• Erie-built horsepower

  • Discussion of Fairbanks-Morse locomotive products. Official web site can be found here: www.fairbanksmorse.com.
Discussion of Fairbanks-Morse locomotive products. Official web site can be found here: www.fairbanksmorse.com.

Moderator: pablo

  by Allen Hazen
The "Erie-built" units had the 10 cylinder O.P. engine, and so were rated at 2000 hp, right? Or so the railfan literature (and also contemporary trade press articles) says.
Go to the New York Central locomotive diagrams at George Elwood's marvelous "Fallen Flags" rail picture (etc) site. The New York Central rated them at 1750. (This is with the original engines: Erie-builts with EMD 16-567C are another matter.)
I think I have read somewhere that the control system on the Erie-builts made the power output dependent on ambient temperature. (Not sure which way-- my guess is that colder air is denser, so allows more fuel to be burned so gives more power.) So, did the New York Central's motive power people-- cautious professionals that they were-- just give the most conservative (mid-July?) anticipated rating? Or is there more to it?

  by Typewriters
A long while back there was an article in TRAINS by a former NYC diesel maintainer who indicated that the NYC had fits with the 10-cylinder F-M engine. Some of the Erie-built units were repowered, but the others were derated; note that the engine RPM has been decreased (max) from 850 RPM to 835 RPM. You will also see this change on the H20-44 units. NYC repowered the 2000 HP C-line units, but left all units with eight and six-cylinder OP engines alone.

-Will Davis

  by Allen Hazen
Thanks, Will!
Just how long a while back in "Trains"? I've read the magazne since about 1970 and don't remember this article. (Of course, my memory may not be as good as it was in 1970!)

I didn't pick up the change in engine r.p.m.: thanks for pointing it out. ... The diagrams available at "Fallen Flags" don't include the ones I would REALLY be interested in (like: would the U30B diagram have had an annotation about 2858/2859? (Grin!)), but include a number of the NYC's re-engining projects. The 2000hp FM power kept their original generators: this didn't surprise me too much, since the FM and EMD engines were fairly close in speed. The Baldwins, a bit more surprisingly, kept their original W'house generators. I think the Alco PB re-engined with a 16-567 kept its GE 566 generator: this surprised me a bit, since the Alco engine has a significantly different speed range-- ???maybe the fact that it was beingrun at much lower than original power madeit more tolerant of the mis-matched engine??? The two Lima 1200h.p. road switchers that got 12-cylinder E.M.D. engines, however, also apparently got E.M.D. generators to go with them.
Hmmmm.... Seems to me I ***DO*** remember a brief note in "Trains" about the Central's experience with early diesels! The New York Central and the Pennsylvania were perhaps the only railroads big enough, and eclectic enough in their motive power purchases, to have statistically significant samples from most of the different builders. As I recall, Alco 244 engines required abut twice the maintenance expenditure of E.M.D. 567s, Baldwin engines were noticeably worse again, and the Lima-Hamiltons were the absolute worst! But it has been a LONG time since I read that, and (see above remark about my memory).

  by Typewriters
Remember, though, that the idea behind these repowerings was to rid the railroad of the highest-expense items while also holding down conversion costs. Unless you want to replace absolutely everything in, say, an Erie-built with EMD equipment you'd have to use the original generator. Remember that those used GE generating and control systems, just like ALCO-GE units, and had the exotic 17MG power plant regulator / governor and the amplidyne excitation system. You can't use any of that really with an EMD generator.... open loop vs. closed loop excitation. This kind of thing, and more is pretty much the exact mongrelization that led to railroads figuring out that repowering was not as satisfactory as replacement.

Can't recall the author of that article at all - but I remember he bragged about knowing how to put three pennies under the cap of the fuel limit pilot valve stem (on the governor of an Erie-built) to override it, noted that Lima-Hamilton units regularly had crankshaft problems (bent/twisted/broken) and so forth and so on. There was lots of what the locomotive manufacturers referred to as "monkey-itis," which naturally ended up breaking more than it fixed. It was a two or three page article, I think. But I can't recall exactly either!!!

-Will Davis

  by pennsy
Hi All,

The FM OP engines were famous for creating problems. Remember that these were converted Naval engines, adapted for use on locomotives. As such they were designed to work with lots of water to cool them down. And by lots of water I mean an Ocean. So, they ran into problems very quickly and that eventually became their demise.

  by BR&P
The author of that article was Harold Crouch.

  by Allen Hazen
Thanks, all, for feedback!
Your remarks about the factors governing re-engining (and particularly the reamrk that the GE control system on an Erie-built would have been hard to combinewith an EMD generator), Will, are very helpful. Different railroads seem to have gone into re-engining with different attitudes: some projects were obviously more expensive than others, and some involved new main generators.

(((The only detailed study I know in the railfan literature is an article on the Reading's program of re-engining Baldwin switchers in "Diesel Era" vol. 7 n. 2 (March/April 1996): full account of the work done, with prices, and details on Alco's unsuccessful competing bid to re-do the same switchers.)))

The New York Central seems to have chosen a fairly conservative approach: replace the engine but don't spend any MORE money. This makes it seem anomalous that the two Lima 1200hp roadswitchers got EMD generators, but I think the explanation can be found on the diagram (dated as having been printed in 1957) itself. The two units are shown as having D-4-D generators. This model of EMD generator would have been obsolete when they were re-engined. (Another diagram shows some NW-2 as having the D-15: the SW-7 was introduced at just about the same time as the first Lima 1200 hp switchers, so by the time the NYC re-engined the two Limas the D-4-D would no longer have been current EMD equipment.) At a guess, the generators were second-hand: perhaps from an E-7. Does someone know when the NYC re-engined the two Limas? and did they retire an E-7 (perhaps after wreck damage) shortly before that?

  by jr
Hello Allen,

The Trains issue in question is January, 1986. It was indeed Harold's article that describes a study of the relative costs of the various manufacturers' products. With EMD at unity, Alcos were something like 1.5 times as expensive, Baldwins were 3X and F-Ms were 4X (caution that this is going from memory; I believe the order is correct, and the expense factors are approximately correct).

I have a book entitled New York Central Diesel Locomotives, by Edson, Vail, and Smith. Two of these authors worked for NYC in the 1960s as mechanical officers. The book is rather light on written background information, but it does have the NYC data sheet for most classes (U30s being a notable exception), as well as various special notes, and disposition for each individual unit.

The book shows 5810 re-engined in Feb of '56, and 5811 re-engined in June of '55.

Regarding the original question about HP, the NYC lists the horsepower for traction on each of their sheets, and this is sometimes at variance with the "advertised" (or railfan-accepted) HP for a given unit. Examples: Baldwin baby-face freight units show 1701 hp (1500 for traction); F-M CFA20 shows 2214 hp (2000 for traction); FA-1 only shows 1500 for traction; Baldwin S-12 - 1257 HP (1200 for traction) Alco RS-1 shows 1095 (1000 for traction), and so on. There does not seem to be a pattern, (i.e. make or model), to show how they determined the NYC's rating for a given unit.


  by Allen Hazen
I've seen references to the Edson, Vail and Smith book, but never seen the book itself. It sounds like one I really ought to try to find!
Dates for re-engining of the Limas is half of a story: was there an E-7 retired in, say, 1954? (Grin! ... Of course, even if the Lima's were re-engined with "recycled" components, there's no guarantee that the NYC cannibalized one of their own E-7.)
The diagrams at George Elwood's site record power for traction. I assume that this is the rating-- input to traction generator-- usually used for locomotives in the U.S., and that the higher number is the raw engine power (brake horsepower?) used in much of the rest of the world: the difference being the "parasitic load" of the locomotive's auxiliary equipment.

Examples (from a 1981 booklet on the motive power of Irish railways that I happen to have handy): EMD turbocharged 12-645 (the engine of a GP-39) yields 2450 gross and 2250 for traction, EMD Roots-blown 8-567CR (engine of an SW-900) yields 950 gross, 875 for traction, EMD Roots-blown 8-645 (engine of an SW-1000) yields 1100 gross, 1000 for traction. Again (this time from "Jane's World Railways"): an export G26CW (same engine as a domestic GP38) is listed as 2200/2000, an export GT22CW (same engine as a domestic GP39) is listed as 2475/2250, and a GT26CW (same engine as a domestic GP40) as 3300/3000. And I think I remember seeing somewhere that a 1500 hp Alco FA-1 had a gross horsepower of something like 1680.

Gross is regularly 10% (or a bit over) more than "for traction": the Alco RS-1 and the Baldwin S-12 you mention both show a narrower range, but other things I have read suggest that the nominal 1000 hp rating of an Alco S2 or RS-1 was a bit on the optimistic side....

What struck me about the Erie-built was that its rating was low even taking all this into account. Note that the CFA20 -- also with a 10-cylinder FM engine, and also "officially" 2000 -- was rated by the New York Central as having the "advertised" 2000 for traction.

Thanks again for your informative reply!

  by Typewriters
One thing to keep in mind as I've mentioned before is that the METHOD of rating of locomotives chaged variously from builder to builder over time. For example, the ALCO-GE locomotives powered by the 539 engine were advertised or "rated" based on the brake horsepower of the engine. When that consortium introduced road locomotives powered by the 244 engine, the method of rating by horsepower input to generator (horsepower for traction) was adopted -- but NOT carried over to the 539 powered units.

I have the Edson et al book, and have wondered just how some of the referenced brake horsepower ratings listed in the cards contained therein were arrived at. The mentioned 1701 HP for the "babyface" Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 units is anomalous; these units contained a 1500 brake horsepower 608SC engine. However, many of the other numbers are good references; and, again, the book is quite useful in further proving the deliberate derating of the F-M Erie units, which were naturally all delivered rated 2000 HP for traction as were the CFA-20-4 and H20-44 units.

I see no E-7 or E-8 retirements at that time; the engines in question were in fact 12-567B and would thus have had to come from an E-8 and not an E-7. However, the NYC operated a very large number of 12-567B engines in the E-8 units and a fleet of switchers, and there's no reason to think that two engines could not have been completely assembled from spare parts already on hand, including crankcases.

-Will Davis
  by jr
Harold wrote an interesting account of his involvement in the 1953 wreck in Conneaut Ohio. He was kind enough to submit this for publication in our Chapter Newsletter (see page 6 at the link below).
http://www.rochnrhs.org/media/semaphore ... 200305.pdf

I believe that he might have mis-remembered the unit numbers, but there were evidently two E7s damaged. I had speculated that perhaps these were the donors of generators for the Limas. However, near the end of the story, he does state that the D-4 generators were retained by these engines.

So, my guess was incorrect.