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Did the diesel manufacturers allow steam trade-ins?

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Posted by azrail on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 2:20 PM

I know WP bought 4-8-4s that were of SP design..and SP bought them when the WP went all diesel in the early 50s.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 11:26 AM

I remember that article. Miss that type of stuff in Kalmbach's modern era.

Those wartime units, while generally considered a new standard design for Alco when the D&H units were built, I'm sure still owed a lot to previous 4-8-4's. Especially Alco-built examples like those Rock units, no doubt.

Those early Rock units are generally considered Alco's 1st "standard design", with derivitives being built for the Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley, and Timken (The famous #1111 that ended up with NP after her demo tour ended).

Looking at their statistics, the wartime units appear to sacrifice heating surface for an increased boiler capacity. A 20 psi jump to 270 psi, a significant increase in grate area and the combustion chamber, with a corresponding decrease in flue length.

Lots of changes throughout, some that appear quite substantial when comparing the two. But perhaps close enough where it was presented to the WPB as an evolution of an existing and proven design, even though some historians view it today as a brand new design (I believe Kalmbach's special issue dedicated to 4-8-4's a few years back is one such example that takes the view that the wartime units were a new design).

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 10:03 PM

Leo_Ames

I believe that the wartime design that the Milwaukee Road and Rock Island received was first bought by the D&H. And ironically, it was a new design from Alco when the D&H first got 15 of them in 1943, despite that not being allowed.

How Alco was able to do that and work around WPB restrictions, I don't know.

 

I read somewhere that the Northerns built during WW2 for RI, MILW, and D&H was a modified boiler design of the earlier Northerns built for the RI during the 1930s.  It might have been in the Trains article on RI Northerns from sometime in 1980.

RI received 10 oil burners in 1944, 10 coal burners in 1946.  The coal burners were the last new steam engines built for any railroad operating west of the Mississippi.

Jeff

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 6:42 PM

I believe that the wartime design that the Milwaukee Road and Rock Island received was first bought by the D&H. And ironically, it was a new design from Alco when the D&H first got 15 of them in 1943, despite that not being allowed.

How Alco was able to do that and work around WPB restrictions, I don't know.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 4:29 PM

During WW2 the government had to allocate scarce resources so they created the most benefit for the war effort. As BaltACD said, that could mean that a railroad like Santa Fe got road diesels because of it's problems supplying water to steam engines in the arid areas it went through.

Also, steam engines that were built had to be to a proven, existing design. Orders were sometimes adjusted. Seems to me Rock Island and Milwaukee Road ended up getting 4-8-4s during the war that were combined in one order, the engines were all made to the same (I think Rock Island?) design.

Oddly enough, Minneapolis & St. Louis wanted to buy big steam engines for it's Twin City - Peoria mainline (2-6-6-2s IIRC) but would have had to strengthen one or more bridges. The government decided it would have taken too much steel to build the engines and reinforce the bridges, so M-St.L got FTs instead.

Stix
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Posted by MJ4562 on Sunday, December 12, 2021 8:14 PM

My understanding is the diesel trade-ins were used for parts that came back to the customer on their new units. Thus they weren't receiving 100% new units but a mostly new unit with some components having been reused from their old units.  Probably things that were still technologically current like wheels and trucks.  Someone correct me if that is inaccurate.  

Steam locos were simply scrap metal unless you had another road looking for used locomotives. More cost effective to cut out the middleman and sell directly to the scrap dealer.  

Diesel makers and banks offered financing for new units so no need to have cash in hand.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, December 9, 2021 10:57 PM

54light15
I don't get why the WPB would not allow the sale of diesels to railroads and only allow steam locomotives. A lot of steel is needed to build a steam loco so what were they trying to conserve? 

Diesel electrics - in addition to steel, use a lot of copper - generators and traction motors.  Copper was in short supply.

WPB tended to put diesels to roads and locations where running steam was VERY VERY costly and problematic - getting water to the many desert areas that Western carriers operated through gave them a head start on being granted the use of diesels to replace steam.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Thursday, December 9, 2021 10:03 PM

GM began accepting trade ins of old EMD units in 1952. With the dawn of the second generation this was expanded to any makers' units. The idea was to prevent rebuilding of older units and/or their sale (drying up what was available in the used locomotive market) in favor of buying brand new units. I have never heard of any of the diesel makers accepting steam (which was valuable only as scrap metal) as trade ins. You might want to check Trains back issues circa 1952-1962, I am sure that would have been mentioned if the practice was instituted. I once had a copy of Ron Ziel's Twilight of Steam Locomotives (1963) and he never mentioned trade ins   The twilight of steam locomotives;: [the complete story of the last steam locomotives in North America]: Ziel, Ron: Amazon.com: Books

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Thursday, December 9, 2021 9:51 PM

Shadow the Cats owner
Heck to save space in the engine rooms the DEs were built with 2 248 class engines for cruising speed and for higher speed a pair of steam turbines for assistance.

No, the DE's were either General Electric steam-turbo electric (TE Buckley and TEV Rudderow classes), Westinghouse geared steam turbines (WGT John C Butler class), GM diesel-electric (GMT Evarts and DET Cannon classes) and FM geared diesel (FMR Edsall class) drive - none combined diesel and steam.

It's interesting that the GM ships were regarded as the worst DE's. Two (out of 97 built) Evarts class vessels were given to China and the rest scrapped right after WW2, never going into reserve, while 14 out of 72 Cannon class ships were transferred to France and Brazil during WW2 and it was the preferred type for military aid post-war with 40 being transferred, leaving the USN with only 18 of the original 72. 

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Thursday, December 9, 2021 9:23 PM

54light15
I don't get why the WPB would not allow the sale of diesels to railroads and only allow steam locomotives. A lot of steel is needed to build a steam loco so what were they trying to conserve? 

It wasn't steel, it was the engines. As an example, the US Navy built over 1000 LST's - every one of which was powered by two 1000 horsepower EMD 12-567 engines. That meant 2000 NW2 switchers were never built - the reason that EMD was not allowed to build switchers by the WPB. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Thursday, December 9, 2021 9:14 PM

Here's a list of ships that ran on diesel engines.  LSTs submarines all the larger landing craft. The 248 series basically a 567 in all aspects when it came to working on them was the standard engine in 90 percent of all submarines and landing craft.  Heck to save space in the engine rooms the DEs were built with 2 248 class engines for cruising speed and for higher speed a pair of steam turbines for assistance.  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, December 9, 2021 8:32 PM

Diesel engines for naval use. Limited production capacity due to factories building other products for the war effort in addition to their normal products.

The Rock Island would've liked more diesels, but had to settle for 20 Northerns in two batches.  Ten oil burners in 1944, ten coal fired in 1946.  The Silvis, IL shop was converted from steam repair capability to diesel repair in 1950.  That limited the lifetime for the last steam engines to 1955 at the latest due to Federal requirements.  The last handful of steam engines still on the property, in storage, were retired in 1955 when their time ran out.

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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, December 9, 2021 8:28 PM

54light15

I don't get why the WPB would not allow the sale of diesels to railroads and only allow steam locomotives. A lot of steel is needed to build a steam loco so what were they trying to conserve? 

 

Diesel engines,mainly for ships. Manufacturing of diesels wasn't as widespread as it is now.

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, December 9, 2021 7:08 PM

I don't get why the WPB would not allow the sale of diesels to railroads and only allow steam locomotives. A lot of steel is needed to build a steam loco so what were they trying to conserve? 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, December 9, 2021 5:49 PM

selector
Taking a moribund technology as an 'asset' in exchange for sales would have been a loss, and probably would not have been eligible as a 'cost of business' write-off or write-down.  As stated, steam was well on its way out, so unless the seller had cash-in-hand buyers, the steam was a liability to everyone. It was best to drop the fires and spare anyone the costs of rebuilding and recertification of the boilers. To be subject to the cutting torch was the best of the poor choices left to steam holders.

Had not WW II happened - Diesels likely would have replaced steam by 1950 instead of the late 1950's.  Many carriers wanted more diesels when the war hit, however the War Production Board in many cases decreed that specifc carriers could not get diesels and could only get new steam engines.

In 'my world' the B&O wanted more diesels than the small fleet of FT's they already had but the WPB would only let them buy steam - thus the B&O got their 30 EM-1 2-8-8-4's from Baldwin in 1944 & 45.

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Posted by selector on Thursday, December 9, 2021 3:14 PM

Taking a moribund technology as an 'asset' in exchange for sales would have been a loss, and probably would not have been eligible as a 'cost of business' write-off or write-down.  As stated, steam was well on its way out, so unless the seller had cash-in-hand buyers, the steam was a liability to everyone. It was best to drop the fires and spare anyone the costs of rebuilding and recertification of the boilers. To be subject to the cutting torch was the best of the poor choices left to steam holders.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, December 9, 2021 2:48 PM

Diesel manufacturers took diesels as trade-ins, because often there were parts that could be reused. Soo Line GP-30s used trucks from traded-in Alco FAs for example. I believe part of GM's success on second-generation diesels was that they would take any oddball diesel, working or not, even if they couldn't use any of it's parts. They just wanted the business.

Most often, the value of the steel in a steam engine was enough value that the railroad would do best economically to sell it to a scrap dealer. Some railroads who kept running steam later than most did buy used engines from railroads that dieselized early, but they bought them from the railroad.

Also, to trade in a diesel on a new one, you had to have an old diesel to trade. I believe diesel manufacturers didn't start taking trade-ins until about the time they started making second generation diesels. By that time, steam was almost extinct - they were mostly all scrapped or put in a park on display.

 

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 10:50 PM

Having seen Pennsy's T-1's (Built '42-46) in action and then seeing more than twenty of them in a dead line in Columbus OH in 1954, I think it is safe to say that if they could have been traded in they would have been. They were cut up at a young age. Also when the PRR had a sudden increase in coal traffic to Sandusky, they leased surplus Sante Fe engines to move the coal trains from Columbus to Sandusky. Double Headers. Magnificant show. One summer only,

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 8:15 PM

Ulrich
I agree, but "seeing value" and realizing that value are two different things. Perhaps  diesel manafucturers offered customers added value on trade-in.. i.e. taking possession of steam locomotives and arranging their disposition.. in return for shiny new diesel locomotives. I'm sure most 1950s era railroad accountants had sleepless nights over what to do with locomotives that were redundant and of limited resale value. An asset that didn't depreciate as expected when purchased. Given that the railroads had to continue to employ the steam trades well into the diesel era, the argument could have been made to keep running some steam until about 1972... i.e. if one has to employ firemen then may as well have them working on locomotives that require firing. Maybe railroads would have been better off to "run out" their steam.. instead of extending the transition era to 1972... run some divisions with steam only until 1972, using the newest and most efficient steam locomotives that had at least 10 or 20 years left to run. 

The costs of steam are not so much in on line operation of the locomotives - it is in everything else that is required to keep the locomotives running and operational.  Shop time vs. Running time and all the manpower and equipment necessary for the shopping and maintenance of steam.

As a kid living in Garrett, IN from March 1959 to March 1962 - there were several (2 or 3) B&O T-3 Mountain steam engines stored pending a call back to service that never came.  I don't recall when the engines were taken off to the scrapper, nor do I know which scrapper(s) got the engines.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 8:11 PM

While much has been said about steam locos being retired before their lifespan, it should be noted that in that lifespan, they will undergo a number of major overhauls which are almost a rebuilding, take a lot of time, and money.  I would guess that needing a major overhaul or repair was the end of the line for many steamers.

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 7:14 PM

I agree, but "seeing value" and realizing that value are two different things. Perhaps  diesel manafucturers offered customers added value on trade-in.. i.e. taking possession of steam locomotives and arranging their disposition.. in return for shiny new diesel locomotives. I'm sure most 1950s era railroad accountants had sleepless nights over what to do with locomotives that were redundant and of limited resale value. An asset that didn't depreciate as expected when purchased. Given that the railroads had to continue to employ the steam trades well into the diesel era, the argument could have been made to keep running some steam until about 1972... i.e. if one has to employ firemen then may as well have them working on locomotives that require firing. Maybe railroads would have been better off to "run out" their steam.. instead of extending the transition era to 1972... run some divisions with steam only until 1972, using the newest and most efficient steam locomotives that had at least 10 or 20 years left to run. 

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Posted by Enzoamps on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 5:07 PM

I claim no expertise.  Just thinking, if the diesel makers saw scrap value in a steamer, then so would the railroad owning it.  I know many working engines were sold to other lines.  B&O bought a number of late model steamers from other roads just to name one.

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Did the diesel manufacturers allow steam trade-ins?
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 3:40 PM

In the mid 50s many railroads who were late to dieselize found themselves with modern steam locomotives that were nevertheless rendered redundant by the switch to diesel. These locomotives likely could have worked another ten or twenty years, but their value on the books would have been close to scrap as demand for used steam would have been almost nonexistent. Did the diesel builders recognize this and offer railways  trade-ins? Obviously not much of a steam locomotive can be used to build a diesel, but at least the raw materials.. iron, nickel etc held some value. 

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