Scott Chatfield on the subject of Geeps

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Posted to the Diesel List, September 22, 2000:

On September 18, 2000, Andy E. asked about BN's former GN, NP and CB&Q GP7s. To which Scott Chatfield answered with the following:

From my as yet incomplete GP7 roster, we glean the following:

GN 624-626, blt late 1951?
ph2, solid skirts, sloped pilots, winter hatch, 1200g fuel tank (10' long by 7'6" wide)

CB&Q 200-214, blt 9/51?
ph2, steam generator, solid skirts, sloped pilots, 800g fuel & 800g water, engine block heater in vertical locker box behind cab (left side), winter hatch, Gyralite on the long hood only?

NP 552-554, blt 4/51
ph2, solid skirts, sloped pilots, roof top air tanks, 1200g fuel & 1200g water, winter hatch

NP 555-558, blt 3/52
ph2, solid skirts, sloped pilots, roof top air tanks, 1200g fuel & 1200g water, winter hatch

NP 559, blt 11/52
ph2, slotted skirts, boxed pilots, roof top air tanks, 1200g fuel & 1200g water, winter hatch

NP 564-568, blt 12/53
ph3, dynamics with 48" fan, slotted skirts, boxed pilots, winter hatch, 1600g fuel tank

NP 569, blt 12/53
ph3, dynamics with 48" fan, steam generator, slotted skirts, boxed pilots, winter hatch, 800g fuel & 800g water tanks

My understanding is that the NP's "torpedo boats" came from La Grange WITHOUT steam generators. Some may have been retrofitted later.

Note, the water tanks on a GP7 (and early GP9) flank the fuel tank, so "torpedo boats" have a pair of 600g water tanks flanking the 1200g fuel tank.

The water tanks also hang lower than the fuel tanks, and have noticeable flat areas at the top of their sides. The sides of the fuel tanks curve more. The "fuel tank" on the Atlas GP7 actually has the shape of the twin 400g water tanks flanking an 800g fuel tank (hidden in the middle). So at least in the shape of the underbody tanks the Atlas matches those CB&Q units and that last NP unit. However, the solid (and I do mean SOLID) skirts of the Atlas make it a better start for the early CB&Q GP7s.

On the other hand, the P2k freight GP7 has the later 1700g fuel tank from their Phase 3 GP9 This tank is correct for that unit, but not for any GP7 as built.

If memory serves, P2k's "torpedo boat" GP7 does have the right contour on its water tanks, since they had to make the longer (14 feet) tanks for that model. Since it's a Phase 2, it would be the best place to start on those NP torpedo boats. You'll need to fill the slots in the skirt for 552-558.

The Front Range Geep frame has a sloped-top fuel tank that matches exactly ZERO first generation Geeps as built. Get out the mill.

Modeling either the 800g or 1200g fuel-only tanks is going to require some major cutting of the metal frame. Ouch. And SO many GP7s had smaller-than-1600g tanks.

To learn more about early Geeps, snore through my "early Geeps" clinic at the Naperville RPM meet next month.

Posted to the Diesel List, November 26, 2000:

Andy H took a stab at identifying the loco on the cover of Loco-1: the Diesel, a compendium of RMC drawings that Carstens issued in the late 60s. He guessed Phase 3 GP9 (which it is), but possibly steam-generatored (nope) and possibly Nickle Plate (nope).

I don't know if Carstens picked that unit for a reason, or if they just hit the jackpot, but there is only one unit it can be. Not just one railroad, not just one class, not even one order, but one unit. And she's a real oddball.

First off, a couple of points to narrow the field. The photo had to be taken by 1967 or so, so the unit's oddball features are not the result of a post-1970 rebuild program. The photo appears to be taken at La Grange, but that isn't a certainty. The carbody has been primered, but not painted. Notice the masking on the glass.

This is where the knowledge of Geep phases comes in handy, but here it mainly helps to point out the contradictions. To wit, the cover girl indeed is a GP9, at least a post-55 one (phase 2 or later) because of the louvers on the hood doors (single sets on the first two doors behind the cab, and double sets on the first three engine room doors). She has two small louver sets on the battery box, likely making her a GP9 built after 10/57, which means Phase 3b. You can't tell from this angle what size fans she has; most Phase 3b's have 48-inch pan-tops over the radiators, but not all of them do.

She's got an 800 (or maybe 900) gallon fuel tank. Nice view of a hard-to-photograph detail. Look at the shallow notched sidesill. This fits with late GP9s built with the small tank.

But look at those handrail stanchions. Pipe stanchions! Wait a minute, EMD stopped using those in June 1954, GMD sometime in 1955.

Okay. Assuming the photo was taken in La Grange, this isn't a new unit but a wreck rebuild. This gives us a clue to her identity.

Hint: At last report, she still worked for her original owner, and still looks the same as she did when she posed for Loco-1! Now that can't be said for too many early Geeps!

Two other details single her out. I'll let y'all spot those.

Posted to the Diesel List, December 18, 2000:

> I just received my new Life Like Phase II GP9s. Very, very nice.
>... I did a quick check in my own UP 1934-1982 book, and the model
> is correct for UP's 250-299 with channel handrail stanchions.

Not exactly. The 250-299 are late Phase Ones (ph 1b), not Phase Twos. Look at the extra louvers on the generator room doors (behind the cab). Phase Ones have the GP7 louver arrangement on those doors. The confusion comes from UP (and Southern) adding the third louvered engine room door soon after delivery.

Phase 1a GP9s still had the pipe handrail stanchions of the GP7. La Grange switched to channel stanchions in June 1954 (London didn't change until mid-55). Those Camas Prairie GP9s were some of the last Phase 1a's.

For you Union Pacific fans out there, here's the breakdown on the UP's large GP9 fleet.

UP 130-204 blt 2-4/54
phase 1a, dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights, 1200g fuel tank (note: 204 re# 249 and assigned to Camas Prairie?)

UP 130B-204B blt 2-4/54
cabless, phase 1a, dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights?, 1200g

UP 205-244 blt 1/54
phase 1a, no dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights, 1200g

UP 245-248 blt 4-6/54
phase 1a, dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights, 1600g (note: all assigned to Camas Prairie)

UP 250-294 blt 8-9/54
phase 1b, dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights, 1200g

UP 295-299 blt 9/54
phase 1b, steam generator, dynamics, winter hatch, Mars headlights, two 400g water tanks flanking an 800g fuel tank

UP 300-349 blt 7-10/57
phase 3b, dynamics, winter hatch, "late Pyle" headlights, 1300g

UP 300B-349B blt 8-10/57
cabless, phase 3b, dynamics, winter hatch, "late Pyle" headlights, 1300g (note: some had steam generators added later)

Headlights: The Mars headlight is the one with the oval casing and the flat glass face over the twin headlight lenses. The "late Pyle" is the nearly flush headlight found on P2k's Phase Three GP9, GP18, and GP20. It is correct for most Phase Three GP9s except FEC, PRR, and the Canadian units, which still had the "early Pyle." In fact, London used the "early Pyle" until quite recently. Look at the early UP SD60Ms.

Fuel tanks: the 1200g and 1600g are both 126 inches long, but the 1200g is only 75 inches wide (comes out even with the outer edge of the frame rails, but is 15 inches shy of the sidesills). The 1600g is 112 inches wide. The 1300g tank of the Phase Threes is roughly 8 feet long (haven't measured one yet), but is 117 inches wide. The actual construction of the earlier 1200g and 1600g tanks differs from the 1300g (and the more common 1700g). The 1200g and 1600g have 90 degree top corners, while the 1300g has a rounded top corner.

The fuel tank on all of the Proto:2000 Geeps (GP7, GP9s, and GP18) is the 1700g tank first used on their GP18. Actually, the seam down the middle means it's based on a drawing for the split 800g fuel/900g water tank used on a few GP9s. This design was first used on a handful of passenger GP9s built for C&O and NYC in mid-56. It may have been under the N&W's first passenger GP9s when they were built (from hearsay; all of the photos I've seen of them show the longer 1150g fuel/1200g water tank which is the same size as the normal 2350g GP20 fuel tank). EMD adopted the basic rounded-top-corner tank design on all Geeps in 2/57. It generally serves as a good marker for telling Phase Three GP9s from earlier GP9s.

Posted to the Diesel List, February 5, 2001:

> ...still love that Atlas Fuel/Water Tank though. I really can't
> tell the difference between the 600/600 and the others.

The Atlas (and the old Athearn GP7) has a pair of 400 gallon water tanks flanking an 800 gallon fuel tank, the "800/800 tank" for short. Torpedo boats have 600 gallon water tanks flanking a longer 1200 gallon fuel tank. EMD also offered a shorter but wider 1200 gallon fuel tank for non-passenger Geeps. UP's early GP9s had that one, although their GP7s had 1600 gallon tanks.

Speaking of which, anybody (especially anybody named Don) know exactly which UP GP7s were converted to passenger units?

Posted to the Diesel List, September 24, 2001

Joe A asked: "Can anyone provide the spotting differences between Ph. 1 and 2 GP9s?"

The Phase One GP9 was built in 1954, while the Phase Two was built from 1/55 into early 1957. Phase Three started around February 1957.

Phase Ones have louvers on only the first two tall engine room doors, and retain the GP7's louver arrangements on the generator room doors (the first two behind the cab). There are four louvers on the right side here and three on the left side. La Grange GP9s built from January into June 1954 also have the "pipe" handrail stanchions of the GP7. In June EMD introduced the stamped handrail stanchion that they still use today, creating the Phase 1b GP9. The Canadian plant didn't switch to the stamped stanchions until mid-1955. They also did not use the slotted sill skirts until then either.

In January 1955 EMD made the Phase Two GP9 by adding louvers to the third tall engine room door and removing the lower sets of louvers on the generator room doors. So now there were only two louver sets on either side under the front radiator. In what might be a record for EMD, they made no other noticeable carbody changes until early 1957! The Phase Two is what most railfans think of as the "classic" GP9.

One thing to watch out for. At least two roads, the Southern and the UP, swapped out the blank third engine door for a louvered one on their Phase Ones, and they did it fairly early. UP did it in mid-1955. This makes them look like Phase Twos at first glance. The UP bought 170 Phase Ones and 100 Threes but ordered no true Phase Twos.

The change to Phase Three started in early 1957 with the introduction of a new style of fuel tank, the moving of the fuel fill to the front of the tank, and the shallower side skirts rather than the deeper and usually slotted skirts. The fans remained 36" until October 1957. Most orders built after that had 48" fans, but several orders were built with 36" fans. The North Western got two orders of very late GP9s with large (2350g) fuel tanks and 36" fans.

To model a Phase One at this time, I'd suggest ordering a spare GP7 body from Life-Like and splicing its generator room doors into the Phase Two GP9. If you want a Phase 1a, you'll also need the GP7's handrails.

Posted to the Diesel List, April 27, 2002:

Bob Teusink wrote: "So... anyone care to give me a run down on the GP7 phases?"

Here is a correct summary of GP7 phase variations:

Phase One: 10/49 - 11/50?
all 86" engine room doors on all units (dynamics not yet an option), no box on walkway behind left side of cab (assuming short hood forward), so there are four louver sets on the left hood behind the cab, solid skirts over fuel tanks, sloped plates on pilots, hood straps extend down to walkways

Phase Two: 6/50? - 3/53
addition of box on walkway behind left side of cab, so there are only three louver sets on the left side behind the cab, slotted skirts after 3/52 ONLY on units with 1200g or larger fuel tanks (units with just an 800g fuel tank still have solid skirts), dynamics and full transition now optional, 36" dynamic fan until 8/52, 48" dynamic fan after 8/52, no sloped pilot plates after 7/52, replaced with MU hose boxes with two horizontal "fences" above them.

Phase Three: 3/53 - 12/53
all seven engine room doors are 82" regardless of dynamic option; hood straps end at top of hood doors on units with dynamics; no straps at all on non-d/b units

Phase Four: 4/54
these are the Mopac's last order which have GP9 Phase One carbodies. I've heard that they really are GP9s (567C motors) derated to 1500hp with GP7's 4-inch radiator cores (normal GP9s have 6-inch thick cores)

...and here's something I posted back in December:

On non-dynamic units, all 86" engine room doors (top edge above centerline of radiators) is a Phase One or Two GP7. All 82" doors is a Phase Three. Dynamic brake Phase Two GP7s have one 86" door in front of the blister and six 82" doors under the blister.

Phase One did not have that box atop the walkway behind the left side of the cab. Phases Two and Three did.

Phases One and Two had the screwed-on vertical hood "straps" along the seams between the generator room, engine room, and compressor room. They ran from walkway to walkway. Dynamic-equipped Phase Threes only have these straps above the top of the engine room doors. Non-dynamic Phase Threes do not have these straps at all.

All GP7s had "pipe" handrail stanchions. That was changed in June 1954 (later in Canada) on early GP9s to the present "channel" stanchions. Some GP7 rebuilds got new channel stanchions. Paducah Geeps, for instance.

Ignore the skirts. They will only confuse you. (Yeah, the other kind of "skirts" will confuse you too, but I'm talking about GP7s here.)

So... P2k's "Phase One GP7" is an early Phase Two. Their "Phase Two GP7" (released a couple years ago) is a late Phase Two.

Atlas GP7 is an early Phase Two. The old Front Range GP7 was a cross between a late Phase Two and a Phase Three, with enough minor dimensional errors to stew it.

Athearn's old GP7 is also a real mish-mash of Phase Two and Three details.

Posted to the Diesel List, July 16, 2003:

Steve Haas wrote: "I'm starting the process of modifying several Proto 2000 GP7 Phase I (Diesel Era nomenclature) engines to more closely match GN prototypes and I've come up with a few questions I hope the group can answer:"

Diesel Era's nomenclature? When did "Diesel Error" try to do GP7 phases?

P2k used Don Dover's original GP7 phases, which were wrong unfortunately. I redid the phases for my Early Geeps clinic several years ago, and no one has found reason to supercede my phase descriptions.

The P2k "Phase One" GP7 is really an early Phase Two, built from between mid-1950 and mid-1952, so it covers a lot of the GP7 production. Features of the early Phase Two GP7 are all 86" engine room doors on non-dynamic units, or one 86" door ahead of the blister if the unit has dynamics, the box atop the walkway behind the left side of the cab, solid side skirts (easily removed in most cases), "sloped" pilot plates (sort of a cowcatcher I gather), and hood "straps" that wrap around the hood at each end of the engine room.

After March 1952 units with tanks larger than 800 gallons got slotted skirts, and after about July 1952 the sloped pilots were replaced with flat plates with MU hose boxes, plus two horizontal straps atop the boxes to serve as cages (I guess).

Most Phase Twos were built without dynamics, but those that were had 540 amp grids cooled by a 36" fan up until October 1952. Later units had 700 amp grids cooled by a 48" fan.

Phase Three came in March 1953, and all Phase Threes have 82" engine room doors regardless of dynamic option. And only those with dynamics have the hood straps, and the straps only wrap around the roof, stopping at the top of the doors.

(Note that GMDD was a bit behind on the phase changes, so they continued to build Phase Twos into mid-1953.)

P2k's "Phase Two" GP7 is a late Phase Two.

Great Northern had five orders of GP7s, all Phase Twos, none of which had dynamics, but all of them had winterization hatches:

600-605, built 11/50, with steam generators and the small 800/800 fuel/water tanks. They are also the only ones with Gryalites, I think.

606-622, built 9-11/50, freight units with 1200g fuel tanks

623-649, built 4-6/51, freight units with 1200g fuel tanks

650-652, built 6/51, with steam generators and 800/800 tanks

653-655, built 3/53, freight units with 1600g fuel tanks? (Haven't confirmed that yet.) These would be the only ones with slotted skirts and MU hose boxes on the pilots.

So, keeping the above in mind:

> 1) Engines number GN 600 - 622 have winterization hatches that have square,
> rather than rounded corners on the top edge. I've mocked one up using the
> length, width and height of the rounded one provided with the engine and it
> looks reasonable - but I'm contemplating making it a bit higher. Current
> dimensions are 4' wide (scale) by 5' 4" long (scale) by .013" tall. Does
> anyone have better dimensions for these?
> 2) Any one have a dimension as to the diameter of the grill on top of
> these - they are over 36" fans. While we are at it, does anyone have a good
> technique for getting a good clean round hole of this size in thin styrene
> (0.010 - 0.020)? Material for the grill?

It was EMD's original winter hatch for Geeps. I haven't had a chance to measure one, and there's not many examples left. The Minnesota Commercial had an ex-BAR GP7 that still had this hatch, if anyone cares to look for it. Anyone know of any other early ex-BARs or ex-GNs hanging around?

It looks to me to be an inch or two taller than the rounded hatch. On BAR 66 it looks like it's even with the top of the 36" dynamic fan, whatever that comes out to.

There's a distant photo of BAR 69 and 70 in the "Classic Trains" book "GM's Geeps," and you can clearly see the opening is round. It looks to be about the same diameter as a 36" fan, maybe so the fan grill could be removed without pulling the winter hatch off first. Keep in mind that a 36" fan is actually about 39" wide over its mounting flange.

> 3) The sloping sheets on the foot board on P2K's model matches the builders
> photo in GNRHS reference sheet 162 (March 1990). Later pictures show these
> replaced with a different style of foot boards with "slots" or "buckets" to
> contain the control hoses. Can any one provide a date or dates that
> would help narrow down when this was done? Before/After 1954 would help as
> I'm currently modeling around August of '54. In addition, did GN 623-652
> arrive with the sloping sheet above the foot boards? If so, can anyone shed
> any light as to when they were modified with the footboards that included
> "buckets/slots" for tucking in the hoses?

Are you saying that GN replaced the sloped pilots with MU hose boxes? There's a photo in the "GM's Geeps" book of the 642 and 644 taken in August 1961, and both still have the sloped pilots. Perhaps it was done at the same time they modified the steps?

> 4) Approximate dates as to when horn and bell were moved from as-delivered
> positions to spots on top of the engine?

Late '50s. GN was one of the first roads to order their Geeps with the bells mounted up high to avoid being fouled by snow. But this didn't happen until after 1956.

> 5) Exhaust stacks - there appears to be an extension (spark arrestors?)
> added to the exhaust stacks on 600 - 622 and perhaps on engines in the 623 -
> 652 range - any one have any data/measurements?
> 6) "As Delivered" pictures show only one set of grab irons on each end -
> later pictures show a second set. When would these have been added. As a
> side note, I've noticed that one some units the second set of grab irons is
> toward the left of the right panel of the end and on others it's to the far
> right side - can anyone shed some light on this as to timing and the whys
> and where fors of left vs. right placement??
> 7) These had 3 steps as delivered and were later upgraded to 4 steps. Can
> anyone provide info as to when this happened? Anyone have any techniques
> and/or measurements to share? Pointers to articles?

Done sometime in the early to mid '60s on the GN. Their GP20s were delivered with 3 steps but within a couple years had 4 steps. BN later did it to many if not all of their other Geeps.

As for the extra grabs and taller stacks, my guess is these also were changed when the steps were modified.

Posted to the Diesel List, July 17, 2003:

I've lost track of how many times I've posted this information over the last six years, ever since I became aware that P2k was interested in doing a GP7. I've given the clinic a number of times, and always run out of handouts (which is four pages long). Copies of that handout have been given to all of the major manufacturers. I'll get a copy into Don's hands one of these days. Maybe I'll just scan the pages into JPEGs and let Andy put them on the site.

I know Don gets defensive about my saying that Dover's Geep phases are wrong, but it's the truth. I'm not taking away from the tons of good work that Mr. Dover did do. He did an amazing amount of work in the pre-computer era, preserving (by printing in X2200South) info that often had no obvious value in his day but can be quite valuable today and will continue to be so in the future.

Nonetheless, Mr. Dover did not like to admit his mistakes in print. That's quite obvious from a reading of X2200S over the years. On the Internet we can make mistakes in a hurry and correct them almost as fast. Or just be like women and claim to be changing our minds all the time....

Back to P2k and their GP7s. When they told me they were doing a "Phase Two" per Dover's system I warned them that there were some pitfalls in it. As it turns out, their dynamic-equipped "Phase Two" matches only one small Santa Fe group built around May 1952 (2723-2732?, and they may have been rebuilt from non-dynamic units*), and there's only one or two orders of non-dynamic GP7s that match their non-d/b "Phase Two." And none of these orders actually match the model if you consider fuel tank size and type. No GP7s were built with 1700 gallon fuel tanks. EMD didn't adopt that design until February 1957. (But Paducah hung new 1700g tanks under quite a few rebuilt GP7s and early GP9s.)

Then when I was told they were going to do a "Phase One" that was actually an early Phase Two, I informed them of that fact. I also informed them there was no way to change my phase system to accommodate their models, because the two models share the same basic features, and the differences in their models are mostly option-dependent. In other words, even if I considered the earliest GP7s to just be "early Phase Ones" and not a separate Phase, then the two P2k models would both be Phase Ones, just later examples. They told me they were aware of that, because of my handout I'd already given them. But having already called the first model a "Phase Two" on the box, they wanted to call the second model a "Phase One" to avoid giving the customers headaches. It's easier to blame Dover than field calls asking about the differences between a Phase 2a and 2c, or whatever. I'll grant them that.

*If you have my handout, you'll see I say the first dynamic-equipped GP7s with 700 amp grids and the 48" fan were built in October 1952, C&O 5812-5828. EMD had built at least two orders between the Santa Fe and C&O orders that still had 540 amp grids and the 36" fan, BAR 572-575 and PRR 8503-8507. The question remains, did those Santa Fe units come with 700 amp dynamics, or were they retrofitted? There are several photos in Cinthia Priest's book "The Santa Fe Diesel (v1)" of the lower numbered members of the 2723-order with 48" dynamic fans, with 2731 being the highest numbered example. Yet all are painted blue, so they're not early photos. BUT WHOA!!!, there's a nice photo in the Priests' "Santa Fe Heritage (v1)" of the 2729 in zebra taken in 1957, and there's no dynamics on the 2729! Hmmmmmm

Dover, in his GP7 roster in X2200S back in the early '70s, showed the entire ATSF 2723-2747 order to be non-dynamic units. Since I gather he was working from EMD's own paperwork (or Product Reference Guide), I trust his roster. But I can't think of any other examples of GP7s being retrofitted with dynamics. Can anyone shed some light on the mystery of these Santa Fe GP7s?