Was the C30-7A a bargain basement locomotive?

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Re: Was the C30-7A a bargain basement locomotive?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:27 pm

Engineer Spike--
Sounds plausible. I have read somewhere that Conrail asked GE for more C30-7(*) but that GE said they had discontinued the model, and would they take the 12-cylinder version. So it may be that Conrail specified "O.k., we'll take the 12-cylinder engine, but everything else has to be just like the ten C30-7 we bought a few years ago."

As for their early retirement... Some were sold for further use, to the Estonian railway when it was under common management with Wisconsin Central and England, Scotland and Wales. The innards of others went to Australia to be used in rebuilding old Alcos. So the engines and generators weren't worn out. I'd guess (but this is JUST a GUESS) that they were retired in part because "these are weird, nobody else has any, there are only 50 of them... and the GE spare parts people can never find the catalogue when we need something." (Grin!)

(*) A bit weird in itself. The C30-7A were part of Conrail's 1984 locomotive order. Their 1983 order had included B36-7. I would have thought he obvious thing for Conrail to think would have been "O.k., 3,000 hp has been standard for mainline freight diesels since the mid 1970s, but it looks like 3,600 is the new 3,000: we want to get trains over the Berkshires, so let's buy C36-7, which will have parts commonality with the GE units we ordered last year." But-- despite ordering SD50 from that other locomotive builder-- they asked for 3,000 hp six-axle units... only to get C36-7 in 1985. Conrail locomotive policy usually seems sensible to me, but this little waver is strange.
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Re: Was the C30-7A a bargain basement locomotive?

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:14 pm

What I was thinking was since the B&A is slow speed, they were more concerned with the tractive effort than speed (HP). Didn't the X36-7 have an upgraded wheel system though? It could be that for the slight increase in speed (300 vs. 3600), in the mountains, the extra fuel consumption was not worth it.

By the 1990s, they were not used as much. By that time the SD60 and C40-8 could just about replace them in a 4:3 ratio. The early retirement could be the in between technology of the -7 vs. -8. In general, how many used C30-7s are there? MM&A, LS&I. For whatever reason, the -2 GM line has been preferred on the used market. I don't know much about the parts costs of the older GE vs. GM, nor the ease of repair. It could either be a bean counter or a mechanical dept. preference.
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