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NYC T3a center windows: Here today; gone tomorrow

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 3:05 AM
Very informative, Ed, thanks.

gmpullman
The "cans" on each corner of the T series motors are indeed sand boxes.

And here I was thinking they contained the track cleaning mechanism a la the Roundhouse Box Cab Track Cleaner! Dunce
 
Cheers, the ½ Serious Bear.Smile

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 11:11 AM

Interesting.  It may be worth noting that EMD E units underwent similar changes over the years -- you see photos from various railroads where the side portholes have been plated over.  Maintenance costs perhaps, particularly if those center windows were a source of rust.  Removing one more temptation for rock throwers is another.   Caboose windows went through a similar transformation particularly once shatterproof glass was required.  It came at the cost of interior light but that was a cost they were willing to take on.  And in thinking it over, way back when I can recall a local factory that had those huge steel windows -- and if a pane broke it was always replaced with plywood, not glass.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, February 5, 2023 5:04 PM

It is sure fascinating to try to get into the minds of the "powers that be" when making the kind of decisions regarding the "timeline" of railroad stuff.

I'd have to conclude the window elimination was one of economics as Bear mentions leaking, rattling, glass replacement, etc. and as far as providing light inside the carbody it is only available for half the day and there were plenty of battery powered interior lights even if the "shoes" were retracted.

I followed the same convention on the conversion of the Cleveland Union Terminal P-1a which, in 1952 were converted form 3000 volt overhead to 660V DC third rail. The windows were then eliminated and replaced with ventilator screens.

Another element enters in to these decisions as far as maintenance costs. Window maintenance was probably part of the carpenter's craft union. If a train crew gets assigned a locomotive and the window happens to be cracked or otherwise deemed "unsafe" it couldn't be repaired by a machinist (who's trade also maintained the carbody) so a carpenter would have to be found, or called in, to make the repair. I've seen this kind of situation somewhat frequently in the later years of "belt tightening" when management was trying to save every penny and the crafts were trying to save every job. 

 CUT_Collinwood_207 by Edmund, on Flickr

  — and after:

 P-motors! by Steve Baldwin, on Flickr

The "cans" on each corner of the T series motors are indeed sand boxes.

 NYC, New York City, New York, 1968 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

Note the rivet lines at the bottoms, near the cleanouts, that angle toward the outlet:

 NYC_T3 crop by Edmund, on Flickr

On the original T-1a the sand boxes were rectangular.

The "box" between them on the #2 end only* is indeed a curiosity. Tou will notice a very similar-looking box on the P-1a also at the #2 end. These were for housing the automatic train control while on the C.U.T..

* I've seen some mounted on the #1 or F end.

Now in the electric zone of New York there is no train control or automatic train stop so why the box? Note the conduit fittings leading into it.

Were they installed in anticipation of future installation of some kind of train control or cab signal? Was the box put to another use such as auxiliary batteries that couldn't otherwise be fitted into the carbody?

 NYC, Mott Haven Junction, New York, 1968 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

 NYC_T3 crop-Aend by Edmund, on Flickr

 (click to enlarge) note the row of bottom rivets on the right sandbox.

This article shows a T-3 No. 278, with the NYC sans-serif lettering but not centered as in later years.

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/rare-new-york-central-electric-locomotives-still-threatened/

 

Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by tstage on Friday, February 3, 2023 7:32 PM

Found two three interesting photos on the NYCSHS archive site this evening to help answer my questions.  If you enlarge this photo in an app like MS Paint, rivets are indeed visible on either side of the center window of the '26 T-3as:

Even better, a pre-production photo with the louvers and window removed:

This is the interior view of a T-3a, to the right of the center window, looking down at one end.  Note the "Danger" sign in the upper right forefront:

Wish the archive photos would enlarge more so you could study the detailing better. Tongue Tied

Tom

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Posted by tstage on Friday, February 3, 2023 5:25 PM

I concur with you on the panel replacement, Bear.  I'll look at photos of newly released T-3s from 1926 to determine if the two columns of rivets in the middle running top-to-bottom were present then or added later - i.e. when the window was eliminated. 

And, maybe the reason for eliminating the center window was merely cosmetic; allowing the "New York Central" to be added across the top.

Tom

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, February 3, 2023 3:48 PM

T3aNYC by Bear, on Flickr

T3a by Bear, on Flickr

Click on photos to enlarge.

Gidday Tom, having taken the liberty of “blowing up” two of the photos my conclusion is that entire section was replaced. The photo on the Danbury Museum site provides the clearest evidence of that happening. (I hope they are successful at recovering both locos)
 
 
As to why?
It’s pure speculation on my part, and while replacing the entire section may appear to be drastic;
were the windows “high” maintenance?
Did they break frequently?
Did they leak?
I’m not at all familiar with the innards of an electric locomotive, my only experience of electric motors is on starter/generators on turbine engines, and they do require regular “blow outs” with compressed air to remove the built up of carbon dust from brush wear, so were the windows superfluous as in actually letting in light?  
 
¼ My 2 Cents Cheers, the Bear.Smile

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NYC T3a center windows: Here today; gone tomorrow
Posted by tstage on Friday, February 3, 2023 8:24 AM

Greetings,

I was looking at photos of T-motors the other evening in the NYCSHS archive - specifically the T-3a (#1173-#1182 or #273-#282).  I noticed that the center window disappeared after the renumbering in '36 but seemingly not until it switched from Roman font to Gothic; however long that took.

I was curious if anyone knew the specific reason for the window disappearance?  Did they just sheath the window over with steel plating or replace the entire section?

It's difficult to see details from the photos in the NYCSHS archive because the scans do not enlarge much when you click on them.  I did note that the lack of the center window allowed "New York Central" to be centered and applied above the intake louvers.  This is particularly evident when the lightning stripe was applied:

Views of both sides of the T-3s with the same road number show the window on each side.  Here's the left & right 3/4 views of #1175 (#275) before the renumbering in '36:

Given the uniformity of the T-3s, I had considered that maybe the photos were taken from different ends.  The two trash can-sized containers below are on both ends of the T-3.  However, the square sandbox located between them is only on one end, as shown on #1177:

I initially discovered this because my undeocrated brass Alco Model T-3a has the center window but a OMI T-3 that I found online does not.  Maybe this is just one of those changes because the window was no longer being utilized by the crew.  Its also missing from T-3 #278 that the Danbury Railway Museum is attempting to rescue:

Thanks the help...
 
Tom

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Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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