Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by doepack
 
Looks like the MP36's are cementing their status as "unwanted stepchildren". They aren't aesthetically pleasing to most railfans, they're loud, they caused last year's Tsunami, and were also the cause of ALL Metra delays in the last year, even on the electric district! And what's more, their current shaky track record (no pun intended) in terms of mechanical reliability makes them that much easier to hate, especially if they repeatedly made you late for work and/or home on an almost daily basis. And yes, those are more than legitimate reasons to dislike them.

I like the MP36's and I've explained why in previous posts. And I am neither ignorant nor indifferent to their mechanical flaws, but I get a strong vibe from this forum and others that the loathing for these locomotives runs much deeper than that. For example, there are those that simply don't like them aesthetically, and that's cool, to each his own. But for the others, I'd like to pose a challenge: How many of you out there that dislike them for mechanical reasons would find something else not to like about them if their reliability wasn't an issue? Am I missing something else here? Or is it, as I suspect, that they would still be hated anyway because they effectively ended the Metra careers of the oh-so-beloved F40C's?

  by F40CFan
 
I'll be honest. At first I didn't like them because, as you said, they ended the careers of the F40Cs. Just like the F40Cs were disliked at first when they replaced the Es and Fs.

However, it was hard to continue to dislike the F40Cs as they did their job, day after day, almost flawlessly.

When the MPs came out (I never will like the way they look, or sound when idling), I didn't care for them. But it wasn't until they started failing all over the place that I took a real dislike to them.

Now we have locomotives that, to me, look like something out of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon, and can't perform as well as the engines they replaced.

I guess I should be grateful that Metra didn't get us hand cars, but I can't help thinking they'd be more reliable.

  by JamesT4
 
To my view if 2 F40C's had to come out of retirement to take in place of the MP's, them you know that MP3's engines are crap

To my view metra should just buy back the F40C's after they are rebuilt.

The F40c's has less problems,and people had less delays, than the MP36's.

  by metra 613
 
Well that why i didnt like them since day one. Becasue there kill the cs but when u dont make it to work home cant u see why all of us just hate them just a bit more.See how u fell sitting on a train that wont move in the snow and its 25 out side.Just like what f40cfan said how can u not like the f40c when there did there job to the very end and got people to work on time alot more then any mp did.

  by MikeF
 
JamesT4 wrote:To my view metra should just buy back the F40C's after they are rebuilt.
The Helm F40C's are not being rebuilt. Since the Kansas City Southern lease deal fell through, they have just been sitting around and I would not be surprised if they are stripped for parts and scrapped before too long.

  by doepack
 
F40CFan wrote:I'll be honest. At first I didn't like them because, as you said, they ended the careers of the F40Cs. Just like the F40Cs were disliked at first when they replaced the Es and Fs.

However, it was hard to continue to dislike the F40Cs as they did their job, day after day, almost flawlessly.

When the MPs came out (I never will like the way they look, or sound when idling), I didn't care for them. But it wasn't until they started failing all over the place that I took a real dislike to them.

Now we have locomotives that, to me, look like something out of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon, and can't perform as well as the engines they replaced.

I guess I should be grateful that Metra didn't get us hand cars, but I can't help thinking they'd be more reliable.
That's a candid, and forthright opinion, F40C fan. Precisely the kind of insight I was looking for.

While we all know the MP36's have their problems, I do admit that I too, will miss the F40C's as well. Personally, I've always had sort of a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude about them, because to me, they're just elongated F40's, yet I have always recognized and respected the historical significance of these fine machines. Indeed, six-axle passenger locomotives in commuter service are a rare breed these days. And that's why when 611 and 614 leave the property for good, it will truly be the end of an era.

  by F40CFan
 
Hopefully after they leave Metra, at least one will end up at the IRM. At least they'll take good care of it and run it.

It funny, I look at it the other way. I think the F40PH is a stubby B-B version of the F40C (which did come out first). I also like the nose on the F40C/F45/FP45 better. And the stainless steel sides are much more classy than the plain metal ones found on the F40PH.

  by MetraF40C607
 
Like I said, Metra is most likely giving the IRM an F40C one 611 and 614 are done. Hopefully, the IRM will be smart and actually RUN the unit, because, obviously, it will be runnable. To address a few other things, also. Yes, you can dislike them all you want, but they aren't leaving. Thus the reason why I don't mind them anymore. I know they are a problem sometimes, and they're a pain in an engineer's side. That was Metra's fault for making the units uncomfortable, but we all know the head guys aren't going too listen to the engineers. Also, the issue with their sound. Some like it, some don't. I think of it this way. Whether you realize it or not, the bass level being emitted from the F40s is the same as the MPs, just the F40s have more treble comming from them than the MPs, thus causing the MPs too seem "noisy." There's my say.

  by doepack
 
F40CFan wrote:Hopefully after they leave Metra, at least one will end up at the IRM. At least they'll take good care of it and run it
Agreed. That would certainly be a much more desirable fate than the other ones appear to be suffering at Helm, which just seem to be sitting around awaiting the executioner's torch. But if 611 and/or 614 wind up at IRM, with proper care and maintenance, they should more or less run forever.
F40CFan wrote:It funny, I look at it the other way. I think the F40PH is a stubby B-B version of the F40C (which did come out first). I also like the nose on the F40C/F45/FP45 better. And the stainless steel sides are much more classy than the plain metal ones found on the F40PH
I didn't really get a chance to see the F40C's during their pre-Metra days, and as a result, I didn't become aware of the distinctions between them and the regular F40's until I returned to the hobby, which is why my perspective is a bit different. The stainless steel sides are a nice touch, though...

  by fjcaron
 
I don't work for Metra, so I can't comment on their MP36's, but I can surely comment on the ones Caltrain purchased. At first I'd say that no one really liked them, I mean here we are having to learn about an entirely new computer system that runs the engine, how to start it thru the computer, what to do and what not to do, and so on.

No one likes change, this is from railroaders to railfans, but change is constant and we must adapt for those of us in the industry.

Atleast as railfans, we can preserve the memories thru discussion, videos and photography.

I would say the biggest complaint to date about our MP36's operated on Caltrain is the visibility thru the windshields, that split four window design leaves something to be desired for your left hand field of view.

The other complaint is the handrails protruding into your field of view in the mirrors when you look back at the train to see the conductor on the platform highballing you.

The door light feature, is really hard to distinguish in the daytime because of how the sunlight shines into the cab, it also makes reading the speedometer very difficult.

I like the speedometers on the Metra desktops, those look way more userfriendly and easy to view.

It gets very hot in the cab of the MP36's, as the four window design acts as a solarium, it takes a long while to cool it down with the A/C on full and sometimes on a hot day it's practically impossible to cool the cab.

Now operationally, these are fast engines, they are slow out of the gate. But once they transition, the way the speed builds up is comparable to an F40.

You can easily attain 45-79mph between stations, and our stations are 1-4 miles apart. The ideal combination is an F40 and MP36, or two MP36's as I had once on a four car train, I was up to 75mph in 3/4 of a mile.

All in all though I still prefer the tried and true F40's, the standard AAR control stand is by far my favorite and most userfriendly.

Just my comments to the MP36 bash a' thon.

  by F40CFan
 
Thanks for the insight. Its always nice to get comments from people with hands-on experience.

I have to agree with you that change is constant and that we have to adapt. However, it would be nice if the change is one for the better. In this case, at least initially, it is not.

  by metra 613
 
For all u the Mp36s.I have something to say i dont care about the at all there killer the best emds ever made.U guys think about look there was only 15 F40cs made.And thats it thats wht the F40c are so like there Nice looking and there keep there trains ontime.I dont care for the mps at all as far as i think i hate them and allways will . U know why there kill the 600s and for that to me the milw lines will never be the same .

  by c604.
 
"U know why there kill the 600s and for that to me the milw lines will never be the same "

I wonder how many times that statement has been said during the past 150 years. It probably previously went something like this: "U know why [the F40C's] kill the E9's and F7's and for that to me the milw lines will never be the same." And the same goes for the generations of steam locomotives too. But if there is such strong animosity among the members of this board towards the new units now, I can just image what the railfans who saw their beloved steam locomotives bumped by diesels compalined about....woah thank goodness there was no railroad.net in 1950 to start threads about "bashing the diesels" or you guys would have crashed the server :-D !

  by MikeF
 
Forget the F40C's -- I think they ought to bring back Geeps and Eries on the Milwaukee lines!!! :P