Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby njtransitrookie » Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:11 am

I'll most likely get shot for posing this question but I'm just making an observation. Were older GE's throw aways ? It would seem that there is not the number of U-Boats around as the many GP's you can still find. How was the quality ? Finally, What about the B-23's and the C series ?
Quality or not. Please don't shoot.
njtransitrookie
 

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:33 am

Not trowaways but just harder to work on so if two locomotives got shopped the EMD got fixed and GE sat outside.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer
User avatar
DutchRailnut
 
Posts: 21176
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Postby RailBus63 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:03 pm

Keep in mind that back in the day, maintenance workers had repaired EMD units for years - F-units, E-units, GP and SD units in both 567 and 645-engined versions. U-boats and Dash 7's were always in the minority and it was often an easy decision to get rid of them first. GE had also concentrated heavily on higher-horsepower road units so few regional and shortline roads had interest in those.

Now all this is changing - GE's are the majority of what has been purchased on most Class 1's since the 1980's and most shop workers are familiar with them, and several railroads have purged SD50's from their fleets along with Dash 7's. It's also worth noting that several regional railroads quickly grabbed the ex-LMX B39-8's when their BN lease ended.

Jim
User avatar
RailBus63
 
Posts: 1871
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Postby LCJ » Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:42 pm

RailBus63 wrote:...U-boats and Dash 7's were always in the minority...


This is not consistent with what I've observed. GE units were not a distinct minority at Conrail -- but yet the products from Erie were consistently earlier to the "stored serviceable" lines over the years.

I believe GE has long struggled with higher maintenance costs and failure rates as compared to GM/EMD. That's a quality issue, as I see it. I've experienced the difference in the products personally. EMDs -- at least until 1990 or so -- were far and away better locomotives (with perhaps exception of the SD50 model).

There are no "throw away" locomotives. Most major carriers have historically purchased from all available builders in the interest of stimulating competition and holding prices down.
LCJ
 

Postby njtransitrookie » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:22 am

When I said "throw away" I took this from an artical from which I read in which some people at Reading and Northern spoke about both GE and EMD. They stated that. I just see many more old EMD's vs Old GE's. I would also assume this will change as the GE's age.
njtransitrookie
 

Postby LCJ » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:38 am

As I wrote:I believe GE has long struggled with higher maintenance costs and failure rates as compared to GM/EMD. That's a quality issue, as I see it.

Historically, on the average, GEs have not been kept on rosters nearly as long as EMD units.
LCJ
 

Postby trainiac » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:29 pm

It will be interesting to see in another 10 years what happens when the earliest Dash-9's and AC's reach 20 years of age. Early Dash-8's are already being retired--but none of GE's best units (which I figure began with the late Dash-8's) are old enough yet to judge their long-term performance (as in after 25 years of age).
--Michael Eby
--http://trainiax.net
User avatar
trainiac
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:45 pm

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:32 pm

A lot of EMD's got downgraded to switcher and local service early in life while mainly all GE's were mainline locomotives that logged at 100% all of their lifes.
The GE -8-9 series are just about all mainline locomotives and even if rebuilt after 10-12 year will only last 20 years or so give about 5 more on some of them.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer
User avatar
DutchRailnut
 
Posts: 21176
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Postby pablo » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:38 pm

Dutch, I'm not sure if this agrees or disagrees with you, but I think that the earlier EMDs, as you said it, were "downgraded" mainly due to superior second generation power coming online. For instance, GP-7s and -9s might get knocked down a few rungs when the GP-20's or -35's came, which then got knocked down a peg themselves as the -2's came about. Factor in that now you aren't very likely to see four axle units slugging it out on tonnage freight instead of six axle units, and it becomes not just a factor of EMD vs. GE, but also of a change in philosophy.

I'll bet that those earliest units WERE beaten hard early in their life, and when the new power came, branch lines would be happy to take them. Were they beaten harder than the U-boats were? I don't know.

Don't forget that yesterday's shortlines and branch lines, which would have been happy with a 44-tonner, 70-tonner, or something similar, weren't around in the time of the 286,000lb car. The increase in car weights helps those first generation (now second, or third generation-what generation are we on now?) units have a natural place to go to work. It may give the appearance of longevity, when in fact, economics or physics comes into play as well. Are there places like this for older GE units? Sure....some get snatched up.

When the GEs came about, I think there was an abundance of EMD power already laying around that could work the secondary and tertiary lines, and crews that already knew how to maintain them. It wouldn't make sense to farm out some U23B's to the boonies if the shop wouldn't know what to do with them. A similar point comes from 241-engined ALCOs. Many people feel they are inferior to the 251 engines, so much so that there are ALCO roads that refuse to ever take one on. There's no question, though, that they can be good power when taken care of as appropriate. However, would you want to take on an engine that could be troublesome if you could have one of what you already knew?

Nowadays? I know that Gang Mills in NY has used a six axle GE as a switcher there, but I expect that's more out of necessity than desire. Will today's power last long enough to be used like that as often? I don't know. It seems financial angles (leases, locomotive financing) come into play here, which I don't know much about.

One last thing: it is possible that GEs are junk, but don't forget, they might not be throwaways as much as they were an example of a fledgling builder working through the growing pains. Does Alstom have issues with their New Jersey Transit units? If Brookville builds much larger units, larger than they built for Metro North (I thought I saw they signed a contract somewhere to do something bigger), will they run into the same issues?

Dave Becker
~Dave Becker
Moderator: Fairbanks-Morse Forum
pablo
 
Posts: 1472
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:58 am
Location: Warren, PA

Postby EDM5970 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:47 pm

Be careful when you say "older GEs". If you are thinking of the U-boats, while they really weren't intended to be throw away units, there were some issues with the quality of the sheet metal, and many fit and finish things. But, if you compare a U-boat with one of the industrial units from the 1940s or 1950s, you have to ask yourself if the same company built both units.

I was at one time somewhat familiar with the U-30B that just got rendered over in Pennsylvania, and have pulled electrical parts off a few other U-boat and Dash-7s. There was a lot of variation, even within the same model, as to where certain electrical devices were located. Not the best practise for troubleshooting-

I saw a nice 45T a few weeks ago, built in 1942. Very solid construction, and made with decent steel. It will be interesting to see just what a U-25 looks like at age 64. I think you will also find that there are more Alco Centuries around than U-boats, even though there were many more U-boats built. Hopefully the quality at GE has gotten better in the last 30 years.
EDM5970
 
Posts: 801
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:59 pm
Location: NJ

Postby Alcoman » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:32 am

I have heard the term"Throw away " used in reference to the FDL prime mover. I have been told that when a GE Prime mover is worn out, its really worn out! I have heard that its cheaper to dispose of the prime mover in a GE than rebuild it. This has been stated by people who have worked on both GE and Alcos. I suspect that it has something to do with the FDL block itself.
Alco prime movers on the other hand have been rebuilt over and over again unless there is a problem with the block.
How many GE's have you heard of that have been "rebuilt"? Very few if any especialy the older "U" boat models.
Alcoman
 
Posts: 1562
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: Somewhere

Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:41 am

Compared to ALCO a GE and EMD don't even have a engine block anymore, the welded shell that holds the power assemblies and crankshaft can hardly be called a block.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer
User avatar
DutchRailnut
 
Posts: 21176
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Postby GEVO » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:59 pm

Compared to ALCO a GE and EMD don't even have a engine block anymore, the welded shell that holds the power assemblies and crankshaft can hardly be called a block.


The GE FDL, HDL, and EVO all have a cast frame, unlike the welded EMD's. As for it not being an actual block so to speak, you can remove a single failed power assembly and replace it alone saving the railroads many, many dollars in repairs over rebuilding an entire engine that has a full block. Downtime is also very minimal to do such a repair.

I have been told that when a GE Prime mover is worn out, its really worn out! I have heard that its cheaper to dispose of the prime mover in a GE than rebuild it.


The FDL's can and are rebuilt over and over again as needed. They do it every day at a very substantial savings over new. The only time one would be scrapped is if the frame was damaged beyond repair. But even some frame damage can be fixed via metal stitch. Pretty much everything is reused except the rings, bearings, and seals. If someone is telling you otherwise, they don't have any idea what they are talking about.
GEVO
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:15 am

Postby EDM5970 » Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:14 pm

EMDs, Alcos and for that matter Baldwins can also have one cylinder liner, piston and head replaced at a time. Power assemblies are not a GE exclusive, as perhaps unintentionally implied by GEVO.

Locomotive diesels are not at all like an automobile, which frequently has a one piece block, with the cylinders cast, bored and honed as part of the block.
EDM5970
 
Posts: 801
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:59 pm
Location: NJ

Postby GEVO » Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:58 pm

I'm sorry if I was misunderstood. My only reference to EMD was that they use a welded frame while GE uses one that is cast. It was implied above that the Alco has a block and the EMD and GE do not so they are inferior. Just stated the advantages of having individual power assemblies, no mention of EMD there.
GEVO
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:15 am

Next

Return to General Electric

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests