• Why not a C428?

  • 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 N_DL640A
Did ALCO ever market the C425 as a C428?
Did they consider it?
The 16-251C prime mover and GT598 main genenerator should have been up to the task - the C628 also used a 16-251C, and the U28B used a 598 main gen.
I'm surprised they didn't take the chance to do a little 'one-up' on the competition!

  by wess
I would think it would have been too slippery with all that horsepower, but so few axles

  by scottychaos
How about a C620?



  by nessman
wess wrote:I would think it would have been too slippery with all that horsepower, but so few axles
Then how do you explain the C-430... or hell, the GE B40-8?

High horsepower engines with fewer axles were generally designed for moving stuff like TOFC traffic - stuff that needed to move fast that didn't weigh as much as say 125 loads of coal going up a 1% grade.

I would explain it like this. It was such a resounding success, like only a dozen were built. "Slippery" engines, with unproven track records, not exactlly what the cash strapped carriers were looking for, in that era.
Wheelslip correction technology from the late 60's isn't worth the space in print, trying to compare it to microprocessor controlled wheelslip systems, like the B-40-8, you mentioned. Like comparing a Yugo, to a Viper............

  by Typewriters
In point of fact, ALCO did offer a C-428, and evidence of this actually is pretty easy to find. Find / pick up a copy of ALCO manual TP-447, which is the operating manual for Century series units with DC transmission, and you'll find the type listed on the specifications page (with concurrent Century series identification as model 428 and specification DL-428.)

The ALCO C-855 was essentially two sets of the equipment for the DL-428 mounted on one chassis and had exactly the same characteristics as those planned for potential DL-428 units, which also are as you named; 16-251C (1050 RPM), GT-598 generator. I should note that, as on the GE U28B, standard gearing for the unbuilt C-428 would have been 81/22 with a top speed of 74 MPH.

Evidence of a designed but not built C-620 is harder to find. Years ago, I went with my brother to a railroadiana show in Columbus, and during a couple hours of searching found an ALCO sales catalog. The price was way too high, but I did flip through it. I did in fact find complete specifications and drawings for an offered but not built C-620, and made a point of pulling my brother over and saying "hey, check this out and make a note of it" and naturally he did. The unit (interestingly) appeared somewhat like that photoshopped drawing, in that it had a relatively long short hood and much less space between the cab and the central air system intake. Twelve cylinder engine, and GT-586 generator.

I'd like to note for those who are wondering that I did ensure while having the book in my hands that this was NOT an export locomotive.

Had this sales catalog NOT been around two hundred dollars, I'd have it now. As it is, though, I do also recall that particular listing being the only thing that surprised me in the couple of minutes I took paging through it. Luckily, the seller didn't say "hey, you gonna buy that or what?" because I already had handed him something else off his table and said "hey, can you put this back there for me while I keep looking?"

Finally, some comment was made as to slipperiness of units such as would have resulted had any C-428's been built, and I would bring up the fact that GE built a good number of U28B units in the year long production run that this model had, and did have mixed results as regards adhesion. Experience with the U25B and U28B led GE to develop further improvements in slip detection which appeared in the production U30B units that followed. (These included the power tie detection circuit, effective at very low speeds, and two different circuits which detected low-speed synchronous slip and high-speed synchronous slip and spin; the previously applied axle-alternator system was retained with these other additions, and the slip suppression braking {SSBV} was fitted as the customer dictated.)

-Will Davis
Last edited by Typewriters on Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by trainspot
quote]How about a C620? [/quote]

Looks good, but I think you need to "clean up" above the rear radiator shutters, looks more like a C-625!

  by Luther Brefo
Typewriters, did you mean C624?

I have never seen any mention of a C620 but a C624 was in the works before the HP race fired up again and thus the C628 was born instead.

  by Typewriters
No, sure didn't. The unbuilt C-624 also appears in easy-to-find official documentation, namely very early copies of that same manual I mentioned. Mine happens to be a very late one, TP-447C and was printed after the Worthington buyout (manual indicates printing in 1967.)

Very positive that the drawings, and specifications we saw were for a six-axle unit with twelve-cylinder engine for domestic service, rated 2000 HP for traction. This should not be all THAT surprising, though, if we remember that ALCO had the foresight to perceive a market for a 2000 HP four-axle unit with all the modern design features in 1963, and that Electro-Motive did in fact include, in its 645-powered line of units introduced just a couple years later, both 2000 HP four and six axle units (as GP-38 and SD-38.) Then, just a couple years later, GE responded in this market by placing its FDL-12 engine, previously employed in export units, in both four and six axle units as the U23B and U23C.

My point is that the market for what railfans have referred to as "intermediate horsepower" units was there, and we know that ALCO sold the C-420 in decent numbers. The market for 2000 / 2250 HP C-C units was smaller, though, and given ALCO's market share by that point it isn't at all surprising that they never received orders for any.

-Will Davis

PS Knowing what I know now, I would have bought that sales book, exorbitant price or no.

  by David Hutchinson
I had posted on another thread........ I have (don't ask where) a promo folder from Alco that was in a Railway Age Magazine that shows the Century line in drawings, and it does include a C624 as the only C-C unit in the series.......

  by N. Todd
Keep in mind the C628 was a not exactly the most reliable machine out there. Yes, wheel slip was a common issue at the time. I'm surprized that even with the success of the U30B and GP40, that Alco could only draw 3 orders, even with the demonstrators.

  by RS-3
Three orders? I can think of LV, Monon, L&N, SP, N&W, PRR, and D&H off the top of my head....


The Lehigh Valley went back, for a second order of the "Snowbirds", as the AF-27's were known. They were that good. Known for being able to crawl at speeds with heavy tonnage that would have reduced lesser locos to scrap iron, the C-628's were really known, for their ability to launch crewmen straight up out of their seats, due to the "bounciness" of the Tri-Mounts, and of their ability to destroy trackage, under those same trucks. The C-628 was the hardest pulling loco on the LV diesel roster, with wheelslip not being an issue. Straightening out the curves in tracks, and pounding the joints into the ground, was the reason they were eventually banned from the west-end of the road, and from the D&H runs, into Bingo, as well. (D&H pulled their own, from the runs to Sayre, as well) Lot's of roads rostered them, and the total number built, shows the loco WAS a success, even as it continued to pound the rails into submission. Just a thought.............. :wink:
Why not a C-428? Maybe the masterminds at Schenectady couldn't come up with a two axled truck, with the same ride "quality" as the Tri-Mounts..... :P (gotta reputation to keep up!!!)

  by pablo
I've read repeatedly about the rough ride of these units/trucks, so unquestionably, it's true. I've also ridden units with hard-riding trucks (70-tonner was the worst), so I know what that feels like.

My question is this: how is it able to be ascertained that any unit or class of units are straightening rails, destroying joints, etc.? Is it just that the rails are more worn after a brief period of time when these units are around? I mean, there were other styles of locos around at the time, and how is it determined that it's the C-628's and not the big U-Boats, for instance?

I don't mean to sound ignorant, but I've always wondered when the D&H is using 6-axle U-Boats (which I thought went away before too long, too) how the 628's were the bad guy. I'm extending that question to the LV here as well.

Thanks in advance.

Dave Becker

  by mp15ac
I believe that the problem lay with the asymetrical design of the 3-axle Trimount truck. While it may have been adequate under the smaller/lighter RSD4/5 units, with the size, weight, and power of the C-628 proved too much that old design.