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  • All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad
All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad

Moderator: Benjamin Maggi

  by BR&P
I wasn't aware that ARA is OK for 286K cars. But even if they're still at 263, why not get a real loco which can handle the freight without problems? A GP9 weighs about 248,000 so that would be less than one freight car it's pulling. If the rails and bridges can handle a loaded car (or several) why do they still use the centercabs? From a railfan perspective it's great to see motive power typical of a 1950's shortline, but from a business standpoint it would seem an RS11 or an older Geep would be far more desirable.
  by thebigham
^But a good GP9/RS11 costs money which the A&A really doesn't have. Yet.
  by jgallaway81
Another factor...

Right now the centercabs are TWO locomotives, technically four if you want to divide it down by the number of primemovers.

A larger diesel would necessitate the elimination of both engines for the new one to fit in the shop. When it goes down for repairs/maintenance, the railroad is then left without any power except the steamer....

On second thought, one big diesel IS the answer :-p
  by Mountcastle
Does anyone have any idea just how much of a profit the freight service brings in vs. the profits gained from the tourist train? What does Reisdorf produce, anyway? I was never curious enough about the freight aspect of the railroad to ask.

Following up on that, any ideas what a used 'big diesel' would cost?
  by jgallaway81
Riesdorf's is a feedmill.

As for profit margins in the different services, I'm not authorized by the railroad to make public releases and therefore can't comment.

Back in early-mid 2007, a freshly shopped, inspected & painted SD9m was 50k. Meanwhile SW1000-1500/Gp-15's were running between 250k and 500k. It was these costs that made me begin engineering work on converting the centercabs so that two units could be handled by one engineer, using a custom setup, not standard MU operations.
  by Mountcastle
Well, without revealing details is there any sense of which of the two operations (freight or excursion) carries the railroad and which of the two is more or less supplemental? Or is it more balanced than that?

On the one hand, what with having only one customer, the freight operation can't be terribly lucrative; on the other hand, the tourist train only operates five months during the year and charges only $12 a head.

If the Arcade & Attica had, say, a spare $50-$100,000 to spend on something, would you think it wiser for the railroad to buy a new diesel or to spend it on the excursion side of things? I can only imagine what an advertising budget like that would do to increase ridership.
  by BR&P
From a post on the GVT forum:
With all the(27) RS-18's and 7 C424's about to become available (from NBEC) saving every RS-11 will not be needed. Many of these NBEC MLW's have been rebuilt and in some cases upgraded.
An RS18 would be far more powerful than 2 centercabs, would likely have 26L brakes (less frequent servicing required) and would have technology and parts common to several shortlines nearby (GVT, LAL, BSOR, OMID) No idea what price they will bring but it might be worth kicking the idea around.
  by tomjohn
A locomotive of such caliber painted and lettered for the A & A RR could be interesting,then again wouldn't the weight,gear ratio and possibly speed of such a locomotive be different than the GE's that the A & A have and their people are use to. How about a General Electric centercab SL series(80,100 and 144) locomotive, or something similar to what some of the general public does with automobile dealers these days? Secondly wouldn't the weight of such a locomotive be a problem for Arcade and Attica railroad trackage ?
  by BR&P
Speed is controlled by the throttle, just as in the centercabs. More throttle, more speed. I don't know what you mean by "different from what their people are used to". Some of the controls may be in a different spot and it may handle a bit differently, but overall it's no different from you getting into someone else's car. Give their guys one trip and they'd do fine with it.

As for the weight, a poster above said ARA handles 286K cars. Even if they are still limited to 263,000 an RS18 would weight somewhere in the range of 250,000 - in other words the loco would weight less than a loaded freight car. And since it's not a steamer, you don't have the issue of whatever the term is - "dynamic augmentation" maybe ?? re the reciprocating forces of the drivers. And one prime mover would require less work than 4 of them.

They may have other factors I'm not aware of. Just makes for interesting conjecture - "What if..." and "why not...?"
  by jgallaway81
BR&P, you missed one critical point...

BACKUP/RESERVE power. The shops are a vintage 1890's/1910's structure. A single unit of the type you describe would displace BOTH centercabs from the shops. While such an engine could replace both units power wise, it couldn't replace the backup nature of the units.

The main question that no one has asked here, WHY was #112 @ the mill for engine work? Only a couple years ago it was repowered with two new diesel blocks. With the repower, No.112 would have had no problem with a 6-car train. (aside from possible tractive effort issues).

If a GP9 were to be purchased to replace 111 & 112, and said No.113 was out of service for say... a leaking radiator, there would be NO option but to run with steam.
  by BR&P
I admit to not being very familiar with the current ARA power. OK, I'll bite and ask the question you want - "WHY is the 112 at the mill for engine work?" especially if it just had new diesels a couple years ago? And what is wrong with 113 while we are at it?

As I said, I'm sure there are many factors to be considered. Would it be an option to put a larger loco in the shop, leaving one GE outside as backup? Since they are essentially truck or bulldozer engines it should be no problem to run anti-freeze in them, something not usually done with ALCo or EMDs. Some sort of a block heater could be plugged in to warm the oil if it was necessary to fire the thing up.

Actually the old centercabs are an interesting throw-back and 50 years ago were found on countless shortlines. However over time most lines using them came to the point it made more sense (and dollars) to get more modern power. If traffic is heavy that's a good thing for the railroad but additional wear and tear on the underpowered GEs.

I'm dealing with a somewhat similar situation out of state, and in that case we are starting to realize the old thing just isn't able to do what it did years ago. Loco prices are already starting to come down a little bit and if a decent used road switcher comes up for grabs, the old Kudzu Cutter may be put out to pasture. Not saying ARA "SHOULD" do that but hopefully they are weighing all options with an impartial eye.
  by BSOR Patarak
As far as 112 goes, it had RECONDITIONED blocks put in a couple of years ago. Those Cummins blocks take a beating and are easy to get parts for.

They've had little gremlins in those blocks ever since. Not that it was a bad or incomplete job, just a bum piece or tweak here and there. It's had a smoking and oil consumption problem on one end for the recent past. They tried a couple of sets of injectors and retiming. It simply turned out to be a bad cam shaft. It went up to Reisforf's because that is where the experienced mechanics are. They maintain the mill's fleet of trucks with the same motor types all the time. It made more sense to send it up to them where their tools are then to have them pack up in a truck and come to Arcade.
  by tomjohn
Aren't there any General Electric SL series locomotives available,along with parts ? For example SL 80,110 & 144 .

  by jgallaway81
Pat: Thanks for the info. I was under the impression that Reisdorf had the blocks completely rebuilt before they were installed in No.112. As for sending it up to the mill, I knew that it would have gone up there only if there was something up with the guts of the primemovers, the A&A could have handle pretty much anything else.

TJ: ANY engine smaller than a GP is at a premium price right now. Unless you count the GenSets, NO ONE is making switch engines. The gensets are being built on the frames of scrapped engines. Once those frames are gone, either bigger or newly-built frames will be needed.

BR&P: No, that would not be an option. Without sufficient safety interlocks, there would be nothing to prevent the little (and not so little) monsters in town from screwing with the engine. A few months back a shortline in Ohio had some delinquents break into their shop and take their engine for a 12-mile joy ride.

All: The real answer to the A&A's tractive question is not a 'bigger engine' per-say. Its a mother-slug set. Only a mother-slug fits the A&A's operational characteristics. A bigger engine could move more cars by itself, but would necessitate selling/trading off both operational centercabs. So what happens when only one or two cars is headed for the mill? Why burn the fuel of a huge 16-cylinder diesel in a GP9 when the centercab is sufficient?

The A&A's real quandry isn't horsepower, its tractive effort. And tractive effort is created by two main things: adhesive weight and points of contact. A centercab has a maximum of 22,000 pounds of tractive effort, which is only a few thousand pounds less than No.18 which has only 28,400pounds.
  by tomjohn
Here's a question for you all, how would A. & A. look with a pair of GENSET locomotives and how would they be painted ? I'll leave this one up to you all for speculation..