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Just picked up a Lionel Legacy Canadian National GP9 with the cab crew oriented long hood forward.

I assume this means that the CN ran their GPs long hood forward. Correct?

- How do most railroads run their GP7s or GP9s?

- Why the distinction? Is is long hood forward for protection of the crew?

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You got it ... running long hood forward is for crew protection.  Not all railroads ran their Geeps or other hood units long hood forward.  Each railroad had their own policy regarding the running direction of long hood.  Some railroads ran short hood forward because they decided doing so increased visibility for the crew.  The B&O's policy,  for example, was to run their hood units ( ALCO RS units, Baldwin AS16, Geeps, etc. ) long hood forward for the purpose of crew safety in the event of a grade crossing collision with vehicles or head end collisions with another train.  

I'm not sure about Canadian National's hood unit policy.  I'm sure others here on the forum will be able to inform you about where other railroads stood  regarding this topic.  You might even try posing your question on Google.  

I hope you enjoy your new GP9 whatever hood direction you run in.

Last edited by trumptrain

Googling photo's of CN GP9's, it appears they were set up for long hood forward operation.  I couldn't find any "F" on the frames, but the bell was located on the end or the long hood.  It looks like some may have been reconfigured for short hood forward when the "stripes" paint scheme came into being.

Or possibly they were equipped with dual controls.  That's a question for a CN expert.

Definitely changed to short hood forward when the nose was chopped.

Rusty

@juniata guy posted:

CN and their affiliated railroads in the US (Grand Trunk and Central Vermont) had their GP’s set up as long hood forward.

As noted above, B&O ran theirs long hood forward too along with NYC, PRR, Erie, Reading, N&W and, I believe, DL&W.

Curt

Very interesting! So it sounds like long hood forward was more typical than short hood forward. I assume that Railroads ran this FM Trainmasters long hood forward as well.

I don't know if a majority of railroads ran their 1st generation high-short hood engines long hood forward or not, but there were quite a few of them. EMD's GP-7 demonstrators were set up to run short-hood forward, but could be ordered to run long-hood forward. Great Northern is another railroad that did, up until I believe the GP-30s arrived in the early 1960's. On the other hand, neighbor Northern Pacific ran their engines - including their Alco RS-3s - short hood forward. (Most railroads ran RS-3 engines long hood forward, even if their EMD GP-7 or GP-9s ran long hood forward.)

p.s. New York Central's Canada Southern had some Canadian built GP-7 and GP-9 engines that ran short hood forward, even though all other NYC early GPs ran long hood first.

Very interesting! So it sounds like long hood forward was more typical than short hood forward. I assume that Railroads ran this FM Trainmasters long hood forward as well.

Just a quick and possibly overly general observation.  Seems like long hood forward was uses mostly in the east and short hood forward in the mid-west and west.

Wabash, NKP, CB&Q, IC, UP, SP, NP, MP, AT&SF, Milwaukee, C&NW and others ran GP's and SD's short hood forward.  As did Seaboard, FEC and ACL in the "east."

Rusty

I would think that the crew would prefer  the better visual range of short hood forward rather than the "protection" of long hood forward.  Given the violence and momentum of a railroad collision, I have a had time seeing how the long hood really gives you significantly better protection.

While the short hood may only have a spot for sand and maybe a toilet, the longhood has that really big and heavy prime mover to stop anything...

Very interesting! So it sounds like long hood forward was more typical than short hood forward.

It depended on the railroads individual preference, back in the "early diesel" era of GP/SD7 and GP/SD9 models.

I assume that Railroads ran this FM Trainmasters long hood forward as well.

First, the correct model name for that FM unit is, Train Master". The term "Trainmaster" was for a supervisory position on most railroad, back in the "old days". Second, it depended on the individual railroad whether the designated their Train Masters long hood forward or not.

Some additional facts concerning EMD GP and SD models relative to "long hood" front:

1) From a design and manufacturing standpoint, ALL EMD GP and SD locomotive modes have the "short hood" end (cab end) as the #1 end (front). All electrical wiring diagrams show the #1 traction at the "short hood" (cab) end, regardless of how a customer desires their operating front to be designated.

2) EMD would place the Federally mandated letter "F", at either end of the locomotive, with the Engineer's control stand arranged accordingly, as specified by the customer. That said, the #1 traction motor was STILL at the "short hood" (#1) end of the unit!

3) Even well into the SD40 (and SD50) era, the N&W (later NS) and Southern Railway were STILL purchasing EMD units with a high "short hood", and "Loog hood" designated as the front (at substantial extra cost), with the Engineer's controls re-arranged accordingly.

While the short hood may only have a spot for sand and maybe a toilet, the longhood has that really big and heavy prime mover to stop anything...

Well, to each his own. Having had to visit quite a number of railroad wrecks, as an estimator out of the EMD Sales Engineering Dept. in the 1970s, I can tell you that I sure didn't like seeing the massive prime mover & main generator pushed into/through the operating cab, when running long hood forward.

I would think that the crew would prefer  the better visual range of short hood forward rather than the "protection" of long hood forward.  Given the violence and momentum of a railroad collision, I have a had time seeing how the long hood really gives you significantly better protection.

You are obviously a considerate person.  However in the early diesel era, what the crew preferred did not matter at all.  The decision to specify front end orientation of road-switcher locomotives was a strictly management decision in the iron pants era of the 1950's, and the Mechanical Department did not care what Engineers liked and did not like.  Possibly, the General Committee of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers made a recommendation on a specific railroad, but the normal reaction of a 1950's Mechanical Department would have been to thank the B of L E for its interest, and then do what it wanted to do.  The same people who only begrudgingly provided a toilet and cold drinking water made the decision about hood orientation.

The same is true of the specified air brake equipment.  If management viewed road-switchers as best suited for local freight and yard service, the engines were equipped with the standard 6-BL air brake schedule, almost identical to that on the steam engines these units replaced.  On the other hand, on lines which viewed road switchers as road engines that could also be used in the yard, the units were generally equipped with optional 24-RL air brake schedule, which matched the postwar cab and booster diesel units.  With all of the specifications, the railroad Mechanical Department  made its choice and paid its money.

Around 1960, an Engineer and a Fireman perished aboard an Erie long-hood-forward GP7, in a head-on collision between two passenger trains, the opposing train having an Alco-GE PA1.  The PA overrode the front platform of the GP7 and shoved the entire hood and cab backward, and the first passenger car shoved the short hood (with the steam generator in operation) into the cab.  I don't think that there is statistical evidence of hood orientation actually making a substantial difference in overall crew safety, but various railroad Mechanical Departments  -- some of which believed that long-hood-forward was safer -- sometimes chose to depart from the standard specifications.  Union Pacific ordered long-hood-forward GP7's and SD7's in 1953, then flip-flopped in 1954 and ordered large numbers of short-hood-forward GP9's.

Norfolk & Western famously ordered dual controls on its high short hood units, specifying the long hood as the front, but we have been told by Big Jim (a retired N&W and NS Locomotive Engineer who posts here) that, in practice, the railroad sent the engines out with the short hood leading much of the time.

To the Engineer, the trip pays the same, regardless of which hood is leading.  

Last edited by Number 90
@Hot Water posted:

Well, to each his own. Having had to visit quite a number of railroad wrecks, as an estimator out of the EMD Sales Engineering Dept. in the 1970s, I can tell you that I sure didn't like seeing the massive prime mover & main generator pushed into/through the operating cab, when running long hood forward.

I have difficulty imagining a better scenario with the short hood forward.  I think running into anything as large as another train is going to be bad news for the guys in the lead engine no matter which way the cab faces!

I have difficulty imagining a better scenario with the short hood forward.  I think running into anything as large as another train is going to be bad news for the guys in the lead engine no matter which way the cab faces!

Unlike the long hood end of any GP or SD type of EMD locomotive, the short hood (cab) end has all sorts of VERY high strength structure inside the nose. From the anti-climber, which is built into the front endplate structure, to the massive steel supports behind the front short hood, the cab itself is surprisingly pretty well protected. The FRA began mandating front nose collision "protection" back in the late 1970s, and now with the current full width front nose design, it is unbelievable how much force the current front ends of diesels will withstand and deflect.

The only time that I was involved in a grade crossing accident I was glad that we were running long hood forward (low short hood trailing). We hit a eighteen wheel flatbed truck loaded with lumber.  The collision broke the main air line and wood was stacked on the running boards even on the second unit.

I never had a problem running long hood forward, especially over road crossings where gas truck frequented!

Last edited by Big Jim

For fun I ran an RS-3 up in Ely Nevada both ways, I can tell you it sure is a lot easier to see the track ahead with the short nose forward.  There were some unprotected grade crossings that some yahoo in a car had to run through just as I was pulling the engine through the crossing, scared the crap out of me, no way I could stop in time, didn't try, just laid on the horn.  I think he thought I knew what I was doing.

Chris S.

Last edited by FireOne
@Number 90 posted:

You are obviously a considerate person.  However in the early diesel era, what the crew preferred did not matter at all.  The decision to specify front end orientation of road-switcher locomotives was a strictly management decision in the iron pants era of the 1950's,. . .

Tom,  You may have noticed that I "like" a lot of your posts and this one gives me a great opportunity to tell you why.

I appreciate that you, an experienced railroader, take the time to make these well thought out and easily understood answers.  Not overly wordy as some posts sometimes are; not short, choppy or condescending as some of the replies by other "experienced" railroaders tend to be; not pedantic or irritatingly unreadable in the use of terminology or demands of exactitude from others - simply well stated, informative and easy to read.

Persons like myself who have a limited amount of true (or no) railroad experience (mine came during high school while volunteering at a railroad museum) can't be expected to either know or understand the breadth of practical operational experience someone like you has and I appreciate that you take the time, apparently so willingly, to share it with the rest of us in a pleasant and educational manner.

If it hasn't plainly been stated by others, let me take this opportunity on behalf of anyone else who has appreciated it as I have, to say "Thank you!"

@Byrdie posted:

Tom,  

I appreciate that you, an experienced railroader, take the time to make these well thought out and easily understood answers.

If it hasn't plainly been stated by others, let me take this opportunity on behalf of anyone else who has appreciated it as I have, to say "Thank you!"

That's very kind of you, Byrdie.  Thanks.  Railroading is fascinating, and it is also peculiar and quirky sometimes.  I am glad that I can periodically pull back the curtain a little bit.

Last edited by Number 90

I've wondered how much it had to do with how the engine was used? In GPs and SDs, the short high hood was where the boiler and water supply for passenger train service was built. New York Central and Great Northern made fairly extensive use of passenger GPs, and both operated them long-hood forward. Maybe it was thought having the boiler closer to the passenger cars was better?

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