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Alco Century 628's

Alco Century 628's

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Published by staustell92
This is a historical article about the Century 628 locomotives manufctured by Alco Products in Schenectady beginning in 1963. These 2750 horsepower locomotives were sold to freight railroads, though they were designed to be able to be used for passenger service, as well. The Delaware & Hudson purchased a fleet of 18 Alco C-628's. George Hockaday spent moch of his carrier at Alco, then at the D&H in the Mechanical Department headquartered at Colonie.
This is a historical article about the Century 628 locomotives manufctured by Alco Products in Schenectady beginning in 1963. These 2750 horsepower locomotives were sold to freight railroads, though they were designed to be able to be used for passenger service, as well. The Delaware & Hudson purchased a fleet of 18 Alco C-628's. George Hockaday spent moch of his carrier at Alco, then at the D&H in the Mechanical Department headquartered at Colonie.

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Published by: staustell92 on Sep 16, 2011
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8
THE
CALLBOARD
NEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK
&
HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.
THE
By
GeorgeHockadayandTimTruscott.
Inthelate1950's,dieselizationof Americanrailroadshadbeencompleted andthedemandfornewdiesellocomotives begantofalloff.Dieselsalesfaltered,and thesmallermanufacturers,Baldwin-Lima- HamiltonandFairbanksMorse,leftthe domesticlocomotivemanufacturingscene. Alcowastakingadvantageofagrowing exportmarket,butGeneralMotorswas supplyingupto80percentoftheshrinking domesticdieselmarket. Sincetheaverageageoftheexisting dieselfleetintheU.S.averagedlessthan tenyears,therewasnotalargemarketfor replacingworn-outdiesels.Atthesame time,manyU.S.railroadswereseekingto speedupfreightscheduleswithoutreducingthetonnageoftrains.Toaccomplish increasedspeed,higherhorsepowerwas requiredforthesametonnage.Ontheotherhand,somerailroadswereinterestedinincreasingtonnageontrainswithoutdecreasingspeed.Thisalsorequiredmore horsepower.Oneapproachtodieselsalesmighthave beentooffernewerdieseldesignsinconventionalhorsepowerrangeswhich
AlCO
couldofferlowermaintenancecosts. However,sinceU.S.taxruleswouldnot allowwritingoffexistingdieselsintenor12yearsinsteadofthedeclared20year period,reducedmaintenancewasevidently notenoughtoencouragereplacementona one-for-onebasis.Whatwasneededto stimulatelocomotivereplacementinthis environment,itseemed,wastheideaof "unitreduction":beingabletoprovidethe samehorsepowerin,say,threenewunits thathadpreviouslybeenavailableinfive. Whathappenedintheoveralldomestic diesellocomotivemarketinresponsetothe ideasofunitreductionandreducing maintenancecostsisastoryin itself.Thedomesticlocomotive marketwasmadeevenmore competitivebytheentryof Alco'sone-timepartner,General Electric,withitsU25B.ButAlco decidedthat,eventhoughthe exportmarketwasits"breadand butter"atthattime,thedomestic marketwasworthpursuing.And Alcoknewthatitcouldsqueeze morehorsepoweroutofitsModel 251enginethanEMDcouldout ofits(smaller)Model567 engine.Sohorsepowerwasgoing tobeoneofthekeystosuccess, andthehorse(power)racewas on.Finally,Alcointroducedan entirelynewlineofhigher- horsepower,lower-maintenance domesticdiesels,itsCentury series. WhenAlcoProducts announceditsnewCenturyseries oflocomotivesinChicagoon January29,1963,company presidentWilliamS.Millersaid "thenewseriesistheresultof thecompany'sresearchand
AlcoProductsbuiltfour628demonstratorunitsinMayof1964,numbered 628-1through628-4,whichweresoldaboutsixmonthslatertotheSouthernPacificandre-numbered4870through4873.(CollectionofGeorgeHockaday)
(
 
NEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK
&
HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.THECALLBOARD9
developmentprogramtomeetmarketdemandsofthefuture."HeannouncedthattheCenturyunits"aredesignedtoreplaceaginglocomotiveswithmorepoweratlesscostthanpreviousmodels,"andthattheywouldcutoperatingcostsbyasmuchas44%,comparedwith10-year-oldlocomotives.Millerfurthermorepredicted apent-updemandbytherailroadsfordiesel locomotiveswithreducedmaintenancecosts:"From5,000to6,000ofpresentunits willrequirereplacementwithinthenext fiveyears."Atthetimeofthisintroductory announcement,thethreelocomotives constitutingtheCenturyserieswerethe Century420(four-axle,fourmotor,2,000 hp),theCentury424(four-axle,four-motor, 2,400hp)andtheCentury624(six-axle,six-motor,2,400hp).Allthreemembersof thenewCenturyseries....-__.-., usedAlcoModel251,four-cycleturbosuperchargedengines:the12-cylinderversioninthe2,000-hpunitsandthe16-cylinderversioninthe2,400-hpunits.Itwasthislastdiesel,theC-624,whichwasneverbuiltasa2,400horsepowerunitbut,withinafewmonthsfromthetimeofitsJanuary1963announcement,evolvedintoa2,750horsepower,six-axleworkhorse-theCentury628.WhileAlco's12-cylinderModel251enginehadbeenusedonAIcolocomotivessince1956,thehigher-horsepower16-cylinderModel251engineusedintheC-628was,accordingtoPaulN.Strobell,vicepresidentandmanagerofAleo'sLocomotiveandEngineDivision,"precededbyfiveyearsofengineeringdesignanddevelopmentworkincludinglaboratorytesting."Aleo'shigher-capacityModel800turbosuperchargerwasusedinconjunctionwithasingle-pipestainlesssteelexhaustmanifoldandimprovedafter-coolingwithaseparateradiatorsystem.Thehigheroutputofthe251-Cengine(from2,400-hpto2,750-hp)wasmadepossiblebyseveralinternalenginechanges,accordingtoAlco,butthesechangeswerenotrevealedatthetimethe251-Cenginewasintroduced.Itisinterestingtonotethatthe2,750-hp, Model251-Cenginewasalsotobeusedin theCentury855,the5,500-horsepower, eight-axleunitbuiltbyAlcofortheUnion Pacific.TheCentury855wasnotincluded intheintroductionoftheCenturyseriesof locomotivesinJanuaryof1963,butwas announcedinthesummerof1963.This locomotive,whichhadtwo2,750- horsepowerModel251-Cenginesandwas tobeusedinthree-unit16,500-horsepower combinations,wastoutedbyAIco'sPaul Strobellasthe"largestandmostpowerful diesel-electriclocomotiveseverbuilt." ItwouldappearthatAIcowasina horsepowerracewithGeneralElectricon thisUnionPacificproject.GEhad announceditwouldprovidea5,000- horsepowerModelU50locomotive(which hadtwoengines,likeAlco'sC-855)tothe Economyofoperationwasevidently oneofthefeaturesbeingstressedbyAIco initsCenturysaleseffort.Inadditiontoofferingmorehorsepowersothatfewer unitswouldbeneededforagiventrainsize,AIcoalsoclaimedthattheCenturieswould needlessmaintenance.Inoneofthe company'sannouncements,AIco'sPaul Strobellstatedthatthe"251-powered Centurylocomotiveswillreplace locomotivesnowinservicewithmorepowerfulunitscapableofoperatingatless costandwithextendedmaintenancecycles -notably,a96-monthintervalbetween majorengineoverhauls." Presumablyreducedenginemaintenance wastobeaccomplishedbyseveral improvementstotheengine.The251-C enginewasreportedtohavemodifiedfuel pumpsandnozzles,fuelcamsandrollers
Three-unitCentury628lash-up,withNo.603onthepoint,headstheRousesPoint -Wilkes-BarredailyfreightoutofOneontaonacold(minusfivedegrees)February dayin1965.(PhotobyDonBarbeau)
UnionPacific.Aleo,nottobeoutdoneor evenmatched,respondedbynotchingtheir machine'shorsepowerupto5,500(2,750- hpperengine).HadAlcostayedwiththe 2,400-horsepowerversionoftheModel 251engine,presumablyitwouldhavehad a4,800-hpunittosendtotheUPtocompete withGE's5,000-hpmodel.Adifferenceof 200horsepowerdoesn'tsoundlikemuch, butitwouldhaveplacedAleobehindrather thaninfrontofGEonthismuch-publicized projectNotagoodpositionforalocomotive manufacturertobeinwhenit'stryingtore- capturesomeofthedomesticlocomotive market.withincreasedwidthstomaintainmoderate operatingstressesandaneight-counter- weightcrankshafttoreduceinertialforces.AkeyimprovementintheCenturyserieswasapressurizedair-circulatingsystemtocoolelectricalrotatingequipment.Airwas filteredbyamechanical-typesystemandaportionofthefilteredairwasdirectedthroughaductinthelocomotiveunderframetothetractionmotorsforcooling.The otherportion,aftercoolingthemaingeneratorandauxiliarygenerator compartment,wasthencirculatedintotheenginecompartmentunderpressuretopurgetheenginecompartmentandpreventdirt
 
10THECALLBOARDNEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK
&
HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.
unitswiththesetruckswerestillbeingusedinyardserviceinMexico.Apparently,theMexicanshadlearnedtolivewithTrimountsquitewell.ItisinterestingtonotethattheCentury628wasavailablewithasteamgeneratorforpassengerservice,thoughnonewereordered.Thesteamgenerators,ifordered,wouldhavebeenlocatedinthelonghoodbetweenthecontrolcompartmentandthemaingenerator;thedynamicbrakingunit,whichwasanoptionbutwasorderedonall628'sexceptthefirstfour,wasalsolocatedinthiscompartment.Onedoesn'tusuallythinkofthe628'saspassengerlocomotives,asnonewereknowntobeusedforthatpurposeintheUnitedStates.Alcohadsuggestedtheiruseforpassengerservicesincetheirsix-axle,six-motorarrangement,coupledwiththeir2,750horsepower,wouldhavemadethemwell-suitedforquickaccelerationfromstationstops.However,theywerereportedlyusedregularlyforthatpurposeinMexico.Infact,someoftheDelaware
&
Hudson628'shavebeenusedatleastpartofthetimeaspassengerlocomotives.Atthetimethatthe628'swereintroduced,nootherbuilderhadaunitaspowerfulasthese.In1966,theratingwasincreasedto85,800lbs,oftractiveeffortat.aspeedof9.2mph.Thedynamicbrakingwasequallyspectacularat63,000lbs.at20mphwiththestandard70mphgearing.ThefirstCentury628'stobedeliveredwenttotheAtlanticCoastLineinDecemberof1963.ACLinitallyorderedfourunits,allwithoutdynamicbraking.Theseunits,withroadnumbers2000-2003,weretheonly628'stobebuiltwithoutthedynamicbrakingfeature.ACLreportedlyaddeddynamicbrakingtothesefourlocomotivesseveralyearslaterattherailroad'sWaycross,Georgia,shops.AlcobuiltfourC-628demonstrator
OftentheD&HwaswhereAlcotestednewlocomotives.HereweseetwoD&H628'swithAtlanti.cCoastLine#2011(thefirstAlcoCentury630andthefirstalternator-equippedlocomotivebuilt)duringtestsontheD&Hin1965.(PhotobyGeorgeHockaday)
AlcaCentury628GeneralCharacteristics
fromenteringtheenginecompartmentfromoutside.Thispositiveairpressurearrangementwasintendedtotherebyreducethechancesoffoulingandwearcausedbyair-bornedirt,ofwhichthereisanabundancealongarailroad.TheCenturyserieswasalsodesignedforimprovedeaseofmaintenance.Doorsonbothsidesoftheenginecompartmentwerehingedtoexposetheentiresideofthedieselengineandtherebymaketheenginemoreaccessible.Theradiatorsweremountedhorizontally(intheroof)inanefforttoeliminateairvoids,tomakethemeasiertoremoveandtomakethem"self-cleaning."Thecontrolcompartmentutilizedatransistorizedsystemandwasair-sealedtoexcludedirt.Theaircompressor,intheradiatorcompartment,wasdirectlyconnectedtotheenginewithalongershaftinanefforttosimplifyalignment.In
Type:Diesel-electricHorsepowerfortraction:2,750Tractionmotors:6Engine:Model251-CCylinders:16WheelarrangementC-CTrackgauge:4ft.8-1/2in.Wheels:drivers-6pairs40in.diameterWheelbaseEachtruck(rigid):12ft.6in.Totallocomotive:53ft.11in.
addition,the(long)enginehoodwas designedtoberemovableformajormaintenancework.The628wasanaturalprogressionfromthe2,400hpDL600B(RSD15).1trodeontheAlcoTrimounttrucks,thesameastheDL600B.TheTrimounttruckwasintroducedona1,600hpRoadSwitcherbuiltfortheChicago
&
Northwesternin1951.Thistruckwasdesignedtoreduceweighttransferunderheavytractiveeffortconditions,whichwasaproblemwithmostotherlocomotivetrucks.Weighttransfercauseswheelslipontheaxleswhereweighthasbeenreduced.Whilethetruckdidgivegoodtractiveeffort,itwasahighermaintenanceitemandwaspronetoderailinyardswheretrackconditionswerepoor.Overtheyearsseveralimprovementstothesetruckswereintroduced.Asof1979,whenI(Hockaday)wasinMexico,DL702
MaximumtrackcurvatureMultiple-unitoperationorwithtrain:21degreesSingleunitwithouttrain:25degreesPrincipaldimensionsHeight(maximum):15ft.0in.Width(maximum):10ft1-5/8in.Length(insideknuckles):69ft0in.Baseweight:340,000Ibs.Usualweight:390,000Ibs.Maximumspeed:70mphSupplies(totalcapacity)Lubricatingoil:250gal.Fueloil:2,000gal.Enginecoolingwater:350gal.Sand:48cu.ft.Turbocharger:Model800Maingenerator:GT-586Tractionmotors:GE-752D&H

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