Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lima-Hamilton Diesel Locomotives

Preface:  There seems to be decent amount of writing on the net about Lima-Hamilton diesel locomotives, and my belief is that if all one does is repeat what is on the net, one is adding nothing to the net.  Therefore, instead of trying to retell the story of Lima-Hamilton I'm instead going to tell you about the company's products as seen through some specific sets of original documents and materials.  ALL materials you will see on this page are in my collection as well as others I'm referencing but not showing.

1000 HP Switcher - Trade Papers

The trade magazine MODERN RAILROADS introduced the Lima-Hamilton 1000 HP diesel switcher in its August 1949 issue, showing the original demonstrator unit (seen above, Lima-Hamilton No. 1000) and mentioning the fact that by that time four railroads had ordered a total of 31 units from Lima-Hamilton; 10 were for the Erie, 6 were for New York Central, and 4 for the Nickel Plate being called out specifically.

The locomotive at the time was called out both in this trade paper and others for several specific and peculiar features.

Pressure charged and intercooled engine.   This was the first diesel engine to be built for use in U.S. locomotives to incorporate intercooling.  The feature was thought both novel and very modern at the time, and much was made of the fact that it materially lowered operating temperatures.  As a matter of fact, the Hamilton T89SA diesel engine had been announced to the railroad world as far back as October 1948 (in Railway Age) as a "1200 HP at sea level" engine.  Even in Lima-Hamilton materials, at the time the locomotives were being marketed as 1000 HP units, the capability of the engine to develop higher power was noted frequently - and as we know, the engine was soon uprated.

Throttle operation.  While all Lima-Hamilton diesels used the Westinghouse XM-781 electric eight notch throttle, they had interposed in the control circuit a peculiar device which apparently controlled the rate at which the engine's speed could increase.  To quote the material in Modern Railroads:  "Control for this diesel switcher is somewhat different from that used in other locomotives.  A remote, electro-pneumatic, single station control used with a Woodward PG governor and governor operator affects both engine speed and the field of the exciter for the main generator.  A face plate type resistor, having 162 points, is actuated by a vane motor controlled by the governor.  This gives load control and load limit with each of the eight notches of the controller.  The governor is set to give low horsepower in the low notches to facilitate switching passenger equipment, and to give a rapid increase in horsepower in the high notches for heavy freight switching.  When starting a heavy freight load, for example, the controller can be pulled around to the eighth notch, with engine coming up to full speed and full power in 20 seconds."   This all vaguely implies minimum field starting; we'll learn more about this arrangement later.

The propulsion equipment (main generator, traction motors) were conventional Westinghouse equipment, with motors permanently in series-parallel and two steps of field shunt -- just like that found on contemporary Baldwin and Fairbanks-Morse switchers in operation.

Lima-Hamilton 1000 HP Diesel-Electric Locomotive Sales Brochure

A sales brochure produced by Lima-Hamilton very early (it has no date; is probably late 1949) shows the locomotive layout, and gives some details on the construction of the diesel engine itself.  The diesel engine's actual construction is rarely discussed these days.  Click any photo to enlarge.

An interesting feature of this engine is the fact that it uses a dry sump lubricating system - not rocket science, but unusual in U.S. diesel locomotives.
1000 HP Switcher Ads - Trade Magazine
Two advertisements from Railway Mechanical and Electrical Engineer.  The first is from August 1950 and shows TP&W 300, which is actually the former Lima-Hamilton demonstrator seen earlier.  The second ad is from October 1950 and shows a 1000 HP unit built for NYC&St.L.  Note that the rear cab windows on TP&W 300 appear to have been lowered, entirely; probably to reduce sun glare.  This is the same reason many roads plated over or painted over the small windows over the engine hoods on EMD switchers, and ALCO-GE 660/1000 HP switchers and 1500/1600 HP road switchers.


Lima-Hamilton Specification Cards
Specification cards are something that some collectors just pile up; I don't, but I have over the years acquired three of them from Lima-Hamilton, all covering switch engines.  I'll show front (picture view) and back (specifications) below; keep in mind that the three cards are stacked up in each scan, oldest on top. 
The first card shows the original 1000 HP Lima-Hamilton demonstrator.  The second card shows a 1000 HP unit built for the Erie; this unit is equipped with multiple unit controls on both ends, and the M.U. plug sockets can clearly be seen on the end rails.  The third card shows the first 1200 HP demonstrator unit - and it's labeled on the rear "built for Lima-Hamilton Corporation" just as the card for the first demonstrator was.


Of course, the similarity of the 1000 HP and 1200 HP locomotives is obvious (modelers will note however the unique window arrangements on Lima-Hamilton 1000, as well as the different radiator intake louver design) and we know that some units were uprated in power output, from 1000 HP to 1200 HP.   The 1200 HP unit first appeared about one year after the first 1000 HP unit was built.  We'll see a bit more about the uprating hinted at later.
Lima-Hamilton Operating Manuals
Not a lot has been done to catechize these manuals; they're not exceedingly rare, but they're unusual enough that most folks don't have a pile of them.  I have four, and I can tell you the details for identifying and categorizing them for your future research.  Let's look at the front covers of two manuals first.

First of all, Lima-Hamilton manuals don't have part numbers or training series numbers or any such.  On the front, they'll tell you what they're for generally -- both of these say, near the top, "1200 HP Diesel Electric Switching Locomotive."  The key here is on the bottom left corner.  If you look closely, the left hand manual says "Form 1200 STD" while the right manual says "Form 1200 B&O T.R.R.A. -ST. L."   The STD on the left hand manual means "standard," and this is the manual issued for locomotives in basic condition with no options.  The manual on the right is railroad specific for units provided to both Baltimore & Ohio, and Terminal Rail Road Association of St. Louis.  Let's look at the front page photos from each.

What jumps out right away is the fact that the unit pictured in the second manual appears to be a B&O unit painted but not yet lettered, and that the locomotive has multiple unit connector plugs flanking an M.U. access gangway on the end platform; the standard unit just has a straight hand rail and no M.U. plugs.

Sure enough, when we leaf through the manuals we find that while the B&O / TRRA manual is of a slightly later style (these include fold out diagrams instead of one page diagrams) the content is essentially identical until we get to the back, and find that the B&O / TRRA manual has a single page added at the back to cover multiple unit operation that isn't found in the "STD" manual.

So the key to identifying a manual you're looking at is first, the title, and then second the code in the lower left hand corner.  I've also seen these labeled "Form 1200 N.Y. N.H. & H." - obviously for the New Haven, as just one other example.  Now let's look at two other manual covers.


The manual on the left covers the New York Central's 1200 HP road switchers.  The manual on the right is the standard manual for Lima-Hamilton transfer locomotives, without dynamic brake or multiple unit control; dual controls were standard on these.  These manuals are less common than those seen earlier; the one on the left is actually pretty hard to find.   These manuals also offer us a couple of very interesting details.

1200 HP Road Switchers

Present day historians might assume that the Lima-Hamilton 1200 HP road switcher was very much the 1200 HP switcher machinery on a lengthened frame, with road trucks and steam generator equipment.  That's right - and in that way, these are a lot like contemporary Baldwin 1000 and 1200 HP road switchers - but these Limas have one very important difference.  Unusually for Westinghouse equipped locomotives, these NYC 1200 HP road switchers have a full transition control for power distribution to the traction motors, even though they have Model 362 switcher traction motors.
Westinghouse locomotives normally don't change their connections to the traction motors to allow higher and higher speed - typically they just shunt their traction motor fields, early on in two steps and later on in four.  The traction motors are wired permanently in series-parallel.  On these Lima-Hamilton road switcher units however a full transition control is used, with the locomotives starting in series-parallel and then shifting to parallel for high speeds; field shunting is also employed.  This requires the addition of a significant amount of heavy switchgear and smaller control and timing relays never normally found in Westinghouse equipped units -- and that equipment is clearly obvious and clearly labeled in the electrical cabinet diagrams, and of course operation of the units making automatic transition is covered in the operating instructions.  These units do not have selector levers, and the engineman cannot forestall or control transition.  The units were also built with MU connections on the rear end only, as can be seen in the picture.
(There's little doubt that the transition control on these units was put in because they were originally intended to operate as passenger units on the Boston & Albany, in pairs.  This would have required good acceleration and high speed capability.  We all know how that worked out - it didn't, and the units ended up on freight in Ohio.)
Other than this feature the locomotives have no really surprising features.  Below is a photo of the overall diagram; I didn't wish to flatten and scan the manual due to its condition, so this photo will suffice.  Note that there's a large water cooler on the rear cab wall along with the cab heater, and two cab seats on the left side.

The 2500 HP transfer units' manual reveals nothing particularly surprising except that I might mention, in comparison to the transition of the 1200 HP road switcher that the 2500 HP transfer unit has all of three traction motors per power unit wired permanently in parallel, and incorporates two steps of field shunt.

Lima-Hamilton Modifications

I have in my collection a very tattered three page copied document, whose exact origin is unknown, that covers modifications to Lima-Hamilton diesel locomotives.  I'll give the title of each section and try to tell you what each seems to be describing.

A.  Elimination or Modification of Sequence Converter.

In the electrical cabinet photos of Lima-Hamiltons you see labeled a device called a "sequence converter," described as "a relay panel used to provide the proper synchronization between the throttle lever and the engine governor."  No Baldwins have this - I have to assume that this is specific to the specialized control system on Lima-Hamiltons mentioned much earlier in this post.  Apparently it could be removed or modified, as covered in this brief instruction.  Unfortunately the wiring diagrams that should have accompanied this bulletin aren't with it, or we might know exactly how this worked.  It does appear though that the removal of the Sequence Converter just left you with a conventional eight notch throttle and Woodward PG governor, perhaps operated by internal solenoids as on zillions of EMD locomotives.

Some mention of "dual engine" units is included; obviously, transfer units.

B. Change in Engine Speed Setting with Sequence Converter Removed from Speed Control.

Further evidence that the Sequence Converter was used to take throttle signal, and somehow produce a modified response from the PG governor as compared to what you'd get with just the throttle acting on the solenoids inside (that manipulate the speed control shaft.) 

This instruction does make it clear that the locomotives' governors are set up as Minimum Field Start - the load regulator at minimum field with the throttle in Idle. 

C. Changes Required in Voltage Regulator Circuit of Locomotives equipped with YG-42-A or YG-42-B auxiliary generator when changing idling speed from 350 to 425 RPM.

This detail covers a resetting of electrical components, no doubt to compensate for the higher idling speed.  Why there's a change to a higher idling speed is puzzling, unless the engines were not staying running... or else if they had their camshafts changed during uprating.  That may well be, because the last page does cover what appears to be uprating.

Instructions for setting engine speeds on Lima-Hamilton switch locomotives that have been modified at the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Plant, Hamilton, Ohio.

This instruction is a bit vague, but it's perfectly clear in one sense - the engines have been reset so that their maximum (notch 8) RPM is no longer 950 RPM, but 1000 RPM.  It's basically the brief part of the typical governor setting instruction but modified with the new, higher RPM's at each notch.  This then must cover those 1000 HP switchers that were sent back to Lima-Hamilton for uprating to 1200 HP, as the title surely seems to imply.  Being sent back to the factory implies more than just a simple modification to settings was done to whatever units this covers. 

The only idenfication on this increasingly tattered three page affair is at the bottom of the third page, and is as follows:

Office of
Supt. of Equipment,
September 11, 1952  W-4
File 416.05


I hope you've enjoyed this look at Lima-Hamilton diesels from some unusual sources, and I'll check back occasionally for comments and questions. 

-Will Davis