MBTA's MPI HSP-46 Locomotives

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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:25 pm

jmar896 wrote:I think that if rentals keep being used it will just become a continuous cycle. It might be time to start looking into investing into some new (or used) power that the T could own.


Unfortunately there's just not a lot out there right now to buy + refurb because everybody's most-recent dispersals have already been laundered through the aftermarket to the rent-a-wreck brokers. With exception of those beat-to-hell NJT F40PH-2CAT's the rental F40's are all Screamers as unsuitable as the AMT units that couldn't stay on the road here; all other -2C's are still locked up on somebody's active roster. F59PH's are the most plentiful rebuild-worthy swaps for rebuilds at the moment, but with those never being tried before on the East Coast I can't see the T going there unless Keolis tries them out on very short-term lease from a broker first. All of this will change in a huge way if AMTK drains the Charger options because a whole ton of rebuild-worthy Gennies will hit the aftermarket. But that's in 2-3 years, not today in any way that'll help with a week-to-week emergency.

None of the current locomotives are getting any younger. The Geeps have been in service for 20 years since their last major rebuild. The 2Cs are not far behind, however it is justifiable that they go for another major rebuild. When the HSPs were ordered they were intended to replace some Geeps and 2Cs, but have they really replaced many of the ones they were intended to? From how it sounds right now the fleet isn't exactly fit enough to permanently replace the units that are out, even once the HSPs are fully in service. Also, service isn't decreasing and the system isn't getting any smaller.


The -2C's are in rough shape. Some units are going to be more rebuildable than others, but as the canceled RFP shows the agency isn't equipped right now to ballpark costs for band-aid fixes OR full midlife overhaul to -3C spec because they simply don't have the bandwidth to deep-dive under the hood of each unit and plot them all on a curve from best- to worst-condition. I doubt it's going to be economical to rehab every single one of them because costs for the worst-off units are going to blow out the budget for the program. And given that the -2C's have a few sad sacks at the blowout end of that cost scale, forget about any fantasies re: rebuilds of the stored Screamers; that dream has passed now that we know the 10-years-younger batches aren't anywhere near as stable as we thought they were.

And no rebuild is going to solve the numbers problem because the Geeps are shot and won't get any takers for another life extension at a cost worth paying because of those stupid unorthodox microprocessor mods. They won't even fetch post-retirement interest from freight carriers because of that, and are most likely just going to be carbody donors for MPI to do more "hermit crab" re-powers. They will have to buy some new units, or wait for something rebuildable in quantity to come along like the AMTK P42's to fix the problem permanently when not every single oldie on the roster can be saved. Maybe that means a partial- or majority- rebuild of the F40's with the PHM's and best-of-the-rest EMD -2C's getting picked through, but you're still looking at ~25 new purchases to replace the active Geeps and whatever handful of -2C's are in too poor shape to stay within-cost in rebuild.

Also, call me crazy but I think it may be worth looking into obtaining a few ABB-44s for service to Providence. I believe that NJT will only lease them at this time, but considering most of them only have 15 years of service on them and the minimal work needed to bring them back into service they could be worth it. Although an agreement would need to be made with Amtrak for use of their electrification infrastructure (and presumably maintenance too), the benefits they could bring are immense.


No. Electrics are not plug-and-play like they could be here tomorrow. The Providence Line is only equipped with enough present electrical capacity to run Amtrak trains. The T has to spend to fill the empty half of Sharon substation before generation capacity exists for T electrics on the NEC. They need to wire up the Attleboro station platforms and Pawtucket layover with RIDOT's funding help. They need to build their own engine house somewhere like Readville to service them, because AMTK Southampton shops are at-capacity and were changed out from all their AEM-7 and HHP-8 servicing capabilities to only do the Sprinters.

And to do the Wickford schedules under wires requires a separate RIDOT/Amtrak grant to fix the freight clearances at T.F. Green, since the P&W autoracks that currently use the platform track don't clear the two wired express tracks and would no longer clear any tracks if the platform track were wired. That'll entail undercutting the trackbed on the wired tracks by ~4 feet so the freights can clear the wires. But it can't be done until RIDOT builds Track 4 and the future infill northbound platform so Amtrak trains have a wired-up place to "lane-shift" while the two express tracks are being undercut. Not overly expensive, but some complicated logistics involved and lots of advance coordination between RIDOT and Amtrak to make it happen.

At best case, a Go For It Now decision made today for flipping Providence service to electric will take 5 years to enact simply because of default budgeting + permitting + procurement timetables for the extra substation equipment installation, erecting a minimalist engine house, and infilling the lengths of wire at the layover with cross-state cooperation. Maybe longer on the Wickford schedules because RIDOT can't turn its funding on a dime and they have to wait for Amtrak. By that point any used electrics will be long scrapped or idle way too long for a rebuild, and they could take delivery of a fresh order of Sprinters within that gestation period. Unfortunately the logistics around this, while routine, can't be sped up any faster than 4-5 years so there's no quick fixes.

Really though, its time for the state and fiscal control board to smarten up. In the long run having proper investment in rolling stock will cost us less, and attract more people. I think an order to fully phase out the Geeps should be placed by 2020, but that wishful thinking. There are plenty of new, as well as tried options available. It might be time to look into them.

I wonder, is it possible for MassDOT to obtain rolling stock and lease them as they see fit? With rail activity in Western Mass picking up maybe its worth a look.


Timing...timing is the problem. A glut is on the way for aftermarket locos, but 2 years from now not today. And when NJT and MNRR have bid out their next bi-level purchases in the next couple years there'll be a 2020 glut of aftermarket East Coast mid-90's vintage, more recently rebuilt Shoreliner III's and Comet IV's in better condition than any of our 210 Bombers/MBB's. But those better-condition coaches don't exist today, and the T can't keep up with 4-year inspections on its active fleet let alone dip into mothballs and sink more intensive prep-for-service labor into its stored units.


Honestly, I don't think the FCMB is going to find a way out of this trying to pussyfoot around another F40 RFP that's intentionally obtuse and indecisive about whether it'll be band-aids or rebuilds. Just bond out for a 25-unit base order of rote-vanilla Siemens Chargers with flex options for up to 25 more and take the sure thing that everyone else is looking at. At the rate Siemens is surging ahead of schedule on that AMTK order the first T-logoed revenue unit will probably get here just as fast as the first F40PH-3C full-on rebuild with all the time they're wasting navel-gazing on what to do with the current fleet. The HSP's are sunk cost. The fleet's never going to be united around the GEVO platform now. Just take the Cummins engine and deal with the overhead of maintaining GE's, Cummins, and EMD's...because it'll still be less maint-intensive than charting their own course with more unproven decisions made under pressure.

Besides, at least they can get an immediate pick with that RFP. There's no such obvious vendor for the coach/cab car shortage when Kawasaki-Yonkers is swamped with MTA orders, Bombardier charges a premium for Bombardier quality, and Rotem + CRRC are just going to underbid everyone at a loss to brute-force it while papering over bad reputation and/or inexperience making FRA-compliant cars. It's two procurements from hell that the FCMB has to focus on or watch the system slowly die from indecision. At least the loco one has one Captain Obvious consensus choice of new unit that's running away with the market making that decision more cut-and-dried if they put up the cash to do it right.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby 8th Notch » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:22 pm

Are we really back on the electric topic again!? ^That statement about South Hampton only being able to service only the Sprinters now couldn't be anymore incorrct.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby 8th Notch » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:32 pm

jmar896 wrote: Also, call me crazy but I think it may be worth looking into obtaining a few ABB-44s for service to Providence. I believe that NJT will only lease them at this time, but considering most of them only have 15 years of service on them and the minimal work needed to bring them back into service they could be worth it.


I will be the one to call you crazy for making that statement! 1. This topic with the T and electrics has been beat to death over and over and over and over. 2. Do you really think those electrics with 15 years of pounding on them are just going to run with no problem? They have only been sitting on a stub track for several years with there pans cut off and windows bolted up, not to mention probably graffiti covered.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby BandA » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:33 pm

IP's Hoosier State set(s) are probably available, other IP engines/coaches? P&W's excursion engine(s) might be available depending on what G&W plans. Maybe PAR's two passenger engines could be borrowed on a daily basis to cover for failed engines, assuming PAR doesn't need them that day. M&E's former Maine Eastern engine(s), are those available to lease/borrow?

Maybe hire someone like P&W to evaluate the old engines for rebuild/repair, which would be farmed out to another party? That would cut down on uncertainty.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:08 am

BandA wrote:IP's Hoosier State set(s) are probably available, other IP engines/coaches? P&W's excursion engine(s) might be available depending on what G&W plans. Maybe PAR's two passenger engines could be borrowed on a daily basis to cover for failed engines, assuming PAR doesn't need them that day. M&E's former Maine Eastern engine(s), are those available to lease/borrow?

Maybe hire someone like P&W to evaluate the old engines for rebuild/repair, which would be farmed out to another party? That would cut down on uncertainty.


There's 16 OOS F40 engines and up to a fifth of the HSP fleet afflicted with warranty issues. We're way, way deeper in the hole than P&W's small engine shop can possibly help. Forget about using some tourist operator's excursion engines or a Class II's business train power. Those are not maintained at a level for all-day commuter service. And you're talking like two or three Iowa Pacific GP40's that aren't equipped with any cab signals, not nearly enough of an infusion to make the signal mods worth it.

Wishful thinking and itty-bitty cost-neutral increments like that aren't going to help. They may even make the problem worse by being too much labor to qualify on the system for too little relief. Catching up on the dead line is going to require an RFP to a locomotive works with considerable capacity to multitask...think Norfolk Southern-Altoona and not P&W-Worcester or PAR-Waterville. And lease units are going to have to be for real commuter-rated engines maintained for 7-day-a-week service pulling T-sized consists at T-scheduled speeds...be they from the rent-a-wreck brokers or getting lucky with lend/lease from another transit agency. Also not something they can do without opening their wallets if they want to either get something more reliable than the AMT junkers, or enough junker units to pad over the inherently high 'burn rate' of the ancient leasers' poorer reliability.

No guilt-free easy answers.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby GP40MC1118 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:06 am

Hearing one of the GP40MC's is headed to the Fore River for repairs...Is that how
desperate they are just to get AN engine back in service?
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:36 pm

GP40MC1118 wrote:Hearing one of the GP40MC's is headed to the Fore River for repairs...Is that how
desperate they are just to get AN engine back in service?


Seen heading outbound from Wollaston at noon today:

All-flats set carrying a trailing Geep coupled cab-first (i.e. "butt" facing out), wrong position for running a double-draft. Fore River's switcher was seen 10 mins earlier idling in Braintree Yard.

Could this have been the rumored move to Fore River? If that was Train #009 it was 5+ mins too early, so they could've slipped in a quick non-revenue move right after inbound #010 clèared onto the N. Quincy double.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby MEC407 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:21 am

From MassLive.com:

MassLive.com wrote:...the MBTA is turning to outside contractors instead of relying solely on commuter rail vendor Keolis Commuter Services, chief operating officer Jeff Gonneville told the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board.

According to the T, work is underway in Somerville, Quincy and Rochester, N.Y. to rehab five locomotives, which should return to service over the next four weeks. In addition to that, the T plans to go out to bid for rehabbing more locomotives with the expectation that 12 could be completed by next summer.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/ind ... _mbta.html


Observation: does anyone else get the feeling that the T keeps paying more and more, and keeps getting less and less? It seems, from my outsider perspective, that the situation gets more expensive — and gets worse — with each new contractor and each equipment acquisition. IIRC, they even paid extra millions to an additional outside contractor — Parsons Brinckerhoff, I think? — to keep a watchful eye over the HSP46 program to make sure things went as smoothly as possible. How's that working out for 'em? (I also remember a number of people saying things along the lines of "Why, in the name of all that's holy, would we get back into bed with P.B. after what they did to us with the Big Dig?" But that's another topic for another thread and probably another forum...)

Maybe I'm looking at history through a foggy lens but I just don't remember things being this bad back in the days when Amtrak was their commuter rail contractor. It seems like it's been all downhill ever since the T dumped Amtrak.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby GP40MC1118 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:05 am

That should be Rochester, Mass. NOT NY...Area 52 as its love-ling known.

D
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby daylight4449 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:07 pm

MEC407 wrote:From MassLive.com:

MassLive.com wrote:...the MBTA is turning to outside contractors instead of relying solely on commuter rail vendor Keolis Commuter Services, chief operating officer Jeff Gonneville told the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board.

According to the T, work is underway in Somerville, Quincy and Rochester, N.Y. to rehab five locomotives, which should return to service over the next four weeks. In addition to that, the T plans to go out to bid for rehabbing more locomotives with the expectation that 12 could be completed by next summer.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/ind ... _mbta.html


Observation: does anyone else get the feeling that the T keeps paying more and more, and keeps getting less and less? It seems, from my outsider perspective, that the situation gets more expensive — and gets worse — with each new contractor and each equipment acquisition. IIRC, they even paid extra millions to an additional outside contractor — Parsons Brinckerhoff, I think? — to keep a watchful eye over the HSP46 program to make sure things went as smoothly as possible. How's that working out for 'em? (I also remember a number of people saying things along the lines of "Why, in the name of all that's holy, would we get back into bed with P.B. after what they did to us with the Big Dig?" But that's another topic for another thread and probably another forum...)

Maybe I'm looking at history through a foggy lens but I just don't remember things being this bad back in the days when Amtrak was their commuter rail contractor. It seems like it's been all downhill ever since the T dumped Amtrak.


I don't think it's Amtrak loosing the contract that started this decline... This is Massachusetts. For the better part of the last fifteen years at least anything that gets touched by someone in government around here gets screwed up and the state just shells out cash to burn in the hope that something sticks. We'll keep having issues unless the way business is done is changed, but unless there's a seismic shift in political power in Boston that won't happen.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby djimpact1 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:41 pm

GP40MC1118 wrote:Hearing one of the GP40MC's is headed to the Fore River for repairs...Is that how
desperate they are just to get AN engine back in service?

In a nutshell, yes.

Full disclosure, though they're apples & oranges regarding what their respective companies are tasked to do, Fore River does great work on their fleet (unless referring to the MWRA-owned loco #17...in which case, their hands are tied). At least the T thought to contact them.

FYI, the Geep they have is 1139. I'm not going to mention a lot of additional details, but from what I was told about the state of affairs at BET (in terms of the work in front of them), it's amazing they didn't turn to others for repairs sooner than they did.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby BandA » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:19 pm

Who are the organizations in Somerville and Rochester MA that will be working on engines? Wish we could find out what is going on at BET.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby dowlingm » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:44 pm

The F59PH has done service in Toronto and Montreal. Is this a sea air type of thing? Because Metrolink used them for a while too I think.

If MotivePower would get off their butts and deliver the MP54ACs to Toronto maybe GO Transit would release some of their remaining F59s.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:41 pm

The F59's might not be allowed on the NEC. Wire clearance issues.
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Re: New MBTA Locomotive Order Discussion (MPI HSP-46)

Postby dowlingm » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:08 pm

yeah, I saw that on another thread. Could they just stay north side?
Last edited by CRail on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
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