Big Order for ES44C4's

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Big Order for ES44C4's

  • One roster-like website lists BNSF as having over 200 more ES44C4's on order, with some being delivered now.

    http://www.dieselshop.us/BNSF.HTML

    Numbers ordered are 6653-6879 (227 units).

    For that quantity of units on a single ordered, the model must be proving to be a winner on BNSF!


    On April 9, 2011 BNSF ES44C4 unit 6665 (above) was photographed in DPU mode at Hesperia, CA on the eastern slope of Cajon Pass.

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  • How much do they cost per unit compared to other models?

    Andrew

    Andrew

    Watch my videos on-line at https://www.youtube.com/user/AndrewNeilFalconer

  • Andrew Falconer

    How much do they cost per unit compared to other models?

    Andrew

    They are AC units so the cost is probably about the same as other AC units, which cost much more than the DC units.  Sorry I have no exact figures, but maybe the GE web site could give you some information.  The lack of two traction motors might be a slight reduction, but these units have the special lifting devices for the center axle in each truck that probably adds cost equal to the missing traction motors.

    The center axle has mechanical devices operated by air and controlled by the computer that lifts the center axle on startup if more traction is required.  This is deactived above 12 mph so it is just for start up only.  Interesting to hear them when they are in this mode.

    The C4's have 1100 hp per axle and were purchased for cross country stack service, not drag freight.

    The old 500 series B alxe GE's used to be used on the high speed Z trains much of the time since they had a higher ratio of HP to axle than the C truck GE's..

    CZ

     

  •   The 'cost' of these units is the same or less than a comparable DC unit.  This was the 'selling' feature that GE is offering.  GE want to only build AC units.  They are wired so that the missing electrical/traction motors can be retrofitted if the customer desires.  The 'lift' feature does not lift the center idler axle free of the rail(this would put all the weight on the powered axles and exceed the axle loading limits - damaged rail).  It lifts the axle enough to 'load' the powered axles to the maximum axle loading limit to increase adhesion at low speed.  These engine do not generate the same low speed continuous TE as a normal AC GEVO, bu they are better than a DC GEVO.  Considering that they cost the same as a DC GEVO - I can understand BNSF's purchase.

    Jim

    Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

  • jrbernier

      The 'cost' of these units is the same or less than a comparable DC unit.  This was the 'selling' feature that GE is offering.  GE want to only build AC units.  They are wired so that the missing electrical/traction motors can be retrofitted if the customer desires.  The 'lift' feature does not lift the center idler axle free of the rail(this would put all the weight on the powered axles and exceed the axle loading limits - damaged rail).  It lifts the axle enough to 'load' the powered axles to the maximum axle loading limit to increase adhesion at low speed.  These engine do not generate the same low speed continuous TE as a normal AC GEVO, bu they are better than a DC GEVO.  Considering that they cost the same as a DC GEVO - I can understand BNSF's purchase.

    Jim

    Jim

    I was not aware that GE might offer these for about the same money as a DC unit.  The weight that is lifted off of the center axle is probably about 20% of that axle weight but it does allow the two other axles to gain traction below 12 mph.  I don't think the four axles pull as well as a regular DC unit with six axles at slow speeds but they do better at high speed for stack trains.

    There was a GE ad about these locomotives for a time on their web page.  

    CZ

  • The assumption that GE is desiring to only build AC traction locos may come from several reasons.  These assumptions may also apply to EMD especially  with  their sale to CAT.

    1. Some or all of manufacturing equipment for DC specific parts may be coming to the end of its useful or commercial life. Reducing the demand on that equipment may advoid the need  to replace that manufacturing equipment if only replacement DC parts need production.

    2.  AC only may speed up allow # of units built to rise?

    RRs going only to new AC may also have some items.

    3. Cost.

    4. Lower mtce costs for AC equipment especially traction motors.

    5.  Much of the DC overhaul equipment may be reaching the end of useful life so buying new AC specific equipment may  make long term sense. Remaining DC equipment use will gradually decrease as DC locos are retired.

    6.  Amtrak may be a prime example of DC overhaul equipment wearing out now. The E-60s , then AEM-7DCs have been around a long time. They modified some AEMs to AC reducing DC overhaul equip useage. Acelas and HHP-8 also slowed useage. The overhaul equipment at Beech Grove for all the DC diesels may also be wering out.

    7. Each major RR may be at a different point in overhaul equipment useful life remaining. It may be BNSF has Rather old overhaul equipment?

    8. CN on the other hand may have rather new equipment?

    Comments??

     

  • Both GE and EMD would like nothing better than to build all AC traction locomotives now. It would simplify their manufacturing process, and AC traction in locomotives are now a proven, and very reliable technology.

    There is simply no economic, and certainly no performance reason to justify new DC traction locomotives now.

    DC traction motors are a technology whose time has passed.

  • CAZEPHYR

     

      I don't think the four axles pull as well as a regular DC unit with six axles at slow speeds but they do better at high speed for stack trains.

     

    CZ

    The ACs will pull better at low speeds too. At slow speeds, the DCs are going to have thermal limits that the ACs will not. The ACs, being frequency driven, will also have a much higher adhesion factor. 

  • GP40-2

    CAZEPHYR:

     

      I don't think the four axles pull as well as a regular DC unit with six axles at slow speeds but they do better at high speed for stack trains.

     

    CZ

     

    The ACs will pull better at low speeds too. At slow speeds, the DCs are going to have thermal limits that the ACs will not. The ACs, being frequency driven, will also have a much higher adhesion factor. 

    I agree with your comments, but I was talking about the new BNSF C4 4 axle version compared to a six axle DC locomotive.  The C4's have only four traction motors on a C-C truck set and that limits their TE.  They do lug better up to their limits.   There have some stalls with C4's on drag trains which they were not designed for.  Their primary use should be in high speed stack trains on the Transcon.  The orginal GE ad talked about their design and way the BNSF wanted the high horsepower per axle.

    CZ

  • GP40-2

     

    CAZEPHYR:

     

     

      I don't think the four axles pull as well as a regular DC unit with six axles at slow speeds but they do better at high speed for stack trains.

     

    CZ

     

     

    The ACs will pull better at low speeds too. At slow speeds, the DCs are going to have thermal limits that the ACs will not. The ACs, being frequency driven, will also have a much higher adhesion factor. 

    The max TE from a six axle DC vs four axle AC should be about a wash.

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

  • oltmannd

     

     

     

    The max TE from a six axle DC vs four axle AC should be about a wash.

    That is true, the absolute max should be similar. However, the 4 motor AC will be able to generate higher average TE due to its superior traction control software and frequency drive which allows all the powered axles to always rotate at the same rpm. With DC, once an axle breaks free on on a hard pull, it will try to "run away" from the others. The experience on CSX has been for a given tractive effort required , the ACs will always pull more reliably than the DCs. On a really hard pull, you will run into DC thermal limits at max tractive effort, with AC you will not.

    This was a smart move by BNSF. They are getting better locomotives for the same price as an six axle DC.

  • The ES44C4 is a derivation of the high-tractive-effort ES44ACs that GE has been building for CSXT.  Both use the same traction-control software and have traction motors capable of producing 36,000 pounds of tractive effort per motor, adhesion permitting, compared to the 30,000-pound limit of conventional ES44AC motors.  If the weight of two traction motors and two axle gears is added to the 416,000-pound nominal weight of a four-motor ES44C4, the resultant total is about 432,000 pounds, which is the nominal weight of a CSXT ES44AC.

  • Reportedly, the total BNSF ES44C4 series now runs from 6600 to 6899.  That is 300 units!

    On Thursday, July 21, 2011, 6894 was photographed as a trailing unit at Summit in Cajon Pass, CA.


    The numbers have grown fast!

  • K. P. Harrier

    Reportedly, the total BNSF ES44C4 series now runs from 6600 to 6899.  That is 300 units!

     

    The numbers have grown fast!

    BNSF 6890 - 6899 are pre-production Tier 3 test units. BNSF's 2011 order will now consist of 6653 - 6869 and 6890 - 6899, still the same 227 units.

  • Are they saving the vacant numbers for more test units?

    Andrew

    Watch my videos on-line at https://www.youtube.com/user/AndrewNeilFalconer