• LSRC C425M question

  • Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.
Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

Moderator: Alcoman

  by PEIR

I was wondering what modifications were done to the former Lake State C425's to classify them as C425M's? Who did the modifications on the units?

  by Allen Hazen
I think at least some were equipped with AC generators: the C425 (introduced in 1964) had been designed just before the switch from DC/DC to AC/DC transmission for high-horsepower locomotives (e.g. EMD's 40 series, Alco's C430/C630, and someGE U28 types, all built in 1966).
  by PEIR
Allen Hazen wrote:I think at least some were equipped with AC generators: the C425 (introduced in 1964) had been designed just before the switch from DC/DC to AC/DC transmission for high-horsepower locomotives (e.g. EMD's 40 series, Alco's C430/C630, and someGE U28 types, all built in 1966).
Yes, all of the C425's were built with AC generators but were classed as C425's. After the four units left Conrail and were sold to the Detroit Mackinac where they picked up the "M". I did notice a bulge on the engineers side of the carbody. I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not.

http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/9 ... 718788.jpg

http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/2 ... 641080.jpg
  by EDM5970
I don't think the C-425s were built with alternators, although there was a few months overlap between the beginning of C-430 production and the end of C-425 production.The design was evolved from the C-424, which had the 581 main gennerator and MANY steps of field shunting; the 581 had simply reached it's limit of growth. When GE came out with the larger 598 main generator in the U-25 series, the Erie Lackawanna bought U-25Bs and asked Alco if they could build similar units with the 598. The result was the C-425.

The D&M/Lake States C-425Ms were a GE Hornell rebuild, using a 12 cylinder 251C rated at 2000 HP. D&H had similar rebuilds done at the same time. At some point in time, LSRC replaced the 581 DC generators with alternators on at least a few of the units. I'm not sure if the 'M' suffix was applied at Hornell or Alpena, but I suspect Hornell. Going from 16 cylinders and 2500 HP to 12 holes and 2000 HP is quite a modification
  by MEC407
I was just about to ask if these units went through the Hornell rebuild program. D&H's C424s became C424Ms after their Hornell rebuilds, so it makes sense that C425s going through the same program would become C425Ms.
  by PEIR
Thank you for the insight on the rebuilding. I wonder why they went with 2000hp engine? Fuel savings?
  by EDM5970
I did a bit of reading last night (Steinbrenner) and realized that the D&M/LSRC Hornells were actually C-424s, not
C-425s. Also, the alternator (in Alcos) didn't come along until the first C-630 (ACL 2011) in July 1965, somewhat ahead of the first C-430 in 1966, and also ahead of the GP-40.

GE built two U-28B units with alternators for test in May, 1966, and later U-28 production was all AC/DC, but Alco beat both GE and EMD to the AC/DC transmission punch with the C-630. Funny thing is, the later U-23 family was offered with both 581 generators or alternators. Trade-ins? (Is there a decent Kirkland or Steinbrenner type book on GEs out there?)

To address PIER's question about the lower horsepower engine, the answer is both fuel savings and maintenance. Its an over-simplification but tractive effort (a function of weight on drivers) gets a train moving, while horsepower accelerates it to speed. On a shortline or regional, where speed isn't critical, either due to distances or track condiion, high horsepower isn't needed.

It's an EMD example (and not a shortline either-), but Western Pacific did some tests in local and yard service with SW-7s and GP-7s (or GP-9s). They found that up to about 10 MPH, there was almost no difference in performance between the switchers and the Geeps, and the switchers used less fuel. A group of shortlines that I know is very happy with SW-8s; eight cylinders use less fuel that twelve or sixteen, and there are that many fewer power assemblies to maintain, which is a cost savings.
  by PEIR
EDM5970 wrote:I did a bit of reading last night (Steinbrenner) and realized that the D&M/LSRC Hornells were actually C-424s, not
The history I have found on them is that they were built as PRR C425's to PC to CR then to the Detroit & Mackinac and finally LRSC.
  by Bright Star
Note that all the Alcos out of Hornell were GE MOD locos-built to a somewhat standardized design. The model of the core unit was not significant.

The xtra 500 hp equates to a slightly high balance speed vs. the associated cost of four more cylinders. Probably deemed not worth the expense in a shortline application. A smaller engine @ rated hp is more efficient than a larger engine loafing along in the middle notches.

The 598 as used in the C-425 was a far more expensive (and less common) machine than the 581 which was already present within the fleet (RS-3, C-420).

The bulge is the photo was a revised crankcase exhauster arrangement.

  by EDM5970
Re: 424 vs. 425, I only reported what I read in Steinbrenner's book. Many EMD GP-7s -9s and -18s wound up as identical GP-10s in various other capital rebuild programs. Different starting points, same end product-

I forgot to mention another maintenance item. The lower horsepower permitted use of a much simpler transition system, only four stages: series-parallel; series parallel reduced field; parallel; and parallel reduced field. The many stages of field shunting (reduced field) was provided by a motor driven cam switch. This was a maintenance headache on not only the C-424 and RS-27, but also on the C-628 and EMD GP-30s and GP-35s. The use of a larger generator (the 598) and eventually alternators allowed the use of higher horsepower prime movers with less electrical complexity.
  by Allen Hazen
Hmmm... This string keeps coming up with more information, but I'm getting more confused!

(1) The Alco C424 (with the GE GT581 main generator: the same generator used on 12-cylinder 244 and 251 engined locomotives with power ranging from 1600 to 2000, so maybe close to its limits on the 2400 hp, 16-cylinder, C424) and C425 (with the bigger GE GT598 main generator also used on GE's own U25B) are very similar in appearance: slight difference in the sheet metal around the radiator compartment the only "spotting mark" I know. SLRC 181 (the unit in the second of the two pictures PEIR links to) has what LOOKS to me like a C425 radiator compartment. This is SOME evidence that it was built as a C425, though I suppose it is possible that it got a new and larger radiator at some rebuilding.

(2) 181 also has an extra air vent in the side of the long hood just aft of the cab, a vent NOT shown in PEIR's other linked photo, of sister unit 381. (D&M, the predecessor of LSRC, numbered its diesel locomotives by date of purchase: these two units, then, would have arrived on the property two months apart, in January and March of 1981: dates consistent with their being "graduates" of GE's rebuilding program at the former Erie Railroad shops in Hornell, NY.) I suspect this vent may have been added after the initial rebuilding: perhaps at the time a new (AC) generator was installed.

(3) I don't know of any application of the GE GT598 main generator to a locomotive less powerful than a U25B or C425. In particular, if some of the units that came out of the Hornell rebuild program started life as C425, I don't know whether they kept their original generators or got GT581 generators.

(4) As to the bulge: thanks, Bright Star, for the information that it was for a new crankcase exhauster arrangement. I think other rebuilds of Alco 251engined power at about the same time also modified the as-built arrangement-- in particular, I recall reading about a CN rebuild of an RS-18 that had a change of this sort.


Re: GEU28B and AC main generators. The two AC-equipped U28B test-demonstrator units built in May 1966 were the first two (301,302) of GE's four unit U28B/U30B/U36B test/generator set 301-303. GE apparently originally intended to build a four-unit set with two being alternator and two GT598 equipped, but by early 1966 railroad demand for high-horsepower units with DC generators had collapsed. (Some years ago a former GE employee said, on the Railroad.net GE or New York Central forum, that GE went several months without getting any new orders at that time: they had designed the GTA-9 alternator, and had supplied it to Alco for use in C630 units, but had decided to offer the U28B and U28C with DC main generators,and this turned out to be a mistake.) So in June they built two new units with alternators-- 302 and 303-- and sold the DC pair from their original set to the New York Central as NYC 2822 and NYC 2823 (the two NYC U28B in the new carboy,and the only U28B owned by New York Central proper, 2800-2821 having been bought by the P&LE).
As to later U28B being built with traction alternators: the old "DieselSpotter's Guide" had a somewhat vaguely worded statement on this, which I think led many people to believe that all U28B built after May had alternators. A few did, but most had DC generators: this was discussed several years ago at Railroad.net and "Loco-Notes," and someone copied out data from an internal GE document (the "Moser List") specifying which orders got which in a post to "Loco-Notes". I think L&N's U28B had alternators, but all of Rock Island's (including the late ones in the new carboy) had DC generators; I don't remember any others.
As to GE U23B units, a slim majority had GT 581 DC generators, but in the latter half of the model's production history the AC option was more popular. There was a detailed list of which got which in "Extra 2200 South" some years ago; I can find my copy if anyone is interested in details.


Alas, I know of no Kirkland- or Steinbrenner-style book on GE locomotives. (Greg McDonell's "U-Boats" (Boston Mills press, 1994) covers only the (domestic) U-series, and is more of a picture-album, with fairly thin text.) Kirkland was supposedly working on a GE volume when he died; I have been told that his materials are in the hands of someone who intends to bring out a book... some time or other.
  by PEIR
Thank you for the additional information Allan. If you do come across the Extra 2200 South with the GE info please feel free to post it here.
  by Bright Star
The alternator were applied to the C425M's by the LSRC. The CMO was a former Alco guy-and they had the assistance of a GE tech rep . GTA-11 alternators are readily available in the RTO market-as are the associated controls. All of the C425M's would have been done absent a change in owndership/management.

The radiator sections on these units are as built.

  by Allen Hazen
Bright Star-- Thanks for information about the radiators! LSRC 181, then, definitely started life as a C425. As for getting alternators in the second-hand market-- sometimes (though not for LSRC) it is even easier: Canadian Pacific re-equipped some of its C424, late in the units' lives, with alternators from scrapped M630.

PEIR-- The "Extra 2200 South" roster of U23B and U23C is in issue 75 (1982 cover date). Contact me off-board if you have a question about particular units, but I am not sure of the ethics or legalities of posting a whole published table to the board.
  by Bright Star
Allan-ex PRR C-425's to be exact. Fleet was 31 units.

It occured to me that one of the modifications that must have been performed on the GTA-11 was to add the fan. In the GE application, the TA is cooled off a duct in the platform off tyhe main equipment blower. On a C425, the tm blower is too small to deliver the required CFM. The GT598 in the Alco application had a fan between the generator and adapter.