Metra to remanufacture F40's...

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Metra to remanufacture F40's...

Postby metraRI » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:08 am

On Metra's business site, there is a recently added bid up for grabs.. stating the following:
Remanufacture up to 50 EMD F40PH Locomotives

Informal Open House – To view EMD F40PH Locomotive Jan. 30, 2007.

Details do not go any further than that, but I am very curious to what Metra's plan is.
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Postby Metra416 » Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:44 pm

I heard there where plans to start rebuilding the F40PH's 5 at a time, from what i understood all the wiring is starting to go bad and it's a very big job to re-wire the whole sysytem, install the computer system like MP36's and rebuild the body style....but he also said they where going to be sent MPI....but that may not be all true if Metra is taking bids. I didn't want to bring that up because I heard it once a month ago and nothing since, but this topic is started so I'll throw it out there!
I like all Metra locomotives equally....sometimes I like certain ones more equally than others...
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Postby MetraRy » Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:50 am

when the MPIs were ordered the plan was to retire the 5 oldest f40s. I wonder if this will occur when the rehab starts?
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Postby byte » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:33 am

I doubt they'll retire anything. In the past year Metra's added a whole bunch of new service and although there's probably more than a few F40s sitting around inactive every rush hour, getting rid of any currrently active units could cause problems if a number of failures were to crop up around the same time, and would certainly put a hold on any significant future expansion.
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Postby metraRI » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:38 am

I don't know if the plan was to actually retire any F40's, but rather relocate them from districts that the MP36's were going to. Unless my memory is fading, and Metra did plan to retire some F40's. I don't see Metra taking any more loco's out of service, even though there are extra's out there. I know RI only needs 14 loco's for daily service, and has about 18 or so assigned.
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Postby doepack » Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:13 am

byte wrote:...although there's probably more than a few F40s sitting around inactive every rush hour...


...which is a common occurrence along the engine storage tracks just north of track 16 at OTC, there's usually at least 4 or 5 of them hanging out there during all times of the day, even during the late-morning "engine shuffle" between there and the M19A facilities. Plenty of stand-by power in case something breaks down on the road, especially if it happens on two lines simultaneously. Long odds on that, true, but you never know...

When the newer MP's arrived, Metra was then able to assign 3 additional F40's to SWS, plus 2 to NCS, to support the expanded services on those routes. (UP/W didn't receive any additional units because no trains were added to the schedule). But with the oldest F40's on the roster now approaching 30 years old and being targeted for a rebuild, I don't know if you can call it a "mid-life" rehab, it sounds more like an "extended life rehab". Besides, if Metra does plan to retire any locomotives in the near future, I'd guess that 611 and 614 will likely be the next to go within a year or two, but other than that, I don't think it's time to start waving goodbye to the F40's just yet...
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Postby octr202 » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:45 pm

I'm surprised Metra's rebuilding 30 year old F40's at this point. The MBTA's straight F40PHs are about the same vintage, and the bids are out to buy (probably MP36s) to replace them, as they're starting to drop on their own at this point. I'll chalk it up to better maintenance at Metra, perhaps?
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Postby stentman » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:11 am

Couple thoughts on this - Metra's F40s are in still in great shape considering their age, especially compared to former Amtrak units that continue on in commuter service elsewhere. On their busiest day a Metra unit might see what, 200 miles of service (2 round trips)? Extend that out over their lives and the total mileage is relatively low which would justify a rebuild program. Plus they have had the advantage of being well maintained by local Metra-affiliated shops from day 1 of delivery.

That being said though, if internals (wiring, powerplants etc) are aging to the point of needing a massive overhaul, Metra really only had two choices - overhaul or buy new. If I remember this is the same justification they used for buying the MPs in the first place, that it was simply cost prohibitive to overhaul the F40C's again. If the rebuild bids come in high with a small cost spread between that and purchasing new units, Metra could use that as a justification for purchasing new, as that precedent has already been set.

If they do rebuild, that opens up a lot of possibilities as locomotive technology has advanced significantly since the F40's were built. They could upgrade to inverter based HEP for instance, go with a second generator (a la Caltrain) or keep the same setup. Lots of choices to make, I think this bid is just a first step to get a handle on what it will cost so they can better weight their options going forward. Plus remember with the current state of funding at Metra, I'm sure the last thing they can afford to do is buy 50 new locomotives.....
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Postby ExEMDLOCOTester » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:57 am

One feature contributing to the extended life of the Metra F40PH-2's, is that when they tie up at night they get plugged in. The units have heaters for the engines (as shipped) and if I remember correct, heaters, or provisions for heaters, in the long hood. Keeping the units dry inside during the winter, retards rusting and extends engine life (no condensation in the top decks or air box).
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Postby doepack » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:00 am

stentman wrote:Plus remember with the current state of funding at Metra, I'm sure the last thing they can afford to do is buy 50 new locomotives


Absolutely. And even if one were to entertain the assumption that they could successfully lobby the feds for some more money to buy newer units, they'd still have to come up with the required 20% local match before they can even begin shopping. Metra's share of the Illinois FIRST funds helped secure the MP's, but that well is dry, and new, significant local funding sources have yet to be identified. It may be indeed practical to rebuild the F40's, especially since they're in pretty good shape for the most part, but the economics driving this decision should not be underestimated...
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Postby octr202 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:47 am

doepack wrote:
stentman wrote:Plus remember with the current state of funding at Metra, I'm sure the last thing they can afford to do is buy 50 new locomotives


Absolutely. And even if one were to entertain the assumption that they could successfully lobby the feds for some more money to buy newer units, they'd still have to come up with the required 20% local match before they can even begin shopping. Metra's share of the Illinois FIRST funds helped secure the MP's, but that well is dry, and new, significant local funding sources have yet to be identified. It may be indeed practical to rebuild the F40's, especially since they're in pretty good shape for the most part, but the economics driving this decision should not be underestimated...


Man, from the way Metra seems to run, I think us outsiders would have underestimated the need to push these units through a rebuild. That makes me wonder why ours out here are dropping the way they are -- oh well, maybe the 18 out here can end up as a parts source for the rebuild program!
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Postby F40CFan » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:08 pm

I remember that the plan was to retire the eldest F40PHs along with the F40Cs when the MPs came. I do notice more double headers, at least on the MILW-West than before, perhaps that's another reason why they were not retired.

Just wishful thinking, but when they start taking F40PHs out for rebuild, maybe they'll fire up 611 & 614 to fill in. Ok, maybe its just a pipe-dream, but that's part of what makes this hobby fun.
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Postby byte » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:35 pm

As long as they still work, it's not an impossibility. However, it depends on two things - paperwork and their mechanical condition. The management people may have already signed something that says those two units are retired and thus wouldn't be used on any revenue trains. Also, remember that when they pulled one of the two from Western Avenue to use it for that accident reenactment, it was having mechanical issues during its shakedown runs. Unless Metra plans on doing some preliminary work on those two engines, they may be too unreliable to be used as backup power.
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Postby F40CFan » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:16 pm

byte wrote:As long as they still work, it's not an impossibility. However, it depends on two things - paperwork and their mechanical condition. The management people may have already signed something that says those two units are retired and thus wouldn't be used on any revenue trains. Also, remember that when they pulled one of the two from Western Avenue to use it for that accident reenactment, it was having mechanical issues during its shakedown runs. Unless Metra plans on doing some preliminary work on those two engines, they may be too unreliable to be used as backup power.


No doubt there would be more to it than just "hey, lets start 'em up and go for a spin". I believe they are stored servicable until they are officially retired. Like I said, its just a fantasy.

Maybe they learned their lesson now and will be more open to rebuildings, at least with the F40PHs.
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Re: Metra to remanufacture F40's...

Postby LedZeppelinFan85 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:17 pm

Actually F40cfan, I think that article about retiring Metra 100-127 would make sense and I do agree with what you said about retiring those specific F40 units. I chatted with an engineer on the Union Pacific Northwest Line and he said that the rebuilt F40PH-3s are pieces of garbage since Metra had them rebuilt down in Kentucky. He said that they run even worse than the ones that weren't rebuilt. Another guy I talked to, who works on the Union Pacific lines said that they even use duct tape to hold some of the parts together inside the locomotives. He sad that rebuilding those units was a total waste of time and they now run even worse than they did before.
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