NS GP40-2 3046

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bye Bye Kodachrome.......

This past Sunday, CBS's Sunday Morning show headline story was about Kodak retiring it's Kodachrome film line.  The film was known for its bright colors produced.  I started photographing a few years before the digital camera boom.  During my short few years using a 35mm film camera, I never used Kodachrome.  Soon, my 35mm would be retired for a point and shoot digital camera.

In 1984,  the Southern Pacific Railroad and Santa Fe Railway purposed a merger of the two companies.  Both railroads started painting locomotives yellow and red.  These units would would earn the nickname "Kodachrome" due to the colors of the film's packaging colors. There would be no merger due to the lack of approval from the ICC.  These units were short lived and would soon be repainted back into their home road colors.  

Over 10 years ago, the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway held an employee locomotive paint scheme contest.  Somehow, the Kodachrome colors would win.  Two GP35 locomotives would be painted red and yellow.  Recently, the ranks were thinned to one.  The one remaining unit will likely stay in the Kodachrome scheme until it goes to the Brewster shop for an overhaul.

Wheeling and Lake Erie GP35-3 2662 at Falls Junction.  Glenwillow, Ohio 12/5/2010

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Turtle Crossing

With a little help, this turtle did make it across the tracks.......

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Riding in Classics....

Located somewhere in the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway’s Brewster Locomotive Shop, there is a sign that says : " GP35 LOCOMOTIVE BUILT:1965 BY GENERAL MOTORS (EMD) HORSEPOWER:2500...WEIGHT 266,000LBS. FUEL:2,300 GAL. ...LUBE OIL: 243 GAL. COOLING WATER:275 GAL. ...CYLINDERS 16 WELCOME ABOARD....."

As part of the 1990 sale agreement to the newly created Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, Norfolk Southern included about 25 locomotives, specifically EMD’s GP35 model. This battalion was made up from mostly former Southern Railroad units. Over time, units underwent rebuilding at Brewster and emerging with Q-Tron microprocessor controls to bring them up modern control standards. Not all units were lucky to receive a rebuild to extend their service life. The un-rebuilt units were called to duty from time to time in traffic surges, otherwise laid-up hoping for a returned call for duty.

Recently, six un-rebuilt GP35 models left the fleet for three SD40-2 models in a sign and trade deal with LTEX. Another GP35 is being kept around for parts, but will leave Wheeling once depleted. The remaining GP35s will soldier on for some years to come. Units are currently being cycled through Brewster for their second rebuild.

I clearly remember the first time I stepped on 2645 and thought how many other railroaders had stepped aboard the battle weary unit. And weary it was indeed. 2645 responded when asked to move some cars by rattling everything on board. 2645 struggled to move cars. After that run, a call was made and another unit was shipped up for us to use........

A picture of the 2645 and the five others going to LTEX

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Heaters Are On High

“It’s not hard to tell when you worked last” stated a fellow conductor.
“How can you tell?”
“The heaters are on high.”
“Yeah. It’s cold from those drafty doors and windows. Don’t you feel them drafts?”
“Not really. I keep the heaters on low and it feels fine.”

Not all locomotive cabs are warm in 15 degree temperatures. Some have drafty windows and doors or heaters that produce luke warm air. The little heat that is created escapes into the cold metals that make up the cab due to the lack of insulation. It does not help that the conductor is constantly in and out of the cab since this is mostly a local switching operation. Usually when the conductor comes back into the cab from his ground duty exercises for a few minutes, the heaters goes from high to low. Since doors and windows are being opened and closed a lot, duck tape is a worthless tool to block the draft from the doors.

Most of the locomotives models (SW1500 has one blower heater) I’ve been in have two wall heaters and two forced air heaters. One set of heaters are located on the engineer side and the other set is on the fireman’s side. The sidewalls heaters provide a cushion of warm air maybe halfway up the side cab windows and the forced air heaters spreads heat around in the cab. Depending on which heaters are on, various heating temperatures can be achieved. Sidewall heaters working without the blower heaters will never be able heat the cab alone. One blower heater with both sidewalls will produce a luke warm draft around in the cab. If all heaters are on high, a warm draft will be generated in the cab. But as soon as it starts to get warms, I have to leave the cab to either drop a cut or throw a switch.

Hopefully soon, Old Man Winter will retire for the season……

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Adhesion Part II

In my posting “Let’s have some fun” http://clevelandtrains.blogspot.com/2009/10/now-lets-have-some-fun.html traction effort and adhesion is mentioned briefly. Adhesion and traction effort is what it takes to get tonnage moving over grades, but there are wheel slip control systems to maximize both. Some of the wheel slip systems out there are EMD’s EM2000 and Super Series, Wabtec Q-Tron, GE BrightStar and ZTR BOA/Nexsys II. These microprocessor systems can also monitor the health of traction motors, engine, blowers, alternator, water temperature and air compressor to just name a few components.

In order to maximize traction effort and adhesion during heavy tonnage situations and or wet rail conditions, the wheel slip systems works to reduce the wheels from slipping when below 1.5 mph. This allows starting the train smoothly and not breaking a knuckle or pulling a drawbar. The system controls slippage by reducing power to traction motors (or excitation from the generator on older DC-DC locomotives). Reducing power on the slipping traction motor(s) allows them to establish a footing or bite on the rail to get moving. Above 1.5mph, the wheel slip system turns in a creep control system. Creep control allows each traction motor to develop maximum traction effort by rotating 1-2mph faster than ground speed. The wheel is allowed to spin for a few seconds until it grips the rail. Once it finds a grip after this higher speed rotation, it is at the maximum adhesion point. Wheel creep can happen at any speed and is controlled by the wheel slip system. There is a high pitched sound, similar to wheel slippage, when a wheel is creeping.

Somewhere, I have a short video of a GP38-2 creeping to share.