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that involved no “aerial” work on other diesel engines. This type of work had never been much of a problem in a sub- marine because the engine room deck height was about midway up the side of the engine, but it was a particularly un- popular feature of the engine when used in a locomotive. This drawback of the FM opposed piston engines was one of

the features that Baldwin had

sought to rectify in their unsuccessful competitive OP engine design by mak- ing the liners removable through the side structure of the engine. In comparison with the substantial amount of work required to pull a cylin- der liner on the OP engine, both the EMD 567 and the Alco 244 had been de- signed around easily handled cylinder components that could be changed out with relatively minimal tooling and effort. In fact EMD maintained service technicians and replacement cylinder assemblies for some time on several of the early streamlined passenger trains, and they could dump the coolant and change out a cylinder power assembly on a shut down engine if it became necessary.

The relative ease with

which this could be done on the EMD 567 also allowed EMD engineers to change out pairs of cylinder assemblies (across the engine from each other) as needed for engineering evaluation during the short servicing layovers at the end of a trip. The FM engine simply did

not provide for such speed in cylinder liner removal.

Another drawback for the FM engine in railroad service was the duty cycle in many railroad freight operations. Diesel engines are designed to be worked hard — very few diesels do well when idled for long periods — and this was particularly true of the Fairbanks

Morse OP. The 38D-8-1/8 engine was at its best when it was operated under heavy load and relatively constant high speed as this provided the firing pres- sure in the cylinders to keep the rings in good contact with the liners, result- ing in clean combustion and minimal carbon buildup. In locomotives, the en- gine performed well in service that had a high load factor, applications like long-distance passenger trains and freight transfer runs where a lot of the distance was covered at relatively high throttle settings. When the OP engine got into a lot of idling it didn’t do near- ly as well, such as in situations where engines were idled in cold weather for the weekend at outlying points on the railroad just to keep them from freez- ing. When the duty factor dropped off, the oil control in the engine could then deteriorate. If the piston rings got coat- ed with sludge and varnish, they would tend to peel it off and bake it at the ex- haust ports, partially obstructing the ports. When the crew arrived on Mon- day morning, their first throttle manip- ulation was likely to result in the rail- road yard disappearing in a cloud of blue smoke, with the engine throwing sparks and chunks of burning carbon for some time afterwards. This obvious- ly wasn’t very good for the engine but it was even worse for the railroad’s neigh- bors, particularly during dry seasons when the carbon could set fires along the right of way. But the biggest hurdle encountered in the market by the Fairbanks Morse locomotives was the same experienced by Baldwin and Lima. They weren’t an EMD or an Alco, they were just plain “different,” particularly when they had Westinghouse

electrical equipment. EMD and Alco-GE engines and electri-

cal equipment were the established gold standard in railroading. Anything else on the system had to prove that it was markedly better or cost less to op- erate, otherwise it was just something else that everybody had to learn to maintain and to support with replace- ment parts. And as dieselization re- duced the size of the workforce, learn- ing new and different systems was a time consuming distraction from the more urgent business at hand. As a re- sult, the FM locomotives tended to do well if they could be concentrated at particular shops on the railroad for maintenance, as was done by the Mil- waukee Road and the Chicago & North Western. When they had to wander a large railroad system in company with EMD’s and Alcos, any problem requir- ing maintenance attention tended to make them last in line at the shop.

Competitive Trends

In 1945 FM introduced their first “covered wagon” style road locomotives to compete with industry leader EMD. This was at a time when the Electro- Motive FT was the predominant

Fairbanks Morse patents reveal an interesting mystery. Patent Des.149,573 filed October 5, 1946, credits the carbody design of the H20-44 to Raymond Loewy, but patent Des.149,553 filed on the same date lists Fritz Paul Grutzner as the inventor of a similar carbody for another locomotive that appears likely to be an H20-66. AUTHOR’S COLLECTION


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