locked Early Diesel switcher assignments


George Eichelberger
 

When the Southern first dieselized areas and yards, the “formula” was pretty simple. Locations that had been assigned 0-8-0s were assigned 1,000HP switchers, mostly NW-2s, 0-6-0 locations were assigned 600HP diesels (ALCos or SW-1s). Locations or jobs that did not work all, or most of 24 hours kept steam. GE 44 ton units were thought to be suitable for out of the way locations that did not need larger power.

The formula changed as diesel operations were understood and productivity increased. It was a big change, for example, when diesel crews stopped going back to where they had begun their shift, at roundhouses and the coal chutes.

The archives contain diesel studies on several locations, done by the railroad, ALCo or EMD.

I’ve attached the first of a nine page report on dieseizling Jacksonville in 1940.

Ike



On Sep 20, 2021, at 6:28 PM, James Walton <whovianwil@...> wrote:

Thanks all, what you've shown has really helped. 

Does anyone know what switchers the Southern tended to use in their Atlanta and Birmingham yards at this time?

Does anyone know what companies the Southern interchanged with in Bham? I know the Southern and the Frisco were on good terms, so they certainly had an interchange. 

On Mon, Sep 20, 2021, 15:44 Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton <abridgemansutton@...> wrote:
Sorry, but apparently Mr Brain and Mr Memory were both having bad days at the office. for "1492 (though she seems to have moved around a bit during and after WW2)"  please read "1482" and forget the bit about moving around. 

Aidrian   

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On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 5:07 PM Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton via groups.io <abridgemansutton=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Perhaps I might add some notes to Jack's summary; it was he who got me interested in this part of the system 20 something years ago. 

Frank Ardrey was very active in the area in the forties and took a lot of photos which are well worth hunting down. Many of his pictures a loco portraits, but he took a good number of train photos on the Birmingham Divsion which are well worth looking up

Prior to 1946 there were some restrictive bridge limits, which precluded heavier engines such as Ms-4s and Ps-4. Before WW2 this meant that Ts and Ts-1 Mountains, Ms and Ms-1 Mikados handled the great majority of trains with some locals using K class 2-8-0s. . Ps-2 Pacifics seem to have mostly been used on the line to Sheffield. The simple 2-8-8-2s appeared somewhere about 1940-41 as best I can tell -  compounds seem to have mostly been used for mine traffic from a rather earlier date.     

I don't seem to have any evidence of Ps-4s on the Birmingham Division; that doesn't mean it didn't happen, as many AGS steam engines were deployed when that line started to be dieselised. 
  • Ts  1461.1462  
  • Ts1 1481, 1492 (though she seems to have moved around a bit during and after WW2), 1499 
  • Ms 4541. 4548 though I suspect these may have been used mostly for local traffic in the post war period
  • Ms-1  - the series from 4765-4774 - these had size 3 Worthington BL feed water heaters, and other detail differences to the standard USRA engines
  • Ls-1 compound - the only compound I have a photo of to date is 4019
  • Ls-2 simple  - I don't have a photo to immediately to hand with a legible number hand but 4050 rings a bell
Post war the ex-Erie mikados, AGS Ts-1s, Ms-1s, Ms-4s and former Eastern line Ms4s joined in along with FTs in ABBA configuration about (though at least one Frank Ardrey photo has an F3 B-unit replacing one of the FT units. E6s were used on the Southerner

Traffic needs an epistle all of its own, but one curiosity is that loaded coal hoppers moved in both directions - coal from the Alabama mines went east (including a fair number of Frisco hoppers), but a few photos indicate that what was most probably metallurgical coal came west  - usually in  N&W hoppers, but I have seen a photo which includes a C&O car as well. Given where the loads probably originated, the routing of these westbound coal loads seems really odd, but they are definitely coming from the Atlanta direction.

Aidrian


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On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 10:07 PM C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:
I think that I can speak for early 1947. Steam locomotives regularly used would be AGS and Birmingham Division assigned, though assignments were starting to go via the wayside. 

passenger locomotives:

4-6-2 Class Ps-4

4-8-2 Class Ts and Ts-1 (USRA light)

freight locomotives:

2-8-2  Class Ms, Ms-1 (USRA light and copies), Ms-4  (USRA heavy copies), and Ms-7 (acquired from Erie RR during WWII, some with Vanderbilt tenders)
 
2-8-8-2 Class Ls-2 (simple) and maybe Ls-1 (compound)

2-8-0 Class Ks (maybe, but Class Ms frequently used for local freight)

I don't think F-units were showing up regularly on through freight's so the E6 on The Southerner might be the only diesel which you would see. Want more diesel's than steam locomotives? Skip forward until 1950.

At one time I considered modeling the Birmingham Division, so if you would like to have a conversation sometime,  I'd be glad to talk with you.

Jack Wyatt


On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 03:17:04 PM EDT, James Walton <whovianwil@...> wrote:


I'm interested in the line for both historical and potential modelling purposes. 

Do you know what steam and diesel locomotive types were commonly used?

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021, 13:53 C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:
Southern Railway System had two more pairs of passenger trains on that line during your era. You had another Frisco connection, The Sunnyland, and what could be best described as an overnight local, Nos. 11-12

I can tell you what steam locomotives were common up until '47 or so, but when dieselization got in full swing, the best steam locomotives were more freely moved around the system to runoff remaining flue time.

Just curious if you interests are historical, or are you looking for a location to model.

Hope this helps.

Jack Wyatt

On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 09:29:27 AM EDT, James Walton <whovianwil@...> wrote:


I've been trying to figure out locomotive classes and traffic were common on the Southern's Atlanta-Birmingham line in the late 40s and 50s. I don't have a copy of Richard Prince's book, so I'm having to make do with sources like steamlocomotive.com - not exactly ideal. 

I know only that the Southerner and the Kansas City-Florida Special used the line, but not much more.



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Rob Wingo
 

Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob


TIM ANDREWS
 

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob


George Eichelberger
 

Rob:

Yes, there are diesel assignments into the ’60 in the archives. The practice of assigning locos to specific locations/routes and trains became less of an issue in the early 70s. As roundhouses and shops were shut, diesel inspections became more centralized. That led to different power at yards and towns.

That is why the Southern decided to pay more for Flexicoil trucks under the first SW-1500s. They were an extra cost option from EMD, friction bearing Type B switcher trucks were standard. The problem was type B trucks were limited to 35mph when they were being towed to Chattanooga, Atlanta, etc. for inspection. Rather than slow the trains to 35, units with Flexicoil trucks did not have such a low limit. By the time the Southern ordered more SW-1500s it, and other railroads demanded roller bearings on the Bype B trucks. As with many other diesel “extras” over the years, Southern led and EMD followed.

By 1970, the prices of diesels had increased to the point the Southern did not want to buy yard switchers. That, plus the fact that the GP-7s and 9s were getting too old to operate as road power led to older road switchers being sent to the yards.

ALL of this is well documented in the SRHA archives. I will “fit” as much as possible in the SRHA diesel book as I can. (The FT introduction section was in TIES some time ago.) Work in the archives and Covid has slowed all projects down for the past year at least.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:30 AM, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:

Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob


George Eichelberger
 

Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob


Bill Schafer
 

Here’s another advantage to those SW1500s being delivered on Flexicoil trucks: they could be used as road power in a pinch. When I was in Southern’s training program in Greensboro 1971-1972, many of the Alco and older EMD switchers were retired and replaced with SW1500s. Some of these assignments were at outlying points and only worked Monday-Friday. 

In the meantime, yards accumulated freight during the week that exceeded what could be moved on scheduled trains, so Southern would operate clean-up extras on the weekends. On, say, Friday evenings, one of the lesser freights would gather up SW1500s and take them to, maybe, Monroe or Spencer, where they would be put to work on main line drag freights, mixed in with regular freight motive power. They would work on drags over the weekend and would be redistributed to their assigned locations before starting time on Monday morning. At 1500 hp, they were the equivalent of an F7 and were frequently mated with F-units on the drags. The disadvantages were that the SW1500s did not have dynamic brakes nor did the cabs have some of the creature comforts of F-units or GPs, so I never saw one in the lead, but they made dandy boosters. And I’m not aware that they were restricted speed-wise - they were good for 60 mph. 

No, I never took a picture of one of these main line trains with SW1500s. Yes, I am kicking myself. 

—Bill

On Sep 21, 2021, at 09:45, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob



Jason Greene
 

Bill,
That would be a sight to behold for sure. I’ve always thought an F7-GP38 pair looked odd but the idea of F7-SW1500 would be great. One for the layout for sure. 

Jason Greene 

On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:35 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Here’s another advantage to those SW1500s being delivered on Flexicoil trucks: they could be used as road power in a pinch. When I was in Southern’s training program in Greensboro 1971-1972, many of the Alco and older EMD switchers were retired and replaced with SW1500s. Some of these assignments were at outlying points and only worked Monday-Friday. 

In the meantime, yards accumulated freight during the week that exceeded what could be moved on scheduled trains, so Southern would operate clean-up extras on the weekends. On, say, Friday evenings, one of the lesser freights would gather up SW1500s and take them to, maybe, Monroe or Spencer, where they would be put to work on main line drag freights, mixed in with regular freight motive power. They would work on drags over the weekend and would be redistributed to their assigned locations before starting time on Monday morning. At 1500 hp, they were the equivalent of an F7 and were frequently mated with F-units on the drags. The disadvantages were that the SW1500s did not have dynamic brakes nor did the cabs have some of the creature comforts of F-units or GPs, so I never saw one in the lead, but they made dandy boosters. And I’m not aware that they were restricted speed-wise - they were good for 60 mph. 

No, I never took a picture of one of these main line trains with SW1500s. Yes, I am kicking myself. 

—Bill

On Sep 21, 2021, at 09:45, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob



Bill Schafer
 

Try a thru freight with a pair of F-7s back-to-back followed by three SW1500s on a 150 car train . . .

On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:42, Jason Greene <jason.p.greene@...> wrote:

Bill,
That would be a sight to behold for sure. I’ve always thought an F7-GP38 pair looked odd but the idea of F7-SW1500 would be great. One for the layout for sure. 

Jason Greene 

On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:35 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Here’s another advantage to those SW1500s being delivered on Flexicoil trucks: they could be used as road power in a pinch. When I was in Southern’s training program in Greensboro 1971-1972, many of the Alco and older EMD switchers were retired and replaced with SW1500s. Some of these assignments were at outlying points and only worked Monday-Friday. 

In the meantime, yards accumulated freight during the week that exceeded what could be moved on scheduled trains, so Southern would operate clean-up extras on the weekends. On, say, Friday evenings, one of the lesser freights would gather up SW1500s and take them to, maybe, Monroe or Spencer, where they would be put to work on main line drag freights, mixed in with regular freight motive power. They would work on drags over the weekend and would be redistributed to their assigned locations before starting time on Monday morning. At 1500 hp, they were the equivalent of an F7 and were frequently mated with F-units on the drags. The disadvantages were that the SW1500s did not have dynamic brakes nor did the cabs have some of the creature comforts of F-units or GPs, so I never saw one in the lead, but they made dandy boosters. And I’m not aware that they were restricted speed-wise - they were good for 60 mph. 

No, I never took a picture of one of these main line trains with SW1500s. Yes, I am kicking myself. 

—Bill

On Sep 21, 2021, at 09:45, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob




TIM ANDREWS
 

We met every Tuesday evening and were there most weekends as well. The fuel rack was always busy with four axle road power (including F units near their end) while the bigger engines went in and out of Pot Yard without typically coming to Alexandria.  I have slides I took around that time frame, I'll have to dig them out sometime.

I always wondered if the 2300, being the first SW1500, was assigned to Alexandria because it was close to the research and test department at the East end of the yard.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 09:45:55 AM EDT, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:


Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob


George Eichelberger
 

I’ve explained to people over the years; if you see an odd diesel consist or one that seems too large (Southern had a strict 24 (?) powered axle limit), look at the MU hoses as it passes. Engine(s) “dead in tow” (DIT) will not have MU connections in most cases.

BTW If anyone particularly knowledgable about MU connections over the years, please contact me, I’d like to discuss some of the details I’ve found working on the SRHA diesel book. In the early diesel years, the variety of EMD, ALCo and F-M MU connections and technologies required only particular combinations of units that could be MUd. A reason for the multi point MU connections mounted high on the the early Fs was so they could work with other mfgr's units.

As I have been researching/writing the diesel book, I realize how important photos showing the MU arrangements on different models are. (Check out photos of the Southern’s RS-2s for example. It’s hard to find two with the same MU connection arrangement.)

More trivia about SW-1500s….. Although EMD was moving to more electrical MU controls (vs pneumatic), the need to operate them with road power (as Bill S described) caused Southern to specify they had hose connections for sanders, etc. on both ends but only straight through piping. In other words, the SW-1500s did not need or use that control but other units in the consist might!

(I did say “trivia” but it is the kind of material I like to learn about when I read a book.)

Ike




On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:47 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Try a thru freight with a pair of F-7s back-to-back followed by three SW1500s on a 150 car train . . .

On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:42, Jason Greene <jason.p.greene@...> wrote:

Bill,
That would be a sight to behold for sure. I’ve always thought an F7-GP38 pair looked odd but the idea of F7-SW1500 would be great. One for the layout for sure. 

Jason Greene 

On Sep 21, 2021, at 10:35 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Here’s another advantage to those SW1500s being delivered on Flexicoil trucks: they could be used as road power in a pinch. When I was in Southern’s training program in Greensboro 1971-1972, many of the Alco and older EMD switchers were retired and replaced with SW1500s. Some of these assignments were at outlying points and only worked Monday-Friday. 

In the meantime, yards accumulated freight during the week that exceeded what could be moved on scheduled trains, so Southern would operate clean-up extras on the weekends. On, say, Friday evenings, one of the lesser freights would gather up SW1500s and take them to, maybe, Monroe or Spencer, where they would be put to work on main line drag freights, mixed in with regular freight motive power. They would work on drags over the weekend and would be redistributed to their assigned locations before starting time on Monday morning. At 1500 hp, they were the equivalent of an F7 and were frequently mated with F-units on the drags. The disadvantages were that the SW1500s did not have dynamic brakes nor did the cabs have some of the creature comforts of F-units or GPs, so I never saw one in the lead, but they made dandy boosters. And I’m not aware that they were restricted speed-wise - they were good for 60 mph. 

No, I never took a picture of one of these main line trains with SW1500s. Yes, I am kicking myself. 

—Bill

On Sep 21, 2021, at 09:45, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Tim:

I don’t know (see my posting just now) but I suspect that particular roller bearing equipped switcher allowed Southern to close, or cut back, operations at the Alex disel shop.

Ike


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:55 AM, TIM ANDREWS <ANDREWSTIM@...> wrote:

I grew up in Arlington and started hanging out at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders layout in the old Alexandria yard office about 1971.  IIRC SW1500 2300 was the usual yard engine that I remember working there at least until I left for college in 1974.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 07:30:55 AM EDT, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:


Ike,
Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?

Rob





Don Usak
 

My recollections of SW1500s is somewhat different.  I recall their speed was restricted in that their ability to make transition was not nearly as advanced as mainline locomotives and speed approaching 40 mph could quickly cook the main generator.

My recollection of non-dynamic brake locomotives was when operating on mainline trains, the non-db locomotive would always be put in the lead.  This for several reasons, not the least of which was lack of alignment-control draft system on many of these locomotives, including the SW1500s.  Locomotives like this had two coupler blocks that could be bolted on each side of the coupler pockets to limit the lateral movement of the coupler shank.  Failing to do this, and operating the locomotive behind mainline locomotives with dynamic brake, could cause the non-db locomotive to get buff forced right out of the train during heavy braking. The coupler blocks were left off for normal yard operations.

When I went to Spencer in 1975 we had 28 locomotives assigned to the Spencer Shop.  All were butt-head switchers with many SW1500s.  These locomotives were spread all across many yards on the Eastern Division.  They came to Spencer for regular maintenance; and we could change power assemblies and traction motors.  The only time they went to Pegram was for wheel true, some kind of heavy repair, or 36-month air change.  This could account for lots of sightings of SW1500s on the rear of mainline trains when they were shuttled to and from Spencer for maintenance ---- not being used for mainline power.

At Spencer we never ran SW1500s on mainline trains for power.  When the yard would get loaded we would run extra trains with whatever mainline power we could scrounge up.  We would on occasion run a pair of SW1500s on the Yadkin Local, but never on the Morganton Local. The Albemarle Branch was limited in speed by track so it would not hurt the main generators on the SW1500s.  But the Asheville Line was not so limited and the SW1500s never went on the Morganton Local.

As far as MU, I recall that main reservoir, actuating, and application & release were fully operational on SW1500s.  And they had to be for the brakes to operate properly when trailing.  I do not recall if sand was simply a run through pipe.

I think we go down the wrong path when we assume that a specification for Flexicoil trucks alone implies that these locomotives were meant to be used in mainline service at mainline track speeds.  Many items in the new locomotive specification are never found on the delivered locomotive.  The builders would supply a "Response to the Specification".  This document would outline those items which the builder could not or would not comply with.  GE was very good at providing this detailed document, EMD not so diligent.  The SRHA archives may or may not have these builders' response documents.

Regards,
Don Usak


George Eichelberger
 

Great stuff, Don….thanks!

SRHA has most, maybe all (?) of the Specifications for Southern’s diesels. Three, four or five “Specification Supplements” were common as negotiations proceeded with EMD, ALCo or GE. Although they are available for research, not all have been scanned. In addition to the Specs, the internal and external correspondence files provide rationals for some of the features or changes Southern wanted.

I’ve exported and attached four pages from the (rough!) draft of the SRHA diesel book. Adobe changed their application and fonts since this version was done and I have not updated it so it looks pretty bad. The text will provide some idea of the level of detail that can be included…although sorting through it to determine what is “worth” having in the book is time consuming. (Research and help with the writing and book production is welcomed.) The format will be a standard hardbound “book” style as large horizontal drawings, like the box car books, is not needed.

Ike

On Sep 22, 2021, at 1:48 AM, Don Usak <donusak@ntelos.net> wrote:

My recollections of SW1500s is somewhat different. I recall their speed was restricted in that their ability to make transition was not nearly as advanced as mainline locomotives and speed approaching 40 mph could quickly cook the main generator.

My recollection of non-dynamic brake locomotives was when operating on mainline trains, the non-db locomotive would always be put in the lead. This for several reasons, not the least of which was lack of alignment-control draft system on many of these locomotives, including the SW1500s. Locomotives like this had two coupler blocks that could be bolted on each side of the coupler pockets to limit the lateral movement of the coupler shank. Failing to do this, and operating the locomotive behind mainline locomotives with dynamic brake, could cause the non-db locomotive to get buff forced right out of the train during heavy braking. The coupler blocks were left off for normal yard operations.

When I went to Spencer in 1975 we had 28 locomotives assigned to the Spencer Shop. All were butt-head switchers with many SW1500s. These locomotives were spread all across many yards on the Eastern Division. They came to Spencer for regular maintenance; and we could change power assemblies and traction motors. The only time they went to Pegram was for wheel true, some kind of heavy repair, or 36-month air change. This could account for lots of sightings of SW1500s on the rear of mainline trains when they were shuttled to and from Spencer for maintenance ---- not being used for mainline power.

At Spencer we never ran SW1500s on mainline trains for power. When the yard would get loaded we would run extra trains with whatever mainline power we could scrounge up. We would on occasion run a pair of SW1500s on the Yadkin Local, but never on the Morganton Local. The Albemarle Branch was limited in speed by track so it would not hurt the main generators on the SW1500s. But the Asheville Line was not so limited and the SW1500s never went on the Morganton Local.

As far as MU, I recall that main reservoir, actuating, and application & release were fully operational on SW1500s. And they had to be for the brakes to operate properly when trailing. I do not recall if sand was simply a run through pipe.

I think we go down the wrong path when we assume that a specification for Flexicoil trucks alone implies that these locomotives were meant to be used in mainline service at mainline track speeds. Many items in the new locomotive specification are never found on the delivered locomotive. The builders would supply a "Response to the Specification". This document would outline those items which the builder could not or would not comply with. GE was very good at providing this detailed document, EMD not so diligent. The SRHA archives may or may not have these builders' response documents.

Regards,
Don Usak


Curt Fortenberry
 


The part about coupler blocks and mainline use is a very important issue.  Locally, we had an MP15 being moved back to the maintenance shop dead in transit, and the local yard forgot to put in the limiting blocks, and during a braking event on a switch, with the extra coupler movement the thing derailed.  

Curt Fortenberry


rwbrv4
 

Can't wait to see the book.
Rick Bell


-----Original Message-----
From: George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Sent: Wed, Sep 22, 2021 9:10 am
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Early Diesel switcher assignments

Great stuff, Don….thanks!

SRHA has most, maybe all (?) of the Specifications for Southern’s diesels. Three, four or five “Specification Supplements” were common as negotiations proceeded with EMD, ALCo or GE. Although they are available for research, not all have been scanned. In addition to the Specs, the internal and external correspondence files provide rationals for some of the features or changes Southern wanted.

I’ve exported and attached four pages from the (rough!) draft of the SRHA diesel book. Adobe changed their application and fonts since this version was done and I have not updated it so it looks pretty bad. The text will provide some idea of the level of detail that can be included…although sorting through it to determine what is “worth” having in the book is time consuming. (Research and help with the writing and book production is welcomed.) The format will be a standard hardbound “book” style as large horizontal drawings, like the box car books, is not needed.

Ike





On Sep 22, 2021, at 1:48 AM, Don Usak <donusak@...> wrote:

My recollections of SW1500s is somewhat different.  I recall their speed was restricted in that their ability to make transition was not nearly as advanced as mainline locomotives and speed approaching 40 mph could quickly cook the main generator.

My recollection of non-dynamic brake locomotives was when operating on mainline trains, the non-db locomotive would always be put in the lead.  This for several reasons, not the least of which was lack of alignment-control draft system on many of these locomotives, including the SW1500s.  Locomotives like this had two coupler blocks that could be bolted on each side of the coupler pockets to limit the lateral movement of the coupler shank.  Failing to do this, and operating the locomotive behind mainline locomotives with dynamic brake, could cause the non-db locomotive to get buff forced right out of the train during heavy braking. The coupler blocks were left off for normal yard operations.

When I went to Spencer in 1975 we had 28 locomotives assigned to the Spencer Shop.  All were butt-head switchers with many SW1500s.  These locomotives were spread all across many yards on the Eastern Division.  They came to Spencer for regular maintenance; and we could change power assemblies and traction motors.  The only time they went to Pegram was for wheel true, some kind of heavy repair, or 36-month air change.  This could account for lots of sightings of SW1500s on the rear of mainline trains when they were shuttled to and from Spencer for maintenance ---- not being used for mainline power.

At Spencer we never ran SW1500s on mainline trains for power.  When the yard would get loaded we would run extra trains with whatever mainline power we could scrounge up.  We would on occasion run a pair of SW1500s on the Yadkin Local, but never on the Morganton Local. The Albemarle Branch was limited in speed by track so it would not hurt the main generators on the SW1500s.  But the Asheville Line was not so limited and the SW1500s never went on the Morganton Local.

As far as MU, I recall that main reservoir, actuating, and application & release were fully operational on SW1500s.  And they had to be for the brakes to operate properly when trailing.  I do not recall if sand was simply a run through pipe.

I think we go down the wrong path when we assume that a specification for Flexicoil trucks alone implies that these locomotives were meant to be used in mainline service at mainline track speeds.  Many items in the new locomotive specification are never found on the delivered locomotive.  The builders would supply a "Response to the Specification".  This document would outline those items which the builder could not or would not comply with.  GE was very good at providing this detailed document, EMD not so diligent.  The SRHA archives may or may not have these builders' response documents.

Regards,
Don Usak








mike turner
 

Me, too. :)

On 9/22/2021 2:18 PM, rwbrv4 via groups.io wrote:
Can't wait to see the book.
Rick Bell

-- 
Mike Turner
MP-Z35