Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby David Benton » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:26 am

It seems a bit strange. These are based on a design been in production from 1994 , with several hundreds in use in Europe. Export versions in use in China and Korea. I would have thought someone like Siemens would have ironed out problems ,like doors not closing properly, by now.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby 8th Notch » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:15 am

ApproachMedium wrote:These ACS-64 cabs are already falling apart. Doors that dont close right, windows that are being tinkered with, gaskets and seals missing. Body rot at the base of the door sills from sand building up. I say by 2020 you will see at least one unit driving around with holes in the sides of it like a 57 chevy that some old mans been driving around for the last 40 years. The dashboards are taking a beating, stickers are peeling off, throttles are getting wonky, the software OH THE SOFTWARE. We have a new problem the 616 seems to love to do. Put the throttle to idle and the speed predictor jumps up 130mph and then your speedo gains 5mph even though you are not actually going any faster. Great for giving overspeed penalties. All of them do this, but the 616 whatever is causing its problem is so strong its giving the 5mph speedo increase. Most other units that have the issue is only 1-2mph which causes no problems. .


So I guess I’m wasting my time writing those Speedo’s up now since all of them are doing it... I seem to notice that quite a few of them hang up in traction blocked or blending disabled mode now (especially on Metro North) with the older wire. I’m still starting to notice a once or twice a month issue where a compressor fails on one.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:25 am

8th Notch wrote:So I guess I’m wasting my time writing those Speedo’s up now since all of them are doing it... I seem to notice that quite a few of them hang up in traction blocked or blending disabled mode now (especially on Metro North) with the older wire. I’m still starting to notice a once or twice a month issue where a compressor fails on one.


I would still write them up for three reasons:
  • Depending on how competent upper management is, Amtrak can go to Siemens for the next order, say "Yeah, we noticed a few problems here, we're updating the specs on these engines."
  • The legal department can come back and say "We expected X after the warranty was up and Y happened, lets investigate."
  • When your idiotic boss says "Oh these are solid frames yada yada yada" to the higher-ups and you can come back and "leak" the reports to the higher-ups proving the boss is incompetent.

The latter happened constantly at Maryland MTA's light rail, where the boss overruled requests for parts in storerooms and it backed up repairs. I won't be surprised if that's happening at Amtrak. Cover your ass in paperwork!
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:43 am

Also reason four:
-Siemens stands a big chance of earning the Amtrak LD diesel contract, and info about faults, manufacturing errors, and Siemens’ response is important to that bid process.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby Nasadowsk » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:06 pm

Reason five - Siemens may honestly have no clue these things are even going on.

Seriously, I've had this issue in other industries before where we've put in a system, and there's some unforseen issue that pops up that testing never caught, and the plant 'lives with it'. Then one day someone mentions it to us in conversation. And we get them to duplicate it and then go fix it.

There may be some aspect of the environment, maintenance, or operation that's causing an issue. But if everyone keeps it a secret, then nothing ever gets fixed.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby JoeRailRoad » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:47 pm

ApproachMedium wrote:And you all forget the long long period of time that the DC motors were NOT allowed north of New Haven because the tap changers that werent used for the first 15-20 years of their lives were not exercised on a daily basis. That eventually changed when they did a fluid change out and upgraded some components.

These ACS-64 cabs are already falling apart. Doors that dont close right, windows that are being tinkered with, gaskets and seals missing. Body rot at the base of the door sills from sand building up. I say by 2020 you will see at least one unit driving around with holes in the sides of it like a 57 chevy that some old mans been driving around for the last 40 years. The dashboards are taking a beating, stickers are peeling off, throttles are getting wonky, the software OH THE SOFTWARE. We have a new problem the 616 seems to love to do. Put the throttle to idle and the speed predictor jumps up 130mph and then your speedo gains 5mph even though you are not actually going any faster. Great for giving overspeed penalties. All of them do this, but the 616 whatever is causing its problem is so strong its giving the 5mph speedo increase. Most other units that have the issue is only 1-2mph which causes no problems.

These things run, they do run well. its like having a BMW. Its Bavarian Maintaince Wh*&^%. You need to take care of it, if you dont its just going to not work and be very very expensive to fix.

We really should have gotten the Mercedes Benz. AdTranz did it right with the ALP46. Their cab doors still close solid like they did 20 years ago, like a Mercedes should.


Also as far as the FRA and NTSB are concerned if it’s not written up it never happened.

As STrRedWolf posted CYA.

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby ApproachMedium » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:59 pm

Siemens knows whats going on. Simple things like, glue the weather strip on the doors so that when people use the door edges instead of the handles they dont get pulled off would be a fantastic idea. I think the glue was omitted or cheaper seals used because you know, america lowest bidder!

I keep writing everything up. People want to complain about people writing stuff up because then motors have to get shopped but then will be the first to also complain they are broken and nobody fixes anything.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:22 am

Mr. Weaver or others: were any of you here for the first days of the AEM-7? I’m curious whether they had the same teething troubles in their first few years - I know it isn’t uncommon for new models. (I’m deliberately ignoring the AX and HHP.)
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:22 pm

ApproachMedium wrote:These things run, they do run well. its like having a BMW. Its Bavarian Maintaince Wh*&^%. You need to take care of it, if you dont its just going to not work and be very very expensive to fix.

We really should have gotten the Mercedes Benz. AdTranz did it right with the ALP46. Their cab doors still close solid like they did 20 years ago, like a Mercedes should.


At least Amtrak still has 15 late model Peugeots sitting idle in Wilmington. :)
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby RRspatch » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:23 am

mtuandrew wrote:Mr. Weaver or others: were any of you here for the first days of the AEM-7? I’m curious whether they had the same teething troubles in their first few years - I know it isn’t uncommon for new models. (I’m deliberately ignoring the AX and HHP.)


The AEM7's entered service in 1980 which was my third year at Amtrak. The biggest problem I remember them having was they would over heat during the summer causing the main circuit breaker to trip. Apparently it never got that hot in Sweden. I do believe they added air conditioning units to the roof at each end which helped cool the electronics.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby Tadman » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:00 pm

8th Notch wrote:
ThirdRail7 wrote:
gokeefe wrote:So it's been a few years and a few seasons of extreme weather have come and gone ... How are the new engines holding up?


Quite poorly....but that isn't much of a surprise. The only reason most people don't notice is they have so many of them and they look alike. I don't see them lasting 25 years. The only reason they may last 20 years is Siemens has a 15 year guarantee for parts.


I’m starting to slowly notice the failures increasing as well but I won’t completely point the finger in Siemens’s direction.... Funny how I overheard a mechanical guy saying they are starting to break now that the warranty is up soon. Amazes me how 67 has been sent out with a diesel a few times this past month due to no spare electrics in Bos


Don't joke around. This is how things are done these days. I've spent most of my life in the capital equipment business. Some items, like frames, are designed well past the warranty life. Some things certainly aren't. Lots of smaller componentry is designed to last a bit longer than the warranty period.

Consider that there is a big difference between "design life" and "warranty period". The frame and trucks have to last to the design life. Many things will not last the design life, because it's not seen as a failure of the entire equipment.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby ApproachMedium » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:22 pm

RRspatch wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Mr. Weaver or others: were any of you here for the first days of the AEM-7? I’m curious whether they had the same teething troubles in their first few years - I know it isn’t uncommon for new models. (I’m deliberately ignoring the AX and HHP.)


The AEM7's entered service in 1980 which was my third year at Amtrak. The biggest problem I remember them having was they would over heat during the summer causing the main circuit breaker to trip. Apparently it never got that hot in Sweden. I do believe they added air conditioning units to the roof at each end which helped cool the electronics.


Those ACs were for the engineer, and let me tell you they dont do jack diddly. When the engine is sitting parked over night it keeps the cab cool but get the sun in the mix and its over. Modifications were made to the engines cooling system to pull in more air, relocated air filters as well as additional intakes on the mid section of the roof. They also locked the blower system into Full speed on the APL any time the HEP was online. The ALP44 units were not set up this way, they came factory with much larger intake systems and did not have the traction motor overheating problems as often as the AEMs. They were set up to go APL low speed after sitting for 5 minutes and would kick back up to high speed once the loco started to roll.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby David Benton » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:48 am

Tadman wrote:
8th Notch wrote:
ThirdRail7 wrote:
gokeefe wrote:So it's been a few years and a few seasons of extreme weather have come and gone ... How are the new engines holding up?


Quite poorly....but that isn't much of a surprise. The only reason most people don't notice is they have so many of them and they look alike. I don't see them lasting 25 years. The only reason they may last 20 years is Siemens has a 15 year guarantee for parts.


I’m starting to slowly notice the failures increasing as well but I won’t completely point the finger in Siemens’s direction.... Funny how I overheard a mechanical guy saying they are starting to break now that the warranty is up soon. Amazes me how 67 has been sent out with a diesel a few times this past month due to no spare electrics in Bos


Don't joke around. This is how things are done these days. I've spent most of my life in the capital equipment business. Some items, like frames, are designed well past the warranty life. Some things certainly aren't. Lots of smaller componentry is designed to last a bit longer than the warranty period.

Consider that there is a big difference between "design life" and "warranty period". The frame and trucks have to last to the design life. Many things will not last the design life, because it's not seen as a failure of the entire equipment.

We strike this a lot with RV appliances, and yes, on equipment from Europe.( and in brand names that people have paid a considerable premuim for ). Doors that don't close or seal properly, components that have minor alignment problems , that show up if the alignment is anything other than perfect. And the Chinese haven't mastered "rubber" products yet. Anything like hoses, seals, rubber strips etc , is usually inferior. Its obviously harder to copy a chemical product than a metal or plastic component. A marine mechanic I know routinely replaces all fuel lines on anything Chinese that comes in , wether they need it or not. Just not worth the risk . But there seems to be something wrong with the modern design practice that is missing these little problems. Not showing up in computer simulations or test practises I don't know . I think one problem is that modern equipment is superseded within months , not years. By the time a problem shows up , they are producing a new model anyway.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:07 pm

So is it a question of deferred or minimal maintenance? Schedule tempo? Poor design/build? A combination.

Curious as to if anyone has MDBF data... considering they run up and down the corridor hundreds of miles each way, who knows how many times. Even if it's "just" once a day, imagine doing that with the family minivan.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Postby ApproachMedium » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:49 am

ACS 64s are under a "continuous maintenance" program. They have been from the day they hit the property. Every weekend a bunch of them are taken out of service for CMs and they undergo whatever it is they are scheduled for that weekend. The CMs must be completed, and at the start of this there was plenty of times where parts were not supplied. So like gaskets for the air compressors cannot be reused, but it must be taken apart for the CM inspections. Well it goes back together with the old gaskets and then they leak oil or air or whatever and fail.

The problems with the cab interiors, windows, seats etc is nothing to do with how its maintained its all about that its cheap crap and its NOT holding up.
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