Four Axle Units On Mainline Trains

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Four Axle Units On Mainline Trains
Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, July 02, 2019 9:41 PM

Are 4 axle locomotives still used on mainline trains, that is not locals. work trains, etc.

  Caldreamer

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 6:48 AM

Aside from Amtrak, four-axle power is pretty rare on what could be called premium trains.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 8:05 AM

What about on regualr merchandise and other non premium trains?

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Posted by traisessive1 on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 8:37 AM

BNSF has the ES44C4 GEVOS. 4 traction motors on 6 axles so technically, yes. 

10000 feet and no dynamics? Today is going to be a good day ... 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 9:01 AM

I do see four-axle power on some trains, although there are usually special considerations.  Most recently I saw a combination of GP40 and four-axle road slug coming off the Youngstown line in Ashtabula to proceed west toward Cleveland on the ex-NYC main.  On a number of occasions I've seen similar CSX power at or near Aulon, in Memphis, traversing the ex-IC main.  NS fairly recently was using matched sets of four-axle power bracketing one of their cabless road slugs on some kind of unit tank train.  We've commented on the amazing lashups including five B30-7AB units in the Pacific Northwest very recently.

But most of the time, the 'standard' of 4400 or so horsepower on six axles -- whether all of them are driving or not -- is expected on any road move, and I'm starting to see them used intensively (mostly SD40-2s with a smattering of dash-9s) for yard and local work where even recently NS used GP-38s or some equivalent rebuild.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 12:15 PM

I don't actually know, but I suspect the Norfolk Southern fleet of GP60's and the unrebuilt GP59's may not be shy at going out on the mainline regularly.

They would seem a bit powerful for being dedicated local power these days. And unlike the various GP59 rebuilds and the GP33ECO's, none appear to be equipped to serve as slug mothers. 

Edit: Looking through pictures online of 4 different units I picked at random, they seem to mostly be heavy duty power for transfers and locals these days. Saw some exceptions, but they were outnumbered by a wide margin.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 6:49 PM

In my neck of the woods, when 4 axle power goes out on the main line, other than locals, it's being moved between assignments or to/from shop locations.  Once in a great while they may actually be used for power, but usually just along for the ride.

Jeff

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, July 04, 2019 8:54 PM

Leo_Ames
I don't actually know, but I suspect the Norfolk Southern fleet of GP60's and the unrebuilt GP59's may not be shy at going out on the mainline regularly.

I remember when the GP60s and B32s were used on the premium intermodal trains.  But they were displaced 10+ years ago (by SD70M-2s around here).  I think they're pretty much all local/yard engines now.

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Bruce Frierdich on Tuesday, July 09, 2019 9:58 AM

Hi. 

At the risk of being redundant and based only on my personal observation CP Rail seems to have settled on 6 axle GEs for mainline traffic and GP38s and MP15s for yard work and transfers. Again based on my personal observations most of the SD40-2s SD60s bandits and odd balls  seem to have been purged.  I have seen no SD70aces and not sure they even roster any. 

Bruce 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, July 09, 2019 11:53 PM

Bruce Frierdich

I have seen no SD70aces and not sure they even roster any.

The last EMD's CP ordered were SD90MAC's.  A few were scrapped (including the only 4 to come with the 6000 HP 265H engine) and the remaining ones ended up sitting in the Winnipeg deadline for years. 

Those units are currently being rebuilt into SD70ACU's by Progress Rail.  They look almost identical to an SD70ACe.  The first two were delivered to CP just last week.

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/269036.aspx?page=3

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 12:44 AM

To the best of my knowledge, Canadian Pacific doesn't roster MP15's anymore.

It's my understanding the traditional end cab switcher is extinct at Canadian Pacific except for maybe the 6711 (Did the closure of Ogden where she was shop switcher do her in?). 

And despite attempts to back out of a rebuild program and sell the fleet when Harrison was in control, I believe CPR held on to and has rebuilt most of their former Soo SD60/SD60M's, with the fleet active today and further upgrading having since been undertaken. I believe there are over 40 of them left after the lease wasn't bought out a number of years ago for 21 of them. And don't forget about the many ECO units on the roster as well.

And earlier this year, Canadian Railway Observations reported 27 active SD40-2's on CPR on 2/26/19 along with the pilot run of 10 SD40-3's. Hopefully at least a few more SD40-3's will follow in the future. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:20 AM

The GP20C-ECO units were technically rebuilds, as I understand it.

https://railpictures.net/photo/502373/

CP did buy quite a few of these, if I recall correctly.

Once in a very great while you might catch one operating on line in the consist of a mainline train.

But very infrequently, and definitely as an exception to the norm.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 1:28 PM

Unlike 4 axle ECO production elsewhere, CPR's GP20C-ECO's were rebuilds in name only.

https://www.canadianrailwayobservations.com/RESTRICTED/2016/September2016/cp.htm

It's similar to the era 60 years ago when many lines started to replace early 1st generation diesels for the first time. You'd end up with nonsense like a brand new E9 with a build date and serial number of a locomotive built back in 1940, even though they were virtually all new other than the truck frames and some minor parts. 

This creative accounting was done back then since a loophole allowed them to save on taxes by receiving "rebuilt" equipment rather than new equipment. But in this modern case, by liberally applying the term and apparently reusing just enough to somehow qualify under the letter of the law, it allowed these locomotives to only have to meet the EPA Tier 0 standard for rebuilt power rather than Tier 2 that "new" locomotives were supposed to meet. 

Officially they're rebuilt, but so was many a GP20, E9, GP30, et all. Yet other than debate on certain orders of F9's, you never see the community argue on such nonsense as if a particular GP30 built with an FT trade-in is actually a new build GP30 or a rebuilt FT to GP30 specifications. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 3:25 PM

Leo_Ames
Unlike 4 axle ECO production elsewhere, CPR's GP20C-ECO's were rebuilds in name only.

https://www.canadianrailwayobservations.com/RESTRICTED/2016/September2016/cp.htm

It's similar to the era 60 years ago when many lines started to replace early 1st generation diesels for the first time. You'd end up with nonsense like a brand new E9 with a build date and serial number of a locomotive built back in 1940, even though they were virtually all new other than the truck frames and some minor parts. 

This creative accounting was done back then since a loophole allowed them to save on taxes by receiving "rebuilt" equipment rather than new equipment. But in this modern case, by liberally applying the term and apparently reusing just enough to somehow qualify under the letter of the law, it allowed these locomotives to only have to meet the EPA Tier 0 standard for rebuilt power rather than Tier 2 that "new" locomotives were supposed to meet. 

Officially they're rebuilt, but so was many a GP20, E9, GP30, et all. Yet other than debate on certain orders of F9's, you never see the community argue on such nonsense as if a particular GP30 built with an FT trade-in is actually a new build GP30 or a rebuilt FT to GP30 specifications. 

Throw tax laws and EPA regulations together and you end up creating some strange mechanical 'beings'.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 5:18 PM

Here's something to think about.  There are GP35's on the BNSF running around today that have trucks from the original orders of FT's under them.  They still have about 50 of the old Santa Fe GP35's on the roster that have been upgraded several times however the trucks have casting dates from the early 40's according to several people I know.  The miles those trucks must have on them by now.  

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Posted by Bruce Frierdich on Friday, July 12, 2019 3:05 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the clarifications on CP's roster.  As I stated, I am no authority and have not looked into any data bases, just offering my perception based on what I see at Bensenville on a pretty regular basis.  Lots of big GEs and lots of GP38s.  At one time or another I have seen just about every line and every locomotive parked there including an Alco something or other (I could only see the roofline) about twenty years ago.  Have a good one.

Bruce

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Posted by oltmannd on Friday, July 12, 2019 4:01 PM

caldreamer

Are 4 axle locomotives still used on mainline trains, that is not locals. work trains, etc.

  Caldreamer

 

There's a couple of reasons you don't see four axles on mainline trains.

One is the HP/ton requirements have dropped from what they were in the 1970s as RRs found fuel savings in lower HP/ton trains.  So, where PC might have run an intermodal trains with four GP40-2s on a 40-50 car van train weighting 3-4000 tons (often 4 HP/ton or better), Conrail found you only needed 1.75 HP/ton to get over the road on schedule, so they were running 3 four axles on a 70-80 car 5-6000 ton train.

Once you start doing this, you're fuel range starts coming down and you need to refuel more often.

So, RRs wanted bigger fuel tanks on the 4 axle fleet which started making them rather heavy with respect to axle loadings. The new wide cabs added even more weight.  Still, they did not have the range of the six axles with their huge tanks.

So, it became much simpler to just go with six axle units and cascade the four axles down to service that didn't consume fuel at a great rate.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, July 12, 2019 4:38 PM

Oltmannd:

  Good information.  Thanks

  

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, July 12, 2019 4:50 PM

oltmannd

 

 
caldreamer

Are 4 axle locomotives still used on mainline trains, that is not locals. work trains, etc.

  Caldreamer

 

 

 

There's a couple of reasons you don't see four axles on mainline trains.

One is the HP/ton requirements have dropped from what they were in the 1970s as RRs found fuel savings in lower HP/ton trains.  So, where PC might have run an intermodal trains with four GP40-2s on a 40-50 car van train weighting 3-4000 tons (often 4 HP/ton or better), Conrail found you only needed 1.75 HP/ton to get over the road on schedule, so they were running 3 four axles on a 70-80 car 5-6000 ton train.

 

 

A while back, Don had a photo of a single F40P heading a train of 10 Amfleet cars before they fully electrified the NY-BOS route.

 

Other than that, Amtrak seems to put a lot of locomotives on trains.  I have seen the Vermonter with a P42 at each end of not-that-long a train, and Brightline is dispatching whatever-kind-of-passenger-locomotive-at-4000HP, one at each end of a 4-car train.  I am trying to remember if I had seen the Chicago-Pontiac, MI train with a P42 each end or in a photo, and long distance trains of 12 cars run with as many as 3 locomotive units.

A good way to keep schedules and insure against unit failure, but it must use a lot of fuel?

On the other hand, Don once told us that the continuous tractive effort of a P42 is at 30,000 lbs, what you could get with a Pennsy E6s Atlantic?  This has something to do with passenger engines having "tall" gearing for speeds well in excess of the 79 MPH speed limit except for special places?  And DC motors?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, July 13, 2019 6:45 AM

Locomotives are occasionally on both ends of Chicago-Detroit and Chicago-Milwaukee trains because of push-pull operation of those lines and a limited supply of control cabs.

Also, the "Texas Eagle" and "City of New Orleans" regularly operate with only one P42 for power.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by zardoz on Saturday, July 13, 2019 11:36 AM

Paul Milenkovic
Brightline is dispatching whatever-kind-of-passenger-locomotive-at-4000HP, one at each end of a 4-car train.

Gee, that train probably accelerates faster than my old Jeep...I wonder what the 0-60 time on those is. 
Paul Milenkovic
A good way to keep schedules and insure against unit failure, but it must use a lot of fuel?
I would maybe use both to accelerate, but when at speed I'd take the head-end engine off-line.

   23 17 46 11

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, July 13, 2019 12:32 PM

The P42s have 38,000# TE continuous with a minimum continuous full HP speed of 38mph, and a max speed of 110 mph.  That implies some really "tall" gearing.  Implied adhesions is about 24%.  They have standard GE DC traction motors (752AH)

The HEP can siphon off up to 800KW.

Taking the Pennsylvanian as an example, 6 Amfleet cars going up HSC need about 15,000# TE (6 cas x 60 tons per car x 20 #/ton/% x 2% grade) so a single P42 is more than enough and can easily climb the hill at the 30-35 mph track speed.

 

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, July 13, 2019 12:43 PM

zardoz

 

 
Paul Milenkovic
Brightline is dispatching whatever-kind-of-passenger-locomotive-at-4000HP, one at each end of a 4-car train.

 

Gee, that train probably accelerates faster than my old Jeep...I wonder what the 0-60 time on those is. 

 
Paul Milenkovic
A good way to keep schedules and insure against unit failure, but it must use a lot of fuel?

I would maybe use both to accelerate, but when at speed I'd take the head-end engine off-line.

 

 

There's a neat video by "delayed in block" on YouTube that shows a couple of Wolverines.  One with a P42 and one with an Siemens loco.  The Siemens loco accelerated the train rather swiftly from the stop.  The P42 is really slow.  The difference is the loading rate of the GE.  Takes it 80 seconds to get from idle to full load, and the first minute of that it doesn't even get half way there.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 13, 2019 4:55 PM

oltmannd
The P42 is really slow.  The difference is the loading rate of the GE.  Takes it 80 seconds to get from idle to full load, and the first minute of that it doesn't even get half way there.

You are comparing apples with oranges, or perhaps more apt you are attributing bug behavior to something GE knows and considers an explicit feature.

I think it's well established that GEs in general load slow because the 'computer is programmed that way'.  For a large part of recent history this involved an attempt to limit sooting and other exhaust pollution.  Perhaps a better idea of what a 7FDL can do is the acceleration of a U34CH when its engine is already at high nominal RPM and all that's needed is to add more fuel into the traction load, bypassing the artificial map of rotational speed increase by notch.

Now I'd expect a GE accelerated at what would be 'natural' full acceleration would smoke at least as bad as a 251 until the turbo caught up, but it would sure accelerate much more quickly than you seem to imply GEs are power-limited to do.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, July 14, 2019 3:37 PM

 A unicorn on CP train 253...

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/703315/

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, July 26, 2019 3:04 PM
Up until a few years ago, UP in Roseville used GP60s and GP40-2s in regular service on Locals and occasionally on Haulers. However, between the SD59MXs and the SD70Ms getting supplanted by ACes, the 4 axles almost never make it on to a hauler any more and even the locals often have a 59MX or SD70M or SD40-2 mixed in with the 60s and 40-2s.

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