• "Almost real" EMD locomotives

  • Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.
Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by Allen Hazen
Unlike some people (I won't name names!), I quite enjoy occasionally speculating about locomotives that EMD might have built but didn't: indeed, if the speculations include reflection on technical (etc!) feasibility and the explanation of WHY the imagined model was not built, I think they can teach useful lessons about "real" locomotive history.
BUT this post isn't about making up fictional locomotive models.
It's about the ones that EMD themselves "imagineered": locomotive models CATALOGUED, or otherwise proposed, by EMD which no customer wanted to pay for, and which therefore never got built.*
I can think of three or four. Does anyone know of others?

---DD40 (with conventional cab): The original catalogue for the 1966 line included a 645-engined unit externally similar to the DD35A. At the time, Union Pacific wasn't interested; a few years later they bought a modified design (wide-nose, and I think longer overall).

---"F45B": The F45 design was EMD's response to an ATSF request for bids for cowl-type freight units in both cab and booster variants. GE refused to bid for boosters (and offered U33C in U30CG-style bodies), but Alco and EMD offered quotes for boosters as well as cabs. In the event, only A-units were sold. Did EMD prepare drawings of the F45B? Would it-- like some wreck rebuild SD units and ATSF's much later GP60B-- have had the dynamic brakes moved away from the engine to the location of the absent cab?

---US passenger streamliner of the 1970s: EMD published a colored booklet, and pitched at a conference on high-speed rail that was held in Pittsburgh in the mid-1970s, a scheme for an American answer to Britain's "Intercity 125" HST. Seven or so cars-- as I recall, the pictures made them look like Amfleet-- with a low-slung streamlined 3000 hp at each end. The locomotive was illustrated on a new design (anybody know how much actual truck design work, if any, EMD put into this?) of B trucks, but the booklet said A1A trucks (from retired E-unit?) could also be used. Third rail pickup may have been an option: the booklet gave sample times for the New York to Buffalo run.

---Canadian ditto: GM of Canada, of course, had the MLW (etc) LRC project to compete with. A "Trains" story reported their answer: again, a passenger consist with a "power car" at each end. In the drawing, the locomotives looked much more boxy and conventional: perhaps they would have been standard F40.

* Of course, there is a further category: ideas EMD built prototypes for but which didn't sell. The BL-20 and the diesel-hydraulic switcher designs of the 1950s come to mind.

  by mxdata
There were lots of "never builts" in the locomotive industry, EMD and others, actually far too many to list here. It would make a good subject for a book.

  by Allen Hazen
Well, until you write your book (Grin!), you've got at least one reader for any story you want to tell!
"Never-builts" vary as to how close they came to building. The DD40 and F45B I describe were actually offered (with the F45B, I'm going on memory of the "Railroad Model Craftsman" article many years ago on the Alco "C636F" A & B -- I think it said that EMD had quoted prices for varying mixes of A & B units to ATSF), and would not have required much additional engineering work for EMD to put them into production. The mid-70s streamliner, though, was I suspect a "You show us the color of your money and we'll start serious design work." But I could be wrong.

  by mxdata
I think that you are absolutely right about that one. The streamlined locomotive was the AMT-125, and a lot of artwork was done as well as the brochure, but I don't recall it ever going anywhere. When your major long distance passenger locomotive customer in the US is a quasi government agency that has to generate a mountain of paperwork to justify buying anything, it is pretty tough to walk in the door with a proposal and get somebody to hand you an order for the locomotives.

  by crazy_nip
the "b unit" craze was over by the time the F45's were built...

the last B unit produced in any sort of quantity was what, the GP30B's that mostly UP bought (did anyone else even buy them?).

this is not counting the relatively recent B units like the GP60B of ATSF and B30-7B's that BN bought

No one wanted them because they were not very versatile (couldnt lead) and for a VERY expensive ROAD diesel, that is a waste

  by Allen Hazen
Crazy Nip--
I'm not sure of the quantity, but U.P. also bought DD35 booster units a year or two after the GP30B. But that's just a footnote: basically you're right. And, yes, U.P. was the only purchaser of GP30B.
Most railroad managements seem to agree with you about B units. Still, a B unit CAN be a bit cheaper than an A unit. (In addition to not having a cab, you can save a bit by simplifying the pilot-- no snowplow-- on a unit that is never going to lead. And cabs are probably, what with wide noses, air conditioners (was ATSF the first large American railroad to use cab air conditioners?), all the modern electronic gear and ergonomic stuff, etc etc, getting more expensive!) Enough so that a few railroads have been tempted: BN with the B30-7A(B) and ATSF with the GP60B. (ATSF asked GE about cabless "B40-8(B)" units, and GE told them they would cost the same as cabs: hence the seoond order of B40-8W.) And ATSF was TEMPTED earlier-- I wasn't making it up when I said they had asked for quotes on cowl-type B units! ... It's probably significant that neither BN not ATSF/BNSF came back with orders for additional B units: they seem to have come around to your point of view after a bit of experience with the ones they did get!
PS: In case you were wondering, it was in part YOUR outrage about "locofiction" that prompted me to try to find something about non-existent locomotives that even you would be interested by. Grin!
  by EDM5970
Alco designed a few units that never got built as well. At the very end of the cab unit era, they came out with sales literature for the DL-212B, which looked like the FA-2. However, this unit would have had the new 1800 HP 12-251B engine. It would also have the recently developed static excitation, just like the last group of FA-2s, built in mid 1956.

I've seen the brochure, and while the spec. number DL-212B is evident, there is no model number mentioned. Logically, it would have been FA-3, between the FA-2 and the FPA-4, which was also 12-251 and static. Unfortunately, no FA-3s were built.

Later Alco offered the C-620, which would have had the C-420's 12-251C on six axles and with a C-628's frame, hoods and cab.
Likewise there was the never built C-428; a 2800 ( well, 2750) HP16-251C in a 424/425 carbody.

  by crazy_nip
Allen Hazen wrote: PS: In case you were wondering, it was in part YOUR outrage about "locofiction" that prompted me to try to find something about non-existent locomotives that even you would be interested by. Grin!

well, this is actually a legitimate question

unlike "why didnt they make an SD90MAC with a 12-567 engine" nonsense like TerryC posts all the time
  by cnfan
Didn't the Santa Fe order GP60 B units in the 80s? I remember seeing them on Al Krugs site. Also, BC Rail had M420 B units built by MLW.
  by crazy_nip
cnfan wrote:Didn't the Santa Fe order GP60 B units in the 80s? I remember seeing them on Al Krugs site. Also, BC Rail had M420 B units built by MLW.
no, early 90's

if memory serves me correctly, 1994

  by Bryanjones
The ATSF GP60B's were built and delivered during July and August 1991.

Another 'almost built" locomotive that wasn't mentioned were SD40-2B's for the UP. UP ordered 23 such units that would have been numbered 3288B-3310B and be delivered during May and June of 1975. The order was canceled in February of 1975. They were intended for high speed service between pairs of DDA40X's and were precursors to what would become the 8000 series "Fast Forty" SD40-2 fleet. Mention of this order was included in an article in the Jan-Feb. 1998 issue of Diesel Era.

Bryan Jones
  by Allen Hazen
Thanks Bryan Jones!
What were the people at Union Pacific THINKING? The subsequent history of the 8000 class "Fast 40s" was that they were regeared and renumbered and ended up used indiscriminately mixed with other SD40-2. Had they been built without cabs.... Of course, U.P. did decide that maintaining cabs was too expensive, and did, for a while, classify a number of SD40 types (and, I think, U30C/C30-7) as B units-- not to be used as lead units except in emergency-- removing some cab equipment (speed recorders?) without removing the cab structure. So I suppose they could have dealt with some REAL B units. My recollection, though, is that they got tired of the hassle of units that couldn't be despatched as lead units, and "re-promoted" their nominal B units to A status after a while. (But it's a hazy recollection: somebody correct me if I'm wrong!)
And anyway, why would one choose an SD40, with 500hp/axle, to splice pairs of DDA40, with 825hp/axle? If they were going to buy extra units for dedicated use in sets with DDA40, I would have expected them to buy GP40-2 (with 750hp/axle). ... Sorry, I have trouble seeing the rationale of some of U.P.'s motive power decisions in the 1960s and 1970s.

  by Leo_Ames
Didn't EMD have plans to make a 20 cylinder SD90MAC?

And wasn't there a 12 cylinder (4,000 hp I think?) H engined locomotive that EMD produced a prototype of a few years ago?

  by shortlinerailroader
The 12 cylinder unit is the SD89MAC. It has a 4000 hp 12V265H engine. I do not know if it is a test bed, a demo or in the lease fleet. I remember reading about it in TRAINS.
  by Allen Hazen
The unit called the SD89 (I don't know if EMD actually published this model designation-- the unit doesn't seem to have been offered to customers), with a 12-265 engine (H engine) seems to have been a test or developmental locomotive. It was in a carbody similar to the SD90. For the moment, EMD seems to have decided to go with the 710 engine, in the SD70MACe and SD70M-2.
(Hmmm. GE responded to the problems with the HDL by putting a lot of money into engineering its successor, the GEVO. EMD responded to the problems with the H by going back to the two-stroke 710, a derivative of the 567, and tweaking it to meet current air pollution standards. Which locomotive builder's corporate parent shows more commitment to staying in the locomotive business for the long term?)
When the SD90 was announced, the locomotive mechanical portions, electrical portions, and carbody were billed as a common "platform" which could accommodate a number of different diesel engines: te 16-265 in the SD90, the 16-710 in the "SD9043", or a 5,000 hp 20-710. This last version was catalogued as the SD80. About 30 were built, all going to Conrail. Not a great EMD success story, but "real"!