Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby railfan365 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:49 pm

keyboardkat wrote:
dlandw wrote:Hello all,

The idea for this thread began with a number of nostalgic posts under the “Why MP15s for Passenger Power?” thread.

So... here are some “fond memories” of the LIRR "Grimeliner" diesel-hauled fleet of the 1970s and 80s. Before the interior refits that began around 1984, which added M-1 style seating and carpeted walls, they were pretty awful.

The pre-refurb cars were filthy, inside and out. What had once been reversible walkover seats were welded in place. The bench-style seat backs were thin, and the textured vinyl upholstery captured ground-in dirt remarkably well.

The dark green windows gave the outside world and the car interiors a surrealistic green tinge, but no matter – the windows were nearly opaque due to scratches and (so they tell me) chemical detergents. But, judging by appearance, the diesel trains didn't run through the wash racks very often. The roofs were rusty, and all the painted surfaces were sticky with diesel grime.

They were air conditioned -- theoretically. The air conditioning in many of the pre-refurb cars either did not work at all, or was just no match for the summer heat and humidity. Fortunately, the conductors tended to keep the sliding end doors propped open to maintain air flow. Things were somewhat better after the refurb, but still not as comfortable as the M-1s.

Toilets? Not gonna even touch that. In later years, many of them were permanently locked shut.

Ride quality? Bouncy, with plenty of track noise, and noise from the jangling chains that protected the passage between the cars. Given that they were lightweight MU cars (including those that were intended to be hauled by locomotives from the getgo), they definitely did not have the smooth ride that more modern diesel-hauled coaches on other commuter railroads did.

By contrast, Metro North's ex-New York Central MU fleet of similar design and vintage was only recently retired, and I believe a few sets remain on the property for overflow periods. What a difference more attentive maintenance and cleaning can make.

That being said, the diesel trains always attracted more interest than the bland sameness of the M-1s. The Alco FAs alone were enough to make them attractive. As for the coaches themselves... well, they had character. Love 'em or hate 'em, they were the thing that made the LIRR a "real railroad."

Coincidentally, while I hated the green coach windows, I've chosen the same green tint for my last several pairs of sunglasses. Go figure.

Cheers,
Al "dlandw"


You obviously never rode this equipment when it was new, or before the 1966 MTA takeover. The PRR management took care of its equipment. It was the MTA that put that horrible textured vinyl on the seats and welded them in place to save crews the bother of reversing the seats. As built, the cars had smooth dark green vinyl upholstery on moveable walkover seats. The green tinted windows were added so as to replace the dust catching, easy to break window shades, and as far as I was concerned, that was fine. The windows were not opaque until the MTA replaced the glass with an early version of Lexan, which was etched into opaqueness by the chemical cleaning solvents. The air conditioning worked 99 percent of the time or better, and was dynamite. The ride was smooth and quiet, especially compared to the P-54s with their shop-type trucks. Close the end doors and you rode in relative silence. If you were far back in the train, you couldn't hear the diesel horns.

But there was a marked deterioration in service and in the condition of the equipment once the MTA bureaucrats took over running the railroad. They decided that the cars simply had to be repainted in MTA platinum mist and blue, so they slapped on this paint job with no sandblasting or priming so that it peeled immediately and looked lousy. It also showed dirt quickly, and the MTA never bothered to wash the cars, it seems. We "had" to have welded seats, we "had" to have textured vinyl, we "had" to have paint between the windows that looked like "little flowers." If the MTA had maintained the equipment to PRR standards, you would have been riding a different fleet during the '70s and '80s.



All this makes me think of how the NYC Transit had "deferred" maintenance in the 1960's ,70's. and early '80's. Replete with buses that had exhaust backing up on the inside or a stench that smelled like insecticide while windows wouldn't open, subway cars that looked like they'd been through a war, and derailments as a daily occurence.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:12 pm

Everyone: The LIRR overhauled the older Diesel fleet back in the mid 80s era as mentioned...the thought was to get 10-15 years more out of them rehabilitated...

The first car to have the renovated interior was #2854 in 1983 which I believe was initially a test car...

I have an "MTA Report" from late 1983 showing that money was appropriated for this rehab project...

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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby ex Budd man » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:55 pm

I liked the picture of the 621 power pack/control car. We have its sibling 622 as a contror car for one of our gel trains.
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Former LIRR control car, ex B&O F7, now part of our MOW fleet.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby Teutobergerwald » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:30 pm

SEPTA rebuilt the 622 with a new prime mover/generator driving traction motors???
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby Shavano » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:43 pm

Given that there's no fans on the roof and no intake grills on the side minus the one for the old HEP generator, it's more than safe to say the answer is no. Control cab = the same duty it had on the LIRR, powerpack/cabcar status.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby jhdeasy » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:12 pm

One thing that I have never seen is a complete roster of the P72 and P75 cars, by individual car number, showing the various conversions, with any significant notes. It would also be nice to show the current status for each car, such as "Stored on X Railway" or "Excursion service on Y Railway" or "Scrapped."
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby mirrodie » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:59 pm

Good conversion never dies. Still miss riding in the vestibule of those old coaches.

To the last poster, I found the following and figured it’s worth sharing. Look around page 3 or 4 and it may be the most complete roster as of 1980.


http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/lirrdiagrams/LIRR%20Equipment%20Diagrams%201980.pdf
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby nyandw » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:26 pm

mirrodie wrote:Good conversion never dies. Still miss riding in the vestibule of those old coaches. To the last poster, I found the following and figured it’s worth sharing. Look around page 3 or 4 and it may be the most complete roster as of 1980. http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/lirrdiagrams/LIRR%20Equipment%20Diagrams%201980.pdf


I just posted those. In addition the 1982 PASS version: http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/lirrdi ... 9-1982.pdf Hope it helps.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby mjd13076 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:59 pm

When did the MP72’s / MP75’s have their traction motors removed and converted to diesel territory only passenger cars? Was it when they refurbished them in the mid-80s or when the M1’s came on line?
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby RGlueck » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:50 pm

If you're talking about P-54's versus the P-70's, there was a world of difference. P-54's had toilets that emptied directly onto the tracks ("Passenger will refrain from flushing toilets in the station"). The floors were black and gay checked pattern tiles. For a long time, the windows still could be opened - if you could get the catch to push downward. They had a smell all their own, and yes, you could flop the seats over. They were green vinyl. You could stand on the rear platform, separated from your certain fate by a few chains. At one time, you could ride while standing in a combine end, along with your string of flounders from Oyster Bay. The FM C-liners didn't rev, they growled as they wound up. The ALCO C420 didn't sound half as menacing, but boy, did they leave a stain in the sky! Sometimes they shot flames from the stack.

The MP70's and MP-72 conversions were mostly the same, only much more modern and longer, sleeker. When they started to paint them in "platinum mist" and blue stripes, it was like painting an old banged up gray car into an old banged up silver car. It was supposed to be modernized, but I doubt it fooled anyone. Another thing was reuphostered seating from the old green to something of a color circus. TO this day, I see photos and wonder what it was supposed to fix.

The FA power cars were different and something new. I know of only one or two trains buckling due to the locomotives pushing on the rear of a string of cars. I have often thought there would be a great deal of stress on the cars sandwiched between a power car and the locomotive. The original color scheme was actually quite pretty, but Lord, the ALCO 244 PM's were filthy, and the power cars got covered in soot so quickly, they were almost a disgrace to look at when standing still. You could tell new arrivals not by number, but by how filthy they were. I don't think LIRR ever washed the FA's, except possibly after some heavy repairs! Still, I'd take the platinum units over the God-awful blue mess they were repainted. I wonder if the 244's were repurposed after removal, sold as spares, or simply cut up?

When the ALCO's were retired, the RS 1's, RS 2's, and RS 3's had probably run out their service years. Funny how the RR would scrap so many locomotives that were still in serviceable condition. The original C420's still had years of service left in them, and same for the second batch. It's ironic the second batch went to Naporano in operating condition and died without turning anymore miles. The original 22 locomotives continued for years, and a few are still serviceable today, or waiting to be rebuilt for operation - and it's 2019!

Locomotives and coaches made a real train, a real train riding experience, with turntables or wyes at the end of the line. The DM's and DE's are probably the economically correct thing to do. I've never ridden on nor do I wish to. I have read they're awful locomotives and the cars behind them are no bargain either. With their initiation and so many "improvements" from which it's difficult to undo, I doubt we'll ever see real trains hauled by real locomotives, with real coaches again.

I rode the M1's when they were new and didn't particularly care for them. It's hard for me to imagine all the M1's vanished and now M3's being whisked into history. M7's? What are those?
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:02 pm

mjd13076 wrote:When did the MP72’s / MP75’s have their traction motors removed and converted to diesel territory only passenger cars? Was it when they refurbished them in the mid-80s or when the M1’s came on line?
1973, with the final delivery of M-1s.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby scopelliti » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:29 pm

One thing omitted from the MP54 discussion... the sometimes over-enthusiastic heating system. I remember sitting next to the window, foot on the heating duct, slowly being parbroiled. Especially magnificent if you were stuck in a smoker car with a good five cent cigar in the mouth of the guy in the middle seat. When I got home I felt like burning my clothing.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby vince » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:53 pm

They were electrical resistance heaters.
Riding Rosedale to Edgemere to Far Rock HS, 1957 I had the tread of my sneakers (Keds) almost melted off. The goo stuck to the heater when I felt the heat in my foot. Stuck to the floor as I chose another seat as the rubber on the heater started smoking.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby RGlueck » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:34 pm

Scope has it right! The "No Smoking" sign either didn't work, or the smokers couldn't read. Figure 60 years of constant use, round the clock running east, then west, and millions of riders, coaches absorbed the stench of tar and nicotine. I've often thought the cream color ceilings were actually white but permanently discolored. The steam heat came on regardless of the calendar. Likewise, it went off, regardless off the calendar. Another memory were the advertising boards along the ceiling edge. Everything from funeral services to insurance. Remember the "petrified gar fish" on the platforms?
There was everything wrong with those P-54's and that makes me remember them with great affection.
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Re: Vintage Diesel-Hauled Fleet

Postby scopelliti » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:35 pm

And of course the opposite was also true.. Often rode the 7:10 from Hempstead to Penn. In the winter the MP54s would do a cold-soak all night - I remember having to scrape the ice off the INSIDE of the window!
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