Over their many years of building
marine engines, diesel locomotives, and industrial engines, Electro-Motive
produced and distributed a wide range of technical publications
in support of maintenance and modernization programs for their products.
Some of these publications, like operators manuals and parts books,
had standardized content intended for widespread distribution to
the customers owning and operating EMD equipment, and are more commonly
encountered due to their large print runs.
Other publications were intended for internal communication
or limited distribution, and are less frequently seen. There were
also a number of periodical publications issued by EMD, which sometimes
show up as individual issues but seldom are seen in complete sets.
This article is written to provide an introduction to some of the
technical publications other than the operators manuals, service
manuals, and parts books, and to describe their typical scope of
content and define the time period when they were produced.
The titles and format of EMD technical publications were divided
into two groups by time period, we will take a look at the typical
publications of each era in this article. Please note that Sales
Brochures, published Technical Papers, procedural manuals, Training
Center handouts, and other single use materials that were not distributed
periodically are not included in this discussion.
THE FIRST PUBLICATION SERIES - 1936 THROUGH 1953
GENERAL SERVICE BULLETINS
The General Service Bulletin (GSB) system was a Service Department
publication adopted in 1936 and was openly distributed to EMD Sales
and Service personnel and to customers. The bulletin series started
at Number 1 and terminated at Number 600 in 1953. They could be
anywhere from one to six pages in length and each one dealt with
a specific maintenance procedure or issue. Some of the bulletins
in the series were specific guides for modernization procedures
such as the installation of winterization packages, some covered
the disassembly, rebuilding, and reassembly of specific hardware,
and some were notices about service problems.
When the GSB was discontinued in 1953, the contents of some of
the bulletins that dealt with general guidelines for locomotive
maintenance or rebuilding of specific equipment were carried forward
as topics in the numbered Maintenance Instruction system which had
been started in the late 1940s and eventually replaced the GSB completely.
This extension of continuity led to a wholesale dumping of GSB files
by many customer personnel, who consolidated their reference material
around the newer publications. Consequently a full set of General
Service Bulletins is a very rare item nowadays. This is unfortunate
because the GSB system provides an extremely valuable guide to the
early years of diesel production at EMD, since many of the service
problems that led to redesign of systems in later products are clearly
identified and explained.
GENUINE PARTS POINTERS
Genuine Parts Pointers (GPP) was an EMD Parts Department publication
that was sent openly to customers and to EMD field sales and service
personnel. Its primary purpose was to notify the customer base of
the introduction of improved new parts, to advise them on the proper
procedures and methods for ordering and returning parts, and to
make general announcements about changes in parts and events like
plant closures for inventory that might have a direct effect on
Genuine Parts Pointers was introduced in 1946 and
went through four numbered volumes of publication before its discontinuance
in 1953. It was replaced by the later title EMD Pointers, a publication
that combined many of the elements of Genuine Parts Pointers, Field
Service News, and General Service Bulletins.
FIELD SERVICE NEWS
The Field Service News was originally adopted as an internal newsletter
published by the Service Department and circulated to all the field
sales and service personnel. It initially dealt almost exclusively
with internal business, but as it progressed the focus was increasingly
toward locomotive production and deliveries, and the activities
of the sales and service departments. When the EMD Pointers publication
was introduced in 1954 the field service news was discontinued,
and its more generalized announcements were folded into EMD Pointers
and distributed to the customers as well as EMD people, while the
more confidential communications were increasingly handled by direct
letters between La Grange and the people in the field.
Product Development was a fine internal newsletter
developed by the Sales Department and circulated to the field sales
and service staff. This publication featured articles about the
introduction of new products, and frequently included detailed artwork
and drawings supporting product improvements. Because of the very
small printing runs and primarily internal distribution, the Product
Development newsletter is very difficult to find in complete sets
THE SECOND PUBLICATIONS SERIES - 1954 TO RECENTLY
The EMD Maintenance Instructions actually predated the rest of
the 1954 publications, they were first issued in the late 1940s
as specific instructions for the rebuilding of items of equipment.
However starting in 1954 they absorbed all of the functions of the
General Service Bulletins, and incorporated additional topics dealing
with scheduled maintenance programs, qualification of parts, and
alignment of equipment. The EMD MI's are numbered from 100 through
9999, roughly grouped in number series by type of equipment and
function. Not all of the numbers in the series have been applied
to documents. There has also been some confusion generated by the
re-use of numbers for successive documents pertaining to different
equipment, especially in the 5000 series numbers.
MODIFICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND MODERNIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS
Modification Instructions and Modernization Recommendations (ModRecs)
were a separate group of Maintenance Instructions that were solely
concerned with the installation of upgrade kits to address service
problems and the adaptability of later design parts to older products
respectively. These documents were published in a Maintenance Instruction
format, but were kept in a separate number system. They were first
numbered in the 5000 series, but as the number of MI's increased
they were moved to the 9500 series. This resulted in them being
grouped together at the end of the EMD MI book, where they were
easy to access.
The EMD Pointers publication series was introduced in 1954 and
is significant in being the point at which the commercial Sales
and Service Department organization took over the direct communication
with the customers from the Parts Department. The new Pointers publication
absorbed many of the functions of the previous Genuine Parts Pointers,
the Field Service News, and some of the tasks previously covered
by issues of the General Service Bulletins.
It was published at irregular intervals from 1954 into the 1990s,
when its functions were partially taken over by individual Service
Advisory newsletters. During the very active production periods
of the 1960s and 1970s, it was not unusual for there to be as many
as 25 issues of EMD Pointers in a single year.
Unfortunately the Service Department chose to use several numbering
schemes on EMD Pointers over its four decades of printings. The
earliest issues have a Volume Number and Issue Number in addition
to the publication date. The Volume and Issue numbers were dropped
by about 1958 and replaced by only the date of issue. Then beginning
in the late 1970s EMD began printing separate issues for locomotive,
marine, and industrial customers and adopted a numbering scheme
such as 1L-78 (first issue, locomotive, in 1978). This was subsequently
replaced in the 1990s with an issue code such as MM000001 (someone
optimistically expected they would issue a million topics), while
the previous code system was also included in a small text block
in the publication. All these changes in issue designations make
the indexes rather confusing, and also make it more difficult to
describe the publication in any database indexing system.
Inside EMD was originally introduced as a Parts Department newsletter
to notify customers and field sales personnel of the availability
of new and improved parts, special deals on parts through sales
or inventory closeouts, or of matters of policy pertaining to the
sales and marketing of parts. The publication was introduced in
the middle of 1953 and issues appeared at irregular intervals for
several decades. The name "Inside EMD" was subsequently
adapted in the 1980s for the internal company newspaper when it
was considered that "The Streamliner," which had been
the company newspaper for many decades, was an out of date image.
"Inside EMD" is also the name adopted by the author of
this article for a two hour color slide tour program of the original
La Grange plant, which was introduced in 2003 after the plant had
been demolished. ( LINK
IRREGULARLY ISSUED OR UPDATED HANDOUT PUBLICATIONS
There were a number of irregularly issued handout publications
which were distributed to customers either by direct mailing or
the participation in Service Department Training Center class sessions.
These included booklets on cooling water treatment, fuel quality,
lube oil specifications, locomotive performance, and other topics.
Electro-Motive also distributed some corporate publications to
customers, training center students, and plant visitors. A typical
example would be the booklet "Diesel The Modern Power"
which was first printed in the 1930s and then was updated with new
product and engine artwork at irregular intervals for several decades.
THE KEY TO USING EMD PUBLICATION INDEXES
Throughout the seventy years that Electro-Motive has been producing
publications in support of their diesel locomotive products, they
have periodically issued indexes to the service publications. Most
of these were turned out on an annual basis, and in the first series
of publications between 1936 and 1953 the index covered nearly all
the topics that had been presented in the series. After the change
to the second series of publications beginning in 1954, the indexes
also provided fairly complete coverage for that series up until
the early 1970s. At that time it became evident that the index was
getting much too large and was maintaining listings of some items
that were obsolete, so the size was reduced by limiting the listings
to the topics that were considered to still be current and relevant
to the recent product line.
From a practical standpoint of doing research or trying to find
information on an obscure point of equipment maintenance, having
seventy years of indexes to look through is almost as long a process
as trying to find a particular item by going page to page in the
service publication files. I would like to offer the suggestion
that the indexes that are the most useful, and therefore the ones
to seek if they become available through a collectible paper dealer
on eBay, are the indexes issued in years where there was a major
change in the product line. These indexes list most of the service
material pertinent to the preceding series of locomotives or EMD
engines without being confused by material on the new product line.
The resulting yearly indexes to watch for are:
1946 (Introduction of the F3, introduction of 567B engines)
1949 (Introduction of the "7" series F, GP, SD)
1954 (Introduction of "9" series E, F. GP, and SD, and
1962 (Introduction of the GP30 locomotive and the 567D series engines)
1966 (Introduction of the 1966 product line, and 645 series engines)
1972 (Introduction of the Dash-2 locomotive product line)
THE NEEDLE IN THE HAYSTACK
Many people have commented to me over the years, that trying to
find information in EMD publications of the 1960s-1970s is like
trying to find a needle in a haystack. You search and search and
search, and when you finally locate the details they are only listed
on one page in one document, while they might pertain to topics
in other documents or a complete manual.
The folks that comment about this are absolutely correct, the information
usually is found in only one place, it was done that way intentionally.
The gentleman who managed Service Publications for many years had
as a principal philosophy the belief that if you only put the information
in one place you would only have to go to one place to correct it
when the Engineering Department changed it. He commented about that
many times in talks during lunch hours at the plant.
CURRENT EMD PUBLICATION DISTRIBUTION
Many major suppliers of diesel engines and related parts have gone
to a practice of posting their publicly distributed service bulletins
as PDF files on their websites for free downloads. The method of
distribution is now used by Detroit Diesel, Woodward Governor Company,
and other widely recognized suppliers of diesel power. However,
Electro-Motive is still distributing their service publications
by request from known owner/operators or through their authorized
distributors and service centers. They may have intellectual property
and copyright concerns that mandate this method of distribution,
but it makes the process of requesting and receiving information
extremely slow and costly for their distributors and customers.
It also does nothing to prevent service material from ending up
in the hands of competitors, most of them can obtain it by calling
around to friends on railroads.
EMD service materials and publications pertaining to their older
products, the ones most likely to be in railroad museums or preserved
ships, presently are only available where and when you can find
them. eBay is presently one of the best shopping areas, but items
there are heavily fought over and sometimes command very impressive
prices. This kind of material had very limited distribution, and
it will become increasingly rare as the years pass. Collections
of technical documents deserve to be preserved, indexed, and backed
up in electronic format wherever possible. The objective in writing
this article is to make the preservation community more aware of
the value of this kind of material so that in those rare instances
where it becomes available, it is recognized and properly preserved
for future reference.
Images courtesy of Electro-Motive Diesel
This article was originally posted to the Railway
Preservation News (RYPN)
--- January 1 2007 ---
It is reposted here by permission of RYPN and the
TO THE INSIDE EMD PROGRAM PAGE
TO THE EMD ENGINES PAGE
LINK TO THE TUG INFORMATION