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New York Central Train Masters?

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New York Central Train Masters?
Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, February 26, 2021 7:03 AM

Any truth to the claims on this site that several of Southern Pacific's H-24-66's had originally been earmarked for the Central?

http://www.ssloan.net/trains/sp/3020.html

As a fan of both the New York Central and Fairbanks Morse, this takes me by surprise. Especially for a road that never dabbled in C-C power. That site even has assigned road numbers, yet I've never seen this referenced anywhere else.

I'd love to hear more details if anyone has some. That demonstrators spent time on the NYC in the summer of 1953 is relatively known, but my understanding is that the story ended there.

It wouldn't be without some logic if it's accurate. Right around when these were being built towards the end of 1953 and into 1954 is when the Central started to sour on their C-Liner purchases (By 1955, they were already starting to repower their 5 year old 2,000 and 2,400 hp C-Liners with 16-567's). So getting out of an order makes some sense.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 26, 2021 8:05 AM

I have to get this out of my system: I find it irritating when a claim like this, about NYC ordering and perhaps testing TrainMasters before 'rejecting' them, is flagged with a link labeled 'source' ... which goes to a boilerplate page discussing general source reliability, and a list of references, but can't be bothered to cite the actual place the issue is referenced!  It's not as if citation is rocket surgery!

I'd have to think that if NYC bought 5-axle FMs to get to 2400hp (and thought enough of them to re-engine with EMDs) they would be interested in the Train Master, but might well find that high-speed operation did the track no favors.  Certainly they stayed 4-motor high-horsepower adherents 'to the end'...

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Posted by BigJim on Friday, February 26, 2021 10:26 AM

The CD "Living With Steam"* has a recording of a NYC Trainmaster on one of the tracks. *CD title corrected.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 26, 2021 2:13 PM

I can't find any information about that record -- it's lost in the hash of the Valve gamer platform.  Do you have information about it, or where to find a copy?

I have a dumb, but serious question: how do you distinguish a TrainMaster by ear from a CPA24-5?  Wheel sound over rail joints or frogs?

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Posted by Backshop on Friday, February 26, 2021 3:26 PM

It sounds like a railfan rumor since his source defines "reportedly" as " "according to what many people say."

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Posted by BigJim on Friday, February 26, 2021 8:25 PM

Overmod

I can't find any information about that record...

I have a dumb, but serious question: how do you distinguish a TrainMaster by ear from a CPA24-5?  Wheel sound over rail joints or frogs?

Very sorry, my mistake. The CD is "Living With Steam" by John Prophet.

I have no idea what a CPA24-5 is, but, you can tell it is a Trainmaster by reading the liner notes.   On other recordings, a Trainmaster sounds like an airplane to me!

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 26, 2021 8:31 PM

BigJim
I have no idea what a CPA24-5 is, but, you can tell it is a Trainmaster by reading the liner notes.

My understanding was that the CPA24-5, which is a 2400hp passenger engine using a B truck at the front and an A-1-A at the rear to accommodate the SG and its fuel and water better in 'minimum length', uses the same prime mover as a TrainMaster and would have much the same engine sounds.  If you can hear wheel clatter you could distinguish the two types by ear...

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, February 26, 2021 8:38 PM

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/9e/34/f1/9e34f1d110502887dce73b6fd4a0764d.jpg

Canadian National had some 5 axle B-units, which I believe were the only ones built.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 26, 2021 8:41 PM

Now, in addition to the records, there is a "Living With Steam" podcast, on Apple, anchor.fm, and Spotify, among the options.  There is what I presume to be liner note narration that pads out the sounds...

 (Incidentally, and in the interest of fair disclosure, there is a 'Living with Steam' Faceplant page.  It appears to be 'members-only' access...)

 

 

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Posted by BigJim on Saturday, February 27, 2021 4:38 PM

Oh ye of little faith...

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, February 27, 2021 6:45 PM

Jim, the Central never owned a Train Master. So if it's a recording of a Train Master on the Central rather than a C-Liner with the same engine, it's actually of the Fairbanks Morse owned demonstrators that I mentioned earlier.

TM-1 and TM-2 both spent some time on the road in I believe June of that year on their barnstorming tour of the eastern US (TM-3 and TM-4 covered the west), just a few weeks after leaving Beloit as the first two examples of the model. That ties in with the time period when that recording is said to have been produced. 

The question isn't if the Central ever owned a Train Master since we know that they didn't. The question is were they serious enough about ordering some in 1953 that Fairbanks Morse actually was constructing H-24-66's slated for the Central as alleged by that site I stumbled across? Or was it just a railfan fantasy/fabrication like seems likely (I'm not saying that the owner of that site is guilty and out to mislead, but if false, he's at least been misled by a source that he believed to be accurate)? 

And if actually true, I was seeking some details since this little bit of the Train Master story is extremely obscure.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 27, 2021 7:23 PM

BigJim
Oh ye of little faith...

I already posted about where you can listen to these clips (with narration) free.

Which of those tracks contains the TrainMaster sound???

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Posted by MMLDelete on Saturday, February 27, 2021 10:42 PM

SP never had any C-C units at all?

What about A1A-A1A? Passenger engines maybe?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, February 27, 2021 10:48 PM

Fixed it for you.

Lithonia Operator

SP NYC never had any C-C units at all?

What about A1A-A1A? Passenger engines maybe?

A quick scan of the NYC diesel roster reveals no C-C power of any kind.

They did have A1A-trucked passenger units from all four diesel builders. 

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Posted by MMLDelete on Saturday, February 27, 2021 10:57 PM

Thanks, Dude!

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Posted by cx500 on Saturday, February 27, 2021 11:05 PM

Some people have mistakenly called the 4-axle H-16-44 a baby Trainmaster.  (That unofficial name is usually used for the H-16-66.)  If the NYC had some H-16-44s that might be the origin.

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Posted by MMLDelete on Sunday, February 28, 2021 7:45 AM

To me, the Trainmaster is among the very best-looking diesel road switchers ever.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 28, 2021 9:24 AM

NYC had 13 H-16-44s, in the 7000 series.

Did anyone actually conflate these (the moral equivalent of an RS-3) with a TrainMaster?  That was reserved for the late-carbody H-16-66, which does look very similar.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, February 28, 2021 9:40 AM

I remember J. David Ingles making an argument once in the pages of Trains for the very similar looking H-16-66's to be nicknamed as Junior Train Masters, since they were only a few feet shorter and looked so similar (Minus the earliest examples that the C&NW received that still had Loewy styling elements).

He thought the Baby Train Master nickname perhaps was more suitable for the post-Loewy H-16-44's that shared the Train Master's more boxy styling, but with the 4 axle trucks and significantly shorter frame compared to the H-24-66's.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, February 28, 2021 10:47 AM

The Train Master story from the April 1987 issue of Trains that was written by Robert Aldag Jr. would appear to cast serious doubt that there's any truth to the Central having officially or unofficially ever ordered Train Masters. 

The story tells that the first 10 units sold were to the Lackawanna before a Train Master had even hit the rails. No date was mentioned, but the January 1953 issue of Trains mentions the $2.5 million order for the 10 units and mentions how the first demonstrators weren't expected until April. So we know the order was placed in 1952, possibly in late summer or early fall.

Then the Aldag article starts to tell about the June 1953 Atlantic City railroad convention that Fairbanks Morse attended to try to sell the model to America's railroads. There, they sold the Virginian Railway on the merits of the Train Master and also secured a Southern Pacific order for 16 units (including TM-3 and TM-4, presumably after their demonstrator tour had concluded and following a thorough reconditioning).

The article portrays these as the next orders for the model. Not a word in the story about some quiet NYC order, which would've been news worthy back in 1953 (And perhaps even more news worthy would be the Central getting out of it after the fact). 

The author worked at FM starting in 1946 all the way until 1960, rising from sales manager all the way to the leadership spot of FM's railroad division. He'd of obviously been aware of a cancelled NYC order, and I suspect would've mentioned it.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, February 28, 2021 10:54 AM

An order 'could' have been formulated within the NYC hierarchy and then cancelled BEFORE being issued to FM.  There are numerous internal politics that get played within most all corporations.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, February 28, 2021 11:17 AM

It's possible. Back then, the builders would occasionally construct locomotives with little more than a handshake.

It affected a Central order for RS-11's that ended up going to a different home than what was planned when construction started (I believe one of my NYC books even has pictures of them in lightning stripes at the D&H). The contract hadn't actually ever been signed and the Central decided that the first 9 weren't meeting expectations. So delivery got refused and Alco had to go find a different buyer. 

But that the story apparently has never been told, even by a major figure in the history of the locomotive division of Fairbanks Morse, would make it appear extremely unlikely that FM was building H-24-66's intended for the Central and that the deal was serious enough that the road had even assigned numbers to each unit. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 28, 2021 12:27 PM

Leo_Ames
I remember J. David Ingles making an argument once in the pages of Trains for the very similar looking H-16-66's to be nicknamed as Junior Train Masters, since they were only a few feet shorter and looked so similar...  He thought the Baby Train Master nickname perhaps was more suitable for the post-Loewy H-16-44's that shared the Train Master's more boxy styling

That distinction between 'junior' and 'baby' does make sense in late-body context... once you know the context.

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Posted by BigJim on Monday, March 1, 2021 2:16 PM

Leo_Ames
Jim, the Central never owned a Train Master. So if it's a recording of a Train Master on the Central rather than a C-Liner with the same engine, it's actually of the Fairbanks Morse owned demonstrators that I mentioned earlier.


Leo,
Going back and looking at the liner notes (Track 1. Tower F), I see now that what it actually said was..."Don't even blink because you might miss train BN-2, pulled by a Fairbanks-Morse diesel locomotive as it speeds past the tower. Its horn is barely audible because of the trains incredible speed. This was one of the Central's 'Pacemaker' trains..."

Please forgive my memory since it has been a while since reading the liner notes.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, March 1, 2021 5:25 PM

It quite possibly was a C-Liner then. The Central owned three different models of this type of Fairbanks Morse diesel (35 units in total).

They owned some Erie-builts, but C-Liners outnumbered them by about 3 to 1. And I doubt they were regularly assigning their H-16-44's and H-20-44's to high speed freight service, judging by the pictures of them at work that I've seen. 

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 12:20 AM

My understanding was that the Central had problems with the traction generator flashing over during high speed slips. A six-axle TM was probably less likely to slip that a 4 powered axle C-Liner.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, March 4, 2021 10:10 AM

cx500

Some people have mistakenly called the 4-axle H-16-44 a baby Trainmaster.  (That unofficial name is usually used for the H-16-66.)  If the NYC had some H-16-44s that might be the origin.

 
New York Central had quite a few FM road engines, road switchers, and switchers, so I guess it's not crazy that they might have thought about trying out TrainMasters...but as noted, they never bought any diesels with C trucks so it's doubtful they would suddenly decide to buy the biggest engine available after buying just medium sized engines.
 
Re "Baby Trainmaster" it kinda depends on the railroad. The H-24-66 was a "TrainMaster"; the Chicago & NorthWestern never had them but they had H-16-66 engines they called "Junior TrainMasters" and H-16-44s they called "Baby TrainMasters".
 
BTW IIRC "H" is for "Hood", first number ("16", "24") is horsepower in hundreds, and the last two numbers are the number of axles and the number of axles that are powered. So an H-16-66 is a hood diesel, 1600 HP, six axles, all six powered. H-16-44 is similar, but four wheel trucks instead of six.
Stix
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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, March 4, 2021 12:46 PM

It never quite caught on like the C-Liner name did for their Consolidated line of streamlined cab units, but some railfans when attention started to be paid to Canadian Pacific's disappearing but long lived Fairbank Morse power, started referring to FM's entire road switcher line as "H-Liners".

Often when it's infrequently seen, it's used in reference to CPR's sizeable H-16-44 fleet, which at 40 units strong was one of the largest fleets of a single FM model on any railroad. 

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Posted by B&O6522 on Thursday, March 25, 2021 12:42 PM

Never heard anything about TM's on the NYC's locomotive plans before.  I would mention this, the NYC had agood interchange in West Virginia with the Virginian which was powered with FM hood units.  As I understand it power and crews were pooled between NYC at Dickinson Yard WV and VGN at Elmore Yard.  The NYC line involved was a water level route in West Virginia but became a hilly line that required helpers once it got into Ohio.  Could it be that NYC looked at acquiring some TM's and expanding the power pooling with VGN?  Diesels were still new in 50's and I am sure a lot of options were discussed.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, March 25, 2021 10:18 PM

I didn't pick up on it at first, but another piece of information that casts doubt on that site's claims are the planned numbers themselves. 

Unless the Central was going to be putting 2,400 hp C-C Train Masters into passenger service, the 4000 block was reserved exclusively for passenger diesels.

Of course, that in theory could've been their intentions. The Train Master certainly could do the job and several Train Master owners showed that. But it seems rather unlikely that the Water Level Route's first foray into high horsepower six motor power would've been for passenger use.

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