Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
SSW921
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Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:43 am

This topic popped up in the Classic Trains forum a week ago. See "Pennsy E8 Crunched at C.U.S. ? Details anyone?" Well there is an ICC accident report. The destruction of the first 5805 is documented by the Interstate Commerce Commission. See the Chicago Union Station report for March 10, 1954. The ICC wreck database is here, it's not complete, but shows many of the serious wrecks over the years: https://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net/Contents" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Sign up for this DOT database is free.

Online photos show a 20 month old E8A with a broken underframe. In 1954 terms that means the unit is a write off, because EMD did not repair underframes until later. In historical terms there is no problem because there were 74 Pennsylvania E8As and 74 matching EMD serial numbers. The first 5805 was EMD serial 15669 built in July 1952 on order 6354A. The history of the unit goes on to renumbering to PRR 4270, PC 4270, and finally to NJTR 4270, renumbered on paper only as this unit was a parts source at the Elizabethport Shops. A serial number inventory of units will not reveal this kind of repair if the serial number was not changed.

But now there is a roster anomaly of 74 unit numbers, 74 serial numbers, that were built on 75 underframes. Besides the photo and the ICC report the repair is undocumented. No confirming information has been found on where the repair was done. A repair of this nature will easily cost three quarters of the cost of a new unit or more. Does the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society have additional primary source documentation that could shed some light on this major rebuild?

Ed in Kentucky

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:19 pm

One possibility -- I'd have to know something about EMD policy at the time to judge how probably it is, and I don't.
EMD would be the obvious people to do the "repairs": if nothing else, somebody would have had to build a new E-8 underframe, and EMD had the templates to do this. But the innards would have been re-usable: motors, generators, ...

So, hypothesis. EMD did it. It involved building a new E-8 carbody. My guess is, however, that this cost less than 3/4 of the cost of a new locomotive: rule of thumb I learned was that the Diesel engine(s), the electrical gear, and the "locomotive mechanical portions" are very roughly a third each of a diesel locomotive by value, and the engines and electricals were there for re-use. So somebody decided this was a "repair" rather than a "replacement" (probably made it easier to negotiate with the insurance company if you said that!) and so didn't give a new serial number to the new body.

There was a New York Central E-7 that got wrecked, and was rebuilt with what looked like an E-8 body, but (since it kept its original 2000 hp rating) probably re-using most of the internal organs. (I may be able to find the unit number, and will post it if I do.) It might be worth looking this up for comparison: did it get a new EMD serial?

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:49 pm

Maybe New York Central 4020. There are pictures, at "Fallen Flags" of New York Central locomotives numbered 4020 that lookalike E-8: I'm not SURE they are all of the same locomotive, or what its relation to the E-7 originally built as 4020. As a complication, the New York Central locomotive diagrams available at "Fallen Flags" include one for a "DP1M": supposedly an E-7 rebuilt as an E-8, looking like an E-8 (and described as an E-8M), rated at 2250 hp, but apparently still having the D4 generators of an E-7. So I'm less sure of the story even than I was a few minutes ago!

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:05 am

I've had some correspondence with Joe Strapac about how these EMD rebuilds were done. Joe's point is that EMD would do the repair, but whatever was produced by EMD had to be warranted. If EMD's name was going on the repair it had the EMD warranty to go with it. About E8As, the last one was built in December 1953 as far as we know. Now the PRR 5805 may have been rebuilt to an E8A in 1954 or it could be an undocumented E9Am. There isn't anything to go on at this point.

There are three ways that I know of that these new underframe EMD repairs were done: 1) The wreck goes to EMD, an assessment is made of reusable, warrantable parts and the repair is made at EMD; 2) The wreck goes to the railroad shop, an assessment is made of reusable parts, and the repair is made at the railroad shop with some new parts made by EMD; or 3) The wreck goes to the railroad shop, an assessment is made of reusable parts, EMD builds a shell locomotive, the shell is shipped to the railroad shop and the reusable parts are installed by the railroad shop into the shell locomotive.

The accountants get involved in this process. If the serial number/unit identity is retained, then every bit of the cost of repair is chargeable and the railroad can continue to depreciate the locomotive at the standard rate.

Ed in Kentucky

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:01 pm

Re: "The accountants get involved in this process. If the serial number/unit identity is retained, then every bit of the cost of repair is chargeable and the railroad can continue to depreciate the locomotive at the standard rate."
---Meaning that there can be an incentive to call something a "rebuild" even if outside observers would call it a "replacement." An incentive that, of course, varies when tax laws, etc, get changed!

Re: "Now the PRR 5805 may have been rebuilt to an E8A in 1954 or it could be an undocumented E9Am."
---The difference would be purely terminological, wouldn't it? An E8A built after the official end of E8 production would most likely get some E9 components. (The ancient Kalmbach "Diesel Spotter's Guide" that some of us first learned locomotives from back in the dark ages said there was a -- just visibly -- different gasket for the headlight mounting...) And the "m" in "E9Am" would mean, in this case, that it incorporated E8 components. Model numbers don't necessarily indicate a genuine physical difference in the locomotive! (Case in point: the last "U25B" were built in 1966, for SLSF, and were rated at 2800 hp. I've asked on th GE forum, and my recollection is that nobody knew of anything physical to differentiate them from early U28B.)

Re: "There are three ways ..."
---I would assume that either 1 or 3 would have been involved here: I wouldn't think that a railroad shop would have assembled an all-new "E8" carbody, as. 2 would seem to require given that the original was a write-off.

Thanks for bringing this intriguing case up (and for sharing Joe Strapac's information)! Let us know, please, if you find out more.

Statkowski
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Statkowski » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:08 am

How about another option?

4) The wreck goes to the railroad shop, an assessment is made of reusable parts and removes them, EMD builds a shell locomotive, the reusable parts are shipped to EMD and installed by them.

With this option the builder is in the best position to use or replace reusable parts as the situation dictates. Replacement parts, as needed, are readily available and downtime is minimized.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:39 am

Statkowski wrote:How about another option?

4) The wreck goes to the railroad shop, an assessment is made of reusable parts and removes them, EMD builds a shell locomotive, the reusable parts are shipped to EMD and installed by them.

With this option the builder is in the best position to use or replace reusable parts as the situation dictates. Replacement parts, as needed, are readily available and downtime is minimized.
I suppose that is possible, but had not heard of it. The case you suggest would allow the railroad to harvest additional parts that EMD might not reuse. What I was told was that EMD only reused parts that it could warranty. My perspective is that EMD controlled the process, but that's not to say that a skilled railroad shop couldn't make the same decisions.

Ed in Kentucky

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:01 am

Allen Hazen wrote:Re: "Now the PRR 5805 may have been rebuilt to an E8A in 1954 or it could be an undocumented E9Am."
---The difference would be purely terminological, wouldn't it? An E8A built after the official end of E8 production would most likely get some E9 components. (The ancient Kalmbach "Diesel Spotter's Guide" that some of us first learned locomotives from back in the dark ages said there was a -- just visibly -- different gasket for the headlight mounting...) And the "m" in "E9Am" would mean, in this case, that it incorporated E8 components. Model numbers don't necessarily indicate a genuine physical difference in the locomotive! (Case in point: the last "U25B" were built in 1966, for SLSF, and were rated at 2800 hp. I've asked on th GE forum, and my recollection is that nobody knew of anything physical to differentiate them from early U28B.)

Re: "There are three ways ..."
---I would assume that either 1 or 3 would have been involved here: I wouldn't think that a railroad shop would have assembled an all-new "E8" carbody, as. 2 would seem to require given that the original was a write-off.

Thanks for bringing this intriguing case up (and for sharing Joe Strapac's information)! Let us know, please, if you find out more.
Preston Cook identified another external difference between the E8 and E9. See "E units A to 9 in the Summer 2012 issue of Classic Trains. And specifically E9 The ultimate E unit on pages 36-37. The difference is in the grills. Farr grills were introduced late in the E8 production cycle and were used on all E9s. Before the Farr grills the GE grill was used. There is an early 1970s photo on rrpictures of the 5805 with the Farr grills. As a rebuild the 5805 may have been one of the first to receive this grill.

Ed in Kentucky

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:07 pm

But... just how late in the E-8's production run was the change of grill made?
The photo of the accident scene at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gmpullman/46849212904/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(I think you posted it, Ed) shows, obviously, the original 5805, broken behind the cab as E (and F) units tended to break in collisions. I have a hard time distinguishing the two sorts of grill in photos, but if I was forced to choose I'd say the unit in the photo has Farr grills.
The Farr grill is, apparently, one piece of sheet metal with the grill slits punched in it. The earlier grill was fabricated: almost certainy a more expensive option, which is probably the reason for the change. In at least some photographs, I can make out vertical members at the ends of the segments of the earlier grill, and I don't see them here. (But they are most obvious in photos taken directly from the side, and this photo was taken at an oblique angle and I'm not sure about it.)
---
I recall an article on "phases" of F-7 locomotives in some model railroading magazine: apparently EMD didn't bother recording the minor cosmetic changes that distinguish the phases modellers are interested in, and the exact dates of the changes are not always known. I suppose if one went through EMD's files (if they've kept them, or donated them to an archive) looking carefully at builder's photos of each E-8 order... (I'd want to look at builder's photos for this question: grills get damaged and replaced -- one of the Delaware and Hudson's 4 Alco PA units had a replacement grill, Farr I think, that was visibly different from the grills on the other three -- so photos taken later in a locomotive's career may not show the original grill.)

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:20 am

The Pennsylvania Railroad's "system" for numbering locomotives is ... perplexing. Somebody may know when PRR E-8 units of different numbers were delivered, but I haven't been able to figure it out. Anyway, I went to the "Fallen Flags" rail image site and looked at their photos of PRR E-8 units in the 5700/5800/5900 number block. Those numbered 5835 and up all (*) seem to have the older grill, whereas all or most of those with lower road numbers have the Farr grill. (There are also a few photos of E-8 units with numbers in the 4000s, but I decided to ignore them: I don't know if the units were renumbered in sequence, so have no way of identifying which 4000-series E-8 are identical to which 5000-series units. The renumbering was late -- 1960s, in preparation for the Penn Central merger -- and the units may have been modified by the time it took place.)
--
(*) One exception: 5898. But this is a preserved unit, and the photos date from the 1980s when it was being used in excursion service, so even if it has its original road number it may have been re-built with a new grill.

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:28 am

Looking at the E8/E9 Spec-Profile on page 19 of issue #43 of Extra 2200 South there is not much difference between the two units. The differences are in engines: 567B is the primary for the E8, and 567C is the primary for the E9. Recent research into the EMD product data information has shown that some 1953 E8s were built with 567BC and 567C engines. The generator in the 'E8 is the D15, likely D15A, and the generator in the E9 is the D15B. Both the E8 and E9 were fitted with the D16 companion alternator for accessories. The E8 used the D27 traction motor, and the E9 used the D37 traction motor. Both units used the Blomberg A-1-A truck. The length, truck wheelbase, bolster center, and wheel size of both units were the same.

The questions on the rebuilding of Pennsylvania #5805 remain: Who rebuilt it, where was the work done, how much of the first 5805 was retained, and how much of the first unit was scrapped out????

Ed in Kentucky

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:25 am

Contemporary E9As built in 1954 when PRR 5805 was rebuilt are IC 4036, UP 943-947, and CB&Q 9990-9995. There were also cancelled orders for NYC E9As and additional IC E9As.

Ed in Kentucky

Allen Hazen
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by Allen Hazen » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:44 am

Re: about E8 and E9: "Both units used the Blomberg A-1-A truck." E units (like many other things...) got heavier over their history, and (as Preston Cook pointed out in his E-unit series in "Railfan and Railroad" a few years back), later Blomberg A-1-A were more robust than earlier. (Difference in frame thickness is visible ... if you know what to look for.) I don't know whether the adoption of heavier frame trucks coincided with model change or not. And many late units ran on earlier trucks.
Just to make things even more confusing!

ExCon90
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by ExCon90 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm

There was a saying among PRR motive-power people that the PRR never scrapped an engine unless they found they had another one just like it.

SSW921
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Re: Pennsylvania E8A 5805

Post by SSW921 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:57 am

ExCon90 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
There was a saying among PRR motive-power people that the PRR never scrapped an engine unless they found they had another one just like it.
That's what is interesting about this rebuild. It continued as if nothing ever happened to it. It was like a minor fender bender, a little straightening, some smoothing, buffing, painting and good as new for the road.

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