• EMD F3 demonstrator units

  • 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 SSW921
 
Thank you Allen for the labor clarification. I knew it had to have something to do with the strike as no new EMD units have a March 1946 builder's date.

This is from a similar discussion on the F3 demonstrators on Trains dot com this morning, "t's hard to say with clarity what EMD intended for the end of FT production. The three railroads listed as cancelling FT orders were CB&Q 42 units, D&RGW 12 units and M&SL six units. All three of those roads followed up with new F unit orders. There may have been other undocumented cancellations. If any of those orders were in development could the 16-567As been used to another purpose? There is engine block data which suggests that 16-567Bs were in production when EMD shut down in November 1946. And I'm suggesting that a few new build F2/F3s were on the floor when EMD was struck. There was a clear need for passenger equipped A units in demonstration service. Some new build Fs may have been complete or near complete when the production line shut down.
The whole F2/F3 demonstration time is murky. The Christmas Day 1945 wreck of two of the demonstrators 291A2 and 291B2 adds to the confusion. There are some details but not a clear picture of what was going on with the demonstrators as to where and when they were.
Ed in Kentucky"
  by SSW921
 
A few edits on my last post. EMD shut down production in November 1945. The Randolph, Minnesota wreck was on Christmas Day 1946. The wreck occurred at 440 AM when the three unit demonstrator running A-B-A struck a Chicago Great Western southbound 2-10-4 head-on. The lead unit 291A2 suffered a broken underframe behind the cab. Three men riding in the lead diesel were injured and evacuated for medical treatment. The trailing B unit remained upright. The trailing A unit derailed and ended up on its side. Some 20 freight cars derailed.

Ed in Kentucky
  by SSW921
 
EMD BLOCKAGE
Just as every EMD unit has an order number and a serial number, each diesel engine block installed in a unit has a number. These block numbers are recorded in the EMD Product Data, presumably for maintenance purposes.
EMD began manufacturing 16-567B blocks in 1945. The F2 demonstrators were completed in May of that year and released for test on July 31, 1945. There would have been a 16-567B installed in each of the four #291 demonstrators, plus another block or two for test purposes. Continued 16-567B production may have occurred later in 1945 up to the point where a strike shut down EMD in November. There is a bit of information that backs this up.
At the very end of FT production there were orders for 12 Great Northern and 12 Rock Island units. No other F units, that we know of, were produced until July 1946.
Now about those pesky block numbers. When EMD started F2 production, presumably in July 1946, there were nine maybe ten block numbers that point to a 1945 manufacture date. Three are within the number range of the Rock Island 16-567A blocks installed in FTs and six are just after. One block of a July 1946 produced F2A is not known at this time because a mid-1948 production 16-567B was installed at a later date. There were 43 F2As built with a July 1946 production date. In numerical sequence from oldest 16-567B block installed in nine F2As is: Rock Island 39, Rock Island 49, Burlington 152A, New York Central 1604, Alabama Great Southern (Southern) 6700, Burlington 150A, Atlantic & East Coast 401, Rock Island 38, and Rock Island 46. The July 1946 F2A with the unknown block installed is Atlantic & East Coast 400 which shows a block built in the Summer of 1948, which would obviously be a transplant. The remaining F2A production for July 1946 have 16-567Bs that fall within numbers that mirror other 1946 engine production. You can draw your own conclusions if these block numbers mean anything.

Ed in Kentucky
  by SSW921
 
This was written about the F3 in the late 1940s by a fellow Kentuckian.

THE AGE OF THE F-3
“Motive Power historians may well look back at our times, terming them “The Age of the F-3.” The pacemaking performance of Electro-Motive’s fabulous 1500-horsepower road diesel unit last year only accented the unparalleled sales success that the F-3 has been enjoying ever since its birth in October of 1946. Since then EMD has mass-produced it to a staggering 2.3 million horsepower represented by over 1500 cab and booster units, now hauling freight and holding down passenger schedules in three countries: the United States, Canada and Mexico. In all of locomotive history there is not even a close runner-up to that batting average; no other basic unit of motive power has gone so far and done so much in so short a time. Last year the F-3 introduced road after road to dieselized freight service, including potato carrying Bangor & Aroostook and orange hauling Florida East Coast; this year it will carry the banner to such new customer as the Clinchfield Atlanta & West Point, Texas & Pacific and Georgia.”

Ed in Kentucky
  by Allen Hazen
 
SSW921---
Let me guess. The prose style is distinctive!
(To give others the pleasure of working it out, I won't name the fellow Kentuckian in question yet. That he was a Kentuckian I knew: in another place he reminisced about watching the L&N's first two diesel switchers (an SW-1 and a High Hood Also) in Louisville.)
  by SSW921
 
The young writer of this paragraph was born in Georgia, but moved to Louisville, Kentucky while he was young. He grew up in Louisville and joined the Army while World War 2 was winding down. Returning to the States he moved to Texas where he was writing for a local newspaper when Al Kalmbach offered him a job at Trains Magazine as an associate editor. David P. Morgan began working for Trains in June 1948 when he was 21 years old. The Age of the F-3 was a sidebar to his April 1949 article "The Shift from Steam". According to Morgan the F-3 was born in October 1946. Morgan was later known for a friendly working relationship with EMD. It could be said that some of his work was outright promotion of the EMD product line.

Ed in Kentucky
  by SSW921
 
After the UAW strike hit EMD on Wednesday November 21, 1945 there were still some employees working. Management and administration were working. The Sales Department was still pushing the product. There's mention of 1500 horsepower diesel orders in Trains January 1946. The Engineering department was still working. Testing of the 291 demonstrator was ongoing during the strike. The last EMD shipping date for 1945 is shown as Friday November 30th. So some folks did that work. Was the parts department open? What's especially interesting on this is that both Sales and Engineering were still working during the strike.

Ed in Kentucky
  by Allen Hazen
 
At a guess, Sales and Engineering were not unionized, or not by the same union. I think UAW organized most GM hourly workers, but Sales people and at least the professionals in Engineering would have been in different categories: closer to being management. ... I think it is common for management and professional staff to stay on the job during strikes, and often to do some things that would normally be done by the hourly workers. Perhaps somebody in Engineering told his staff "Right, you can figure out how to get them moving-- there's a bunch of ready to deliver units in the erecting shop (paint shop, wherever), so you guys can just leave the drafting boards for a few hours and get them moved out to the siding where the A,B&C(*) can pick them up": which would be how EMD managed a November 30 delivery despite going on strike on November 21.
(*) I did once know, but can't right now remember: what railroad served the La Grange plant?
  by Allen Hazen
 
(In answer to my -- tangential to the topic -- question at the end of my previous post: Indiana Harbor Belt, I think. So when an EMD unit left the La Grange (McCook, actually, for most of the property, and as the "station" name on an IHB map I found) factory, its first miles on the "public" railroad network was on the IHB. And I think it would have been illegal -- a "secondary boycott" -- for the IHB train crew to refuse to pick it up, even if it had been moved from the paint booth (or wherever) to the property line by non-union labor.)
  by bogieman
 
Allen Hazen wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:16 am At a guess, Sales and Engineering were not unionized, or not by the same union. I think UAW organized most GM hourly workers, but Sales people and at least the professionals in Engineering would have been in different categories: closer to being management. ... I think it is common for management and professional staff to stay on the job during strikes, and often to do some things that would normally be done by the hourly workers. Perhaps somebody in Engineering told his staff "Right, you can figure out how to get them moving-- there's a bunch of ready to deliver units in the erecting shop (paint shop, wherever), so you guys can just leave the drafting boards for a few hours and get them moved out to the siding where the A,B&C(*) can pick them up": which would be how EMD managed a November 30 delivery despite going on strike on November 21.
(*) I did once know, but can't right now remember: what railroad served the La Grange plant?
All EMD salaried employes were never unionized. I was a co-op engineering student during the strike in 1970, and even though an hourly rate employe, I was not a union member and I continued to work and cross the picket line as I was instructed to do. I'd be surprised if any locomotives were actually shipped out of EMD during a strike, but salaried engineers ran the engine test cells and did other work we normally would not be able to do with hourly union members present. Most engineers actually enjoyed turning a wrench, so to speak.

I sort of remember that some smaller replacement parts did leave the factory in the trunk of management cars - about 40 or so upper management people had GM company cars and parked inside the gate every day. In 1970, the GM car trunks were pretty large.

Dave
  by Allen Hazen
 
Bodieman--
Thanks! I know nothing about the details of GM unionization, and was just guessing on general principles. If, in fact, salaried employees would not have moved a unit out to the IHB interchange, I suppose the November 30 delivery that SSW921 mentions might be a paperwork error: maybe the physical delivery was on the 21st and somebody didn't sign for it until the 30th, or something like that.
Re: "but salaried engineers ran the engine test cells and did other work we normally would not be able to do with hourly union members present. Most engineers actually enjoyed turning a wrench, so to speak." --- Sounds in keeping with what I've heard of strikes elsewhere (non-GM)!

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