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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Manual Transition!


Date: 12/01/23 20:25
Manual Transition!
Author: ApproachCircuit

I wonder if anyone is still out there that operated FT's with Manual Transition in pool freight. service?
The closest I came was back in H.S., the WP ran a special from Sacto(?) to Oakland RT for the students
to see "Cinerama" in downtoen San Francisco. The train was powered by 4 FT units and I can honestly say
that we flew right along. My guess we did a good 70. CZ speed!
You were restricted to our car as the schools provided chaperons that were strict. This was in those years
that the local schools made you go to the auditorium to watch "Reefer Madness"!!  We all lauughed but of course
that was forbidden. I remember the train going into emergency: rumor in our car was a student pulled the
emergency cord.
I don't think we took the SP ferry across the Bay rather buses?



Date: 12/07/23 20:46
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: rob_l

Hogheads who ran FTs would be hard to find nowadays. But there are probably some old SP&S/BN heads still extant who ran their FAs, which also had manual transition. They ran until 1972. If Jim700 sees this, he could tell you.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 12/08/23 07:00
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: engineerinvirginia

It's been some years but I've had engines that had a manual transition lever, albeit disabled.....was told it's purpose was for those occasions when you might have a trailing engine that had manual transition you could transition it...as I remember the pneumatic transition hoses were missing and the ports capped. 



Date: 12/08/23 07:12
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: train1275

I've run RS-3's with manual transition.



Date: 12/08/23 07:17
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: jdw3460

I was never a hogger, with or without manual transition, but I do remember hearing the manual transition many times as Santa Fe FT's were accelerating out of town in the late 1940's and early 1950's.  I didn't know what it was or what it was doing until years later.



Date: 12/08/23 11:14
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: Notch7

When I was around 12 years old and learning locomotives, my railroad friends let me stationary-practice on an Atlantic Coast Line FT.  The FT's were used as trailing engines on connecting trains of the ACL and the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway through my home town.  While the ACL crew was off with the lead GP7 doing local switching, the WSSB guys let me practice brakes and throttlestand on the offline FT under their instruction.  I had already studied No. 6 brake operation.  As I remember, that FT had its original no.8 brakestand swapped out with a 24RL, but the operation was similar.  The FT did have the small barrel throttlestand with the slotted transition lever.  Though I never ran anything but automatic transition later F's, I remember there were instructions with manual transition F's to drop it to 6th notch before going in or out of parallel.  Later on I ran SCL's two F9's 309 and 317.  They were built on the frames and probably trucks of badly wrecked  ACL FT's.  The builders plates reflected their heritage, and SCL accounted their approximate lifetime mileage.  In early 1972 each was accredited with 4.7 million miles.  The two wrecked and rebuilt ACL E3's were tops at 6.1 million approximate miles.  The 309 and the 317 had later style box on a pedastal switcher style throttlestands with the red Bakelite handles.

The manual transition engines I ran were old Southern Railway early ALCO RS-3's.  They were pretty nice for a railfan-engineer to run actually.  I ran them in every class of service, except through freight.  SOU tried to keep them off the point of through freights.  Because of the manual transition, we ran them on the point of all other trains.  It was interesting slamming into the night at 80 on No. 5 - the Washington to Atlanta "Piedmont" with a manual transition RS-3 on the point, a coach bar-lounge in the passenger section, maybe up to 30 pigs behind the passenger cars with just a red flag in the rear knuckle.  I enjoyed those days and miss them.



Date: 12/11/23 21:07
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: joeygooganelli

I've been on Kentucky Railway Museums BL-2 that still needed manual transition. We on CSX have a few engines with the selector switch still there. They have the auto transition mod done. It was vaguely talked about when I went to Engine school in 2000. Similar to trying to find a 24 brake on anything. I've seen them a few times in my 26 years. Never ran one on the main though.

Joe



Date: 12/12/23 07:05
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: engineerinvirginia

joeygooganelli Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been on Kentucky Railway Museums BL-2 that
> still needed manual transition. We on CSX have a
> few engines with the selector switch still there.
> They have the auto transition mod done. It was
> vaguely talked about when I went to Engine school
> in 2000. Similar to trying to find a 24 brake on
> anything. I've seen them a few times in my 26
> years. Never ran one on the main though.
>
> Joe

The 24's are so rare we have no one left qualified on one in my terminal....though it doesn't matter...they will stick you on a motor and tell you it's good, so you figure it out. 



Date: 12/12/23 07:23
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: train1275

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> joeygooganelli Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I've been on Kentucky Railway Museums BL-2 that
> > still needed manual transition. We on CSX have
> a
> > few engines with the selector switch still
> there.
> > They have the auto transition mod done. It was
> > vaguely talked about when I went to Engine
> school
> > in 2000. Similar to trying to find a 24 brake
> on
> > anything. I've seen them a few times in my 26
> > years. Never ran one on the main though.
> >
> > Joe
>
> The 24's are so rare we have no one left qualified
> on one in my terminal....though it doesn't
> matter...they will stick you on a motor and tell
> you it's good, so you figure it out. 

I recall way back circa 1990 on Conrail in UpState NY that there was a fading memory of the 24RL. I was trying to set up a 26L to 24RL (dead in tow) and the CR engineer said he was just out of air brake class and knew what he was doing. About 40 minutes and multiple failures later he conceeded defeat and let me perform my task. I think I finally threw out or gave away all my 24RL books a few years ago. One thing about 24 was the size and weight of the portions. Such fun on an F unit with no ramp and having to haul everything up and down the vertical ladder.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/23 18:07 by train1275.



Date: 12/22/23 19:50
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: upkpfan

I'm just a railfan but don't know what this manual transition is.  upkpfan



Date: 12/22/23 21:30
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: Notch7

upkpfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm just a railfan but don't know what this manual
> transition is.  upkpfan

upkpfan,  I am not a shop electrician - so I can't explain it real good.  I an just a trained locomotive fireman from the past that worked on the old engines.  As the traction motors that propel diesels spin faster they produce sort of a back pressure called counter electromotive force.  For the traction motors to continue to spin faster you have to "transition" into different electrical connections via different power contactors and shunting.  First generation diesels mostly had three or four stage transition.  For example, EMD FT's and ALCO RS-3's had four stages : series-parallel, series-parallel shunt, parallel, and parallel shunt.  EMD E-units had three stages : series, parallel, and parallel shunt.   Some early models and some cheaper versions of models had engineer-operated manual transition using a selector lever on the throttlestand.  The engineer could decide when to shift transition based on amperage or speed.  Mostly I shifted on speed because sometimes the ammeters were not working.  Later models had relays in the electrical cabinets to automatically shift the transition, based on voltage - as I remember.  For some time the selector levers on later power still had the transition levels in the event that a manual transition engine was in trail and you had to effect transition on it.  Below is what I wrote on TO a long time ago.  I hope this has been somewhat explanatory.

Date: 01/22/19 07:02
Re: Questions on early diesel electrical control (transition)
Author: Notch7 Some early locomotive models were manual transition.  Later on, some models came with automatic transition or semi-automatic transition (Forward transition only- as on most E's).  For other models it was extra cost add-on.  SOU had both manual and automatic transition ALCO RS-3's.  The locomotive manufacturers had generic manuals coving the operation of each locomotive model, including how manual transition was to be made .  Most had both speed and amperage charts.  Sometimes manufacturers put out individulized manuals outling the specific features and operation of a specific railroads model order, such as the manuals covering Southern's F2 order. Many roads like SAL and ACL put out their own broad locomotive manuals outling many manufacturers models and their operation, including transition instructions.  Other railroads like SOU relied on broad manuals put out by their employees, such as the Bradshaw and Sheneman locomotive manuals. The Railway Fuel and Operaing Officers Assocviation also put out a nice broad manual.  In most manuals instructions were issued on how to deal with manual transition engines operating behind automatic transition engines.  In those cases you used the transition levers on the leading automatic engines to affect transition on  trailing manual engines.  Most first generation automatic engines and some second generation units had this provision.  The term "manual transition" also applied to firemen affecting transition on  malfunctioning automatic transition units.  This was done by picking up contactor and relays in the electrical cabinets manually, replacing damaged interlock wires, or sometimes speeding the affected engine through the layshaft throttle.  When I hired out firing I received instructions on doing this through railroad class room cars, on the job training, and instruction from shopmen and road foremen.  We often had to make this kind of troubleshooting manual transition on early models and through the SD35's



Date: 12/23/23 06:43
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: Trainhand

Notch 7, a great explanation of what was told to me and forgotten in the 48 years since I went to SCL engineer school. Thanks 

Sam

Hope all have a very merry Christmas and happy new year.



Date: 12/23/23 09:12
Re: Manual Transition!
Author: Notch7

Trainhand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Notch 7, a great explanation of what was told to
> me and forgotten in the 48 years since I went to
> SCL engineer school. Thanks 
> Sam

Thank you Sam.  Seaboard Coast Line was a good place  for us both to learn.
Merry Christmas to all and good transition in 2024.

Casey from Hamlet



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