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Nostalgia & History > UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco


Date: 02/07/14 05:49
UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: donstrack

Back in 1978, I spent an evening with Harold Rees, UP's Mechanical Engineer in the Motive Power & Machinery Department. It was at the invitation of Lloyd Edson, who had been field engineer in 1955-1960 for UP's turbocharged GP9 project. I had met Lloyd while I was working for UP in the Salt Lake diesel shop, and asked what he knew about the turbocharged GP9 project. I was quite surprised when he said, "I made it happen." He invited me to Omaha, and six months later, I was there in his office. Lloyd was the field engineer for the turbocharging effort in 1955-1960, which came to an end when UP got EMD's attention about turbochargers and offered the SD24 and GP20s. Lloyd introduced me around, including a quick visit with Frank Acord, the top man in UP's MP&M Dept. Lloyd invited me for an evening at his home, and mentioned that he would also invite Harold Rees, who Lloyd said had been his mentor.

Harold Rees had retired a couple years before, but had been Lloyd's boss back in Omaha during the GP9 project. They were both mechanical engineers. Harold brought several items with him that evening, including a file covering his work designing and building UP's two diesel-electric snow plows (9000080, built in 1959, and 9000081, built in 1966). There were several other items from his days as a design engineer with UP, including his work designing UP 80, the coal turbine, and his work throughout the 1950s as D. S. Neuhart's design engineer for UP's locomotives and cars.

At the end of the evening, Mr. Rees simply gave me the whole thing, "Here, you take this." In among those items was this drawing of UP's specification for a 5000 horsepower locomotive, dated December 4, 1962. This is what resulted in the GE U50 (delivered in 1963), the EMD DD35 (delivered in 1964), and the Alco C855 (also delivered in 1964).

This is where it gets embarrassing. This drawing was in the file for the snow plows (my current project), and I just discovered it earlier this week, 35 years later. I sure wish I had it at hand when I did the article in Diesel Era magazine back in 2001 ("Union Pacific DD35s" Diesel Era, Volume 12, Number 1, January/February 2001). Oh well.

Here is the drawing, in all its high-resolution glory:

http://donstrack.smugmug.com/UtahRails/Union-Pacific/UP-Miscellaneous/i-T95bPCR/A

A bit of a side note about my conversations with Frank Acord. He was the boss of UP's MP&M Dept., and I was just a lowly boilermaker. His formal title was General Superintendent, MPM, which he was named to in 1970. Later, in 1971, he was named as UP's Chief Mechanical Officer. One day while I was working on an SD45, Mr. Acord came up to me during one of his regular visits to Salt Lake City, and asked if I was the guy with all the questions about UP's Shay locomotives. "Well, yes sir, I am." Right there in front of several co-workers, he invited me down to his private car at the Salt Lake depot. The next day was my regular day off, so I spent over an hour while Frank Acord told me all about UP's Shay locomotives, along with all sorts of other interesting stories. He had started out in Cheyenne as a machinist in 1936, and in the years after World War II years he was general foreman of the Provo Joint Shops, which UP shared with Utah Railway. He related how whenever the Shays needed heavy wheel or boiler work, they came to Provo. I only worked for UP for another 18 months after that, but several times, he would find me in the shop, and relate some other story. I got in trouble a couple times because me talking to the big boss made my supervisors kind of nervous. But that was never the intention, and nothing ever came of it, work-wise. In fact, much to my surprise, after leaving UP employment, I got a phone call from one of my former co-workers, saying that Mr. Acord wanted to see me, and had been disappointed that I had quit. So I made arrangements to visit him the next day, again in his private car, where, again, he talked about some of his experiences. He retired in 1980, less than a year later, and moved back to Provo. He died in 1988. I was in my "I hate UP" mode at the time, but I will always regret not having taken the time to spend more time with a man that so obviously wanted to tell his stories to someone who wanted to listen.

Don Strack



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/14 07:53 by donstrack.




Date: 02/07/14 06:42
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: rob_l

Wonderful information.

Mr. Acord made it his ambition to totally undo the Neuhart-giant-custom-locomotive path the railroad had followed. Acord's dream was an all SD40-2 railroad. And he set the railroad on that new path, a path it still follows today.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 02/07/14 07:24
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: mamfahr

Don,

Thanks for posting that. By coincidence, while looking through files at the UP Museum last year I came across a report that outlined the thinking that led UP to that 5000 HP specification. I don't agree with some of their assumptions (modern cost-accounting methods would yield different results) but it does make for interesting reading, and resulted in some very interesting locomotives.

Take care,

Mark



Date: 02/07/14 08:11
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: fbe

I remember UP units marked, "Test dirt, do not wash, F.A. Acord" This was rubbed into the carbody grime. At the same time there were stencils for "Test paint, do not ??? F.A. Acord"

Posted from Windows Phone OS 7



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/14 09:00 by fbe.



Date: 02/07/14 10:14
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: donstrack

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don,
>
> Thanks for posting that. By coincidence, while
> looking through files at the UP Museum last year I
> came across a report that outlined the thinking
> that led UP to that 5000 HP specification. I
> don't agree with some of their assumptions (modern
> cost-accounting methods would yield different
> results) but it does make for interesting reading,
> and resulted in some very interesting locomotives.

Is it this 16-page paper presented to a group in San Francisco on June 4, 1963. There is a copy among the items Harold gave me in 1978, and I used parts in my article in Diesel Era in 2001.

http://www.utahrails.net/pdf/Higher-Horsepower-Diesel-Units_Rees_1963.pdf

Many will find the information on page 16 interesting, since it directly compares UP's smaller units, such as GP9s, with newer multiple unit consists, and UP's 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, both single and double-headed. I wonder what an FT-4 turbine would have looked like; proposed for delivery in 1964. If someone wants just the text from the first three pages, I have it as a plain text file.

Don Strack



Date: 02/07/14 10:28
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: wag216

WOW! Thanks for sharing this story. wag216



Date: 02/07/14 10:41
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: mamfahr

> Is it this 16-page paper presented to a group in
> San Francisco on June 4, 1963.

Don,

Yes, that's the same material that I have. It's interesting that they spent so much time analyzing the costs of single-units vs. "double-units" (all at the 2500 hp level that was available from diesels at that time) but apparently didn't study the possible benefits of a higher hp single unit. They'd have found that to be the best of their options; more attractive than double diesels from a cost standpoint. It would be only a couple of years before EMD, GE (and ALCO) would come out with 3000 hp models that would become the new "standard power" they'd use through the early '80s, with swarms of them eventually snuffing out the dbl power that had been built in the '60s.

Take care,

Mark



Date: 02/07/14 11:30
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: rob_l

I like this passage in the report: "... the necessity to use two diesel engines per car body is a sad reflection on the inability or unwillingness of engine manufacturers to produce a single locomotive
type diesel engine in the 5,000 HP range. All of the existing engines in the 2500 HP range have been upgraded from lower HP engines. This upgrading is fast approaching its economical limit.
Only the Swiss design Sulzer engine seems to offer much hope for large horsepower in a single engine."

I wonder why EMD did not tell UP about its research work to develop the 645 engine replacing the 567 engine, and the higher horsepower capabilities of the 645. A cynical speculation might be: Because they wanted to sell UP 567 diesels or double diesels and then sell UP 645 single-unit diesels to replace them. A generous attitude might be: Because research wasn't far enough along yet for EMD to be sure the 645 was capable of significantly higher horsepower, or EMD wasn't sure enough yet about its production costs to commit to offering 645-engined products in the future.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 02/07/14 12:11
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: GMUP

Don,

This is terrific information, thank you for sharing so much rare documentation.

Sandy



Date: 02/07/14 16:40
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: 90mac

On a U50B frame.
TAH



Date: 02/07/14 17:46
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: DNRY122

It's interesting that even today, 4400 hp seems to be the maximum for a practical diesel locomotive. And it was also interesting to see how it looks like the retirement of one man caused UP to move away from the path of unique-to-UP units to standardized engines. Reminded me of how Southwest Airlines standardized on the Boeing 737 for its fleet. I also thought of how SP and Rio Grande were the only US carriers to try German diesel-hydraulic technology.



Date: 02/07/14 20:43
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: Evan_Werkema

rob_l Wrote:

> I wonder why EMD did not tell UP about its
> research work to develop the 645 engine replacing
> the 567 engine, and the higher horsepower
> capabilities of the 645.

The electrical technology in 1962 wasn't up to the task, either. They were still using DC main generators, which like the 567 were nearing their practical limits in locomotive use in the 2500hp GP35. Hydraulics were one answer; alternators and rectifiers were another.



Date: 02/07/14 20:56
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: GP30Frank

I never worked for any railroad, but Don's entry really turned out to be a very interesting U P history lesson. It illustrates the beauty of TO !

Frank, in Tennessee



Date: 02/07/14 22:45
Re: UP's 1962 Proposed 5000HP Loco
Author: rob_l

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> rob_l Wrote:
>
> > I wonder why EMD did not tell UP about its
> > research work to develop the 645 engine
> replacing
> > the 567 engine, and the higher horsepower
> > capabilities of the 645.
>
> The electrical technology in 1962 wasn't up to the
> task, either. They were still using DC main
> generators, which like the 567 were nearing their
> practical limits in locomotive use in the 2500hp
> GP35. Hydraulics were one answer; alternators and
> rectifiers were another.

By spring 1963 (this was a July 1963 speech), alternators AC-DC rectifiers were a reality; didn't Alco put them out in C628s on the road in 1964? And I have to believe work on the 645 engine must have been pretty far along by then.

Best regards,

Rob L.



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