• U25B's

  • Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
  by JKTRR
Colleague (former NH employee) looking for info on the U25B's....specifically of the two "batches" purchased, can they be identified distinctly to a specific GE "phase" model?

(He's aware of the split windshield/dynamic brake differences; simply wants info on the GE "phase" designation on the two deliveries!
  by NewHaven0401
I think the concept of phases is a fabrication of the railfan press.

FYI, there were two orders 2500-2509, and 2510-2525. The last example, 2525, still exists under the curative custody of the RMNE in Waterbury, CT.

The major obvious difference between them was the two piece windshield of the later 'batch.' There have been some other minor external differences that I don't immediately recall.

Check out Swanbergs' "NEW HAVEN POWER" book for some photos. Better yet, throw this out to the fellas at www.nhrhta.org.
  by H.F.Malone
The early U25B locos had the single windshield, a wheel-type hand brake and a flat nose, not sloped like the sightly later units. The later U25Bs had the two-pc window and a lever-style hand brake.

All diesel builders continually improved components during a given model's production run, and did not necessarily consider those improvements to be a "new" model or "phase" .....that term seems to have originated with the boys at the diesel loco spotter magazine Extra 2200 South, in the mid-60s.


  by Noel Weaver
Not too sure about handbrakes. Seems to me that handbrakes were an
option to be decided by the buyer. Some railroads preferred the wheel
and some preferred the ratchet.
In my opinion, the ratchet handbrake is one of the worst devices that I
ever had to use on the railroad for a number of reasons. The only ones
on the former New Haven that weren't too bad were the ones on the 4400
class MU's, the rest of them on the other equipment were horrible.
One difference that was noticable in the cab of the earlier U-25B's with the
once piece window in the center was the placement of the whistle valve.
The early ones had it in the ceiling with a cord hanging down while the
later ones had it on the control stand like nearly all of the later model
engines right up until the wide cabs.
Unfortunately, like the other GE's of the era and later models too, they had that miserable, stinken 16 notch throttle that was a pain to use and
poor gauge lights as a bonus. When the GE demonstrators were on the
NHRR, I had them for a trip out of Bay Ridge and we told the GE people
on there that they needed to redesign the throttle and gauge lights but as
usual for the period, GE could care less and did nothing. I for one and
many others too did not shed any tears as they departed for razor blades
mostly in the 1980's.
GE had the worst control stand in the business and this was right up until
at least the dash 8's. Even the early Alco's were better to operate.
Noel Weaver

  by Engineer Spike
Noel, Your assesment of these GE units sounds just like something a certain uncle of ours might say!
I can see from this that GE has not gone down hill on their locomotives. They have not improved either! I would rathre have a -2 EMD any day!
As for ratchet hand brakes, you could never get them on fast if you had to. This is most true if they left a long chain. I know an engineer who had his wrist broken because the ratchet let go.


  by Noel Weaver
More evidence of the quality of early and mid age GE's, how many U-25B's
are still on the road? I don't think there are any. How many EMD GP-30's
and even older GP-7's and GP-9's are still running around some of them
on their third or more round of major rebuilding?
GE dash 7's are well on their way out, either worn out or falling apart or
maybe a little bit of both. How many GP-40-2's or SD-40-2's which are
generally a little bit older are still around?, lots of them. I seem them all
of the time here on the Florida East Coast and they really rock and rool
with all of the trains that the FEC operates. They look good, sound good
and go fast too.
The only really decent GE's that I ever worked on were the dash 8's and
even them will probably be gone before the EMD's of the same period.
Even if GE has finally caught up with EMD, it took them generations to do
it. Even when I retired in 1997, most of the engineers much preferred the
EMD's, even the older ones.
Noel Weaver
  by Allen Hazen
(i) "Phases" are a railfan category, and usually are defined by superficial (but visible) design changes the locomotive builder's don't think merit a change in model designation. "Railroad Model Craftsman" published a very good two-part article on the U25B (by Bob Kenderdine and "Win Cuisinier", with HO-scale drawings by George Losse.

They defined five "phases":
Phase I: very early units with ladders instead of corner steps (most of these are high-short-hood, but they included GE's first low-nose demonstrator in Phase I)
Phase IIa ("Classic"): units built between 4/62 and about 4/64, with one-piece windshield, handrail stanchions mounted on top of walkway
Phase IIb ("Late classic"): built from about 4/64 to the end of 1964, differing from IIa in details of the arrangement of hood doors-- New Haven's first order (2500-2509) were built in October 1964 and were of this phase.
Phase III ("Transitional"): built in first four months of 1965, with two-piece windshield and handrail stanchions bolted to the sides of the frames (the latter a feature of later GE locomotives up to the present!), but keeping the level nose of the earlier U25B
Phase IV: built 5/65 to 2/66, differing from phase III in having the sloped nose (and externally like the early U28B of, e.g., the P&LE). New Haven's second order (2510-2525), built in October-November 1965, were of this phase.
(ii) As one would expect, comparisons of the U25B and the C425 have been discussed on the "Alco" and "GE" forums. Someone who sounded well-informed, some months ago, opined that the C425 might have been intrinsically the better locomotive (GE was still having reliability problems with the FDL engine, and they had eliminated from their control system some useful feature that was included in the control electronics they sold Alco!), but that GE's after-market support was so much better than Alco's that the New Haven gave their whole 1965 order to GE.
(iii) A railfan I spoke to in the 1970s who had been given a cab-ride in a U25B extolled their smooth riding qualities! Mind you, I think the locomotives he was able to compare it to were the SW-1200 and RS3M used on the Canal Line local freight....
  by Noel Weaver
The New Haven sometimes put a U-25b on the head end for the crew but
there was NO official policy on it. I ran them both and I liked the Alcos
better for the cab controls and the GEs better for the ride quality.
Actually, today there are more early Alcos running around here and there
than there are early GEs, don't know but what that tells us something.
I would like to know in the Penn Central days, how many railroad incidents
occurred such as knuckels, drawbars, stalls, harsh slack action and other
unpleasant things occurred because of the lousy control and power setup
of the early GEs?
Fortunately, after Conrail got things together, most of these junk GEs
ended up right where they belonged, in the scrap heap. Few if any
engineers missed them.
Noel Weaver