HHP-8-Ccannibalization Generates Lawsuit

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HHP-8-Ccannibalization Generates Lawsuit
Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 8:28 PM

While reading another Thread in the Forum. I saw this side-bar story in the linked artice.  Not being more than just passingly familiar with things and information referencing Amtrak's North East Corridor; I pulled it up to see what was going on. 

Linked here is that story's URL @      https://www.railwayage.com/regulatory/hhp-8-cannibalization-generates-lawsuit/

I found it to be somewhat interesting, and thought it would be an interesting story to  and comment on here.

The premis story [as stated in the RA article]"...Philip Morris Capital Corp.[PMCC} and HNB Investment Corp. have sued Amtrak in New York federal court in an attempt to recover $92.9 million for what they claim is a breach of contract for long-retired electric locomotives used on the Northeast Corridor..."

For those interested: FTA: "...The case is Philip Morris Capital Corporation et al. v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., case number 1:19-cv-10378, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Law360 broke the story on Nov. 8..."

FFTA:"...“PMCC and HNB Investment Corp. alleged that … Amtrak leased eight [HHP-8 electric] locomotives and [six Acela Express high-speed trainsets]. Amtrak ultimately claimed the [HHP-8 locomotives were] unreliable, but inspectors found [they] had been ‘cannibalized’ for parts.."

[Further, as the article states} [May 2016] "...“According to the complaint, Amtrak made a series of misleading statements, in which the [it] indicated that it had made no decision on the equipment, but PMCC and HNB discovered later that year that Amtrak had retired the [HHP-8s]. Amtrak’s assessment of the [HHP-8s] concluded that it wasn’t economical to repair a part of [their propulsion] system, according to the complaint, but Amtrak failed to perform required maintenance procedures in the years leading up to the claim that [the HHP-8s were] unreliable..."

Later the article states:"...In addition to the disassembled state discovered in June 2017, the inspection confirmed that all eight [HHP8] locomotives were ‘retired’ by early 2015, noting that four were ‘being stored in aNo unusual condition.’

“The companies allege that Amtrak’s own financials indicate that it was in no position to make a buyout proposal and instead was a tactic to ‘stonewall’ Philip Morris and HNB.."

Not having ridden on an of the NE Corridor equipmet in many years, I found the inforrmation to be of interest and the information put out in the AMTRAK PR releases; The NEC equipment is doing a great job and AMTRAK is finally making money!   Seems like all is NOT as well, as they want everyone to believe?             I just wonder where the truths lay in this tale?

  Just note me as curious out here in Fly Over land. Whistling




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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 2:58 AM

The ghost of George Warrington still haunts 60 Mass. Ave.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:16 AM

Wait for the detail testimony before 'concluding' something either way.

The HHP-8s were second only to the Republic Locomotive Starships in the overripe-tomato complexity and relative fragility of their high technology.  To this day they are still one of the grandest technical achievements of North American locomotive practice, and deserve considerably more engineering respect than they (and their Acela half-siblings) have received over the years.

One of the 'hinges' to watch out for is the precise maintenance records Amtrak provides, and the bankers'-counsel analysis of those records.

Another fun thing that might come out of this is some testimony 'on the record' about that timeless topic here, Amtrak's accounting methodologies.  

Part of my understanding about operating HHP-8s was that they were operated at their considerable higher output 'more of the time' than parts of their cooling systems were designed (reminiscent, perhaps, of the New Haven EP-5 'jets').  The concern was not so much 'fires' as it was overheat and consequent failure, perhaps through cumulative heat-related damage, of some of the electronic components and systems on a complex locomotive,  That would be Bombardier's 'responsibility', as might have been excessive charging (or outright deprecation!) of key boards or other components -- which is a common thing to find in the post-70s world of electronic locomotive controls!  Likewise, as we learned during the Krauss-Maffei Amerika-Lok years ... merely providing Teutonically-precise levels of required maintenance is no guarantee that actual railroad maintenance or shop personnel will follow the jot 'n tittle of complex instructions in the increasing absence of manufacturer support, or even interest.  So pulling parts off something known to be severely sidelined to keep a less-impaired sister going might make full sense... as would not putting parts back if you can't get replacements outside a hardware-hacker's lab.

All this will doubtless play out in time, although the likelihood we will see other than 'leaked' details seems more than a bit slim.  I only regret that one of the likely outcomes is that no HHP-8 will see preservation at all, let alone without important parts of its electrical gear stripped in a rather transparent effort at self-preservation.

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Posted by beaulieu on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:14 PM

Which company between Alstom and Bombardier supplied the electrical components for the HHP-8s?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:18 AM


Which company between Alstom and Bombardier supplied the electrical components for the HHP-8s?

Electrical came from Alstom.

Editor Emeritus, This Week at Amtrak

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