Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

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Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:49 pm

Pardon the flight of fancy, but I had a thought today and wanted to bounce it off our fine GE Forum members.

Question: Could Amtrak or a subcontractor convert a Genesis into a road-switcher with HEP, like the Santa Fe made F units into CF7s?

Rationale: Eventually, Amtrak will get new passenger road locomotives. Once that happens, they'll be left with a bunch of tired Geneses waiting to become razors. They also have a bunch of already-tired work and road-switcher power, including but not limited to P32-8BWHs, GP-38-3Hs, and new MPI products. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Idea: Take a Genesis. Cut off the crew cab, then attach it and the electrical/mechanical guts onto a new frame (with front and rear platforms) with a new, smaller fuel tank if necessary. Put a hood over the 16-7FDL (rebuilt to the current Tier spec in the meantime), alternator, and all the other stuff. Rebuild and regear the trucks and motors to gain more acceleration at low speeds. Paint it all in blue and platinum mist. Call it a day!

I'm picturing something that looks like a four-fifths scale, less-homely version of this: http://www.trainweb.org/csxphotos/photo ... 9CSX-g.jpg

Potential problems:
-Could all the necessary parts and new frame still fit into a NYP-sized package?
-Can the 16-7FDL be upgraded to the new Tier (0?)
-How would this perform in switching, work, and passenger service, knowing that GEs aren't always well-regarded in those fields?
-Will enough components be usable from the old locomotive?
-Would it be more cost-effective to just buy road-switchers?

So - what do you think?
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:34 pm

no, you need to build entirly new locomotive around the FDL engine.
The Genesis has no frame but a Monoque body, building a new frame and cab would get you a B40.8
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby MEC407 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:51 am

It wouldn't be impossible, but as Dutch implied, you'd basically be building a brand new locomotive and then filling it with old components. It would cost an awful lot of money... probably almost as much as buying new purpose-built roadswitchers (which would perform better and use less fuel).

It's an interesting idea (I wonder about these types of things all the time myself!)... but the Genesis design is so passenger-specific from the ground up that it just doesn't lend itself to this type of conversion.

It might even be slightly more cost-effective to keep these units in passenger service and repower them with a smaller engine(s), similar to what GO Transit has done with their MP40s (repowered with Cummins engines). Then you'd be able to meet Tier 3, Tier 4, and beyond.
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:20 pm

Duly noted about the frame - I mentioned that in my first post as well - but again, that didn't stop the Santa Fe. I'm honestly curious why it was economical for ATSF to rebuild 233 F units (built 25 years before the CF7 program started, plus or minus 5 years), but you don't believe it would be economical for Amtrak or a third party to rebuild 200-some P40DC and P42DC units (currently 21 years old and younger.) Are the Geneses that worn out, has technology advanced enough to make it a fool's errand (particularly re: fuel use and DC traction), or would it just be too tough to fit 269,000 lbs of used GE passenger locomotive into an NEC-sized semi-unstreamlined HEP-equipped box?

Related to my last thought, if Amtrak ordered a new dual-service fleet to replace the BWHs, what components from Amtrak's existing locomotives do you think would warrant reuse?

I'm intrigued by your idea to refit a new prime mover, MEC407. Personally I doubt Amtrak would take that step, but another passenger carrier might see a reengined Genesis as a cheap way to bulk up its fleet.
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby v8interceptor » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:36 am

mtuandrew wrote:Duly noted about the frame - I mentioned that in my first post as well - but again, that didn't stop the Santa Fe. I'm honestly curious why it was economical for ATSF to rebuild 233 F units (built 25 years before the CF7 program started, plus or minus 5 years), but you don't believe it would be economical for Amtrak or a third party to rebuild 200-some P40DC and P42DC units (currently 21 years old and younger.) Are the Geneses that worn out, has technology advanced enough to make it a fool's errand (particularly re: fuel use and DC traction), or would it just be too tough to fit 269,000 lbs of used GE passenger locomotive into an NEC-sized semi-unstreamlined HEP-equipped box?

Related to my last thought, if Amtrak ordered a new dual-service fleet to replace the BWHs, what components from Amtrak's existing locomotives do you think would warrant reuse?

I'm intrigued by your idea to refit a new prime mover, MEC407. Personally I doubt Amtrak would take that step, but another passenger carrier might see a reengined Genesis as a cheap way to bulk up its fleet.



The CF7 were heavy rebuilds that required the fabrication of new roadswicher type frames and that would be necessary if someone wanted to remanufacture P40/P42's as freight units. There is no technical reason that this couldn't be done but:
A.4000 HP BB units are not very fuel efficient for low speed services like Amtrak work trains. Some of the Class 1 certainly do use remaining high HP 4 axles (i.e GP60s,B40-8s)for such work but it's not ideal.
B. The cost of remanufacturing a Genesis as you suggest would certainly be more expensive than buying a quality "pre-owned" 4 axle locomotive (even a recently remaufactured one). I strongly suspect it would be in the same price range as the (mostly) brand new Gensets Amtrak has been purchasing for work trains and without the fuel efficiency advantages.
When ATSF was building CF7s the cost-per-unit was much lower than a new Gp38/38-2 so it made sense financially.
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby MEC407 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:30 pm

I agree with v8interceptor's post, and I would also point out that Union Pacific recently auctioned off a big batch of Dash 8-40Bs and most of them sold for around $50K to $60K each. I guarantee it would cost a lot more than that to transform a Genesis into a Dash 8-40BH. If Amtrak was in fact interested in such a locomotive, it would be cheaper to simply buy a Dash 8-40B, Dash 8-39B, GP40, etc., and add a small HEP genset. Some will say there's not enough room, but it can be done -- Vermont Rail System added HEP to one of their GP38s a few years ago when they were briefly operating a commuter rail service. There are creative ways to shoe-horn those things into place. Even if it involved an extension of the frame and hood, it would still be less costly than building a whole new frame and body for Genesis innards.

New passenger locomotives are extremely expensive. We're talking at least $5 million each, and that's just a starting point. Some recent commuter locomotives have sold for up to $10 million each. Amtrak's Genesis locomotives have much more value to Amtrak (or other passenger rail operators) as passenger locomotives. Even if it cost $1 million to re-engine one, that's a much greater bargain than $5-$10 million for a brand new passenger locomotive, and a better use of assets than tearing them apart and spending possibly millions to turn them into roadswitchers, when there are ready-to-run roadswitchers being auctioned off for not much more than scrap value. (see my UP example above)

Please don't feel like I'm trying to rain on your parade, mtuandrew. I love ideas like yours, and it's the sort of thing I ponder all the time. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't. That's not your fault, and it was certainly a valid question for you to ask. :)
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:48 pm

Understood, MEC407, and no hard feelings taken. Your numbers about the sale price of those ex-UP Dash 8-40Bs put things into perspective about why it wouldn't be worth Amtrak's while.
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby MEC407 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:25 pm

To put things into further perspective: UP also auctioned off a few EMD MP15DC switchers, and those fetched between $180K and $210K each. That's a direct reflection of where the demand is right now: small switchers of moderate horsepower.

I'm very curious to find out who purchased those UP Dash 8-40Bs. Whoever it was certainly got a bargain. The "what-if" part of my brain has visions of GE snapping them up, rebuilding them with I-6 GEVO engines, and reselling them as ES22Bs to compete with the GP20ECO and the various genset units.
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby v8interceptor » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:27 pm

MEC407 wrote:To put things into further perspective: UP also auctioned off a few EMD MP15DC switchers, and those fetched between $180K and $210K each. That's a direct reflection of where the demand is right now: small switchers of moderate horsepower.

I'm very curious to find out who purchased those UP Dash 8-40Bs. Whoever it was certainly got a bargain. The "what-if" part of my brain has visions of GE snapping them up, rebuilding them with I-6 GEVO engines, and reselling them as ES22Bs to compete with the GP20ECO and the various genset units.


CSX has purchased quite a few units from UP. There is a recent thread on the CSX forum of this fine site about it:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=152326

I suspect they will downrate the units to 2,000 HP, as they are already doing with their existing B40-8 fleet. Not nearly as fuel efficient as rebuilding/repowering them but I guess the price is right and they are very familiar with the model...
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby v8interceptor » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:04 pm

v8interceptor wrote:
MEC407 wrote:To put things into further perspective: UP also auctioned off a few EMD MP15DC switchers, and those fetched between $180K and $210K each. That's a direct reflection of where the demand is right now: small switchers of moderate horsepower.

I'm very curious to find out who purchased those UP Dash 8-40Bs. Whoever it was certainly got a bargain. The "what-if" part of my brain has visions of GE snapping them up, rebuilding them with I-6 GEVO engines, and reselling them as ES22Bs to compete with the GP20ECO and the various genset units.


CSX has purchased quite a few units from UP. There is a recent thread on the CSX forum of this fine site about it:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=152326

I suspect they will downrate the units to 2,000 HP, as they are already doing with their existing B40-8 fleet. Not nearly as fuel efficient as rebuilding/repowering them but I guess the price is right and they are very familiar with the model...


After further review it would seem that CSX has not bought any second hand B40-8s from UP (at least there has been no verification of this from any source)so I retract my above comment...
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby sd80mac » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:04 pm

v8interceptor wrote: After further review it would seem that CSX has not bought any second hand B40-8s from UP (at least there has been no verification of this from any source)so I retract my above comment...



this is for UP locomotives only...

a rule thumb on UP selling their locos. UP have practice, ASSUME that they contiune to do so, that they placed all of their locomotives into 9800 and 9900 series. These lucky locos who recieved these numbers will have these new numbers up to 2 years and are slated to be 1. sold, 2. scrapped, or 3. salvaged for parts.

source - one of these railroad magazies (not sure which one but most likely Trains mags) few or several years ago, depend on how fast time fly by.. LOL..

That's when I found it odd to see that UP sold them in 1800 series and QUICKLY painted into YN3B. Which made me to ask Lady Penelope where they were being assigned to so I can see it for myself... Obviously that was never answered...

just remember... whenever you see UP 9800's 9900's go by you, say good bye to them... yes, assume if UP contiune practice that way...
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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby Bryanjones » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:48 am

MEC407 wrote:To put things into further perspective: UP also auctioned off a few EMD MP15DC switchers, and those fetched between $180K and $210K each. That's a direct reflection of where the demand is right now: small switchers of moderate horsepower.

I'm very curious to find out who purchased those UP Dash 8-40Bs. Whoever it was certainly got a bargain. The "what-if" part of my brain has visions of GE snapping them up, rebuilding them with I-6 GEVO engines, and reselling them as ES22Bs to compete with the GP20ECO and the various genset units.


A small handful of the UP B40-8's were sold to Larry's Truck Electric in Ohio. 2 units were sold to Western Rail Inc for lease and possible sale to a shortline/regional in Idaho. Most if not all of the rest in the auction were sold to a scrap outfit. You can count on the pair of Western Rail units to be the only ones to operate again.

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Re: Genesis - conversion to road-switcher?

Postby Engineer Spike » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:40 am

The best rebuild for a P40/42 would be to put a 251 in them......no better yet a 710! Chevy power!!!!!
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