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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:49 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 90
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Thanks for the info Dieselloco. I know that the trackage at the fort was rebuilt in the early 90's, then never used (except by you!). We drive by twice a year to and from the East coast and it simply amazes me the apparent uselessness of the Government giving up that place. With all of the old and recently rebuilt bunkers covering every square inch of land what else could it be used for? Makes no apparent sense. Anyway the locomotive still sits there. If I get a chance I'll look to see if the stacks are covered- I doubt if they are. Ned


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9312
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Living in northern Arizona (though not as high as the Transcon) and having suffered through a year of bone-dry weather with one significant set of snowfalls--even the monsoons didn't cooperate this summer--I wouldn't fret very much about uncovered stacks. Now, decades, maybe--but this is the climate they send planes to for long-term storage, after all.

West of Flagstaff there's another military base with a connection to the Transcon, Camp Navajo at Bellemont. That base supposedly still rosters one or two BLH military RS4TC's and/or a GP9/10. I strongly suspect what (VERY) little inbound and outbound military rail traffic is in the region is going there; the vagaries of military base work is a factor of everything from local population to availability of contractors to political winds and whims, as we saw with the whole BRAC program some years back.


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:14 am
Posts: 252
So what is it about the FMs that make them so scarce in operating condition? There are many FM engines still powering ships, tugs and other comercial vessels (although their numbers are shrinking). I know the prime movers are a unique animal and have many quirks, but is there other design features of the locomotive that makes them difficult to maintain? Just curious. I have never been on, in or around one.


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 510
Location: Illinois
EWrice wrote:
So what is it about the FMs that make them so scarce in operating condition? There are many FM engines still powering ships, tugs and other comercial vessels (although their numbers are shrinking). I know the prime movers are a unique animal and have many quirks, but is there other design features of the locomotive that makes them difficult to maintain? Just curious. I have never been on, in or around one.


They were always a "Minority" builder, only 460 locomotives built, total, and they haven't built a locomotive for US service since 1958. It's not that they are difficult to maintain, it's just that buyers of used locomotives tend to buy what they know, and most of them just don't know anything about maintaining a FM.

Jeff

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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Philadelphia, PA
An additional note on the scarcity of FM's is that railroads disliked the OP's immensely. To access the inside of the cylinders you have to remove the upper crankshaft and its pistons.

On the other hand marine users love their OP's; I guess they don't see a reason to routinely access the inside of the cylinders and in doing so remove the upper crankshaft and its pistons.

When railroads retired FM's you could see the boat people lined up to get the OP's out of the locomotives.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:08 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Alberta, Canada
Another reason that FM locomotives did not last is that the OP engines did not do well when subjected to the typical duty cycle of a locomotive.

The OP engine does very well when run under heavy load all the time, as in marine or stationary generator use. It does not do well when idled for long periods of time, which is how locomotives spend much of their time. The exact reasons behind this can be better explained by others much smarter than I.

I did have an interesting conversation about 2-stroke diesels in general with a visitor at our Museum a couple years ago. While showing him a EMD engine with some access covers removed he mentioned working at a industrial plant that had FM engines for backup generators. He said that you never had to change the oil because they would burn a gallon per cylinder every 24 hours when running at full RPM. But as long as you kept adding oil they would run forever.

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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:14 am
Posts: 252
Jdelhaye wrote:
EWrice wrote:
So what is it about the FMs that make them so scarce in operating condition? There are many FM engines still powering ships, tugs and other comercial vessels (although their numbers are shrinking). I know the prime movers are a unique animal and have many quirks, but is there other design features of the locomotive that makes them difficult to maintain? Just curious. I have never been on, in or around one.


They were always a "Minority" builder, only 460 locomotives built, total, and they haven't built a locomotive for US service since 1958. It's not that they are difficult to maintain, it's just that buyers of used locomotives tend to buy what they know, and most of them just don't know anything about maintaining a FM.

Jeff


I did not realize they built that few units. I can see where the OP design would severely magnify the issues inherent with 2 stroke diesels run under light loads/throttle. The old detroits had a reputation of being leaky oil burners, but most of the ones I work on in boats are pretty darn clean. Unless they troll all day.


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 419
EJ Berry wrote:
An additional note on the scarcity of FM's is that railroads disliked the OP's immensely. To access the inside of the cylinders you have to remove the upper crankshaft and its pistons.

On the other hand marine users love their OP's; I guess they don't see a reason to routinely access the inside of the cylinders and in doing so remove the upper crankshaft and its pistons.

When railroads retired FM's you could see the boat people lined up to get the OP's out of the locomotives.

Phil Mulligan


The only thing you have to remove the upper crank for is to change liners. The upper rods and pistons will come out through the lower crankcase covers.

The number of Marine OP's is shrinking very, very fast. There is only one operating tug in NY Harbor with an OP (which is only a spare boat), one workboat, and one museum boat. They are very expensive engines to maintain. The company I used to work for did a rebuild on one in the tug we had at the time, and spent more on the engine then the entire boat was worth. Thankfully the OP we have at work now plays nice. Does not even suck down oil..

Stationary OP's are still pretty popular, and FM even introduced a new OP line just a few months ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:49 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
Posts: 202
They've recently died on the Great Lakes, too. Were a popular engine choice for Canadian construction for a decade or so after the steam turbine fell out of favor in the mid 1960's.

That era for traditional Great Lakes bulk carriers powered by opposed piston engines from Fairbanks Morse ended on January 1, 2018 when the Algoway laid up for the last time. Then the final OP's were silenced when the cement carrier Stephen B. Roman (Converted from a CSL package freighter) departed the St. Lawrence Seaway in November 2018 under her own power bound for Aliaga in Turkey for scrapping.

Unless there's a tug I don't know about on the Great Lakes, the once commonplace sounds of FM's opposed piston engine is now extinct on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

Edit: I forgot about the CCGS Griffon which handles icebreaking on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. Still has her four 38D8-1/8-12 diesels. And the US Coast Guard stations most of their Bay class tug icebreakers around the Great Lakes (Each powered by a pair of 8 cylinder OP's).


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:04 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 419
There is a handful of tugs on the lakes with OP's still, but not many. As you mentioned, the CG ice breakers are OP powered (Diesel Electric to boot). I don't know how many large cutters have FM's in them anymore, but I doubt its many.

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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 883
Location: NJ
The Hamilton class of 378 foot USCG cutters had OPs, as well as gas turbines for sprinting (CODAG), but I'm not sure how many are even left in service. The Cape May-Lewes ferries were built with OPs, but at least one, MV Delaware, was re-engined with a pair of EMD 710s a few years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 or H20-44
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:34 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1193
One of the principal reasons typically given for the 'scarcity' of FM locomotives is that they had a long, bitter strike just at the time railroads were discovering high-power single-unit locomotives. Things might have been different if they could fill orders quickly at what turned out to be a critical time.

The market failure for the Speed Merchant locomotives was also unfortunate. Those and the Ingalls Shipbuiilding 2000hp unit with Bowes drive would have been interesting contenders for lightweight, fast streamlined trains -- in the era that was fast evolving by the late Forties when the Naperville crash and consequent ICC automatic train-control order stopped the party.

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