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434C The 434C sat coupled to EMD’s test car at the Santa Fe Engine Shop in Kansas City (Argentine) in 1966. Notice the early three-brake cylinder Flexicoil trucks and the flared body. — Louis A. Marre collection


tomers in a commercial pack- age appropriate to the advancing technology, EMD began produc- ing a small fleet of 645-engine testbed locomotives in 1964. The first of these to appear was EMD 434, built in late 1964 on an SD35 underframe using the prototype 16-645E3 engine with an AR10 traction alternator. EMD fitted the locomotive with three 48-inch cooling fans rather than the two 48-inch and one 36-inch fans used on production SD35 locomotives to accommodate the greater heat rejection of the 645 engine. Following its use in the product development program, EMD sold this locomotive to Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.


Then in 1965, EMD turned


out pre-SD40 locomotives 434A– 434F built on SD35 frames but with “flared” radiator housings and three 48-inch cooling fans. The extended radiator housings allowed the use of a wider radia- tor core than on the 434, although the actual radiator mounting in- side the carbody on all these lo- comotives is at an angle. EMD carried the flared radiator feature


72 RAILROAD MODEL CRAFTSMAN


into its SD45 locomotive in 1966. EMD sold units 434A–434H to Union Pacific Railroad.


The final testbed locomotive for the 645 engine program was pre- GP40 number 433A, which also featured the flared radiator hous- ings. Illinois Central purchased this locomotive from EMD. GM Photographic extensive- ly photographed the travels of these experimental units onboard the locomotives, as well as from the ground and helicopters. The footage formed the basis for the 1966 film “Research Rides the Rails,” which was made available through the General Motors Film Library. Numerous high school technical programs and college engineering classes showed the film as an overview of a research program leading to a new product introduction.


Although all the field testing programs had been conducted with turbocharged engines, the 645 engine product line introduc- tion in 1966 also featured 8-, 12-, and 16-cylinder Roots blower en- gines that were an extension of corresponding 567 models. The


turbo 645 line included 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-cylinder models. In addition, EMD would occasion- ally honor specific requests for a six-cylinder version of the 645 crankcase that could be used as a replacement if a customer had a six-cylinder 567 engine in an SW-1 switcher that was too bad- ly damaged for an economical repair.


Despite several years of ad- vance development and thou- sands of miles of practical test- ing, the 645 engine experienced some problems in early produc- tion, many of which were related to welding assembly of the en- gine crankcases. In the first few years of service, the 20-cylinder engines developed instances of weld failure at the No. 11 crank- shaft supporting “A” frame. This was a forged structural compo- nent that was welded to the low- er stress sheet of the crankcase. This flat-welded intersection sometimes developed cracks in service. EMD introduced a unit exchange replacement program for any failed crankcases, as well as increased the size and number


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