Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

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Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

Postby .Taurus. » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:50 am

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=294215
Milwaukee Road ordered a small group of GE U30C's, built to BN specs, for use on Powder River Basin unit coal trains.


http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=268720
[...] The 5652 was built per BN specs for coal train service [...]


Hi
what does " built to BN specs" mean?
Did the Milwaukee Road cooperate with BN in the (Powder River) coal business and in this cooperation they share their engines on these coal trains? And so they can simplify the maintence for both railroads when the join engine pool use the same locomotive model (U30C) ?

Or did the Milwaukee Road ordered these engines when GE were building these locomotive model for BN, and to get them cheaper the Milwaukee Road decided to order also this model without any (Milwaukee Road specific) modifikations, so GE can deliver these engines without addional engneering work and tests.

Bye :-D
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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

Postby KSmitty » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:25 pm

.Taurus. wrote:what does " built to BN specs" mean?
Did the Milwaukee Road cooperate with BN in the (Powder River) coal business and in this cooperation they share their engines on these coal trains? And so they can simplify the maintence for both railroads when the join engine pool use the same locomotive model (U30C) ?


Why you answered your own question :wink: When a railroad has locomotives "built to (other railroad) specs" it means the locomotives are identical to the other companies locomotives. While I don't know the specifics of this deal, I assume that BN and Milwaukee Rd. worked together on PRB coal trains. More than likely was that BN locomotives would pull trains to the PRB coal mines. Fill trains and pull them to the destination on Milwaukee Rd.'s lines. Because of this Milwaukee would "owe" BN horsepower hours.

To pay the hours back Milwaukee could have purchased the U-30-C's for operation on the Coal trains. This would pay hours off. They would be identical to BN locomotives ass this means that they would be equipped to lead coal trains on BN tracks, as they would have all necessary equipment. (again, please remember this is all just a general summary of why railroads purchase power to another roads specs. I am not sure on the details of this case!)
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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

Postby TB Diamond » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:42 pm

Can recall these units when I was a apprentice electrician in Alliance, NE back in the late 1970s. The MILW also sent in EMD SD40 locos on the trains. Will research my slides to find the train numbers involved.

The MILW units were in a always in a mixed power consist with BN units, at least in and out of Alliance.
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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

Postby TB Diamond » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:39 pm

Went through both my slide files and my old time books. Found the following information:

The cars making up the trains which featured MILW power bore WISX reporting marks. This would have been Wisconsin Power & Light.

Hopper trains (empties) had compass ID of A75. Loads were A74. This indicated that the trains loaded at Belle Ayr mine.
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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal train

Postby rrboomer » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:56 pm

It was kind of an ironic situation. In the 1977-78 era we had lots of foreign power for the Powder River Basin coal trains. We had lots of trouble with all the other roads GE (U 30C, C 307) units, except for the Milwaukee's. We had no trouble with the other roads SD40-2 units, except for the Milwaukee's.

That's when the BN found out that 3 SD40-2's could make it with a 106 car coal train between Upton and Edgemont, before that four units was thought to be the minimum required. Yes, one could smell the traction motors!
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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal t

Postby Typewriters » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:17 pm

{Not directly related to the MILW 5651-5658, but directly related to heavy / mineral service units...}

I have a Milwaukee Road Locomotive Load-Speed Rating Charts book (September 1, 1982 print date) that has some interesting information about unit train units specially equipped for this service. While looking around rr.net this afternoon I stumbled onto this old topic and decided to add on some information from the book since, the whole time I've had this book I've been a bit curious about the specially equipped locomotives it calls out.

The previously discussed U30C units aren't called out as special in this book, but a number of others are.

SD40-2 units 131, 134, 135, 140, 143, 150, 152, 160, 162, 163, 171, 176, 185, 194, 195, 199, 200 and 202 are described as "heavy, specially equipped coal train SD40-2 units."

In addition to this, the entire class of U33C units (in this volume, they're referred to as "U30C - 3300 HP") numbers 5701-5703, and one of the U36C units, 5800 as well as all of the above listed SD40-2 units are included in special Unit Train tonnage charts in the last two pages of the book. All of the units, U30C - 3300 HP, U36C and SD40-2 are given 8.4 MPH minimum continuous speeds. (Clearly, all have optional performance control since this is below the normal minimum speed for these units.)

It's interesting in comparison to think that the MILW had special U30C units for Powder River run service with BN, and then also had its own units specially ballasted and fitted with performance control for unit train service.

Of course, I also have to bet that some of the SD40-2 units rrboomer mentions were indeed these units.

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Re: Milwaukee Road U30C engine for Powder River Basin coal t

Postby JayBee » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:11 am

MILW SD40-2s modified for Coal Service were done for the Gascoine, ND to Big Stone, SD coal trains(the trains with the flip-top lids), plus a few spares. The U30Cs were bought for the Columbia, WI coal trains, which originally were from Colstrip, MT and later other mines. When the Soo acquired the MILW the heavy SD40-2s were grouped together, which accounts for the seemingly random renumbering into the Soo's 6300 series. The Columbia coal trains were alternately turned over by BN in the Twin Cities and in Montana(Terry?).
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