• Unbuilt (but proposed) FG-9 locomotive

  • 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
Evidence of a heretofore unknowns (well, unknown to me) EMD locomotive design has surfaced!
Don Strack has posted to the Yahoo "Loconotes" group (as posting #75695 to that group) scans of 1959 correspondence between EMD and Neuhart, the Union Pacific mechanical chief, regarding a proposed "FG-9" locomotive. It was to be a dual-fuel (diesel fuel and heavy oil) locomotive with five axles, apparently (there is no drawing but axle loadings are specified: axles 1 and 2 have the same weight, 3 and 5 the same, slightly lower, weight, and 4 the lightest) in B-A1A configuration. My ***guess*** is that this would have been another application of the FL-9 carbody design (which, we learned from Preston Cook's fascinating July 2008 "Railfan and Railroad" article on F-units, was originally proposed to accommodate extra water tankage on an FP-9-like unit for long distance passenger service, and only later adapted for the New Haven's diesel-electric-electrics).
  by Allen Hazen
A later post to LocoNotes suggested it was a project for a "gasifier" locomotive. (This is, of course, consistent with its being a proposal invoving the FL-9 carbody!) I don't know what this means in detail: I suppose that (after maybe using diesel fuel to get started?) the heavy oil would be gasified before being burned, but what sort of equipment would be used in gasifying it, and whether it would ultimately be burned in a (modified) diesel engine or a turbine I don't know. In any event, it seems a priori likely that the whole system would need more engine-room volume to fit everything in than was available of conventional F-units, so making the use of the longer body (which EMD had perhaps already engineered in some detail) necessary.

It's not every day one learns of a new EMD locomotive design, even if it was only a proposed locomotive. Does anyone have any further information on this project? I would assume that the railroad trade press ("Railway Age" etc) would have had at least some mention at the time if a serious effort was being made to design a locomotive around a radical type of prime mover.
  by Super Seis
Didn't EMD build a free-piston gasifier-which could in turn provide working fluid for a gas turbine ?

  by Allen Hazen
Can someone tell me more about "Free-piston gasifiers"? Genral Motors (both General Motors research center and the Cleveland Diesel division, which made marine engines similar in basic principle to the EMD locomotive diesel) worked on this technology in the 1950s, the Cleveland project getting as far as re-engining a Liberty Ship. The timing is right for EMD to have been talking about a locomotive project using this technology in the late 1950s.

I have a vague memory or somewhere reading that one of the other locomotive builders-- Alco? Baldwin? -- was also interested in the idea.

I know verry little about it. Apparently the "free-piston" gasifier idea offered some apparent advantages over "conventional" gas turbine engines (one thing I looked at suggested that, since the temperature of the gas turning the turbine would be lower, the turbine blades could be made from a cheaper steel alloy), and-- life being in general like that -- probably some disadvantages (don't know what they would have been). And I don't have much of a picture of subsequent-- post-1950's-- history here.

But, yes, depending on the size of the plant needed for a respectable output, I can readily see EMD proposing to install it (at least in a prototype) in the FL-9 carbody originally designed for other reasons. We know U.P. was interested in the possibility of using cheaper fuel oils than standard diesel, so they would have been an obvious candidate to work with EMD on this development; the letter reproduced in Don Strack's post to "Loco-Notes" mentions both fuel tanks for heavy oil and "gasifier equipment."
  by Super Seis
An abstract from an ACM Paper re: computer modeling of a free piston engine:
The free piston engine principle is one which has intrigued mechanical engineers for decades. Indeed, the original gas engine of Otto and Langden employed a piston assembly which did not contain the now conventional connecting rod and camshaft arrangement and hence may be considered as an early implementation of the free piston principle. Today, however, the free piston principle is normally applied to a highly supercharged two-stroke compression ignition engine in which two opposed reciprocating pistons are used in a diesel cylinder. These pistons do not transmit mechanical energy but instead pneumatic energy is delivered in the form of high-pressure, high-temperature exhaust gas to a separate power turbine to obtain shaft power
Recall that L-H drew up a free piston gasifier locomotive design.

Perhaps MXDATA can weigh in on the EMD concept.

  by RickRackstop
About GM's free piston engine. I heard that it made an intolerable racket and practically shook the test ship apart. It was supposed to have been banished to pumping gas on a pipeline. The cycle is close to the ideal turbo compound set up where the power comes off the turbine shaft. To me it shows that some of the differences cycle wise and thermodynamically between 4 stroke and 2 stroke engines become blurred as the turbo pumps more air. I think Preston Cook probably knows all about this engine.
  by Allen Hazen
More information!
(Article, by a Hungarian technology historian. On the WWWeb courtesy of UtahRails, since the Union Pacific was interested.)

Includes ... a PHOTOGRAPH (supplied by Philip Hom)! Apparently an FG-9 was actually built (perhaps not completed, and the dates suggest that it was never road-tested): photo shows a locomotive with a recognizable FL-9 carbody (B-A1A trucks), obviously unfinished (no number boards, filter grills), modified to allow additional cooling fans to be installed along the roof. (New fan/radiator structure projects above normal roof line, so the overall visual effect is somewhat like the Australian (V-Line) AT26C, with its "hump" over the 645 power plant installed in the original, F-like, carbody.

I googled "FG-9 locomotive" just now. The first link is to this string, but some of the next 4 have additional information from other discussion groups.

Tomjohn, if you are still following this: photo, and artist's rendition of an A-B set in U.P. colours. I think it would be a do-able kit bashing project: the new radiator housing isn't exactly like anything else I know of, but fairly simple in structure: it could be scratch built. One problem is that there is no overhead view, so the exact placement of the numerous radiator fans would be guesswork. Still, a do-able and interesting modelling project.


(Umm... About modeling and kit-bashing. What does one do if one wants an FL-9 carbody? There are lots of F-unit body shells on the market, and maybe even an FP-9 shell, but how do you get the additional four feet of length for the "F Lengthened"? Australian railroads had a number of classes of lengthened (C-C or A1A-A1A) derivatives of the F-unit (Victorian Railways S class was one), and HO models of them have been produced for modellers of Australian railways, which might be a possible source of elongated F-type carbodies... Australian F-ish types had unusual arrangements of roof fans, but if you are kitbashing an FG-9 you're going to change the roof anyway!)
  by v8interceptor
There was quite a bit of interest in this concept in the late 40's/early 50's.
Here's an artical from a 1948 edition of Popular Science magazine including another cutaway drwaing:
http://books.google.com/books?id=fiYDAA ... ce&f=false

Lima locomotive took out a patent for a similar locomotive:
http://www.google.com/patents/US2539471 ... ve&f=false
  by Allen Hazen
Thanks for those links!
The "Popular Science" article is interesting. TheWestinghouse project described is the 4,000 hp turbine locomotive: demonstrator was built, didn't generate any orders. ... Some of the art-work in the article shows an EMD-style cab: since this was several years before the FG-9 project, this probably reflects Popular Science's staff artist's choice rather than actual EMD involvement. Some of the other artwork...

As for the Lima proposal, it got as far as an "artist's impression" drawing: "Trains," in I think the 1970s or 1980s, published a portfolio of art on proposed but never-built railroad equipment (Cover had EMD art of a Monon E-7 and a New York Central E-6 in a blue stripe colour scheme) that included a drawing of the Lima turbine locomotive: imagine an E-unit, but with a nose inspired by a GG-1.
  by Krusty
The illustration of the Lima-proposed locomotive is on page 31: Morgan, David P. "Proposed but Never Built." Trains Sept. 1975: 30-32. Print.
  by Allen Hazen
Thank you for reference! I think I may still have that issue in my basement, but it would have taken me a while to find it!