Friday, December 13, 2013

Oil-Electric's 2014 Calendar

Oil-Electric's 2014 "year-at-a-glance" calendar is ready for downloading.  Rendered as a 300 dpi .pdf file, you should obtain an impressive image when printed at 300 dpi on photo paper!

For some time I pondered which of my collectibles would be showcased. Long-time readers know I dropped out of "active" train chasing when the Great Merger began to homogenize trackside viewing. I settled on a photo never posted on Oil-Electric.

I have a hand full of Kodak 130 negatives I must have received in trade as a young man, from a train photographer lost to history. Kodak Safety Film 130 was introduced in 1916 and discontinued in August 1961.

This format - 7 cm x 11.5 cm - yields a stunning photo -  assuming the exposure was correct!

Canadian National Railways (CNR) 1631 was 1 of 10 Fairbanks-Morse (FM) H12-44 locomotives built at FM's Canadian subsidiary, Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC), in Kingston Ontario.

Reading FM's Model Number
                         •  H = hood unit
                         • 12 = 1200 horsepower
                         • 44 = B-B wheel arrangement

FM's CLC built CNR road numbers 1630-1639 in 1955-1956. Notably, Canadian Pacific Railway did not purchase this model. FM produced 336 H12-44's. The first unit was out shopped in 1950; the last in 1961.

The carbody of the H12-44 is yet another example of famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy's creativity. His hand is on a number of memorable locomotives including renowned GG1 electrics and Fairbanks-Morse "Consolidation" Lines (C-Liners).

In September 1952 the Raymond Loewy design elements were removed as a cost-saving measure:

•  Cab lines were squared-off
•  Slanted-nose styling discontinued
•  Roof visor eliminated.
•  And in 1953, fairing over the battery box was removed and louvers added to reduce the possibility of battery explosions. (Note louvers on battery box of CN 1631)

No H12-44 were erected in 1959 or 1960. When production resumed, the carbody had been shortened by three feet and outfitted with a deeper side skirt. The one and only unit was delivered to Chihuahua-Pacific (a.k.a. El Chepe - the Copper Canyon Route,)  in 1961.

•  No locomotives were built by F-M in 1962.
•  The last 8 locomotives built by F-M were H-16-44's delivered in 1963. 

Today, Fairbanks-Morse remains a thriving engine manufacture in Wisconsin. Be sure to click on "Watch the O-P in Action."

This video of an H12-44 has a few good moments when you can hear the "drumming" sound emitted by the opposed piston design. (As compared to the GM-EMD "chant" or the "asthmatic" sounds of the Alco.)

I worked on a summer permit aboard a tug - M/V Martin - owned and operated by Alaska Freight Lines out of Seattle Washington.  It was between my freshman and sophomore years at Washington State University.

She was powered by two Fairbanks-Morse 37F12 Opposed Piston motors, developing 600 horsepower at 400 r.p.m.  And I  remember very well the drumming sound emitted by these engines. My work station as a Wiper was right between the two air intakes at the head of the engines. Here is one of the engine plates of two, off the Martin, from my late Dad's collection:

"Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop" from Seattle to Anchorage - and back! If you look at the animation on FM's web site of the engine components, you can see the rectangular air intake. Would grab at my tee shirt a foot a way!

Those machines carboned up quickly.  After a 12 day run to Anchorage, we would remove the cylinder port holes, and use a punch bar and compressed air to clear the exhaust ports of carbon deposits.

Whilst making toast this morning, I realized I own a piece of Raymond Loewy! My Sunbeam Toaster, Model T-9, was designed by Raymond Loewy to commemorate the 1939 Chicago World's Fair.

My parents bought it in the 1940's, and I use it two or three times a week! Other than some scuff marks, incurred by dozens of moves up and down the West Coat, it works flawlessly. Still has the original cloth covered cord with Bakelite plug.  And the jewel "light," which is nothing more than a lens in front of the heating elements, shines as you can see!

How many toasters given as Christmas presents this year will still be working 70+ years from now?

3 Comments - Click here:

Dan said...

FCP got 39 FM's of 3 different varieties - H-12-44 - H16-44 - H-24-66, they only ever received 1 x H-12-44 in 1961 and it may have been the last H-12-44 produced but I don't think it was the last DE loco produced by FM as they also received 6 H-16-66's in 1963

Robert in Port Townsend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert in Port Townsend said...

My sources, Trains Magazine (April 1987, P.26) and Pinkepank's Diesel Spotters Guide (1967), both indicate the last 2 H16-66 were built in 1958.

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