MARC HHP-8

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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:02 pm

liftedjeep wrote:
STrRedWolf wrote:Today's sighting is 4915. So that's two.


Hey Mr Wolf,
Are the HHP-8s you're seeing actually in revenue service, or sidelined someplace?
Ben


Revenue service. 4912 was running MARC 408 and 4915 was on today's 445. I'm ODN-BAL myself, so I can grab these HHP-8's as they're running.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:30 pm

STrRedWolf wrote:
liftedjeep wrote:
STrRedWolf wrote:Today's sighting is 4915. So that's two.


Hey Mr Wolf,
Are the HHP-8s you're seeing actually in revenue service, or sidelined someplace?
Ben


Revenue service. 4912 was running MARC 408 and 4915 was on today's 445. I'm ODN-BAL myself, so I can grab these HHP-8's as they're running.


I just realized this thread reply with some other info. In short now:

  • 4910's being rebuilt.
  • 4911 has a blown transformer.
  • 4912 is in service.
  • 4913 is missing in action.
  • 4914 is "dead" waiting for 4910's rebuild
  • 4915 is in service.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby dt_rt40 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:13 pm

Great, thanks for the wrap up of their status.
One does have to wonder, though, how an entire electric locomotive weighing 100 tons goes "missing in action". Was it mugged by some other locomotives in West Baltimore, and thrown into Gwynns Falls?
"blown transformer". Hhhmmm. One assumes power utilities have transmission transformers blow all the time on their vast networks, and they manage to replace, restoring service, within 24 hours. I can understand it being a slightly more specialized part...but not that much more specialized. Is it really that hard to get Bombardier to scrunge one up? Can't you just take the specs to whomever makes such things, and have them wind one for you? Does it change the voltage in some magical way that no other transformer can change voltage?

In all seriousness though, or as serious as I can be...I sense that maybe the HHP-8s are being driven a little more gingerly than in years past? Is it possible they want to keep another from 'blowing its top' by not accelerating as quickly? I mean, power does equal I squared R. Slower is going to put less stress on it. I wish I'd had a way to screencap my GPS back in 2011, was it, when the old MARC that went direct from DC to BWI managed to hit 134 mph by the time it got to the Anacostia bridge. Standing room only train. Not making this up. It was impressive.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby amtrakhogger » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:41 pm

134, eh? Uh yeah.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby dt_rt40 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:33 pm

Thus Spoke Hoggathustra?

It was an early Garmin GPS, but had cost about $500 in 2008 or 09. It never recorded a speed other than 125 for a MARC train*, and was never more than 2 or so mph off in my car, including a trip across country. Always matched the speedometer. We seemed to be going faster than normal...it registered 125, and we continued to seem to accelerate. So, yeah, maybe just a fluke...maybe not. If I saw records showing Amtrak/MARC speedometers are calibrated every month or so, I'd be more convinced it was impossible. BTW 3 different smartphones since then never recorded over 125...and seldom touch that. Did GPS technology get so much more accurate since 2009? Maybe, maybe not.

* - actually maybe one other time went a little above, like 130. I used to run it quite often to clock the trains. Some Harford county hayseed once brought it to the attention of the conductor, as though maybe I wuz one of dem turrurists. A thin white 30 year old wearing a tie and with a government ID badge LOL. Whose knowledge of the train's speed was somehow dangerous.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby JackRussell » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:02 pm

Fun fact - many phone GPS are still active even when the phone is in airplane mode. The phone won't be able to download maps (unless you pay for the $$$ airline WiFi), but there are cool apps such as the Android "GPS Test Plus" which give you position, altitude, heading and a few other things that it can give you.

And I have tried using the GPS while in an airplane - getting a good fix is sometimes hard, but holding the phone up to the window generally works better. But whenever I have done it, it seems to correctly register a speed of ~550mph thereabouts.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:34 pm

dt_rt40 wrote:"blown transformer". Hhhmmm. One assumes power utilities have transmission transformers blow all the time on their vast networks, and they manage to replace, restoring service, within 24 hours. I can understand it being a slightly more specialized part...but not that much more specialized. Is it really that hard to get Bombardier to scrunge one up? Can't you just take the specs to whomever makes such things, and have them wind one for you? Does it change the voltage in some magical way that no other transformer can change voltage?

In all seriousness though, or as serious as I can be...I sense that maybe the HHP-8s are being driven a little more gingerly than in years past? Is it possible they want to keep another from 'blowing its top' by not accelerating as quickly?


That may be the case. I thought I remember some old operational logs that had recorded numerous issues with 4911 (including the June 2010 issue with MARC 538), and basically became a shop queen. Being careful with 4912/4915 would be best.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby amtrakhogger » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:26 am

The 4913 is floating around in service and was spotted on 523 this past Monday.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby avgeeky » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:01 pm

dt_rt40 wrote:Thus Spoke Hoggathustra?

It was an early Garmin GPS, but had cost about $500 in 2008 or 09. It never recorded a speed other than 125 for a MARC train*, and was never more than 2 or so mph off in my car, including a trip across country. Always matched the speedometer. We seemed to be going faster than normal...it registered 125, and we continued to seem to accelerate. So, yeah, maybe just a fluke...maybe not. If I saw records showing Amtrak/MARC speedometers are calibrated every month or so, I'd be more convinced it was impossible. BTW 3 different smartphones since then never recorded over 125...and seldom touch that. Did GPS technology get so much more accurate since 2009? Maybe, maybe not.

* - actually maybe one other time went a little above, like 130. I used to run it quite often to clock the trains. Some Harford county hayseed once brought it to the attention of the conductor, as though maybe I wuz one of dem turrurists. A thin white 30 year old wearing a tie and with a government ID badge LOL. Whose knowledge of the train's speed was somehow dangerous.

I don't think there's a chance of it going over 125, maybe the motor can handle 150 but the MARC IIs and IIIs can only do 125. If you ever sit on the upper deck of a III you'll pray the swaying won't knock you off the tracks at 125( or so it feels :D). I don't think there's a place in MD where the limit is above 125 anyway.

Regarding acceleration, well I was on 430 this week and we were at 120 by the time the last car cleared the bridge over the Anacostia out of WAS. So maybe it was just operator preference.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:50 pm

4910 back in service 2018-01-11; I confirmed with a visual on 408 at Odenton yesterday.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby avgeeky » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:27 pm

Do you happen to know what its reliability is like post-rebuild? Or does it still need to keep going to Ivy City after the morning run, possibly to come back after a few days?
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:36 pm

avgeeky wrote:Do you happen to know what its reliability is like post-rebuild? Or does it still need to keep going to Ivy City after the morning run, possibly to come back after a few days?


Not off hand. It's being tracked in the Amtrak forum.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby dt_rt40 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:14 pm

Well, in my opinion the SC-44s cannot arrive soon enough and these (hopefully successful) HHP-8 rebuilds cannot be completed soon enough.

We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby daybeers » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:52 am

dt_rt40 wrote:Well, in my opinion the SC-44s cannot arrive soon enough and these (hopefully successful) HHP-8 rebuilds cannot be completed soon enough.

We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls

I live in DC, and while I've actually never ridden MARC, I've ridden on the NEC quite a bit. I've also railfanned at New Carrollton before, so I am pretty familiar with MARC's equipment. While I don't think I can answer your question, I am a little confused on which train you were on. It sounds like you were on a MARC train that encountered a disabled northbound Amtrak 148 because it hit a tresspasser, is that correct?

I will agree with you that the SC-44s and rebuilt HHP-8s will be welcome, but I didn't know the MPI diesels were unreliable also. That's interesting that whenever you've ridden MARC, it hasn't been delayed because of one of their electrics, just Amtrak's or one of the MARC diesels.
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Postby STrRedWolf » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:35 pm

dt_rt40 wrote:We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls


Just to get things clear: You were on Amtrak 148 and it turns out MARC 517 hit a trespasser, right?

Yeah, here's the deal. When a person goes squish by a train, the line in that section shuts down while the police investigate. The police (Amtrak, MTA Maryland, and local county officers) are in control of the line in that section. It doesn't matter if it happened in Bayview and there's NS tracks with trains on one side and CSX on the other. Police have the say in an accident. I know this because I used to work for MTA Maryland and coded bits of MARC's Operations system.

For example: August 7th, 2017, about 7:20am. I was in the coffee shop at the Odenton MARC station at the time. A person waiting on the platform makes a decision, drops his backpack, goes out to the center track and kisses a Regional going 125 MPH northbound... in front of a full load of people waiting for the 7:24am to DC (MARC 415).

Police were already called, but it was too late. There was not much of the guy left.

People at the station were traumatized, and some go home. Others are able to catch MARC 415 as the police wave it through the station... then lock the tracks down. No MARC, no Amtrak, no nothing. The Regional is terminated at BWI, trains are canceled until 11am, when they open up but close the MARC station until 12:30pm. They as in AA County, MTA Maryland, and Amtrak police. Oh, and maybe Homeland Security's TSA. They're known to be around the NEC.

Now, I've gone through the MARC Ops logs back in the day and it's always the same thing, no matter who owns the track: Some person goes squish, the line is shut down for at least four hours, and if something is already on the way up and can't stop, the police do dispatch in the local area.
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