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 Post subject: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:02 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2420
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
All of the recent talk about GG-1s and roadswitchers got me thinking about dinosaurs. I became a railfan in 1971 when I rode a kindergarten train on Wilmington and Western pulled by CNR 2-6-0 #92. Throughout the 70's and 80's I was chasing dinosaurs and one by one watching them go extinct, at least on the mainlines. In those days there were locomotives, freight cars, MOW equipment, and cabooses that all rubbed shoulders with the most noteworthy locomotives and trains from what many consider to be railroadings greatest era.

The dinosaurs left us one by one: the GG-1, FL9, N5 caboose, Northeast Caboose, GP-7, Alco road switchers, MP54s, DLW MUs, Little Joe, steam wreckers, etc...

So my question now (and I know this sort of thing is discussed from time to time). At this very moment, what are the dinosaurs? What's the next DL109, Shark, or PA that either goes extinct or nearly extinct? Is it important to save as many SD40-2s as we've saved 2-8-4s? In 20 or 30 years will it just as important to have both an SD 40 and an SD80MAC in a museum as to have a 2-8-2 and a 4-8-4?

I personally don't see an SD-45 on an excursion train any more interesting than the road power of the day but I am a steam nut. I pretty much gave up chasing dinosaurs here and have gone abroad to chase the last working steam in China, Paraguay, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Personally, I don't know what's next, still trying to figure that out.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:47 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:05 am
Posts: 106
Location: Australia
I can see quite a few locos that could "miss the boat" and become dinosaurs. High horsepower locos of all types will suffer this problem due to being common, virtually useless on a tourist road, they take up space and are heavy, they are often re-sellable and probably most importantly, they have a high scrap value. Any of the high powered U-boats seem to have suffered this fate- no U33B,U33C, U36B or U36C survive in preservation although they are not yet extinct. The U18B seems to me to be very preservation worthy but alas- none yet. There are no SD40T in preservation (there is 1 SD45T-2) and the SD45-2 is seemingly forgotten. I also think the various different GE Dash 8s and 9s and EMD SD50s will not fair well in museums of the future. Medium horsepower locos such as GP38 and GP40 and their variants will probably be too valuable for the average railfan group to acquire. And most of the locos I've mentioned also exist(ed) in high nose versions. Saving at least one of each of those would be good. And possibly the AEM7 will not be represented like GG1s because they will be viewed as the arch enemy by old heads in the museum heirarchies. I also believe the current AC6000, SD80MAC and SD90MAC will become extinct- maybe if we are lucky an AC6000 will survive in Australia.

If you were to say that the average museum visitor would not care about the differences between, say, an SD40 and a GP38, I agree but I don't care. I would imagine the same thought goes through the same heads when they view an F unit and an E unit side by side. Or an Alco S series switcher and an EMD switcher posed together. I don't think those type arguments are relevant to long term rail preservation. I DO think we should preserve one of everything- just not all at the same place.

Lets not see a repeat of the past. DL109, sharks and baby faces, early EMC E units and TAs, C-liners and trainmasters, UP City streamliners and the list of what was lost goes on.................BQ23-7, U28CG, U30CG, P30CH.........C636, RSD7........ and were it not for the Mexicans we would have the PA on here too.

And before I am corrected on the surviving sharks, EA at the B&ORRM, and Canadian trainmaster and C-liners- I know of them but they are near enough to extinction to be used as an example.

Regards

Wes

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:05 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:32 pm
Posts: 198
Saving things like this is exactly what the CRHS plans to do. We're working right now to acquire land and once we have that, we plan to start working overtime to see that these things don't go away forever. What the now 60yr olds did for steam, the now 30 year olds are gonna do for big road power (and some small too!). Assuming I am voted President of CRHS again this year, by the end of the year, we will have a comprehensive collections plan and over the next several years, we will work to fulfill that plan and insure that when my daughter brings her kids to our museum, they too can see the engines that 'Pappy used to run', just as I do with her now with steam and early diesel.

On my personal short list are:

Model - Reason

SD80MAC - Conrail only order / representative of AC traction
C40-8W - GE widebody representative
SD-40-2 - EMD / very common CR power
GP40-2 - very common EMD road power
SW1001 - common to southeast PA steel mills (Reading paint out?!)
GP9/10 - 1st gen EMD product (another paint out candidate)
UxxB - early GE power
B23-7 - common GE power
SW7/9 - early EMD switcher

I'm sure others may come along, but these are what I'd like to see.
Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:29 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 467
Colorado RR Museum has an SD40T-2.

645 powered switchers (SW1500), theres still a hell of alot of them out there but there dieing off slowly. Feather River Rail just got WPs last switcher, an SW1500 donated to them by UP.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 787
Location: Warren, PA
Unlike the past - where an obsolete unit either got traded in or scrapped (either way creating an opportunity) the ability to take a conventional GP-B-B style frame and deck-clear it to make a genset locomotive is another new issue that will impact preservation. It keeps the 'old bones' more valuable and also renders the scrap metal almost useless to preservation.

It's not a rout yet, but if you look at the rebuild opportunities and gensets even advertised in TRAINS, it may make some serious inroads.

The other disturbing trend I've seen is the value of Alco Century 251 power plants used in non-locomotive applications like drilling rigs. I know of a few locomotives that have ended up being sold for way more than typical scrap value for that application, and we need to keep an eye on that as well.

And considering the grief we've hit with first-generation 'computerized' locomotives.... they are more computer than locomotive. After you get past the intial use period they are bears to maintain indefinitely - just exactly like keeping a 16hz Intel 286-class computer running, with all the original DOS unsupported software in place. Steam may be easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:56 am
Posts: 600
Location: Rochester, NY
My current favorite Class-1 dinosaur..the standard cab C40-8.
last of the non-wide cab GE's still in regular Class-1 service.
beginning to fade away:

Image
(photo by http://smg.photobucket.com/profile/KentuckySouthern )

CSX once had 157 of them..17 remain on the roster today.
other Class-1 rosters have probably dropped by a similar amount..

Other classic disnosaurs still plugging away:
GP38-2
GP40-2
SD40-2
those three seem virtually immortal..
I have been railfanning 30 years now, and I have seen them regularly
those entire 30 years, and still do today on CSX and NS..
but their numbers are down signifianctly, and they will eventually fade away.

Scot


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Illinois
There only a few Alco C-415s left, apparently on the Burlington Junction Railway. I'm no diesel expert, but I suppose they would qualify.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:56 am
Posts: 600
Location: Rochester, NY
And apart from Class-1 dinosaurs, I am fortunate to live in one of the last great Alco
regions in the world..NY and PA combined probably have more Alcos than any other region in the world.

Image

New York Alcos:
http://gold.mylargescale.com/Scottychaos/NY-Alcos/

Scot


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:48 pm
Posts: 1
There One more SD40T-2 saved it is at the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. The unit is UP 2921 it has been out on some training runs. There is a video of it out running on youtube here is the link http://youtu.be/qV1CJ2fMghs


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:07 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Utah
This was the philosiphy of Dan Kuhn, to whom the Utah State Railroad Museum owes a great amount of debt. Ten years ago, museums were trying to acquire equipment from the 50s and before. Dan, on the other hand, realized that the SD40s, 45s, and such would soon be as obsolete as FEF-2s and steam cranes, and thus worked with Union Pacific to push the donation of SP 7457 (SD45), D&RGW 5371 (SD40T-2) and UP 6916 (DDA40X), which left the USRRM with what has been called an "excellent '80s lineup" that in ten years may very well be considered as "old" as UP 833 is now.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:23 pm
Posts: 8
Randy Gustafson wrote:
And considering the grief we've hit with first-generation 'computerized' locomotives.... they are more computer than locomotive. After you get past the intial use period they are bears to maintain indefinitely - just exactly like keeping a 16hz Intel 286-class computer running, with all the original DOS unsupported software in place. Steam may be easier.

I don't think there's any question that steam will be easier once replacement parts go away unless some sort of effort to acquire and/or reverse engineer schematics and dump and archive ROMs is undertaken. ROM, Flash, and other "non-volatile" storage doesn't last forever and will eventually fail. The locomotive hardware, both mechanical and electrical, will ultimately be useless unless that code is preserved. See the classic video game collection and preservation community for an example of this.

Even if the original computerized hardware fails the engine could be made to run with new hardware and emulation, but not if the algorithms that controlled everything are gone.

What makes this extra fun is that generally computer code is copyrighted and "preserving" it is technically illegal. Again, see the classic video game community. Where some see preservation others see blatant copyright violation, even if the property being violated is of no monetary value to anyone anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:35 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 486
I just hope that this doesn't turn into preservation bonanza. Yes it's true that there are many steam and early diesel models people now would like to have seen saved, but at the same time, we wouldn't appreciate the ones we have now if they all had been saved. I mean sure, if in the future the country is covered in maglev trains or something similar, a 1970s EMD SD40-2 would be pretty cool to see preserved in a museum, but having 100 or so of them around will greatly diminish its historical significance and interest. Again, I agree some of these pieces should be preserved (similar to an early comment, I like right near the DL, so I get to see old ALCo and MLW diesels on a daily basis), I just hope people don't go overboard with the preservation, attempting to not make the same mistake as those 70 years ago did.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:36 pm
Posts: 9
Location: St. Louis, MO
scottychaos wrote:
My current favorite Class-1 dinosaur..the standard cab C40-8.
last of the non-wide cab GE's still in regular Class-1 service.
beginning to fade away:

CSX once had 157 of them..17 remain on the roster today.
other Class-1 rosters have probably dropped by a similar amount..

Other classic disnosaurs still plugging away:
GP38-2
GP40-2
SD40-2
those three seem virtually immortal..
I have been railfanning 30 years now, and I have seen them regularly
those entire 30 years, and still do today on CSX and NS..
but their numbers are down signifianctly, and they will eventually fade away.

Scot

Where did you get those numbers? 17? Most of CSX's 157 C40-8s are still on the roster as far as I know of. The diesel shop also confirms that to be true. CSX C40-8s are fairly regular around here, and when I see them (on videos or in person) they are always being used as run through power on UP or BNSF. CSX's SD40-2s will still be good for a while, but they just might have that ugly nose on them.

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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2420
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Note that some of the SD-40's running around today are as old as the GG-1s we saw off in the 70's and 80's.

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Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Chasing Dinosaurs
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Posts: 1399
Location: Henderson Nevada
A poster child might be the Boeing LRV... The replaced PCC cars in both Boston and San Francisco, They were generally disliked at most museum, who accepted the PCC, but loved older designs...

One of the SF cars went to Brooks Oregon, another to Rio Vista, and one to England? Seashore has a Boston car... They have proven difficult in preservation, with complicated interlocked controls, no longer supported by industry... And, I dare say unloved by the membership...

Randy

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