BL-15 #50 - Repower

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby scotty269 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:00 pm

Looks like #50 will be getting a new lease on life!

http://www.septa.org/business/bid/100k/ ... 2-JLC.html

PS: I've seen 50 referred to as a BL15 and also a RL1500. What's the official designation?

Looking ahead to the fall, what's the status on the other locomotives/control cars? Are 51/52/60/61 in active service? Likewise, how are 615/622 doing?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:49 pm

Aren't the RLs 60 and 61?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Jersey_Mike » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:17 am

Has anyone noticed that the two "BL15" engines (former SW1200's) that SEPTA already gave a "new lease on life" to, are now needing another lease on life? Does anyone know when they were last rebuilt, because I don't think it was all that long ago. This is what happens when you put a CAT road engine in a locomotive, they crap out after about 5-10 years. Now SEPTA is going to turn it into some kind of Genset engine. Wash, rinse, repeat.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:51 am

Was there some kind of environmental grant for that re-power, or am I confusing that with some other project?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby scotty269 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:22 am

SW1200 #52 was rebuilt in late-2007.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby ex Budd man » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:21 pm

Engine 50 & 51 are Cat powered BL1500's, rebuilt from SW1200's. Engine 52 is still a SW1200. This past fall/winter it got a rebuilt EMD 645 prime mover. RL1000a 60 & 61 are rebuilt Geeps, also Cat powered by 1000hp V8s. The 'a' designation notes the change from a screw compressor to a Wabco piston pump and removal of the muffler.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Jersey_Mike » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:31 pm

First, 60 and 61 are only 1000hp? I thought they were 1500. Second please note that 52 went 50 some odd years on its original engine, 50/51 went what...10?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:32 pm

And it's not like they get real rough service such as drilling strings of freight cars three shifts a day.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Jersey_Mike » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:15 am

Matthew Mitchell wrote:And it's not like they get real rough service such as drilling strings of freight cars three shifts a day.


There's a huge difference between diesel engines optimized for road duty and engines optimized for rail/marine duty. In essence it comes down to big pistons moving slowly vs small pistons moving quickly. The latter is more reliable as not only are the bits moving slower there are fewer parts to move and way fewer combustion events, which is the fundamental unit of wear and tear in an internal combustion engine. Over the years engines from both EMD and GE have seen rising cylinder displacement and more power per cylinder. GE's EVO engine is their largest yet and had EMD's latest new engine design been built in the tradition of their previous ones and...actually worked, it would have been listed as the 1010 compared with their currently available 710.

Road use engines have a major requirement that rail use engines don't generally have and that's namely throttle response, which applies even with dealing with construction equipment or smaller marine craft where many of these engines are deployed. Smaller displacement engines have lower internal mass and thus can respond more quickly to power demands and as they run at double or triple the RPM of a traditional rail use diesel the higher rate of combustion events can also decrease the amount of time it takes the engine to get up to full load.

The problem is that internal combustion engines tend not to enjoy being run at high RPM for extended periods of time. Railroad locomotives don't have a red band starting at Run 6 and thrashing the engine is generally a much better alternative than stalling out on a grade. Rescuing dead push-pull trainsets day in, day out is going to tax a small switch engine trying to get up the ramp onto the Reading viaduct or making a quick move at an interlocking. A related issue are engines that can work well at constant speed (even full load), but not varying speed. This is what killed Fairbanks-Morse because their opposed piston diesels were designed for marine use where they could run weeks without a throttle change, not the constant changes seen in rail service. If the current CAT lineup includes engines designed for stationary and heavy marine use, I would not be surprised if constant speed changes will start getting to them.

Anyway, just some food for thought for the SEPTA's of the world just in case the next time one of their re-power locomotives craps out and Federal grants aren't around to replace them.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby ex Budd man » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:42 pm

We (Septa) got the three SW1200s in 1986-7 from Chrome Locomotive which put rebuilt 567B V12s with 645 power assemblies into freshened up frames. PLW came in in the 90s with a 1500hp end cab switcher as a demonstrater I believe that was Cat powered. That may be where the idea came from to acquire Cat powered locos.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:10 pm

So the prime movers are 15 years old?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby Jersey_Mike » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:39 am

Matthew Mitchell wrote:So the prime movers are 15 years old?


50 and 51 got new 1500hp diesel engines when they were rebuilt as BL15's. I don't know if they are CAT or not, but everything I have found indicates they no longer have their original EMD prime movers. The original 80's rebuild was a standard trick that could be applied to the original EMD 567 diesel engines. The only major dimensional difference between a 567 and a 645 was the cylinder bore so one is able to replace the cylinder, cylinder head, piston and piston rods in a 567 engine with those of a 645 design to create a hybrid engine that generally has 645 performance in a 567 block. So to answer your question the majority of 52's engine is original to the unit.

If you go out west you might notice a lot of GP30's and GP35's running around on BNSF. These all got this rebuild treatment in the 1980's.
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby NorthPennLimited » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:36 pm

.....They must be repowering the 50 at a rate of one bolt per day.

How long did it take to build Titanic?
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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby 25Hz » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:17 pm

NorthPennLimited wrote:.....They must be repowering the 50 at a rate of one bolt per day.

How long did it take to build Titanic?


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Re: BL-15 #50 - Repower

Postby N.E.Pennsy » Sat May 31, 2014 6:44 am

I don't recall hearing #50 being returned to service; any updates?
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