Rethinking HEP and LD power

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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby mdvle » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:06 pm

In your example of the Caledonian Sleeper, a couple of points that influence things.

1) The class 92 was designed as a mixed unit engine, and thus has the UK equivalent of HEP (albeit in an electric loco) built in so that it can supply the Mk5 sleeper cars with electrical power.

2) it is a somewhat unique franchise, in that it only operates 4 trains daily (2 northbound/2 southbound - though they do split on the Scotland end) and thus in-house maintenance for such a small service likely doesn't make sense, particularly if the new Mk5 sleeper trains come with a maintenance contract as so much recent purchases tend to.

The other UK sleeper service, the Night Riviera (operated by GWR) runs its own fleet of diesels but in that case GWR is already
maintaining HSTs and DMUs so the additional burden of 3 diesels is minimal.

Leasing diesels from the freight operators sounds interesting, perhaps others can comment on the suitability of those freight units in terms of maximum speed and acceleration for passenger service. I would think though the biggest danger from an Amtrak perspective would be the handing over of control to the freight operations - what happens in say 4 years if no freight units are "available" for lease, or only for some outrageous amount of money? Is Amtrak then forced to shut down due to a lack of motive power? At least with the current situation, while perhaps less than ideal, at the end of the day the politicians need to take the heat if they refuse capital funding that results in a loss of service...

As for dedicated HEP units, the operational flexibility you appear to get would have to offset the additional costs (you now have another piece of rolling stock to purchase, maintain, and have spares of). Makes sense for an occasional use item like an executive train, don't know if it makes sense in a full time operation like Amtrak.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:32 am

The U-34 CH was the first crankshaft powered HEP for NJDOT?NJT,the PRR "tubular train" was the first power car equipped train with an early
form of HEP. As diesels took over on the class 1 RR's,the steam generator car became the necessary evil on some of LD trains due to the
limited capy of the generators so add more stem generators was the easy fix in certain weather related extremes.
All of the car length domes and ATSF's EL-Cap cars wound up with onboard early style gen-sets to handle the HVAC needs of those cars.
So if the gen-set crapped out the car was pulled ,then shopped, the trick of train lining the batteries from the cars next to the effected car was useless!
Amtrak started with power cars to allow GG-1's to pull Amfleet I's,then started using the Crankshaft HEP on the F-40ph's and were tagged
"Screamers" by some people,believe GE on their P-30ch used a separate Gen-set HEP instead of following/upgrading the U-34ch design
Chankshaft HEP. As the AEM-7's took over on the NEC,used an inverter to supply the HEP,and ditched the power car
GE used an inverter on the P32DM/P40/P42 designs for HEP as does the SC-44 Chargers.
Most commuter fleets use the separate Gen-set as away to save on prime mover wear and tear,and are a "pallet" mounted item that can be swapped
at the shop as needed for a fresh /overhauled unit overnight.
Most of the remaining F40's,the F59 series, and most MPI M-36's are separate HEP Genn-sets built by Cat,Detriot Diesel.and Cummings.

In the UK,HEP is referred to as"Electric Train Heat". :wink:
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby dowlingm » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:24 am

Irish Rail operates CAF Mark 4 trainsets with an APCU providing HEP and an EMD Class 201 at the far end. Only some 201s have the push pull gear to run these and the Enterprise trainsets to Northern Ireland, the other are stored or operate freight.

The 201s also have HEP capability off the EMD710 and provided it to the Enterprise consists which only has NPCUs, but it caused so many locomotive failures that they eventually gave up and refitted some retired Mark 3 HEP coaches to operate in push pull trainsets.

Here in Ontario, ONTC uses HEP vans behind GP40s on the Cochrane-Moosonee run (Polar Bear), and used to on Cochrane-Toronto (Northlander) before it was ended.

Re: GO Transit/MPI: the last order of Tier 4/QSK60x2 AC MP40s is approaching completion. If electrification proceeds, then some (the Tier 3 710/DC ones perhaps?) will likely be disposed. The timeline for electrification is moving to the right though.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby Tadman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:59 pm

And the big news today... Metra is buying 15 rebuilt MAC’s with HEP added. It’s not quite what I suggested, but it is thinking out of the box. Or just copying a good idea from the 60’s (the SDP45).


https://metrarail.com/about-metra/newsr ... e-purchase
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:16 pm

Tadman wrote:And the big news today... Metra is buying 15 rebuilt MAC’s with HEP added. It’s not quite what I suggested, but it is thinking out of the box. Or just copying a good idea from the 60’s (the SDP45).


https://metrarail.com/about-metra/newsr ... e-purchase

Well. That is certainly a thing I didn’t expect.

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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby wigwagfan » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:55 pm

ryanov wrote:I don't think HEP would stay on during the engine changes. Why would they leave a diesel generator on the train in electric territory?


Think the Empire Builder at Spokane. I've sat through the 90 to 120 minutes where the train is disconnected from the locomotive without connecting the train to the platform house power in the middle of winter. It gets very cold, very quickly.

Also the old Desert Wind/Pioneer/Cal Zephyr at Salt Lake City and later Denver.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby wigwagfan » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:58 pm

mtuandrew wrote:True, I have looked longingly at the ex-ATSF GP60s and B40-8Ws for instance...


I have wondered the same; I know several shortlines that have picked up B40-8s on the dirt cheap and are running them in slow speed service. UP runs their GP60s like a SW-1500. And the ex-LMX B39s are rusting to the rails, if they haven't already been scrapped. Looks like a perfect base to rebuild as a next generation Amtrak/passenger locomotive.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby eolesen » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:08 pm

I *did* mention SD70's last week as an option.... glad to see someone at Metra finally listened to me. ;)
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby Tadman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:31 pm

wigwagfan wrote:
ryanov wrote:I don't think HEP would stay on during the engine changes. Why would they leave a diesel generator on the train in electric territory?


Think the Empire Builder at Spokane. I've sat through the 90 to 120 minutes where the train is disconnected from the locomotive without connecting the train to the platform house power in the middle of winter. It gets very cold, very quickly.

Also the old Desert Wind/Pioneer/Cal Zephyr at Salt Lake City and later Denver.


Good to see you back!

Does the Builder split like the Lakeshore, IE split in two? Or is it flat switched ? Two hours is a long time to add/drop.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:56 pm

wigwagfan wrote:I have wondered the same; I know several shortlines that have picked up B40-8s on the dirt cheap and are running them in slow speed service. UP runs their GP60s like a SW-1500. And the ex-LMX B39s are rusting to the rails, if they haven't already been scrapped. Looks like a perfect base to rebuild as a next generation Amtrak/passenger locomotive.

More “last generation” than “next generation”, but your point is valid :-D

The one thing I’d forgotten about is the AC motors, and that looks like the biggest draw for Metra over a similar GP60 or B40-8/9. The MAC’s steerable axles would help too - they may actually have lower wear than a two-axle Blomberg, or at least very comparable. Definitely better on the rails and wheels than the F40C.

A gold star to anyone who pulls the SD90MACs off the dead line to get 16-1010s and HEP :P
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby gokeefe » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:04 pm

There are two major problems that I can see which would explain in large part why this hasn't been done yet ...

First, I believe that in the U.S. generator cars may have similar inspection requirements as a locomotive, in which case some of Amtrak's savings might be nullified.

Second, as I understand it traction motors on freight engines are typically geared for better performance at slow speeds. This type of gearing could probably be changed but this would be an additional expense.

I'm think it's reasonable enough to set aside 125 MPH operational capability for the sake of the discussion. We could assume that Amtrak would have little need for diesel power operating on the NEC.

We could also assume that administrative difficulties would be minimized. Engine changes only when arriving or departing electrified territory etc. Let's even throw in "benefit of the doubt" on PTC system compatibilities.

All of the above being the case I think we can still see why Amtrak has stayed with the locomotive integrated HEP power model since the mid 1970s. Things have changed enough to the point where passenger and freight motive power fleets are fundamentally incompatible within the U.S. regulatory framework.

Amtrak has done what almost no one else thought possible. It has unified the national Intercity passenger rail system across every functional category. That is it's finest achievement and also it's greatest strength.
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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:51 am

again lets all read the PRII requirements, which calls for off the shelf locomotives capable of 125 mph.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:26 am

DutchRailnut wrote:again lets all read the PRII requirements, which calls for off the shelf locomotives capable of 125 mph.


Thanks for playing but it's not in the PRIIA requirements: "The 125 MPH top speed for PRIIA vehicles is enshrined neither in the PRIIA legislation nor in any FRA regulation; it is a policy decision developed by the NGEC and the FRA"

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents ... ard-r1.pdf

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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:36 am

document you show is for dual modes only ( due to weight constraints they can be 110 mph max .
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Rethinking HEP and LD power

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:46 am

gokeefe wrote: First, I believe that in the U.S. generator cars may have similar inspection requirements as a locomotive


Has to have either "propelling motors" (IE traction motors) or a control stand per FRA regs. Just an HEP/ETH gen doesn't count.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.5

gokeefe wrote:Second, as I understand it traction motors on freight engines are typically geared for better performance at slow speeds.


It's a bit simpler than that - you either get motors/gearing designed for acceleration or top speed. Most freights take acceleration gearing, most passengers take top speed gearing. Given that we're talking stop-start commuter service, this assumes we want something other than gearing for acceleration, but re-gearing is easy and traction motors are changed out all the time, 15 sets of used TM's from an SD70 will sell quickly.

gokeefe wrote:Things have changed enough to the point where passenger and freight motive power fleets are fundamentally incompatible within the U.S. regulatory framework.


From what I understand, the FRA and NGEC have put together policy, not regulation, that promotes an incompatibility. There are still plenty of freight and freight-based engines running passenger trains. Keep in mind the F40, F59, and MP36 are all GP40 and GP60 trucks and frames with fancy sheet metal. That means virtually every passenger carrier in North America runs a freight-based engine. In fact, the only passenger specific diesels are the Genesis, SC44, HSP, F125, PL42, and DE/DM. Of those, three have been less than successful.
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