EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once again

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EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once again

Postby MEC407 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:55 am

I was excited until I saw the "CAT Diesel Power" sticker next to the fireman's door...

Railway Gazette wrote:Electro-Motive Diesel announced the development of a 200 km/h ‘next generation’ diesel passenger locomotive for the North American market at APTA Expo 2011 in New Orleans on October 3. The design is being produced on a speculative basis, and a prototype is to be rolled out during 2014.
...
The engine has not yet been finalised, but will be from the Caterpillar range; it will be compliant with the EPA Tier 4 emissions regulations which come into effect for new locomotives from 2015.


Read more at: http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/news/s ... -loco.html
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby The EGE » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:10 am

Very interesting. Might be a good hauler for 90 and 110 mph corridors where there's not enough to justify electrification.
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby MEC407 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:39 am

Perhaps, but the CAT engine is going to be a turn-off for a lot of commuter rail operators who traditionally have been unwilling to consider anything that isn't an EMD 645. Some of these operators are just NOW beginning to switch to the 710. That shows how uneasy they are about change.
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby RickRackstop » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:30 pm

CAT/ Progress Rail is paying for all this of course, but the thought has occurred to be that any AC transmission system EMD would develop for this could also be used on CAT mining trucks. The one item EMD doesn't have is a alternator for use at 1800 rpm. Last year CAT bought up Bucyrus Erie for a lot more than they paid for EMD and eliminated all their domestic competitors, but Liebherr does have AC transmission for their trucks made by ..ta dah...GE.
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby trainmaster611 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:02 pm

MEC407 wrote:Perhaps, but the CAT engine is going to be a turn-off for a lot of commuter rail operators who traditionally have been unwilling to consider anything that isn't an EMD 645. Some of these operators are just NOW beginning to switch to the 710. That shows how uneasy they are about change.


I agree but my concern was moreso with the actual performance of the engine than what rail operators might think of it. EMD obviously has a good track record with diesel engines so I'm surprised CAT decided to ditch the EMD designs to go with one of their own designs. That's going to be a radical change and one that could make or break whether this locomotive is successful. I was told in another thread the engine would be the C175. Does anyone know whether this has had any rail applications so far?

Edit:

It looks like they are used in Norfolk Southern's PR43Cs 4000-4005 (rebuilds from SD50s). Anyone know how they are performing?

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=59401
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby Jtgshu » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 am

I can see a few problems with this being CAT powered......

One is will the railroad be able to maintain the units, or would CAT have to come out (and charge the RR) every time work needs to be done on the prime mover? This wouldn't really be an issue with a start up that has no mechanical forces of their own, but there might be some issues with an established RR already with their own mechanical forces on staff - what can they do to maintain the loco, and the RR is going to be paying them to be there, to maintain other locos in the fleet, but then going to have to pay CAT as well to come out? I have heard grumblings about this issue already by mechanical guys on NJT with the new ALP45 dual modes, powered by 2 CAT diesels.

As far as I can tell, (please correct me if anyone knows otherwise) the NJT (and AMT) ALP45 loco will be the largest order to date of locomotives with CAT diesels (in the US at least). it will be interesting to follow how well they perform, how they last and how they are maintained, meaning how quick CAT can service them and get them back in service. Also, with how loud they are. Remember, most commuter/passenger operations are NOT out in the middle of no where, but in towns and adjacent to homes. The few vids that I have seen of the ALP45 in diesel mode and also experience running the MP20-3, an MPI rebuild CAT powered NJT switcher (I think thats the 3516?) - which is a total piece of junk, both the engine and the locomotive - is that they are FREAKIN LOUD. The MP20 under a full load, you literally cannot hear yourself think - it sounds cool, like an ALCO on crack, but also sounds like a swarm of about 1000 vacuum cleaners. A Geep in notch 8 is much quieter, both track side and in the cab.

I think that the loco will end up being offered with the choice of a CAT or with a 710 of whatever size, because I think there might be interest, but the CAT motor is going to be a potential negative for a few railroads, and they are going to want a 710 put in.

I do find it interesting that they are using the EMD branding on the loco, but powering it with CAT. I would think that they would try to use the Progress Rail nameplate and not mess with the EMD brand, which really is the prime mover, and currently, the 710.

All IMO of course :)
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby MEC407 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:49 am

I think it'd probably be easier to get some of these commuter railroads to switch to GE than getting them to switch to CAT. The GEVO engine has a very good track record at this point and has proven itself to be a solid performer, even in the harshest types of railroad service.

Now, if CAT/Progress/EMD/whoever-they-are offered this locomotive with a 710 under the hood, frankly they'd probably sell like hotcakes, especially if the price was comparable to the MPI MPxpress series. I mean, it's kind of pathetic that if a railroad wants an EMD engine, they have to get it from MPI...
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:31 pm

Could this be about weight? The locomotive is supposed to be a high-speed passenger unit, and sensible people don't want them to weigh very much. (Hammer blow to infrastructure when the train goes over a small irregularity in the track is much greater at higher speeds, so to prevent damage to track you want a high-speed locomotive to be lighter than a drag engine... or at least you would if you were seriously thinking about system costs of high-speed rail, in the way British Rail in the 1970s was even if nobody in the U.S. takes high-speed rail seriously enough to think about it!) The 710 and the GEVO are both massive "medium speed" engines: perhaps the Cat engine offers similar powerr for lower weight?
--
Wild dream(*): my favorite locomotive builder decides there is a bright future for high (well, relatively high) speed passenger trains on non-electrified trackage in the U.S. and comes up with a competing design of passenger locomotive. To cut the weight, they don't use the GEVO engine but instead the Gensbacher "Powerhaul" engine they have used on locomotives for use on a system with much lighter rail than the U.S., hauling freight at what would be considered passenger speeds here.
(*) Meaning: this is a fantasy on my part: I'd love to see it happen, but I don't want to start a rumor!
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby chucksc » Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:02 am

The current Trains locomotive edition has a section about the ALP45 - in the article they claim that the CAT "medium speed" diesels (1800 rpm) are significantly lighter than the equivelent power in "low speed" diesels (i.e. EMD 710 or GE GEVO) .... IIRC the article claims about a 20KLB saving by using the CATs...

P.S. the whole thing supposedly weighs in at 284k lbs against a max weight spec of 288k lbs.....
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby Jtgshu » Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:36 am

chucksc wrote:The current Trains locomotive edition has a section about the ALP45 - in the article they claim that the CAT "medium speed" diesels (1800 rpm) are significantly lighter than the equivelent power in "low speed" diesels (i.e. EMD 710 or GE GEVO) .... IIRC the article claims about a 20KLB saving by using the CATs...

P.S. the whole thing supposedly weighs in at 284k lbs against a max weight spec of 288k lbs.....


As far as I know, the whole weight thing is an issue because of Amtrak. Obviously, NJT needs to run over Amtrak to get into NYP, and that is where they ultimately want these locos to go to. However, Amtrak has apparently placed a limit on how much the loco can weigh and still be a 4 axle loco. the only reasoning I can tell for this is because they don't want real heavy locos going through the tunnels, or a few bridges inbetween Newark, NJ and NYP, but the E60s and GG1s (although they were 6 axle and 10 axles? on the GG1?, I don't know the weight on the axles off hand, same with the GG1) But keep in mind, NJT has Geeps going 100mph which are heavier than their freight cousins because of the HEP motor on the back. Although they also tend to have smaller fuel tanks, so that needs to be taken into consideration as well. Also, NJT refused to make the ALP45 a 6 axle loco, as they wanted common parts/trucks with the ALP46 fleet. Im sure a whole other can of worms would have been opened if they went with a modern steerable 3 axle truck, as some decision making folks are probably still stuck on the 3 axles truck = U34 and E60 trucks = bad for track and rail.....

However, I don't see why elsewhere weight would be a particular issue, especially with locos being built today mainly by MPI which use EMD powerplants, so in THEORY, the weight should all be relatively close with an EMD powered diesel loco, by whichever builder, of course, slightly more if a V16, less if a V12, even less if a V8. I also dont' know of too many places where speeds are going to be above 100, maybe 110mph, but that shouldn't be much of an issue either with the weight of a 4 axle loco, as the P42s can do it......
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:02 pm

Not Amtrak ruling, the AAR standard for American railroads is limiting axle load per axle to 72.250 Lbs or 32.77 ton Metric (t)
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:57 am

Dutch tells us that it's an AAR requirement: axle loadings not to exceed 72,500 pounds. (So: 435,000 pounds for a six-axle locomotive, which is about the weight of a CSX "heavy" AC44/ES44/SD70MAC.) The AAR sets technical standards for the U.S. network: the railroads that interchange freight with each other. This is a standard, then, adopted primarily with freight (of which an awful lot turns out to be coal!) rather than high-speed passenger service in mind: a standard for a 50 mph railroad, not for a 120 mph railroad.

A lot of the stress imposed on the infrastructure comes from momentary impact loads: train hits a low rail joint and BANG the force exerted on the track immediately past the joint is much greater than that of the static load on the axle. (You can HEAR it when a train goes over a rail joint: where do you think the endrgy that produces the noise comes from?) And this impact increases more than linearly with speed. (It goes up with the square of the speed, I think: somebody correct me if I've misremembered.) So you really, really want a high-speed train to have lower axle loadings than the engines and loaded hopper cars of a drag freight!
---
Prior experience: The E60 and the GG-1 (both built for the Pennsylvania's high-speed electrified district (and both designed by a locomotive builder older than EMD (Grin!))) have been mentioned. Differentt modifications of the E60 design varied in weight, but Wikipedia gives 387,000 pounds: probably a reasonable estimate. That's 64,500 pounds per axle, and Amtrak decided to restrict their speed: the E60 was not supposed to be operated at the 120mph that the "Mighty Mouse"/"Swedish Meatball" AEM-7 was for. As for the GG-1, again there are slight variations, but the weight on drivers tended to be about 300,000 to 303,000 pounds: 50,500 pounds per driving axle. (And the GG-1 had quill drive, which I suspect meant that less of the motor weight was unspring than with the nose-supported traction motors standard on American diesels: in terms of "dynamic augment" -- the hammer blow to the rails described above -- my guess is that the GG-1 would have been equivalent to a diesel with an axle loading somewhat less than its own.) Back in the day when U.S. railroads bought A1A-A1A passenger diesels for "high speed" service (even though few of them ever operated at speeds as high as 100 mph), their axle loading tended to be not much more than 50,000 pounds. (I guess an E-9 had a total weight of 330,000, and a Baldwin passenger "Sharknose" was even heavier, but earlier E-units and Alco's PA-1 were not much over 300,000. And I mentioned British Rail's HST as a good example of a diesel-hauled passenger design for 120 mph service: the 4-axle "power cars" (= locomotives) at the ends of an HST set weighed about 67 long tons each, for a per-axle weight of about 38,000 pounds.

Recent diesel passenger locomotives in the U.S. have been (in my inexpert if not humble opinion) grossly overweight. Many, of course (in particular MPI's railcrushing 645 and 710 engined models), have been built for commuter operations: emphasis on acceleration from frequent stops and top speeds well below those talked about for "high speed" inter-city service. The EMD announcement quoted at the beginning of this string, however, says that EMD's intended demonstrator will be for "200 kilometer per hour" (roughly: 125 mph) service. Assuming that it is a serious proposal and not just a publicity stunt, it might well be designed to be much lighter than recent commuter power!
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:11 am

... Of course, if you want to get axle-loadings down, one possibility is to spread the weight over some idlers. The heaviest recent 4-axle commuter locomotives are up to maybe 90% of the total weight of a 6-axle passenger locomotive of the 1940s, and I have speculated before that it might be time to look at the A1A truck for passenger locomotives again.

In the late 1970s EMD advertised passenger locomotives. What they ended up selling, of course, was the F40, a unit which was, in its construction, essentially similar to a freight GP40 (it was a bit lighter), disguised by (non-structural) carbody "cowl": cheaper than a more thoroughly passenger-engineered unit would have been. They did put out a glossy, full-color, brochure, though, suggesting a lower, lighter, genuinely streamlined locomotive with the same innards. (As I recall, their example of what it could have done in service involved trains of about 7 Amfleet-ish coaches with one of the streamlined locomotives at each end: a configuration that seems to have been inspired by ... BR's HST!) The artwork showed a new-design two-axle truck (no prototype was ever built, and I don't know if detailed engineering of the truck design was completed), but, intriguingly, the text suggested that, as an alternative, the A1A truck used on E-units could have been substituted!

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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:26 am

then again if you got axles doing nothing why not put traction motors on them
but then again we get to six axle argument of track destruction.
no matter what EMD or others design the railroad wants maximum power, which translates in maximum weight.
so we use lighter engines (caterpillar etc but again cram two in one body ??? so again at max weight.
and around and around and and around we go ....
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Re: EMD to build North American passenger locomotives once a

Postby v8interceptor » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:57 pm

Were I in charge at EMD I would seriously consider "backstopping" the program with a 710 powered locomotive, quite possibly an adaption of the design Vossloh has marketed to the MBTA..EMD and Vossloh are already strategic partners so I'm sure EMD/Progress would have no trouble liscensing the design for US production. The 710 powered offering would compete for commuter service orders against the Wabtec MPexpress..
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