• Erie-Lackawanna U23B

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by Allen Hazen
The December 2006 "Railfan and Railroad" (p. 32) has a photo of a U23B, very attractively painted in LehighValley colors. It is not, however, one of LV's U23B: it has (though this is hard to see, since the underframe is black and dark in the photo)FB-2 trucks, and LV's units had drop-equalizer trucks. The caption says the unit was originally part of a cancelled 1975 order from the Erie Lackawanna, an order diverted L&N after EL cancelled. FB-2 trucks were standard on L&N. (Except when there were trade-in trucks, I suspect they were NOT an extra-cost option, since impecunious customers like the Milwaukee got FB-2 on their U23B.) AC/DC transmission was also standard on L&N U23B (except for the first few inherited from the Monon), and this, I think, WAS an extra-cost option. (Evidence: the poor bought straight DC units: Mexican railroads got DC U23B late in the model'shistory, at a time when most orders were for AC/DC.)
So,lots of questions. Was the EL order, like LV's, financed by USRA? Was USRA willing to finance AC/DC U23B for EL even though LV got the cheap version? Does anyone know the exact chronology? When an order is diverted, how late in the process can the new purchaser ask for design and option changes? (And, on the model railroading/photshop front, who has a picture of a U23B in EL colors?)
But mainly: it is a very handsome locomotive, and I hope it has a long and happy career with its shortline owner!

  by PCook
Allen, if I recall correctly the Erie Lackawanna U23B order was actually under construction at the time it was cancelled, and was picked up by the L&N. No units of the companion GP38-2 order had reached production stage yet, so EMD did not get inconvenienced as much as GE. You can still change accessory items pretty late in the order process but all the long lead time components (trucks in particular) are difficult to substitute. Sorry but I do not know the details of how the EL or L&N financing on the GE U23B order was arranged.

  by sallenparks
The GP38's 2001-2019 & U23B's 2301-2320 where ordered in 1974 for 1975 delivery.From what I understand the 38's were not even started yet and the 23B's where just as PCOOK stated one could assume they where ordered by the USRA reequipping them with FB's shouldn't of taken that long.Is the 23 in qustion on the FGLK or where is it if not.

  by Allen Hazen
Thanks, PCook and sallenparks!

(i) I didn't know there had been a GP-38 order with a similar history. Not being professionally involved with locomotive building, I don't have much sense of which items are likely to be lon-lead and which aren't. Trucks, I'd have guessed, would be long-lead since they would have involved an order to an outside supplier (foundry)? The other difference between these "EL" units was in the main generators, which I think wouldhave been built in the Erie plant. By 1974 most locomotive customers were specifying AC/DC transmission, and GE would probably not have been happy to have twenty brand-new GT581 lying around-- so (since I assume that the generators would ready for installation before the locomotives were allowed to take up space in Building 10) I think it likely that EL had ordered their U23B with the GTA-11 generators they were ultimately delivered with.

(ii) The Lehigh Valley roster in "Extra 2200 South," issue 77, says that Lehigh Valley's U23B were delivered in 12/74. (The U23B/U23C roster in issue 79 says they were built in 11/74.) So the EL order can't have been made more than a few moths later. Conrail, at start-up in 1976, was seriously short of operable locomotives -- they were leasing six-axle MLW power from CN and high-nosed U25B from Frisco! I'll bet they wished the EL's U23B and GP38-2 orders hadnt been cancelled!

(iii) Was EMD able to fill locomotive orders faster in the 1970's than GE? When (previously mostly Alco and GE) D&H took over extra lines after the Conrail start-up, they bought a bunch (20?) of GP39-2, and I remember reading at the time (probably in "Trains") that this was because EMD could promise faster delivery than GE. (GE delivered very few domestic locomotives in 1976, I think, so it wasn't because the Erie erecting hall was too full!)

  by Allen Hazen
Oh, forgot:

(iv) Yes, I think it is on Finger Lakes. (I was so impressed by the fact that they had followed the "traditional" LV livery with multiple black stripes and not the modernized one with the single yellow stripe that LV used on its own U23B that the name of the actual owner hardly registered!)

  by sallenparks
Your welcome for what little I could give you the Important thing is I was wondering if any of the so called built for EL 23's survived CSX.Also Conrail leased anything and everything that wasn't nailed down.Not just the loss of EL 23's and 38-2's but EL 425's,LV 38-2's C420's RDG GP39-2's and others.Leasers though the roof.Killed a lot of great RR's Conrail did but in it's Early year BIG BLUE was something to behold.

  by conrail71
Is this the unit?
http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/14 ... 010016.jpg
I caught it in Lyons, N.Y. on the Finger Lakes Railway on December 12, 2006.

  by Allen Hazen
There are also a couple of photos at the "Fallen Flags" site-- look for Finger Lakes 2201 under "Miscellaneous F railroads." But it may not be an "ex-EL" unit after all! The "Fallen Flags" index gives the unit's history, and seems to have been from L&N's SECOND-TO-LAST U23B order, built in 2/-74 to 4/74, and not from the LAST order, the one whose dates fit PCook's recollection of the timing of the EL order. (So far, I think, my onlysource for the Finger Lakes unit being an ex-EL unit is the photo caption in "Railfan and Railroad.")
The Finger Lakes images at "Fallen Flags" are a treat: not only do they have this U23B in LV colors and (as 2211) CSX colors, they also have photos of a B23-7 in spectacular New York Central lightening stripes!

  by MEC407
Here are some more FGLK photos for everybody's viewing pleasure. :-D