Power Shortage?

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

Power Shortage?

Postby Tadman » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:22 pm

Is there a power shortage? I notice quite a few Midwest corridor trains have not been running with power on either end, as was the practice for the last decade or so. I'm guessing a few have been sent out west to cover for the P59 fleet, which appears (no hard evidence here, just personal observation) to be out of service more than usual.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8428
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:43 pm

Just the entire diesel fleet is streached real thin right now,while the IL Chargers have been allowed to go in service,
the WSDOT/ORDOT chargers still sit on the sidelines,for no known reason.
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 4574
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby east point » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:37 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Just the entire diesel fleet is streached real thin right now,while the IL Chargers have been allowed to go in service,
the WSDOT/ORDOT chargers still sit on the sidelines,for no known reason.


Wonder if it is due to installing signaling equipment specifically PTC ?
east point
 
Posts: 694
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:10 pm

Tadman wrote:Is there a power shortage? I notice quite a few Midwest corridor trains have not been running with power on either end, as was the practice for the last decade or so. I'm guessing a few have been sent out west to cover for the P59 fleet, which appears (no hard evidence here, just personal observation) to be out of service more than usual.


Short answer for diesel-electric ... "Yes".
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9808
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Tadman » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:35 am

I'm on 350(5) to Detroit today, and it appears power is still short as the Detroit trains are still running with one locomotive. Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like it takes the trains a lot longer to get from 80 to 110 when they're not packing 8,400 horsepower, but I've heard that sometimes they isolate one engine for fuel reasons.

Also, given the shortage, would they ever consider leasing some freight power to lead the LD trains that don't need cab signore nor top 79mph? I thought there was a lot of stored freight power out there these days. Obviously you'd need one gennie to trail in order to provide HEP, but a wide cab freighter could lead on the CZ, Starlight, Sunset, and Builder. They could probably free up 20-ish engines that way.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8428
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby gokeefe » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:38 am

Gear ratios probably would not be very good for acceleration. If you are still using a P42 for head end power you aren't solving the problem ... the fleet really does seem to be that tight. Chargers coming online soon will probably a lot of this ...
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9808
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:12 am

I'm pretty sure from the schedule that the initial wave of diesel loco PTC installs were being rushed for Fall so the power shortages stayed self-contained to the post-Labor Day/pre-Thanksgiving period, and that they're due to dial back the pace of installs for the Holidays and winter months so P42 availability quickly rebounds. They won't need to do any scrambling if the most acute portion of the drought is entering its last 2-3 weeks.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7184
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Tadman » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:01 pm

gokeefe wrote:Gear ratios probably would not be very good for acceleration. If you are still using a P42 for head end power you aren't solving the problem ... the fleet really does seem to be that tight. Chargers coming online soon will probably a lot of this ...


Isn't this backwards? Freight power is geared for lower top speeds and better acceleration.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8428
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Tadman » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:09 pm

So an interesting update on my acceleration issue, having 1 versus 2 engines: I am almost positive I just heard the engineer tell the conductor over the radio that she's taking forever to get up to speed. Perhaps today's engine is a dog.

That said, we've been ahead of schedule all day, and it feels good. It's time for a Lafayette coney when I get in.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8428
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Amtrak706 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:13 pm

Tadman wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Gear ratios probably would not be very good for acceleration. If you are still using a P42 for head end power you aren't solving the problem ... the fleet really does seem to be that tight. Chargers coming online soon will probably a lot of this ...


Isn't this backwards? Freight power is geared for lower top speeds and better acceleration.


They are geared for lower top speeds, not higher acceleration. Acceleration drops off towards the upper ranges of a unit’s gearing, so going from 55 to 70 (or 75 depending on the freight engine’s MAS) is much harder than it is for a P42. Likewise, going from 80 all the way up to 110 can take a while with only one P42, which is why your engineer made that comment.
Amtrak706
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:57 pm

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby bratkinson » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Considering the added costs of having a second locomotive on a train, it's easy understand why it's a cost driven decision. Yes, the prospect of engine failure halting the train and requiring a rescue is increased. But even having to pay <whatever> RR to rent a locomotive and call a crew or two, it's still less costly than the fuel, wear & tear, and any other use-related expenses for a 2nd locomotive 365 days/year that only offers faster acceleration and failure protection. Multiple LD trains run with a single locomotive for that reason.
bratkinson
 
Posts: 364
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:38 pm
Location: QB 100

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:03 am

Tadman wrote:I'm on 350(5) to Detroit today, and it appears power is still short as the Detroit trains are still running with one locomotive. Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like it takes the trains a lot longer to get from 80 to 110 when they're not packing 8,400 horsepower, but I've heard that sometimes they isolate one engine for fuel reasons.

Also, given the shortage, would they ever consider leasing some freight power to lead the LD trains that don't need cab signore nor top 79mph? I thought there was a lot of stored freight power out there these days. Obviously you'd need one gennie to trail in order to provide HEP, but a wide cab freighter could lead on the CZ, Starlight, Sunset, and Builder. They could probably free up 20-ish engines that way.

I’d love to see some B40-8s or GP60s in Amtrak consists, but something tells me that things aren’t dire enough to rent-a-wreck. If Amtrak were that hard-up, would they look to Class I and lessor fleets (like Oakley) or to a commuter line like Metra?
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4078
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:40 am

The last known' "rentals" were the GP-40's that were passenger geared and had HEP pass thru cabling installed,untill all the P32BWH's
and P-40's were on line.
Auto Train could use a few ES44c4's with passenger gearing on their long consists,and as lead units on the western LD's
which would allow some long overdue overhauls on the P-42's.
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 4574
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Power Shortage?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:52 am

mtuandrew wrote:
Tadman wrote:I'm on 350(5) to Detroit today, and it appears power is still short as the Detroit trains are still running with one locomotive. Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like it takes the trains a lot longer to get from 80 to 110 when they're not packing 8,400 horsepower, but I've heard that sometimes they isolate one engine for fuel reasons.

Also, given the shortage, would they ever consider leasing some freight power to lead the LD trains that don't need cab signore nor top 79mph? I thought there was a lot of stored freight power out there these days. Obviously you'd need one gennie to trail in order to provide HEP, but a wide cab freighter could lead on the CZ, Starlight, Sunset, and Builder. They could probably free up 20-ish engines that way.

I’d love to see some B40-8s or GP60s in Amtrak consists, but something tells me that things aren’t dire enough to rent-a-wreck. If Amtrak were that hard-up, would they look to Class I and lessor fleets (like Oakley) or to a commuter line like Metra?


This is literally an induced pinch point while they scramble PTC installs before the Holidays. They knew exactly what their power shortage would be from Sept.-Nov. when they scheduled that many P42's for downtime, and were obviously confident of their ability to cope in-house. If for whatever reason they bit off more than they could chew, they're not going to turn to rentals...they'll simply back off on the number of P42's in the installation queue at any given moment and slow the pace of the program. Throttling the PTC program pace on-the-fly will actually produce the physical next-day in-service numbers faster than doing lease paperwork, anyway. Those OOS units aren't broken, and leasers aren't totally instantaneous acquisitions when searching and legal/transactional bureaucracy are factored (i.e. multiple-week wait, not multiple days).

Amtrak is taking a knee now because the weather's still warm and the schedules are in the midst of the longest gap between major travel holidays where ridership stays at a consistent baseline. Take the hit Sept.-Nov. so they don't have to take the hit Thanksgiving-New Year's when HEP demands swell from the holiday ridership surge, winter temps hit the northern interior of the country, and most Midwest/mountain-crossing LD's are experiencing maximum regional temperature contrasts on their runs. And take the hit now before traction demands swell from snow/ice on some of the interior LD's, lengthening consists from the holiday surge, and peak wet leaf season descends into the Mid-Atlantic and points South.

Right now all we're seeing is a scarcity of normally 2-loco trains, not outright schedule cancellations. It's only a problem if P42 availability hasn't improved 3 weeks from now when the demands of late-Fall surge season start to exert themselves in earnest, and we start seeing cancellations. But unless/until that starts happening, we don't have any evidence that they've somehow miscalculated on their ability to handle these in-house PTC installs or that there's been some unforeseen technical delay hitting the program. Even so, the day-to-day solution is to just manage the PTC rotations more conservatively so availability is higher...because these units aren't broken.


If this were a power shortage projected to last into next Spring, past this intentionally-timed PTC program and revenue acceptance of the 63 on-order Chargers that are contractually due from the factory by end of January...then the solution also isn't going to be leasers. It'll be surging repairs of the active-roster dead line at Beech Grove that they've semi-intentionally allowed to swell in order to fit into the PTC installation queue. But there'd have to be something catastrophically technically wrong with the balance of the Charger deliveries (beyond simply the sluggish pace of route qualifications and PTC testing we're seeing now) to put them in that kind of bind 6 months from now when there's going to be a net gain of >5 dozen new units. Don't forget; WSDOT and Caltrans have cut way back on maintenance for their F59PHI's in anticipation of their Charger-induced retirement, and long ago started yanking individual EMD's from service as they crapped out. If that's what ends up inducing a P42 shortage in spite of the Chargers, the states will just be told to pay up to to get their OOS F59's shopped and stop bogarting too many P42's from the national pool while they're taking their sweet precious time getting the Chargers route-qualified.

Still no conceivable scenario in any timetable out to mid-2018 where they'd be forced to consider lease power. Not when there's too many in-house adjustments to maint cycles that'll produce the numbers faster.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7184
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge


Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests