MU Musings

northeast45.e
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Joined: 3:57 AM - May 20, 2003

9:50 AM - Oct 24, 2003 #1

MU operations are a way of life in railroading, and have been for 50+ years, and then some! It gives you the magic of flexibility in operations.
We are all aware of the MU capable units in the NH inventory....GP-9 PA FA/B SW-1200....yada yada yada
How about the "older types? EP-3 EP-4 S-1 RS-1, and so on... were they originally (or modified to) MU capability? When I was a kid it was common to see 3 or 4 EF-1/ 2's towing a freight thru Milford. Were they originally designed for MU operation ?
The more I learn, the "curiouser" I get....
Thanks, Bob Tracy (Brrrrr! - in Bedford, NH)
PS Would it be accurate to say that the EMD GP-7 was the first mass production, designed from the ground up, MU operation locomotive??
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Dick Brion
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Joined: 6:22 AM - May 31, 2003

10:00 AM - Oct 24, 2003 #2

Bob - help me understand your question. Don't EMD FT's and ALCO DL109's qualify as mass produced diesels with MU capability? GP7's "designed from the ground up" true they were, but the FT's were also originally meant to operate in AB+BA pair units. I am only speaking to the MUing of similar units.
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Statkowski
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Joined: 4:39 AM - Mar 05, 2003

10:22 AM - Oct 24, 2003 #3

EMD's BL-2s, which predated the GP-7s, were also M.U. equipped, both fore and aft. Alco RS-1s, which predated both, were also M.U. equipped.
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Noel Weaver
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Joined: 2:23 AM - Feb 18, 2003

12:57 PM - Oct 24, 2003 #4

The earliest locomotives on the New Haven Railroad to
MU were the pony motors, the Westinghouse freight jeeps, the Westinghouse passenger motors and the flat
bottoms (350's) although I do not every recall seeing
the flatbottoms MU'd.
Of course, the earliest diesels to MU were the DL-109's(0700 class).
The factors that govern MU capability were: brake
equipment, jumpers (21 point or 27 point), transition
(manual or automatic) and in the case of passenger
service the presence of steam lines and whistle lines
in all of the units.
Alco switchers on the New Haven did not have MU but the
Lima-Hamilton switchers (630 class) in Maybrook did
and were MU'd as necessary. The RS-1's on the New Haven had MU although on some railroads RSl-1's did not
have MU connections. RS-2's (0500's) and RS-3's 517-
561) could be MU'd together but if they were they were
restricted to 65 MPH as the RS-2's were geared for 65
and the RS-3's were geared for 80.
The rebuilt RS-3's could MU with almost anything but
in the case of an FL-9 or any other engine that did not
have a transition lever, the RS-3 had to lead as when
the engines were rebuilt by Alco, the transition was
never changed from manual to automatic. The rebuilt
RS-3's could also MU with the un-rebuilt RS-3's as they
had both 27 and 21 point jumpers and 26L brake equipment.
The rebuilt FA's could only MU with the newer road
switchers with transition levers and not with the
un-rebuilt FA's as the rebuilt FA's came back with 27
point jumpers and the un-rebuilt ones had 21 point
jumpers.
The DL-109's (0700-0759), PA's (0760-0786) and C-Liners (790-799) could MU with each other although I
do not ever recall seeing a DL-109 matched up with a
C Liner, these three classes of locomotives had
automatic transition and no selector levers. On some
railroads PA's had selector levers but not on the New
Haven.
If an rebuilt RS-3 happened to MU with an FL-9, it
would have to be the controlling unit as the FL-9 had
no means of handling the manual transition on the
trailing unit.
I hope this is helpful.
This is the third time that I have tried to post this
to our forum.
Noel Weaver
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northeast45.e
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Joined: 3:57 AM - May 20, 2003

1:01 PM - Oct 24, 2003 #5

Dick,
Thanks for the correction....FT's totally slipped my my mind. As for BL-2 and DL-109 types; In a way you're correct, although it depends greatly on your definition of "mass production"..... There's no doubt about the FT's under any definition, but weren't fewer than 100 DL-109's built? I don't know about BL-2's
Anyway your point(s) are well taken.....thanx
Did the GP-7 pre date the F-3 or FA/B ?
Bob Tracy
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Guest
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1:50 PM - Oct 24, 2003 #6

At first I thought this thread would be about Washboards, MUTTS and other self-propelled electric passenger equipment!
While there were 74 DL-109s (NH had 60 of those) and IIRC about 50 BL-2s built, the construction methods were the same as for more common locomotives (the BL-2 is basically a cut-down F unit after all).
Both the FT and RS-1 are pre-WWII and both capable of MU operation.
Pieter

Noel Weaver
Member
Joined: 2:23 AM - Feb 18, 2003

2:04 PM - Oct 24, 2003 #7

I should have mentioned that not all RS-1's and RS-2's
were capable of MU operation. The Long Island for
example had two batches of RS-1's, the 460 class and
the low numbered 460's were for passenger service on
the Oyster Bay Branch and were not equipped with MU
while the higher numbered ones were intended for freight operation and were equipped for MU. I saw
three of these leaving Riverhead many years ago with a
large train of Long Island potatoes and they sounded
like a pair of DL-109's leaving Berlin.
Noel Weaver
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northeast45.e
Member
Joined: 3:57 AM - May 20, 2003

8:18 AM - Oct 25, 2003 #8

Once again,
I want to thank these many knowledgeable forum members for their vast amount of facts and experiences.
It often gels into a coherent mass that makes my question sound quite feeble....oh well (I'm only a railFAN)
Noel never fails to amaze me with his knowledge of ops and recent NH history.
This all leaves me with 2 questions;
A) What does "transition" mean, manual or automatic?
B)"Pony motors" Are those the short boxcab freight locos with numbers usually under 100? I saw many of them thru Milford as a kid (MU'd on freights)
Bob Tracy
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Statkowski
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Joined: 4:39 AM - Mar 05, 2003

8:47 AM - Oct 25, 2003 #9

Bob:
Rather than try to explain "transition" on a diesel-electric locomotive, the following is a website that explains it in detail (complete with pictures?) in terms that we all (including me) can understand: www.sdrm.org/roster/diese..._fund.html
The terms "manual" and "automatic" transition are, I believe, self-explanatory. In the former, the engine operator has to do it himself (or herself nowadays). In the latter, the engine operator doesn't have to do anything except enjoy the scenery.
The low-numbered freight engines you saw so many years ago (lucky you) were EF-1s, also known as Jeeps. The Pony Motors were EP-1s, originally built with a B+B wheel arrangement, subsequently having pony trucks (making them 1-B+B-1s) added to improve their tracking abilities. When the "Pony" trucks were added, they became Pony Motors.
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northeast45.e
Member
Joined: 3:57 AM - May 20, 2003

9:42 AM - Oct 25, 2003 #10

Thanks a bunch Henry,
Once again I've been edified...by the real NH guys.
I found that website explanation super...I understood it quite well....never had a clue!(previously)
I've been on every kind of train from "the California Zephyr" to the "1:05P to New Haven..........but always in the back! The lone exception is the first seat in the M2 cars if you can get it. Most engineers kept the door closed, but you can still hear the radio.
NEVER been in a cab, I'm sorry to say.
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