Railway Preservation News

GG-1 & Other Electrics
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Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

filmteknik wrote:
2) Saying something is beating a dead horse is basically saying a particular discussion should not be happening. As no one is forcing anyone to read this thread I take issue with anyone telling anyone not to talk about something so long as it is on topic with this board.

Those of us who have been here for a decade or more know that this topic comes up every year or two. Different person, same fantasy.

With exactly the same arguments. With exactly the same problems raised. With exactly the same reality and results. If there were a FAQ here, that topic would no doubt lead. The forum has a "search" function. (I'm not sure, but I think this is the third time I've brought up the AEM7-rebuild story.)

IF IRM is bold enough to carry out a "kitbash" rewiring of their GG1 so it can move under IRM catenary, it will happen regardless (or in spite of) of what we say here. They are competent enough to avoid the "hey, kids! let's wire 'er up to run on the IC in Chicago!" delusions.

I, for one, don't have any problem with well-thought-out, well-reasoned technical discussions on what's possible and not. But sometimes we're forced to "call a spade a spade," and simply acknowledge that we're not going to see UP restore a Big Boy for excursions, or a GG1 hauling an Amtrak excursion, at least not in the current economic, metallurgical, and regulatory environments. That's not "negativity" or "dream-squashing," it's putting the dreams in proper perspective. I'm not going to cheer on the deluded person that keeps insisting "This week, my system will win the lottery for sure!" after they've been wrong 384 weeks in a row.

Author:  Stationary Steam [ Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

You can always not visit this thread if the topic is of no interest to you. I don't care if the same topic is discussed a dozen times. Each time it happens there are different people who partipate and perhaps new information is presented.

You don't know everything Alex.

Author:  wilkinsd [ Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

I for one can understand Mr. Mitchell's cynicism, and also understand those, such as Mr. Stationary Steam, who want to keep this discussion going. However, the subject does seem to come up, under a different thread every few years. As such, contributors move on, people don't participate, and information gets lost.

Why don't we make the GG1 thread a "sticky" at the top of the forum? Combine the other numerous "why doesn't a GG1 run" threads into this one sticky? I'm serious. That way, it's always there, so those who want to participate in it, can, others can ignore it, and it keeps from new threads being made on the same subject.

Those who want to contribute, or add new information can, and also keep the contributions of those who have provided information in the past. It's a handy resource. Plus, donors, including the Amherst Railroad Society donated money to RYPN, so we could access the old form postings. Why not put it to use?

Author:  Mr. Ed [ Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

I like the sticky idea!

Mr. Ed

Author:  filmteknik [ Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Yes, other than there are getting to be a lot of stickies already. Maybe there can be an entirely separate Dead Horse forum. What else goes in there? Here's what I've got:

1) Restore or kitbash-operate a GG-1.
2) Restore and operate a Big Boy.
3) Can we scratchbuild a big time USA steam design (e.g. J3A Hudson)?
4) What's the deal with the two Baldwin Sharks?

Now truly a dead horse: What engine should replace 261?

Anything else?



Author:  davew833 [ Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

A few months ago I suggested a sticky for new members that crop up and their first post is something like: "I saw XXXX steam enigne in the park today and how muc would it cost to get it runing again thx." (misspellings intentional on my part)

Also there's a certain disassembled PRR steam engine whose number I dare not mention...

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

".....and one time, during Band Camp, I saw a steam locomotive in a flooded quarry..........."

[hides in the bunker]

Author:  Stationary Steam [ Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Some of us just need our occasional GG1/NYC Hudson/PRR 1361/Quarry locomotive fix! Nothing wrong with that that I see. Apparently, judging by the fact that we are on the fifth page of this thread, quite a few people want to talk about this issue.

Ever since the Tornado was built and a brand new roundhouse built in Ohio, can anyone now honestly say that restoring/building any piece of equipment is impossible? The impossible does happen.

All threads die, and this one will as well. It may have already died by now if Alex had not brought up the dead horse. Funny how complaining about a thread tends to help keep it alive!

Author:  Wowak [ Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Sometimes its fun to talk about impossible things, like rewiring a GG1, building a NYC Hudson from scratch, finding a Hiawatha 4-4-2 in a barn, an 0-6-0 in a quarry, 1361 running again, etc...

Most of our beloved beasts are put away for the winter.. I'm ok with a little bit of B.S.ing to keep us all involved.

Author:  EDM [ Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Its all my fault! Didn't I say in the fifth post on page one of this thread to not go there? Ah, human nature-

Now, about those New Haven electrics that ran on 11k and than 660 into Grand Central; didn't some of them have similar motors to the GG-1s? I have to do some research later today, but I recall reading (Middleton?) that there was a lot of common machinery. Still, the only real place ro run a GG-1 is in it's native habitat.

Author:  Dougvv [ Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

I asked GM or GE in the 1970's when I was in college about why the car body of the GG1 could not be used as a "starting point" for a new engine design with something like a set of diesel trucks under it.

The response I received is that most railroads then did not want carbodies like the GG1 since workers could go inside and goof off and not be seen.

Odd response that is not the full answer since the newer "Brick on wheels" type of electrics predominate and not the E44 type hood unit.

Oh Well.

Doug vV

Author:  Bob Davis [ Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Even though I'm a native Californian who only saw an operable GG-1 once (while visiting New Jersey), I find these discussions interesting, even if they could be construed by some as "comic relief". After a day of repairing an elderly streetcar or locomotive and pondering some of the serious issues facing the preservation community, it's sometimes a break from the "real world" to contemplate some of these "railfantasies". It bears some resemblance to the "Hot Stove League" where baseball fans fantasize during the off-season. The main focus of RYPN should be discussion of how to restore and maintain electric, steam and diesel relics of bygone railroading, but a bit of "sand house chatter" shouldn't hurt.

Author:  robertmacdowell [ Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

I'm hearing a lot of blustering arm-waving from both detractors and proponents, that essentially talk about getting a GG1 to run again (presumably at IRM) by pretty much turning it into either an SD40 or a Birney. No.

For operating a GG1 at a railway museum, I see no reason to change ANYTHING AT ALL, except the transformer proper and possibly the tap changer. I believe those are already removed from most GG1's. And if it were me, I'd put the tap changer back in.

From there, it is a matter of engineering. You have museum 600V coming in off the pan. You need some manner of 25-cycle AC to run some accessories, and DC will do for traction motors and others. You have to sort that out and obtain/build the necessary converters, and have those systems be smart enough to know how not to overwhelm the museum's trolley power. This is becoming exponentially easier. Power electronics improve, and are driven into the hobbyist mainstream by electric-automobile homebrewing. For instance http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/0 ... oller.html

Now, a restoration doesn't even have to wait for the fancy switching electronics. You'll be retaining all the switchgear and low-voltage stuff intact, you can get started on servicing and testing it. Get batteries in the unit (well worn 8V golf cart batteries will substitute for traditional locomotive batteries, since you aren't starting a prime mover). Get a charger. Get some air to it. Now you can go over most of the controls and make sure everything goes clickety-clack correctly, meggers properly, etc.

The single best thing a person could do toward getting a GG1 operating is understanding in depth how the beast is designed to work. So they can proceed on this engineering, and the other real work needed. Such as sending traction motors out for servicing (x12!) and getting the museum's wire and overgrowth into a state for pans.

Unfortunately, I find a dominant number of railfans do not know the technicals. That in and of itself is not a problem; it's that they do not CARE about the technicals, in fact look at the technicals with disgust, something that impedes them essentially "starting from scratch" with the technologies they do know. Fine, buy an old SD40 and make a GG1 body out of fibreglass, but stay away from real GG1's.

Author:  filmteknik [ Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Okay, I'll bite.

Creating 25Hz from 600V DC via custom built high tech electronics just for the sake of the air compressor and M-G set while stuffing in in trolley apparatus for driving the motors makes little sense. Go ahead and put in a trolley 600V DC compressor and MG set too.

Does anyone happen to know what 25 Hz AC aux equipment exists aboard a GG1 besides the air compressor and a motor-generator to charge the batteries and provide control voltage?

And for that matter what is the battery / control voltage? I suspect it really doesn't much matter as the only things left might be lights and those can be swapped for ones of different voltages if need be.

Meggering the motors is a first step and perhaps the next step would be to attempt to carefully apply power from a source like a welding generator. Final step before getting too carried away with the project would be to couple a trolley car and run wires substituting a G motor for a single trolley car motor. That tests a motor under a load. The end result of all of this work is to single out 4 good motors out of the 12. If 4 good ones cannot be found then the project is cancelled.

If it works out then it's a matter of designing the installation to find places to locate the switch group, grids, controller and disturbing the original equipment as little as possible. And of course the M-G set and compressor for 600 V. Naturally the brake system would need to be gone through as well.

Sending out motors for repair is not gonna happen with the kitbash GG1 project. Maybe a big bucks "real" restoration can afford that. Motor work is very expensive to begin with and if I am not mistaken to get to GG1 motors you have to take the body off the trucks.

Even the kitbash is not a little project but not a high cost one and it doesn't seem that there are any insurmountable issues so long as 4 working motors can be found but having 12 to select from improves the odds. One also presumes the condition of the frames of the unit in question (IRM's I guess) is adequate to run at low speeds without falling apart or becoming dangerous.


Author:  Richard Glueck [ Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: GG-1 & Other Electrics

Unless it can "open up" on main line trackage, it seems a bit pointless to me. Watching a GG1 putter along a few miles of museum track is not how I remember GG1's.

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