• Norfolk Southern begins major GE locomotive rebuild program

  • 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 trainiac
Allen - actually, none of the units have the thicker radiator wings typical of late Dash-8s and Dash-9s, although the photo angles suggest otherwise. The giveaway: The bottom edge of the wing is slanted (by about 20-25 degrees) on all three units. On the thicker wings, the lower edge is nearly horizontal - which is the reason for the thicker edge on the wings, as most of the other dimensions are the same between the two wing styles.

As for the cabs, you're right about the deck height (the difference is about 5 inches). I don't think the difference in long hood height using a stock Dash 8-40CW cab on a narrow-nose frame would be a problem - that's what happened with the production Dash 8-40BW. The problem would be clearance - the reason the Dash 8-40CW frame was lowered in the first place - and my hunch is that the 5-inch difference is compensated with both a lower short hood compared to a normal W cab (trimmed off at the bottom) while also allowing a slightly higher roof than the original standard cab.
  by Allen Hazen
Thanks for the correction on the radiators! Looking carefully at the slant angles of the undersides, I think you are right: I was misled by the angle and maybe the perspective distortion that comes with telephoto lenses.

As for the idea that the cab can be made to fit by trimming it at the bottom… The left front corner of the nose is visible in the photo of the 8306. Somebody with a better eye than mine want to try measuring its height, comparing with some other measurable dimension (making due allowances for camera angle etc) and try to see if it looks as if it has been trimmed?
  by MEC407
Photo of NS Dash 8.5 #8500 by Dustin Faust:

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/493840" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Allen Hazen
MEC407-- Thanks for posting the link to that photo. (The -- temporarily -- white cab goes nicely with the -- soon to disappear -- white Conrail insignia!)

Remarks: (1) The radiator looks pretty Dash-8 to me: so apparently the "8.5" upgrade doesn't include the split cooling that was standard on Dash-9 units (and used on a few late -- 1993 -- Dash-8). This surprises me.
(2) The Norfolk Southern's cab design doesn't include the "cut-off corners" to the nose that GE's own wide-nose cabs have. GE's design supposedly improves visibility, but perhaps NS thinks that a C40-something won't be doing enough switching to make the engineer's view of a switchman on the ground very important.
  by Allen Hazen
Hmm… There's an item about this program (and a photo of this unit) in the … issue of "Trains" currently (17 August 2014) on the newsstands. Says the major improvement is in the control system. Also says the rebuilt units incorporate a split-cooling system designed by NS: evidently one which, unlike GE's factory-installed version, does not involve a thicker radiator "wingspan."
  by MEC407
Interesting. Thanks for the information, Allen! I had been wondering about that myself.
  by Allen Hazen
Havenow bought a copy of the relevant "Trains" issue: it's September 2014, and the article is in the monthly "Locomotive" column, by Chris Guss: p.14.

--The Dash 8.5 program is supposed to draw on narrow-nose C40-8 nuts, and is envisioned as modifying "more than 80" units at "an average of 18 locomotives per year once the rebuild program is up and running."
--Cab design for most of them is to be similar to that used on NS (Juniata Shops) SD60E units.
--"Internally, the biggest change is the new control system, the brains of the locomotive, in charge of an upgraded 7FDL16 engine." … {Comment: GE advertises, under the "Brightstar" trademark, modernize electronics and control system for old locomotives outside North America. One assumes that NS will at least have consulted with GE about how to upgrade old GE locomotives.}
--"NS installed electronic fuel injection and a new NS-designed "split cooling" radiator system," with one part cooling "jacket and bearing water" and the other the intercoolers for engine air. … {Comment: GE tested both split cooling and electronic fuel ignition on some units built in 1993: C41-8W for Santa Fe, I think, at least for one of the improvements. Split cooling became standard for Dash-9 units, and was used on some late (1994) C40-8W for Conrail and perhaps others. Electronic fuel injection was apparently originally an option on Dash-9 units, but was ordered on most of them.}


The same page in "Trains" has a photo of one of GE's "Tier 4" test units undergoing high-altitude tests on the UP. Given the medium blue paint (with white frame strip) GE has used on these test units, do you think GE would let somebody paint a Conrail logo on at least one side for a photo? (Grin!)
  by tj48
The 'brow' above the cab windshields of 8500 and 8501 differ. The 8500 has a much more pronounced one very much like the SD60E units while to me 8501 has a more GE look to it.
  by Allen Hazen
Sounds as if NS is still experimenting, and haven't yet finalized the design for their new cabs.
  by MEC407
Update: NS has rebuilt three Dash 9s with AC traction so far. They are designated AC44C6M. Dash 9-40Cs 8799 and 8879, and Dash 9-44CW 8900 have been completed thus far. The AC44C6Ms will be going into the 4000 number series. Thanks to Sean Graham-White for the information.
  by es80ac
from the photos, the modified NS cab seems to sit a few inches taller than the long hood. I think they probably did not modify the wide cab height, as it looks like it is sitting on the elevated c40-8 frame. I believe the c40-8 narrow cabs not only has a higher frame than the c40-8w but also shorter long hood height wise.
  by es80ac
also the crescent cab seem to have a little more cab room than the standard GE wide cab. Is the "eye brow" meant to give the cab a little more room with the headlight moved away from the cab? Or is it meant to shield some sun light from the engineer? or both?
  by MEC407
Photos of NS AC44C6M #4000:

http://members4.boardhost.com/OtherMich ... 57724.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.nsdash9.com/rosters/4000.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by trainiac
I think they probably did not modify the wide cab height, as it looks like it is sitting on the elevated c40-8 frame. I believe the c40-8 narrow cabs not only has a higher frame than the c40-8w but also shorter long hood height wise.
I haven't examined the dimensions of the rebuilt cab - but if the cab extends above the original Dash 8-40C hood, it's higher above the rail than the typical wide-nosed cab for either GE or EMD.

On the original units, the frame height was lowered by about 5 1/4 inches on the Dash 8-40CW (5' 9.75" - vs 6' 3" on Dash-7 and standard-cab Dash-8 units, per GE specs) because the wide-nosed cab was about 5 1/4 inches taller than the standard cab. The middle and rear sections of the hood were the same between the two units - and were therefore 5 inches lower on the Dash 8-40CW owing to the lower frame height. The front section of the hood was raised on the Dash 8-40CW to match the taller cab (a change that was not made on the Dash 8-40BW).

The roof of the wide-nosed GE cab sits at roughly the same height above the walkway as the EMD wide-nosed cab, while the standard GE cab is shorter (from above the walkway) than any of EMD's cabs.
  by Allen Hazen
If the unit had been rebuilt from a C40-8, yes, there would be a problem with the cab height. But it was rebuilt from a C40-9.
My ***GUESS*** is that the deck height of the C40-9 is the same as that on the C40-8W and C40-9W: GE was making Dash-9 units by this time, and wouldn't have wanted to revert to the old, higher-deck, frame design. Still GUESSING, the "conventional" cab on a C40-9 was probably a bit higher-- maybe 5.25 inches? -- than that on the earlier C40-8.

But those are guesses: someone with a sharper eye than mine should take a ruler to the photos!