This reminded me of the first annual EMD plant tour that I took many years ago in La Grange, IL. (Actually, the plant is in McCook, IL, but uses a LaGrange postal address.) Since the tour was part of an anniversary celebration and the plant was built in 1935, it was probably the 50th anniversary in 1985. At the time, EMD was the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. Now EMD stands for Electro-Motivie Diesel. I'm really glad I took the tour because the "annual" part never happened. I did not notice any tours after that one. And the plant quit assembling locomotives in 1991 when GM used just their assembly plant in London, Ontario, that was opened in 1950. The headquarters, engineering, training, and parts (engines, generators, alternators, etc.) manufacturing remained in La Grange, IL. Progress Rail Services Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar, bought EMD August 2, 2010, as a wholly-owned subsidiary. A new assembly plant was opened in Muncie, Indiana, in 2011, and the London plant was closed in 2012 because of union labor issues. (EMD24B is a Tier 4 rebuild of a GP40.)
|La Grange, IL, Plant, late 1930s|
(Update: Lost Illinois Manufacturing posting has more pictures and information about the plant.)
The assembly of a locomotive started with a slab of steel the length and width of the locomotive and about 4 inches thick. The bottom part of the slab in this Metra locomotive has the white stripe that is just below the side panels.
The tour guide then showed us two T-sections that had been created by cutting an I-section down the middle with a cutting torch. He explained that the T-sections were bent because of the release of stress. I remember that one end was about 6 inches from where it would be if the beam was straight. However, EMD did not straighten the beams as was mentioned in the above video. Instead, they welded the bent beams to the foundation slab and that caused the slab to bend slightly. The tour guide explained that when the locomotive is built and the engine and other heavy components are installed, the weight would bend the slab down so that it would then be straight again.
I'm surprised that an I-beam has so much internal stress to cause the T-beams to bend when it is released. Every picture I have seen of a rolling mill looks like it is hot rolling the beams. In fact, they talk about soaking furnaces that reheat the metal blooms to 1200 degrees Centigrade for rolling. I would think that if the metal was hot, it would be malleable enough that stresses would not build up during the rolling. It seems that some of the beam's strength would be wasted to resist these internal stresses.
|Joshua Lemier posted|
As long as i am feeling nostalgic I might as well throw in how I miss the original and fully functional Electro Motive Plant in LaGrange and all those beautiful Diesels it turned out! Lower left: The body of the first E unit for the Baltimore and Ohio. Middle: Construction of SW's and E's, Lower right, construction of F units.
|Glen Miller posted|
Photo of new ATSF EMD F3 locomotives 16, 17, 18 and 19 at the EMD plant in LaGrange, IL in 03-17-1948.
|Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted|
Here is an interesting and unusual view of an E-7A #5012B. The back of the Ken Zurn photo says that the locomotive has been "stripped for shopping" in Chicago." The date is September 1966. this photo and hundreds of other Ken Zurn photos and negatives are held at the archives of the C&NW Historical Society. Can we help you?
[Before they learned how to build big "road units" with a frame using a thick slab of steel reinforced with a couple of T-sections, they used truss-bridge technology in the sides of the cab.]
|Dan Deyoung posted|
Ok here goes most people don't know diesel engines in trains are the original HYBRIDS
FROM THE START GM General motors
EMD Electro motive Division had the technology to turn gas or diesel in to Hybrid
Cars from the 40s 50s and 60s
So where were they?
Diesel engines, generator and traction motors
Only for railroads not us
Greg Burnet shared six photos with the comment: "Electro-Motive plant construction pics from the 1930s."
Contruction Photo by Kaufmann-Fabry
Negative Number (35)-27
Electro-Motive Builder's Photo https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158413806313658&set=g.196767310439590&type=1&theater&ifg=1
Greg Johnston Date?
Electro-Motive Builder's Photo according to the bottom left negative number; 1935 and the 27th photo in EMC negative file.
Reception Room to General Manager (1936)
Negative Number 36-0202
|Kevin Piper posted|
Something you don't see anymore. An EMD test train heads south at Symerton, IL, on the old Wabash. The train has SD60 3, an EMD test car, a SDP40F, and a SD45X. Today the line is gone and so is GM ownership of EMD. 4-12-89
Brian R Bundy I worked this train several days while we had it in Decatur. We made a couple trips between Bement and Gibson City daily before returning to Decatur. They were testing out making transition on the EMD 3 for the SD70 model. EMD 3 did the work in power while the other two locos were in dynamic brake to simulate a train, all controlled by the engineers in the test coach.
Brian R Bundy I saw EMD 3 several years later at the TRRA yard in East STL. It had the standard truck on one end and the radial truck on the other.
Kevin Piper I ran the EMD 3 on BNSF. It had two radial trucks by then.
Steven J. Brown posted three photos with the comment: "EMD celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the FT with an open house at the factory in LaGrange (McCook), Illinois - September 17, 1989. They assembled a colorful group of their products!"
|Thomas Bowers posted|
EMD 50th Open House LaGrange, Il. Fall of 1989
Alex Lorenz Very nice, is that 268 one of those SDP40F?
Steven J. Brown Yes - it was used as a test bed for AC traction motors. Built as Amtrak 531.
Jerry Coleman Yes, LaGrange I believe that "new" facility opened in the late 40's these drawings are part of a promotional piece Wm. A. Hottinger produced for Electromotive while on staff as their Illustrator. The family has several others as well from the promotional book.
|Steven J. Brown posted|
A long line of new Conrail SD40-2's and GP38-2's await delivery along the back fence at the LaGrange EMD factory in McCook, Illinois - July 2, 1978.
Gabriel Eduardo I hope to see other railroads besides UP buying those locomotives.
Dennis DeBruler I thought EMD (actually Cat's Progress Rail) moved locomotive assembly to Muncie, IN. So why are there locomotives setting at the original EMD plant?
Vincent Gortner Engineering staff is still there, I believe.
Marcelo Menendez yes,
Jeff LewisJeff and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicagoland Railfan. [Evidently you can get this view from Fed Ex] https://www.google.com/.../@41.7950353,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
|Ken Schmidt posted|
September 17th, 1989, EMD opened it's doors to the public. They had assembled quite a collection of units from all ages. Here is one view of that display in LaGrange.
Not sure if EMD did this again in it's history.
Richard Stewart shared 8 photos from an EMD Assembly Album.
Mark Hershoren shared, brighter exposure
Charles Smith: Lot of puddy to get the noses smooth..Photo taken at EMD la Grange plant. Must be one of the last F or E series of units on order.
Rich Kranz: Charles Smith That’s not putty, that’s lead.
Paloma Tomas: That plant use to go 3 shifts and weekends , and now ...[nothing]
Jr Luciano: Love this ❤️ Two favorite EMD'S, F-Units & GP7/9's.
Tim Hayes: Look at all the filler needed to make the curves fair. This is one reason that this body style was abandoned in favor of ones with straighter lines.
David Jansson: Shows how EMD created the compound curves on the nose. BEND AND HAMMER STEEL, APPLY BONDO!!!!
Richard Jahn: David Jansson - Having worked on several EMD cabs they did not use "bondo" All metal sheets were "leaded" at the joints.
George Keller: When we updated the Wabash F-7 at the Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum we had to do quite a bit of work on the nose of the engine. The nose was full of lead that was used to contour the shape of the engine's nose.
John Vincent: George Keller Lead was a normal body filler in those days. You'll find cars up to the end of the 1960's with lead in the for body filler.
Jeffrey Cwan: I once heard no two noses were exactly the same.
Richard Jahn: Jeffrey Cwan - incorrect. Nose is made of several different sheets of preformed metal attach to a frame leaded together at the joints. All of the sheets and frame members were standard parts which could be ordered from the EMD parts catalog number 90 in case repairs were needed.
David P. Reaves III: Budd Co. shot-welding formed stainless steel sheets for passenger car construction was equally interesting. The welds were never perfect, and they bought -and used- putty by the barrel.
Two photos from a Parts Album show a couple of generations of a cylinder boring machines.
|Cliff Downey posted|
In the summer of 1963 a new DD35 diesel-electric locomotive is lowered onto its trucks at the EMD* plant in La Grange, IL. The DD35 was built in response to Union Pacific's request for more powerful locomotives than the 2,500 horsepower locomotives available at the time.
EMD took up the challenge and designed the DD35, which essentially was the machinery of two GP35's locomotive (a single GP35 packed 2,500 horsepower) placed onto a massive 88' long frame. The locomotive rode on two four-axle trucks, the largest ever used (up to that time) to construct a diesel-electric locomotive. The DD35 did not have a cab, for it was intended to be coupled with other locomotives when in service.
The first two DD35's were built as EMD demonstrators, and were numbered EMD 5653 and 5655 (the locomotive seen in this photo is one of these two locomotives, but it is unknown which one). These two locomotives, sandwiched between a pair of GP35's, tested on several railroads.
In May, 1964, the Union Pacific bought the two GP35 and two DD35 demonstrators. UP then bought 25 more DD35's plus 15 DD35A's (which were equipped with cabs). Southern Pacific also bought three DD35's, but no other railroads bought DD35's or DD35A's.
EMD photo, Cliff Downey collection.
*Electro-Motive Division, General Motors
Is EMD's new Tier 4 a bust? Some of the more meaningful comments on a posting.Christopher Overbeck Union pacific has stored all the new tier 4 sd 70 aces.
Will Daniel Martin Christopher Overbeck because progress rail wont release the tooling or repair documents and schematics.
Ben Schneider Yea because they are plies. They suck. Emd never should have had cat put a 4 stroke tier 4 in their units.
Christopher Overbeck Ben Schneider its not an engine problem. Its electrical issues. Over half wont start because of inverter failure.
Ben Schneider Yea well I'm a machinist and that engine is so dumb to work on. We had a unit with 15k miles and it blew out 2 power assemblies.
Christopher Overbeck We had the test units for the Sierra's and we burnt 1 down.
Jesse Rooker It's a shame, because for train crews, they are the quietest and smoothest out there. Hope they get the issues fixed.
Christopher Overbeck Jesse Rooker they are not even looking for the solution right now. Its not part of the unified plan.
[I wonder what the "unified plan" is.]
Christopher Overbeck Sam Fuller we started putting them in storage up in roseville because of electrical isssues. Probably stored 25 of the 100 already.
Will Daniel Martin Christopher Overbeck we've put at least 10 in storage in NLR for the same reason we're told they're going back to progress [Progress Rail].
Leon Shahayda The ones I ran were bad to wheelslip on wet rail.
Billy Sullivan Way back....my brother and I went to rescue a 15,000 ton rock train from the BNSF....the crew left this train tied down on the side of Dobbin Hill..( you need to be at 1.1 HPPT to pull the hill....4 SD 40's pulled this train from a dead stop 1.5 miles to Crest the hill....no double over...Those punk 70 aces would have never made it....js
[Several comments indicate that EMD can't figure out how to make a decent toliet and the cabs always smell.]
Chris Madera AIr conditioner inlet is next to the potty. These units are strong but smelly work horses.
Mike Huhn NS ones, when there aren’t any issues with them, run like champs. Quiet and are great on heavy trains.
Brian Richardson Mike Huhn I like them better than the 2600-2700 dc series... but I still like the es44ac engines best.
[Evidently a computer stops the engine rather than let it idle. But then the inverter fails and the engine won't restart.]
Comments on a posting:
Jed Boyles What happened? Does GE build all new locomotives now? Someone please help me with some information..
TJ Cloke Muncie, IN is where EMD - Progress Rail - Caterpillar built a new assembly plant. The tier 4 SD70ACe has been plagued by reliability issues (most seem to be fixed), which turned away large orders except UP who ordered 100 units. Currently BNSF, CSX, and NS have orders for 10 units.
NS is getting 40 credit SD70ACe's along with their 10 tier 4s however.
As we can see here, worker are smoothing the seams as the Geep hoods moves along at West Pullman, Ill.
Electro-Motive Builder's Photo The Geep was probably trucked to plant 3 in Cleveland for final assembly. The F/E nose goes to plant 1 in LaGrange. This is at the former Pullman plant.
Dennis A. Livesey At first glance, they looked like screens on the loco side.
Looking closer, those are large reflecting surfaces for making, bright, even light so the grinders can see their work accurately, IMHO. (I am not a sheet metal worker so I am guessing.)
Greg Burnet shared
William H. Tolliver EMD facility was East of Cottage Grove on 103rd st. Locomotive subassemblies. Pullman plant was on 111th st. And Cottage grove.
Dave Ladislas Sr. William H. Tolliver,correct.The EMD shop at 103rd. was a former Pullman shop way back in the day.Pullman Shops went from like 103rd. on the N. to almost 115th. on the S.,including their Calumet Shops.
Dave Ladislas Sr. Mike Rusnak,when I was working at Pullman we had a lot of welders that also worked at 103rd. st.Welding 16 hrs. a day had to be brutal.
Ean Kahn-Treras Oh very neat! Had no idea this was down here. Must’ve kept the N&W quite busy.
Were they the main carrier providing service along the Pullman Connecting Railroad, or was it a big joint venture?
[Unfortunately, as of 23 hours later there was no answer.]
Jerry Jewels: What's with the cowl on the Right? What road is that?
Electro-Motive Builder Photos: Jerry Jewels test bed for prime mover used in marine, drilling rigs and peaker application.
Michael Riha shared
Rick La Fever: Plus the White Elephant Electric Locomotive. Too bad that didn't work out. Things might be different today on railroad tracks.
|Henry Goodbread commented on EMD's post|
[This is a closeup of the prime mover testbed dicsussed in the comments above.]
Gregg Wolfersheim: 6 cylinder water cooled air compressors.
Date 1975 EMD Negative Number 75-1108
Ed Cooper: The Alaska RR and the B&O received GP40-2s that year.
Road: Union Pacific Model SD60 Date Jan 1988 EMD Negative Number 88-0022
History of EMD 657 and 710.
EMD started production in a Pullman building before they got their La Grange plant up to speed.
EMD could end engine production at LaGrange (source) 600 jobs building engines would be lost to North Carolina and outsourcing. 600 keyboard pounding jobs (engineering, administration and support operations) would still be left.
Micahel Matalis posted a link to his Flickr album of outside shots with the comment: "Photos inside the EMD plant taken during their open house in 1978. There are a lot of photos in this set, but they are of a subject that we do not often get a chance to see:"
Micahel Matalis posted a link to his Flickr album of inside shots with the comment:
Michael Matalis I'd heard that photos had been banned because of a new process of laser hardening of pistons or piston crowns.
Looking through Michael's Flickr albums, I found his outside and inside albums.