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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 11:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 267
Preston,

Thank you for sharing this insight. I don't think this information is available anywhere else.

I have a follow up question about the interaction between EMD and the EL. Was EMD providing technical guidance under contract to the EL in developing this program, or was this an innovation led by Mr. Melius with the EL?

In my experience from recent years, it would be rare to see a program like this advance without multiple layers of technical support contracts. From the description here, it seems as though this was a cooperative interaction that improved asset innovation at a relatively low cost in a short amount of time. 


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2024 5:33 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 2031
Although EMD would have liked to sell the EL more SD45’s to replace the E8’s, they would have helped the railroad with the program. The technical assistance was generally provided at no charge. Looking at the railroad-issued supplement to the operating manual, I can see how they could have made this system work. They added the current limiting relay so that hitting main generator current limit with speed decreasing, as when climbing a grade, would cut off feed to the throttle switches, drop out main generator field, and pick up the over-riding solenoid in the governor. This would idle the engine, dissipate generator field, and drive the load regulator to minimum field. Combined with the EMD E9 transition circuit, this drops the system into series connection, and the engine would smoothly re-apply power and generator field after the current limiting relay has dropped out. Thus you have a locomotive with fully automatic transition, you put the selector lever in position one and do not have to touch it again.

You can see why EMD would be reluctant to promote this kind of conversion program to their other customers. They wanted railroads to trade in passenger E-units on new freight locomotives, not convert them for freight service.

PC


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 267
This is a testament to a different time in our business culture, when corporations looked to build their brand reputation by building durable products that could be serviced and adapted by the end user. This is a relatively small case study, but it offers an perspective that addresses a wider issue that has broader relevance to our economy today.

George Elwood's rr-fallenflags.org has a 1973 EL data sheet for its E8 locomotives, noting the class designation of these units (FE-22-4). Note too the difference in minimum continuous speed, tractive effort at minimum continuous speed, and starting tractive effort and the differences between two groups of unit in the FE-22-4 class.

https://rr-fallenflags.org/el/loco/e8-t.html


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2024 3:31 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 2031
The EMD corporate attitude in the 1970s was truly part of a different century. When I started work there, I asked the boss why there were no copyright notices on many EMD publications. He replied that was intentional, to encourage customers to copy and share public information that supported our product maintenance and sales effort. In our current century I have reminded subsequent owners of that on several occasions.

Remember the days when railroads washed the locomotives every time they went through the fuel track?

PC


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2024 11:43 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: B'more Maryland
Was there an actual advantage to not having automatic backwards transition for passenger power, or was it just a cost savings thing?

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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2024 1:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
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Giving the engineer control of when to allow backward transition reduced the risk of passenger injuries due to unnecessary slack bunching and run-out in the train, particularly when operating with a single unit. Railroads often set transition on E-units so that the two engines would avoid making transition simultaneously.

PC


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2024 5:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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This has been kind of an interesting discussion. Wondered how many EMD E units are in tourist or museum service (short runs) and the experience of those operators running them.

Les

(see the thread "EMD E's in museum or tourist service" for further discussion on this)


Last edited by Les Beckman on Thu Feb 29, 2024 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2024 10:12 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 1118
Location: B'more Maryland
PCook wrote:
Giving the engineer control of when to allow backward transition reduced the risk of passenger injuries due to unnecessary slack bunching and run-out in the train, particularly when operating with a single unit. Railroads often set transition on E-units so that the two engines would avoid making transition simultaneously.

PC


Interesting. That makes sense. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2024 11:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm
Posts: 209
Mr. Cook... back in the 1960's, my mom worked with a lady who's husband was an EMD field service technician for the MKT in Parsons Ks.
The Katy had purchased some new loco's back then and he was down here to get the shop forces up to speed on those new engines.
The guys name was Richard (Dick) Evans.

I was enthralled with trains and had a model railroad. Upon learning that, Dick would present me with odd EMD logo'd items, to my delight. An EMD tie clip with an SD45 loco on it... an SD45 service manual... and on and on. Pretty heady stuff for some young kid who'd never seen anything with 6 axles.

Anyhow, his tour of duty with the Katy must have been fulfilled, because they left here and moved back to Des Plaines and I never heard from them again. I have always hoped to find someone who knew him to find out what became of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 4:59 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 2031
When I worked in La Grange, I encountered documents that he had originated, but he is not shown on any phone lists that I retained from the plant. I will ask the few remaining survivors from those years whether they have any information.

We have lost so many people from the 1970s now.

PC


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ELRR-825-E8A-MARION-OH-1972-P-COOK.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 12:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 993
Location: Warren, PA
Coming of age as a railfan in 1972-80, but not having a car until '74, gave me access to PC locally - which was then in a state of rapid deterioration, poor morale, and worse service.

Then I discovered EL locally, between Salamanca NY and Meadville, PA. As a Santa Fe fan, and having travelled on it, I knew what 'good railroad' was and how it operated. EL was even a 'hot railroad' after Agnes, at least in the Mahoning Division, and there was a lot of pride in the ranks. And just plain fast. Good track, superelevated curves, manned towers, new SD45-2's, U-33C's, yet the random E-units, F's, Alco RS's., and the biggest flat-switching yard I've ever seen at Meadville. I'm just grateful I got to see it then.

Even today I'm still stunned how rapidly it was downgraded and killed off, we worked hard to save what's left as WNYP, but the ghosts are still everywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2024 9:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2023 1:55 pm
Posts: 39
I've always heard the E units are much more difficult for tourist/museum lines due to the wheels then also something about gearing, and 2x prime movers. happy to be corrected and would like to learn more specifically why they are hard to deal with less the obvious of no 36 in wheels to be found.

I remember reading something that it seemed for a bit NS might help substantially rebuild an ex SOU E8 at either TVRM, SERM, or NCTM. forgot the details now.


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 Post subject: Re: Erie Lackawanna E8A Freight Conversion Program
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2024 7:10 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 2031
Following up on some items here.

I contacted several EMD retirees to ask about Dick Evans. He dropped out of view in the early 1970s and nobody had any further information.

I agree with Randy, in many respects the Erie-Lackawanna was the Santa Fe of the East, the business attitude and professionalism of the two railroads was quite similar. EMD people were treated well on both roads, and many people you met there became friends for life.

At the other end of the scale were Penn Central and Southern Pacific, two railroads where you were usually treated as poorly as the railroad looked and operated.

Photo: Harold Stone and Richard Byrd servicing steam generator water on an EL Business Train at Marion. The name of the third person is lost in my memory, will add him later if I remember.

PC


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