Marc Electrics

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: Robert Paniagua, therock

Marc Electrics

Postby cnj1524 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:40 pm

Does anyone know what they intend to do in less then 2 years as amtrak will no longer be maintaining AEM7s/HHP8's
cnj1524
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 5:57 pm

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby jackintosh11 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:48 pm

They will be retired. That's why they got more new diesels.
User avatar
jackintosh11
 
Posts: 960
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:24 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby strench707 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:01 am

Saw at least one in Ivy City as I drove by on NY Ave yesterday.

Davis
User avatar
strench707
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:28 am

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Wingnut » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:47 am

AEM-7 4901 has already been retired and placed in storage. I'd like to take a trip down there and ride at least one more 125 mph express commuter train before the Penn Line becomes all diesel.

Does anybody know the schedule for phasing out the remaining toasters and armadillos? And does MARC plan to get new electric engines in the future?
Wingnut
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:58 pm

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby djlong » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:41 am

I looked at some presentations for the future of MARC and it boggles the mind that they're going to replace the electrics on the Penn Line with diesels.

Diesels cost more to buy, more to run, perform worse and pollute more. They'll be clogging up the NEC with their reduced start/stop performance...

What POSSIBLE justification could they have for doing this?

[It figures that, just as I'm contemplating a career move to relocate to that area, one of the reasons for moving there is about to get some degradation]
djlong
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:19 pm

justification ?? cost (amtrak) maintenance (amtrak) versatile, nope, reliability , nope.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer
User avatar
DutchRailnut
 
Posts: 20990
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Arlington » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:43 pm

djlong wrote:I looked at some presentations for the future of MARC

Link?
djlong wrote:t boggles the mind that they're going to replace the electrics on the Penn Line with diesels.
Diesels cost more to buy, more to run, perform worse and pollute more. They'll be clogging up the NEC with their reduced start/stop performance...


How does the pollution of a Tier 4 loco compare to our current electric grid? Sure, electrics don't have exhaust, but they get their power from coal plants that do (particularly in Maryland's grid)

If Penn Locos do start through running to Virginia/VRE territory--maybe in 10 years when we get a new Long Bridge-- Penn diesels will be a must.

Fleet commonality with the Brunswick and Camden lines seems like a money saver.

I know it is a bit circular, but the MBTA looks at MARC and MARC looks at the MBTA and both see operating diesels under the wire as the best choice for their system. Electrics seem "must haves" only if you've got a huge electric system (NJT, SEPTA), and often tip into EMUs, not loco-hauled.
When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. --H.D. Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Arlington
 
Posts: 3089
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby sammy2009 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:49 am

Arlington wrote:
djlong wrote:I looked at some presentations for the future of MARC

Link?
djlong wrote:t boggles the mind that they're going to replace the electrics on the Penn Line with diesels.
Diesels cost more to buy, more to run, perform worse and pollute more. They'll be clogging up the NEC with their reduced start/stop performance...


How does the pollution of a Tier 4 loco compare to our current electric grid? Sure, electrics don't have exhaust, but they get their power from coal plants that do (particularly in Maryland's grid)

If Penn Locos do start through running to Virginia/VRE territory--maybe in 10 years when we get a new Long Bridge-- Penn diesels will be a must.

Fleet commonality with the Brunswick and Camden lines seems like a money saver.

I know it is a bit circular, but the MBTA looks at MARC and MARC looks at the MBTA and both see operating diesels under the wire as the best choice for their system. Electrics seem "must haves" only if you've got a huge electric system (NJT, SEPTA), and often tip into EMUs, not loco-hauled.


Electrics accelerate quicker with the power..and seems to run faster....SEPTA/NJT finds that important ...though NJT has some diesel rail lines...but they was smart and got dual-mode locomotives which i thinks work best for them. Easily switch when the overhead wire stops/starts... Also for SEPTA/NJT they cannot have diesels operate in their tunnels in to the stations due to the smoke / and other issues that's a no-no..LOL..My understanding is also that MARC cannot afford the bill from AMTRAK for the power ?
sammy2009
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:16 am

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby djlong » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:53 am

The presentation I saw was: http://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/f ... -09-13.pdf

Where does Maryland get it's electricity from? Well, in 1990, it was 70% coal and now (as of 2013 anyway) it's 43% (nuclear went from 7% to 35%) Link: https://data.maryland.gov/Energy-and-En ... /9x8y-nux4

MARC should NOT be looking at the MBTA. At least not until the MBTA gets it's act together. If anything, they should be looking at the MBTA as a cautionary tale. One lesson could be "order the same electrics that Amtrak ordered - do NOT go the custom route).

I was reading the experiences of the UK in how much diesels cost versus electric and it was something like 30-40% cheaper to maintain electrics in addition to all the performance benefits. This included reduced wear and tear on the rails due to the lighter electric motors instead of those heavy diesels.

As far as operating into VRE territory, there have been a lot of proposals for an up-to $1B plan to electrify (with extra tracks because of freight congestion) down to Richmond. Does anyone remember what it cost to electrify New Haven to Boston on the NEC?
djlong
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:29 am

djlong wrote:The presentation I saw was: http://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/f ... -09-13.pdf

Where does Maryland get it's electricity from? Well, in 1990, it was 70% coal and now (as of 2013 anyway) it's 43% (nuclear went from 7% to 35%) Link: https://data.maryland.gov/Energy-and-En ... /9x8y-nux4

MARC should NOT be looking at the MBTA. At least not until the MBTA gets it's act together. If anything, they should be looking at the MBTA as a cautionary tale. One lesson could be "order the same electrics that Amtrak ordered - do NOT go the custom route).

I was reading the experiences of the UK in how much diesels cost versus electric and it was something like 30-40% cheaper to maintain electrics in addition to all the performance benefits. This included reduced wear and tear on the rails due to the lighter electric motors instead of those heavy diesels.

As far as operating into VRE territory, there have been a lot of proposals for an up-to $1B plan to electrify (with extra tracks because of freight congestion) down to Richmond. Does anyone remember what it cost to electrify New Haven to Boston on the NEC?


The MBTA also isn't a good comparison because not all of the commuter rail stations on their portion of the NEC are wired yet. There are unwired tracks at 4-track Attleboro station and the new Rhode Island stations at T.F. Green and Wickford Junction that would have to be filled in, and substation upgrades to be made (all such facilities installed with the Shoreline electrification leave extra equipment berths for upgrading the draw). Not to mention their big Providence Line layover yard in Pawtucket, some of the layup tracks at Widett Circle in Boston, and the wye track from the NEC to Widett Circle would also have to be strung up. Not an immense amount of work, and they would get a considerable amount of help there from state of RI. But they have additional prep tasks before they can do electric ops (even if they were able to contract out electric loco maintenance to Amtrak at their Southampton Yard facility for lack of any properly equipped shop of their own). They would not be able to do anything right now today with some spare Amtrak motors even if they were available for a song. MARC is completely filled out in all the requisite vehicle access to platforms and facility access. They're willingly passing up capacity they already have.

Frankly, I'm not sure this story is over. +10 MP36's makes for a perfectly adequate replacement of the GP39 fleet w/modest padding, so to say this is set in stone wouldn't necessarily be accurate. The logic of "one make for all" is strange when they (publicly, at least) are saying they intend to keep and/or repower those ancient Geeps. If Amtrak blinks and offers them some of their considerably fresher AEM-7AC remans and a service/support package to get them to drop the ransom, they have to at least consider it. And then just get rid of the Geeps with their option order. That at least makes sense from a leverage standpoint. For run-thru service with VRE they'd probably want to consider buying true dual-modes like an ALP-45DP (or TBD competing offering of similar ilk), or at least debate back-and-forth for few years what exactly is going to be the best motive power for that type of service. In which case, why buy new now when a fleet of Amtrak remans in light commuter rail duty is plenty good for the next 10 years while service expansion is being debated. They don't have to be making a permanent decision now...so why are they acting like they're making a permanent decision now?
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 6730
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Arlington » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:45 am

djlong wrote:The presentation I saw was: http://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/f ... -09-13.pdf

thanks for the link
djlong wrote:[Maryland's grid is] it's 43% [coal] Link: https://data.maryland.gov/Energy-and-En ... /9x8y-nux4

43% coal is probably dirtier than Tier IV diesel. (Calvert Cliffs 1 was shutdown for 3/4ths of 1990 so that isn't a good base year for % Nuke. Thanks in part to NSA's constant need for electricity, IIRC Maryland has one of the highest % nuke numbers in the US, but it still might be dirtier than Tier IV)
djlong wrote:MARC should NOT be looking at the MBTA. At least not until the MBTA gets it's act together. If anything, they should be looking at the MBTA as a cautionary tale. One lesson could be "order the same electrics that Amtrak ordered - do NOT go the custom route).

Yes, custom has proven bad for MBTA, but off-the-shelf Tier IV diesels are probably a safer bet.
djlong wrote:I was reading the experiences of the UK in how much diesels cost versus electric and it was something like 30-40% cheaper to maintain electrics in addition to all the performance benefits. This included reduced wear and tear on the rails due to the lighter electric motors instead of those heavy diesels.
UK has a very different energy economy. Perhaps different enough to make comparisons fully comparable. I get that electrics can be lighter and simpler, but I seem to recall that buying electricity from Amtrak was not a particularly cheap way of buying energy.
When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. --H.D. Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Arlington
 
Posts: 3089
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Tadman » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:08 pm

I'm quite curious to know what Amtrak's beef is in supplying market price electricity for commuter trains. Any commuter agency with its own electrification won't remotely entertain running diesels under wire and with one exception (SEPTA) runs at least two fleets if not three. Why else would Chicago's Metra, the most conservative commuter carrier in the world, keep running the electric district and South Shore under wire? For heck's sake they still order 645-powered diesels which are 1968 technology in order to preserve commonality, but they ordered 186 new electric cars for just one line, while South Shore keeps ordering new MU's for a standalone operation in Indiana of all places with very low frequency.

Point is, this absolutely does not pass the sniff test. There is something else at play.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8185
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Arlington » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:20 pm

Problem is: there is no market for 25hz electricity.

It's either Amtrak or nothing (diesels), and Amtrak would be right in fully-loading each kWh with a good chunk of its physical plants replacement costs. They can't afford to sell cheap. Heck, shooing MARC off the wire may free up power for the Acela II's needs.

If Amtrak prioritized its own needs, Acela II would get first dibs on any capacity, and MARC would be told that it's rates would have to include the costs of additional frequency converters, etc. (sparing its in house routes and asking MARC to fully pay for any capacity increases above Amtrak's needs, which may have gotten more expensive than diesel.
When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. --H.D. Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Arlington
 
Posts: 3089
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:01 am

Arlington wrote:Problem is: there is no market for 25hz electricity.

It's either Amtrak or nothing (diesels), and Amtrak would be right in fully-loading each kWh with a good chunk of its physical plants replacement costs. They can't afford to sell cheap. Heck, shooing MARC off the wire may free up power for the Acela II's needs.

If Amtrak prioritized its own needs, Acela II would get first dibs on any capacity, and MARC would be told that it's rates would have to include the costs of additional frequency converters, etc. (sparing its in house routes and asking MARC to fully pay for any capacity increases above Amtrak's needs, which may have gotten more expensive than diesel.


Still doesn't explain why they guard their wires so jealously on the Shoreline where the 60 Hz power comes straight off the grid.

This might be institutional more than anything else. Sort of like how they fight the freights axle fee by axle fee, and get fought by Metro North on the only part of the NEC they don't control. Too many decades of being in existential survival mode has bunkered them into that survival mentality. The reorganization of the financials around the NEC profit center vs. all else probably is not going to be instantaneous at changing that culture.


That said, if MARC is choosing to perform like dogs on Amtrak's track with their choice of motive power that's a bigger problem to the 'profit center' than market-rate electricity. Which is why I'm not entirely convinced it's a done deal that the supplemental order is going to be replacing what right now today they say it's going to be replacing. Amtrak has the in-house deal-making options that'll make it worth MARC's while to drop the ransom...if the 'profit center' finds it worth their while to pursue a deal.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 6730
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Marc Electrics

Postby MattW » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:10 pm

So how many "slots" does a 90mph commuter train take over a 125mph commuter train assuming the same stopping pattern? I guess I should also say 90mph diesel vs 125mph electric since the acceleration is a good bit different too. I imagine all of Amtrak's trains but the Acela take the same number of slots since the stops are so widely spaced.
MattW
 
Posts: 490
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 8:00 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA (ATL)

Next

Return to DC - Maryland - Virginia Area Passenger Rail: MTA(MARC), VRE, WMATA(Metro)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests