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Is this"Locomotives" really "Diesel locomotives"?

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Is this"Locomotives" really "Diesel locomotives"?
Posted by Sara T on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 10:55 AM

.. I must ask.

0S5A0R0A3

 

(For me a 'locomotive' really is a steam locomotive)

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 11:27 AM

There are (and were) many who would agree with you.  They'll use terms like 'motor' for a diesel-electric engine.

On the other hand, DPM (the semilegendary editor of Trains Magazine) had a category of 'honorary steam locomotive' (the first I remember being one of the large six-axle Baldwins).  Someone once commented about the rebuilt Duke of Gloucester that at short cutoff it 'sounded like a bloody Sulzer' and indeed we had a class of locomotive, the U34CH, that sight unseen had a very locomotive-like exhaust.

There are different things to appreciate about diesel-electrics; they may not reach the full glory that was steam, but they can be impressive in their own way.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 12:20 PM

DPM also noted a semantic observation from John W Barriger III in the all-electric issue, motive power that generates its own power from either steam or diesel is a locomotive, but a straight electric, which draws its power from elsewhere is an electromotive.

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 Flintlock76 on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 12:33 PM

I think the question Sara's asking is IS the "Locomotives" section for diesel power only, or is any locomotive topic welcome?  Well certainly, but...

I'd say for things concerning steam use the "Steam and Preservation" section, for everything else, diesel, electric, or the new technologies use "Locomotives."  It's probably easier for all concerned that way.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 1:39 PM

Exactly!! 

Or, as the Forum description clearly states: "The power that moves the nation’s freight and passenger trains every day. Find out about new locomotives, the fate of old favorites, and ask experts about locomotive performance." 

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 3:05 PM

For what it's worth, they rarely get referred to at work as "locomotives". 

"Units" is the most common term, with "engine" being less common.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Sara T on Thursday, March 4, 2021 7:58 AM

Flintlock  >>I think the question Sara's asking is IS the "Locomotives" section for diesel power only, or is any locomotive topic welcome?  Well certainly, but...<<

Yes, Flintlock understood me correctly. And the irony is: although it is really addressed at diesel locos, these locos are called >> units << most times as SD70 dude tells us.

So the forum could also be denoted 'units' simply. And a forum dedicated for parts of these units, like for diesel motors and traction motors and so on could be called not units but fractions or sections ---

WinkOff Topic

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, March 4, 2021 10:08 AM

Semantics again.  Through the practice of multiple unit control, several diesel units can be assembled into one diesel-electric locomotive under the control of one engineer.

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 Overmod on Thursday, March 4, 2021 10:29 AM

The distinction I try to follow is to put 'historical' discussions of steam in the 'steam and preservation' thread, but modern steam (such as the CSR/SRI Project 130 or the 5AT project; Tom Blasingame's efforts; or Andreas Schwander's or Harry Valentine's proposals for fireless) in Locomotives.  

(That results in a bit of trouble when assessing where to put progress on T1 5550, which is intended as a full replica except where it isn't... )

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, March 4, 2021 11:52 AM

Mind you, diesels weren't always called units either.

For example, at the dawn of the diesel era when one showed up at the Southern Railway's Spencer Shop the voice of the roundhouse foreman was heard roaring:

"You ain't bringin' one of those damn streetcars in my shop!"   

Poor guy, his world was changing and he couldn't stop it.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, March 4, 2021 1:13 PM

The names for the new diesels varied between railroads as well, just as the names for certain steam wheel arrangements did.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, March 5, 2021 4:57 PM

Flintlock76

Mind you, diesels weren't always called units either.

For example, at the dawn of the diesel era when one showed up at the Southern Railway's Spencer Shop the voice of the roundhouse foreman was heard roaring:

"You ain't bringin' one of those damn streetcars in my shop!"   

Poor guy, his world was changing and he couldn't stop it.

 

Wasn't it Union Pacific?

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 Overmod on Friday, March 5, 2021 7:53 PM

Paul Milenkovic
Wasn't it Union Pacific?

Damn streetcar motors on ATSF when the first of their Alco DL10x sets (before the use of 752 motors) reportedly left quite a bit of shiny solder decorating ties in Raton Pass...

(This after the units idled so roughly at Dearborn Street that the sides were observed bowing in and out and cups of coffee sloshed in the diner... tightlock couplers, you know...)

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Posted by Sara T on Saturday, March 6, 2021 11:01 AM

Overmod wrote: " the sides were observed bowing in and out and cups of coffee sloshed in the diner... tightlock couplers, you know...)"

Sides bowed: sideways movements

Coffee sloshed (ouw!?) / tightlock couplers: lengthwise shaking?

Strange ..

But with a coffee in a 'to go' cup it wouldn't be too bad.

 

 Dieser Pin enthält: S and mocca

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, March 6, 2021 11:43 AM

By the sounds of it the ALCO 539 engine resembled large stationary steam engines in both weight and RPM, yet somehow managed to be louder.  

No wonder Santa Fe went with EMD, even the Winton 201-A would find that 'performance' hard to top.  

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:19 PM

Paul Milenkovic

 

 
Flintlock76

Mind you, diesels weren't always called units either.

For example, at the dawn of the diesel era when one showed up at the Southern Railway's Spencer Shop the voice of the roundhouse foreman was heard roaring:

"You ain't bringin' one of those damn streetcars in my shop!"   

Poor guy, his world was changing and he couldn't stop it.

 

 

 

Wasn't it Union Pacific?

 

Could have been, or ATSF as Brother Overmod said.

Doesn't matter, whoever said it first probably wasn't the only one!  Laugh

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 6, 2021 12:37 PM

Sara T
Sides bowed: sideways movements

They were bulging in and out as the carbody shook, probably because the idle speeds of the two 539s were both unsynchronized and irregularly governed.

By the time I got to hear 539s (and 538s!) in actual service, we were in the depths of Penn Central expedience, where you would hear sizzles and pops under switchers and then be able to retrieve 'quarter-size hail' of burning brush carbon from between the ties afterward (it burns like anthracite, or moderator at Chernobyl).  Diesel prime-mover maintenance was often on a par.

 The 539 governor is built in such a way that when it goes out of adjustment, the engine will gradually slow down almost to a stall, then shiver like a wet dog (trying to torque the frame as it does so) and cough back up to overfueled momentary speed overrun.  I have been told that this issue can occur even in reasonably unworn governors if not properly adjusted, the effect being complicated by the abysmal speed following of the comparatively large heavy turbo in a 539T.  (Incidentally I have heard 244-engined RS3s doing the same thing, so it's not just a M&S thing...)

Now imagine two engines, tugboat-engine weight, in a long passenger-weight carbody, doing this independently of each other...


Incidentally this was some years after my introduction to PC maintenance of the 12-567s in E units, which would take a train north out of Harmon with the vestibule and last 10' or so of the last car projecting out of a white fogbank of 'uncombusted #2' essentially laid down close to starting.  And asthmatic 567Ds in FL9s that had to be revved up with a few chugs and then let down with whining Roots blower drive a few times before there was enough momentum to start notching up evenly... I was 12 when I first heard this, and having no auditory experience to the contrary thought this was normally how passenger engines with EMD engines accelerated!  Thank heaven the Internet prevents this now!

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 6, 2021 1:02 PM

SD70Dude
By the sounds of it the ALCO 539 engine resembled large stationary steam engines in both weight and RPM, yet somehow managed to be louder.

Probably not surprising, as McIntosh & Seymour had a long history as large stationary steam engine builders, and 'gas engines' are inherently louder than steam engines of equal displacement and effective MEP...

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Posted by Sara T on Saturday, March 6, 2021 1:15 PM

Overmod

if you had intented that to me, it all came like the fog you described.            Sorry.

All I can say is we could lay down a wide spread haze from stand-by fire when outside the shed on the flat rails ground at Hamm and it was windy again ..

Thank you for making me think of it again ... so long ago, strange ...


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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, March 6, 2021 7:32 PM

My favorite 539  story was told by my dad about his experience in the USN's diesel engine school. Part of the curriculum was tearing down and rebuilding the engines. One member of his group was out the day that the 539 got torn down so didn't see the parts coming off the engine. The story begins by my dad asking the other guy (OG) to get the tappet rods.

Dad: "The tappet rods are in the drawer."

OG: "I don't see any tappet rods here."

Dad: "They're in the labeled drawer."

OG: "All I see are a bunch of pipes."

Dad: "Those are the tappet rods."

My dad also mentioned that someone had broken the crankshaft on a 24 cyl engine made by GM in Cleveland, IIRC the price was $100,000 in 1945.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, March 6, 2021 7:39 PM

Overmod

Incidentally this was some years after my introduction to PC maintenance of the 12-567s in E units, which would take a train north out of Harmon with the vestibule and last 10' or so of the last car projecting out of a white fogbank of 'uncombusted #2' essentially laid down close to starting.  And asthmatic 567Ds in FL9s that had to be revved up with a few chugs and then let down with whining Roots blower drive a few times before there was enough momentum to start notching up evenly... I was 12 when I first heard this, and having no auditory experience to the contrary thought this was normally how passenger engines with EMD engines accelerated!  Thank heaven the Internet prevents this now!

Here's a few 12-645Cs doing their best Penn Central impression:

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/347462/

As it happens I saw a Canadian Pacific GP38-2 doing just this a few hours ago at Clover Bar yard in east Edmonton, and the location may have been intentional.  

Several police cruisers had set up a small checkstop along a freeway beside the CP tracks and underneath another highway overpass.  The CP yard move pulled up slowly and then floored it right next to the cops, engulfing them in that lovely thick white/blue cloud.  

"Rolling coal" doesn't quite do it justice, and there wasn't a speck of black in the cloud anyway.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 6, 2021 9:42 PM

Erik_Mag
My dad also mentioned that someone had broken the crankshaft on a 24 cyl engine made by GM in Cleveland, IIRC the price was $100,000 in 1945.

I don't think Cleveland made 24-cylinder engines, and a Detroit 24V has a splined crank made up of 12V cranks end-to-end (I don't know the SAE diameter and spline count but I bet it was interesting).  It seems strange that breaking half this crank would take out the other half... but I can think of a wide number of common-mode possibilities mandating that both halves be replaced 'together'...

The quad-71 that 'goes with' the Chrysler Multibank was 24 cylinders but I believe four more or less regularly-loaded crankshafts (as installed there were supposedly eight engines driving two shafts, which is getting into Zvezda country... Surprise

Additional proof, perhaps: GM was incredibly proud of the special forging and machining needed to line-produce the cranks for the 20-cylinder 645; it is hard to imagine they would have made so much of it if there had been a longer one-piece for a Cleveland Diesel engine 'that much earlier'...

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, March 6, 2021 10:00 PM

SD70Dude
Here's a few 12-645Cs doing their best Penn Central impression:

Harumph!  Bad enough EMD stole the diesel market from Alco, NOW they're trying to steam the "Honorary Steam Engine" title too!  

Greedy, just greedy.

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Posted by Sara T on Sunday, March 7, 2021 8:12 AM

SD70 Dude:

>>Here's a few 12-645Cs doing their best Penn Central impression:

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/347462/ <<

 

Puuuwww! ??? But what happened there? Did they blow their cooling water?

Looks horribe!

And all this is more efficient than the good old steam locomotive.

Ok, yes, those also blew up this and that at one time or another.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, March 7, 2021 8:21 AM

Sara T
Ok, yes, those also blew up this and that at one time or another.

True, but typically due to human error in one form or another.

As Steve Lee, late of the Union Pacific steam program once said:

"A steam locomotive is safe, but it's as safe as YOU make it!"  

Which applies to anything that's big, mechanical, and moves, when you come right down to it.

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Posted by Sara T on Sunday, March 7, 2021 8:44 AM

Flintlock:

>> Steve Lee: "A steam locomotive is safe, but it's as safe as YOU make it!" <<

Clap-clap-clap-clap! Yes, yes! That's right!

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, March 7, 2021 11:54 AM

Overmod

I don't think Cleveland made 24-cylinder engines

I remember running across an article stating that Cleveland (it was not an EMD) did make a 24 cylinder engine and my recollection was my dad saying it was a one piece crank.

Most likely scenario for breaking the crank is running the engine at a speed corresponding to a torsional resonance.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, March 7, 2021 2:56 PM

Sara T

SD70 Dude:

>>Here's a few 12-645Cs doing their best Penn Central impression:

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/347462/ <<

Puuuwww! ??? But what happened there? Did they blow their cooling water?

Looks horribe!

And all this is more efficient than the good old steam locomotive.

Ok, yes, those also blew up this and that at one time or another.

0S5A0R0A3

Those clouds smell horrible too.....

When diesel engines idle or run at very low load for long periods of time they do not get up to proper operating temperature, and so do not completely burn their fuel.  Internal parts like piston rings also may not seal properly when the engine is cold, which leads to more lube oil than usual leaking into the cylinders.  And of course with the engine not working hard there is not much force from the exhaust.  All this leads to oily sludge building up in the exhaust manifolds, which will bake into harder deposits over time. 

When such an engine is worked hard for the first time all that built up sludge is ejected from the stack, the performance in that photo is one of the most spectacular examples I've ever seen.  Large non-turbocharged 2-stroke diesels like EMDs and FMs seem to be especially prone to this condition.  An engine is this condition is also a fire hazard, as burning chunks of carbon also get ejected and can start fires beside the track. 

It is not uncommon for this to happen to yard engines, which spend the majority of their life idling or moving a few cars around at a time.  And by neccessity we never shut them down in winter. 

A friend of mine who worked at a diesel truck shop said that this condition is not uncommon in large trucks and heavy equipment out here in winter, being in western Canada our temperatures can stay below -20 for weeks at a time, and many drivers and operators do not shut down their equipment if they are working in remote areas.  He said that it was a fairly regular occurrence for equipment to be brought in with complaints of low power and excessive smoke.  Once they diagnosed this problem they would run the heck out of that engine on the dyno to get it hot and clean everything out, and then it would run like new again. 

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, March 7, 2021 3:36 PM

Railroads will sometimes load test a unit to burn the carbon out after long periods of slow speed service.

N&W for instance did it to prepare their last Train Master for an excursion when their last active unit, the #173, became a last minute addition to accompany #1776 on a July 1976 Independence Day weekend excursion.

She had developed a reputation for being a smoker and they didn't want that to cause problems with the open air coaches. But a load test succeeded in clearing up the issue, enabling I believe the last operation of a Train Master as a powered locomotive (I think the final CPR survivors entered retirement in June 1976).

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, March 7, 2021 11:26 PM

Here's a video of the kind of smoke we are talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOH4J5l41LI

The round things on the exhaust stacks are spark arrestors.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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