were some barrier between Britain and Canada in those years; look at the wonders Hawker-Siddeley produced on demand.  Was it that nobody really wanted to pay for the inherent speed?

 

EMD is very experienced at creating low profile locos for export use where clearance requirements are restrictive. Typically, this involves a fish-belly underframe design where the bottom plate is not continuous as on newer NA freight locos but dropped between the trucks like a GP7/9/30 in order to recess the engine and alternator. Starting with the GP35, EMD adopted a constant section height underframe that really simplified its construction with the engine feet sitting 1" above top of underframe. IIRC, for maintenance of the engine, the engine crankshaft could be no lower than 7.62" above the top of underframe in order to access the fork rod basket to pull a power assembly. The engine feet are 18.5" below the crank centerline, so on NA locos from GP35 thru the 70 series, the crank is 19.5" above top of underframe. The NA exhaust stack or silencer is about 30" above the turbo flange, about 20" higher than the exhaust manifolds so a short stack can take the roof down about 18", some applications got shorter exhaust manifolds to get it even lower. AMTRAK NEC clearance requirement is 14'-8" so we could meet that by using a lower profile cooling system and getting the dynamic brakes off the top of the engine. Using a monocoque carbody with integral fuel tank allows for depressing the engine into the tank with the tank up around the sides of the engine. On the DE/DM30AC's, we put the engine, alternator, and equipment rack on an isolated skid sunk into the top of the tank meeting a max height of 14'-6" and still fitting 3,400 gallons of fuel on the DE's, only 2,400 on the DM's due to carving into the tank for inductors for the 3rd rail choppers, while the bottom of the tank was 12" above the rail. And these units had 44" wheels in order to fit disc brakes onto the wheel - the monocoque construction allowed the height of the underframe over the trucks to be only about 12".

On typical EMD export models, there is no sub-base beneath the cab, the air brake equipment is placed elsewhere. They also use cooling systems that have cold side fans to place the radiators higher than the engine, necessary for them to drain to the water tank when shutdown.

Speaking of the HST, my only experience with it was waiting for a train at Bristol Temple Meads station when a several hour late HST entered with engine shut down and with about a 6' wide oil streak running down the side from the roof.

Dave

 
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Posted by railfanjohn on Sunday, November 22, 2020 6:32 PM

Psychot
 
Lithonia Operator

 

 
rdamon

Do most of them get converted to run short hood forward when they get new owners?

 

 

 

I'm not sure I understand your question.

To my knowledge, most high-hood units were set up to run short hood forward when they were built. Southern Railway was an exception (and there must have been others) in that they ordered their engines configured long hood forward; I assume this was for added crew protection in a collision. I was always a big SOU fan, but I've always preferred engines running short hood forward, and that goes back to long before low hoods even existed.

(As far as I know, NS no longer prefers to run long hood forward.)

To me, a low-hood unit leading a train long hood forward is very unattractive. Just don't look right.

 

 

 

Apparently Southern and N&W ran long-hood forward by agreement with the BLE, though their high-hood units were equipped with dual controls so the engineer could sit on the right-hand side in either direction of operation. The rationale was additional protection for the crew in the event of a grade crossing accident.

 

 

Southern Railway locomotives set up to run long hood forward - the long hood was the designated FRONT of the unit - did not have dual control stands.  When running backwards (short hood forward) the engineer was on the left side of the cab, with the door to the short hood plaform directly in front of him.  Some Southern Railway locomotive models (GP-30's, GP-35's, and SD-35's to name a few) were set up such that the short hood was the designated FRONT of the unit.  It was horrible to operate these as the lead unit, running backwards.  You were then seated on the LEFT side of the cab with that long hood out in front of you.  This made it nearly impossible to see any lineside signals.  Many (but not all) of the Norfolk & Western locomotives were equipped with dual control stands inside the cab.  It was very cramped in these cabs.  Southern Railway did not seem to care which way a locomotive was facing on the head end of a train.  Road freights probably ran as many times with the lead locomotive facing correctly (long hood forward) as they did with the lead locomotive facing backwards (short hood forward).  Most Southern Railway locomotive engineers and the BLE never seemed to care one way or another either.  

railfanjohn
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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 23, 2020 8:02 AM

When GP-7 and GP-9 locomotives started production, on some roads they were the locomotives that replaced steam - as such long hood forward was viewed as proper since steam engineers had their forward vision compromized by the length of the boiler on steam locomotives.  

I may be mistaken but I think GP-30's were the first locomotives that were produced with the low short hood being forward as the 'standard' production version.

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, November 23, 2020 9:48 AM

Psychot

 

 
Lithonia Operator

 

 
rdamon

Do most of them get converted to run short hood forward when they get new owners?

 

 

 

I'm not sure I understand your question.

To my knowledge, most high-hood units were set up to run short hood forward when they were built. Southern Railway was an exception (and there must have been others) in that they ordered their engines configured long hood forward; I assume this was for added crew protection in a collision. I was always a big SOU fan, but I've always preferred engines running short hood forward, and that goes back to long before low hoods even existed.

(As far as I know, NS no longer prefers to run long hood forward.)

To me, a low-hood unit leading a train long hood forward is very unattractive. Just don't look right.

 

 

 

Apparently Southern and N&W ran long-hood forward by agreement with the BLE, though their high-hood units were equipped with dual controls so the engineer could sit on the right-hand side in either direction of operation. The rationale was additional protection for the crew in the event of a grade crossing accident.

 

 

Visibility must have been terrible, especially going around curves.. made worse if it was an SD45 with the flared radiators. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:03 AM

Visibility while operating long hood forward wasn't that different than from the cab of a steam locomotive, consider the visibility from the cab of UP 4014.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:16 AM

Ulrich
Visibility must have been terrible, especially going around curves.

Some of it depended on how sharp your curves were.

I can still remember watching from the cab of a 3-unit set of Alco RSDs on CNJ out of Wilkes-Barre -- run long-hood-forward.  You could see pretty well what was coming up on many of the curves across the track; I don't recall them calling any signals  but with both sides watching it would be hard to miss one.

With a single man on the engine this would be more of a problem.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:23 AM

Ulrich
Visibility must have been terrible, especially going around curves.. made worse if it was an SD45 with the flared radiators. 

According to one old-time engineer forward visibility, or the lack of same, wasn't that big of a deal.  "You can't stop on a dime anyway!"

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:56 AM

Flintlock76
 
Ulrich
Visibility must have been terrible, especially going around curves.. made worse if it was an SD45 with the flared radiators.  

According to one old-time engineer forward visibility, or the lack of same, wasn't that big of a deal.  "You can't stop on a dime anyway!"

Trains, operating on Main Tracks at track speed, ARE NOT line of sight vehicles.

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, November 23, 2020 1:53 PM

BaltACD
Trains, operating on Main Tracks at track speed, ARE NOT line of sight vehicles.

Still miserable running LHF on the main.  I've done it plenty of times.  Even more miserable running LHF in yards or industries.  

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 23, 2020 5:01 PM

zugmann
 
BaltACD
Trains, operating on Main Tracks at track speed, ARE NOT line of sight vehicles. 

Still miserable running LHF on the main.  I've done it plenty of times.  Even more miserable running LHF in yards or industries.  

Not saying it isn't miserable for the Engineer - just saying railroad equipment moving at track speed cannot get stopped within line of sight when operating at Main Track track speeds.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 5:33 AM

Well, it's one thing to hit the car on the grade crossing at 20 mph because you couldn't fully stop. It's something else to hit the car at 55 because you never saw it until the last few second.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 7:37 AM

Lithonia Operator
Well, it's one thing to hit the car on the grade crossing at 20 mph because you couldn't fully stop. It's something else to hit the car at 55 because you never saw it until the last few second.

In many locations - despite optimum vision from the locomotive - road crossings and other collision situations may not be visible until the 'last second'.  

While I don't have statistics, being struck by a train at 20 MPH is only slightly less deadly than being strck at 55 MPH.  There have been many deadly incidents where train speeds have been 20 MPH and less at time of impact.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, November 26, 2020 1:41 AM

BaltACD

When GP-7 and GP-9 locomotives started production, on some roads they were the locomotives that replaced steam - as such long hood forward was viewed as proper since steam engineers had their forward vision compromized by the length of the boiler on steam locomotives.  

I may be mistaken but I think GP-30's were the first locomotives that were produced with the low short hood being forward as the 'standard' production version.

 

Pictures of the GP7 demostrator show it was set up for short hood forward.  There were railroads that did order some, if not all there early geeps long hood forward.

I think it was the GP18 and GP20 (and probably their SD counterparts) that had the low nose option.

The low short hood doesn't really give better visibility for some things.  You will lose sight of anything at ground level at the same distance whether it's a low or high short hood.  The hood just isn't short enough.  It does however, give visibility of wayside signals up until you are almost past them.

Jeff

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Posted by 1019x on Thursday, November 26, 2020 4:16 PM

jeffhergert

 

 
BaltACD

When GP-7 and GP-9 locomotives started production, on some roads they were the locomotives that replaced steam - as such long hood forward was viewed as proper since steam engineers had their forward vision compromized by the length of the boiler on steam locomotives.  

I may be mistaken but I think GP-30's were the first locomotives that were produced with the low short hood being forward as the 'standard' production version.

 

 

 

Pictures of the GP7 demostrator show it was set up for short hood forward.  There were railroads that did order some, if not all there early geeps long hood forward.

I think it was the GP18 and GP20 (and probably their SD counterparts) that had the low nose option.

The low short hood doesn't really give better visibility for some things.  You will lose sight of anything at ground level at the same distance whether it's a low or high short hood.  The hood just isn't short enough.  It does however, give visibility of wayside signals up until you are almost past them.

Jeff

 

 

The first low nose GP was a GP-9 for a copper mine railroad. The low nose was for the purpose of being able to see back over the train during the loading process. The first railroad production GP-9 with a low nose were a group of the last GP-9s ordered by the SP.

 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, December 10, 2020 10:21 AM

jeffhergert
There were railroads that did order some, if not all there early geeps long hood forward.

IIRC the steam boiler / water for railroads that wanted a "passenger GP" went in the high short hood on a GP-7 or GP-9. Not sure if there was any connection, but it seems like a fair number of railroads that ordered passenger GPs (Great Northern and New York Central for example) also set them up long-hood forward. That would mean the steam generator and connection would be closer to the passenger cars. Not sure if that was a reason or not as to which end was the front...although I believe Soo Line's passenger GP-9s were short hood forward.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, December 10, 2020 11:56 AM

I'm not so sure on that.  I remember seeing N&W GP9's on the "Blue Bird" leading with the short hood and the same with IC GP9's on the "Governor's Special".  Monon C420's also led with the short hood on the "Thoroughbred".

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:02 PM

jeffhergert

Pictures of the GP7 demostrator show it was set up for short hood forward.  There were railroads that did order some, if not all there early geeps long hood forward.

Yeah it pretty much came down to a railroad thing and how they ordered them.

CN's GP9s were long hood forward. (GP7s probably were too)

CP's GP7s and GP9s were short hood forward. CP's RS-3s, RS-10s were long hood, the later RS-18s were short hood.

Algoma Central's GP7s were all short hood forward. They had a few rebuilt by CN in Winnipeg in the late 1970s and the CN paint shop incorrectly marked the long hood as "front" among other minor paint errors...

 

And Southern ordered SD40s long hood forward when that wasn't really standard for other railroads.

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:10 PM

wjstix
That would mean the steam generator and connection would be closer to the passenger cars. Not sure if that was a reason or not as to which end was the front...although I believe Soo Line's passenger GP-9s were short hood forward.

The steam pipe goes to both ends with connections on both ends. Plenty of short-hood-forward roads had units with steam lines and boilers. I believe some roads may have even had some units with no boilers but pass-through steam lines so they could still be used as extra power on passenger trains.

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:12 PM

There were jokes that NS wanted to order their SD70s with high hoods but settled on the spartain cab. Stick out tongue

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 10, 2020 2:05 PM

cv_acr
I believe some roads may have even had some units with no boilers but pass-through steam lines so they could still be used as extra power on passenger trains.

As a potential tie-in to the "ATSF early numbering" thread -- CGW notoriously ordered a 'matched set' comprising "locomotive" 116 -- units 116A and 116C were FP7s, and 116B and D,E,F,and G were listed as F7Bs.

I'd have thought the two FP7s would have the steam generators, diesel fuel reserves, water, etc. for the trainlength the combined consist would pull, with the boosters having the kind of passthrough described.  I do not find detail from Edson on the details of how this engine was intended to be used -- surely someone here will know.

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