Monday, June 29, 2015

IRM: Switching Class and Fairbanks-Morse

Updates: I learned from The Diesel Shop that Milwaukee Road 760 was Fairbanks-Morse first diesel locomotive. The aerial photo of the factory has been moved to Beloit, WI factory.

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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."
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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 horsepower. 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. They wanted to couple with a "gentle" speed.
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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.

Kevin Piper posted two photos with the comment:
Milwaukee Road H10-44 760 (originally delivered as the 1802), is the first Fairbanks-Morse locomotive constructed in their own plant. It is preserved and on display in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. I like how the restoration was done to represent how it looked when last in regular service. Union, IL, 6-18-11.

Wzrren Avis posted
End cross section of Fairbanks-Morse two stroke opposed piston diesel engine. They have their own unique noise.
Gregory Maxwell These are power on USCG WTGB Ice-breaking tugboats (which are diesel electric)
Jeff Lilja These engines were also used on WW II subs
Joshua Sutherland I believe they still use them as auxiliary engines in modern nuclear subs.
David Brann Years ago, I had a co-worker who had been a crewman on one of those subs. He said that the overhead was really low, and it was a real treat to change out the upper crankshaft!
David Behlke Rob Jenkins Their locomotive plant was in Beloit, Wisconsin. They still have a large plant there now, and they produce the ALCO 251 prime mover as well.
Denny Kurzawski This design is still used on the HUGE container ships.. It's been around quite a long time..
Pete DeFillipo I own an H12-44 locomotive that has a 38D8-1/8 6 cylinder OP engine. I had to install a new timing chain, reset the proper lower crankshaft timing and install and properly shim 12 rebuilt fuel injection pumps (2 per cylinder) . Then I needed to adjust both sets of pumps to fire at the same time per cylinder. ALOT of tedious labor. Thats for sure. I have 50 pounds of engine and loco shop books which came in handy while doing all this work. I also own a spare 38D8-/8 engine core that I am trying to sell. It is missing some parts though.

Michael Milner comment on a post of some locomotives
Cross section from website. This is one of the most interesting Diesel engines. The Napier Deltic was also an opposed piston design used in British locomotives and marine applications that shares some similar traits with the FM.

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, Josh posted to a public group so I have replaced his photo of a new Wabash FM with a link.
John W. Stubblefield You had to love these 8 units. Went up Harriston Hill with 2 dead f-7 and the TM. It Pulled the whole train which was pretty good sized as we Picked a large cut in Springfield.
Lou posted some FM switchers working in Chicago. From that posting I learned that the three FMs that 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.]
Gordon Leonard posted
Here is 543's sister in June 1972.
Steve Kraus OP power. They say the salesman used to balance a coin on edge on an OP running at full power on the test stand to show how smooth they ran.Brandon McShane During the short period of time when ex-UP Es were assigned to the Texas Chief.
They tried to do a passenger locomotive:
Kathee Morey shared
Wayne Hudak Always my favorites, the "covered wagons" or "cab units". My interest as a kid and my interest in modeling today. Units above are Fairbanks Morse "C-Liners" built in 1950.

Jim Arvites posted
On this Day in History on June 29, 1947 the Milwaukee Road's flagship train "Olympian Hiawatha" made its first runs between Chicago and Seattle/Tacoma on a 43 hour 30 minute schedule. Picture below of the "Olympian Hiawatha" departing Chicago in 1948.
Michael Matalis In my humble (and personal) opinion, one of the best looking FM's ever built.
David Daruszka

A video of a FM 760 demonstration 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.
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FairbanksMorse from a Michael Milner comment on a post of some locomotives
These locomotives had a FM 38D-8 1/8 eight-cylinder opposed piston engine as a prime mover which was also used in US Navy submarines in WWII and as back-up in nukes.


  1. Dennis please remove my photo. You did not have any right or permission to use it, remove it now!!

    1. 2020: Somehow I figured out that "Unknown" was Josh Lemier, and I did remove the photo in 2015.