Prototype Engine Wins Historical Designation

A prototype diesel engine has been declared an Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ National History & Heritage Committee.

The engine is now in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society in North East, Pennsylvania.

The museum specializes in GE locomotives due in part to its proximity to the GE Erie locomotive assembly plant, which is now owned and operated by Wabtec Corporation.

The 1,200-hp Cooper-Bessemer FVAL8T was used in GE test locomotives, including A-B-B-A test locomotive No. 750 that operated on the Erie Railroad from 1954 to 1957.

One A and B unit had the FVAL8T, while the other two units had 1,600-hp FVAL12T engines.

The FVAL8T was later used to run an air compressor for a factory in Mount Vernon, Ohio, for several decades.

The Lake Shore museum acquired the engine from the Ohio factory.

The FVA8T demonstrated that it was suitable for use in GE locomotive. It would evolve into the

GE 7FDL engine, which was introduced with its U25B locomotive line.

The prototype FVAL8T is the only survivor of four such engines build by Cooper-Bessemer.

The North East Museum currently has it stored but hopes to put it on public view next year.

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