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Air Conditioned Locomotive Cabs

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Air Conditioned Locomotive Cabs
Posted by JPS1 on Saturday, July 4, 2020 8:57 PM

When was air conditioned cabs included as a feature for locomotives, i.e. year, manufacturers, models, etc.?  

What led to the question was the temperature in cental Texas today: 102F.  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, July 4, 2020 9:16 PM

CN only started getting it in the mid-2000s, our last batch of GE Dash-9's were the first to have it.  I believe CN was the last Class I to start ordering locomotives with A/C, everyone else seems to have been getting it for years.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, July 5, 2020 1:27 PM

The 1980 CAR & LOCOMOTIVE CYCLOPEDIA has an ad for locomotive AC's, which implies installations were taking place before 1980.

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Posted by bogie_engineer on Sunday, July 5, 2020 2:46 PM

Erik_Mag

The 1980 CAR & LOCOMOTIVE CYCLOPEDIA has an ad for locomotive AC's, which implies installations were taking place before 1980.

 

We were doing installations of roof mounted air conditioners in the mid-70's to SP T-2's as I remember it. We worked at the time exclusively with Vapor Corp, the relay and steam generator people. The first ones were really lousy, unreliable units that ran on the 74VDC battery supply. They used and automotive-type piston compressor powered with a DC motor thru a V-belt. They had two speed evaporator fans, high and higher, that were noisy and terribly drafty. It took a long time get a reliable, acceptable unit. Although I didn't have responsibility for them (thankfully) I was in the design group that did so got to hear all the complaints with our open office plan.

Dave

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Posted by NKP guy on Sunday, July 5, 2020 6:57 PM

   This thread brings to mind all the crews years ago working in the same type of heat...in a steam locomotive nonetheless.  

   It also reminds me of the people who work second shift in factories and espcially steel mills during the hot summer months.  The place has had all day to heat up...and then you walk in to begin your shift.  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, July 6, 2020 12:10 AM

NKP guy

   This thread brings to mind all the crews years ago working in the same type of heat...in a steam locomotive nonetheless.  

   It also reminds me of the people who work second shift in factories and espcially steel mills during the hot summer months.  The place has had all day to heat up...and then you walk in to begin your shift.  

 

About a year ago, I was able to ride the cab of the Big Boy for about 30 miles.  ( The rest of the trip was on the following diesel.)  A couple of trips later I had a daytime trip on a diesel where the A/C didn't work.

It felt hotter and much more uncomfortable on the diesel than the steam engine.  The reason being, the diesels now don't have the ventilation vents they once had.  The side windows are smaller than the old standard cab windows.  They are designed with the notion that the A/C works all the time.  The first wide nose cabs at least had side and roof vents, but no more.  And for the engineer, some of that computer gear can put out a lot of heat. 

The first orders of GE wide nose cabs on the CNW didn't have A/C.  It's been said later order(s) did because GE said it wouldn't honor the warranty on the electrical components on non-A/C equipped units.

Jeff

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, July 6, 2020 1:30 AM

jeffhergert
It felt hotter and much more uncomfortable on the diesel than the steam engine.  The reason being, the diesels now don't have the ventilation vents they once had.  The side windows are smaller than the old standard cab windows.  They are designed with the notion that the A/C works all the time.  The first wide nose cabs at least had side and roof vents, but no more.  And for the engineer, some of that computer gear can put out a lot of heat. 

Yep.  Widebodies are absolutely unbearable without AC - esp when you have the sun beating in on you.  

 Standard cabs - you can prop doors and windows open and get a good cross-breeze.  Just can't get that with the newer stuff. On my normal standard cabs, once we get over the mid afternoon worst of the heat, I usually kill the AC (or just run in periodically to kill the humidity) and open the windows.  The AC units can be too noisy, and some of them have clogged drain likes and dump water all over the cab.

   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 JPS1 on Monday, July 6, 2020 1:53 PM

NKP guy
    This thread brings to mind all the crews years ago working in the same type of heat...in a steam locomotive nonetheless.  

I wonder how the engineer and fireman on a steam locomotive managed the heat in west Texas and Arizona during the hot weather.  
 
I live in central Texas during the summer.  It is 102F here today.  And that's cool compared to parts of Arizona where the temperatures can easily climb above 110 to 115 degrees during the hotest summer months. 
 
Did the railroads schedule trains to run through the hottest areas of the county during the night and early morning hours? 
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Posted by petitnj on Monday, July 6, 2020 2:39 PM

Here in Minnesota unairconditioned cabs are not too much of a problem when moving. The problem is when stopped -- the mosquitos kill ya. You can have the windows open and become mosquito fodder or close the windows and overheat. 

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, July 6, 2020 5:14 PM

Conrail started getting AC with the wide cab SD60Ms and C40-8Ws.  Part of the deal was to keep the cab electronics happy, the other part was trying to keep the crews happy.  (New wide cabs got better seats and toilets, too, spec'd out by the railroad)

Part of the deal was that a crew couldn't refuse a consist if the AC was not working.  A lot of time and energy went into keeping the HVAC systems running and happy on those units.  It was nearly a full time job for one electrical engineer at headquarters to understand and develope maintenace and repair sources and practices for the AC units.

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

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Posted by Train Guy 3 on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 2:58 PM

The A/C is there to keep all the new electrical gear inside the cabs cooler. The Railroad could care less about the crew.... at least that's they way it seems to the reasoning around the carrier I've been around.

 

 

 

That said I despise the A/C systems that are on GE locomotives. You constantly have to reset the system. So most of the time it starts getting warmer and you have to reach up the hold down the manual reset switch. EMD will automatically reset themselves almost just like your automobile. The system will automatically shut down for about three seconds and kick right back on. Giving you cool conditioned air without you having to do anything after you turn the system on.

 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:36 PM

This Thread about A/C sure brings back some unpleasant memories!  Grumpy 

  In late 1960's [after I got back from RVN]  I started driving a truck throughout the Southeast, South and Southwest... A/C for trucks was still in its infancy...New trucks came with them; Same complaints there as with the Diesel Locomotives!  They were so bad when the Teamsters Union in their then-latest Contract demanded and got 'Air Conditioning in truck cabs'  Several OTR Companies supplied Cab Airconditioners, per 'Union Contract language.' 

    Some OTR companies put A/C units into their trucks (ETMF, was one that did.)  Many of the A/C units were still in their factory-supplied, shipping  boxes, on the unused righ-hand passenger seat area!Mischief   My first two trucks were a very used, B-61 Mack, and a former Gordion;s Transport[1960] half-cab Freightliner... They sheared many of the same 'wonderful traits'!  Both were underpowered, over geared, and were hotter in Winter months, than they were in Summer.  Sure Do Not miss those days!  Laugh

 

 


 

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Posted by RKFarms on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 9:16 AM

Another place where AC has improved greatly is farm equipment. The first tractor cabs were steel framed echo and heat chambers, louder and hotter than no cab at all. Sun coming in through the glass, heating the steel frame, and heat from engine up front and transmission/hydraulics under your feet. They did help keep the wind off you in the winter, though. Modern cabs are quiet and comfortable (as they should be if you're spending upwards of 400K on a new tractor or combine). And yes old trucks without AC or adequate heat were almost as bad, spent many hours hauling grain with 60's era trucks, really sucked waiting in a long line to get dumped, no breeze and only shade was under the bed when sun was high in the sky. It always looked like the switch engine crews had it the worst for the railroaders for the same reasons.

PR

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 8:34 PM

Train Guy 3

The A/C is there to keep all the new electrical gear inside the cabs cooler. The Railroad could care less about the crew.... at least that's they way it seems to the reasoning around the carrier I've been around.

 

 

 

That said I despise the A/C systems that are on GE locomotives. You constantly have to reset the system. So most of the time it starts getting warmer and you have to reach up the hold down the manual reset switch. EMD will automatically reset themselves almost just like your automobile. The system will automatically shut down for about three seconds and kick right back on. Giving you cool conditioned air without you having to do anything after you turn the system on.

 

 

In my experience, it's usually the EMD engines that time out and have to be reset manually.  All it takes, usually, is just setting the HVAC switch to a different setting.  The cabs also have that information posted. 

It does seem the GE engines' A/C will 'freeze up' during times of high humidity.  Generally if the A/C is working when you get on, it works for the trip. 

Still no matter which builder, the heat works best in July, the A/C works best in January.  That's probably a reflection on the maintenance they receive.

Jeff   

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 9:04 PM

jeffhergert
In my experience, it's usually the EMD engines that time out and have to be reset manually.  All it takes, usually, is just setting the HVAC switch to a different setting.  The cabs also have that information posted. 

I think it was our GEs that had the AC timeout reset switch.  Had to hit reset it every so often.  Our older EMDs have the rooftop units, and you have to occasionally turn them on and off.  

Some of our AC units had a built in shower feature.  Was interesting to see how much water a control stand could take.  (yeah, the engine was shopped...)

   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 steve-in-kville on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 6:02 AM
Most of my train watching takes place in the early mornings on the weekends. So far all the leads have their windows closed so I'd imagine they're using the AC. Earlier in the year I have seen a lot of open cab windows, though. Fresh air beats AC any day.

Regards - Steve

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 10:14 AM

steve-in-kville

Fresh air beats AC any day.

 
Not on the Texas Gulf Coast
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 jeffhergert on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 10:31 PM

zugmann

 

 
jeffhergert
In my experience, it's usually the EMD engines that time out and have to be reset manually.  All it takes, usually, is just setting the HVAC switch to a different setting.  The cabs also have that information posted. 

 

I think it was our GEs that had the AC timeout reset switch.  Had to hit reset it every so often.  Our older EMDs have the rooftop units, and you have to occasionally turn them on and off.  

Some of our AC units had a built in shower feature.  Was interesting to see how much water a control stand could take.  (yeah, the engine was shopped...)

 

Our GEs have a time out button. The badge plate with it says it usually only times out when the unit is trailing.

Jeff

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Posted by mvlandsw on Saturday, September 12, 2020 7:31 PM

If the AC is only there for the electronics why is it not running all the time in hot weather? The unit doesn't die when the AC quits.

Some of the AC units have very poor temperature settings. I would sometimes have the AC on low and the sidewall heater on high to keep from getting too cold.

Mark Vinski

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