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NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 3:29 p.m.

LIRR #221, the last of the original batch of 21 C420s, smokes it up at Bethpage. Note the lack of a pilot plow. The first car is also an old ex-B&M coach built by Osgood-Bradley that was sold off when B&M bought their fleet of Budd RDCs, the largest actually, and was purchased to replace some of the old P54 "ping-pong" cars.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 3:35 p.m.

After the original 21 C420s, LIRR returned for another 9, numbered #222-230. And, look, the pilot plows are back! This is also the later silver and blue twoo-stripe scheme that was delivered on their GP38-2s and applied across the fleet. A step back from the orange and dark grey, in my opinion.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 3:45 p.m.

Worse than the blue and silver though was the yellow and blue. When the LIRR was divorced from the PRR and fell under the auspices of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the MTA applied their bright blue and yellow in a blocky pattern. This was immediately after the gray and orange, and was poorly received, leading to the later silver and blue scheme. The passenger car appears to be one of the ACF-built cars built for the Kansas City Southern. LIRR had a bit of a crisis in 1974 when they were forced to retire their "ping-pong" cars and had to buy a bunch of used passenger cars. Fortunately, with Amtrak's formation and purchase of Amfleets, there were quite a few on the market.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 4:05 p.m.

What's a ping-pong car? Well, the official name is a P54D, and they were constructed in 1927 while the PRR controlled the LIRR. The "ping pong" cars were built in 1927, with the intent of later conversion into MP54 EMU cars, as the PRR was envisioned to be entirely electrified by 1963. So the P54D's were equipped with the "temporary" unpowered trucks that remained in service until 1974. Without all the weight for the EMU gear, they were quite light weight and therefore, bounced like a ping pong ball!  By 1974, the "temporary" trucks had a ton of wear and tear on them and one of them literally disintegrated at high speed when the center pin fell out in Woodside, causing the car to strike a plate girder bridge. LIRR examined the remaining fleet of P54Ds, determined they all were in similar condition, and retired them all.

You can see the blocked off round windows on the end, which would have been the windshield for the car operator if they had ever been converted to EMUs. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/14/21 4:12 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow, that seems like a huge mess. While I'm normally not a fan of orange, I agree that was their best color scheme. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/14/21 5:13 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The orange and gray was the best livery applied to the C420s, but the best LIRR livery was the "battleships" by Lester Tichy.

Early LIRR diesels were just black with gold lettering. That was short-lived though. Lester Tichy came up with an aluminum roof, battleship gray body, coral red pilot and handrails, plus large white block numbers with painted shadow effect. The RS-1s even had large cast-aluminum numbers applied over the radiator grilles. There was also a rectangular blue herald with an outline of Long Island and L, I, R, and R in each quadrant. It was unique and funky. This was applied to GE 44-tonners, Alco RS-1s, F-M C-Liners and FM H-16-44s

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/14/21 9:23 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Oh yeah, that's beautiful!

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 8:27 a.m.

The Tichy "battleship" scheme was retired in 1955, when Thomas Goodfellow took over the LIRR. The Alco RS-3s, which sent the last steam locomotives in retirement, were delivered in a new paint scheme that was gray with orange on the pilots and hood ends. 

There were two ex-D&H RS-2s, #1519 and #1520, that were unique with the dark blue body stripe, but the dark gray and orange spread across the fleet. Due to being instituted by President John Goodfellow, this was called the "Goodfellow scheme". There seemed to be some variants within this scheme, as F-M C-Liner #2007 is shown with both an all-gray body and a yellow-orange pilot and frame, and then again with a more red-orange color on the front of the hood.

Since this was also when LIRR introduced the "Route Of The Dashing Commuter" herald, and the Dashing Dan and Dashing Dottie characters, this is sometimes called the "Dashing Dan" livery.

This is also different from the orange and gray that was introduced on the Alco C420s, which was called the "World's Fair" livery, due to being introduced shortly before the 1964 World's Fair in New York City.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 8:33 a.m.

In the '90s, the LIRR actually brushed off the Goodfellow livery and applied it to a few of their SW1001 switchers

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 11:55 a.m.

An interesting creation of the LIRR was their "Power Packs". In 1971 the LIRR purchased twenty used Alco FA-1 and FA-2s from all over. By 1971, most FAs had trudged their way to the scrapyard, so they came from a pretty mixed batch of original owners, including NYC, SP&S, L&N, WM and B&O. The LIRR was beginning to run coaches in push-pull configuration, with Alco C420s and EMD GP38-2s as power, but was concerned about the safety of the crews if they used a passenger car with a cab in the end (like an EMU or RDC). Also, the FAs could be used to provide lighting and power to the coaches, rather than relying on generators driven off the passenger cars by a belt and banks of batteries.

The FAs had their 244 engines rebuilt and refreshed but were derated from their original 1500 or 1600hp to reduce fuel consumption and wear and tear. The generators were also reconfigured to provide 600v DC power for all the car lighting, heat and cooling. The traction motors were removed to reduce weight. And the passenger cars were set-up with pass-through M.U. cables, which allowed the "Power Pack" and the powered locomotive to be linked together. Now, when the train reached one end, instead of having to turn the train on a wye or run the locomotive around to the other end and run it backwards, the crew could just walk to the other end, get in the Power Pack and run the train the other direction from there. 

During their first year of use as a power car, they were generally placed at the east end of the train. The practice was reversed as they were more easily fueled and serviced on the west end at Richmond Hill and Long Island City . They also found traction motor suspension bearings were overheating and failing on the Alco C420s due to a long uphill push heading east and reversing ends so that the C420 was pulling on that grade helped the problem.

By 1978, the LIRR removed the Alco 244 engines and original GE generators from all but five of them and installed a sled-mounted Detroit Diesel generator set that was more fuel-efficient and quieter running. Almost 10 years later, many of those Detroit Diesel generators were replaced with Cummins generator sets. In 1999, the LIRR finally retired the Power Packs, which had also grown to include one EMD F9 and several EMD F7s configured similarly, in favor of conventional cab cars with (awful) EMD DE30AC/DM30AC locomotives. Some were scrapped, some were sold to SEPTA, and a surprising number were sold into preservation.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 11:55 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 12:01 p.m.

Most of the Power Packs are destined for cosmetic restoration and display, since they have been heavily bastardized over the years and are missing a lot of the important components to operate (prime mover, generator, Alco control stands, traction motors), and they were also pretty heavily neglected near the end. But at least one has returned to moving under its own power for the first time in 50 years. LIRR #604/L&N #309 has been returned to operational status by SMS Rail Lines for a customer. The same customer bought another two, ex-SP&S, as well, with plans to get at least one more operating. IRM is searching high and low for parts to get one of theirs moving under its own power as well, and the Railroad Museum of New England has one of the ones that still has a 244 engine onboard and put trucks from an RS-3 under it, which could potentially operate one day.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 12:25 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/15/21 12:54 p.m.

LIRR #604 leading the way into Jamaica, with a GP38-2 providing motive power.

lrrs
lrrs HalfDork
9/18/21 5:41 p.m.

Seacoast trolley museum, Kennebunk me.

 

Swith house, remember riding the elevated  orange line back in the 70s with my grandpa and going by this.

lrrs
lrrs HalfDork
9/18/21 5:43 p.m.

 This one was being rolled out for a wedding later in the day.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/21 8:32 p.m.

In reply to lrrs :

That looks like a really cool place. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/21 8:42 a.m.

In reply to lrrs :

Cool. I've never ridden a trolley. New England seems to be a big trolley stronghold, along with California. The trolley guys are a dedicated bunch. I've seen photos of some cars absolutely destroyed by neglect or cars that have been converted to houses or sheds that they have returned to the rails.

There also seems to be quite a few instances of bad blood between trolley guys and conventional railroaders at museums. I've heard of several museums that had operational steam locomotives and diesels alongside trolleys, and the trolley faction pretty much ran the other guys out, so now all that equipment sits dormant 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/21 9:57 a.m.

Facebook pulled up this memory from 5 years ago. I was going to race with the Nort East Pennsylvania SCCA region at Pocono Raceway and had a day free so I swung by Steamtown. I remember going to buy an entry ticket and the park employee asked "Are you buying a train ticket?" And my response "....What do you have that runs?" Last I'd heard they had no steam locomotives operational. Their 0-6-0, the plant switcher at Baldwin's works, was fresh off 17 years of overhaul. They said B&M #3713 would "be up and running next year." This was the first and last time I got to ride behind a steam engine at Steamtown (out of 5 total visits).

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/21 7:53 a.m.

So, the CN-KCS merger is seemingly off for good. The STB was not particularly enthused with the merger, particularly the voting trust and the fact that CN was heavily overpaying for what KCS was actually worth, as well as CN's inability to sufficiently demonstrate that the merger would be beneficial to the public and enchance competition (required under the STB's more strict rulings that they established in 2001). The STB was concerned that by spending so much money on the merger, CN would be in a weakened position while trying to merge operations and could result in a service meltdown. CN unsucessfully tried to appease the STB by offering to sell of a bunch of trackage to CP so that they wouldn't have service monopolies in key regions, but the STB wouldn't bite, as it didn't fix the key issues they had with the merger. CN had already reimbursed KCS a $700,00 merger breakoff fee that KCS owed CP for the CP-KCS merger, and now owes KCS another $1 billion for ending the merger proceedings. Also, major CN investors are trying to get CN's chairman of the board and CEO removed from office for pursuing the merger when it seemed doomed to fail and now having to shell out almost $2 billion in fees to KCS.

Meanwhile, CP is sitting pretty. They refused to chase after KCS and offer higher bids for the railroad, and now that CN is out of the picture, KCS is coming crawling back to CP. And the STB was pretty much in favor of the CP-KCS merger before KCS broke it off for CN's bigger offer. I just wish they would come up with a better name than Canadian Pacific Kansas City. Yuck.

Also, quite shocking is that CP president Keith Creel told Railway Age that a commemorative business train will be operated from Calgary to Mexico City on the CPKC main line to mark the occasion, powered by non-streamlined CP Hudson #2816, formerly of CP's corporate steam program, which was shut down by former president Hunter Harrison and has been kept shuttered by Creel, who was Harrison's protege. Per Creel, “We of course do not want to get out in front of the STB, but if all goes as anticipated, 2816 will be on the head end, in full steam.”

First Creel has CPR #2816 fired up last winter for a special Christmas message, and now he's planning to run her down to Mexico. It's interesting to see that maybe Creel is starting to soften on his anti-steam attitude. Perhaps he's been watching UP and #4014 and all the positive press they are garnering.

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
9/20/21 8:14 a.m.

I've been to the Seacoast Trolley Museum in Maine - nice place, off the beaten path. There's another trolley museum much closer to me - the Trolley Museum of New York - that I've never been to, oddly enough. Just checked their website and they are operating, and in fact just put a WW2-era diesel back into service earlier this year:

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/21 8:33 a.m.

Ah, I was just reminded that while I haven't ridden a trolley, I did ride the cable cars in San Francisco the one time that I went to California. That was about 12 years ago. My sister was stationed in Monterey at the Defense Language Institute and my parents and I flew out there to visit her. We had flown into San Fran, and had a redeye flight back to NY, so the last day we spent touring San Francisco. The whole trip, I'd kind of just tagged along and done whatever my sister wanted to do (she was in the military and didn't have a car, so she was more or less confined to base and wanted to get out and do stuff) and so I saw the cable cars and was like "I really want to ride those." 

Surprisingly, in this day and age, you are still allowed to ride on the running boards hanging off the handrails, and that's exactly what I did. I didn't take any photos, or if I did they are long gone, but it was a neat experience. And up to that point, I had assumed that they were trolleys, ran off electric power. It was only once I got there that I understood where the "cable" came from. 

I also remember waiting at the station for them to turn the car on the turntable and there was a, uh, "musician" for lack of a better term going by the name of Grasshopper. Not sure if he was homeless, but he was definitely unemployed, and performing very badly on a guitar. And apparently people weren't donating enough money for him, so he kept making increasingly caustic, and increasingly louder, remarks to his (captive) audience. Which, when you are relying on the goodwill of others, its probably not a good idea to antagonize those people who might donate money. It got increasingly uncomfortable, and I was glad when they had the cable car turned and let us aboard. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/21 10:34 a.m.

On the subject of trolleys, if you can count this as such, Illinois Railway Museum, after 22 years of restoration work, finally has their Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Electroliner operational again. They said there is still a little more work to be done on the interior before it is ready for regular passenger work, but the bulk of the work is done.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/20/21 10:46 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow, that's beautiful!

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/21 11:33 a.m.

It looks way better than the combination of teal green and salmon red should.

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