Were GE's Throw Away's ?

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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby obsessed railfan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:06 pm

Earlier in this thread I speculated that a major contributor for the premature demise of the early domestic Universals was lack of proper maintenance, and I also mentioned a positive comment from a former railroader who had good things to say about his railroad's early GE's. I'd like to briefly quote another positive comment from a former New Haven railroader, which was originally posted elsewhere.
As a former employee of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and a crew member of a 3 tripper from Boston to Cedar Hill, New Haven on U25B we had excellent luck with them ... The U25B was the work horse of the Shoreline Freight Division


He also goes on to mention lack of maintenance:
...the main problem I saw was the lack of preventive maintainence.[sic] When the unit was not maintained properly and the engine filters (oil - air - breather) were not replaced or cleaned and serviced as per the mfg. the engine would blow engine oil out of the breathers due to possible back pressure in the crankcase. I never was on one that broke down on a run.
As far as I am concerned "THEY TOOK A LICKING AND KEPT ON TICKING"


More proof that there are good things to say about early GE's, from actual crew members.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:51 pm

Obsessed railfan--
Thank you for posting that! I remember one conversation from the 1970s about motive power in the ex-New Haven part of Penn Central: someone saying that the U25B were very smooth-riding compared to the other types in use in that region.

As for the problem… The first time I ever heard the expression "deferred maintenance," it was in reference to the New Haven.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby trainiac » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:23 pm

While I am not surprised to see GE Dash-9's being rebuilt into AC units, I have been a little surprised over the past year to see the "EMD rebuild/GE retire" trend so strongly affect models built in the late 1980s - when EMD faltered and GE improved.

The first surprise is how many SD50's are still running. The SD50 was EMD's mis-step from the 1980s, and many were retired or sold from their original owners. Some series (such as CN's fleet of SD50F's) have been mostly scrapped. However, despite the model's less-than-stellar reputation, several Class I's (including CSX, KCS and NS) are still using SD50's, either original or rebuilt. The GE equivalents were the C36-7 and C39-8 - which are all but extinct (certainly on Class I roads).

The second surprise is how quickly the Dash 8-40C has disappeared. The 1987 line of Dash-8's were part of what made GE market leader, but most Dash 8-40C's are now retired and many have been scrapped. One could rightly claim that they reached a respectable 25-30 years of service and were worn out - but there again, a greater percentage of SD60's from the same era are still in service and are being rebuilt, despite being in the minority sales-wise. I can see how rebuilding a Dash-8 is less attractive since it can't be easily rebuilt with AC motors the way a Dash-9 can - but neither can an SD60. Barring parts availability, additional costs or reliability, it seems to me the NS Dash 8.5 rebuild program should not (in theory) have been much different from their SD60E's.

I'm also curious about rust. When I railfanned Dash-7 units on the MMA, I noticed several "B-boats" had patches or panels to replace rusted-out areas under the cab and below the radiator intakes. Not a huge issue - but I don't know if EMD's have the same problem.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby MEC407 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:47 pm

trainiac wrote:The second surprise is how quickly the Dash 8-40C has disappeared. The 1987 line of Dash-8's were part of what made GE market leader, but most Dash 8-40C's are now retired and many have been scrapped.


Respectfully, I disagree with this. Just look at CN. They did something fairly remarkable a few years ago: they purchased more than 75 Dash 8-40Cs (former UP and CNW units), and they rebuilt them with new cooling systems and some other life-extending upgrades. They also purchased approximately 70 Dash 8-40CWs (former BNSF/ATSF) and have rebuilt those as well. Their total Dash 8 roster outnumbers their total SD50-series and SD60-series roster.

As if that wasn't enough, one of the most anti-GE railroads in America has now embraced GE with the equivalent of a bear hug: Pan Am purchased 24 Dash 8-40Cs and a smaller but significant number of Dash 8-40Bs. These will be replacing, not supplementing, many of PAR's EMDs. And this is a railroad whose former General Manager of Locomotives once told me that they would never, ever, EVER go back to GE. Well, they did go back, and in a big way. And GE is keeping them happy by supplying them with new and rebuilt spare parts at affordable prices, as well as a full suite of so-called "digital solutions" to help the railroad run more efficiently. GE even used Pan Am as the subject of a recent case study. Other regionals and shortlines are watching very carefully and some are following PAR's lead.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby MEC407 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:49 pm

trainiac wrote:I'm also curious about rust. . . . I don't know if EMD's have the same problem.


Newer ones certainly do. Providence & Worcester Railroad and Vermont Rail System both had to do significant rust repairs on the preowned SD70M-2s they acquired.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby MEC407 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:02 am

Follow-up: CSX has sold all but a handful of their SD60s, SD60Ms, and SD60Is, and the few that are still in service will eventually be sold as well. They've also sold all of their SD70ACes.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby es80ac » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:43 am

I am surprised to hear SD70ACe being disposed of on CSX, although it seems like SD70ACe has always had a particular bad reputation on CSX vs the other railroads.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby NorthWest » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:02 pm

CSX only had 20 pre-production units which were pretty awful. They've had electrical issues as well as the Thundercab nonisolated cab which crews don't like.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby mp15ac » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:58 pm

Look at how CP hasn't bought a new "EMD" since the SD90MAC fiasco. But they've bought lots of GE's.

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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby trainiac » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:52 pm

Respectfully, I disagree with this. Just look at CN. They did something fairly remarkable a few years ago: they purchased more than 75 Dash 8-40Cs (former UP and CNW units), and they rebuilt them with new cooling systems and some other life-extending upgrades. They also purchased approximately 70 Dash 8-40CWs (former BNSF/ATSF) and have rebuilt those as well. Their total Dash 8 roster outnumbers their total SD50-series and SD60-series roster.


That's true - but CN also purchased almost 100 former EMD/Oakway SD60's at the same time. I also would be wrong if I had been referring to the entire SD60 and Dash-8 series, but I was referring specifically to the SD50 vs. C36-7/C39-8 and SD60 vs. Dash 8-40C, not the SD60M/I/F or the Dash 8-40CW. Among original owners of the Dash 8-40C, all CSX, NS, ex-CR and ex-CNW units have been retired/sold/scrapped, which leaves only UP units (from what I can tell, half to 2/3 still on the UP roster). Among original owners of the SD60, most ex-CR, KCS, NS and UP units are still in service on their original/merged roads or subsidiaries, with CNW, Oakway and SOO units - and apparently, now CSX units - retired/sold. (*Edit: I can see how my wording in my last post about Dash 8-40C's "disappearing" is ambiguous - I was thinking of original owners and those that have been scrapped, not so much about those that have been resold)

As if that wasn't enough, one of the most anti-GE railroads in America has now embraced GE with the equivalent of a bear hug: Pan Am purchased 24 Dash 8-40Cs and a smaller but significant number of Dash 8-40Bs. These will be replacing, not supplementing, many of PAR's EMDs. And this is a railroad whose former General Manager of Locomotives once told me that they would never, ever, EVER go back to GE. Well, they did go back, and in a big way. And GE is keeping them happy by supplying them with new and rebuilt spare parts at affordable prices, as well as a full suite of so-called "digital solutions" to help the railroad run more efficiently. GE even used Pan Am as the subject of a recent case study. Other regionals and shortlines are watching very carefully and some are following PAR's lead.


It's an interesting case, and I'll be curious to see if other short lines follow the same lead. Many of Pan Am's older EMD's seemed tired and I can imagine Dash-8's are an upgrade. But there again, right next to Pan Am is the CMQ/former MMA, which went from an almost all-GE road to mostly EMD - replacing Dash-8's on local freights with GP35u's and GP38-3's that (although rebuilt) are 20 years older.

The thing with bringing up specific railroads is that you can find an anecdote to favour just about any model. I think the only way to gauge the success of a model is to look at the entirety of its production. I like GE units and I think the Dash 8-40C has had a very successful run - but as a whole, the age/in-service numbers still don't match the SD60. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the Dash-9 series approaches parity with the SD70 series.
Last edited by trainiac on Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby D40LF » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:23 pm

mp15ac wrote:Look at how CP hasn't bought a new "EMD" since the SD90MAC fiasco. But they've bought lots of GE's.

Stuart


While those MACs did set them off, one can't forget the many ECO units they've bought from EMD in the last 5 years. These locos are essentially new aside from the recycled truck frames and a few other odd ands ends. Now GE does offer better financing and lower prices. Also, for railroads like CP that don't buy as many new units as other roads, there are benefits to sticking with just one manufacturer.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby trainiac » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:28 pm

Follow-up: CSX has sold all but a handful of their SD60s, SD60Ms, and SD60Is, and the few that are still in service will eventually be sold as well. They've also sold all of their SD70ACes.


...Along with all 7300-7396 series Dash 8-40CW's, which amount to about the same number as the SD60 variations. These would appear to be Harrison-related roster cuts.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:46 pm

CP did borrow a couple of BNSF Ace units to test. As for the SOO SD60 fleet, the first 20 were let go on lease expiration, and I have seen some for sale on asset disposal site. Many others have been renumbered as CP6200 series, 200 above the SOO number. I was on one which had ccb brake, and a new display screen replace its 26L and gauges. They are doing that to the GP38 fleet too. I’m unaware of many 90macs actually finding a buyer. I’m surprised NS didn’t add to the ex UP rebuild program. Some did come out of mothballs when the oil boom was in full swing.


Now CP has engaged in a program to rebuild AC4400s. Most seem to be from the second series. These have new cabs, and other upgrades. I have had one, but it was trailing. I want to see if they respond better, like the ES series. I have also noticed the trucks are now rollerblades, instead of self steering. This same truck swap has occurred on some of the 8700 series ES44. The first order had desk controls, and steerable trucks.
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Re: Were GE's Throw Away's ?

Postby D40LF » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:21 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:Now CP has engaged in a program to rebuild AC4400s. Most seem to be from the second series. These have new cabs, and other upgrades. I have had one, but it was trailing. I want to see if they respond better, like the ES series. I have also noticed the trucks are now rollerblades, instead of self steering. This same truck swap has occurred on some of the 8700 series ES44. The first order had desk controls, and steerable trucks.


Yeah CP is rebuilding some AC4400CWs As AC4400CWMs. 30 (8100-8129) were rebuilt last year, and 50 more will supposedly be done this year. The truck changes on the GEVOs and these units are because the steerable trucks cost more to maintain.

I have heard rumors about them eventually looking at an SD70ACU style rebuild for the MACs, but nothing has been confirmed. They obviously don't want new Tier 4 power.
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