Railway Preservation News

GG-1 & Other Electrics
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Author:  joe6167 [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

I've found some massive cracks and weld repairs on 6167's frame, and have done some reading on what is involved in repairing such cracks. Of course with a steam locomotive, once all the wheels are dropped, the frame becomes quite accessable for such work.

I have a copy of CNR's maintence Regulatio book which gives us an idea of what sorts of procedures and methods were employed during the 40's and 50's. There are clearly defined procedures for repairing frames, which included preheating the frame to about 500 degrees F for example, cutting away the fractured area with an oxy-acetlyne torch before filling the repair by electric welding.

Another regulation regarding axles and dated Dec 1954, called for ultrasonic testing, as well as magnetic particle testing. There is also mention of magnaflux testing new tires and wheels on a page dated August 1951. As well, a regulation concerning main and side rods dated April 1946 specifies that rods are to be magnaflux tested.

So this technology has been in use for quite some time.

File comment: Another massive weld repair, this is can be found at the front of the locomotive on the portion of the frame between the bumper and the cylinder saddle.
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File comment: One of the more massive weld repairs to 6167's frame visible through one of the spokes of the driving wheels. This weld is maybe 4 inches wide and goes around the entire circumfrance of that portion of the frame.
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Author:  mikefrommontana [ Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Frame cracking is pretty much what did in the Milwaukee Road boxcab freight motor fleet (not the Baldwin passenger boxcabs). I suspect many of the same strategies (welding) were used to "keep 'em running". It might have been interesting had the Milwaukee's mechanical department gone to GSC or somebody and had new frames cast and just swapped parts across. The Little Joes, at retirement, did not seem to exhibit these kind of frame cracking issues.

Author:  davew833 [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Is anyone aware of any GG-1 accidents or derailments that were attributed to frame cracks? I imagine a serious one might have hastened their retirement.

Author:  EDM [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Of course, I'm taking Richard's comment about bowing down to me tongue-in-cheek; we're all friends here. Just pointing out the obvious, there was no clear-cut replacement for the GG-1.

I did a little more thinking, some of it while actually riding on the NEC yesterday. I really offered an unfair comparison with the AEM-7. The AEM-7s are a much lighter high speed design, adapted for 125 MPH passenger service on the NEC, while the Gs were built for both freight and passenger service. I have no idea what the MAS for the Gs was, but I suspect a G could be regeared for 125 or so easier than an AEM-7 could be ballasted down and regeared for handling a 100 car freight. Clearly a case of apples and oranges-

(Now I have to dig out my slides, Trenton and Princeton area, late 70s and on-)

Author:  JimBoylan [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Freight geared, 80 m.p.h.
Passenger, 90; later raised to 100.
Amtrak experimented with 110, but had problems with overheated driving wheel tires from high speed braking with Amfleet trains.

Author:  filmteknik [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

The topic of GG1's comes up so often one might think maybe a group could be formed to conduct a careful evaluation of the condition of each survivor (as much as can be done without disassembly) with a goal of getting one to run. In addition to general condition, condition of the truck and main frames, some sort of preliminary electrical testing could be done on the 12 motors.

Maybe there is one where the frames are in acceptable condition--it's not necessary that they be good enough for 100 MPH operation.

My understanding is that the transformers are gone from all but 4800 which had an airblast xformer, not oil cooled. To run any of the others would require either replacement of the electrical system with some sort of alternative (for example if someone had saved the guts of an E60C one could wire up just 6 of the 12 motors--choosing the 6 in best condition) OR construction of a new transformer to fully restore the best condition G to as-built condition.

(If you wanted to run a G under 600VDC trolley wire like at a museum it gets easier as you can install trolley apparatus if you can find room and arrange for the resistors to be cooled. The AC traction motors should be fine on DC. You'd need an MG set and air compressor for this power source, too.)

Recreating the original transformer would be fantastically expensive to do commercially but maybe possible as a long term project for a group made up of some professionals who know what they're doing with some non pro help and donated winding equipment. That's if the plans exist. It would be a big project just stamping out all the laminations but not beyond pro-am machinists.

As I recall from photos the transformers were covered with switchgear and that's all gone too and a new one would need that too.

No doubt this is a huge project. But nothing is impossible. It just takes time and buckets of money. Even full repair of frame cracking with preheating and annealing is not impossible.


Author:  JimBoylan [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Do GG-1s have AC-only induction motors or somewhat universal motors with brushes and commutators?

Author:  G. W. Laepple [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

The PRR's Wilmington Electric Shop had a gas-fired annealing furnace large enough to accommodate the frame of a GG-1. However, during the twilight years of the GG-1's careers, officials were reluctant to fire up the furnace because it was very costly to operate. Therefore, welded repairs were made without benefit of proper annealing. I have seen several G frames sporting large cross-section round steel rods welded in parallel rows on each side of the pedestal jaws and on the pedestal coil spring pockets to hold things together. I've seen similar stiffeners added to the spring pockets on AAR switcher trucks, too.

Author:  filmteknik [ Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

GG-1 motors are brush / commutator basically the same as a DC motor but with some changes in the design to enable them to run on low frequency AC. I believe they would run even better on DC though I have no idea how they would feel about any sort of funky waveform put out by some more modern electronics.

Induction motors for traction before the modern era of computer controlled inverters was rare since they result in fixed speeds (or a selection of a few fixed speeds). Some examples would be GN's original Cascade Tunnel electrification and early N&W. I'm guessing no induction motor locomotives survive.


Author:  NYCRRson [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

G. W. Laepple wrote;

“The PRR's Wilmington Electric Shop had a gas-fired annealing furnace large enough to accommodate the frame of a GG-1.”

I wondered if the mighty PRR even had a furnace big enough to pre-heat and then anneal the frame of a GG1 for proper welding. I now know that they did. They had a lot of cool stuff (from an engineer’s perspective) including the only stationary locomotive dynamometer (a set of upside down wheels in the floor of the test plant where they could run a FULL SIZED loco at FULL SPEED) in the world (ok, maybe just in the USA).

But that still leaves two large practical problems;

The expense of tearing the loco down to the bare frames (removing the cab, axles, motors, etc.),

And finding welders that wanted to get close enough to a 20 ton steel casting that was heated to 500-800 degrees. I bet they did not get a lot of volunteers for that job!

Still one thing to remember, the PRR had the highest passenger train mile figures for all of the railroads during the heydays of the GG1’s. Yes some western roads had longer routes, but far fewer trains. I still think that the GG1’s where literally run until they started to reach the lifetime of a steel casting. Granted Cast Iron is tougher than steel, but only when you are pushing on it (compressive strength). Steel is still the most economical railroad material from a perspective of compressive/tensile strength, cost and overall lifetime.

Yes indeed, in an ideal world a weld CAN have the same strength as the original material. But that is rarely achieved in the real world.

Cheers, Kevin.

Author:  Howard P. [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

A few days before the last operation of GG1s by NJ Transit in October 1983, I shot 4877 at South Amboy with fresh (orange-red flash-rusted) weld on a few places on the main (driver) frames-- top corners of pedestal legs, etc. It was obvious they were simply patching them up for a few more miles, the same way that steam power had been glued together for a few more miles by many roads 30 years before.

I'd guess that when a G showed frame cracking during a monthly or annual inspection at Wilmington, a decision was made to repair or retire the loco. No evidence of any frame crack-related wrecks or derailments that was well-known in my neck of the woods (NY Division).

OK, it's 2015 and some sugar daddy has funded the complete rebuild of 4877 with modern guts. Where will it run? On the NEC?

And if I'm proved wrong, I will be there with the 4x5 and glorious black & white film....

Howard P.
Pyranol, NJ

Author:  joe6167 [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

After examing those photos of the GG! frame and Quill drive, I was suprised to learn that the turning force on the driving wheels was actually applied to the spokes on the driving wheels as opposed to a gear on the axle. I wonder what effect that would have had on the life of the wheels.

Author:  G. W. Laepple [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

While it may be heresy to those who bleed Tuscan red, the PRR's locomotive maintenance philosophy was to run the locomotive as long as possible between overhauls. Many PRR veterans I've spoken with over the years, both enginemen and shop workers, have confirmed this. I've heard of engines patched together enough to get them to the next terminal, in the hope that a pending failure would be repaired elsewhere.

In the waning years of steam, when the PRR leased locomotives from other roads such as the Reading, RF&P, Western Maryland and Santa Fe, the engines were often returned in barely functional condition, filthy dirty, leaking, and missing components. Following the Penn Central merger, when the Delaware & Hudson began running trains between Wilkes-Barre and Enola/Harrisburg, D&H diesels often returned home minus cab seats, radios and other accessories, even windshield wiper blades. It was no different for the G's. The attitude seemed to be "let's patch it up enough to make another few trips; we all know they're running on borrowed time."

Author:  Stationary Steam [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

If the goal of an operation restoration was not to run it on the NEC but rather to run on some 600 VDC catenary in a museum setting, then I think it would be possible to do with a reasonable amount of work.

With the traction motors being universal motors, operation on DC is possible. That basically turns the G into a very big trolley car. Instead of using resistor banks to vary the voltage I would probably go with the Ward Leonard system and install a motor generator set. Two EMD generators would do the job, coupled together. The 22 point controller would be reconfigured to actuate a series of contacts providing increasing field voltage to the generator. All of the locomotive's functions would be identical to 11000 VAC operation, except running at a lower 600 VDC.

I think it would be an interesting project. Would this not make for the ultimate "engineer for an hour" experience? The opportunity to move a GG1 under its own power over a mile or two of overhead.

Author:  baldwin [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

In the book Pennsy Electric Years it says that the PRR P-5's suffered the same problems with the truck frames cracking. It also said that in their last days of operation that the trucks and running gear were painted once a month to hide the cracks from the Federal Man.

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