DL-109 Class?

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DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:52 am

An Alco fan and researcher here. The New Haven DL-109s were delivered as three classes: DER-1a, DER-1b, and DER-1c. What is the difference(s) between the classes?

I see from an old RR magazine roster that the DER-1a units were lighter by about 5,000 pounds than the later two classes. Was there an electrical difference between the classes?

Ed in Kentucky
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Pat Fahey » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:09 am

DER-2a/b/c - Alco FA/B-1;FB-2
The DER-2a/b locomotives were purchased to dieselize the Maybrook line in 1947. They were advertised by the New Haven as a "three-unit-diesel locomotive," that is, they marketed an A-B-A set as a single locomotive. They were pooled for operation, and operated in a first-in, first-out operation. As traffic demands grew, they were also operated in A-B-B-A sets, especially after the delivery of the DER-2c locomotives in 1951.

The only major change made to the units was the replacement of the air-cooled turbocharger which was replaced with water-cooled ones, with a crosswise exhaust stack being the visible difference. I don't have confirmation as to when this change was made, but based on photographs it appears that the locomotives were shopped starting in about 1951 as the DER-2c locomotives were delivered and received the water-cooled system at the same time they received a new paint scheme.DER-2a/b/c - Alco FA/B-1;FB-2
The DER-2a/b locomotives were purchased to dieselize the Maybrook line in 1947. They were advertised by the New Haven as a "three-unit-diesel locomotive," that is, they marketed an A-B-A set as a single locomotive. They were pooled for operation, and operated in a first-in, first-out operation. As traffic demands grew, they were also operated in A-B-B-A sets, especially after the delivery of the DER-2c locomotives in 1951.

The only major change made to the units was the replacement of the air-cooled turbocharger which was replaced with water-cooled ones, with a crosswise exhaust stack being the visible difference. I don't have confirmation as to when this change was made, but based on photographs it appears that the locomotives were shopped starting in about 1951 as the DER-2c locomotives were delivered and received the water-cooled system at the same time they received a new paint scheme.
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Statkowski » Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:29 pm

The OP was questioning DL-109s, not FA-1s.

The DL-109s were delivered in three separate batches. Externally, the later batches differed from the first by variations on the roof appurtenances, manual vs. automatic radiator shutters, fabricated vs. cast number boards, fabricated vs. cast trucks, etc. Internally, minor improvements were made to the electrical systems and oil engines, but nothing significant. All were rated the same regarding tonnage capabilities, steam heating capabilities and tractive effort. After rebuilding, all essentially looked the same.
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Pat Fahey » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:36 pm

Hi
vThe New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad received special permission from the War Production Board to purchase #0710–#0759 as dual-use (passenger/freight) locomotives; they were built between 1942–1945. Passenger-only locomotives (including the rival EMD E6) were not approved for production during this time. The first 10, #0700–#0709, were delivered right after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 from ALCO's Schenectady factory, allowing the road to prove their freight-hauling abilities just in time. The New Haven owned the most DL-109s, rostering 60 units in 1945.

There were three classes among the New Haven units noting some differences between the manufacture of each batch. The DER-1a (Diesel-Electric Road) units #0700–#0709 had the original design with a mass of vents on the roof, while the DER-1b (#0710–#0749) and DER-1c (#0750–#0759) had the simplified winterization hatches instead. The New Haven DL-109s could be found hauling passenger trains during the day and freight trains at night. The class was rebuilt once, replacing the plywood sides, removing the decorative side windows in favor of a steel screen, and several other changes.

Two DL-109s received a special rebuild to make them able to "MU" (multiple unit) with more than one other unit; originally they only had the MU cables on the rear meaning that only a back-to-back pair could be made. The two special units had cables put on the front so they could be used to make a 3-unit set for longer trains. One of the units had the nose rebuilt with an access door, raising the headlight and changing the contour of the nose. In the Winter of 1953 to 1954 New Haven A-A-A units #720-722 with #0721 in the lead could be seen in far northern Maine on the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad helping haul massive tonnage of potatoes, usually in the now Famous Red White and Blue "State of Maine" products reefers. These were leased by The BAR.

The DL-109s eventually ran their last miles in the late 1950s in local commuter service around Boston. One special unit was retained through the 1960s in Boston as a power plant; PP-716 was converted to produce power for a test third rail in Boston. Eventually PP-716 became the last DL-109 on the face of the Earth and fell to the scrappers torch under the Penn Central at Dover St. Yard, in June 1969.
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:52 am

In switching service a locomotive seldom operates at full power for an extended period of time. Passenger and fast freight service, however… The Dl-109's operating pattern (I assume the New Haven's fleet produced much of the evidence, if only because the New Haven had several times as many Dl-10? as all other users combined) revealed weaknesses in the 539 engine. Alco found solutions to some of the problems (oil-cooled pistons), and spent a bundle on retrofitting engines on locomotives already in service. (Details in Steinbrenner's book, which I can look up.)

So: did some of the New haven's later Dl-109 (the last, after all, weren't built until 1945) leave the factory with the engine modifications that had to be retro-fitted to the earlier ones? And could this be part of what distinguished the New Haven's sub-classes?

First thing to do is to get the construction dates for each sub-class.

---

The Dl-109 was heavier than the competition's A1A-A1A model, so there was probably some incentive for Alco to try to shave ounces. The New Haven's first batch of Dl-109 (so: the ones that were 5,000 pounds lighter) were probably built to the pre-war standard, with all the weight-saving design details. Later ones were built under war-time conditions. Did the weight-saving efforts on the early ones involve … strategic materials? Did the DER-1a, for example, use a lot of aluminum in their carbody structure that was replaced by steel in the later batches? (We know that something like this happened with steam locomotives: Santa Fe's 2900-class 4-8-4 were very similar in design to, but much heavier than, their previous 4-8-4 class, and I think a lot of the difference was due to substitution of alloys that weren't in as great demand for military production. But I don't know if this is what happened with the Dl-109.)

(Sorry, SSW9389, that I don't have definite answers to contribute. Your question strikes me as very interesting.)
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:55 am

My research has led me to believe that there may have been as many as 8 iterations of the GE 726 heavy traction motor. These would have been GE-726A through GE-726H. This traction motor was the one used in the DL-109s. The GM&O DL-105s are said to have been built with the GE-726 traction motor and are the first instance of this traction motor being used. And in at least one instance that has been documented GE-726F traction motors were installed in a Santa Fe DL-107 replacing GE-730 traction motors. The New Haven DL-109s being the most in number and delivered over a nearly three and a half year span would have had the latest electrical equipment when delivered. Is there any documentation on the internals of these locomotives when they were built and when they were retired? The same question holds true for any other DL-10?. What traction motors were they built with and what traction motors were they retired with?

Ed in Kentucky :wink:
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:18 am

Ed--
Where did the New Haven's papers go? I have an awful feeling much may have been just dumped, but I think there are some New Haven archives in a university library. Certainly the New Haven **at one time** would have had documents answering the question.
(As for eight versions of the 726 motor… that assumes that GE used letter suffixes in alphabetical order, and their numbering sequence is… well, if there is a system to it, it's well-hidden! Though it seems not unlikely that there would have been that many variants over the years the motor was in production.)
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:49 am

Allen: Just recently I've seen GE-726F, and GE-726H traction motors shown on documents scanned and posted to the internet. The GE-726F traction motors were used to replace GE-730 traction motors on the Santa Fe #50, a DL107 when built. The GE-726H motors shared the cover of a traction motor manual with GE-752A. That would cause one to think that the H iteration was the last type of the GE-726 traction motor. That GE manual was dated August 1947. Now whether there are eight iterations of the 726 traction motor or another number is unknown at this time. If we keep digging around some other GE-726? letters may show up. The New Haven DL-109s are a logical place to look for clues on GE traction motors and control circuitry.

The New Haven records are at the University of Connecticut in Hartford.

Cross posting to the Alco forum.

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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:21 pm

Ed--
Not Hartford: the NewHaven archive is "Special Collections" of a library at the main UConn campus, in Storrs CT. Several thousand boxes and bound volumes. I looked very quickly at the online catalogue,
http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/findaid ... 10009.html ,
but didn't SEE anything that looked obvious: nothing labeled "Mechanical Department records" or anything like that. So the relevant information MAY be there, but it would probably take several days on site in Storrs to find out.
Sorry.

(I suspect that you are right about there being a sequence of 8 subtypes of 726 motor: I was just being my sceptical self pointing out that GE's system of designations might not be being helpful. The 726H might have been -- do we actually know that? -- what was used on the first FA locomotives for GM&O. It's good that you have managed to nail down at least one other subtype, the one used to replace 730 motors on the ATSF Dl-10X units. I'll look and see if I can find any more "data points.")
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:33 pm

Well, according to Kirkland's Alco book, 726 motors were used on some of the 900 horsepower Alco High Hood switchers with 531T engines. (Not all: the first 900 hp unit with GE transmission had 287 motors -- the model used on 660hp High Hood switchers -- but after that GE-equipped units had 726.) It was then used on the 1000 hp High Hood switchers with the later 538T engine. Alas, he only records one letter-suffix: the three "HH-1000" built in 1940 for Oliver Iron Mines had 726C motors.

Which is all I've managed to find so far. Frustratingly, a couple of rosters (one at a Santa Fe fan website, one in "Extra 2200 South") just say that the ATSF's HH-1000 had 726 motors, with no further specification.
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:52 am

Allen: What I am thinking, but don't know yet, is that we are seeing snapshots of history. You calling them data points works for me. But what we don't know, but may be able to find out, is when was a given motor installed in a given unit. Was a traction motor installed brand new at the factory in Schenectady, or was it a part of an upgrade by a railroad shop.

With the New Haven having beaucoup Alco units it would be good to locate mechanical records if they exist.

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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:24 pm

Does anyone have gross weights and tractive efforts for the GM&O and Southern DL-100 units? The New Haven units appear to be somewhat heavier than other railroad's DL-100 units.

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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:33 pm

Extra 2200 South #37 p.19 shows the six New Haven orders were all delivered with 64:19 gears and GE-726F1 traction motors. That same issue showed the gross weights for the GM&O and Southern units.
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:19 am

Ed--
There's a psychological lesson here, too! Both of us have read that "Extra 2200 South" article repeatedly… but, now that the question about traction motors is at the front of our minds, we notice things in it that we don't remember from our previous readings! Thanks for rereading… again!
So, it would seem that the 726F was used from 1942 through the end of WW II. The 726C was used in (at least some) 1940-built HH-1000. I've been trying to think what ELSE GE might have supplied 726 motors for direct search efforts for the other 726 subtypes: I've posted a query to the GE forum about the large centre-cab switchers what GE built for people like the Ford Motor Company and the Monongahela Connecting Railway...
---
Re: weights. GM&O and Southern units, given their gear ratios, would have had 730 motors. These are probably a BIT lighter in weight than 726 motors (As "Typewriters" pointed out in an earlier discussion of traction motors, the 726 seems to have been a bit more "forgiving" in its short time ratings than the 730, and I suspect this means more copper!), but not by anywhere near enough to account for all of the difference. Notice that the Southern's earlier units were built about the same time as the Santa Fe's pair, but don't match them exactly in weight.

(Thought: The New Haven is in the Northeast, the Santa Fe goes over the Rockies, but the Southern is in the South, and the GM&O was too (it didn't take over the Alton until after WW II, I think). So maybe Santa Fe and New Haven thought they had to support greater steam heating efforts, and had, if not larger steam generators, larger boiler water tanks? (NB: this is a GUESS!!!))

Note that in the Santa Fe pair (built 1941) and the Southern's earlier -- 1941 -- units, the B-unit is actually heavier than the A unit. (Puzzling, this… unless maybe the B-unit had extra water tankage?) In the Southern's later pair -- built in 1942 around the same time as the New Haven's first order -- the A-unit is significantly heavier than the B-unit. So -- this is another GUESS -- maybe some time in mid-late 1941 Alco decided -- maybe to improve tracking, maybe to reduce costs by using cheaper materials -- to change to a heavier structure for the cab and nose end of the unit?

The first New Haven order were lighter than later ones. Given the dates, I am sticking (until someone comes up with actual documentation to show otherwise) to my guess that this is a matter of heavier car-body structure: giving up on some of the earlier efforts at weight saving, either because of cost or because it involved materials hard to come by in war time. … Given that the New Haven was using the locomotives in dual service, they probably didn't mind a few extra thousand pounds for better traction on the hills of the Maybrook route.

---

Thanks again for making these efforts, and posting the results. Tastes doubtless differ, but ***I*** find the minutiae of technical development fascinating!
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Re: DL-109 Class?

Postby SSW9389 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:40 am

Allen: I'm quoting your post to keep everything in context. The early GM&O units built in 9/40 were geared for 80 mph and thus according to the Extra 2200 South article would have had the GE-726 traction motors. I think the Southern's war baby DL-109/DL-110 pair would have had freight gearing and GE-726 traction motors to get passed by the War Production Board. In the last column on page 20 third paragraph from the bottom of the X2200 article it states that both New Haven and GM&O had freight gearing. And you can see that Rock Island regeared and likely remotored all its DL-100s when rebuilt. Win Cuisinier had seen some of the Alco drawings when he wrote that piece. It's the only way he could have described the units in detail as he did.

Was the GE-726F1 traction motor the only version of the 726 that was fitted to the DL100s or was it the most common and the last type of 726 fitted?

Ed in Kentucky

Allen Hazen wrote:Ed--
There's a psychological lesson here, too! Both of us have read that "Extra 2200 South" article repeatedly… but, now that the question about traction motors is at the front of our minds, we notice things in it that we don't remember from our previous readings! Thanks for rereading… again!
So, it would seem that the 726F was used from 1942 through the end of WW II. The 726C was used in (at least some) 1940-built HH-1000. I've been trying to think what ELSE GE might have supplied 726 motors for direct search efforts for the other 726 subtypes: I've posted a query to the GE forum about the large centre-cab switchers what GE built for people like the Ford Motor Company and the Monongahela Connecting Railway...
---
Re: weights. GM&O and Southern units, given their gear ratios, would have had 730 motors. These are probably a BIT lighter in weight than 726 motors (As "Typewriters" pointed out in an earlier discussion of traction motors, the 726 seems to have been a bit more "forgiving" in its short time ratings than the 730, and I suspect this means more copper!), but not by anywhere near enough to account for all of the difference. Notice that the Southern's earlier units were built about the same time as the Santa Fe's pair, but don't match them exactly in weight.

(Thought: The New Haven is in the Northeast, the Santa Fe goes over the Rockies, but the Southern is in the South, and the GM&O was too (it didn't take over the Alton until after WW II, I think). So maybe Santa Fe and New Haven thought they had to support greater steam heating efforts, and had, if not larger steam generators, larger boiler water tanks? (NB: this is a GUESS!!!))

Note that in the Santa Fe pair (built 1941) and the Southern's earlier -- 1941 -- units, the B-unit is actually heavier than the A unit. (Puzzling, this… unless maybe the B-unit had extra water tankage?) In the Southern's later pair -- built in 1942 around the same time as the New Haven's first order -- the A-unit is significantly heavier than the B-unit. So -- this is another GUESS -- maybe some time in mid-late 1941 Alco decided -- maybe to improve tracking, maybe to reduce costs by using cheaper materials -- to change to a heavier structure for the cab and nose end of the unit?

The first New Haven order were lighter than later ones. Given the dates, I am sticking (until someone comes up with actual documentation to show otherwise) to my guess that this is a matter of heavier car-body structure: giving up on some of the earlier efforts at weight saving, either because of cost or because it involved materials hard to come by in war time. … Given that the New Haven was using the locomotives in dual service, they probably didn't mind a few extra thousand pounds for better traction on the hills of the Maybrook route.

---

Thanks again for making these efforts, and posting the results. Tastes doubtless differ, but ***I*** find the minutiae of technical development fascinating!
COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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