Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and beginning April 20th, 2021 (Eastern Time) the Yahoo Answers website will be in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account. You can find more information about the Yahoo Answers shutdown and how to download your data on this help page.

Lv 5
68-76 asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 10 years ago

Were the prime movers the same in the late Alco's as in the early GE U-boats?

Alco & GE had a short marriage.

Were the prime mover's the same engines?


Peedlepup's answer is interesting.

Do you have any links for study?

Please add them to your answer!

Update 2:

Wolf's answer is great.

Lots of info in these links!

Thank You Wolf!

You got my vote!

3 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Definitely not. The Alco-GE locomotives were Alco's with GE electrical systems. They used one of these prime movers:

    - Alco 531 (very early version of the 539)

    - Alco 539 (a mainstay switcher engine, 1000 horsepower

    - Alco 244 (which was not reliable, and was a real loser)

    - Alco 251 (same dimensions as a 244, but most of the problems fixed)

    The last 2 digits in the number are the year the engine was introduced.

    Alco customers were very unhappy with the 244 engine. The 251 was much better, but the damage to their reputation had been done - the railroads did not trust Alco anymore.

    And when Alco couldn't sell a locomotive, GE couldn't sell electrical gear. (which the railroads were very happy with.) So the railroads told GE, "Look, if you'd sell your own locomotive without an Alco engine, we'd buy it." So they did.

    The early General Electric locomotives tended to use engines from Ingersoll-Rand, Cummins, Caterpillar and Cooper-Bessemer. But when they got serious into competing with Alco, they designed their own engine based on a Cooper Bessemer design. ALCO engines were never used in GE locomotives, with very rare exception.

  • 10 years ago

    I have only one Alco / GE operating manual. It was revised 7-48. The odd thing about it is that it doesn't list a model number but they look like the forerunner to the PA units. Relative to the prime mover this is all it says (I've condensed it): 16 cylinder V, 4-cycle, turbosupercharged (odd, but over the years GE got away from it but GM adopted it),1000 RPM max, 2000 HP, Bore is 9", Stroke is 10.5". I find it also curious that they don't use the term prime mover, but instead refer to it as the "power plant."

    GE manual GEJ-3856A REV 12-69 (which covers eight models) says the U23B is 2250 HP and that's it. They probably figured a hoghead was too dumb to absorb any information in that area anyway. Which is odd since they called Dynamic Braking Dynamic "Breaking." It is never good when the dynamic brake breaks, and it is always when you need it the most.

    Dunno if it helps or not but there ya go...

    Good question.

  • 10 years ago

    From what I've been able to discover they were not. In 1929 ALco bought McIntosh & Seymour Diesel Engine Company, and have always made their own prime movers in house using that design including in their "Century" series locomotives. G.E always supplied the electrical systems.

    After the split G.E. began also producing most of their own prime movers in house. The G.E "FLD" series of diesel engine used in most "U" series locomotives was based on a Cooper Bessemer Company design. A few early "U" models used a Caterpillar diesel.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.