Relco RSP38-2

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Relco RSP38-2

Postby MEC407 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:11 pm

Here's an interesting beast from Relco: an "RSP38-2"

Photo by Steven M. Welch:

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/537031
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby NorthWest » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:48 pm

Some notes:
RSP38-2: Rotary Snow Plow with equipment of an EMD 38-2?

Rebuilt off the frame of an EMD GP.

Cab side windows appear to be the original unit's plus three quarters of the side window arrangement on a widecab GE.

HTC-R radial truck on the front allows for a total of five traction motors powering the unit, and yet still allows the unit to squeeze through tight wyes for turning.

I wonder if the motor that turns the front wheel has equivalent power requirements to one of the traction motors, making it mechanically identical to an SD38-2?

Nice to see a relatively new rotary after the uncertainty surrounding the older ones.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby Desertdweller » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:09 pm

After having operated just about every Diesel model still in service, this RSP38-2 still blew me away! This is just incredible!

UP has built at least one rotary that carried its own power source, but I don't think it was self-propelled. I've inspected a Milw. Road rotary that was converted from overhead electric power to power supplied by an F-unit booster, but it still had to be pushed. And I've seen several museum-piece rotaries that were steam-powered, to turn the blades.

The problem with building a self-propelled rotary is putting a powerful enough power plant in it to both spin the blades and propel it into snow drifts. The approach is either to put a Diesel engine in a rotary plow body, or to put just a traction motor inside running off power from a mother unit. This unit takes the opposite approach: convert a locomotive into a plow. Not only is this a more efficient use of motive power, but it would save on crew costs.

I assume this thing would be capable of plowing while pulling a few support cars, too.

Steam-powered rotaries were some of the last steam assignments. They were used long after the retirement of steam locomotives. Some of them continued in service with their steam engines replaced by Diesel prime movers.

I hope to see this thing in operation sometime.

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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby NorthWest » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:04 pm

I expect that it will always be run with at least one other unit; drifts occasionally collapse inward when a plow hits them and it is useful to have a unit farther back to pull the plow back out.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:59 pm

from notes it states only front truck is powered.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby MEC407 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:11 pm

Where did you see that, Dutch?
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:00 pm

While it can move by itself,believe there will always trailing units along,may have been setup with the same
type of creeping controls used to load/unload coal unit trains at mines/power plants.

UP's rotarys (except the ex-SP Donner Pass rotarys)have an onboard steam generator to clear off
snow/ice jams in the mech,unknown if this BNSF rotary has an on board steam generator.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:49 pm

click on picture, 3 traction motors in front truck only.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby v8interceptor » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:44 am

Unless I'm very mistaken the actual rotary plow on that unit reuses components from an older retired rotary most likely with newly fabricated "rotor vane"(correct term?) components and hydraulics.
RELCO seems to be developing an expertise in rebuilding older snow-fighting equipment having also done heavy rebuilds on some of UP's Donner Pass (former-SP) rotaries and Jordan Spreaders...
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:23 pm

From the looks of the "rotary" componets ,the housing and the rotor seem to be reused from a Lima rotary.
IF anybody was attempting a "kitbash" in HO scale,an athearn Rotary Plow could be used to provide
the housing and rotor.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby v8interceptor » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:48 pm

Backshophoss wrote:From the looks of the "rotary" componets ,the housing and the rotor seem to be reused from a Lima rotary.
IF anybody was attempting a "kitbash" in HO scale,an athearn Rotary Plow could be used to provide
the housing and rotor.


Matching the road number against a list of surviving Rotary plows it would seem likely that the reused components came from one of the last Alco Schenectady built machines, originally delivered to Northern Pacific in 1937. (read down to the BNSF section and it lists the rotary with the same road number):
http://www.hazegray.org/rail/rotaries.htm

Does anyone know if RELCO fabricated a new frame for this unit or (more likely, IMO) used an existing locomotive as the starting point (maybe an SD frame)?
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:51 am

v8interceptor wrote:Does anyone know if RELCO fabricated a new frame for this unit or (more likely, IMO) used an existing locomotive as the starting point (maybe an SD frame)?

NorthWest said that it is on a GP frame in the second post of this thread. The tank looks very similar to a GP38-2 as well, and that would account for the B truck at the far end.

Also, whoever designed this thing is really clever. With only three traction motors in that HTC-R truck, they can install a fourth motor to run the rotary and still use a stock GP alternator. They'd just need to cut out that motor when it's not plowing.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby NorthWest » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:56 pm

Well, I don't know for sure, but it sure looks that way to me. The HTC-R is longer than the Blomberg, and appears to extend to where the pilot used to be, so it looks like the front bolster was moved. Other things that tip me off are the early GP38-2 radiators and the central air filter intakes. I don't know if this counts as a locomotive or not, but it may have to meet new emissions regulations if built on a new frame.

I suspect that this does have five traction motors and a motor for the blade to make it mechanically similar to BNSF's SD38-2 rebuilds. It would make sense.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:01 pm

NorthWest wrote:Well, I don't know for sure, but it sure looks that way to me. The HTC-R is longer than the Blomberg, and appears to extend to where the pilot used to be, so it looks like the front bolster was moved. Other things that tip me off are the early GP38-2 radiators and the central air filter intakes. I don't know if this counts as a locomotive or not, but it may have to meet new emissions regulations if built on a new frame.

I suspect that this does have five traction motors and a motor for the blade to make it mechanically similar to BNSF's SD38-2 rebuilds. It would make sense.

From the commentary on the RailPictures photo, it appears to only have three traction motors. Still makes sense in a different way - that gives you 500 hp for the rotary and 1,500 for traction, rather than 333.3 hp for the rotary (which I'm guessing needs more horsepower) and 1666.7 hp for traction.
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Re: Relco RSP38-2

Postby NorthWest » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:13 am

That is true, we really need to be able to examine the unit in person to figure all of this out. I think the RP talk is similar uninformed speculation. Especially since the plow will probably be used with trailing units, it may simply need to move itself around terminals and wyes and only one motor would be needed.

It would be nice to have someone familiar with the unit to comment. I'm amazed that it has flown under the radar for so long.
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