Why didn't the Frisco buy GP30s?

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-20’s
    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-20's. 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/yellow scheme if delivered as the orange/white did not show up until later on GP-35's and U25b's. (It was copied from the EMD demonstrator scheme on the GP-35 and DD-35 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:
    Qty Road Order # Builder #s 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’t be a coincidence that the GP-20 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 F-9Am and associated F-9B 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 F-9 unit, and a GP-30 would buy an additional 500 HP per turbo-charger over a F-9 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 GP-35, 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 U-25B’s, and 1, F-9 set that consisted of 6 units. The June 1962 TRAINS magazine has a two page spread of F-9Am, 5007, leading 5 other F-9’s and 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."
  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 30 were the 8 High Hood U25B's. The GP35's had just begun production when the second batch of U25B's arrived. I think if you combine the higher horsepower of the GE units and the lack of need for new units from 60-65, the math adds up on Frisco not buying any GP20s or 30s.
  3. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    A very good, very well thought out theory.
    Thanks for sharing that Keith.
  4. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I remember that two page photo in Trains magazine, titled “ Strangers on Cajon.” I’ve been around a while. :eek::LOL::ROFLMAO:
  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    I have one additional afterthought to throw into my theory, i.e., 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.
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

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