• U-boat and Dash-7 nose trivia

  • 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
For those who want to define "phases" of GE locomotive designs...

The "classic" domestic U-series (late U28 to the 1977 model change) had a short vertical column of 4 ventilation slits on the left side of the low short hood. (High-nose units seem to have had the vents on the right side instead.) When the Dash-7 line was introduced, one of the spotting marks noted in one railfan publication ("Extra 2200 South," I think) was that there was a longer column of vents: 12 slits. Looking at photos in Marre & Withers "Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide," however, it appears that on LATE Dash-7 units there were NO vents on the left side of the short hood. (The units shown with this variant, except for an SP unit built with lights on the short hood, also lack the headlight box on the nose-- given GE tradition, however, it seems unlikely that the two design modifications were actually introduced at the same time!) Did these late Dash-7 units have some other arrangement for ventilating the nose compartment?

(And, just to prove that you can't assume a locomotive in service looks like one fresh from Erie, one photo in the book shows a Santa Fe B23-7 rebuilt with a U-boat-style short hood, with the short column of vents.)

  by thebigc
Interesting. Took a brief look through my collection to confirm and you're correct. What would be considered "late" Dash-7's? Here's a look at 5055 at South Kearny in early 1984 (built late 1983) and she's got no vents.

http://thebigc.rrpicturearchives.net/pi ... an8401.JPG

  by Allen Hazen
Thanks for posting that picture of a clean Conrail 5000! I have lived overseas for most of the time since the beginning of 1983, and so have not had a chance to do much U.S. railfanning: one of the things I remember from my first Christmas visit home was watching a trio of 5000s take an intermodal past the Amtrak station in downtown Pittsburgh.
No, I don't know when the change was made. A brief check at George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" railpicture site showed that even the highest-numbered ATSF and BN C30-7, the highest numbered C&O B30-7, and the last of Conrail's B23-7 still had the long strip of vents on the side, so after them. But I don't have their dates. As I recall, 1982 was a weak year economy-wise, with few locomotive deliveries, so I think all of the above would be 1981 or earlier.

  by thebigc
You're welcome!

I've checked my collection even further and can't really draw a conclusion. I've got a shot of MP B-30-7A 4823 and it's got the vents but it was built in late 1981. Conrail took delivery of B-36-7's, C-30-7A's and C-36-7's from 10/83 to 9/85 and none of them have vents. Could those vents have presented a safety hazard in the event of a grade crossing incident with a tank truck and have been outlawed? I know that number boards with inside bulb access doors were outlawed for this reason. Just a possibility...

BTW, I think the ATSF C-30-7's delivered in late 1982 were the last domestic ones built.

Here is an interesting bit of U-Boat nose trivia. They are built, with hundreds of pounds of "Bondo", body putty. Every loco I have worked on, or have seen being scrapped, has a solid layer of the putty built-up, then filed and sanded to give the curves, and fill out the valleys present there. You can go inside the nose, with a small sledgehammer (found in the toolbox, on the loco) and start pounding the nose, in various locations. Go outside, and see what you find. Very interesting, to see, firsthand. Thickest spot I have found, was over 2 1/2 inches, of pure body filler. GE Quality...... :P