High Hood Geeps

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Southern obviously preferred high short hoods on it's GP locomotives. Although snazzy in appearance, Im curious as to why this was preferred by Southern and what if any problems might occur with the limited visibility provided with this type hood configuration.

-- roy Williams (Sluggo47@abellsouth.net), July 16, 2000


Let me address the topic of limited visability with the high short hood. This has never been much of an issue for me. My experience has not been confined merely to Southern Railway. Prior to my joining SR in 1973, I was in engine service on the Seaboard Coast Line. SCL's late model GP's had the low nose, but they also had plenty of the first generation high nose GP's. Engineers of my era were accustomed to both types of noses. I do not feel that the high short hood knocks that much off of your visability. You learn to make allowances for it. Going into a tight curve to the opposite side you lose some visability. Those high hoods aren't so big that you can't see around them though. Learning out the window increases your vision in this instance. This is critical only if you are traveling at restricted speed, hopefully in road operations you have an awake trainman on the other side anyway. In viewing block signals you lose a little visability, but you frequently have a trainman on the other side. If you are by yourself, then don't get so close to the signal that you lose sight of it. There is no dishonor in stopping back away from a stop board. If you are stopped at or near a road crossing, the high hood could shield an approaching truck. A car approaching from the opposite side will frequently be shielded by even a short hood. When you move again, you don't rush into the crossing anyway. You approach slowly giving adequate warning, and you allow any crossing protection to activate. If some moron still wants to run in front you you, hit him.

The high short hood has benefits too. It blocks off the blinding low angle sun. It shields you from a lot of the hot sun you would otherwise get with a short hood too. The high hood can help shield you also from rock, bottle, and brick throwers. It can shield you also from gunfire, and I have been wounded by gunfire while at the throttle. The high hood is a whole lot nicer to go in and out of too, whether it is to go to the bathroom or get supplies. People get hurt trying to go in and out of those short hoods. One of my engineers is disabled from hitting his head hard coming out of a N&W short hood. I never had a problem with the high short hoods, visability included. Try running one of our new Dash 9 40CW widesnoses backwards in a pouring rain. Now that is a visability nightmare.

Ben Lee, Engineer- North Charlotte District.

-- Ben Lee (Bengineer7@aol.com), July 19, 2000.

My understanding was that it was because of a union problem. I have been told that their was a dispute about which end was the front end. With high short hoods, either end was considered the same. Southern must have really had a high hood policy. When it took over the short line, which at that time was called Norfolk Southern (not to be confused with today's Norfolk Southern), it converted the roads low short hood GP18's to high short hoods.

-- Jack Grasso (JACKGP20@aol.com), April 01, 2001.

Ben's answer is very thorough about the advantages to a high hood, but there is another question I would like to add on to this discussion: Why did SOU run there locomotives long hood forward as opposed to short hood forward, especially when there was adequate protection from a short high hood ?

-- Andrew Callo (acallo@dcf.net), July 28, 2001.

The GP-7's control stands came set up for long hood first operation. I heard that southern carred on with this tradition.

-- Evan Whatley (mosh_it16@yahoo.com), July 31, 2001.

Just a note about why the Southern set some of their engines up with the long hood front, the best explanation I have found is running long hood out in CTC or other signal territory, it puts the engineer on the side of the signals. If the engineer is on the off side, he has to look around the long hood. By making the long hood the front of the engine, this problem is solved. He is on the off side if running short hood out, but can easily see around the short hood. Hope this helps explain this practice of Southern Railway

-- Jeff Snow (jsnow181@aol.com), October 13, 2002.

Myself having operated both high and low hood units, like Ben I never had a problem with the high hoods. As for a reason Southern continued the practice, I was told the long hood forward and also the short high hood were also protection from collisions with trucks. Logging trucks can be a nightmare when struck at a crossing and such trucks were prominent in some of the territory Southern operated within. Those high hoods, especially the long hood forward can offer great protection in a collision with a truck.

-- JD Santucci (thetuch7@earthlink.net), May 08, 2003.

The SOU and N&W thought that it would protect crews from harm.Also many southeastern railroads ran long hood forward(so whats the need for windows if the use the long hood more?).As far as I know the SP liked dual controls on their Geeps!

-- Gabe Scotto (amtrak001@yahoo.com), October 15, 2004.

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