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FANTASY ELECTRICS

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FANTASY ELECTRICS
Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, July 25, 2021 11:53 AM

It's 1946 and the Federal Government is still giving out low interest loans in the belief the Depression will come back with a vengence now that the War is over (One of the GI's sayings was "The Golden Gate in '48. The bread line in '49"). So the PRR and NYC decide to extend their electrifications.

1) The PRR goes over the Mountain to Pittsburgh. OK, more GG1's for the passengers, but what about freight? I think the Pennsy has three choices available - the quill drive New Haven EF-3 (4860 hp 65? mph 90,000 lbs tractive effort), half of which are fitted with boilers for dual-purpose use, the motor-generator Great Northern W-1 (B-D+B 5000 hp 65 mph 119,000 lbs tractive effort) and the motor-generator Virginian EL-2B with two permanently coupled cab units of B-B+B-B wheel arrangement (6800 hp 50 mph 260,000 lbs tractive effort) in classes GG2, MM1 and AAAA1 (!) All 11,000 volts, 25 hertz machines

2) The NYC decides to adopt the 3,000 volt GE DC system they already use on the CUT electrics and extend the catenary from Croton-Harmon to Cleveland. The 600 volt third rail will stay place from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon and the new engines will have third rail shoes to accomodate that. I think the obvious choice for motive power is the "Little Joe" which will operate under 3,000 catenary on the Milwaukee as both passenger and freight power (2-D+D-2 5500 hp 68 mph 75,700 lbs tractive effort) and could do the same on the Central (OK, maybe passenger units would sacrifice some tractive effort for speed with differnt gearing)

So what do you guys and gals think? What are your suggestions?

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 25, 2021 1:17 PM

The case of (1) is remarkably easy, as the PRR had a detailed plan in place from 1943 to implement it (both over the mountain as a helper district and a connection to Harrisburg).

This as written almost certainly involved variations on the DD2 power design (the stated power ratings match the improved 428A motors perfectly) and involved more DD2s, "GG2"s (with better performance but not, to me, as pretty carrosserie) and, perhaps most intriguing, double D-D power for the helper district (I don't remember the engine truck arrangement offhand).

By 1946 the numbers built might be affected by the wartime GG1s which were mandated to that design by the WPB.  By the late '40s the power might have changed to increments of B-B span-bolsters in large numbers, as Westinghouse illustrated (somewhat alarmingly!) in brochures of that era -- there is one with a sharknose cab and eight trucks under it -- probably with DC motors and Ignitron rectifiers.

We could have some fun what-iffing the early 1950s developments if we premise the vast additional adoption of 11kV boosted to 12.5kV as done instead of mass dieselization, so the experimentation then was not just P5a replacement and the like.  Personally I'd be nervous about major purchases of stuff from that technical era, but some of that nervousness involves the semi-orphan status of the Westinghouse and GE equipment that was built.

Had I been at PRR in the late '40s I think I'd have gone with hexapoles in span-bolstered trucks, although perhaps in 6-wheel trucks (as on the N&W TE-1).

By the '60s I'd be on the same page as those choosing the E44s, but by the '70s strongly considering GM10Bs in quantity.  (And going to 60Hz design compatibility ASAP, as soon as older equipment reached obsolescence...)

There remains the premise of rebuilding GG1s instead -- budget to do that right was about $4.5M in 1978.  Results were highly interesting then, and still interesting now, but you still had over 200 tons of engine that Amfleet wouldn't brake...

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 25, 2021 1:29 PM

Kiefer discussed the NYC electrification in some detail; I think it was supposed to be in the 1947 survey of motive power (there is a full-page cut of one of the proposed motors in there) but was cut to keep the volume size small.  There was -- interestingly -- no idea of electrifying the River Line from Harmon to Albany, probably  the curves and clearances wouldn't give full benefit.  I don't remember the proposed current, shame on me, or how far west the initial stage went, but it accomplished what the C1a was supposed to do with long-distance trains without the problem through Cleveland.

My suspicion is that, even if the electrification had been done in conjunction with conversion to CTC under Perlman, it wouldn't have paid as passenger traffic died off -- just as the Ramsey or Sam Rea high-speed cutoffs across Pennsylvania would have gone the way of the Atglen & Susquehanna.  I'd give it only a short time into the PC era before dieselization discussions started in earnest, although it might have been fun to see an electrified version of the Sikorsky/UA TurboTrain study turn into prototypes to test...

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, July 25, 2021 2:19 PM

BEAUSABRE
2) The NYC decides to adopt the 3,000 volt GE DC system they already use on the CUT electrics and extend the catenary from Croton-Harmon to Cleveland. The 600 volt third rail will stay place from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon and the new engines will have third rail shoes to accomodate that. I think the obvious choice for motive power is the "Little Joe" which will operate under 3,000 catenary on the Milwaukee as both passenger and freight power (2-D+D-2 5500 hp 68 mph 75,700 lbs tractive effort) and could do the same on the Central (OK, maybe passenger units would sacrifice some tractive effort for speed with differnt gearing)

So what do you guys and gals think? What are your suggestions?

Why not keep it in the "NYC family" and use a T-motor rather than a Little Joe.  The T3 had nearly as much tractive power (71,000 lbs) and a top speed of 75 MPH.  They even continued into the Penn Central era.

Also, did you want to finish or rename your title?  "n" along doesn't "n"ecessarily de"n"ote the topic at ha"n"d...

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

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

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Posted by NittanyLion on Sunday, July 25, 2021 2:59 PM

Overmod
The case of (1) is remarkably easy, as the PRR had a detailed plan in place from 1943 to implement it (both over the mountain as a helper district and a connection to Harrisburg).

Refresh my memory: was it the whole thing or routing traffic over the Conemaugh? 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 25, 2021 5:14 PM

As I recall, the wartime priority was electrifying the Allegheny passage, but it would make little sense to have that isolated only as a helper district with its power essentially islanded just to that area.  My presumption was that wartime freight dispatch all the way from eastern points through Enola at least to Conway, and possibly other large-volume destinations around it, would be a priority as the focus shifted more toward the Pacific theater and the very substantial mobilization that was expected.

I don't have my copy of the preliminary study handy, but years ago it was on the Web, and should still be.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, July 25, 2021 5:20 PM

Could we have a searchabe title to this thread?

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, July 26, 2021 8:03 AM

If I remember correctly your timeframe coincides with FT diesels hitting the rails.  Most railroads were worn out needing millions to rebuild infrastructure and replace worn out steam engines.  Some will say the PRR was  already a goner.  It just didn't know it.  Diesels did everything they expected from electric without the overhead cost and maintenance.  Nice to speculate but any further electrification was doomed. Milwaukee Road, Great Northern and Virginian bailed out of electric.  Only postwar installs I remember were the Fox Chase branch on the Reading and the Black Mesa and Lake Powell railroad. Diesels are basically electric engines with their own power generation on board. As a modeler I have foobie E60Cf, E60CP, and AEM engines in PRR paint. Probably the way the PRR would have gone in my opinion

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 26, 2021 8:51 AM

ndbprr
If I remember correctly your timeframe coincides with FT diesels hitting the rails.

But if you remember correctly his timeframe said 1946, when F units were still several times the cost per horsepower of electric.  PRR did not get around to appraising units for freight until 1947... and of course reached the conclusion that they were better than electrics in the absence of cheap ways to pay for the electrification.

Likewise the NYC electrification west of Albany survived long enough for some of the page galleys of the motive-power report to be set; the NYC was no stranger to RFC pump-priming (having gotten the J3as that way) and might have used electrification as a way to avoid expensive passenger dieselization at that time.

What i actually think would come out of a renewed RFC program would be accelerated dieselization, much as took place on both PRR and NYC in the great steam die-off after 1947.  I have read that one of the great 'reasons' for first-generation dieselization (as well as what now seems the suicidal purchase of expensive passenger equipment) was the expansion of railroad creditworthiness after the traffic boom of WWII.  Here is a program that at least promises to allow rebuilding of new motive power without vicious long-term equipment trusts, with the loans presumably being repaid as the PRR's were, out of greater operating efficiency.

The issue of the Joes for NYC is a bit more timing-complicated.  Assume for a moment that politics were to go much as it did, and the government blocked shipping the locomotives to Russia.  As I recall it took time to find 'takers' for rebuilt 5' gauge engines, and Milwaukee in fact didn't take them all and 'lost' a few to CSS&SB as a result.

I don't know if a 3000VDC NYC electrification would have snapped these up, but there are some indications they might.  They carefully rebuilt the P2s from 3000V to run on third rail, then thriftily kept the removed pieces to rebuild the R motors the other way.

But that opens a third 1946 scenario -- the Milwaukee would surely use this program to close the 'gap', and if NYC took the Joes at a 'higher fire-sale price' what would they have chosen for new motive power?

Note that of the examples you provided, most engaged in expensive new electric purchases in the postwar years, Virginian in fact doing so substantially into the Fifties with both humongous multi-B-truck locomotives and the successful design that became the E-33s.  The Great Northern W class was of similar vintage with cast underframes.  Milwaukee rebuilt bipolars into 70mph passenger engines a half-decade after 1946, and a good part of the 'timeless topic' was whether they should have thrown in the towel as early as 1974, a railroad eternity later.  We might even look wistfully at an era in which there was no Chase wreck, or Amtrak shoving Conrail off the ex-PRR and charging them inflated power rates -- a future in which rebuilt E-44s along the lines of 4483 factored very interestingly and perhaps would give us 60Hz conversion early.

That doesn't help much with the E60 fiasco, any more than it would help sensible truck design for the Metroliners, and prospects for electrified passenger service west of Harrisburg in the '70s might not have been too gainful. But it might have been fun to watch... I was at Enola at the time the first Amfleet cars were being delivered, and there was so much traffic around the engine house that I couldn't safely cross tracks on foot to get there.  Imagine that level of train-handling capacity translated as far as Conway...

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