Diesel "B" Units in NH Line/PC service Pssgr or Frght

Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8601
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: If it's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

Diesel "B" Units in NH Line/PC service Pssgr or Frght

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:17 am

I remember years ago, and this may have been PC or CR era, that the FL-9's or other diesels had some type of piggy-back trailer units with no cabs that I guess provided extra motive power. Did these trailer units survive into MNRR era? What condition were the FL-9's in when MNRR inherited them, i.e. what was servicable?

I post this in MNRR forum since there are many experts here, but realize that if these trailers were not FL-9 trailers or in MNRR service, the topic may belong over on NH or Rolling Stock forums. I did check the recently updated piercehaviland site.

(Edited to rename topic to "B" units from Power Units (non-cab trailer))

(Edited again to rename topic as evolved 1/6/09 by Sarge.)
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Next stop, Willoughby
~el Jefe ("Jeff Smith Rules") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Erie-Lackawanna
Posts: 1130
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: Where the Tropics Begin, FL

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Erie-Lackawanna » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:44 pm

EMD built many E- and F-series locomotives as "B" units - cabless--but otherwise identical--versions of the standard locomotive; Alco built "B" unit versions of their PA's and FA's (I think they were actually called PB's and FB's). However, there was never an FL-9B, and I very much doubt that any suburban service in the territory that eventually became Metro-North operated with B units.

LIRR had "power packs" - converted "A" and "B" type locomotives that provided hotel power for the passenger cars, but did not provide traction power to pull the train.

Here's the Norfolk Southern Business train with F7-As and F7-Bs to highlight the difference: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=217294

Jim

User avatar
Otto Vondrak
Posts: 20285
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Otto Vondrak » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:51 pm

Sarge wrote:I remember years ago, and this may have been PC or CR era, that the FL-9's or other diesels had some type of piggy-back trailer units with no cabs that I guess provided extra motive power.
Not that I have ever heard of. Pictures? Maybe you're thinking of LIRR's F9 and FA "power packs."
What condition were the FL-9's in when MNRR inherited them, i.e. what was servicable?
Penn Central had many "non-powered trailing" FL9's on their trains, but it wasn't by design. I have photos of Harlem Line trains in the 1970s with six units on them to get them over the road. There were no cab "B" units in service on Metro-North (or Conrail or Penn Central) commuter operations.
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At

Tadman
Posts: 9745
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Tadman » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:14 pm

Otto, if you get a chance, I'd love to see some of those six-unit FL9-powered trains. No rush, man, just curious.
Dig the new rr.net Instagram account: @railroad_dot_net

User avatar
Otto Vondrak
Posts: 20285
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Otto Vondrak » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:50 pm

Tadman wrote:Otto, if you get a chance, I'd love to see some of those six-unit FL9-powered trains. No rush, man, just curious.
I'll dig them up. They're not my photos, they were given to me by a friend of mine.
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At

DutchRailnut
Posts: 22316
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by DutchRailnut » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:42 pm

The time 944 ran with 6 diesels was in summer of 1984, when first trains were M3's.
At end of morning rush all working diesels would be deadheaded from Brewster to GCT on train 944, sometimes 6 locomotives and only 3 or 4 coaches.
It made it very interesting for one of the younger engineers who insisted on bailing off the brakes on engines.
I use to do big effort to have all 6 jumpered and fully MUed.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

Noel Weaver
Posts: 9630
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:47 pm

This reminds me of my New Haven Railroad days when I had trains 140 and 143 as a regular job for a good part of maybe
1966 or 67, I don't remember which. On weekdays we would get a single FL-9, a combo and a coach. The train was
notorious for having a poor brake. I ran the job most days and there was no such thing as power braking on this stuff.
We stopped at Darien on 140 and of course it was downhill coming into the station and with this train we would be moving
pretty good when it came time to set up the brake. We had a conductor and a trainman back in the train and the train crew
was one of the best. We used to have a woman get off at Darien who seemed to take pride in giving the crew a hard time
whenever possible. You guessed it, one day we got by the platform and had to back up to make the stop. A couple of days
later a Road Foreman showed up to ride the train with us from Grand Central Terminal to South Norwalk. We put him right
in the engineer's seat but both of us told him the brakes were very poor on this particular train. Everything went relatively
OK until he tried to stop at Darien when he waited a little bit too long before setting up the brake. We got by even worse
this time and again had to back up. He bailed off at South Norwalk but when we got to Danbury the foreman got the car
department people to go to work on the two cars and the brakes worked good for a period after that. Not long after that the
coach was taken and put on something else and they got stuck doing another brake job.
Such was life on the New Haven Railroad years ago.
Noel Weaver

MACTRAXX
Posts: 4224
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by MACTRAXX » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:30 am

Dutch,Noel and Everyone: I figured that this would be the place to ask some FL9 questions I have:

Did the FL9s have capability to operate on each end of a train as opposed to together as they were mostly operated and which cars had trainlines to allow this type of operation? If it was done with older equipment like back in the 80s and before did the trailing unit on the train's rear just idle along?

Did the MTA ever consider converting the former NYC P-S MUs to diesel hauled cars like the LIRR did and could any of the FL9s had been converted into a "Power Pack" unit like the LIRR did with those FA and F units they had? Or better yet-install a switch like some LIRR MP15s had to allow a unit to solely generate hotel train power?

Thanks for any replies and insight in advance-MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

User avatar
Tommy Meehan
Posts: 3345
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:00 am
Location: Yonkers

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Tommy Meehan » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:34 am

Just out of curiousity, why would Metro-North have to deadhead diesels to GCT after the AM rush?

In the 'old' days it was just the reverse. NYC used to run at least one deadhead from GCT-NWP after 9AM as by then the yard at NWP was just about wiped clean of equipment. It was all in New York.

DutchRailnut
Posts: 22316
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by DutchRailnut » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:39 am

MACTRAXX wrote:Dutch,Noel and Everyone: I figured that this would be the place to ask some FL9 questions I have:

Did the FL9s have capability to operate on each end of a train as opposed to together as they were mostly operated and which cars had trainlines to allow this type of operation? If it was done with older equipment like back in the 80s and before did the trailing unit on the train's rear just idle along?
yes and they frequent were on upper Harlem and upper Hudson, no MUing them however, only cars we had with MU capability were the ex Reading (SEPTA) cars now at the DRM.
They had a 27 trainline running over roof for MUing.
Did the MTA ever consider converting the former NYC P-S MUs to diesel hauled cars like the LIRR did and could any of the FL9s had been converted into a "Power Pack" unit like the LIRR did with those FA and F units they had? Or better yet-install a switch like some LIRR MP15s had to allow a unit to solely generate hotel train power?
No they were to heavy and were worth more as MU's. The power pack function of the LIRR powerpacks was useless on MNCR as they only provided 600 volt DC for former MU cars
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8601
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: If it's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:53 am

Thanks for the replies all; my DSL was down all yesterday afternoon, so I couldn't reply. So they would have been called "B" units, but not on the FL9. I'm positive I remember seeing them, but it must have been NH or PC days, then, and probably a long distance train. I'll have to search some of the DVD's I've picked up and see if I can find them. It was certainly a "diverse" set of power back in the day.
Next stop, Willoughby
~el Jefe ("Jeff Smith Rules") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

User avatar
Otto Vondrak
Posts: 20285
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Otto Vondrak » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:03 pm

Sarge wrote:Thanks for the replies all; my DSL was down all yesterday afternoon, so I couldn't reply. So they would have been called "B" units, but not on the FL9. I'm positive I remember seeing them, but it must have been NH or PC days, then, and probably a long distance train. I'll have to search some of the DVD's I've picked up and see if I can find them. It was certainly a "diverse" set of power back in the day.
I have never seen a photo of a B-unit used down here in the last 40 years or so. Just so we're all on the same page, this is a "B unit," specifically an F7-B.

http://www.traintrack.net/Engines/Image ... y/436B.jpg

You're not thinking of the ex-Conrail B23-7's, are you? They were work engines occasionally pressed into passenger service:

http://www.capecodrails.com/ds/rf96/ds_ ... tsrf96.jpg

-otto-
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At

MACTRAXX
Posts: 4224
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by MACTRAXX » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:19 pm

Dutch: Thanks for the info!
First-only that small group of ex-Reading SEPTA cars had any trainlines-for their P/P service with the ex-Reading FP7s out of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal when they ran to Reading/Pottsville and sometimes to Bethlehem. As said no other older cars had P/P trainlines.

Second: Let me clarify myself and ask if the MTA did decide back then to convert those MU cars to diesel hauled push pull cars what would have had to have been done to the FL9s to allow them to operate in P/P service? What kind of trainline and hotel power would have been needed? Were the FL9s too heavy or the MU cars? As said the MTA and then MNCR considered them more valuable as MU cars-I guess since MNCR did not have enough M1 and M3 cars to replace them. The 1963 1100s had quite a long life-but what about those ex-NYC
Pullman-Standard
cars from the 50s-How many of them were there and could those have been used in P/P service? I recall seeing a pic from around 1980 showing a FL9 in the blue and silver MTA paint pulling what looked like some of those former NYC cars - that was my reason for asking and comparing with what the LIRR did with their former MU cars converted for P/P service.

Thanks again - MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8601
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: If it's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:05 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:
I have never seen a photo of a B-unit used down here in the last 40 years or so. Just so we're all on the same page, this is a "B unit," specifically an F7-B.

http://www.traintrack.net/Engines/Image ... y/436B.jpg

You're not thinking of the ex-Conrail B23-7's, are you? They were work engines occasionally pressed into passenger service:

http://www.capecodrails.com/ds/rf96/ds_ ... tsrf96.jpg

-otto-
Well, I am 47, but I don't recall hanging out at the Mamaroneck station until I was at least in 5th or 6th grade (what's that, 10 or 11?). Hey, the world was a different place in 1971! It could even have been earlier, as I remember walking alone to school in those days (from the village area over to Mamk Ave School).

Anyway, it was not the ex-Conrail engines. I know they may have been pressed into passenger service, but they would have been leading engines, right? And not MU'd. No, I'm pretty sure after this discussion and the stirring of old memory cells that it must have been PC or NH era, so this wouldn't even really apply to MNRR, right? I guess that's on the cusp or before of your 40-years or so time-frame assertion. It was also near the end of the LL platform era. Could this have been NYC equipment moved over to NH service (similar to the use of PC FL-9's on the Harlem)? Or even PRR or LIRR shuffled around? What about pre-Amtrak intercity service? What did they use? Or even freight?
Next stop, Willoughby
~el Jefe ("Jeff Smith Rules") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

User avatar
Tommy Meehan
Posts: 3345
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:00 am
Location: Yonkers

Re: Diesel (FL-9) Question: Power Units (non-cab trailer)

Post by Tommy Meehan » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:31 pm

Freight, yes. Likeliest ex-New Haven Alco FB units, I guess.

Return to “Penn Central”