BandA wrote:CTDot had a proposal for major overhaul of some of their diesel engines several months ago. How does the process & specs compare? Certainly it is kind of a pain to obtain bid documents from the MBTA website (you have to register, download each part separately) for what are public documents that should be freely available. Also, they give preferences to protected classes aka "disadvantaged" business enterprises. I would want the work done by the most qualified contractor, not the most disadvantaged or fake-disadvantaged contractor.
I read the CT documents a while ago and was impressed with the level of detail and that they were essentially remanufacturing the engines.
CDOT's got two RFP's out: one for its 12 ex-Amtrak/NJT Genesis P40DC's, and one for its 6 ex-freight GP40-2H's that were remanufactured like-new in '96 (without the stupid unproven computer doohickeys that ruined our Geep MC remans that same year). But they have not selected a vendor yet, and are keeping wiggle room open if plans change. Potential availability of more P40's in near future could change the picture, because if the Siemens Chargers stay on-schedule AMTK will have no need to hold onto their 15 stored operable P40's non-rebuilds. Beefing up the P40 program with more secondhands for a unified fleet while canceling the Geep program and just riding that smaller fleet out to end-of-life and dispersal could end up being the better value. Or not...but they're keeping their options open and taking their time on the RFP's regardless.
There's a very big difference between CDOT and the T on pace and urgency. CDOT has more non-Metro North diesel equipment than they truly need right now. They have lots of slack on the Shore Line East loco and coach rosters, and the Hartford Line is going to have a very sparse schedule for the first 3-5 years before it scales up in increments plotted out way in advance. They're not under any pressure to get the M8 EMU's waved into service before Hartford goes live. When they do appear it'll probably only be M8's covering the Old Saybrook-turning SLE schedule because New London schedules have to wait for the Connecticut River Bridge replacement and associated construction impacts before New London schedules can increase. They'll still be fine for diesel availability because the meager current SLE New London schedule requires so little equipment above-and-beyond the Old Saybrook schedule that they'd still have lots of spares for juggling Hartford Line service starts simultaneous with the loco rebuild program. They can wait as long as they want for the rightest moment they want to schedule the actual factory rebuild they're now RFP'ing now.
The T has no such luxury. This is an outright crisis of dead F40PH-2C engines they have no internal resources to get ahead of. It's affected by the same logjam of unfilled open positions that's slowing the whole agency, in part because the FCMB isn't filling middle management fast enough to even have enough hiring managers
to bring on more shop staff. There's acknowledgement that Keolis is too overburdened to send surge resources from the outside, meaning clearing out that dead line has to come from third-party help...somewhere. The FCMB doesn't have a firm idea of what it can afford for a spec-by-spec rebuild. The dead line piled up so fast with -2C's in so much worse condition than they ever anticipated that they simply don't know unit-to-unit how bad the assessment is going to be under the hood or how fast what pot of money they have scraped together for the program will be drained. That makes it impossible to peg how extensive a rebuild it's going to be...a full-on like-new rebuild a la CDOT's twin RFP's, or quickie component changes like the two MassDOT-paint engines that Pan Am hacked back into (sorta) service. The only printed goals are "two pools: clearing out -2C dead line first, then reliability enhancements on subset of active units...general goal of 10-year post-overhaul service life."
We don't know what that entails, or what engines it will draw from. If it's just reviving dead units any way they can be revived, the touches could be different and/or haphazard unit-to-unit. The unit selection may not differentiate between 29-year-old F40PH-2C's and 23-year-old F40PHM-2C's...just grab-and-go. It may not be a true modernization, like the consistent and uniform F40PH-3/F40PH-3C specs that Metro North and Metra full-on rebuilt their hodgepodge fleets into. It may not have the opportunity to go for the tactically longest lifespan by setting aside the younger PHM-2C's for the fullest/most thorough rebuild and the older -2C's for the "patch-and-stretch". The emergency situation created by the power shortage and coach shortage boxes in their options and amps up the pressure to do something/anything fast even if the end result is just a punt where reliability issues come back with a vengeance in 3-5 years. All of this is why the details are still sketchy. They don't totally know what they're dealing with. They're just rapid-firing the RFP to get some options to sift through on what availability of outside help is going to be. The rest will be figure it out as they go along, with whatever price points they get back in this RFP. It's very much a think-on-your-feet exercise polar opposite to CDOT's methodical years-in-advance pivot.
The one depressing thing we can read from the tea leaves is that there probably isn't a shot of ordering more new locos anytime soon. It was always dubious whether MPI's traumatic experience with HSP-46 design-build would scare them away from doing any subsequent orders. Especially since it now looks like interest in that make is virtually nil from other buyers, and sinking so much bandwidth into designing the GE platform on the HSP design may have killed future sales of their MPXpress cash cow by letting Siemens beat them to market with a mass-produced Tier 4 engine. The MP36PH/MP40PH, after 15 years of being the best-selling passenger make, are pretty much screwed forever because they're so overweight in current incarnation and tardy on next-generation design that the only Tier 4 retrofit MPI has been able to hack together with them is that hella weird genset unicorn that GO Transit is inexplicably and bafflingly ordering. They're retreating to Tier 4 retrofits of their more lurcrative freight lineup and probably can't be begged to produce more passenger units, leaving the T in a place where it may not be able to follow through on its fleet plan for unifying under the GE GEVO platform. It now could be fragmentation forever with half-GE roster and a bunch of EMD's and future Siemens-Cummins makes needing to fill out the rest. Overcustomization lessons once again learned bitterly and too far after the fact.