Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reader Service Request - Part II

Prince Rupert, February 1958. As I wrote in my earlier blog entry “Reader Service Request, I had written to the major locomotive manufacturers for whatever materials they could provide “an enthusiastic hobbyist who wanted to learn more about their locomotives.”

In an era when written communication was an art, I managed to send requests to General Motors, English Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton, Budd and ALCo. And virtually all of them responded.

Fairbanks-Morse sent along some brochures and two 8x10 glossy photos of their H12-44 series locomotives, and a brochure on the H16-44 road switcher type.

I found a good example of an H16-44 in this shot of Milwaukee Road 406.

As with all Fairbanks-Morse locomotives, the prime mover was the Opposed Piston engine. I’ve mentioned before that my late Dad, who was a career Marine Engineer, had nothing nice to say about that motor.

His grievance was that Opposed Piston engine is basically two-eight cylinder motors mounted head to head, which not only had a high breakdown rate, but was a “_itch” to work on; in his case, potentially somewhere between Astoria and Honolulu with a huge grain barge and unstable work platform!

It was not uncommon then, and perhaps now, to find rail fans mistakenly referring to these units as “Trainmasters,” when in fact they were not. Perhaps the confusion was created because both lines overlapped each other as far as production dates were concerned.

The dead-on spotting feature is that the “Trainmasters” rode on a 3-wheel (C-C) wheel truck, as compared to the 2-wheel (B-B) wheel truck of the H12- and H16-44’s.

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific purchased a grand total of 29 0f these units between 1954 and 1956. To my knowledge, none of this Road Class ever crossed the Great Divide into the Puget Sound country.

This YouTube video of Milwaukee Road 760 will give you an idea of what the Opposed Piston motor sounded like.

It’s a little known fact, but the Russian’s experimented with an
opposed piston steam locomotive, reportedly reducing rail pounding.

Uhmmm. Time for another turkey sandwich!

Railroad Stuff: Milwaukee Road 406, was built by Fairbanks-Morse as an H16-44, 1,600 horsepower road switcher, nee 2456, January 1954, serial number 16L-821, Road Class 16-FRS. Retired January 1976.

Milwaukee Road 760 (video) was built by Fairbanks-Morse as an H10-44, 1,000 hp switcher, Road Class L1001, nee 1802, August 1944, serial number L1001, Road Class 10-FS. Retired May 1980, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum in November 1981, where this video was shot.

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