EMD GP7

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EMD GP7
Illinois Terminal 1605, July 16, 2005, Illinois Railway Museum.jpg
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
General Motors Diesel (GMD/GMDD)
Build date October 1949 – May 1954
Total produced 2,729 (plus 5 B units)
Specifications
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Wheel diameter 40 in (1.016 m)[1]
Minimum curve 19° (301 ft (91.74 m) radius)
Wheelbase 40 ft (12.19 m)
Length 55 ft 11 in (17.04 m)
Width 10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)
Height 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m)
Locomotive weight 246,000 lb (112,000 kg)
Fuel capacity 1,600 US gal (6,100 l; 1,300 imp gal)[1]
Lubricant capacity 200 US gal (760 l; 170 imp gal)[1]
Coolant capacity 230 US gal (870 l; 190 imp gal)[1]
Sandbox capacity 18 cu ft (510 dm3)[1]
Prime mover EMD 567B[2]
Engine RPM range 275–800[1]
Engine type Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration Roots-type supercharger
Displacement 9,072 cu in (148.66 L)
Generator EMD D-12-B[1]
Traction motors (4) EMD D-27-B[1]
Cylinders V16
Cylinder size 8 12 in × 10 in (216 mm × 254 mm)
Performance figures
Power output 1,500 hp (1,119 kW)
Tractive effort 61,500 lbf (274 kN)
Locomotive brake Independent air; optional: dynamic brakes
Train brakes Air, schedule 6-BL[3] or 6-BLC[4]
Career
Operator(s) See list
BBRR 1, a GP7, with the ODC special, Dillwyn, Virginia.
Chesapeake and Albemarle 2158 (an ATSF GP7U) in Chesapeake, VA.
OmniTrack 4433 (a GP7 rebuilt by the Chicago and North Western Railway) spotted on CSX in Augusta, Georgia.

The EMD GP7 is a four-axle (B-B) road switcher diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel between October, 1949 and May 1954.[2] Power was provided by an EMD 567B 16-cylinder engine which generated 1,500 horsepower (1,119 kW).[5] The GP7 was offered both with and without control cabs, and those built without control cabs were called a GP7B. Five GP7B's were built between March and April 1953.[2] The GP7 was the first EMD road locomotive to use a hood unit design instead of a car-body design. This proved to be more efficient than the cab unit design as the hood unit cost less, had easier and cheaper maintenance, and had much better front and rear visibility for switching.

Of the 2,734 GP7's built, 2,620 were for American railroads (including 5 GP7B units built for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway), 112 were built for Canadian railroads, and 2 were built for Mexican railroads.

This was the first model in EMD's GP (General Purpose) series of locomotives. Concurrently, EMD offered a six-axle (C-C) SD (Special Duty) locomotive, the SD7.

History[edit]

ALCO, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin had all introduced road switchers before EMD, whose first attempt at the road-switcher, the BL2 was unsuccessful in the market, selling only 58 units in the 14 months it was in production.[6] Its replacement, the GP7, swapped the truss-framed stressed car body for an un-stressed body on a frame made from flat, formed and rolled structural steel members and steel forgings welded into a single structure (a "weldment"), a basic design which is still being employed today. Unfortunately, in heavy service, the GP7’s frame would bow and sag over time.[7] This defect was corrected in later models. The GP7 proved very popular, and EMD was barely able to meet demand, even after opening a second assembly plant at Cleveland, Ohio. Later, locomotives in EMD's GP-series came to be nicknamed ‘Geeps’. Many GP7s can still be found in service today, although most Class 1 roads stopped using these locomotives by the early 1980s.

Identification[edit]

The GP7, GP9 and GP18 locomotives share a similar car-body that evolved over time. Most GP7s had three sets of ventilation grills under the cab (where the GP9 only had one), and two pair of grills at the end of the long hood (where only the pair nearest the end was retained on the GP9).[2] However, some late GP7s were built with car-bodies that were identical to early GP9s. Early GP7s had a solid skirt above the fuel tank, while late GP7s and early GP9s had access holes in the skirt (see photo of Illinois Terminal 1605, top left). Many railroads later removed most of the skirt to improve access and inspection.

Locomotives could be built with the engineer’s control stand installed for either the long hood, or the short hood designated as the front. Two control stands for either direction running was also an option, but one end would still be designated as the front for maintenance purposes. The GP7 was also available with or without dynamic brakes, and a steam generator installed in the short hood was also an option. In the latter case the 1,600 US gallons (6,100 l; 1,300 imp gal) fuel tank was divided, with half for diesel fuel, and half for boiler water. One option available for locomotives without dynamic brakes, was to remove the two 22.5 in × 102 in (571.5 mm × 2,590.8 mm)[8] air reservoir tanks from under the frame, and replace them with four 12 in × 150.25 in (304.80 mm × 3,816.35 mm)[4] tanks that were installed on the roof of the locomotive, above the prime mover. These “torpedo tubes” as they were nicknamed, enabled the fuel and water tanks to be increased to 1,100 US gallons (4,200 l; 920 imp gal) each, although some railroads opted for roof-mounted air tanks and 2,200 US gallons (8,300 l; 1,800 imp gal)[9] fuel tanks on their freight ‘Geeps’.

Original buyers[edit]

Locomotives built by Electro-Motive Division, USA[edit]

Owner Quantity Numbers Notes
Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator)
1
525
1350 hp GP7m; to Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe 99, renumbered 2899[10]
3
100 (ex 922), 200, 300
to Chicago & North Western 1518–1520
Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad
1
205
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
244
2650–2893
5
2788A–2792A
GP7B;
Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay
2
501–502
Atlanta and West Point Rail Road
5
571–575
Atlantic and East Carolina Railway
1
501
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
154
100–253
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
33
720–731, 740–746, 910–922, 6405
Bangor and Aroostook Railroad
16
560–575
Belt Railway of Chicago
8
470–477
Boston and Maine Railroad
23
1555–1577
Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway
3
101–103
Central of Georgia Railway
15
106–107, 120–132
Central Railroad of New Jersey
13
1520–1532
Charleston and Western Carolina Railway
21
200–220
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
180
5700–5719, 5739–5797, 5800–5900
5720–5738 built by GMD
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad
30
203–232
Chicago and North Western Railway
110
1521–1550, 1556–1559, 1562–1599, 1601–1603, 1625–1659
Chicago and North Western (Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway—“Omaha Road”)
11
151–161
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
68
200–267
Chicago Great Western Railway
2
120–121
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
113
430–441, 1200–1237, 1250–1311, 1308 (2nd)
Clinchfield Railroad
17
900–916
Colorado and Wyoming Railway
2
103–104
Colorado Fuel and Iron
2
101–102
Columbia, Newberry and Laurens Railroad
5
100–104
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
20
951–970
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
14
5100–5113
Detroit and Toledo Shore Line Railroad
10
41–50
Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
24
950–973
Erie Railroad
52
1200–1246, 1400–1404
Florida East Coast Railway
15
607–621
Georgia and Florida Railroad
6
701–706
Georgia Railroad
16
1021–1036
Great Northern Railway
56
600–655
Illinois Central Railroad
48
8800–8801, 8850–8851, 8900–8911, 8950–8981
8800–8801, 8900–8911 had steam generators
Illinois Terminal Railroad
6
1600–1605
Kansas City Southern Railway
8
155–162
Kansas City Southern (Louisiana and Arkansas Railway)
5
150–154
Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway
9
801–809
Louisville and Nashville Railroad
61
400–440, 500–514, 501–502 (2nd), 550–552
Maine Central Railroad
19
561–569, 571–580
Meridian and Bigbee Railroad
1
1
Midland Valley Railroad
4
151–154
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (“Soo Line”)
7
375–378, 381–383
Missouri Pacific Railroad
208
4116–4194, 4197–4325
29 units owned by International-Great Northern Railroad, 28 by St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
33
1501–1529, 1761–1764
1700s had steam generators. Renumbered 91–123
Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway
37
700–731, 750–754
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México
2
6600–6601
New York Central Railroad
218
5600–5817
35 units owned by Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (5676–5685, 5713–5737); 14 by Peoria and Eastern Railway (5612–5625)
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (“Nickel Plate Road”)
48
400–447
Northern Pacific Railway
20
550–569
to Burlington Northern Railroad 1624–1643[7]
Pennsylvania Railroad
66
8500–8512, 8545–8587, 8797–8806
Phelps Dodge Corporation
7
1–2, 7–8, 27–29
Portland Terminal Company [Maine]
1
1081
Reading Company
44
600–636, 660–666
Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad
4
101–104
Seaboard Air Line Railroad
123
1700–1822
Southern Railway
57
2063–2077, 2156–2197
Southern Railway (Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway)
11
6200–6205, 6240–6244
Southern Railway (Alabama Great Southern Railroad)
5
6540–6544
Southern Railway (Georgia Southern and Florida Railway)
4
8210–8213
St. Louis Southwestern Railway
1
320
Renumbered to 304
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway
129
500–549, 555–632, 615 (2nd)
Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railway
3
707–709
Texas and Pacific Railway
21
1110–1130
Texas Mexican Railway
3
850–852
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway
2
102–103
Union Pacific Railroad
30
700–729
United States Army
20
1821–1840
Wabash Railroad
33
450–452, 454–483
453 built by GMD
Western Maryland Railway
4
20–23
Western Pacific Railroad
13
701–713
Western Railway of Alabama
6
521–526
Totals 2617
5
GP7
GP7B

Locomotives built by General Motors Diesel, Canada[edit]

Owner Quantity Numbers Notes
Algoma Central and Hudson Bay
21
150–170
Canadian National Railways
25
4824, 7555–7578
4824 rebuilt October 1958 with parts from wrecked F3A.
Canadian Pacific Railway
17
8409–8425
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
19
5720–5738
Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway
22
100–101, 104–123
Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway
7
71–77
Wabash Railroad
1
453
Total 112

Rebuilds, modifications and conversions[edit]

There are five GP7s on A J Kristopan's EMD Serial number page that reused previous serial numbers: B&O 6405, CRI&P 1308 (2nd), L&N 501 (2nd) and 502 (2nd), and SLSF 615 (2nd). These rebuilt units were rebuilt as new on new frames. Another rebuild by GMD is that CN 4824 was rebuilt as a GP7 with parts from an F3A in October 1958.

Many railroads rebuilt their GP7s with low short hoods, some railroads went further in their rebuilding than others. Missouri Pacific Railroad upgraded their GP7s with 567BC engines and replaced the standard EMD 2-stack exhaust with a 4-stack “liberated” exhaust, raising their power output to 1,600 horsepower (1.19 MW).[11]

Illinois Central Railroad rebuilt most of its GP7s with 567BC engine blocks, liberated exhausts, paper air-intake filters, 26-L brakes (their original 6-BL brakes made them operationally incompatible with locomotives fitted with 24-RL or 26-L brakes).[12] All but the first locomotive rebuilt had their front (short) hood reduced in height for improved crew visibility. The IC designated these rebuilt locomotives GP8. The IC acquired many second-hand units through Precision National Corporation (PNC), and then started offering GP8 rebuilding services to other railroads.

Preservation[edit]

Georgia Railroad 1026, an EMD GP7 -- on permanent display in Duluth, Georgia.

The GP7 can still be seen on Short-line railroads and in museums.

One of the largest preserved rosters can be found in Portola, California, at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum. The WPRM is home to Western Pacific (WP) units 705, 707 and 708 and Sacramento Northern unit 712. WP 707 is fully restored and is maintained in mainline ready condition.

The United Railways Historical Society owns two former NJT, ex CR, née Central Railroad of New Jersey GP7Ps, #1523 and 1524.

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States, also has a few operating GP7s. Visitors can charter one of these locomotives for an hour and operate it themselves (under the watchful eye of a TVRM engineer) along two miles (3 km) of TVRM's line. TVRM uses its GP7s not only for charters, but also for pulling excursion trains and for servicing its one industrial customer.

The Minnesota Transportation Museum operates a GP7 on its Osceola and St Croix Valley Railway. Painted as Soo Line 559, it was built as Rock Island 1223, rebuilt as their 4505, sold to the Chicago & North Western as their 4159, spun off to the Fox River Valley then acquired with the railroad by the Wisconsin Central. The locomotive was purchased by the museum from the Wisconsin Central.

The first production GP7, Chicago and North Western Railway 1518, along with Illinois Terminal GP7 1605 and Chicago & North Western 4160 - former Rock Island 1266, then 4506 - are preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

The Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, New Hampshire operates the former Maine Central RR GP-7 #573 on its valley train. #573 was the last MEC unit to retain an operating steam generator, and thus was used by railroad president E Spencer Miller on his inspection train. #573 is reputed to be the most painted unit on the Maine Central, and was known as "Mr. Miller's engine." To this day, the name of a MEC engineer, Jim Campbell, is still displayed on the inside of the short hood door in the cab, presumably placed there by Mr. Campbell during one of his trips in the unit.

The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad in Lebanon, Ohio operates one of the oldest GP7 locomotives. It was delivered by EMD in 1950 as C&O #5705 and was purchased by the Indiana and Ohio in 1987 to become #55. It is estimated to have run over 2.5 million miles (4 million km) to date.

The Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, Indiana operates Nickel Plate Road GP7L #426.

The Orrville (Ohio) Railroad Heritage Society operates the MEC 571 GP7 (now repainted in ORHS colors and numbered 471). The locomotive was rebuilt by Amtrak in 1994 (now has a low short hood, dynamic brakes,a 645 rebuilt prime mover, a larger cab, and updated controls). It is used on short trips in Orrville, Ohio and on Operation Lifesaver, Santa Claus, and excursion trips on the W&LE railroad.

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, in collaboration with the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, recently acquired a former DL&W GP7, rebuilt by Conrail as a GP8. The engine will eventually be mechanically and cosmetically restored to its original road name and number, 959.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Schrenk & Frey (1988) p.291
  2. ^ a b c d Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973) pp. 53
  3. ^ IC Railroad 1969 diesel diagrams, pp.46–47
  4. ^ a b NP Railway diesel diagram, NP 557–558
  5. ^ The History of EMD Diesel Engines
  6. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973) p. 51
  7. ^ a b Schren & Frey (1988). p.162
  8. ^ NP Railway diesel diagram, NP 550–551
  9. ^ Schrenk & Frey (1988). p.159
  10. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973) p.56
  11. ^ Marre & Pinkepank (1988). p.192
  12. ^ Marre & Pinkepank (1988). p.183