• Why do you like Baldwins?

  • Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.
Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.

Moderator: lumpy72

  by Mimbrogno
Will, I appreciate the research you have done and the technical knowledge you posses, but I have to disagree with you on the overloading ability of the Baldwin diesels. I completely agree with you that 1625hp is the maximum the diesel engine will ever produce under any operating circumstance, but that doesn't mean that the electrical system can't make a little magic, as it were. There is a little trick that the system pulls. I still don't fully understand it, but I have studied it enough to feel confident that it is what's going on. The diesel engine and the motor's horsepower ratings are in synch at the continuous TE, which is the point where the power into the motors equals the power used by the motors. Above that, and the power put out lowers as compared to the power put in, and below that speed, the power put out increases above the power put in. It's a trick of relative power per instant and time compression. The way the generator is set up is ingenius. It performs as a DC generator, autowinding transformer, and inductor all at the same time. It doesn't just pass the energy from the engine directly through to the motors, it manipulates it a little by shunting the current and forcing up the amperage. The voltage range of the system stays between 595 and ~800 volts. Because of a special link between the generator and exciter, which makes the generator also act as an autowinding transformer, it shunts the excess voltage which would otherwise be produced into additional amperage. For instance, EMD's and Alcos of the time produced up to ~1500 volts DC. Now this high voltage is usefull at high speeds, but it is all but useless at ultra low speeds below CTE. Infact the extra voltage is wasted in extending the magnetic field beyond the induction zone where it does the effective work. The Westinghouse equipment turns that excess voltage into usefull energy, as ultra high amps. Unlike volts, which create the volume of the magnetic fields and how quickly they are established, amps determin the weight or density of the field, and literally how much shear force per area there is.

Now, if you were to measure the electrical output at the motors when the engine is at that power rating (which I think is around 2mph), you would get a measurement of 2650 amps with ~600 to ~650 volts. That translates to around 1.6 megawatts of electricity. Translating Watts into comparable horsepower by the formula of 1/745, you get about 2200hp. This is inspite of the fact that if you were able to get an accurate HP measurement off of the crankshaft at this same rating, you would get the same 1625hp as always. I think it is also somewhat safe to assume that it remains at or below that much because of the load regulator you mentioned earlier.

The effect is relative compression. The engine is a set power supply, which will deliver 1625hp at 9.9mph, but the train isn't going at 9.9mph, it is going at 2mph, and the other 7.9mph worth of power is being shunted onto the motors. I know, it's screwy!!!

The Westinghouse motors and the GE 752s are not as similar as they appear to be. Although they both operate with the same voltage and amperage ranges, and they have virtually identical continuous ratings. The difference is in the mechanical side of the motor. Remember that motors have more than one set of ratings, there are ratings for torque and RPM in addition to voltage, amperage and heat. The power curve of the Westinghouse gear is much sharper and level off much earlier than the curve for the GE gear, with many times more torque at low speeds than the GE, but also with many times less torque at high speeds, and a higher generative effect. The result is that they have different speed ranges. Westinghouse motors are ultra heavy duty low speed motors, GEs are mid-high speed, middle to light weight motors by comparison. (although yes I know they aren't that light in the torque department) This is pointed out by the different gear ratios that GE had to use to equal Westinghouse and vice versa.

You also pointed out that the ratings of the early 600s had to be severaly limited, and that the engine was an inferior one. This I do not dispute, infact I whole heartedly agree with you. The 600's of 1946-1949 were TERRIBLE!! In their defense I will point out that they were relativly new at the time and BLW was still getting many bugts out of them, along with bugs they still carried from the VO. The late 1949-1950 600s on the other hand, are a whole different story. These are the engines that I love so much. I don't have much affection for the VO or the early 600, but the late 600 is the best engine built in those years, in my opinion anyway. I might add that unlike their premature forebearers, the later 600s had an average life of 20-30 years, with a few going on 57-58 with one or two rebuilds. There's one in particular that went for 29 years of continuous hard service, then 25 years of intermitant service with minimal maintance, and still runs today!

Then there is a whole ne set of design improvements I have for the 600, that would make it into a different engine, with capabilities undreamed of by even the most imaginative engineers today. I just need somebody to listen to and believe me, or my own engine shop to build one!

Baldwin engines may have been all but forgotten long ago, but they still offer incredible potential. Baldwins are better, and I'll prove it!!!

Matthew Imbrogno
-Mechanical Volenteer, Arizona Railway Museum.

  by Typewriters
Matthew, I think I might understand what you're TRYING to explain here, but believe me when I tell you that there's absolutely NO way to get 2200 HP at any point, measured in any way, in the power transmission system of a Baldwin or Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton with the 608SC or 608A engine.

Power is a measurement of work done over time, and at any point in a system from combustion of fuel onwards it decreases. Nothing is one hundred percent efficient, and it's completely impossible to develop a higher power somewhere downstream of the prime mover in the system.

I must note here that the 1625 BHP variant you / we keep mentioning here is (was) a short-lived progression in the uprating of the Baldwins, and was NOT common. Look at my site for dates; these units were equipped with engines uprated from 1500 BHP to 1625 BHP, but retained their published rating of 1500 HP in order to match competitive locomotives already using a "HP for traction" rating system. Soon after, BLW / B-L-H would uprate their road units to 1600 HP for traction with the 1750 BHP 608A engine.

Now, if you're just looking at amperage ratings, and trying to establish a kilowatt rating for extremely low speeds you should remember that the windings of the exciter use traction (or load) current to reduce excitation and that this will lower system voltage far below that which you'll find at continuous speed. That's the "bucking" or opposing field feature you'll find described in any thorough representation of the Westinghouse excitation equipment.

You make some (rather odd) analogies about electricity in general. Although electricity is electricity and should not normally be compared with or confused with anything else, perhaps the best working relationship is that with water. One can compare voltage to pressure, and amperage to flow rate in gallons per minute. Resistance can be compared with pressure head, or backpressure. However, with a fixed systemic resistance it's impossible to increase amperage without increasing voltage. This is why I don't understand what it is that you're trying to say about field saturation in the Westinghouse generators. While in some cases it might be true that a particular generator's efficiency is either higher or lower than others due to size, or design of windings, etc that's the case with any piece of rotating electrical equipment -- and in ANY case, the load regulator operated / actuated by the governor will not allow higher power output, steady-state, than the engine is rated. Overloading is possible for a few seconds, and in fact is necessary to unbalance the pilot valve and thus move the load regulator rheostat but this action again takes only seconds. The percent of overload is not very high, and is not dangerous or even noteworthy.

Now as to your comment about "relative compression" -- well, that just isn't right at all. The diesel engine will produce a given maximum horsepower at each speed setting; the design of the exciter and generator are centered around the concept of providing a constant kilowatt output at a given armature (crankshaft) speed so as to provide a constant resistance or braking force against the engine. It is this design that allows the system to be controllable, and this applies to every diesel-electric locomotive ever built anywhere. Constant kilowatt rating for a given engine speed implies naturally that as current decreases, voltage increases -- and this is accomplished in the Westinghouse equipment in large part by the action of the opposing field in the exciter being fed with traction current. At very high current (or what WOULD be) values the amount of opposition in the exciter is high, holding voltage low so that the kilowatt output remains in the range of the engine's ability. As speed comes up, the amount of current in the opposing field drops, and thus excitation voltage (and current) increase. This allows main generator voltage to increase. Naturally, if the throttle is advanced further, system voltage (and by that I mean traction system, or actual load current system) will increase further and the kilowatt output will match that for the new crankshaft speed. These relationships hold true whether you're at continous speed, below it or above it. You will not in any case produce a power measurement, at any point in the system (or an aggragate of separate traction motor ratings) no matter whether you describe it in terms of horsepower, kilowatts, ergs or BTU/HR that exceeds the brake horsepower rating of the engine -- and will not exceed the HP for traction rating except for a very, very brief time so short as not to be either useful or measurable.

I'm not sure, again, what you're trying to say about the traction motors, GE vs. Westinghouse but in point of fact the Westinghouse system was limited in its upper speed range capability by not employing transition, but only field shunting, in order to get higher voltage across each motor. The apparent differences in performance at higher speeds have nothing to do with the motors; they have to do with the lack of transition control on Westinghouse - equipped Baldwins. Baldwin actually began manufacturing later six-axle, six-motor locomotives with a feature that completely shunted out the center motor on each truck above 37 MPH in order to try to get better performance from these units at higher speeds (that's in Kirkand's book.)

There is a great deal of beauty in simplicity of design, but in point of fact there's really no magic in these units. You can't get something for nothing, and while they are in some respects different from other diesel-electric locomotives they are not, wholly, superior in any one, or multiple ways. Had they been, certainly someone would have recognized that and perpetuated all, or some of the designs -- and the only Westinghouse design to outlive Westinghouse's own involvement in the design and production of heavy railroad traction equipment was in fact the straight-electric Ignitron mercury-tank rectifier, which was purchased by GE following Westinghouse's exit but which was soon made obsolete by GE's developments in silicon rectifiers.

-Will Davis

  by Mimbrogno

First off, I'd like to retract the statements I had said earlier, and secondly I'd like to thank you for pointing out the mistakes in the reasoning which I had been laboring under. I'd like to explain a little that I've never had any "formal" technical education, but rather have learned virtually everything on my own with little being offered to me. Hence, I tend to make mistakes. I had discounted the bucking properties of the exciter/generator link, which kept the voltage lower than normal at starting speeds. I'm still young yet and I have a lot to learn, but it's really hard to find somebody who wants to teach me these things, at least out hear in Phoenix.

Still, there have been some strange things done with westinghouse electrical equipment. In BLW #6000's testing period, they had inadvertantly overloaded one of the engines so much that it almost melted the exhaust manifold, all because the generator connections were reversed.

BLW #6000 by the way, had in part spurred the development of the 370 motors. It required 8 motors to provide 6000hp, but it had trucks which could not accomidate the large high power electric locomotive motors currently available. As #6000 was designed for a top speed of 120 mph, I find it somewhat hard to believe that some sort of transition was not planned for in the 370 motor design. Although I may not be an expert on motors, I do think that it would have been possible to realign the motors from 6 polarities to 2 for higher speed service. This would be done by re-alining the 12 field coils into two opposite groups with 6 coils in each. The production motor's wiring would have to be changed to allow for both settups, with bridge relays to set the different polarities between the coils. The armature itself could remain the same, but the polarities of the brush leads would also have to be changed in unison with the field coils. All in all, it would be the same operation as in four pole motors, just with two groups of 3 instead of two groups of 2.

One other thing I want to mention is that the 1625hp 608sc is the engine I am familiar with, and as far as I know, it's the only one currently in existance. I know it was produced only a very short time, basically from the end of 1949 to Sept. 1950. The locomotive I help to maintane at the Arizona Railway Museum, is former McCloud River #29/Magma Arizona #10; DRS 6-6-1500/1 SC83, c/n74812 - July 14 1950. The only other engine in it's class is SP#5207, which was a 1948 model with the earlier 608sc model. All the other roadswitchers that I know of are either 608A engines or early 608sc's. I think that the 1950 608sc's are built to the same specifications as the 608A's of 1950-53, with the exception of being fitted with the BF-44 turbo and not having the higher idle rpm (which I suspect is required by the H704 to maintain boost pressure, or to keep it cooled enough). This is also my favorite version of the BLW 600, and possibly even the best one the built in terms of quality, even though it has 125hp less than the A model.

I've had thoughts about what could hve been done to possibly improve the 600. That is, to increase it's durability and it's power output. I doubt that any of my ideas are economically feasible, but they sure would make for one hell of an engine. One of the main things I focus on is increasing the engine's compression and firing pressure, and boosting it's torque output while maintaining the current maximum RPM. an example of just one of the designs would be as follows: If the cooling system could keep up, I would raise the firing pressures up to 1500psi or more, with possibly 750-1000psi compression. This might also acompany a slight increase in cylinder size. To endure and transmit the now enormous stroking forces, a totally new crankshaft, built with fully circular eccentric cranks, with the main supporting bearings moved to their rims, a much larger crank pin, and larger shaft diameters in general. The cylinder head would be redesigned with a supportive retaining web brace added to the normal cylinder head bolts. The valves and piston crown would recieve a cap of ultra high temperature resistant material, possibly being of an advanced reinforced ceramic, to insulate the main combustion area from the rest of the metal parts as much as possible. The main issue in this design is the heat. The parts would be so strong that they would not have any trouble handling the strains and pressures this engine would generate, even at the heat levels it will produce. The issue is the temperature, and what it will do to the piston rings, cylinder head valves, gaskets, manifolds and turbocharger. Another thing is a much larger turbocharger will be required to supply the huge volume of air needed by such high pressures and fuel loads. I have another design which solves the temperature problem, reduces fuel consumption and emissions, and multiplies the power output. It incorporates something that actually reaches back to Baldwin's roots, but has been overlooked in the technology race. But I ain't gonna share that one until I get it developed.

Hey Will, do you have a manual specific to the 1950, 1625hp version of the 608sc or for the 1950 DRS 6-6-1500? If so, would you make a scan of it and email it to me? I have a copy of the September manual for the 608A and an AS-616 operating manual, and another volenteer has a manual for a 1948 608sc, but I'd really like to have the right manual for that locomotive. Thanks!

Need some power? Get a Baldwin!!!
-Matthew Imbrogno

  by Typewriters
Hello again Matthew- let me first say thank YOU for understanding that I am not trying to flame you, or anything and that I'm GLAD we're NOT having an esoteric discussion!

As far as I know, the Essl pattern designs that eventually led to the (partially completed) BLW 6000 initially included double-motor designs like that of the GG1 in construction (two rotating armatures mounted in one casing) but the big six-pole 370 got around that with one armature. However, you'll note that in this design one engine/generator group powered each axle so that you DID have full generator voltage available across each motor. What that actual max voltage was, I have no idea for that design. In the supposed freight configuration each motor would have powered a pair of axles, and one might suppose they'd have been in parallel. Kirkland might say, but I don't have the book handy at the moment (but I'll look.)

Yes, there are differences between the three major variations of 600 engine as supplied from the factory, and we have the manuals to prove it. If you look at my site, you'll see that all three have differing characteristics and if you dig in the manuals you'll see different parts. I don't know for sure about the idle speeds but I do note that the various different designs have quite different timing - both fuel injection, and intake and exhaust valve - and the variances in idle speeds probably correlate to idle qualities.

Of course, we do know that BLW / BLH itself supplied backfit and upgrade parts of all kinds to VO / 600 owners... TRAINS years back had an article wherein former BLW man Fred Cave said that when the NdeM Centipedes were rebuilt they got Hesselman pistons (the originals were flat-topped) and were then good for 1600 HP per engine. There's no telling just what is installed in what's left out there - I'm sure it's a case by case basis. All the manuals tell us is what was coming out of the factory at a given "snapshot" time, and what some of the changes were.

As far as what was coming out of the factory, September 1950 appears to be a roughly clean break as to the introduction of the 608A, and it looks like the engine was introduced at the new, higher 1750 BHP / 1600 HP for traction rating.

You have some interesting ideas about updating the 600, and not to shoot you down here.. consider this. Everyone else did two things; first, they made sure that the crankshaft bearings were supported by / mounted in the same structure that supported / contained the cylinder assemblies (not so on the VO / 600) and, second, they went with a larger number of smaller cylinders running faster. Look into getting some actual textbooks, like on Amazon used books (or, heck, even new) or else on alibris or on bibliofind that cover engine design and technology. You'll find out why that's much better than trying to stick with a small number of large cylinders for engines that must fit in locomotives. NOTE: Compare the all-up engine and generator weight of the 608A at 1600 HP for traction, and the FDL-16F at 3600 HP for traction. You'll find them roughly similar, and you'll be on the right track!! ALSO NOTE: Cockerill did in fact try briefly to "hot rod" the 600 but instead went with cylinder dimensions more nearly that of the Hamilton T69/T89 engines for later higher-power applications, and did it in Vee configuration for the larger examples.

Now, I think I have a hint (maybe from another forum...?) of what your other secret idea is. I might be wrong. However, if it includes putting a combustion chamber in the cylinder head like the VO, don't do it! That is a very antiquated design. That kind of thing, in general, was done back when injector technology was really crude. The injectors could not produce a uniform, even, fully atomized mist. So, what you had to do was make sure that the intake charge swirled or was at least turbulent in the vicinity of the fuel injection, and that it all got pretty hot pretty fast. That made un-atomized globules of fuel break up better, and exposed the whole fuel charge to oxygen. (Actually, it was a "best available" solution.) Later on, when really fine injection became possible, everyone went to open combustion chamber design which means that the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder with no sub-volume of any kind used to contain the air/fuel charge first. This was a great improvement because the chamber-in-head design produced a LOT of heat that had to go into the cooling water and oil, and moreover you couldn't get the maximum cooling benefits of turbocharging the engines and running long valve overlaps. The design of the throat leading to the combustion chamber was critical as well, and wasn't always optimal for all engine speeds and loads. You just have to get it out of there in any modern low-speed or medium-speed engine. Really high-speed engines retained such features, or else what are called "turbulence chambers" or "pre-combustion chambers" but anything operating in the speed range of your redesigned BLW engine won't need that and shouldn't have it. But -- I might be guessing wrong here about what your idea is, so this all might be moot!

I do in fact have the proper engine manual (JUST got one; my stepson Matt has had one for about two years, and after a nearly ten year search I got one for myself) for the 1625 BHP variant. This is Baldwin Diesel Engine Manual DE-104. I also have two operating manuals for BLW / BLH road switchers; dated 12-1-48 and 1-1-52.

I'll send you a PM here on this site about what of this you can use.

-Will Davis

  by Petz
@typewriters, one engine builder uses also big cylinders similar to baldwin engines for locomotive purpose. The swiss Sulzer engines had no sucess in the USA cause the lack of accurate service there but in british locomotives and many ships they are running well and are reported as very economic engines with less fuel consumption.