• GE Export Diesels

  • 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: MEC407, AMTK84

  by Pneudyne
A different view the GSC 1-C truck used by GE is provided in the attached article, which also provides comment upon its adhesion properties, as well as those of other designs.
DRT 196301 p.06.jpg
DRT 196301 p.07.jpg
DRT 196301 p.08.jpg

  by Pneudyne
South African Railways had also used GSC cast trucks under its GE U12B fleet, as shown in this 1958 advertisement:
DRT 195812 p.49.jpg

Cast trucks were optional on the GE U9B/C, U12B/C and U18B/C models. Standard was GE’s fabricated truck, the C-version of which is shown here:
GE Built-In Power 196108 p.06,07.jpg

This had cast side-frames welded to cross-members.

It is interesting that whereas GSC described the SAR U12B trucks as being of the “swing motion type”, GE used the term “lateral motion”. I think that the latter might be more accurate in respect of the GE floating bolster trucks, which did not have swing links as such. But then I guess that GSC was accustomed to its own Commonwealth designs with swing hangers, and simply saw the GE design as a variation on the same basic theme.

Included in that GE brochure excerpt is the comment that rubber bolster mounts had been in service for over five years. The brochure was dated 1961 August, so that takes us back to 1956. Aside from the Mexican UD18Bs, which did not have floating bolster trucks, the first Universal deliveries with floating bolsters look to have been the Chilean U9Cs, mid-1957.

Backing into 1956 brings the Manila Railroad (MRR) streamliners and modified road-switchers into view, these having been delivered in mid-1956. These had trucks of typical GE pre-Universal export design, welded, outside-equalized with slab-type side frames with cutouts for the coil primary springs. They were described as having lateral-motion bolsters. Outline drawings of each show the bolster top just visible above the truck side-frames, similar to the case for the later GE floating bolster trucks. There were no side-frame cutouts for elliptical bolster springs, so whilst it was possible that they had inside swing links with coil springs, it is equally, and perhaps more possible that they had the rubber pads.

It is circumstantial evidence only, but the timing (mid-1955), description (lateral motion), and outline drawing all align to suggests that these MRR locomotives were the first to be fitted with GE’s floating bolster secondary suspension trucks.

I cannot trace that any of the other late pre-Universal exports were fitted with floating bolster trucks, although some, from circa 1953 onwards, had a rather unusual form of swing motion. The New South Wales (NSWGR) 43 class, built by Goninan, was an outlier in that it had conventional inside-equalized cast Commonwealth trucks with inside swing-links and elliptical bolster springs. They were supplied by Bradford-Kendall, who was the Australian Commonwealth licensee. So it may have been an arrangement of convenience, to facilitate local supply of a reasonably standard design. Also, NSWGR may have indicated that it was concerned about ride quality at higher speeds. Later on, I think it stated a preference for the riding qualities of the Alco DL-500 over those of the Clyde-GM A7. Apart from trucks and body style, I think that much of the equipment used in the NSWGR 43 was very similar to that used in the final tranche of the Chilean broad-gauge “shovel-nose” cab units.

  by Pneudyne
Pneudyne wrote:I cannot trace that any of the other late pre-Universal exports were fitted with floating bolster trucks, although some, from circa 1953 onwards, had a rather unusual form of swing motion.
I have attached the best pictures I can find of those GE pre-Universal swing motion/lateral motion trucks. Make of them what you will.
from DRT 195502 p.58.jpg
from DRT 195502 p.59.jpg
from DRT 195404 p.96.jpg
In the case of the Indonesian C-2-C locomotive, whilst the outer, driving trucks have this unusual arrangement, the centre carrying truck appears to have conventional elliptical bolster springing. One assumes that it was also endowed with extended lateral displacement capability.

  by MEC407
The back section of that last one looks a bit like the new MPI/GE HSP46!
  by Pneudyne
So what is old has become new!

It’s hard to tell from that picture, but the Indonesian shovel-nose was double-ended. It appears to have had more steeply-sloped noses than its brethren, and possibly shorter driving compartments. Perhaps keeping the body length down to the workable minimum (probably dictated by the wheel arrangement) was paramount. The centre truck was intended to be removable, looking forward to the day when track upgrades and resultant higher axle loadings allowed it to become a C-C. As far as I know, that never happened.

Double-ended shovel-noses were also built for Uruguay, as shown in this picture:
from DRT 195310 p.222.jpg
These evidently predated the advent of GE's early 1950s swing-motion truck. The “Alco-GE” description is I think not quite correct. Rather they were Alco-engined GE locomotives, supplied by International GE (IGE). But they (and the other Alco 12-244-engined GE shovel noses and road-switchers) seem to have been given honorary Alco status by the Railfan community. Uruguay also had some Alco-GE RSC-3s.

Returning to the GSC 1-C truck, a point of note is that it was of the centre-pivot type, and not of the trimount style. That may have been simply GSC’s choice. But if the potential users had a say, then it looks as if GE might have had a dominant voice, as it seemed to be very much in favour of centre pivots, not using, as far as I know, the trimount type. On the other hand, Alco was trimount oriented. And when MLW came to build 1-C-C-1 export locomotives in the 1970s, it developed its own trimount-type 1-C truck.

  by Pneudyne
An oddity amongst GE Universal exports was the DC electric adaptation for nitrate miner Anglo-Lautaro in Chile, as described in the attached Railway Gazette item, and as advertised by GE in DRT.
RG 19581219 p.737.jpg
DRT 195904 p.48.jpg
I imagine that the Anglo-Lautaro electrics – which eventually totalled four – were based upon the U12C frame, but I have never seen confirmation of that.

Noteworthy is that 70-tonner exports continued into the Universal era. The Anglo Lautaro examples were Cape gauge versions of the standard B-B model, so I suspect that they were quite rare. Earlier metre gauge exports – to Bolivia, Brasil and Chile - had been of the C+C variant, with longitudinally-mounted GE747 motors with right angle drive, and Queensland Railways in Australia had a locally built Cape gauge A1A+A1A variant with GE756 motors.

  by Pneudyne
In the pre-Universal era, there were not so many licence-built GE export models in the line-service category. One such was a batch of Alco 12-244-engined shovel nose cab units built by Baume & Marpent (B&M) in Belgium in 1954 for the Matadi-Leopoldville railway in the Belgian Congo, and as illustrated in this advertisement and article excerpt:
DRT 195502 p.47.jpg
DRT 195404 p.88.jpg
These were essentially a repeat of a 1951 batch built by GE itself.

Contemporary with the B&M batch of shovel-noses was a batch of Cockerill-Baldwin road switchers, as mentioned in the “Baldwin Export Locomotives” thread. Later the Matadi-Leopoldville bought some more Cockerill-Baldwin locomotives, but these were cab units, which one assumes that the railroad by then preferred.

  by Pneudyne
One of the non-standard GE exports of the 1960s was the UM12C model for Thailand. This was a double end-cab unit conforming to GE’s erstwhile shovel-nose outline, powered by a pair of (relatively light) Cummins high-speed engines.
RG 19640605 p.447.jpg
RG 19640605 p.448.jpg
Unlike the original GE shovel-noses, I don’t think that it was a true cab unit, with a stress-bearing body structure, but more like a cowl unit.

And although GE used Cummins engines in its industrial switchers, back in 1964 they were not often found as powerplants in line-service locomotives. In this case their light weight was probably a key factor. It seems unlikely that a double-cab C-C unit built around GE’s 7FDL-8 engine would have met the weight specification.

One interesting feature is that the UM12C had unequalized C trucks, the first use of such on a GE export model that I can trace. In other respects the trucks conformed to established GE practice, including the use of floating bolsters.

At the time, the U13C and U20C standard models were equipped with outside equalized C trucks, as had been their respective U12C and U18C predecessors. In those cases the change to unequalized C trucks did not come until the early 1970s, coincident with the change from the long-nose to the short-nose body style, by which time the U13C had been superseded by the U15C. The U26C had the short-nose and unequalized (and high-adhesion) trucks from the start.

Notwithstanding that the export C-C diesel locomotives had moved over to unequalized trucks by the mid-1970s, equalized C trucks were used under the E42C AC electric locomotives built for Taiwan (Cape gauge) from circa 1977 onwards. I imagine the concern here was to maximize adhesion for a locomotive that had a relative high power-to-adhesive weight ratio, every possible aid being needed. To a rough first approximation, the E42C (4200 hp one-hour, 3750 hp continuous) was an electric version of the UM22C (2300/2150 hp). As I understand it, with the diesel locomotives, the advance in wheel-slip control was seen as rendering equalization redundant; what was previously done mechanically – and with an unsprung mass penalty – could by then be done electrically/electronically, aided by long-travel primary springs.

Returning to 1964, the UM13C built for East Pakistan (Bangladesh) later in that year also had the same unequalized trucks as the Thailand UM12C, so was also an outlier in the truck department. The UM13C was a modified version of the stanardU13C, and lighter and lower, and with an end-cab.
RG 19641106 p.883.jpg
It could have been that for both the UM12C and UM13C, unequalized trucks were chosen in order help keep down the weight (and unsprung weight).

  by obsessed railfan
I'm curious about the first production U13C to have the updated cab and low short hood. Photos of these units are very scarce. I think low nose U13C photos may be the rarest of all the GE export locomotives! I have only seen photos of the Chilean low nose U13C which were built in 1967. Despite the "first" production U20C being debuted with the new cab and nose circa 1964, I would really like to see photos of other U13C's built in that timeframe to confirm if they also received the new cab and low nose treatment at this time. It is logical that GE would convert both models to low nose at the same time, but without definitive proof or photos, I guess we will have to wait until then.
Last edited by obsessed railfan on Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by obsessed railfan
Also, I want to mention that I became suspicious when I found out that U13 Operating Manual GEJ-3845-S was released in Spanish, I believe specifically for the Chilean low nose U13C. I don't own this manual, so it may also possibly include data for the unbuilt low nose U13B. If the low nose U13 was in fact manufactured before 1967, why would GE bother to create an entirely new GEJ number for a new manual when they could have just S suffixed an existing low nose U13 manual for Spanish language? So it seems GEJ-3845 was created for the low nose U13. And is it possible that the Chilean U13's are the first/only low nose U13's? If it exists, the companion English language U13 manual GEJ-3845 (presumably no letter suffix) would also date to circa 1967. So could it be the low nose U13C first appeared circa 1967? I think it's very interesting. Any thoughts? But if this is true, it also raises more questions. 1966 can be seen as late to still be manufacturing high nose locomotives, but EMD produced export G12's as late as 1966. If true, why would GE continue to manufacture the U13 in high nose form until 1967? Possibly because by the mid-1960s it sold only small numbers so it was considered not a high priority to redesign it with a low nose?
So, just because the U20C featured the new cab and low short hood as early as 1964, I still would like to see photos or other evidence of the other U13C's manufactured between 1964-1967 so we can finally confirm when it became low nose.
  by Pneudyne
A few thoughts:

GE appeared to have a fairly soft changeover process from one design iteration to the next. For example, Comilog Gabon was receiving the “long-nose” U15C variant, and with equalized trucks, for a couple of years or so after other roads were receiving the “short-nose” variant, usually with non-equalized trucks. So the production of high-short hood units after 1964, if that’s what customers wanted, wouldn’t be too surprising.

Before its U15C fleet, Comilog acquired U13Cs from 1960 through 1968. The early examples of course were high-hood. But whether it changed to low-hood for its later deliveries I don’t know. I’ll recheck data on hand, but I suspect that they don’t answer the question.

I recall seeing a 1965 specification for the U13C, that showed both a low-nose and unequalized trucks, so GE had done the design work by then. Actually, I am not sure when the low nose variants were first catalogued. The first built were the U20C model in 1964, and in fact no high-hood versions of the U20C were built, even though it had been catalogued. My guess is 1963 or early 1964 for the catalogue change.

With the low-nose U13C, the trucks were moved backwards from a previous symmetrical distribution, so that the front frame overhang became 14 inches greater than the rear overhang.

When it came to operating manuals for the GE export Universals, GE appeared to issue all of generic, model-specific railroad-specific varieties.

In my small collection is a railroad- and model-specific issue for the New Zealand Railways U10B, even though it was essentially the standard version. Another covers the 8-cylinder U18C with 26L brake, no railroad mentioned but surely it applied to the Indonesian version. And an issue for the 12-cylinder short-nose U20C covers a specific version with 221 000 lb weight (baseline was 198 000 lb or thereabouts, right-hand drive, supervisory transition control (that basically allowed forestalling of any transition), and 28-LV-1 brakes but no dynamic brake. I imagine that it was for one of the sub-equatorial African roads, but just which I haven’t worked out.

So in that context, a special issue for the Chilean low-short hood (long-nose) U13C would not be so surprising.

Generally, when it comes to the GE export Universals, there is only so far one can go using “external” information and observations. I think it would require access to GE’s detailed records and builder’s photographs to develop a comprehensive history.

GE GEJ-3802A Universal fc.jpg
GE U20C GEJ-3879A 1980-04 fc.jpg
GE U18C GEJ-6392 1983-02 fc.jpg
  by Pneudyne
Some more GE Operating Manual Covers.

The last refers to the Indonesian 8-cylinder wedge-nose U20C.


Costa Rica U10B, U11B fc.jpg
GE U10B NZR GEJ-5739A 1978-03 fc.jpg
GEJ-6772 fc.jpg
  by obsessed railfan
Thanks, now I see that it is not surprising for GE to issue a special manual for the Chilean low nose U13Cs. It makes one wonder why more low long nose U13C's and long nose U20C's weren't sold when they were initially debuted, because GE was ahead of its competition in offering low nose export locomotives. But a few years later, the short nose U15C and U20C became some of its most popular export models.

I didn't know there was an original long nose U15C, that is very interesting! Any estimate when it was first produced and was there possibly an overlap with late low nose U13C production?
GE was probably very eager to produce an equivalent 1500 (traction) medium horsepower roadswitcher to match the EMD G22.
  by Pneudyne
As best I can work out, the first GE U15C – of the long-nose variety - was Comilog Gabon fleet #115 delivered 1970 December.

And the last U13C had been Comilog #114 delivered 1968 August. I cannot trace that there were any later U13C deliveries.

I can’t find any photographic evidence to determine whether the late Comilog U13Cs were high-hood or low-hood. But #108, the first of the second batch, delivered from 1963 December, was high-hood.

Yes, I imagine that the U15C was in part a response to the EMD G22C. For the export models at least, the 8-cylinder engine was moved up to 187.5 hp/cylinder (net) ahead of any advance for the 12-cylinder engine, which suggests that GE had a specific target in mind rather than a general upgrade. But of course a big jump was made to 217 hp/cylinder (net) for the U26C, first delivered in later 1971, although that could be seen as a special-purpose rather than a general application machine, unlike the U20C.

  by obsessed railfan
Earlier in this thread it was mentioned that the Thailand UM12C appear to have been the first GE export diesels built with unequalized C trucks. Interestingly, apparently GE planned to build the (long nose) U20C with unequalized C trucks as it is depicted this way in the U20C specification sheet dated May 1963. But looking at photos of all owners of the long nose U20C reveal almost all were actually built with equalized C trucks. This includes both Erie US built and licensed South African built U20C's for Colombia, Turkey, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), South Africa, and Zambia. I could not locate photos of Mozambique's long nose U20C. However, the first (and possibly subsequent) long nose U20C order for Angola's Luanda Railway were built with unequalized trucks. We can only speculate why all long nose U20C were not built with the unequalized truck as originally envisioned. Perhaps it was simply a matter of customer preference, because we can also compare the low long nose U13C which was also envisioned with unequalized trucks, but the Chilean U13C were built with equalized trucks. And finally the early long nose U15C for Comilog built with equalized trucks, I wouldn't be surprised if the original specification sheet showed it with unequalized trucks just like the others.