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Nostalgia & History > SP: Superlative Power


Date: 08/25/06 17:09
SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

Today, when mega systems order a thousand units at a time, SP’s collection of 356 SD45s seems paltry by comparison, but in the days of “the Friendly” it was a status no other Class I held. Built in October 1969, the 9112, shown departing Pomona eastbound a decade later, was vacated in early ’88.
Be of Good Cheer,
—Mac




Date: 08/25/06 17:22
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: mdo

Right. Looked good and sounded better.

Except that the 20 cylinder engines guzzeled diesel fuel and they were very high maintenance, too.

I would take an SD 40-2 any time.

in this era an SD 70.

Red, Steamjocky, come back.

mdo.



Date: 08/25/06 18:12
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Red

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Right. Looked good and sounded better.
>
> Except that the 20 cylinder engines guzzeled
> diesel fuel and they were very high maintenance,
> too.
>
> I would take an SD 40-2 any time.
>
> in this era an SD 70.
>
> Red, Steamjocky, come back.
>
> mdo.


Only got to run one SD45 in my life--a WC SD45--which interestinly--had Dash Three electricals. It was still rated at 3600 HP, and, for the most part, felt and sounded like an SD40-2.

Nowadays--you can't beat the SD70M--or--a nice, rebuilt SD40-2R out of Jenks, with AC added, new cab interior paint, new seats, etc. Or--MDO--those SD40M-2s the SP got in the 1990s--those are terrific power, and are now being cycled through Jenks (I stated I've run one SD45--I've run many of these "faux SD45s"--the SD40M-2s).

Have come to have a very healthy respect for the SD70ACe and the ES44AC.

Now--I wonder about the fuel guzzling aspect of SD45s.

Here's the deal. It has been written that the 20-cylinder 710-engined SD80MAC is a "fuel guzzler", in LOTS of places. Yes--it uses more fuel out of the tank on a run than, say, an SD70M or SD70MAC.

However--a very knowledgeable individual--in an intense, technical-detail laden post posted what REALLY COUNTS here, and that is fuel efficiency per unit of horsepower. This dealt with newer power.

It turns out that per unit of horsepower, the "fuel guzzling" SD80MAC, with its 20-cylinder 710, is actually a significantly MORE efficient unit than an SD70M, SD70MAC, SD9043AC, SD75M, or, other 16-cylinder 710-engined units. I.E., since the 5000 HP SD80MAC prime mover isn't being "pushed as hard"--is more conservatively rated--than any of the units above, on a unit of horsepower basis (and, this is truly the only figure that counts), the SD80MAC, far from being a fuel guzzler, is one of the most efficient EMDs in the past decade. Go figure. And, with better technology, crankshaft design, etc., the overhaul interval on the SD80MACs has been pretty much comparable to the 70-Series: a million miles.

I wish I had the same stats on the SD45 vs. the SD40. We're talking a totally different generation here, and, different rules may apply.

I often wonder if the CNW had gotten the SD80MACs it had on order--a substantial number--which were simply converted to more SD9043AC slots after the merger--I wonder if the UPRR might not have been impressed with these machines, and gotten more of them.

One thing is for certain--had the UPRR inherited SD80MACs--or--chose that model rather than the hanger-queen 8500-Class 6000 HP SD90MAC-Hs, those units would be still hard at work today, unlike the SD90MACs, most of which now toil as "hired guns" on the KCS RR. Oh well--I guess the KCS crews like the air conditioning--LOL.



Date: 08/25/06 18:32
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: mdo

Red,

A first class reply. Even more than I hoped for. I know that Steamjocky has run many an old SD 45.

John, it is your turn.



Date: 08/25/06 19:03
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

If this is the quality of reply an SP gets, I definitely am posting more. As for John's reply, I can't wait. Thanks Red for the great info as always.
—Mac



Date: 08/25/06 19:48
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Evan_Werkema

MacBeau Wrote:

> Today, when mega systems order a thousand units at
> a time, SP’s collection of 356 SD45s seems paltry
> by comparison, but in the days of “the Friendly”
> it was a status no other Class I held.

Hmmm...not sure about that. By 1959, Illinois Central had GP9's on their roster numbered 9000-9257 and 9300-9389, some 348 units. That's pretty darn close, especially when you consider the 48 GP7's and 29 GP18's that bracketed them. SP finished building its SD45 fleet in 1970, but by 1968, N&W had merged its way to a fleet of over 400 GP9's (its own plus those of Wabash and NKP), and newly formed Penn Central's roster was fat with just over 450 GP9's.

All of these numbers would be blown out of the water by the late 70's as UP bulked up on nearly 700 SD40-2's, and BN maxed out just over 800 SD40-2's.



Date: 08/25/06 20:14
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
------------------------------------------------------->
> Hmmm...not sure about that. By 1959, Illinois
> Central had GP9's on their roster numbered
> 9000-9257 and 9300-9389, some 348 units. That's
> pretty darn close, especially when you consider
> the 48 GP7's and 29 GP18's that bracketed them. SP
> finished building its SD45 fleet in 1970, but by
> 1968, N&W had merged its way to a fleet of over
> 400 GP9's (its own plus those of Wabash and NKP),
> and newly formed Penn Central's roster was fat
> with just over 450 GP9's.
>
> All of these numbers would be blown out of the
> water by the late 70's as UP bulked up on nearly
> 700 SD40-2's, and BN maxed out just over 800
> SD40-2's.

Evan,
My statistic referred to SD45s only. Got a Class I with more SD45s, trot it out. In fact, beside the most SD45s, I believe the Octopus wins the superlative game in more areas than any other Class I in America, let's see, Santa Fe had the most Fs but SP had the most F7s, SD7s, SD9s, SW1500s, SD39s(?) SD45s, SD45T–2s, and SD40T–2s, that's a pretty fair list in my neck of the woods. Most MK SD40–2s at one time too.
—Mac

PS Haven't had a chance to chat with you of late, hope all is well and my best regards



Date: 08/25/06 20:14
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Evan_Werkema

Red Wrote:

> Here's the deal. It has been written that the
> 20-cylinder 710-engined SD80MAC is a "fuel
> guzzler", in LOTS of places.

Has anyone associated with the railroads and in a position to know actually said this? I haven't run across such a quote, and I'm curious whether this factoid isn't the result of a game of internet "telephone." You know, where the message changes just a little with each repetition until it's changed completely.

When the SD80MAC's were new and the 20 cylinder engine was mentioned, I read more than one internet post saying, "I wonder if the SD80MAC's will be fuel guzzlers like the SD45's were." The next iteration could be, "The SD80MAC's might be fuel guzzlers like the SD45's," followed by, "I heard the SD80MAC's might be guzzlers like the SD45's," then, "I heard the SD80MAC's are guzzlers like the SD45's," "The SD80MAC's are guzzlers like the SD45's," and finally with, "The SD80MAC's are fuel guzzlers," the evolution of this "fact" is complete. I don't know that it happened this way; for all I know, SD80MAC's may well turn diesel fuel into horsepower less efficiently than an SD70MAC, but the infusion of some real information would certainly help.



Date: 08/25/06 21:11
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Red

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Red Wrote:
>
> > Here's the deal. It has been written that the
> > 20-cylinder 710-engined SD80MAC is a "fuel
> > guzzler", in LOTS of places.
>
> Has anyone associated with the railroads and in a
> position to know actually said this? I haven't run
> across such a quote, and I'm curious whether this
> factoid isn't the result of a game of internet
> "telephone." You know, where the message changes
> just a little with each repetition until it's
> changed completely.
>
> When the SD80MAC's were new and the 20 cylinder
> engine was mentioned, I read more than one
> internet post saying, "I wonder if the SD80MAC's
> will be fuel guzzlers like the SD45's were." The
> next iteration could be, "The SD80MAC's might be
> fuel guzzlers like the SD45's," followed by, "I
> heard the SD80MAC's might be guzzlers like the
> SD45's," then, "I heard the SD80MAC's are guzzlers
> like the SD45's," "The SD80MAC's are guzzlers like
> the SD45's," and finally with, "The SD80MAC's are
> fuel guzzlers," the evolution of this "fact" is
> complete. I don't know that it happened this way;
> for all I know, SD80MAC's may well turn diesel
> fuel into horsepower less efficiently than an
> SD70MAC, but the infusion of some real information
> would certainly help.


You are correct in the "The SD80MAC is a Gas Guzzler" has become a cliche, simply because of repetition, and what have you.

Until I search my files--you will have to trust my memory that the SD80MAC uses less diesel fuel per unit of horsepower than some of the others. I cannot say: "the SD80MAC is 18 percent more fuel efficient than a Santa Fe SD75M", or what have you. I can say that the gentleman who supplied the information gave factual data--and he was an insider--about how much fuel was used to supply one horsepower on a variety of 710-engined models.

Now--to get some factual data for yourself--get out a calculator, and, divide how much horsepower per cylinder there is in each of these units. You will see that the SD80MAC, with 5000 HP and twenty cylinders--is more lightly stressed an engine, than say, a Santa Fe SD75M or SD75I rated at 4300 HP. My calculator tells me that the 4300 HP SD75M, or, UP SD9043AC is churning out 268.75 HP per cylinder, while the SD80MAC is only churning out 250 HP per cylinder. Thus--the prime mover in the SD80MAC isn't working as hard.

To the best of my memory--I did not mean to indicate that the 80MAC was DRASTICALLY more fuel efficient than the others--but--rather--that it had a slight edge over some of the other 710-engined units. And, having a slight edge, however slight, or, even being EQUAL to one of the other 710-engined units, totally deprives the SD80MAC of the "Gas Guzzler" designation.

Well...I've had trouble locating the data...wanted to close out the loop on it. I want to say, that perhaps it was GREENDOT who supplied the information, but I could be wrong. At the risk of repetition--we are not talking DRASTIC differences here--but--I have seen factual fuel consumption data which makes the GAS GUZZLER designation for the SD80MAC nothing more than a "railfan cliche".



Date: 08/25/06 21:35
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Evan_Werkema

MacBeau Wrote:

> My statistic referred to SD45s only. Got a Class I
> with more SD45s, trot it out.

Hmmm...okay. From the way you phrased the intro, comparing SP's "paltry" 356 SD45's to mega-systems ordering a thousand units at a time (but not 1000 SD45's at a time), I thought the "status" in question was owning as many as 356 of any one model. In terms of SD45's, you're right; next in line was BN with 224 (post-Frisco).

> In fact, beside the
> most SD45s, I believe the Octopus wins the
> superlative game in more areas than any other
> Class I in America, let's see, Santa Fe had the
> most Fs but SP had the most F7s, SD7s, SD9s,
> SW1500s, SD39s(?) SD45s, SD45T–2s, and SD40T–2s,
> that's a pretty fair list in my neck of the woods.

SP/SSW also had the most GP35's bought new, though when Conrail was formed, its combined fleet ended up bigger. Santa Fe takes the crown in a few catagories (ignoring oddballs that only Santa Fe bought like the E1, H12-44TS, GP60M, and Dash 8-40BW): VO1000, "HH1000," FT, RSD-15, SD24, GP39-2, GP40X, SD45-2, U23C, U36C (Mexico had more U36C's if you count the U36CG's in their tally).

> PS Haven't had a chance to chat with you of late,
> hope all is well and my best regards

Likewise.



Date: 08/25/06 21:39
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

Red Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My calculator tells me that the 4300 HP SD75M,
> or, UP SD9043AC is churning out 268.75 HP per
> cylinder, while the SD80MAC is only churning out
> 250 HP per cylinder. Thus--the prime mover in the
> SD80MAC isn't working as hard.

Red:
I was always told the SD45s drank about 6.5 per hour at idle, around 256 per hour under full load at run 8, while an SD40–2 was around 5/236. Assuming I've remembered those consumption figures correctly and dividing the per fuel hour rate per cylinder, the 20 cylinder SD45 enjoyed an almost 2 gallon per hour advantage, yet the 40 was considered more "fuel efficient." Am I missing something in all this (wouldn't surprise me)?
Thanks,
–Mac



Date: 08/25/06 21:45
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SP/SSW also had the most GP35's bought new, though
> when Conrail was formed, its combined fleet ended
> up bigger.

Evan,
I thought the SP finished 2nd, one unit behind the SF in GP35's?
—Mac



Date: 08/25/06 22:03
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Evan_Werkema

MacBeau Wrote:

> I thought the SP finished 2nd, one unit behind the
> SF in GP35's?

Depends on how you count it. Santa Fe had 161 GP35's originally. They added 3 from TP&W in 1984, but 6 of the original tally had been lost to wrecks by then, so the most that were ever on the roster at one time was still 161. SP itself owned 160 GP35's and Cotton Belt another 22, for a grand total of 182. I figured you were including SSW in your SD45 count, since SP alone only had 317 SD45's; SSW kicking in the remaining 39.



Date: 08/25/06 22:08
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: MacBeau

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Santa Fe had 161
> GP35's originally.
> SP itself owned
> 160 GP35's and Cotton Belt another 22, for a grand
> total of 182. I figured you were including SSW in
> your SD45 count,

I had, but that 160/161 somehow had stuck in my head as including the SSW...old age is so much fun.
—Mac



Date: 08/25/06 23:23
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Red

MacBeau Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Red Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > My calculator tells me that the 4300 HP SD75M,
> > or, UP SD9043AC is churning out 268.75 HP per
> > cylinder, while the SD80MAC is only churning
> out
> > 250 HP per cylinder. Thus--the prime mover in
> the
> > SD80MAC isn't working as hard.
>
> Red:
> I was always told the SD45s drank about 6.5 per
> hour at idle, around 256 per hour under full load
> at run 8, while an SD40–2 was around 5/236.
> Assuming I've remembered those consumption figures
> correctly and dividing the per fuel hour rate per
> cylinder, the 20 cylinder SD45 enjoyed an almost 2
> gallon per hour advantage, yet the 40 was
> considered more "fuel efficient." Am I missing
> something in all this (wouldn't surprise me)?
> Thanks,
> –Mac

I don't think you are, Mac. I think that, as I said with regard to the SD80MACs, they were victims of the "railfan gossip vine"--even though most railfans adored the SD45s. In my post to Evan, I got to wondering about that calculation. SD40s churned out 187.5 HP per cylinder, while the SD45s were more conservatively rated at 180 HP per cylinder, even.

So--bottom line, by golly--the SD40 was more fuel efficient if you were running LIGHT POWER. Haul tonnage, and the SD45 may well have been more fuel efficient--just as the SD80MAC is surely more efficient, though by just a tad margin, as I alluded to earlier. It was other factors that lead to the preeminence of the SD40-2 (and with GE, the 3000 HP C30-7) in those years.

Now--there were mechanical issues with the SD45s regarding broken crankshafts--an issue the later SD80MACs did not have. EMD, when it developed a new generation V-20 710, made darn sure not to repeat the scenario of a weak crank--it stands to reason that if you have a longer crankshaft, you might want to consider "super-hardening" it.

Ironically, EMD developed upgrade kits--much stronger cranks for the SD45s which were intended for major rebuild programs later in their lives--the same upgraded crankshaft that came in the SD45-2 and SD45T-2. Thus--most extant true SD45s have these more durable cranks. But--the older SD45s that had been breaking cranks--this soured mechanical departments, in spite of the fact that a fix had been found. However, I think more important a factor in the demise of SD45-2 production was simply that the RRs pretty much settled on 3000 HP as the ideal "building block" for horsepower--note that the U36Cs fell out of favor about the same time, and, by the time the SD40-2s and GE C30-7s ruled the roost in the late 1970s and early 1980s, 3000 HP was the industry standard. It wasn't until the mid-eighties that the 3600 HP SD50s and 3750 HP GE C36-7s began to start raising the bar that the 3000 HP gold standard was broken.

Now, history has repeated itself. There's a tad more variance, but, generally, 4000 to 4400 HP has been accepted as the ultimate building block--even though the SD80MAC had an edge in fuel efficiency, and, dead-even reliability numbers with lower horsepower EMDs, and, by the time of the 2nd UP order for GE C60ACs in 2001, that unit had been pretty much "straightened out".

Here's what I see: I see a lot of SD70M pairs with an SD40-2R in the middle on my subdivison, giving you 11,000 HP. If you had 2 SD80MACs, you'd have 10,000 HP--darn near as much HP as the three unit set. Now--that blows the "GAS GUZZLER" argument for the SD80MAC right out of the water, doesn't it? Not knocking the SD70M--it's my favorite, as many know. But I think that what you have here is more a trend toward standardization and parts commonality--a perfectly LEGITIMATE issue--but let's call it just that, and not a "Get rid of the GAS GUZZLERS" issue. ;-)



Date: 08/26/06 17:16
Re: SP: Superlative Power
Author: Steamjocky

There really isn't much that I can add that hasn't already been said about the SD45. Were they gas guzzlers? Hell yes! But look what you got for your 20-cylinder engine putting out 3600 horsepower to the wheels. You got 180 horsepower per cylinder. I think that was pretty good for 1966. Power to the max! Remember, prior to big six axle power the railroads were using GP20s, 30s, and even some railroads were still using F units on their expedited trains even though they might have to use eight or ten units in a consist to get enough horsepower to make the time across the district. Just look at photos of the BSM in the early 1960s. Nothing but GP9s, 20s, and 30s and an occassional F unit and maybe even an ALCO or two.

When comparing the SD45 to the SD40 it would be almost like comparing a 3/4 ton pickup with a 454 c.i. engine to a 1/2 ton pickup with a 350 c.i. engine. Okay, maybe not. But I'm sure you get the idea. You'll get lots of power for your buck but you're going to pay for it at the pump.

IIRC, and I can't find my Railway Officers Operating Guide on Locomotive Fuel Consumption, an SD40 burned about 189 gallons per hour in run 8. An SD45 burned about 198 gallons per hour in run 8. A locomotive is most efficient in run 8 in regards to horsepower output per fuel used and least efficient in run 2. So, as they say, you get what you pay for. Now you have to ask yourself as a large Class 1 railroad, is that extra 600 horsepower and those extra four cylinders with the extra length crankshaft (which gave the railroads fits for a while) worth it? The tractive effort for the two were pretty close in comparrision. Only the mechanical department knows for sure. Or they though they were.

I think the SP took a big gamble with the SD45 with a big 20-cylinder engine. But I think the gamble was worth it in the long run. Sure, they had problems with traction motors burning up from too low of an operating speed in mountain territory but they got around that in the end. Yes, they had problems with that long crankshaft too but they handled that too.

What did I think of the SD45? Geeze Louise! Where do I start? The accereration of the SD45, especially on a BSM with about four of them with about 40 cars was something. You could feel yourself being pressed into the back of your seat. As far as I'm concerned it is one of the best freight locomotive ever built. It just reeked of power and it looked powerful too. You could pull just about anything with them. The only thing you had too worry about was too much throttle too fast or you'd break your train in two. I'm even guilty of that too.

But don't get me wrong, I liked the SD40 too. They both had the 645 engine and the SD40 was the first with the 645. The two were almost the same but in performance but yet, for obvious reasons, they weren't. They both had the same diesel engine in it except the SD45 had 4 extra cylinders welded to the block. I like to make the analogy that the SD40 was like an AC-4 and the SD45 was like an AC-12. They were the same, but different.

They did have a great view out the windshield and they had a control stand where everything was exactly where it should be, unlike today's "new" control stand. You could run them with your eyes closed (I know, I've done it a time or two) and you never had to fumble to find the throttle, the two brake valves, the headlight switches, or the selector lever (changed the locomotive from power to dynamic and back to power) as everything was within easy reach. And those big green (later brown) padded seats! A big thick cushion for a seat, retractable arms rest so you didn't bruise your ribs when you had to lean out the window when doing some switching (remember, no radios then), and you could adjust the back of the seat to fit your own comfort zone. I kinda wish we had them still. The most comfortable seats I've ever sat on. The same applies for the SD40s too.

Like I've said before, give me four SD45s, a track chart, and a train mass profile and I'll take just about any train anywhere in the US. Yeah, I really did like them.

JDE



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