Marc Electrics

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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:22 pm

Could it be the labor charges for working on the MARC Hippo's and DC Meatball's,since all of Amtrak's Hippo's
and almost all the DC Meatball's have dropped their pans for the last time.
I remember seeing some post that MARC's Hippo's were not modified/upgraded as Amtrak's Hippo's were,
and their Meatballs were were as EMD intended,unmodified.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby dt_rt40 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:30 am

Two interesting things I saw last week:
A Amtrak AEM-7 pulling a midday Baltimore-DC local, and...
Both remaining (?) MARC AEM-7s pulling the afternoon DC-BWI-Baltimore "express". What I haven't seen are any of the north of Baltimore trains being pulled with electrics anymore. This is a contrast to the typical pattern in years past, when the electrics were rarely seen on Baltimore-DC only trains and always seen on the "long distance" LOL Penn line trains. So, yes, a further sign that they are phasing them out, but hopefully someone at MARC will come to their senses and not abandon electric traction completely.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby realtype » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:35 pm

dt_rt40 wrote:Two interesting things I saw last week:
A Amtrak AEM-7 pulling a midday Baltimore-DC local, and...
Both remaining (?) MARC AEM-7s pulling the afternoon DC-BWI-Baltimore "express". What I haven't seen are any of the north of Baltimore trains being pulled with electrics anymore. This is a contrast to the typical pattern in years past, when the electrics were rarely seen on Baltimore-DC only trains and always seen on the "long distance" LOL Penn line trains. So, yes, a further sign that they are phasing them out, but hopefully someone at MARC will come to their senses and not abandon electric traction completely.


From what I've seen over the past week or two, there's usually at least two HHP-8 and one AEM-7 (double-headed) powered trainsets in normal service on the Penn Line (which makes for 4 diesel consists and 3 electric consists, not counting the midday diesels from the other lines). I'll imagine that this will continue until the new diesels are delivered, which will (unfortunately) replace them.
Last edited by realtype on Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby dt_rt40 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:10 am

Yeah, just when I thought there was a pattern, I saw an HHP-8 on the SB early evening train from Perryville, which had been the 4:25 departure from DC. (while I was on the 5;20 train) But generally, I've been taking the afternoon (north of Balto) trains, 4:25, 5:10, or 6:00, and haven't had a electric loco in a while.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby realtype » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:19 pm

Last week the 5:20pm outbound Penn Line train had an HHP-8 on at least three days. I've seen 4911, 4912, and 4915 pulling it on separate occasions. It was unusual since it seemed that MARC stopped using electrics on 7-8 car trains (the 5:20pm train is 7 cars), but would double-head diesels instead.

This morning there was a MARC consist at WAS with a Amtrak AEM-7
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby amtrakhogger » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:14 am

Marc borrowed AEM7's 917 and the 929 for service in the last week and a half.
His train? It's MY train! I know what I'm doing, do you?
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby realtype » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:18 am

Amtrak 940 is on a set today. It would make sense for Amtrak to give MARC the AEM-7AC's instead of retiring them since they're actually relatively reliable.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby dt_rt40 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:40 pm

"relatively reliable"

Sadly, it appears a major delay could have been caused today by one of these Amtrak AEM-7s breaking down just north of Union Station. I don't really have time to go into what I observed, especially if one of our engineer posters can provide the exact details. But, at least they (Amtrak/MARC) are realizing how difficult it would be to keep the system's overall schedule w/o at least some electrics.
OTOH, I ALSO believe an MP-36 issue affected a morning inbound from P'ville. Again, will either fill in details later or wait for confirmation.
BTW, yes I can confirm I've seen 940 on a couple MARCs this week.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby dt_rt40 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:51 am

Ok, so, some day this week, sorry it's all a blur but I guess it was the day before I posted that, I was on an afternoon MARC (#544) and we were delayed leaving Union Station for 25 minutes. The conductor said a train had broken down north of Union Station and that there was single tracking. He also said this was the train that turns around to become the #446 to Baltimore, and that that train had therefore been canceled. I assumed this was somewhere up around New Carrollton. However, when we finally left, we passed a stopped MARC, pushed by an AEM-7, just near the NoMA metro stop. I'm assuming the plurality of xover switches are just south of there, which explains why it caused such a delay. A quick view on google maps satellite view confirms this.
As to the MP-36 problem, I arrived very early at Aberdeen station one morning because I couldn't get back to sleep and debated about taking the 6:30 (P'ville departure time, #517) MARC. No, just wait for the Amtrak I decided, so I was snoozing in my car. I saw the Amtrak long distance that comes through just before, usually w/o stopping of course, actually stop at Aberdeen, long enough to take on passengers though I wasn't parked in a place where I could exactly see that. THEN I saw the 517 MARC head back to Baltimore without stopping - about 15 minutes late. This train was pushed by a single MP-36. Later that week, all diesel consists north of Baltimore seemed to have 2 diesels again! I can only assume it was delayed by some mechanical problem and they put the passengers on the long-distance train. Of course the problems could have been something besides the locomotive, but in my prior years of riding Penn line trains I never knew that to be an assigned reason for delays. It's always something related to motive power. Who knows what happened to the Edgewood and Martins riders than morning. Honestly, the scheduling of the Amtrak cross-honored train and the MARC 517 so close together is kind of illogical when almost everyone up there is riding on a monthly anyhow.

Hopefully Amtrak will say to MARC: look, you have a choice between slow diesels that break down and were probably a bad purchase for use on the Penn line, and fast old electrics that break down because of their age. The only logical choice here is to buy some new, reliable electrics LOL.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby electricron » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:05 am

dt_rt40 wrote:Hopefully Amtrak will say to MARC: look, you have a choice between slow diesels that break down and were probably a bad purchase for use on the Penn line, and fast old electrics that break down because of their age. The only logical choice here is to buy some new, reliable electrics LOL.


Which would be great if the brand new electric locomotives were 100 reliable, which they are not. They breakdown too.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby RRspatch » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:24 am

dt_rt40 wrote:Hopefully Amtrak will say to MARC: look, you have a choice between slow diesels that break down and were probably a bad purchase for use on the Penn line, and fast old electrics that break down because of their age. The only logical choice here is to buy some new, reliable electrics LOL.


I think what is happening here is that Amtrak is putting pressure on MARC not to drop electric operation on the Penn Line ... at least for rush hour trains. Back in the days I worked for Amtrak as a dispatcher (I left in October of 96) I was qualified on CETC 1 (Avenue to Fulton) and CETC 2 (Charles to Gunpow). Back then MARC only had four electrics (4900-4903) of which only three were usually in service at any one time. Trains that had an "electric schedule" usually got one but if more than one unit was down the train would get a diesel and NOT make schedule. This not only caused delay to the MARC train but also delayed any following Amtrak trains. This was most pronounced southbound between Baltimore and Washington as ALL trains use No.3 track between Fulton and Avenue. The diesel powered train took forever to get going and couldn't make the speed the electrics made. This also made for some very tight, or even LATE, turns at Washington. My guess is Amtrak, not wanting slow diesel powered MARC trains slowing down the south-end of the corridor, is pushing MARC to order ACS64's, keep running their AEM7's and HHP's or perhaps going in with NJT on Multi-level EMU's.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:27 pm

RRspatch wrote:
dt_rt40 wrote:Hopefully Amtrak will say to MARC: look, you have a choice between slow diesels that break down and were probably a bad purchase for use on the Penn line, and fast old electrics that break down because of their age. The only logical choice here is to buy some new, reliable electrics LOL.


I think what is happening here is that Amtrak is putting pressure on MARC not to drop electric operation on the Penn Line ... at least for rush hour trains. Back in the days I worked for Amtrak as a dispatcher (I left in October of 96) I was qualified on CETC 1 (Avenue to Fulton) and CETC 2 (Charles to Gunpow). Back then MARC only had four electrics (4900-4903) of which only three were usually in service at any one time. Trains that had an "electric schedule" usually got one but if more than one unit was down the train would get a diesel and NOT make schedule. This not only caused delay to the MARC train but also delayed any following Amtrak trains. This was most pronounced southbound between Baltimore and Washington as ALL trains use No.3 track between Fulton and Avenue. The diesel powered train took forever to get going and couldn't make the speed the electrics made. This also made for some very tight, or even LATE, turns at Washington. My guess is Amtrak, not wanting slow diesel powered MARC trains slowing down the south-end of the corridor, is pushing MARC to order ACS64's, keep running their AEM7's and HHP's or perhaps going in with NJT on Multi-level EMU's.


They might just be trying to sell them on the Remans with this pinch-hit duty. Say..."Look, we're still using some of the best units for ourselves for the next few months. So we'll let you use a few of the dodgier ones in the meantime, if you understand that these units are on standby for a reason. Try it...see if you like it, see if you like it better than what you're running today. Then if you drop that dieselization threat when the last of them are retired you and me sort through the 'best of the rest' and we'll ID the ones in the best possible shape for continued use. We do have some that are in absolutely fine shape. Then we can talk a little service & support quid pro quo to make it worth your while."

The ace in the hole that MARC can play here is that the +10 MP36's on-order can easily be assigned instead to replacing the 6 GP39H-2's and 1 GP40WH-2 for complete diesel uniformity + 3 more units of fleet padding. And still let them keep all-electric service on the Penn Line by trading their flotsam in for a bigger and nearly-free fleet of more reliable AEM-7AC's. Let's face it, pulling the electrics for alleged "fleet uniformity" while talking out the other side of their mouth about re-powering the GP39's doesn't pass the smell test. It reeks of a leverage ploy to try to pin Amtrak into making a favorable deal with dieselization as the ransom. They can use the 10 new MP36's for either purpose...and who knows, privately they may be thinking GP39 + etc. replacement is the true Plan A and Penn Line dieselization just the few-downsides fallback position for Amtrak not responding to the ransom.


As for new orders...keep in mind that SEPTA's ACS-64's won't be coming until 2018 because the Siemens plant is taking a pause to do the Amtrak and All Aboard Florida Charger diesel order first. SEPTA may still be getting a few AEM-7AC leasers to get it through the next 4+ years of waiting then burn-in testing/deployment before its new stuff is at full fleet availability. So MARC, if it has any interest in buying Sprinters, has a 5-year wait before they'd be able to get new units on the property for testing.

And as for NJT's MLV EMU's...the engineering specs contract was awarded in October 2014 to some outside project management firm (it's on the NJT board minutes for that month with complete terms of the engineering contract if you want to Google for it). So figure that process is going to run through at least the end of the 2015 calendar year, get collected by NJT in 2016, and only then be put into a Request For Proposals that goes out to manufacturers. Then give the RFP 6-9 months to be collected from the manufacturers so NJT can evaluate the proposals. Then in late-2017 or 2018 the actual real-deal contract goes out to bid for the 110-car base order (surely to be backloaded with at least double that quantity in options). And then and only then would MARC and/or SEPTA (for Silverliner IV replacement) have something substantive to actually chew on if they want in on a parasitic order to NJT's specs. In which case they'll be waiting until after NJT's base order leaves the plant before they can get any of theirs in the manufacturing queue. That's like 2021-22 before they could get those MLV EMU's on the property. So same deal: you need a 6-8 year bridge fleet to keep the Penn Line electric any which way. The AEM-7AC's definitely fit the profile for 8 more years of lightish-duty commuter rail before something/anything new, awesome, and electric can be in full service. They'd be very smart to arm-twist Amtrak for the best lease terms and service/support package they can wring for that bridge fleet. Because there's no avoiding it if they want to buy something new that has safety-in-numbers with some larger operator's identical-make fleet.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby dt_rt40 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:02 pm

Thanks for the additional posts.
From what I'm now seeing, on any given afternoon set of runs, at least 3 electric configurations are in service at any one time, including one or sometimes two Amtrak AEM-7s. This is merely what I see with my own eyes on either the train I'm on + what we pass, so there could be one more I'm not noticing. OTOH, there are still plenty of diesel configs used and like I said, north of Baltimore if you see diesels, they are usually doubled. (as are MARC's AEM-7s if put into service) It's good that Amtrak is trying to work around/with MARC's silly intransigence over motive power choices. For some reason I feel like I see fewer electrics in the morning.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby realtype » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:41 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The ace in the hole that MARC can play here is that the +10 MP36's on-order can easily be assigned instead to replacing the 6 GP39H-2's and 1 GP40WH-2 for complete diesel uniformity + 3 more units of fleet padding.


Well really it would be a practically one-to-one replacement when you factor in that at least two or so Penn Line consists are (permanently) powered by dual MP36's, reducing the effective fleet size.

The new Perryville yard is supposed to be electrified and I doubt Amtrak will allow MARC to run all-diesel service to Newark (as they're in discussions to do right now). Looking into the future I can't see MARC seriously thinking they can operate a quality service on the Penn Line using only diesels.
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Re: Marc Electrics

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:02 pm

At times,Amtrak has "borrowed" MARC's Hippo's for service across the NEC,it might be in Amtrak's interest to Lend/Lease
some the "stored serviceable" AEM-7's(or the stored Hippo's) to MARC to get the "Rush Hour" trains on the motors
instead of the MP-36's that can't keep up.
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