• Alco century 855 infos and specs request

  • Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.
Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

Moderator: Alcoman

  by lowflyer
 
Hello

My name is Bruno, and i'm a portuguese fan of American locomotives.
After dig over the internet for informations about the Alco Century 855 without much informations, i decided to request it here, does someone have any kind of technical data (i'm looking for the external dimensions and drawings) or where i can find it about this model?
The purpose of this request is to build a scale replica of this machine.

Thanks to who can help.
Regards
Bruno
  by Pneudyne
 
The attached article from “Railway Gazette” might provide some of the information that you are seeking. Apologies for the poor quality – it is a scan of a not-very-good photocopy.

RG 19640703 p.547,548.jpg
RG 19640703 p.549.gif
RG 19640703 p.550.gif

The following books have information on the Alco C-855, including drawings:

Giants of the West
A Pictorial Presentation of Union Pacific’s Super Powered Locomotives
George R. Cockle
Overland Publications, 1981
ISBN 0-916160-12-2


Plan Package Motive Power of the Union Pacific System
All Types 1869-1974
Kratville Publications, 1975
No ISBN


Cheers,
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  by RRATSTJ.
 
All ,
This is good to have as a Reference and historic purposes, now we would like to see what the ALCO's Proposed C650DH would Look Like . Anyone here happen to have the Brochure on the proposed ALCO C650 ?

Tom
  by Pneudyne
 
Regarding this site:

http://www.thedieselshop.us/Century_643.HTML.

I’d say run, don’t walk away from it. Inadvertent errors one expects, even bigger errors can be honest mistakes, but this one is beyond redemption.

The Alco DH643 is described as having six GE752 traction motors – really! And the accompanying drawing shows no evidence of the main driveshafts to the trucks, but it does show what look to be traction motor blower ducts connecting thereto. Even so, Voith does get a mention – evidently the locomotive had three Voith traction motor blowers!

It looks more like a case of cluelessness than carelessness.


Cheers,
  by AllenHazen
 
And a GE auxiliary generator hung on its Voith main "generator"!
Cluelessness, or just hurried sloppiness: one possibility is that the person drawing up these specifications filled in the blanks for one Alco model, and then used it as a "template" for all the others, changing only what was needed... and missing things.
Which is a pity. I don't know of any other site on the WWWeb providing this sort of information on a large number of locomotive models, so this COULD be a very valuable source, but I've found enough obvious mistakes that I no longer trust it.
  by Pneudyne
 
AllenHazen wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:00 pmWhich is a pity. I don't know of any other site on the WWWeb providing this sort of information on a large number of locomotive models, so this COULD be a very valuable source, but I've found enough obvious mistakes that I no longer trust it.
Indeed. I recall looking at the site quite some time back, and being very surprised to find the EMD GA12 described as being the A1A-A1A variant of the G12, which it most definitely was not. One could perhaps make the excuse that the correct information on what was an obscure export model might have been hard to find, except that there is a picture of one in the well-known book “Our GM Scrapbook”. Thus I concluded it was a case of unwarranted extrapolation, or perhaps just guesswork instead of doing a little light research by looking in the obvious places. As far as I know, EMD/GMD did not use the “A” suffix to denote A1A-A1A running gear on its export models, although Clyde (Australia) did, but not initially. (EMD/GMD used the C-suffix generally for C-C running gear with its “18”, “22” and “26” series export models from c.1966), with a prior one-off use for the GA12C, relate to the GA12. Clyde used both B- and C-suffixes from the later 1950s.)

RRATSTJ. wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:50 am This is good to have as a Reference and historic purposes, now we would like to see what the ALCO's Proposed C650DH would Look Like . Anyone here happen to have the Brochure on the proposed ALCO C650 ?
My take from Steinbrenner’s brief mention of the DH650 (p.452) is that in a general sense it would have been substantially the same as the DH643, but with uprated engines and various other detail changes. The latter could of course have affected its appearance, but probably not its basic dimensions or general proportions. I understand that the DH643 was designed with an overall length that was restricted by SP’s requirements, so perhaps Alco might have wanted to do otherwise with a general market model. But as SP was likely a target customer for the DH650, presumably the same constraint applied.

As might be expected in a book of its nature, Steinbrenner tended to put a “positive spin” on Alco events generally. For example, in respect of the large South African Railways tender of the later 1950s, which went to GE, his assertion that the South African preference for ALCO over the relatively unproven GE was well-known, just does not hold up against what is known about the actual sequence of events. In respect of the C855, he said that they were prone to nagging failures, this one reason why Alco was left out of the second round orders for this class of locomotive. On the other hand, Cockle, writing in “Giants of the West”, said that the C855 was plagued by basic design problems. Cockle may have been nearer the truth, although “basic design choice” might have been a more accurate characterization.

Cockle noted that the C-855 had a 16-notch throttle, and that the throttle handle also controlled dynamic braking. Both were departures from established Alco practice. As far as I know, it continued to sue the selector handle to control dynamic braking through the 1960s, after both EMD and GE had abandoned this, at least for domestic models. (GE stayed with the selector handle for dynamic braking on export models, I think until it adopted the AAR-type control stand.) One may wonder whether the choice of 16-notch control reflected a UP preference or was an Alco choice. In respect of the latter, the C855 had a higher per-axle power (688 hp) than any other Alco model of the time. It did not have high-adhesion trucks, and the relatively close pivot centres of the truck pairs under the span bolsters may have resulted in more forward-to-aft truck weight transfer than would have been the case for a conventional B-B unit with much greater truck spacing. So finer control of starting and initial accelerating tractive effort may have been seen as desirable. UP would have been coming from its GTEL experience, with 562 (GTEL4500) and 708 (GETL8500) hp/axle, and 20-notch control, although in that case the finer control was also indicated by the nature of the turbine-electric system itself. Anyway, it would seem that whatever the reason, Alco simply accepted the GE-style of engineer’s control with the throttle handle doubling as the dynamic brake control. (The contemporary Alco DH643 also had the throttle handle doubling as the hydrodynamic brake control, but the reasons for this might not have been the same as for the C855 case.)


Cheers,
  by AllenHazen
 
Pneudyne--
16 notch throttle? That's what Alco's electrical supplier used on its own (domestic) locomotives at the time. And didn't the C-855 use the big GT-598 main generators?
So (maybe-- I don't ***know*** that the C-855's 16-notch throttle was the same design as that used on contemporary U-series) it was a matter of Alco just adopting an "off the shelf" GE product? Perhaps after GE said "just how much new engineering do you want to pay for?"
  by Pneudyne
 
I agree that most likely is that Alco simply adopted GE’s existing 16-notch throttle control and the same style of master controller. But that remains unconfirmed. Whether the choice of 16-notch throttle was at UP’s or Alco’s own instigation is also unknown. A reasonably certain assumption is that the C855 was fully MU-compatible (i.e. 16 throttle notches and not just the basic 8) with the GE U50.

Being a Century series model, the Alco C855 probably had the Type E excitation system, whereas I think – but don’t know for sure – that the GE U50 had the three-field system. Simple analysis suggests that Type E could have provided a better-graduated 16-notch control than did three-field. But whether that was actually the case is unknown. Given that Alco was developing the DH643 at about the same time, where 16-notch control (albeit compatible with standard 8-notch control) was a basic requirement, we may also wonder whether that influenced Alco’s thinking in respect of the C855.

Re the C855 main generators, yes these were the GT598D1 type. From the GE list:

GT598D1: First made for Alco DL855, 5500 hp loco. similar to model GT5983 except different back end air duct, new auxiliary gear centers gearing, and gear box. will use 7GA29F1 PTO in order that GY48 auxiliary generator may be used. Different drive flange machining.

We seem to have more unknowns and assumptions than knowns. It is a pity that those who wrote about these locomotives back in the day did not delve a bit more into technical matters, when the pertinent documentation was probably reasonable accessible.

How GE assigned the costs of customizing for Alco is another intriguing unknown. I suspect that simply adopting the position that “you take the same as we do for ourselves or you pay all costs for any differences” might not have passed muster with those in GE charged with watching the antitrust angle. Possibly where Alco and GE itself wanted different variations on a common core, each paid appropriately for their desired variation. Of course, there was plenty of room for dissatisfaction. Those within a company, part of which is selling components to a competitor, might feel that the competitor is getting a better deal than they, and that they are entitled to special treatment. But those doing the selling to the competitor will want a relatively free hand. Sometimes there are “firewalls” set up to avoid too many conflicts; the ultimate here – and I have seen this – is where some individuals whose expertise is needed for both in-house and external business have to carry a firewall in their heads.

Cheers,