EMD GP30s - Why The Frisco Did Not Buy Them - Inquiry

Discussion in 'Diesel General' started by klrwhizkid, Sep 11, 2023.

  1. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    From Russell Underwood on the Ship It on the Frisco Facebook group:

    "Does anyone know why the Frisco did not purchase any GP30s, which seemed so popular with most other railroads? Were they given a much better deal on the U25Bs by GE? Curious..."

    Karl Brand's response;

    "The real question might be why didn’t the Frisco buy GP-20s.

    Ken Wulfert noted the following:

    "Below is the text of an interesting posting by Rob Sarberenyi on the on-line Diesel List. He is reviewing lists of locomotive orders that were cancelled before they were built. Looks like, per Rob, the Frisco ordered eight EMD GP-20s. I may have forgotten as this was long ago, but I'm not sure I knew that!

    I assume they would have been in the black and yellow scheme if delivered as the mandarin orange and white did not show up until later on GP35s and U25Bs. It was copied from the EMD demonstrator scheme on the GP35 and DD35 models).


    Following is Rob's posting:

    Following is what I have for cancelled orders for EMD GP20s. There could possibly be others, this is what I have found so far:
    Quantity--Road--Order Number--Builder Numbers--Notes
    4-----------SLSF--7613-01 to -04---27003-27006------Frisco
    4-----------SLSF--7614-01 to -04---27007-27010------Frisco

    Remember, these units were never built.

    Rob Sarberenyi

    My theory is as follows:
    It can not be a coincidence that the GP20 order was for 8 units, and the first order for the high-nosed U-boats was for 8 units. The story goes that the Santa Fe was running the wheels off the Frisco covered wagons that were dedicated to the run-through trains. Not only were the units accumulating mileage at passenger unit rates, the Santa Fe was running them at speeds that exceeded the Frisco gearing.

    The Santa Fe also preferred the units with dynamic brakes, so in theory, the number of units that the Frisco could put into the pool was limited to the F9Am and associated F9B units.
    My theory with regard to the cancellation of the order centers around the difference in the horsepower increase for a given turbo-charged unit.

    A turbo-charged GP-20 would bring an increase of only 250 HP per unit over a F9 unit, and a GP30 would buy an additional 500 HP per turbo-charger over a F9 unit. Enter the U25B, which would bring an additional 750 HP per turbo-charger. Throw in 70 mph gearing, and the Frisco had a unit that was perfect for high-speed, run-through service.

    EMD wouldn’t produce a comparable unit until the GP35, which arrived 3 years after the first U-Boats plied Frisco rails. The ATSF placed 4 6-unit covered wagons into the pool, and the Frisco placed 2 4-unit sets of U25Bs, and 1 F9 set that consisted of 6 units.

    The June 1962 TRAINS magazine has a two page spread of F9Am SLSF 5007, leading 5 other F9s on Birmingham-bound CTX as it climbs Cajon Pass. The associated caption by David P. Morgan, claimed that the units were "running 5,000 mile per week, and 20,000 mile per month".
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2024
  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    This is great insight.

    Interesting that the orders were only for 2 4-unit sets considering they would be light on power.

    Maybe the plan was to splice in a F9B?

    I also wonder if the short window of time that the GP20 was the top model available impacted the Frisco's ability to acquire those units?

    Orders for the GP20 were pretty limited, it was only available about 18 months before the GP30 came in to play.

    Also worth considering, the only road units the Frisco bought during the life cycle of the GP20 and GP30 were the 8 high hood U25Bs.

    The GP35s had just begun production when the second batch of U25Bs arrived.

    I think if you combine the higher horsepower of the GE units and the lack of need for new units from 1960-1965, the math adds up on Frisco not buying any GP20s or GP30s.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2024
  3. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    A very good, very well thought out theory.

    Thanks for sharing that Keith.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2024
  4. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I remember that two page photograph in Trains magazine, titled “Strangers on Cajon".

    I have been around a while. :eek: :LOL: :ROFLMAO:
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2024
  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    I have one additional afterthought to throw into my theory. The new U-boats used the proven and very reliable GE 752 DC traction motors. Given the long, high-speed runs for which their service was needed, the GE motors would be a plus.
    Last edited: May 18, 2024
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

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