Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

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Amtrak706
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by Amtrak706 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:31 pm

Wingnut wrote:Well, thanks for adding a little perspective on the ACS’ troubles vs. other equipment. I appreciate that everything has issues. But when is the point reached that issues go from being manageable to declaring something more trouble than it’s worth? Overall, this thread makes it sound like we’re very close to if not beyond that point.
No it doesn't. The problems discussed in this thread seem to be contained to the travails of cheap, badly maintained cabs and bad seats. There isn't anything fundamentally wrong with the Sprinter that couldn't be corrected with a few months of talking to crews and doing a little ergonomic engineering and overhauling of maintenance practices.

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by Greg Moore » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:47 pm

Gotta say, as an outsider, what I hear here seems to be:

The cabs have problems, which suck and should be fixed, but the things pretty much run without major problems these days.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:13 pm

Milepost 110 wrote:A railfan site known as On Track Online has 647 listed as wrecked as of August 2018. Does anyone know what happened to it?

http://on-track-on-line.com/amtkrinf-am ... bers.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ApproachMedium wrote:I havnt a clue and id love to know where this came from. Theres two outside wilmington that dont appear to be wrecked i forget the numbers theres one wrapped shoved in the no mans land in wilmington thats the 627 and 601 is in bear
You DO have a clue AM. Think back to about a year and a half ago.....overnight....in the late summer.....in your area. Ringing a bell now? It hasn't recovered. If you need a further hint, just PM me.
Amtrak706 wrote:
Wingnut wrote:I’m the kind who usually reserves judgement. And that’s just what I did with the Sprinters until now.

Lemons! They bought another batch of freaking LEMONS!

Except for the AEM-7, EVERY electric locomotive Amtrak ever bought has been a failure. And now SEPTA is stuck with a fleet of these losers too. Unbelievable.
The issues described here sound more like a result of the ridiculously incompetent management we all know exists at Amtrak. Issues with door seals and other minor components are possible to fix with a combination of actually listening to crews and then following a decent engineering process. ApproachMedium or others in the know please let me know if I am wrong, but I have not heard anything about major components on these units regularly failing to the point where they are not able to go out on the road, which in my mind is what would constitute a lemon.
I have but as I previously indicated, it may not necessarily be the engine. It may be the engine combined with the environment it is operating in. Additionally, you can't readily tell unless you see the shop count ***cough cough*** since one usually replaces the other. However, this is more than just cab maintenance issues, although they are nothing to sneeze at. Such issues crop up when you buy the bottom of the barrel product. Why AREN'T the door seals glued on? Did you really think a dot of velcro was going to hold that piece of equipment in place for years?

Well, maybe it would if the railroad it was traversing was in better shape. :wink:

However,if you see a bigger picture, you would notice that these things shut down turn themselves off, or need rescue or replacement prior to departure more than most would like to see. I wouldn't call them lemons though. They have some of the problems the HHP-8 and HST sets have: They are too smart for their operating environment and are designed to shut down if they detect certain things. The relentless duty cycle doesn't help.

My bone of contention is the manufacturer came over, saw the environment, winced and decided they might as well go for it. Therefore, a product that suits the environment should have been produced.

They are a work in progress but I have no doubt in my mind these engines will barely make it to 20 years. If the HHP-8s came with a parts guarantee, they'd still run too.
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ThirdRail7
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:17 pm

ziggyzack1234 wrote:I only think it's proper to call something a lemon if after a few years problems just can't be worked out like the HHP-8. As others have said, even our favorite locomotive the AEM-7 have had issues. Once it's issues were worked out it became one of the greatest locomotives ever built. The ACS-64 has quite a few minor issues but as a locomotive, it runs just fine.

Speaking of the HHP-8, there had to be some reason Amtrak labeled them lemons and dumped them while MARC is trying to make them not lemons (MARC this year ran one for almost a month straight without notable issue).
Well spoken. Things will get better....I hope.

As for the HHP-8s being labeled lemons, it has to do with parts and funding. Not unlike most of Amtrak's equipment, there aren't a lot of manufacturers of spare parts. This can get expensive. However, funding appeared for the ACS-64s, so it was decided to buy enough to cover the AEM-7s and the HHP-8s. This makes sense.

However, if the ACS-64s weren't ordered, the HHP-8s and both classes of AEM-7s would still be in service. Maybe not all of them, but most of them would operate. After all, what choice would they have?
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by David Benton » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:47 pm

Why doesn't someone just glue the door seals on , with something like JB weld plastic , or similar?
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by Amtrak706 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:19 pm

ThirdRail7 wrote:
ziggyzack1234 wrote:I only think it's proper to call something a lemon if after a few years problems just can't be worked out like the HHP-8. As others have said, even our favorite locomotive the AEM-7 have had issues. Once it's issues were worked out it became one of the greatest locomotives ever built. The ACS-64 has quite a few minor issues but as a locomotive, it runs just fine.

Speaking of the HHP-8, there had to be some reason Amtrak labeled them lemons and dumped them while MARC is trying to make them not lemons (MARC this year ran one for almost a month straight without notable issue).
Well spoken. Things will get better....I hope.

As for the HHP-8s being labeled lemons, it has to do with parts and funding. Not unlike most of Amtrak's equipment, there aren't a lot of manufacturers of spare parts. This can get expensive. However, funding appeared for the ACS-64s, so it was decided to buy enough to cover the AEM-7s and the HHP-8s. This makes sense.

However, if the ACS-64s weren't ordered, the HHP-8s and both classes of AEM-7s would still be in service. Maybe not all of them, but most of them would operate. After all, what choice would they have?
Thirdrail, good to see you are still here and posting. I want to see if I can better understand something though - why is it that automatic shutdowns due to component failure make the locomotives “too smart” for their own good? Couldn’t those shutdowns be disabled with a software update? It seems that a lot of people with NEC railroading experience like yourself are of the opinion that locomotives should be able to run until they eat themselves alive - wouldn’t it be cheaper and more efficient to try and have that not happen in the first place? Or is the operating environment just too tough for that?

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ThirdRail7 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:16 am

Amtrak706 wrote: Thirdrail, good to see you are still here and posting. I want to see if I can better understand something though - why is it that automatic shutdowns due to component failure make the locomotives “too smart” for their own good?
Because it doesn't mean a component has failed. It may not be anywhere close to failure. It could be a glitch. It could be a momentary issue unrelated to the engine. As an example, the AEM-7-ACs used sense over current in the catenary and it would just show up as a fault, letting you know. The ACS-64s had preset parameters that shut down the engine completely if they were exceeded. That is why I said, these engines would work better on a new system. However, the catenary system is way old, has a ton on trains attached to it. Additionally, you're depending on an outside provider for your power to feed the system. Can you imagine what that is like in the summer, when you have multiple trains meeting in one area on a hot summer day? There will be slight fluctuations in power. Now, you have a disabled engine that you have to coax back to life.

As you mentioned, Amt706, software updates help moderate these type of issues once they are discovered. But, you can't swing too much in one direction or the other. There are warranty and manufacturer implications. Besides, do you really want to blow up an engine if it ISN'T a glitch, momentary flip or false reading? Personally, I'd like to be able to limp the engine somewhere and take my chances.

It is still better than the HHP-8 in this situation. If their threshold was exceeded, the MCB would actually lock itself out. You'd need a laptop to reset it. That is why they were banned from certain trains unless it was an absolute emergency. So were the ACSs actually.

In some cases, the computer just wants to be pacified. If it is not pacified, it will shut the engine down or seize control of another system and wrestle it into submission (while stopping the train.) A lot of the corrective measures are hidden/locked behind cabinets with crooked exclamation points with ominous warnings.

Meanwhile, the AEM-7 would just keep rolling...usually....because they are as dumb as the P40s/P42s.

I could go on (I love it when one system isn't recognized quick enough and the back up starts dumping your train in emergency and most people can't figure out why and OTHER people were attempting to blame the crews) but it really isn't necessary. If everyone thinks things are hunky dory, that is good. It really doesn't matter since I don't see another purchase in the foreseeable future. There are enough of them to go around and if the WTC project proceeds as scheduled, they will receive a bigger break.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by NaugyRR » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:55 pm

David Benton wrote:Why doesn't someone just glue the door seals on , with something like JB weld plastic , or similar?
I'm thinking the same thing. Why not apply some weatherstrip glue during their shop visits? I just used some on my '16 Cherokee, it dries super fast and does the trick.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ApproachMedium » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:55 am

Adding glue isnt that easy. Or idk, they should have just stuck on their own. The strips that NJT uses seem to stay on and seem to be just starting to get loose. So maybe buy whatever they have and replace it.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by twropr » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:53 pm

Are some of the ACS-64s being rebuilt in Wilmington and ?Washington?
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ApproachMedium » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:51 pm

No but repairs are being made. Two are OOS in wilmington awaiting damage repairs.

ACS64s are breaking down quicker now. Still getting Buchholz alarms for transformer issues once in a blue moon. This is a problem that should not exist on a brand new electric. I had one engine that you would reset after it craps out then randomly shuts down TCU2 without any way to move it other than another full recycle then wait till it craps out again. These things are quickly turning into trouble which im sure will come to be more when the heat hits us again unless there is more preventative maintenance done.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by 8th Notch » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:20 am

The locos are too smart to tolerate the beating that this place puts on them!

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by ApproachMedium » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:37 am

I think they are smart enough to know the beating they are receiving and they are begging for mercy.
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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by east point » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:15 pm

ApproachMedium wrote:I think they are smart enough to know the beating they are receiving and they are begging for mercy.

We have to hope that the order for the new Chargers that AMTRAK is ordering has a large number of nose parts to replace the ones that will be damaged each year. It may be that enough spares for 2 years be kept in inventory and more ordered as the ones on the Chargers are damaged beyond repair?


Any count on how many have already been damaged and any beyond repair?

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Re: Amtrak ACS-64 Sprinter Discussion

Post by Nasadowsk » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:26 pm

ApproachMedium wrote: Still getting Buchholz alarms for transformer issues once in a blue moon.
I seem to recall that there was a series of EMUs or locos from ABB a number of years ago that did the same thing - apparently air pressure variations would trip them out. I guess they're well sealed, or the vent...doesn't.

Better than the first few weeks of electric service in Glasgow back in the late 50's, when EMUs were blowing up left and right (about one a week, until they yanked the fleet from service. Rectifier backfires plus a marginal transformer design plus crews that kept hitting the 'reset' button, apparently all combined to cause the new service to explode into the headlines...)

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