Why no electric locomotives?

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:16 pm

NH2060 wrote:
MACTRAXX wrote:With the ACS64 fleet only beginning production it will be a long time before any good AEM7s will be possibly available
and they would also be subject to be held back even further by Amtrak until the ACS64 fleet is fully in service...
The small HHP8 "Armadillo" fleet could be another locomotive answer but they also have their problems...

Well if the ACS-64 doesn't encounter any major problems with testing, delivery, etc. then the AEM-7s will indeed be freed up in the very near future for other uses, but again their age and lack of available parts will not make them attractive to an agency like the MBTA. At least Amtrak has 30+ years of experience with them and can always keep them in reserve as backup/work train/holiday extra workhorses.

As for the HHP-8s they go back to Bombardier once the lease is up. I believe the same goes for the MARC units. And they haven't been the best performers to begin with so I doubt anyone else would want them. MARC, in fact, seems to be leaning towards going all diesel on the Penn Line once their AEM-7s are up for retirement.
I do agree on the high-level platform thought and remembering how Amtrak and MARC have had differences
in their application of MARC Penn Line electric service would the electric power price the MBTA would pay
become a problem?

That's a good question. The cost of petrol in MA is relatively cheap so presumably that would include the cost of diesel (correct me if I'm wrong). There-go there would most likely need to be a large enough of a gain from using electric power vs. diesel to take the plunge. On the other hand, the T perhaps could use Amtrak's desire to have the T's dwell times lowered as a bargaining chip of sorts to get a reasonable deal on electric usage. But tis for another time ;-)


Amtrak wants the dwell times lowered. It's going to be a source of friction if the T is committed to diesel forever and operates an all-new growth service in RI on forever-diesel. There isn't a lot of track expansion to be done here. It pretty much can't be done at all on the congested stretch from Providence to South Attleboro. Pokey acceleration out of commuter rail stations where packed 8-car bi-level trains are running is not going to help. If Amtrak wants to get the NEC in tip-top shape for existing service by 2030 so it can start planning for mega-HSR by 2040, electrics on commuter rail have to be part of the solution.

That doesn't mean part of the solution now or part of the solution soon. But using total absolutes like "never" or diesel "forever" or tarring someone as a foamer for even suggesting such heresy is irresponsible.


It is NOT going to be used equipment, though. How many times does that have to be explained here? The AEM-7's, ALP-44's, M2/4/6's...they're shot. There are no parts. They're obsolete. And the HHP-8's are lemons so strangled by lease legalities that they'll be rusting in a yard off-limits for years...until they're borderline obsolete and have no parts for a rebuild. Nobody can maintain these engines except for the old owners at the old owners' facilities, which prohibits them going to any new owners. Logistics: the immovable object.

It's not going to be worth it over life-of-vehicle anyway if the FRA relaxes regs to allow more competition, some mega-orders start getting placed like the Arrow and Silverliner IV EMU replacements, and new electrification installations like Caltrain/CAHSR, GO, and others start adding the first substantial all-new scale to North American electrification in a very long time. Buying new's gonna be cheaper to amortize by 2020.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:56 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
NH2060 wrote:
MACTRAXX wrote:With the ACS64 fleet only beginning production it will be a long time before any good AEM7s will be possibly available
and they would also be subject to be held back even further by Amtrak until the ACS64 fleet is fully in service...
The small HHP8 "Armadillo" fleet could be another locomotive answer but they also have their problems...

Well if the ACS-64 doesn't encounter any major problems with testing, delivery, etc. then the AEM-7s will indeed be freed up in the very near future for other uses, but again their age and lack of available parts will not make them attractive to an agency like the MBTA. At least Amtrak has 30+ years of experience with them and can always keep them in reserve as backup/work train/holiday extra workhorses.

As for the HHP-8s they go back to Bombardier once the lease is up. I believe the same goes for the MARC units. And they haven't been the best performers to begin with so I doubt anyone else would want them. MARC, in fact, seems to be leaning towards going all diesel on the Penn Line once their AEM-7s are up for retirement.
I do agree on the high-level platform thought and remembering how Amtrak and MARC have had differences
in their application of MARC Penn Line electric service would the electric power price the MBTA would pay
become a problem?

That's a good question. The cost of petrol in MA is relatively cheap so presumably that would include the cost of diesel (correct me if I'm wrong). There-go there would most likely need to be a large enough of a gain from using electric power vs. diesel to take the plunge. On the other hand, the T perhaps could use Amtrak's desire to have the T's dwell times lowered as a bargaining chip of sorts to get a reasonable deal on electric usage. But tis for another time ;-)


Amtrak wants the dwell times lowered. It's going to be a source of friction if the T is committed to diesel forever and operates an all-new growth service in RI on forever-diesel. There isn't a lot of track expansion to be done here. It pretty much can't be done at all on the congested stretch from Providence to South Attleboro. Pokey acceleration out of commuter rail stations where packed 8-car bi-level trains are running is not going to help. If Amtrak wants to get the NEC in tip-top shape for existing service by 2030 so it can start planning for mega-HSR by 2040, electrics on commuter rail have to be part of the solution.

That doesn't mean part of the solution now or part of the solution soon. But using total absolutes like "never" or diesel "forever" or tarring someone as a foamer for even suggesting such heresy is irresponsible.


It is NOT going to be used equipment, though. How many times does that have to be explained here? The AEM-7's, ALP-44's, M2/4/6's...they're shot. There are no parts. They're obsolete. And the HHP-8's are lemons so strangled by lease legalities that they'll be rusting in a yard off-limits for years...until they're borderline obsolete and have no parts for a rebuild. Nobody can maintain these engines except for the old owners at the old owners' facilities, which prohibits them going to any new owners. Logistics: the immovable object.

It's not going to be worth it over life-of-vehicle anyway if the FRA relaxes regs to allow more competition, some mega-orders start getting placed like the Arrow and Silverliner IV EMU replacements, and new electrification installations like Caltrain/CAHSR, GO, and others start adding the first substantial all-new scale to North American electrification in a very long time. Buying new's gonna be cheaper to amortize by 2020.


F Line: All good points here - especially where the subject of used equipment is concerned...

I agree that the MBTA - which would be a limited operator of electric locomotives and MU cars -
would not want the problems aligned with used equipment...

I feel that an add-on order could be an interesting option: With the M8 cars now in production
MBTA and RIDOT could order a M8 variation which would be strictly set up for AC electric use
on either 25 or 11kv and not have any DC third rail capability...provided that funding is available
and Amtrak would be welcome to allow MU train service on the Providence Line and not over
charge the MBTA for power...if the MBTA had any interest in any future electric service...

A future add-on if SEPTA orders their proposed Silverliner 6 fleet to replace the aging S4 fleet
could be another thought...

When Amtrak constructed the NHV-BOS electification was there any thought of also electrifying
the Dorchester Branch (today's Fairmount Line) as a alternate entry route to BOS?
I remember how Amtrak made use of this line during the SW Corridor construction back in the 80s...
It would have made MU cars another option for the future Indigo Line...

In closing I am offering suggestions that can be constructive or practical for future service
and I am not thinking of any "foamer" nonsense...Wishful thinking on my part perhaps...

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:02 pm

And nobody except MNRR is ever going to buy something based on the M8 design. That is the only place in North America if not the world where an EMU must be designed to run on DC third rail and 2 types of overhead voltage. Possibly on the same trip. Any other buyer would be wasting huge sums of money buying a design based on that. Even if they order without the DC power equipment it's still buying a car with components laid out to support all those DC guts. You don't save tacking onto the back of the order and leaving all that under-car space empty of DC components. That's a huge waste of money. Huge and stupid.


There is nothing before 2020 that will hack the T into electric vehicles this instant.
There is nothing before 2020 that will hack the T into electric vehicles this instant.
There is nothing before 2020 that will hack the T into electric vehicles this instant.

Any notions to the contrary have more limitations than if they just wait 5 more years to program the funds and see what's out there in the post- FRA reform era and coinciding with LOTS of other EMU replacement and electrification debut orders. Stop trying to twist some pretzel scenario that'll speed that timetable up; it's not going to get them a better value vs. waiting.
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