E-6 air hose on nose?

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OK, I'm new to the ACL and I'm sure this question has been presented in the past but here goes. What was the long air hose on the nose of ACL E unist used for? The hose has a glad-hand on one end and was affixed to an elbow between the headlight housings on the nose. Was this setup unique to the ACL? I can only guess that it was a connection to the main air reservoir. Why was it not mounted on the pilot like so many other MU setups? Thanks, ED

-- Edmund Tobin (hambdened@alltel.net), December 17, 2003


I can only repeat what I saw in Calloway's book. Check Page 97. If it is not an electrical connector-and a good look with a magnifying glass shows it to be a pneumatic connection, then what other pneumatic systems did the trains have? The water was pressurized on each car and the system was never trainlined.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@rcn.com), January 16, 2004.

I believe even today most Amtrak engineers still give two toots,acknowledging a radio call.

-- Joseph Oates (uj67@mindspring.com), January 16, 2004.

The "signal line" was next to the trainline air hose and near the steam connector at each end of a diesel (and steam)locomotive and passenger cars.This "signal line" has been around a long time (another topic to look up)appearing on HW as well as LW cars.The purpose of this "signal line" was to let the engineer know when to stop,reverse or go ahead.Normally,a valve was located in the vestibule of the car by which a trainman or conductor could open would make a whistle in the locomotive cab blow.The engineer acknowledged by blowing the horn.Do you remember the whistle blowing two short toots before a train started moving? That was to let the person in the train know the engineer got the signal and was able to leave. It took three short pulls of the signal cord to notify the engineer to go.BTW Three short horn blasts meant backup.Now,because of what I said,I cannot believe that hose is a signal line.

-- Joseph Oates (uj67@mindspring.com), January 16, 2004.

Further to my last posting, there were two doors on the E units adjacent to the headlights. The electro-pneumatic line was connected to a connector behind the right hand side door when looking at the engine. The left had door covered an electrical MU connector.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), January 16, 2004.

Me thinks that I have the answer to the question of what the hose was. If you go to Warren L. Calloway's book "ACL Diesel Years", on page 97 there is a photo of the hose on the rear of a three unit consist. It is identified as a signal line-i.e. the line by which the crew could signal the engineer by pulling it.

The electro-pneumatic brake 64 volt line I referred to was connected to a connector behind one of the nose doors.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), January 16, 2004.

Ed, None of your recents suggestions do not work.So that leaves us still wondering.

-- Uncle Joe (uj67@mindspring.com), January 03, 2004.

Looks like I've stirred up quite a controversy here! I don't have Mr. Griffin's book in front of me at the moment but I would certainly say by the photographs previously mentioned that it is indeed a air hose, not electrical. There appears to be a "glad-hand" at the end of the hose and when the hose is removed it looks like a pipe plug in the end of a 45 degree elbow just below the headlight. Would there be any reason for a separate air supply to the passenger cars other than the train-line. I know that most pressurized water systems on the cars used the train line to charge a reservoir for pressurizing the water tank. Has anyone studied the end door/diaphragm area of passenger equipment to see a mating glad- hand? It would seem that the air line would connect above the door similar to the battery connection used to "train-line" electrical power when one car had battery or generator problems. Any ideas? Thanks, Ed

-- Edmund Tobin (hambdened@alltel.net), January 02, 2004.

To read "no MU hoses or connections" at the FRONT of ACL E6A's.

-- Uncle Joe (uj67@mindspring.com), January 02, 2004.

Usually I try to keep my big mouth out of trouble,but this thread has gone on too long without a correct answer.I don't have one,but somewhere this old brain remembers this question brought up before.I am not posting to demean anyone,but there has been mis-leading and mis-understood answers.I will not site specific locomotives but will say this,NO ACL E6A's came with MU hose connections.Therefore, they had to run in the lead or trailing.MU (Multiable Unit)hoses were "air" hoses that connected the main resevoirs (one hose) actuating (one hose)sanding air (one hose)equalizing (one hose).Nevertheless,to MU locomotives,you needed these hoses,PLUS an electrical connection,commonally called "MU connections".Some roads used 21 "point" connectors while some used 27 "point" connectors.(the SAL and ACL units were different and that is why,it took sometime for the units to be mixed after the merger. Don't know why ACL (and others) had MU access doors on each side of the headlight because there was no way to MU.Mr.Griffin's friend mis- understood him and answered as MU hoses or connections,which of course is not correct.As mentioned above,in both Griffin's and Calloway's books,some units had the recptable for this extra hose mounted just below the headlight and some did not.Mike Savchak's answer seems to make the most sense,but has problems too.The SAL had this type of brake system (as well as other railroads)but did not have this hose.Mike also mentions this as an electrical line,but it looks more like an air line to me.The steam,air and signal lines were behind the coupler door.I just wish I could remember where this came up before. As information,early Baldwin locomotives use air instead of electrical connections and would not MU with any other make.

-- Uncle Joe (uj67@mindspring.com), January 02, 2004.

I am certianly no expert on MU operatons but It has been my understanding that the electrical connections for MU operation are indeed provided by the cable that Mr. Griffin notes on page 73 and referenced by the former ACL employee. This was a rather thick cable with a large round plug as noted in the photo. On an A unit, the recepticals are located behind the small doors beside the headlight. The ACL A units on pages 77 and 115 of his book have these doors also. In looking at the photos, it appears that the nose hose in qestion is thinner than the MU electrical hose and has no large round plug on the end. The photo on page 115 has the hose tucked behind the front "bumper" with the end resting on the pilot coupler door. There is no large plug on it. The photo on page 77 shows the end of the hose against the car body just above the anticlimber. Unless I am missing something, I have never seen evidence of anything in that location on an E unit that would hide an mu cable plug or connect the end of a hose. It may be that we are seeing the end of the hose being forced to the side as the train cuts through the air. On page 18 of Mr. Griffin's book, you can find a good close up picture of the nose receptacle for this hose. It looks like a one inch pipe and there appears to be a square indention inside the end. To me, this looks like a pipe with a plug screwed in the end of it. The plug looks like the type of plug you would find on a truck rear axle differential housing. It has a square indention which is intended to receive a ratchet wrench for removal. If the nose receptacle is a plugged pipe, then then we are probably not looking at an electrical connection unless there is a small one hidden behind the plug inside the pipe.

-- Jim Coviello (jcovi60516@aol.com), January 01, 2004.

Edmund - I don't know if you have a copy of my recent book on the ACL, but there are photos of E units with these hoses on pages 77 and 115. I tried to determine the purpose for these hoses prior to publication of the book, but to no avail. Since the publication of the book I talked with a retired CSX/SCL/ACL friend and he inquired about the hoses with his brother-in-law, who is a retired ACL/SCL electrical supervisor and former electrician at Moncrief Shops. He said that the hoses were electrical cables which had 22 wires and later, some of them had 27 wires. When the service required that an "A" unit be operated in the middle of a consist, the long cable was required to connect to the unit ahead. When photographed in the lead with the cable still in place, the unit must have been previously operated behind another unit. The cables' pins plugged into the outlet in the connecting unit for multiple operation and every electrical function could be controlled from the lead unit, when each unit in the consist was connected with the cables. If you look at the photos on pages 77 and 115, you see that neither photo shows the end of the cable with the round connection. The plugs were at the bottom of the cable and are concealed inside the diesel's hood. For a good look at the plug end of the long cable, see the photo in my book on page 73. Note that the long cable in this picture is completely inside the unit and runs overhead. When coupled to another unit, the plug on the cable in the bottom of the doorway is pulled up and fastened at the top right corner of the door is released, giving the cable sufficient working length to make the coupling. That is what the former ACL electrician told us. He also told us that in some of the later freight units, the plug that is visible in the photo on page 73 was fastened to a "dummy" connector when not being used in multiple operation. For an example of this, see the photos in my book on pages 84 and 85 of the GP-7's. The outlets are clearly visible in the photos of GP7 Nos. 143 and 155 just under the hand rails. The cables are not attached to the units when photographed. Hope this helps to shed some light on this matter.

-- William E. Griffin, Jr. (Griffinwejr@aol.com), December 30, 2003.

The Champion trains were equipped with a Westinghouse Air Brake Co. "HSC" brake system with speed governor control. This system permitted either conventional pneumatic brake operation or high speed electro-pneumatic brake operation. Under the electro-pneumatic mode, a 64 volt signal was trainlined from the locomotive through the cars. Speed governors on the locomotive and the journal boxes of the first and fourth cars of the train sets. The speed governors determined the braking ratio, while the electric signal permitted almost instantaneous brake operation on all cars, as opposed to the progressive braking experienced by an all pneumatic system.

The locomotive had a two position shifter marked SA for electro- pneumatic and AU for straight pneumatic operation.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), December 18, 2003.

I believe that the hose in question was the control for the electro- pneumatic brake system that was used on the first Champion streamliners. If you recall, the first streamliners were equipped with a special electro-pneumatic brake system that utilized an electric signal throughout the cars, coupled with speed sensors located on the locomotive and one of the cars. The Southern Pacific had a similar system and had the lines mounted in a door way next to the nose headlight of the locomotive.

I believe that I touched on this braking system in my article on the ACL/SAL train stop systems.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), December 18, 2003.

Edmund, I don't think your question has appeared before and I'm glad you raised it, I have the same question and am not aware of an answer anywhere. I assume you are referring to some of the same photos I've seen showing ACL E units with this hose on the nose in the circa- 1945/46 time period. When I was researching my ACL passenger service book I tried to find out the answer then and never did. These units appear to have all the usual MU, air brake, and steam lines in the normal location on the pilot, so my guess was this might have been the communication signal line. Whatever it was, it showed up in photos for only a short time and apparently was relocated by the later 1940s. I hope someone can clear up the mystery.

-- Larry Goolsby (lgoolsby@aphsa.org), December 18, 2003.

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