Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

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Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby Metra210 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:11 pm

Hi all.

I am not sure if someone has already posted a topic regarding this, because I didn't spot anything while skimming through, but I've heard of the terms "massive engine failure" and "catastrophic failure" which are sometimes used to describe a serious mechanical problem involving locomotives, and I was wondering what usually happens to locomotives which experience this issues. I have been told that, if the damage to the prime mover is deemed irreparable, the locomotive is either used for parts, scrapped entirely, or completely overhauled. I want to hear from those who have experienced such issues from locomotives in the past. Do you know what eventually became of the locomotives that experienced multiple catastrophic engine failures?

Thanks everyone.
Proud to be a railfan again!!!
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby Train Detainer » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:59 pm

That kind of failure description usually refers to broken pistons/rods or crankshafts. When a piston rod or piston fails, the rod can go sideways and punch a hole through the block, throwing metal, fuel and oil all over. It can be spectacular, but not if you're standing on the running boards when it happens. A broken crankshaft can destroy a block too, but usually remains internal. If the loco is worth saving (age, other mechanical issues), it's taken to the shop and the engine is swapped out with a reconditioned or new one.
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby TB Diamond » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:55 pm

Also refers to crankcase explosion.
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby litz » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:11 pm

Crankcase explosion is a different animal ... that's literally an explosion of the pressure vessel (oil pressure gets higher than the crankcase can contain, and BOOM!) ...

When a rod lets go and punches its way through, the normal oil pressure lets loose, and while it's an explosion of oil (the stuff IS under pressure), it's not an actual explosion due to overpressure ... just a venting of what's inside through the provided hole.

It's a nitpick point, but it's a comparison of venting due to failure from overpressure vs venting due to a provided vent/exit hole.

If a crankcase explodes due to overpressure, it's massively more spectacular ... and destructive.
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby the trainguy » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:21 pm

When I was the test shed foreman at the Collinwood backshop in the early days of Conrail we'd have a crankcase explosion every six months or so due to injector failure putting raw fuel past the piston rings into the crankcase.
It would build up unknown to us until it was volatile enough to explode.

It would scare the crap of out of us and would blow a few crankcase covers off but no catastrophic failure.

Almost as bad was when we would have to "stone" the generator commutators to get the brushes seated after an MRG shopping(main gen renewal) and sometimes it would "flash over".

You had to do it while the unit was under load box to remove the small burrs from the commutators when they were undercut in the generator shop.

We saw a lot of the major engine failures ,being a backshop, and would do engine swaps or a complete overhaul depending on the overall locomotive condition coming in.

Very rarely was a locomotive whitelined(scrapped) for engine failure.
The only ones that got the kiss of death were the F7 covered wagons and the RSD Alcos if they had a generator or prime mover(engine) failure.
The 6 axle Alcos at least got to partially live on as MT6 Slugs for the hump engines.

Most of the Alco's however from the predecessor railroads got at least a generator and truck renewal.

The ten C430's and EL C636's received complete overhauls.
I had a special place in my heart for those ten ex-NYC C430's

Bob
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:11 pm

Bob--
By "EL C636's" do you mean "PC C636s"? (I make similar mistakes frequently…)

The NYC C430 and PC C636 were, of course, the two newest batches of Alcos on CR.
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby the trainguy » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:58 pm

Yes , I was thinking about the ex EL U36C's, they were numbered in the high 6500's early on!

I always liked seeing the ex EL and Lehigh Valley units come into the shop.
Their paint scheme was a welcome change from all the plain black units(I know "Brunswick Green"-they looked black to us!)

I remember a certain ex Lehigh Valley C628 Alco (6728)that got an overhaul and came back because it would not make transition at track speed.

We got to take it out on the mainline dragging an ex EL U33C in dynamic brake to troubleshoot it.

My first of many mainline excursions.

I couldn't let on that I was also a railfan !

I could write a book about the early days of Conrail at the Collinwood Backshop,they were incredible times .

Bob
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:56 pm

Well, ***I'd*** read the book!
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby urrengr2003 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:31 am

I worked for ACL in 1965 which had a large fleet of E-6 locomotives. All but one had B or B/C engines. The unit that didn't was a dry sump engine with the oil reservoir and lube oil filters along the right hand engine room wall adjacent to the layshaft lever and isolation switch. The engine room floor was ramped up & down at this point to cover the brass plumbing (2" pipes) that went from the engine to the reservoir. These engines were prone to crankcase explosions when the throttle was rapidly reduced and lower oil pressure exposed the hot crowns on main bearings to fuel vapors in the crankcase. This writer doubletimed to get in front of or between these engines when the throttle was reduced.

Though not a failure, leaking stack gaskets could would create a vaccum in the vee form and suck oil around the early sheet metal valve covers to create a mean fire. Engines fresh out of the shop at Florence making their first trips were candidates for this problem. After taking care of a fire like this you would come out of the engine room looking like a snowman account all the white powder blowing around from the Ansul fire extinguishers. The engineer had no mercy either, his job was to make a mile every 36 seconds. The fireman & I would approach from opposite ends with fire extinguishers to get the job done...this all in a dimly lit engine room at night while traveling 100 MPH. No mistake there was drama to it but also pride to get a job done. Then the fun part came: laying on top of the sloped valve cover with the upper foot wedged down in the vee form to keep from slipping down while using a wrench to tighten the exhaust stack bolts.
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby rovetherr » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:41 am

The link below is a picture of a rather major failure on a rental SD60, I wasn't on the crew of the train with the failure, but following them in a second section. The unit was shipped out to a shop and had its motor changed, and is back online working away. When the connecting rod bearing failed the #15 and 16 connecting rods let go and in the process damaged the crank (not visible) and the block (very visible).

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4228373

The RR I work for has had several other versions of connecting rod/piston/crankshaft failure since I started working for them, in no instance was a unit scrapped because of it. It may have been awhile before the units were fixed, but in the end they all have been returned to service. I've never seen a crankcase explosion, from the sounds of it I'm glad I haven't!
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby MEC407 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:24 pm

Ouch!

Is that the one that has both VRS and PW logos on it?
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Re: Locomotive Massive Engine Failure

Postby rovetherr » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:03 am

MEC407 wrote:Ouch!

Is that the one that has both VRS and PW logos on it?


It is indeed.
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