Tuesday, June 30, 2015

IRM: Baldwin Center Cab DT-6-6-2000

Update: more pictures of Baldwin DT66-2000: Griffith and Joliet

IRM's Baldwin Center Cab was part of a switching class for volunteers when I visited June 27. This allowed me to get a decent profile shot of Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway #21.

20150627 2187c
Otherwise I would have only the picture taken while it was in Barn 9. The description of the switching class activity has several more pictures and a short video of this unit as it was moved from Barn 9 to the south lead of their steam engine service yard.

Since Baldwin was one of the major steam locomotive manufactures, in the 1940s they did not believe that diesels would be used for mainline freight. But they were willing to concede that diesels made sense for switching so they built a large switcher for transfer service. (Transfer service is hauling large cuts of cars between yards in an urban area at rather slow speeds.) #21 was built in 1948 and arrived at the museum in 1983. With the dimensions of 74'3"x9'6"x16'8" and a weight of 356000 pounds, it was bigger than most diesel locomotives. A quick scan of IRM's roster of 50 diesels has only two longer diesels --- a passenger, EMD E5 at 80', and UP's special EMD DDX at 98'5". None of the other diesels are taller. Most are 15' or less. It ran on Cw trucks with WH 730F traction motors. Most of the units manufactured were powered by two 606SC engines, each of which produced 1000 horsepower. It did successfully achieve its goal of high tractive effort --- 105,000 pounds starting and 62,250 pounds continuous. But the large hoods on both ends significantly reduced visibility. #21 is the only remaining unit of the 46 that were built. (IRM Roster, AmericanRails)

Baldwin learned the same lesson that Fairbanks-Morse did --- the railroad locomotive market is a harsh environment for diesel engines. The are a lot of vibrations in a locomotive. And switchers frequently spool up and then idle. Elgin, Joliet & Eastern was the largest customer with 26 units. Some were rebuilt by EJ&E with 1200hp Baldwin 606A engines and some by EMD with their proven 1200hp 567C engines. I would have thought that "SC" in the original engine's designation meant "supercharged." But Wikipedia indicates they were turbocharged. The letter "A" in the replacement engine designation probably means normally aspirated. So I assume that some of their reliability issues involved the turbocharger. (Wikipedia)

Monday, June 29, 2015

IRM: Switching Class and Fairbanks-Morse

Update: I learned from The Diesel Shop that Milwaukee Road 760 was Fairbanks-Morse first diesel locomotive.

20150627 2129
There was a lot of activity involving Milwaukee Road 760 at the Illinois Railway Museum. I learned later that they were teaching a class of volunteers how to do switching.

The first activity that I had spotted is below --- Milwaukee Road #760 pulling a crane out of the steam engine service facility.

After I visited Barn 7, I noticed #760 was running light back to the steam service area. I asked the trainman if it was a Fairbanks-Morse Diesel. It was. He said the IRM has three, but this is the only one that is operational. I suggested that one of the RMs be displayed with some of the covers opened so that we could see what an opposed-piston diesel looks like. As I had mentioned: "FM made an opposing piston design that did not work very well in locomotives, but did work very well in the submarines of WWII." The IRM roster indicates this FM H10-44 was built in 1944 and arrived at the museum in 1981. It had six cylinders and it ran on AAR-A trucks with WH 362D traction motors. Each cylinder would have two pistons. So it is comparable to a 12-cylinder V-8 engine and generated 1200 horsepower. (The other two FMs are SWPC (Southwest Portland Cement) #409 H20-44 built in 1947 and Santa Fe #543 H-12-44TS built in 1956. See the end of the posting for a picture of #543.) The building in the background of these pictures is Barn 9, the one I generally see because it contains the big equipment such as the Zephyr, GG1, Little Joe, UP DDX, and steam locomotives.

I took this picture to record that they have not started yet on the turntable and roundhouse that the master plan specifies for this location. I believe the crane had been coupled to the coach car. So normally one cannot see this lineup of steam engines.

Digitally zoomed and brightened since the locomotives were backlit

#760 was going back on the north lead to couple to the passenger coach and TP&W diesel that we saw above on the north lead. Note that they have moved the crane to the lead next to the southern most lead. The earlier picture of them pulling the crane out of the yard has a time stamp of 2:37:10. And the picture above with the time stamp of 2:45:22 was of #760 leaving the yard after it shoved the crane into place. So it took 8 minutes to place the crane. I took a video of them pulling the coach and TP&W engine to capture the sound of the opposed piston engine and "switching speed."
As they pull out the TP&W #400, we see that they still have a Chicago & Northwestern diesel on the north lead.
2:58:04, digitally zoomed
TP&W #400 is an Alco RS-11 built in 1958 and arrived in 1983. It rode on AAR-B trucks with GE 752 motors powered by a 12-251B engine that produces 1800 hoursepower. CNW 4160 is not in their printed roster that I bought for a dollar, but it is in the online roster.

I noticed every time the engineer goosed the throttle, the exhaust turned white for a couple of seconds. So I took a series of pictures trying to capture each acceleration. You have to look closely to tell the "smoke" from the clouds, but it is discernible. I assume the smoke is caused by turbo lag.

When I entered Barn 9, the CB&Q Burlington Zephyr was on the left and a huge center cab locomotive was on the right. The barn doors were open so I had some light. But you can see the width of the aisle is big enough to walk, but not to take decent pictures. After I walked down this aisle, then took quite a few pictures of the Maintenance of Way equipment they had on the other side of Barn 9, and then walked back along another aisle in Barn 9, I discovered that this center cab engine was one of the "homework" problems for the switching class.

As I explained in a video, the coupler did not lock until the fourth try.

I had overheard that they were going to do some more switching, including a cut of cabooses. I had already noticed a cut of cabooses near the back of their property. But my friend and I were done looking at Barn 9 and we were getting tired, so I did not stay for more switching activity.

IRM generally does a pretty good job of either painting their diesels or storing them in a barn. I took pictures of Santa Fe 543 because it is a rather noticeable exception to good preservation practices. When I checked the roster, I learned that this is another one of the museums three FMs. It is a Terminal Switch H-12-44TS built in 1956 and it arrived in 2009. The recent arrival is probably why it is currently parked outside in poor condition. The next time I visit the museum, I need to hunt for the third FM --- SWPC 409.

(Update: Karl Rethwisch posted two photos.

  • when it arrived at the IRM in Sept. 2009
  • 44 years earlier when it was working in the Santa Fe coach yard

In the 1970s photo, you can see the Willis/Sears Tower being constructed in the background.)

Fortunately, Joshua posted to a public group so I have replaced his photo of a new Wabash FM with a link.

Lou posted some FM switchers working in Chicago. From that posting I learned the three Santa Fe used were unique because they were "equipped with a boiler for train heat pulling the same train." John Dziobko Jr. caught 543 while it was still in decent shape.

William A. Shaffer posted
Norfolk & Western #3595 at Bellevue, OH. This Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66 "Train Master" was Wabash 595, built in 1956.
(Unknown Photographer - Collection of William A. Shaffer)William A. Shaffer It is my understanding that of all the F-M H-24-66's produced, only one was saved and that it is somewhere in Canada!
William A. Shaffer posted
Wabash H24-66 Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster #597 at Oakwood Yard
(Photographer Unknown - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
Richard Fiedler B902 a "booster" built for Mexico but bought by the power short Wabash follows.
Richard Fiedler B902 was a C424 and the issue I believe was that the controls were still in Spanish.
Larry LeCrone They were b units because they had no John.
Dave Hyer Correction, only six went to N&W. B902 was wrecked 12 days before the merger and was scrapped. The rest got toilets and English cab labels in 1965.
William A. Shaffer posted
Wabash H24-66 Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster #550
(Photographer Unknown - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
Wabash #550 was built by Fairbanks-Morse in 1954 and there is no indication that it was ever numbered into the N&W Roster. Wabash #550 was the TM-1 Demonstrator.

William A. Shaffer posted
Norfolk & Western H24-66 Trainmaster #3592 (ex-WAB #592)
(Photographer Unknown - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
William A. Shaffer posted
Wabash FM Trainmasters #550 & #551 at Decatur, IL (Spring, 1954)
(Photo by Al Chione - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
[Update: he has created an album, but so far this is the only picture in it.]

William A. Shaffer posted
Wabash FM Trainmaster #598 at Chicago, IL (June, 1965)
(Photo by Al Chione - Collection of William A. Shaffer)

William A. Shaffer posted
Penn Central FM H16-44 
(Photographer Unknown - Collection of William A. Shaffer)
Loren Hatch Actually, it was the H16-66 that was considered the "Baby Trainmaster." PRR concentrated its FMs in Chicago, as that was the closest on line point to FM's Beloit headquarters.
Richard Fiedler PRR concentrated it's FM's at 59th St roundhouse. I remembered seeing them belching black smoke pulling transfers to the BRC at Hayford. Thought it would go on forever.
Kevan Davis FM had a building over by Dearborn Station - Fairbanks, Morse and Company Building
900 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois

David Daruszka The building dates from when FM was a scale manufacturing company.
William A. Shaffer posted
Wabash H2466 #550
Randy Crismore They were great looking then and still are today.
Richard Fiedler 2400 HP. Ahead of its time.
[It was one of their Trainmaster demonstrators. Later Alco rebuilt it with an Alco 251 engine.]

A video of the FM 760 demonstrator describing 2-stroke opposed-piston engine and the fact they were used in submarines on their side. (But a comment disagrees about it being on its side.) It looks like the video was made at IRM.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

IRM: UP Gas Turbine Locomotive

20150627 2088
A friend and I celebrated some great weather on a weekend by visiting the Illinois Railway Museum on June 27. The museum is just too big to try to document it. But it does make sense to document what was unique to the visit. The locomotive featured along their trolley and bus route was a UP gas turbine engine that was made by GE in 1960. (It is very difficult to photograph most of their locomotives because they are in barns or down by their diesel shop.) It arrived at the museum 1993. According to the IRM roster, it rode on GSC trucks with GE 752E4 traction motors. The engine for the A unit is listed as Coop-Bess and for the B unit as Turbine.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Interlocking: 16th (Clark) Street (RI+NYC/IC+St. Charles Airline)

Update: CRJ, Bird's Eye View. This junction is called "Clark Street" by IC. I created another posting that has pictures from my visit to the tower. Also note that C&WI also had a 16th Street Interlocking.

20160416 2228rc
I discovered a site for Interlocking Towers this week. So I start with the first tower in the Illinois list --- 16th Street where the Rock Island and New York Central ran north/south and the St. Charles Air Line and IC (Chicago, Madison & Northern, CM&N)  ran eastish/westish. The 1901 tower still stands today, but the NYC tracks have been removed and the RI tracks are now owned by Metra. The IC is owned by CN, and the Air Line is owned by CN (50% because IC acquired Michigan Central's share) +UP (25%) +BNSF (25%).

An excerpt from another photo because I'm still trying to figure out what controls the exposure. Mark's photo below has better color. More pictures from my April 16, 2016 trip to downtown are in 16th Street Interlocking, My Pictures.

Mark Hinsdale -> Chicagoland Railfan
Update: Mark did not provide a comment. Fortunately, I could read "16th Street Tower" on the tower. And Metra now uses the Rock Island tracks.

A photo with a Rock Island engine shows that the two tracks closest to the tower were owned by the Rock Island, and a photo with a steam engine (note the clear stack) shows the adjacent New York Central tracks.

Google has several photos of the tower: 1, 2, and 3.

William Strassner posted
William Strassner comment
pic of tower and descr. Taylor sold tower buildings also !
Excerpt from above comment, at Facebook resolution
Excerpt from above comment at Facebook resolution

James Mardiguian comment on William's posting
Stopped by there 3/10
John David Larson posted
Near 16th Street Crossing as seen in the year 1999.

Mark Hinsdale posted
Mark's comment:
"Sixteenth Street"
An eastward, soon to be southward, CN unit coal train off the BNSF eases across the Metra Rock Island District at 16th St. The train has utilized the St. Charles Air Line from Halsted Street and will shortly turn south on CN's former Illinois Central main line along the Lakefront.
I'm copying all of the comments because they answer some of the questions I have as to how the Class I railroads interchange traffic in Chicago.

Ronald L. Jackson Are the BNSF Crews still taking these to Kensington?
Mark Hinsdale I think so, Ron. When they come through Western Ave, I haven't seen them pause for any crew changes at Halsted. They just wait for a signal and head up the Air Line.
Ronald L. Jackson I thought with the J they were gonna run them in at Eola and give them to the CN. But I guess if they're still using their crews to Kensington, that would be a big advantage to the CN.
Ronald L. Jackson Mark Hinsdale Did you ever ride a train from ...say Markham up to Western Avenue on the BNSF?
Mark Hinsdale Yes, and I think they have all they can say grace to on the J between Eola, Joliet and Matteson. Anything that has a reliable alternative path, such as these Consumers trains and also grain off the Iowa Division, often comes this way, past 16th St..
Mark Hinsdale Yes, I have ridden between Markham and Western Ave a couple of times. Also Markham to Glenn.
Ronald L. Jackson Back in late 1999, or early 2000, I moved to Battle Creek and worked the west end until I retired. I can remember the first time I went from Harvey to Western Avenue with an empty coal train. As we went under McCormick Place...I'm like....Are we gonna clear through here? And I remember about 100 feet or so from the north side of the place....That ceiling was so close....I ducked my head!!!
Mark Hinsdale Yessir! Gotta watch those height restrictions!

Stan Sienicki Ron, back when we started running 394 out of Glenn Yard on the IC, the yard job messed up and left a Bi-Level in a track we picked up, nobody caught it and neither did Corwith Tower or Metra 16th Tower Op, but after going under McCormick Place and exited the south end we went into emergency and couldn't get our air back, well after finding out the load of panel vans became convertibles the Trainmasters just had us cut away a couple cars ahead of it and move the EOT up and continue, left 17 cars on the main and no investigation, I guess they figured they knew they had messed up?
John Maxfield Lucky!
Mark Hinsdale posted
Rock Island E8 658 brings a rush hour train of "Al Capone" coaches through the interlocking at 16th Street on a hot July, 1977 afternoon. The train will serve all stops on the Suburban Branch and terminate at Blue Island Vermont Street. Photo by Mark Hinsdale

Jason Jordan shared Mark Llanuza's photo
Its 1983 with eastbound ICG coming up to 16th st tower
John David Larson posted
This boxcar was a rarity in 1999 when I took this photograph at 16th Street Crossing on the south side of Chicago. The Great Northern Railroad disappeared when it was merged with the Burlington Route and other railroads in 1970. The new railroad was called Burlington Northern. This boxcar is painted in a scheme called "big sky blue" which was a new corporate livery that was introduced in 1967. It's covered with grime and graffiti here but seeing it on this day over three decades after the railroad itself ceased as a going concern was like finding an old, battered rare coin in pocket change.
[You can see a corner of the tower peeking out to the right of the boxcar. The bare ground on the right is where the NYC tracks would have been east of the Metra/Rock Island tracks that are in the foreground.]
David M Laz posted
David's comment:
Running north-south through here is Metra's ex-Rock Island commuter line from Joliet; it terminates at LaSalle Street Station, about a mile to the north. Entering from the southwest and then heading due east is Canadian National's ex-Illinois Central Iowa line (the same line that passes through 21st Street). It also carries traffic from CN's ex-IC, ex-GM&O line from Joliet. Feeding into CN from the west is the St. Charles Air Line, jointly owned by Canadian National, BNSF and Union Pacific.
Fred Mohr 16th Street Tower or Clark Street for the IC.

Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak City of New Orleans crossing the Rock Island at 16th Street Tower - March 1993. The train will back into Union Station today over the 21st Street Bridge.
[It will back in after it crosses the South Branch on the St. Charles Airline Bridge that is in the right background. The interlocking tower is just to the left of the bridge, but considerably closer to the camera]
John David Larson posted
16th Street Tower as seen in 1999.
Jon Roma Manned 24x7 by Metra operators.
[CB&Q was a part owner of the SCAL, so BN is probably interchanging a train with IC]
David Charles Lindberg posted
Rock Island commuter with Capone Coaches outbound.

Mark Hinsdale posted five pictures of southbound Rock Island trains with the comment: "'Rush Hour @ 16th Street...' ... on a hot June, 1977 weekday afternoon."





Tim Carrol posted
William Petty That is an interesting locomotive, it appears to be a GP on Alco trucks with a slightly raised short hood or lowered long hood?William Petty I looked it up in my old roster and the 7300 and 7301 were the only two Baldwin DRS-4-4-15 1500hp road switchers on the NYC.
John Ryan provided three photos with the comment:
Here are three pictures that I took while working at 16th Street in the closing days of Penn Central in early 1976.
The fellow in the window is the late Wiley Solomon, a regular operator.  The few times that I worked there we never ran a Penn Central train to or from the Burlington.



Fred Mohr commented on the Steven J Brown's posting
Me in 1991 showing the interlocking bed of the 16th St machine.
Steven J. Brown posted four photos with the comment:
           16th Street Tower - Chicago - Four images - Four Decades!
Metra trains on the Rock Island, 1977, 1987, 1998 and 2017.
1  New RTA F40PH on the Rock Island at 16th Street Tower with CNW bi-levels - November 25, 1977 — 

2  Metra F40PH on the Rock Island at 16th Street Tower in Chicago - November 1987.

3  Metra F40PH 117 at 16th Street Tower on the Rock Island - June 1998.

4  Metra MP36PH-3S at 16th Street Tower on the Rock Island - February 25, 2017.
Dan Marinellie There are 27 MP36's, and 118 total F40's.
The Rock is split pretty even, 5 F40PH's, 6 F40PHM-2's, and 6 MP36's.
Robert Petit The oldest unrebuilt fleet with the least amount of spare locomotives too
Mark Llanuza posted
Classic Rock Island E-6 passes through 16th tower 1975.

1959 picture of a southbound Rocky Mountain Rocket. There seems to have been a big gap between the Rock Island and NYC tracks. A view looking south shows an Erie Freight Station.

Lou Gerard posted two cab units pulling two bi-levels southbound on Oct. 1973.

If you have a Facebook account, you can also access a photo by Krzyzowski.

Lou Gerard posted an Oct. 1973 southbound Rock Island that includes the tower.

See also Meadow Gold Butter for some more photos in this area.

John Roma's 1996 Flickr Photo of a small fraction of 1901 Taylor machine's controls has a long, interesting comment.