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September 2004 - Page 21


SEP SD24

9/22/04

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EMD Demonstrator 5579 is shown painted in DM&IR livery and without lettering at the EMD plant in 1958 prior to its stint on the Missabe Road. It was unique among SD24s, with an overhanging air-intake section forward of the dynamic-brake blister, roof height just behind the cab was equal to that of the short hood (it was lower on the production units) and a longer raised walkway behind the cab. Decals: Microscale 87-131 (DM&IR set). EMD photo, courtesy Diesel Era magazine

After testing in Minnesota, the demo 5579 moved to the Union Pacific, the birthplace of the turbo-equipped EMD road switcher, where it is shown at Ogden, UT, in February 1959, five months before UP took delivery of their first SD24. In addition to the unique top-side arrangement, the engineers side louver pattern differed from the production units. Decals: Microscale 87-131 (DM&IR set). Emil Albrecht photo, courtesy Diesel Era magazine with sales of F9s and FP9s totaling only 250 units, compared with over 4,200 for the F7 and FP7 predecessors. The last F9s were built in April 1957 with construction of FP9s for Canada and Mexico continuing two more years. In the road switcher realm, the GP9 and SD9 both outsold their previous comparable model with production ending for both in 1959. With dieselization winding down, F-M found its list of loyal customers diminishing, and the last Train-Master was built in 1956. They built a total of 127 units for eight US roads and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. The F-M opposed-piston power plant was expensive to maintain, and the company became another victim of the completion of the changeover to diesel operations. Alco Products remained very much in the game as the new 251 power plant dbuted in the four-axle RS-11 and six-axle RSD-15 in February 1956. The new power plant was only installed in cab units for the Canadian National in the form of the FPA4/FPB-4, but otherwise the final Alco cab units were FA-2s built in mid 1956 with the old 244 engine. The notched nose design also gave the new Alco road switchers a new look. These two models would be offered into the early 1960s with a not very successful 2,400-hp four-axle variant, the RS-27 introduced in December 1959. To sum it up, not much happened at EMD in the five years from 1954 to 1959. It was business as usual which meant good sales of the proven products and a first-place position in locomotive orders ahead of Alco. Before we launch into 1959 and our subject locomotive, a few credits are in order. As with our previous series on the Alco S-1, diesel expert Dr. Louis A. Marre has provided many great photographs and other advice. Another fine source of background material and photos has been the staff of Diesel Era magazine. Publisher Paul Withers has loaned several photos that will appear in this series. For more information, Withers Publishing has a book entitled The GP20 and SD24: EMDs Turbocharged Duo, published in 1998 and available for $29.95 directly from Withers Publishing, 528 Dunkel Hill Road, Halifax, PA 17032. This is the definitive source for information on the two models and background on the introduction of turbocharged locomotives by EMD. Back issues of E xtra 2200 South magazine are always one of my standard reference sources. After three years, EMD was ready to apply a turbocharger to a new locomotive and do intensive field testing. A single prototype high-nose SD24 numbered 5579 was completed in July 1958. The fact that EMD may have lacked confidence in this new product is demonstrated by its testing history. It was painted in maroon and yellow to match the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range (DM&IR) SD9 fleet and sent to that roads northern Minnesota operations. It bore no

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