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Re: PC: Re: Lightning stripes in the PC era?

On Mon, 15 Jan 2001, Jerry Jordak wrote:

> PennCent wrote:
> > Don't like the F-M's Jer? How come? :)
> There was an article in Trains magazine a number of years ago about the
> recollections of a guy who worked on the New York Central in the 1950s
> as a master mechanic or something similar. After reading that article, I
> got the distinct impression that Fairbanks-Morse power, at least their
> cab units, were pieces of junk. I just tried to find the article, but I
> couldn't locate it. Someone on this list might have it handy. It just
> didn't paint a good picture for the mechanical reliability of the
> locomotives.

Didn't NYC run most of their early FM freight cab units through an EMD
repowering program relatively early on in their service life, like within 10

The biggest problem with the FM's was you couldn't just pop off a power
assembly and throw another one on like with EMD's or ALCos. You had to work
your way down from the top of the engine (upper crankcase) to the point where
you could free the bottom side piston from the lower crankshaft and lift out
the two pistons with their cylinder liner. OP's weren't well suited to
piecemeal maintenance like EMD's, they were more of an all at once kind of
engine. They had no accessibility for major engine problems and two
crankshafts to deal with.

I believe that NYC actually hastened the demise of FM and the OP in the
railroad industry. When other railroads heard that NYC was swapping out OP's
for 567's they weren't likely to buy them.

Perfectly good and reliable engines if you had specific regular maintenance
cycles where changing out all the power assemblies at once was practical, like
the Navy, but just not suited to the railroad style of doing things where one
bad power assembly had to be replaced, NOW. 

Where have FM's lasted the longest in RR use? Military railroads with rigid
maintenance schedules.

J. Henry Priebe Jr.       Blue Moon President & Network Administrator
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