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747400sp
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Amtrak Future Motive Power

Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:11 am

Amtrak main locomotives, the GE P-42s, have been rolling for almost 20 years or more. Now GE P-42s sound great, but they are getting worn out, and it may be time to start looking at some new locos coming to the seen. EMDs F125s, are a good example of replacement locomotives for Amtrak. Here is another ideal, Amtrak could rebuild the P42s, so they could last longer, or they could order new P42s with the new EVO engines, so they keep the same power they have, but burn less fuel. So what Amtraks future locomotives fleets look like?
 
nickh
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:56 pm

While this does not answer your question directly, try this web site:

www.trainsmag.com - it redirects to http://trn.trains.com

You can also follow some of the links on this site:

http://www.railfan.net

I used to subscribe to "Trains" Magazine some years ago, and they always had some good articles on Amtrak, so do be sure to look at their archives and see what you find.

My last memory of Amtrak was a trip that I took with my brother, from Seattle to San Jose - the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful along that route, especially in the dome cars.

A strange thing happened on that trip -- about halfway through, in some small nondescript town, we were booking a good 70mph, when the entire train came to a screeching (violent) stop.
It turns out that some drunk was on the tracks, trying to stop the train so that he could get on.
As luck would have it, our car stopped right at the railroad crossing where he was ranting and raving, and for some reason, he saw me looking at him through the window, pointed at me and told the police (who by now had arrived) that he was "my friend" and that he needed to ride with me!
The conductor came over to me and asked me if I knew the moron and I replied, "I'm from Houston, I have no idea who this person is!" not to mention that I don't even know the name of the town that we are in!.
The drunk was arrested, naturally, and the train went on after about a 1-hour wait, but had to stop down the line in Emeryville, CA, to change engines because apparently the panic stop had caused some damage to the regerative braking system on one of the locomotives - another 2-hour wait.

The train was the Amtrak Coast Starlight - if you ever get a chance to make the full trip from Seattle to Los Angeles, I would highly recommend it. Don't forget your camera!

Well, see the above sites, I hope that they will provide some good resources to anyone who is interested in trains.

-Nick

[Edited 2014-07-28 11:01:42]
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
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northstardc4m
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:18 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
Amtrak main locomotives, the GE P-42s, have been rolling for almost 20 years or more

The P42 entered service starting in 96... so they are at most 18 years old, the last ones were delivered to Amtrak in 2002. The P40 (aka AMD103) entered service in 91, and are either parked or in service after complete rebuilds to P42 standards, though with the original braking systems, they are actually common on the Autotrain as a i result.
And the P32s are from 95-97... so about the same as the oldest P42s.


I don't think Amtrak is looking for any new diesel power right now... not with their current financial problems. Except for the new power on the NEC don't expect much new in Amtrak paint any time soon.

Remember how long they kept the F40PH in service...

[Edited 2014-07-28 12:20:43]
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
Gemuser
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:42 am

Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
So what Amtraks future locomotives fleets look like?

There is a contract for diesel locos awarded to Siemens by Illinois DOT, acting on behalf of a number of mid west states, sate of Washington and Amtrak to acquire locos for regional (state subsised) services. An option in this contract allows Amtrak to order a long distance variant, the option is available for some years.
The award of the contract has been challenged by EMD and last I heard is before an Illinois administrative tribunal for review, who knows how long a resolution will take.

A somewhat chaotic source: http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/inde...for-35-next-gen-locomotives/page-3

Lots of other thing in that thread, railfans are just as likely as Anutters to go off topic! Some of the links are really interesting if you are at all interested in how gov contracts work.

gemuser
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747400sp
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:26 am

Quoting gemuser (Reply 3):
There is a contract for diesel locos awarded to Siemens by Illinois DOT, acting on behalf of a number of mid west states, sate of Washington and Amtrak to acquire locos for regional (state subsised) services. An option in this contract allows Amtrak to order a long distance variant, the option is available for some years.
The award of the contract has been challenged by EMD and last I heard is before an Illinois administrative tribunal for review, who knows how long a resolution will take.

A somewhat chaotic source: http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/inde...for-35-next-gen-locomotives/page-3

Lots of other thing in that thread, railfans are just as likely as Anutters to go off topic! Some of the links are really interesting if you are at all interested in how gov contracts work.

gemuser

I never thought of Siemens, I wonder can they build a diesel that can handle Amtrak network. It would need to be able to travel at very high speeds for a very long time.
 
PHX787
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:59 am

I wonder how viable it would be for Amtrak to electrify more heavily used lines....
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TheSonntag
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:39 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 4):
never thought of Siemens, I wonder can they build a diesel that can handle Amtrak network.

In Germany we say "Wollen Sie Qualität, oder darfs auch Siemens sein" (Do you want quality, or can Siemens do it for you?"). Generally, Siemens could do it, of course. But I guess the US is such an entirely different market, so simpler, rugged technology might be a better solution.

Electrifying the network is not possible as long as Amtrak uses freight lines, I guess. Railroad in the US is entirely different from Europe.

How is the future of Amtrak, in general? I mean, are trains like the California Zephyr really needed and have a real justification, seen from a pure infrastructural point of view?
 
CPH-R
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:22 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 6):
In Germany we say "Wollen Sie Qualität, oder darfs auch Siemens sein" (Do you want quality, or can Siemens do it for you?").

Up north we just point at our IC4 units. They're a big enough joke in themselves   
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:30 pm

Quoting CPH-R (Reply 7):
Up north we just point at our IC4 units. They're a big enough joke in themselves

I know. But this disaster is made by AnsaldoBreda (the same guys who did the Fyra-disaster).
 
nickh
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:43 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 4):
I never thought of Siemens, I wonder can they build a diesel that can handle Amtrak network. It would need to be able to travel at very high speeds for a very long time.

Yeah, I always thought that Siemens' expertise is really more in the light rail, intercity and some regional rail systems, not the long-haul workload that is required by a lot of the Amtrak South/Southwest routes.
For those, they still stick with the GE/EMDs, etc., tried and true.

Is ALCO still in business? I'll have to look and see...

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
nickh
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:56 pm

I almost forgot-here are a couple of other interesting sites that I have had bookmarked for some time now:

www.irfca.org (the Indian Railways Fan Club) - all sorts of technical information about trains in India, and a really extensive picture gallery to boot.

Also,

www.nycsubway.org - as the name suggests, everything that you never wanted to know about the NYC subway system - including a nice picture gallery and behind the scenes information.

And,

http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Chicago,_Illinois

http://www.chicago-l.org - all sorts of interesting information about the Chicago "L" (elevated) intercity rail system.

I hope that you find them of interest, if you like trains and train related stuff as I do. The picture galleries alone allow you to travel vicariously through the eyes of others, just like the wonderful pictures here on A.net do!

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
MSYtristar
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:18 am

The P40/42's have had a tendency to crap out quite bit...ironically on trains that routinely only use one locomotive such as the Texas Eagle and City of New Orleans. The grade on those routes doesn't warrant using two.
 
747400sp
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:34 am

Quoting nickh (Reply 9):
Is ALCO still in business? I'll have to look and see...

-Nick


No. From the story I read, GE used to build the traction power unit for ALCO, but in the 1950s, ALCO and GE had a disagreement, so GE decided to build their own locomotives. ALCO could not compete with EMD and GE, so they went out of business around the 1980s. If you ever hear an ALCO locomotive on youtube, you would think they sound like GE locomotives.
 
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northstardc4m
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:50 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 12):

Quoting nickh (Reply 9):
Is ALCO still in business? I'll have to look and see...

-Nick


No. From the story I read, GE used to build the traction power unit for ALCO, but in the 1950s, ALCO and GE had a disagreement, so GE decided to build their own locomotives. ALCO could not compete with EMD and GE, so they went out of business around the 1980s. If you ever hear an ALCO locomotive on youtube, you would think they sound like GE locomotives.

As an aside Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW, now part of Bombardier) kept building Alco based locomotives long after ALCO itself exited the market. They marketed the M630, LRC and HR series into the late 80s.

ALCO 244 and 251 prime movers are still made for maritime and industrial use (sold by Fairbanks Morse ironically), and clones are still used in new locos in India.

When GE launched the Universal series, ALCO switched to Westinghouse for electrical gear, which caused some issues with the Century line initially and caused ALCO to lose alot of sales. At the same time EMD was bringing out the 645 engine which really hit big, and ALCO basically just lost the sales race.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:22 pm

1996 technology was pretty good but it should be interesting to see if they can really curb energy usage and improve their bottom line with modern engines. I am not sure what GE has been doing but I do know there is better computer control on the new engines and they are more efficient. I am not sure if variable valve timing has been incorporated but there are some new technologies out there that can probably give them a 10-12% reduction.

I don't think there is anything revolutionary about the new engines though. Its still expensive to build and maintain these engines and you have to haul around a lot of diesel fuel at 7.7lbs a gallon. Electrification on the North East Corridor is already done for Acela so why not use electric engines on the regional trains? The maintenance is a lot lower on the electric engines I think.

I would love to see something revolutionary like a natural gas engine. This is a great case study for it. I know Waste Management is converting many new build trash trucks to that. I have also heard pulverized coal is nearly as efficient and clean as NatGas. Both seem feasible if you wanted to roll it out on at least part of the Amtrak network. Both are about 30% cheaper than regular diesel.
 
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northstardc4m
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:27 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 14):
I would love to see something revolutionary like a natural gas engine.

They already exist... there are several LNG and LPG switchers/gensets around now, and CN, BNSF and a few others are or have experimented with LNG locos.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
nickh
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:49 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 14):
I would love to see something revolutionary like a natural gas engine. This is a great case study for it. I know Waste Management is converting many new build trash trucks to that. I have also heard pulverized coal is nearly as efficient and clean as NatGas. Both seem feasible if you wanted to roll it out on at least part of the Amtrak network. Both are about 30% cheaper than regular diesel.

There is a little blurb about crushed coal fired turbines on a paragraph on the page below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_turbine_locomotive

UP experimented with Gas Turbines running on Kerosene (Jet-A) back in the late 1960s/1970s, but due to noise and other concerns, it never went anwhere:

Reference:

http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/gas-turbine/index.htm

And,

http://www.american-rails.com/gas-turbine-locomotive.html

There was an interesting story that I read about the UP Gas Turbine (Big Blow) engines - the engines had their turbine exhaust on the top of the engine, and this one time, some engineer parked the locomotive under a bridge and let it sit there and idle for quite some time.
Well, you can see the slight flaw in this plan---the hot turbine exhaust essentially melted the asphalt/tarmac on the roadway on the bridge above and ate a hole in the concrete lower base of the bridge, right down to the re-bar, so what started happening is that the hot tar/asphalt started dripping onto and INTO the gas turbine exhaust pipe, only to get spewed back out again by the force of the exhaust gasses, and the cycle kept repeating itself until the locomotive was partially covered in melted tar & asphalt!
I think that it's safe to say that the engineer was fired after that little fiasco, and UP had to pay to get the bridge fixed!

As far as LNG/CNG locomotives, I believe that they are using them in some parts of Asia and possibly India, I will try to find some links for you all - Compressed LNG is so cheap, and it makes for a good alternative to diesel and is of course much, much cleaner burning, so that makes it that much more attractive for countries with big pollution problems and also from an economic standpoint.

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:04 pm

In Germany, the 218 class Diesel-Hydraulic engines had some models with an auxiliary gas turbine, the DB class 210. In addition to the 1.839 kW diesel engine, they had a Lycoming T53-L helicopter engine with 845 kW on top.

In the beginning, this worked out fine, but reliability was not good enough. The engines had a much shorter life compared to helicopte use.

This was the last time germany experimented with gas turbines. Of course, this cannot be compared to the US, the operation envelope and the required power is completely different.
 
iFlyLOTs
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RE: Amtrak Future Motive Power

Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:19 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 5):
I wonder how viable it would be for Amtrak to electrify more heavily used lines....

Their most heavily used line is electrified, all of the others would be up to the freight lines and I doubt they would be likely to do it because what benefit would they get from electrifying their lines when they have so much invested in diesel power.

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 6):
How is the future of Amtrak, in general? I mean, are trains like the California Zephyr really needed and have a real justification, seen from a pure infrastructural point of view?

I'm studying transportation in school and in one of the railroading classes this was a huge discussion. There are some lines that are shorter that work really well! Ones like the Saluki and Illini in Illinois that cater primarily to college students and actually make money. Then you have those long ones that are just operated for the name sake of those historic routes. I think the long ones should be subsidized by the states if they still want them to exist, if they don't, then you cut that route.
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