Why no electric locomotives?

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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:16 pm

Duals make zero sense unless you have a tunnel forcing their usage or a significant enough number of electric miles before needing to switch to diesel mode that the savings in being able to run thru instead of transfer or engine-switch and/or the fuel savings in piggybacking on that much E-mode mileage offsets the rather extreme up-front cost of duals over life-of-vehicle. And even that isn't proving so hot for NJT now that ARC is dead. They'd have probably made out better on value-for-money just filling in their electrification gaps on the Morris & Essex Lines and North Jersey Coast Line, having a total all-or-nothing system of electric-only lines and diesel-only lines, and buying more single-mode power for each.


The T and RIDOT have no territory that washes on the economics. Woonsocket is a tiny service in the grand scheme, and the NEC portions of the Needham, Franklin, and Stoughton lines are way too short on way too slow/congested an NEC stretch for duals to recover any cost or have any performance difference over diesel. They are a total non-consideration for the T until the North-South Link is built and we've got the same unventilated tunnel situation as everyone else. Unventilated tunnels requiring mandatory duals to access any diesel territory whatsoever have so far been the only justification anywhere in North America for buying duals. That is unlikely to change on the commuter rail side. I could see if Amtrak standardized on pantograph true duals when it replaces the P32's using them elsewhere like the Springfield and Virginia Regionals and possibly Vermonter to free up some yard space in D.C. and New Haven taken up by all the engines they have to store for the engine switches. But that's it.

MA and RI are an all-or-nothing conjoined system until the N-S Link forces the issue. There aren't enough reasons you could invent for force-fitting duals in there, and the cost of those vehicles over lifetime is probably enough that electrifying Fairmount and Worcester for a much bigger E-only fleet washes better.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby mgdemarco » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:40 pm

To add to the previous posts, NJT runs diesels on the Atlantic City line from AC to 30th Street Station. While it is light rail, NJT also runs diesels on the RiverLINE.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby RailBus63 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:14 am

Yippee ... another thread about why the MBTA should have electric locomotives. Nothing like seeing the same old pro and con viewpoints from a few years ago rehashed over and over and over ....
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby Cosmo » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:22 am

RailBus63 wrote:Yippee ... another thread about why the MBTA should have electric locomotives. Nothing like seeing the same old pro and con viewpoints from a few years ago rehashed over and over and over ....

where you been RB? We've been on this tread for over a week now.
Nothing wrong with discussing something that's been brought up before. And I, for one, have found this discussion insightful and informative.
I know the idea was brought up in other threads, but I cant remember everything discussed in every other thread, so I like having a more current analysis in a single thread with an active, lively, polite debate. After all, that's why we're here, right? :wink:
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby BandM4266 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:52 pm

Bringing something new to light in this thread, why is it stated in an article about the governors plans to expand south coast rail to FR/NB, that it would be a federal requirement for electrification rather then diesel? If that is the case I would see the T having to lease/buy electrics.


This is from Boston.com the part I mentioned above is page2.
http://mobile.boston.com/art/21//yourto ... ngle=0&p=2
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:05 am

As was covered extensively in the South Coast Rail thread, the Army Corps stipulated that the line be electrified.

Whether that actually happens or not is far from certain at this point though.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:55 am

Maybe hydrogen can be our friend, more advances on that front,

'' Hydrogen cars likely will help automakers meet new goals from eight key states to put more zero-emissions cars on the road. The states, including California and New York, pledged late last month to work together to put 3.3 million battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids and other clean-burning vehicles on the roads in those states by 2025. That’s more than 15 times as many zero-emission vehicles projected to be in use in the entire U.S. by 2015.

The other states in the pact are Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states together represent about 23 percent of the U.S. auto market.''

http://www.boston.com/cars/news-and-rev ... story.html

Maybe Mass. can be cutting edge and get some $ help in hydrogen locomotives, at least under the guise of conforming to the Army Corps stipulation.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:39 am

That just sounds like an easy way to bloat the project cost another billion dollars.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby ns3010 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:49 pm

Jersey_Mike wrote:
DutchRailnut wrote:anyone who believes the old AEM-7's have any live in them is sadly mistaken, its glue/rubberbands and duct tape holding them in service after many million miles.


They would be better off with the ALP-44/44M's from NJT. They are newer than the AEM-7's and as was seen with the AEM's and the Sweedish Rc series they rebuild well.


The 44's are beat to hell, and would require an extensive and costly rebuild. A lot of the parts are also outdated and unavailable at this point, making it even more difficult. There's a reason Transit went with buying new 46A's.


mgdemarco wrote:To add to the previous posts, NJT runs diesels on the Atlantic City line from AC to 30th Street Station.


And the Raritan Valley Line, and the Main Line, and the Bergen County Line, and the Southern Tier, and the Pascack Valley Line. There's enough diesel territory to justify diesel operations, and enough electric territory to justify electric operations.

If/when South Coast begins electric operations, the gaps on sidings and yards along the Providence Line can be filled in and there will be enough mileage under wire to justify buying electric power (be it locomotives or MU's) and consider electrifying other parts of the south side. But until then, there is absolutely no way to justify buying electrics or dual modes.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:16 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:That just sounds like an easy way to bloat the project cost another billion dollars.

Yes indeed , bloat it to the point of fantasy , just as the locals are licking their chops to extract any and all goodies they can. Connect the Southcoast to Providence if it has to be, but otherwise it is a waste of resources...
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:38 pm

Everyone: From reading through this topic I do agree on much of what has been posted - particularly in the realm of the T obtaining
used electric locomotives to operate on the Boston-Providence-Wickford Junction Line...

Here's a thought: With the fast performance of MU cars allowing some flexibility to this line what about the MBTA getting from MNCR
the entire M6 (and maybe also the remaining M4) MTA/CDOT owned triplet fleet on their replacement by the new M8 fleet?

These cars may offer a decent - and less expensive alternative - to ordering new off-the-shelf MU cars...

These cars would be converted to 25KV AC use only and lose their DC third rail capabilities since they would strictly stay E of New Haven
and perhaps be modified to change AC voltages on the fly to 11KV to operate into New Haven when the need arises - such as keeping them
maintained there...

What these MU cars would do is to allow other MBTA cars and diesel locomotives to be used elsewhere to increase service and offer electrified CR
service for the first time...

Another thought would be for the MBTA to "cherry-pick" on either lease or buy from Amtrak the best six (or so) remaining AEM7 locomotives or
maybe even have MBTA and RIDOT look into a similar number ACS64 add-on order to allow locomotive hauled electric trains on this line...

In closing the MBTA offering faster electric service on this line in time would be a good move...MACTRAXX
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:47 pm

keep on dreaming, MBTA has openly stated that they have no interest in running electric service, for several reasons.
The M-4 and M-6's are already obsolete and some parts are un obtainable, the contract to scrap them is already signed with Frontier.
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:51 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Here's a thought: With the fast performance of MU cars allowing some flexibility to this line what about the MBTA getting from MNCR
the entire M6 (and maybe also the remaining M4) MTA/CDOT owned triplet fleet on their replacement by the new M8 fleet?

I proposed something similar a few months ago about using them on the *hypothetically electrified* Fairmount Line. However given the T's recent openness to DMUs as well as the announcement of the Track 61 project (tied in with Fairmount Line shuttles) and their signed, sealed, and delivered fate to the scrapper, the use of the M-4s and 6s is moot at this point.
These cars may offer a decent - and less expensive alternative - to ordering new off-the-shelf MU cars...

Not necessarily. IIRC the 6s actually have the worst performance rates of all the M-series cars. They would likely need some kind of significant rebuild just to bring them up to speed in that regard if they are to be used for another 15 years+. The Critical System Replacement Program from 10 years or so back was only done to keep the M-2s going for a while longer until the M-8s arrived. The winter of 2004 wreaked true havoc on the fleet and the winter of 2011 pretty much undid a great deal of that work.
These cars would be converted to 25KV AC use only and lose their DC third rail capabilities since they would strictly stay E of New Haven
and perhaps be modified to change AC voltages on the fly to 11KV to operate into New Haven when the need arises - such as keeping them
maintained there...

I don't know if keeping them maintained that far away from their service area is something the T or Metro-North/ConnDOT would be okay with.
What these MU cars would do is to allow other MBTA cars and diesel locomotives to be used elsewhere to increase service and offer electrified CR
service for the first time...

In spite of the fact that the T is rather loco and coach hungry at the moment the one thing that needs to be addressed first is track capacity at both South Station and North Station. The Fairmount Line just got a service boost and Worcester is getting the same so space will now be even more limited @ SS. And NS isn't necessarily at a choking point yet, but it could get there in the near future. Furthermore, the one northside line that merits more frequent service first and foremost -the Eastern Route- is in DIRE need of bridge replacements, passing tracks at Salem, etc. before any more trains can be added.
Another thought would be for the MBTA to "cherry-pick" on either lease or buy from Amtrak the best six (or so) remaining AEM7 locomotives or
maybe even have MBTA and RIDOT look into a similar number ACS64 add-on order to allow locomotive hauled electric trains on this line...

The AEM-7s will never find their way into the hands of the T as long as there's no place to maintain them that isn't owned by Amtrak. And at their age it doesn't do much good to have a small fleet of locos with no replacement parts available other than using another loco as a "boneyard".
In closing the MBTA offering faster electric service on this line in time would be a good move...MACTRAXX

It would help with dwell times, but having full high levels at all Providence Line stations (a top priority, to boot) would help shave dwell times in spades. The new HSP46s will have the acceleration capability to get trains into and out of the station quickly; they have been after all marketed and sold from the get go as commuter locomotives.

If SCR gets built and the electrification requirement stands THEN you've got a case for MBTA electrics. Furthermore if RIDOT still prefers electric operations for their own in-house CR they'll likely go with "whatever they're having!"
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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:41 pm

Dutch and NH2060: I figured that there would be strong opinions here and I welcome any feedback...

I did not realize that it would be a problem to keep the M6 and M4 equipment for further use and finding that even
90s and 80s vintage MU cars would be hard to maintain...I agree with the thought of even thinking of maintaining
them at NHV because of the distance away from their use area and the voltage change to access the station or
maintenance base there...

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...

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?

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Re: Why no electric locomotives?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:05 pm

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 ;-)
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