Alco 244A engine?

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby SSW9389 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:09 am

I received a disc of FA articles from the GM&O Historical Society on Thursday. GM&OHS Secretary Marc Liberta is great to work with. After studying what was contained in the articles there are some things to report.

The Alco FA demonstrators were on the GM&O in February 1946. There is a February 21st GM&O letter from Superintendent W. H. Forlines to Chief Dispatcher W. A. Brittle requesting a 3000 horsepower Alco be run into East St. Louis on February 25th. The occasion was a visit by the Alco President. This letter confirms what is in Kirkland about the demonstrators being on GM&O. The letter also notes that the "fourth" unit is still at Alco, the static test unit 1601. Also notable is that the EMD F3s were testing on the GM&O at the same time as the FAs. This letter throws into question the fact found on p.254 of Steinbrenner that the demonstrator test set was racking up the miles between Mechanicville and Oneonta for 46 days. Those miles may have been run by the demonstrator and other units. There is a photo in the GM&O 710 testing on the D&H on page 8 of GM&OHS issue 52/53.

The early maintenance history of GM&O 712 was in issue 58. The unit was delivered in July 1946. Multiple issues with fuel lines are documented. The unit received a new exhaust manifold and turbocharger on January 15, 1947. The cost was $19.31, reflecting that Alco was picking up the tab on these new parts. See Steinbrenner p. 284. The 12V-244A engine was replaced with a new prime mover on March 14, 1947 at mileage 76,538. The article relates how the 712 had a thicker maintenance file than other units. It is very likely that more of the facts about the 12V-244A engines can be found in these maintenance records in the GM&OHS Archives if anyone cares to look.

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby SSW9389 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:20 pm

My findings from this bit of Alco research are that the first 20 Auburn built 12V-244A engines were apparently installed in 19 FA-1s and 1 FB-1. These would correspond to GM&O #700-718 and B1. These early production Alco units were the first to put the 12V- 244 engine in the field. The cast iron crankshafts in these engines did not hold up. Alco paid for engine replacement in all 20 units by the end of 1947. This engine replacement work was done at the GM&O Iselin and Bloomington Shops. When the replacement work was done all FA/FB units on the GM&O met Alco Specification DL208/DL209.

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby jr » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:52 pm

I have a story to pass along, that might (or might not) add some information to this thread.

I volunteer at a railroad museum near Rochester NY. Some 20-25 years ago, one of our elderly members (since passed on) told me some stories about his years working at Alco. He apparently was in the final assembly / checkout area of manufacturing at Schenectady. I specifically remember him telling about delivering RS units to the Delaware and Hudson.

He had a very specific recollection of the first unit with the "new" engine, being a road switcher type (this story was related right after we had received an RS3m into our collection, and he pointed right at it, in describing the "new" engine). He indicated that when they installed this very first prime mover, and ran the engine up to speed for load test, the locomotive shook violently - so badly that no one could stand on the deck. He said that they needed a solution "fast", so they brought in a mechanical engineering professor from MIT. His solution was to remove every-other mounting bolt for the engine block, which supposedly calmed the vibration down somewhat.

I frankly have some doubts about all of this. But I can say that he did not seem to be the type to tell tall tales. He had very specific, clear recollections, which I've related to the best of my ability. Plus, I can't think of any reason that he would fabricate such a story.

I have read the Steinbrenner book, but have not seen any mention of such a problem (nor of an early installation in, what we would now call an RS2).

So, I'll toss this story out there, for whatever it's worth. Would appreciate any thoughts that could either support or debunk the story.

JR
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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby Typewriters » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:07 pm

The unit in question is almost undoubtedly CMStP&P 975, completed by ALCO-GE in October 1946 and which was their model 1500 HP Road Switcher on the optional six wheel (A1A) trucks. The timing would be about right given the GM&O dates, would it not?

One wonders if the MIT engineer sensed the need for the engine block (frame) to flex; is this to say that the original mounting had many more bolting points than the engine had in production? Interesting.

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby jr » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:31 am

It appears that the first Milwaukee RSC could be the loco in question. It doesn't answer his assertion that it was the first one with the "new" engine. Perhaps he intended to say that it was the first road switcher, although my distinct impression was that he recalled it being the first locomotive with the 244.

One wonders whether there might be any physical evidence, or documentation of this apparent removal of half of the mounting bolts. Perhaps the frame rails on an early RS or RSC unit might provide some clue.

If true, it also brings into question what hidden balancing problems might have existed in the 244.

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby SSW9389 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:30 am

The first 12-244 engines were built at the Auburn, NY engine plant. The Schenectady-built 12-244s started after the Auburn engine plant production. It was the first Schenectady-built 12-244B that was installed in the first RSC-2. And remember that the Alco roadswitcher line was delayed several months because the turbocharger manifold design was being redesigned to a lower profile to fit under the roadswitcher long hood.

Milwaukee #975 received Schenectady built 12-244B engine #10007. The previous Schenectady built 244s were all V-16s, #10000-10006. My thanks to Mr. Kirkland for documenting the engine numbers in his book and to Mr. Hazen for providing me with this information. Alco's 1946 production of the first of its 244 Engine line locomotives is a fascinating story.

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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:18 pm

(And my thanks to Ed for using the information so well!)

Vibrational modes are, I suppose, complicated and hard to predict: (even) harder in the 1940s when computer simulation wasn't possible. So maybe there was some innocent-seeming difference between the Auburn-built and Schenectady-built engines that made CMStP&P's 12-244 vibrate worse than the 12-244 engines installed before that (in GM&O FA-1 units).
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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby jr » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:21 pm

Will, Ed, and Allen,

Thank you for the supporting information.

If I understand the chronology correctly, there were:
1) Twenty 12-244s built at Auburn with cast crankshafts for GM&O units
2) Seven 16-244s built at Schenectady for ATSF 51 set and test stand
3) An additional fifteen 12-244s built sometime in the 45/46 time period
4) Production of the 12-244B starts in Schenectady in mid-46 with the Milwaukee Road RSC units

Could the 244B in the RSC unit be the very first 244B anywhere? Or, perhaps, there were some 244Bs previously built at Auburn?

In any event, my acquaintance from the Museum did have some cause to call this unit the "first" with a certain type of engine (Schenectady 12-244 series).

JR

P.S. Allen, welcome back to the Upper Hemisphere.
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Re: Alco 244A engine?

Postby SSW9389 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:26 am

JR you nearly have it. Auburn built 12-244 engines with McIntosh and Seymour serial numbers 4253-4286, and 4447. The very first of these engines was set up as a test stand unit. The next 20 engines were used in GM&O #700-718 and B1. These 20 engines used in the first GM&O units and the test stand unit would have been the 12-244A engines with the cast crankshafts. The forged crankshafts would have started with M&S serial #4274 used in GM&O #719. Auburn called their engine the "241" even though they were manufactured to the 244 spec. Engine #4447 was added to the Auburn order to replace the #4253 test stand unit. Auburn built 14 of the 12-244B engines with the forged crankshafts before production of that engine was switched over to Schenectady.

The Auburn plants first 12-244 engine was built in October 20, 1945 and the last was built August 31, 1946. A strike interrupted production at all Alco plants starting January 21, 1946. The Schenectady plant reopened on March 25th and the Auburn plant reopened April 10th.

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