GP49H-3 horsepower

Discussion about Florida commuter rail operations including Miami/Dade Metrorail, Sunrail (Orlando), and Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority in southern Florida. All Aboard Florida (Brightline) is discussed here: Florida East Coast Railway).

Moderator: Kurt-Trirail

GP49H-3 horsepower

Postby Kurt-Trirail » Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:35 pm

Not that anyone asked, but I found it interesting that in all the Google searches in regards to the GP49's, no mention has been made about the fact that the original 2,800 horsepower rating of the 12-645's were de-rated after the rebuild to 2,400.

Considering this fact, it is little wonder that they're double heading them just to get adequate speed our of them (especially over the New River).

I do not know if they were re-geared during the rebuild or not - that would obviously have an effect on their performance as well, I would expect.

This said, with all the experimentation TRCX has done over the years with their units, these GP49's are, in a way, an indirect testimonial to the original F40PHL-2's and the later F40PH-2C's.

While the F40PHL-2's have required some additional maintenance in the last few years, they have held up remarkably well, considering their age, and their 3200 HP rating does well to give the TRCX consists a sharp 'get-up and go'. The shaft-driven HEP is probably the only drawback to these units, and I dare say a similar CAT generator conversion as done on ex-AMTK F40's 810 and 811 would ideally suit these units in the years to come (even though the few feet of extended carbody over the rear anticlimber would ruin the sharp aesthetics of these machines - but railroads aren't about aesthetics, are they?)

Likewise, the three F40PH-2C units on the roster have shown their worthiness as well, and I dare say, the MKO/MPI PH-2C and 3C locomotives themselves have shown themselves to be excellent performers on every commuter line they've run on. Considering that Alamont Commuter Express recently succeeded in having MPI produce a new F40PH-3C for their service, I do not see why TRCX did not try to do so as well. Even the new MP36/40PH units would have been better choices over the 49's.

That said, the brainchild of the 49H-3s was the same fellow who conjured up the GP39H-2's for MARC. "Buy what you know about" applies here, I gather. Anyone know about the track record of the GP39H-2's at MARC?

Take care,

-Kurt
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Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:30 pm

2400 HP is ample for the three car trains over flat territory except for
maybe 2/10's of a mile crossing over the New River Bridge. I well
remember 1750 HP FL-9's on the New Haven Railroad on a tight schedule
over a line that was not exactly flat and with 6 or 7 cars.
An extra engine is assigned to one or two trains for emergencies, in case
one is needed on the road. This was explained to a group of us on a
recent tour of Tri-Rail facilities.
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Postby Kurt-Trirail » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:06 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:An extra engine is assigned to one or two trains for emergencies, in case
one is needed on the road. This was explained to a group of us on a
recent tour of Tri-Rail facilities.


Considering that TRCX has rarely double-headed their consists to such an extent in the past as they do now, I find it hard to believe that it is in the name of preventing delays due to failed equipment.

HEP units and traction motors have died on TRCX in the past with little care paid to such incidents - double heading was an event that, previous to the GP49s (and after the early years, of which I know far too little about) was reserved for units that just returned from rebuilding and were being put through their paces.

Noel Weaver wrote:...except for
maybe 2/10's of a mile crossing over the New River Bridge.


...which is my main suspicion as to their promiscuous use of double headers at present.

This said, with extra units tied up pushing consists over the New River bridge, this engineering disaster (the New River Bridge, that is), has effectively tied up most of this new reserve power that TRCX bought specifically for running more consists every 30 minutes.

On that note, frequency still remains unsolved for weekends, which still runs a sole two sets of three cars for each 2-hour increment (with South Florida government behind the project, I should have expected this). True, ridership is lower on the weekends, but that doesn't serve as an excuse to lower frequency to a point where those who might potentially utilize the service during Sat/Sun will simply opt to drive. If nothing else, add two other consists to run them every 1 hour, and let it be with only two Bombardiers if need be.

Take care,

-Kurt
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Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:03 am

In my opinion, this is the same situation that exists with the Broward
County bus system. There is way too little service on major bus routes
and in main residential areas. No late night service and many routes have
a maximum service of every half hour. It is much too time consuming to
make a trip in this area by bus or a combination of bus and train.
I would love to be able to take public transportation up to the hobby shop
at Lantana once a month but hourly bus service on the Palm Beach
County end and lack of a train connection makes a 30 minute automobile
trip each way into a all day affair. This is the biggest problem with both
Tri-Rail and local bus service.
If I wanted to attend a concert or a sporting event in Miami in the
evening, I must drive even though I could easily get there by public
transportation. Problem is that I can't get back here after 9:20 PM in
the evening and concert events or ball games do not end that early.
On the other subject, I still maintain that Tri-Rail trains have adequate
power, all of them. I ran trains all over the place in the New York and
Connecticut area and we had nowhere near the power that Tri-Rail trains
today have and we had grades to deal with too.
Rather than maintain an emergency crew at a location with an engine,
Tri-Rail elects to have an extra engine on one or two rush hour trains and
in the event a train becomes disabled due to engine problems, it is simple
enough as a rule to stop along side the disabled train and have the
engineer(s) separate the extra unit for use on the disabled train. These
engines are of a proven technology and are generally reliable, breakdown
problems can occur but they are not frequent events.
As for the New River Bridge, it is not even a bump, a GP-9 could handle
the average train over that structure without a problem.
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