This Month In Dieseldom

. . . June

Somebody's Large Digital Image Here
New: 2 June 2017 Data from: R. Craig
  Photograph by: Marty Bernard
American Locomotive Company The all-Alco Interstate Railroad was primarily a coal-hauling shortline which operated in southwestern Virginia; it interchanged with the Clinchfield and Louisville & Nashville. In June 1961, the Southern Railway took ownership. Changes were made gradually, but they were significant in nature. IR's major yard at Andover was closed, and the Alco RS-3s swapped their orange, cream and grey colors for the "Tuxedo" black and grey of SR. By the early 1970s, the Alcos had been re-assigned; their replacements were EMD-built GP38s.

** Union Pacific was among the first purchasers of Alco's new 1500-hp freight cab units. The final UPRR count included 44 FA-1 cabs and 34 FB-1 boosters. The first of the Alcos arrived in June 1947. Initially operated in classic A-B-B-A fashion, a 6000-hp combo had a price tag of $510,000. Performance challenged, the four-axle FA/FBs often drew the ire of UP crews, train masters and mechanics, due to excessive on-the-road breakdowns.

** Green Bay & Western's fleet of red and silver with black-trim Alcos was one was of the most photogenic in the U.S. Mid-west. For more than a decade, road assignments were the domain of five FA-1s (#501-503, 506 & 507) that arrived in the latter part of the 1940s. However, as GB&W traffic increased during the next decade so did the demand for heavier trains and faster schedules. Consequently, the 1500/1600-hp FAs became trade-in candidates on new 2400-hp roadswitchers, from Alco. In June 1963, the last of the Alco-built freight cabs, #507, was stricken from the roster and sent to the scrapper.

** The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe's Alco-built RSD15 fleet were long-time railfan favorite. They were the first Alco roadswitchers to come direct from the Schenectay, NY plant with a low-nose. ATSF's black with silver safety stripe livery (appearing only on the first order #800-823) accentuated the Alco's brute horsepower styling. The long-nose "alligators" shined the rails between Southern Calfornia and Kansas until the early 1970s, when retirements and sell-offs began decimating their ranks. In June 1974, ATSF's Cleburne shops began rebuilding three of the six-axle Alcos, into CRSD20s. The new lease-on-life included an EMD 16-cylindar 645 engine, a 3900-3902 road road number, and anassignments as hump / yard power in and around Kansas City. Retirement for the CRSD20s came at the end of 1984.

Baldwin Locomotive Works ** Baldwin's early diesel locomotive catalog referred to the 80-foot-long passenger locomotives as DR66-2000s. To the railfan community, they were more affectionately known as "passenger sharks." Pennsylvania Railroad was the exclusive buyer of the six-axle locos that bore the distinctive styling of famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy. The first of PRR's 27 passenger sharks (18 "A" units and 9 "B" units) were delivered in June of 1947. The cab units carried road numbers 5770A-5786A, while their cabless mates were 5770B-5786B (even numbers only).

** According to the railroad press of the time, it had "the largest horsepower capacity of any internal combustion locomotive yet built in the country." The reference was to Baldwin's first diesel-electric locomotve, #58501, built in June 1925. Weighing in at a 275,000 pounds, it was a ponderous machine driven by a 12-cylinder Knudsen engine (1000-hp rating), with two six-axle (A-1-A) trucks. The locomotive road tested on the Reading for a few months prior to being permanently assigned as the plant switcher at Baldwin's Eddystone manufacturing complex. It was scrapped in 1941.

** During the steam era (the years prior to 1947), Russia had been a fertile market for BLW, the world's second largest manufacturer of steam-powered locomotives. In fact, the earliest recorded sale took place in 1872, when six 2-6-Os and four 4-4-0s left BLW's Eddystone, PA plant for Soviet Union soil. Decades later when World War II left Russiasn railroads a shambles, the U.S. government committed to helping its ally rebuild. A part of that commitment took the form of thirty 1000-horsepower, stream-lined diesel locomotives riding on C-C trucks. Each 5-foot gauge, model 0-6-6-0 1000/1 DE locomotive tipped the scale at 140 tons. By the time the Eddystone facility was shuttered in 1956, BLW's export sales of diesel locomotive production was averaging 12.5 percent annually.

Electro-Motive Division ** General Motors Diesel Division began delivering 72 SW1200s to the Canadian Pacific, late in the 1950s. These locos were not your run-of-the-mill yard switchers. On the contrary, they were built with large capacity fuel tanks, large road-type numbers, and flexicoil trucks. These locomotives were designed for multi-purpose service: yard, branch and some mainline duty. (In some CPR circles, the term BLU - Branch Line Unit - was used.) The first of these "8100's" arrived in June of 1958; unofficially the GMDDs were called SW1200RSs.

** Most EMD /EMC fans can probably name the builder's first production F-unit (answer: ATSF FT #100), as well as the first roadswitcher (answer: C&NW GP7 #1517), and of course the first six-axle roadswitcher (answer: SP SD7 #5308). And let's not forget, the first streamliner (answer: CB&Q #9900 Zephyr). But what about EMC's first self-propelled, gasoline-powered motor car? Sometimes referred to as a "Doodlebug" or "Puddlejumper," they were the heart of the early corporation's business, during the period 1924 to 1932, which saw EMC build 400 motorcars. Chicago Great Western #M-300 was the first to be delivered in June 1924. The 35-ton machine was driven by a two-cycle, 175-hp Winton engine and had a length of 57 feet. It was stricken from CGW's roster in 1930 after being burned.

** EMD'S Train of Tomorrow began a 28-month tour of the United States and Canada in June 1947. Powered by EMD E7A #765, the four-car train was a rolling showcase for the latest in modern railroad technology, including the earliest of passenger dome cars. The E-unit wore a classy blue and stainless steel-trimmed attire until its sale in 1950. The entire train-set was purchased by the Union Pacific, with the E7A being renumbered to 988.

** With 922-route miles in the Pacific Northwest, the Spokane Portland & Seatle was far from being an EMD motive power stronghold. On the contrary, only 14% of the railroad's 144-unit diesel locomotives carried an oval builder plate, which characterized a LaGrange heritage. June 1956 saw the arrival of six GP9s from the EMD plant, with them came the final dieselization of the SP&S. The GM-designed roadswitchers wore numbers 150-155; four of them (150-153) were equipped with steam generators for dual-service capability.

Fairbanks-Morse & Company ** Although Fairbanks-Morse was "late" entering the diesel-electric locomotive market, the Beloit-builder nonetheless worked to identify and capitalize on new opportunities. One such move came in June of 1947, with the construction of two 2000-horsepower demonstrators; they were FM's first roadswitchers. (The EMD and Lima locomotive catalogs of the day lacked comparable models.) The four-axle newcomers carried serial numbers L1031 and L1032, and they were numbered "2000" and "FM 2000." The FM 2000 was displayed at the 1948 Railway Conference in Atlanta, GA. Both locos were sold to Union Pacific, as DS 1365 and DS 1366. The 1366 was later sold to Southwest Portland Cement, where it became #408. It was eventually donated to the Illinois Railway Museum. The 1365 fell to the scrappers torch.

** Between 1939 and 1969, Canadian Locomotive Company built more than 3000 locomotives, most of them under contract to U.S.-based manufacturers: Baldwin, Fairbanks-Morse, and General Electric. The licensing aggrement between CLC and Fairbanks was inked in 1950, with the first FM-designed units departing CLC's Kingston, Ontario plant the following year. FM-model production ran until 1957, with a total of 204 four-axle and six-axle units built for either the Canadian National or Canadian Paciic. Interestingly, the first two FM units built and the last two FM units retired were CLC CFA16-4 demonstrators #7005 and 7006. Sold to the CP as #4064 and 4065, the two streamlined cab units worked the mainlines in western Canada for a quarter century. Retirement came on June 20, 1975.

** The demand for five-axle, high-horsepower passenger locomotives was quite limited. Interestingly, it was entirely an eastern U.S. railroad phenomena, which saw a total of 30 cab units built during the early 1950s. New York's Long Island Railroad was the single largest buyer with eight CPA 20-5s and four CPA 24-5s. The 2000-hp cab locomotives began arriving in June 1950, and the 2400-hp cab units followed 15 months later. The other two owners were New Haven RR with ten CPA 24-5s and New York Central with eight CPA 24-5s.

General Electric Company ** General Electric-built freight motors ruled the Milwaukee Road's two electrified lines for nearly six decades. The operations stretched from Tacoma to Othello, Washington (218 miles) and Avery, Idaho to Harlowtown, Montana (441 miles). The very scenic route had a roller coaster profile that was molded by five different mountain ranges. A roster of unique electric freight and passenger motors added character to the routes' natural beauty. A fleet of 84 2-B+B box cabs had been the backbone of operations since 1915; they were supplemented by five Bi-Polars during the 1940s and 12 "Little Joes" in 1950. There is a little irony in that Milwaukee pulled the plug on the electric lines in June 1974 at the heighth of the Oil Crisis.

** During the decade of the 1970s, the railroad industry helped mark the country's 200th anniversary in high faashion. In June 1971, Seaboard Coast Line and GE's Erie works signaled an early and unofficial start to the U.S. Bicentennial celebration, with introduction of SCL U36B #1776. The four-axle locomotive rolled out of the Lake Erie plant adorned in a sharp red/white/blue livery with a large U.S.A. seal on the flanks of the long hood, a small U.S. seal on the nose, and the image of a waving U.S Flag positioned below the cab window. The ten-year national remembrance saw scores of class 1, regional and shortline operators decorate more locomotives in a patriotic theme. By the time the decade-long celebration ended more than 300 locomotives wore r/w/b schemes; they ranged in size from small 25-ton industrial switchers to 3600-horsepower roadswitchers.

Ingalls Ship Building Company At the close of World War II, it was estimated that North American railways were operating more than 35,000 mostly out-moded and worn-out steam locomotives. The diesel locomotive marketplace was ripe for new businesses - or so it appeared to some newcomers. One such company was Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. A highly respected builder of U.S. Navy warships, Ingalls tested the market in June 1946 with the introduction of a 1500-hp diesel locomotive. Powered by an in-line, eight-cyclinder Superior powerplant, the locomotive tested briefly on several mainline Class 1 railroads, including: Gulf Mobile & Ohio, Louisville & Nashville, and Seaborad Air Line, along with industrial railroad operator, Tennessee Coal & Iron. Purchased by the GM&O in 1946, the model 4-S locomotive featured a unique turret-type cab that provided excellent visibility, either coming or going. The only locomotive ever built by Ingalls, it was retired in 1967 and shipped to EMD as a trade-in for a new four-axle replacement.
Krauss-Maffei Corporation For western U.S. railroads in the early 1960s, horsepower was the name of the game. The Southern Pacific, for example, constantly used large blocks of horsepower (eight to ten locomotives) to haul heavy trains and conquer places such as Donner Pass, Tehachapi and the Cascades. The SP opted to meet the challenge head-on by purchasing three German-built diesel hydraulic ML-4000 locomotives. Built by Krauss-Maffei, the trio featured a pair of three-axle trucks, a Voith hydraulic transmission, and a prime mover that produced 3540 horsepower. It was unit replacement on a large -- scale three of the KMs in place of seven or eight of SP's standard F-units or geeps. The first of SP's ML4000s were built in June 1961. The San Francisco-based railroad eventually owned 21 of the diesel hydraulics (including three owned initially by the Denver & Rio Grande Western). The "German experiment" lasted six years, with all but one of the locos retired in 1967 and scrapped. The lone survivor was #9113, which had been converted into a camera car. The locomotive is currently undergoing restoration as SP 9113.
Montreal Locomotive Works Suddenly, it is 1973. Alco has produced its last diesel-electric locomoitve nearly four years prior, but one-time subsidiary MLW is still going strong. In June, the Canada-based builder unveils a new model - the M420W. The first five of a 30-unit order goes to Canadian National as 2500-2504. The four-axle model rides atop ZWT (Zero Weight Transfer) trucks, uses a 12-cylinder 251C prime mover, and features a reinforced comfort cab for crew safety. Total production of the medium horsepower locomotive hits 92 units, with all of them going to Canadian railroads. An additional five units - M420Rs - are built for the Providence & Worcester, but they lack the ZWT trucks.
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