That Pesky EMD v GE Thing

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GE's

Postby SD Shortline » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:50 pm

I was siding more towards Class 1's, I should have pointed that out.

Granted the fact that there are several 44, 70, and 80 Tonners around. Dakota Southern has a 70 Tonner that was retired when the heads started leaking water. The Army seems to like their 80 Tonners. How many regionals and shortlines have purchased C30-7's though?

Shortlines tend to purchase whatever they can afford, and not to knock GE's but they seem to be cheaper than a comparative EMD. So one would think C30-7's would be desireable for price but I guess parts availability comes into the equations.

Allen makes a good point, which were disposed of first of comparative models?

Several GE (any U-Boat just about) and Alco (244 powered) ( as well as EMD's (SD50))models didn't even make it to 20-year depreciation or even service marks on Class 1's. Some Class 1's have relatively unmodified first generation locomotives plugging away, any most Class 1's have some sort of rebuilt EMD of any age.

4000 SD40-2's, 1200 C30-7's but how many C30-7's do Class 1's operate now? I think UP and BNsf for the most part have de-roster all C30-7's. C30-7's were said to be equal to an SD40-2 in just about every category except railfanability.

I don't think wide cab desktop GE or EMD's will make good switch locomtives. SD40-2s seem to right at home, I can't say a C30-7 wouldn't but are there any in Class 1 switch service?

As I said before, railfans view locomotives different than railroads.
SD Shortline
 

Postby AmtrakFan » Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:29 pm

I did see a few BN C30-7 in Storage in Alliance, NE this summer.
AmtrakFan
 

Postby Allen Hazen » Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:29 pm

There have been a lot of news items in the past couple of years about Dash-7 GEs that have been retired by North American Class 1 railroads and then (not scrapped, but) exported for use: to Latin America, to Estonia...
The ex-Conrail B36-7 to Brazil are an interesting case: they have been converted (new trucks, frame extensions to accommodate new trucks) to BB-BB for meter-gauge ore train service. Clearly the "core" of the locomotive is thought valuable: valuable enough to put significant investment into in order to use it, investment which would surely be silly if an extended period of use wasn'e foreseen.
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Postby LCJ » Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:57 pm

I found the CR B36-7s to be a definite improvement over earlier power from Erie. We had some initial problems with ride quality over some of our not-yet-CWR sections when they were first delivered ('83?).

Seat belts should have been installed to keep a body on the seat! GE installed hydraulic snubbers under warranty to hold the FB trucks in place better, and that made a big difference.

It would be interesting to see what they've done with them as described by Allen above. I'll search for some pics.

Allen -- would you agree there's a bias toward "North is up" in the normal perception of our globe and maps in general? Australia being "down under" says it all, right? I mean, we're rocketing through the galaxy, orbiting around a black hole somewhere in the center -- and there really is no real up or down in space, right? Why can't South be up? And Europe down under? Hmm?

OK, as you were.
LCJ
 

LCJ -- off topic

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:30 pm

Well... In terms of zoogeography, Eurasian ("Palearctic") and North American ("Nearctic") faunas are more similar to each other than African, Australian and South American: making it natural to think of Eurasia-North America as the "hub" with the other regions the spokes. A widely held hypothesis is that many "families" (taxa) of animals evolved in the hub and spread "downward": that even Marsupials first evolved in Eurasia and North America and then spread to Australia through South America and Antarctica. This is called the "Sherwin-Williams" model of mammalian evolution, from the paint company ads!
----On topic: thanks for your reminiscences of the Conrail B36-7!!! Yes, they were built in 1983 (GE gave Conrail a very generous trade-in allowance-- I think it was five old units for two or three B36-7 -- which allowed Conrail to modernize its locomotive fleet during a recession), and I remember seeing some on intermodal trains on the ex-PRR main (in Pittsburgh) around December 83/January 84, on my first summer vacation back in the U.S. after heading down under, so they've long been one of my sentimental favorites. Ride quality with GE two-axle trucks has often been ... umm, let's be polite... commented on: it's interesting that GE made after-sale modifications to improve this. I remember seeing a note (in "Railway Age"??) saying that fairly new B36-7 were being cycled back to Erie to do something about bad air compressor seals, but not this. So: thank you very much!
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Postby LCJ » Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:17 pm

Side topic -- If you turn the maps upside down, many people wouldn't recognize the continental shapes, regardless of where the animals originated. But isn't it commonly thought that Pangaea (all land masses stuck together in one big piece) was the actual prehistorical hub for zoological species origination? And didn't it straddle the equator? Did the animals consider the southern hemisphere as being "down?"

And of course, our own species is widely thought to have originated on the Southern Half of the globe (you know -- Africa?). I guess since we believe civilization began on the Northern Hemisphere, we see it as the center of focus.

Never mind. I'll quit on that. Maybe when the magnetic field switches poles again our perceptions will change, since the compasses will be pointing in the opposite direction. It could happen really soon!

Back to locomotives...

Yes, the B36-7s were heavily used in East-West intermodal cycles -- at least before these trains became so much heavier with doublestacks. The newer 6-axles (becoming the normal new locomotive order pattern of the '90s) took over that role later on. Of course, we had some B40-8s as well (or is it Dash 8 40B?).

We received the B36-7s around the same time as the SD50s, so there was a natural comparison. I, personally (as did many others) found the EMD Super-Series anti-wheelslip to be quite problematic at times. I experienced several instances of all wheels spinning out of control under load with SD50s on wet rail. Six Penn Center folks were aghast at this when they heard of it, as well as the many other SD50 mechanical problems that came along. I have to say GE's Sentry was a bit better -- at that point, anyway -- than Super-Series. SD50s were a disappointment for most railroads, I think.

The B36-7 truck snubber retrofit was done in the field, I believe. It was just a matter of welding some brackets in the right places and bolting them on. By the field I mean shop facilities, of course.
LCJ
 

Re: GE's

Postby BlackDog » Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:16 pm

SD Shortline wrote: How many regionals and shortlines have purchased C30-7's though?

I can't say a C30-7 wouldn't but are there any in Class 1 switch service?



Seems to me that the Nebraska Central had a couple of exBN C30-7's that they were leasing from NRE, but that was a couple of years ago.
Go ahead and back up.
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LCJ

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Apr 14, 2005 1:27 pm

LCJ--
Since, as you've guessed, I have hobby interests in things like zoogeography... I think it would be an abuse of Railroad.net to continue the discussion on this forum: e-mail me (I think my address should be gettable from the Railroad.net Memberlist) off-board if you want to talk about these things. (I'm from the Northern Hemisphere originally, but will try to give an unbiased view from Gondwanaland (Grin!).)
As to the B36-7... Thanks again for your recollections! My sense from what got published back in the early 1980s was that EMD was going in for gee-whiz fancy hi-tech gimmicks (e.g. Doppler radar... whose antennae on the underside of locomotives easily got out of alignment) and that GE's "Sentry" was maybe a bit more conservative in its approach: computing unit and wheel speeds from axle generators (which were made integral to the traction motor with the 752AF used on the B36-7), not trying to be too fancy about permitting "creep": so I'm not surprised it worked a better early on (tho' that may just be my bias as a "fan" of GE locomotives).
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Postby LCJ » Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:09 pm

I'm inclined to believe that our problems with SD50 adhesion sprung mostly from the trucks. CR specified tried-and-true (read: outdated) Flexi-Coil trucks as opposed to the more advanced HTC. Someone told me that suppliers perceived Conrail as a good rear view mirror driver when it came to decisions like that.

And -- the SD50 wheel spin I mentioned happened at 30+mph -- when Super-Series was not supposed to be working anyway. The system was indeed designed to allow some delta (creep) at low speed, I think. Sentry was simple in comparison.

SD50s were sold as 2 units replacing 3 older units. I'm not sure that ever became reality.

Microprocessor controls made all the difference in adhesion when they came along on both builders' models.

My memories of the B36-7s are marred by my having seen, up close, the one that was obliterated by an Amtrak train in Maryland. It was eerie to look at that pile of black, oily, smoldering scrap metal and think of what it was shortly before then.
LCJ
 

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:09 pm

LCJ--
Tjanks again.
Yes, Conrail management seemed pretty unadventurous (= really, really, conservative) in their locomotive policy in the late 1970s/early 1980s-- but perhaps, with the huge problem they were facing of trying to transform a huge junkyard into a working railroad, I wouldn't have had the mental energy to be technologically adventuresome either!
(Do you have any idea what the rationale was for specifying the older truck design on their SD40-2 and the first two orders of SD50 was? I think there was some speculation that it was a reaction (over-reaction) to the problems with Amtrak's SDP40F problems, and by the time of the SD50 orders there was probably some savings from using the trucks from SD35/SD40/SD45/SD9 trade-ins.)
I only saw news photos of the results of the Gunpowder collision: they were shocking enough!
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Postby LCJ » Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:25 pm

Allen Hazen wrote:Yes, Conrail management seemed pretty unadventurous (= really, really, conservative) in their locomotive policy in the late 1970s/early 1980s-- but perhaps, with the huge problem they were facing of trying to transform a huge junkyard into a working railroad, I wouldn't have had the mental energy to be technologically adventuresome either!


L Stanley Crane introduce technological adventurousness after a bit. I believe CR was the first Class I to adopt flange lubricators and Select-a-Power systems as part of their spec package -- both fuel saving measures.


Allen Hazen wrote: Do you have any idea what the rationale was for specifying the older truck design on their SD40-2 and the first two orders of SD50 was?


I'm fairly certain it was as you stated -- over-reaction to the derailment problems on the SDP40F (and their subsequent speed restrictions on non-tangent track). Conrail also imposed speed restrictions on the SD45-2s they inherited from EL that were HTC equipped.

It was all pretty much a PC holdover, since it was that bunch who were running motive power at the time, I believe (open to correction on that).
LCJ
 

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:50 pm

Thanks again!
Is Select-a-power provision to run some units in a consist at notch 8 and others at idle rather than running them all at a less efficient intermediate power? I think I remember reading (probably in "Railway Age") back in the late 1970s or early 1980s that Union Pacific was going to experiment with it, but I don't know anything about its subsequent history: Conrail may have been the first to go for it on a non-experimental basis.
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Postby LCJ » Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:09 pm

Allen Hazen wrote:Is Select-a-power provision to run some units in a consist at notch 8 and others at idle rather than running them all at a less efficient intermediate power?


Yes -- a little control box on the stand allowed the operator to put trailing units down to notch 1 power one at a time, and bring them back up to normal operation the same way. The system was retrofitted to all MU capable units, and installed on all new units starting around 1980 or so (I think). I believe it was a Harmon system.

This thing was pushed very hard in the early eighties to combat the high cost of fuel. When I was a road foreman in Baltimore I had a "team" of engineers assigned to me who would keep track of the hour meters on each unit in the consist -- competing for lowest times. Some of the guys really took it seriously and saved a great deal of fuel.

Later studies revealed that the lead traction motors were being abused by overloading while keeping trailing units down. The whole program was probably a wash in the long-term because of that cost.
LCJ
 

Re: GE's

Postby AmtrakFan » Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:11 pm

BlackDog wrote:
SD Shortline wrote: How many regionals and shortlines have purchased C30-7's though?

I can't say a C30-7 wouldn't but are there any in Class 1 switch service?



Seems to me that the Nebraska Central had a couple of exBN C30-7's that they were leasing from NRE, but that was a couple of years ago.

LSI has several.
AmtrakFan
 

Postby thebigc » Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:58 pm

LCJ wrote:
Allen Hazen wrote: Do you have any idea what the rationale was for specifying the older truck design on their SD40-2 and the first two orders of SD50 was?


I'm fairly certain it was as you stated -- over-reaction to the derailment problems on the SDP40F (and their subsequent speed restrictions on non-tangent track). Conrail also imposed speed restrictions on the SD45-2s they inherited from EL that were HTC equipped.

It was all pretty much a PC holdover, since it was that bunch who were running motive power at the time, I believe (open to correction on that).


For the longest time, the SD-45-2s were rated for 40mph w/train. Probably why they were usually confined to helper service in Altoona, PA.

CR's SD-40-2s were also equipped with the older Flexi-coil trucks and they ran fine. I've also been told the MP SD-50s were junk and they rode on the HTC trucks, so I don't think the Flexi-coils were the issue.
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