NS acquiring 100 of UP's EMD SD9043MAC locomotives

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, February 11, 2017 12:42 PM

There are two things going on here: SD80MACs to SD80ACUs and SD70s to be rebuilt with AC electricals and traction motors. It's kitbashing on the 12" to the 1' scale and I look forward to the results. Then there is the next questions: if the uprate of an SD80ACU works well then how about new primemovers and an uprate for an SD70ACU? The larger engine will fit but how much work does it take to go from a V16 to a V20?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, February 11, 2017 8:06 PM

The economics will never justify installing brand new 20 cylinder powerplants into their SD70's.

The quality of the existing engine is a significant part of the appeal in these second hand locomotives for Norfolk Southern. To then toss them aside would surely destroy the economics of the entire program. 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, February 12, 2017 12:03 AM

I assume he's implying putting a V20 in the much longer SD90 conversions 

 

I'd be careful talking about the economics of it, it was only a year or 2 ago that the economics of converting a dash 9 to AC was said to make no sense and there was a long discussion on how the 70s would never be done...and yet here we are.

 

 

Unrelated, a contact of mine at UP Roseville yard claimed there was an SD90MAC-H in the yard that was tagged for NS. Weren't all those scrapped? Was this maybe a 9043 unit that got sold to NS that maybe just made its way home? It was on the north Antelop side of the yard, not near the engine servicing areas which is also odd. I didn't get to see it myself.

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, February 12, 2017 1:01 AM

YoHo1975
Unrelated, a contact of mine at UP Roseville yard claimed there was an SD90MAC-H in the yard that was tagged for NS. Weren't all those scrapped? Was this maybe a 9043 unit that got sold to NS that maybe just made its way home? It was on the north Antelop side of the yard, not near the engine servicing areas which is also odd. I didn't get to see it myself.

There was an ex-CITX/Indiana Railroad patched SD90MAC in Roseville for a while a week or two ago with a locked axle. That might be the unit in question.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, February 12, 2017 7:43 AM

YoHo1975
I'd be careful talking about the economics of it, it was only a year or 2 ago that the economics of converting a dash 9 to AC was said to make no sense and there was a long discussion on how the 70s would never be done...and yet here we are.

I believe the focus wasn't on AC conversions being prohibitively expensive, but that Norfolk Southern wouldn't be considering such a DC-AC rebuilding program if the choice had been to go down the C4 style route, which a couple around here thought was possible and were quite adamant was going to be what was happening.

And that in fact has since been confirmed in the press by at least one Norfolk Southern higher up. They were willing to make this investment to significantly enhance the performance of hundreds of their late model power that had years of life left in it but had somewhat foolishly been bought as DC power.

But they weren't willing to spend a fortune to largely replicate their existing performance capabilities with an A1A AC conversion, and such a program wasn't seriously considered. 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Sunday, February 12, 2017 10:15 AM

YoHo1975
I assume he's implying putting a V20 in the much longer SD90 conversions 

Yes, basically make an SD90 into an SD80. We've seen the conversion go the other way in the SD45 family, losing their V20 for a V16 and more recently a V12. Never seen one go the other way but then again this flavor of platform is an oddity in the railroad world; never take up more room than necessary.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, February 13, 2017 2:02 AM

Leo_Ames

 

 
YoHo1975
I'd be careful talking about the economics of it, it was only a year or 2 ago that the economics of converting a dash 9 to AC was said to make no sense and there was a long discussion on how the 70s would never be done...and yet here we are.

 

 

I believe the focus wasn't on AC conversions being prohibitively expensive, but that Norfolk Southern wouldn't be considering such a DC-AC rebuilding program if the choice had been to go down the C4 style route, which a couple around here thought was possible and were quite adamant was going to be what was happening.

And that in fact has since been confirmed in the press by at least one Norfolk Southern higher up. They were willing to make this investment to significantly enhance the performance of hundreds of their late model power that had years of life left in it but had somewhat foolishly been bought as DC power.

But they weren't willing to spend a fortune to largely replicate their existing performance capabilities with an A1A AC conversion, and such a program wasn't seriously considered. 

 

 

I believe you're correct that the argument mainly centered on the A1A discussion...as a means of making the cost more reasonable...In either case, I'm still curious how they stuff AC in an engine 3 feet shorter than the AC version.

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Posted by M636C on Monday, February 13, 2017 3:17 AM

YoHo1975

 

I believe you're correct that the argument mainly centered on the A1A discussion...as a means of making the cost more reasonable...In either case, I'm still curious how they stuff AC in an engine 3 feet shorter than the AC version.

EMD currently have a standard gauge export demonstrator referred to as a GT46C-ACe Gen II in Muncie and two more are expected to join it in Australia soon. This is built on the standard frame of a GT46C-ACe and is most easily recognised by the platform at the rear behind the dynamic brakes. Maybe not three feet long, but close...

This is achieved by replacing the two inverter boxes, one for each truck, with a single one in the forward location. So assuming you are using current EMD inverters, with IGBTs in place of the old GTO inverters, fitting it in a shorter frame might not be a problem.

Peter

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Posted by Blackcloud 5229 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:18 AM

D.Carleton

 

 
YoHo1975

The Dash 8 work was being done in house by UP shops, not GE.

In fact, the Roseville shop has been bitterly angry about the Dash8s and 9s coming through, because they are considered to be smokers (the dash 9s in particular) and per the deal with CARB, shouldn't even be in Ca. Much less at the Shops. They aren't too happy about all the SD60s and 3 window 60Ms either. but spit, Duct tape and Bailing wire is flying off the shelves to keep em turning.

I have no doubt NS found it worth their time. In fact, I'm not shocked at all that they bought them. I'm more shocked UP let them go. Why let go of 4300HP AC locos that were a significant enough part of the every day fleet. Instead of the Dash 8s or even dash 9s that have been laid up forever and aren't even being upgradeded, just thrown together to get moving as best as they can? 

 

 

GE played some part restoring the Dash 8s, the contractors told me so in person. Saw a lot of those SD60s coming back as well.

 

As for the SD90/43MACs, are they owned outright by UP or under long term lease? If the lease is coming to term then it comes down to money: is it worth it to buy and fix or let them go (especially if there is a willing buyer)?

 

with new locomotive's costing well over $2.5 miliion per locomotive you can buy a lot of used locomotive's including the cost of fixing them up and still save a ton of cash. How Many states dos NS operate in that have CARB requirements? 

 

there is is your real answer.

 

 

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Posted by Blackcloud 5229 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:45 AM

YoHo1975

 

 
Leo_Ames

 

 
YoHo1975
I'd be careful talking about the economics of it, it was only a year or 2 ago that the economics of converting a dash 9 to AC was said to make no sense and there was a long discussion on how the 70s would never be done...and yet here we are.

 

 

I believe the focus wasn't on AC conversions being prohibitively expensive, but that Norfolk Southern wouldn't be considering such a DC-AC rebuilding program if the choice had been to go down the C4 style route, which a couple around here thought was possible and were quite adamant was going to be what was happening.

And that in fact has since been confirmed in the press by at least one Norfolk Southern higher up. They were willing to make this investment to significantly enhance the performance of hundreds of their late model power that had years of life left in it but had somewhat foolishly been bought as DC power.

But they weren't willing to spend a fortune to largely replicate their existing performance capabilities with an A1A AC conversion, and such a program wasn't seriously considered. 

 

 

 

 

I believe you're correct that the argument mainly centered on the A1A discussion...as a means of making the cost more reasonable...In either case, I'm still curious how they stuff AC in an engine 3 feet shorter than the AC version.

 

 

every 18 months electronics are obsolete by improvements in the computer world. The main generator is already an AC generator.

emd stopped using one inverter per truck on their new production locomotive's a few years ago.

Who says that NS has to use 6 inverters on their conversions, simply use two inverters one per truck and take the 50 % power loss if you lose a motor. You still come out ahead making the conversion from DC to AC power. When Norfolk Southern ordered their locomotive's with DC  traction motors they were ordering what they knew worked and saved an average of $ 1 million or more per locomotive by not ordering AC traction.

If California CARB bureau wants to minimize polution requireing new locomotive's to be zero emissions is a waste of time and money for no gain. Go after the automobile owners who put millions of tons of pollution in the air. Look at The LA smog. Do you really think a couple of thousand locomotive's is going to make a difference compared to several million automobiles? CARB? You really need to do what's right instead of what some big corporation wants you to do. I think it's time for these protect the environment at any cost need to be told where to stuff it once and for all. You want to get rid of the smog in LA? builds a light rail system that everyone can use at an economic price per ride and make it illegal to commute to work in a car then you will see an improvement in air quality and yes I realize it wi take years to accomplish this but what choice do we have?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, August 26, 2018 5:27 AM

As the SD90MAC rebuild program starts to draw down, Norfolk Southern has now placed an order for new SD70ACe's. The purchase includes both Tier 4 and Tier 4 credit units. Further details are on the NSDash9.com Facebook page. 

https://www.facebook.com/nsdash9/

It's a pretty large order for credit units compared to the actual Tier 4 units. I was under the mistaken impression that at least one Tier 4 unit had to be built and delivered during the same calendar year for each T4 credit unit, but apparently that's completely erroneous?

I wonder if all the upgrading being done to Norfolk Southern's existing fleet is behind this imbalance here? They've significantly reduced the emissions level of hundreds of units in their fleet.

Does that voluntary upgrading earn them credit that can be applied to the purchase of new Tier 3 units that don't fully meet current emission standards?

Leo_Ames
Altoonaworks via their Facebook page reports that SD60 #6655 is going to Cresson. 

Altoonaworks must've been a bit hasty. Over two years have passed and per the NSDash9 roster and online pictures, she's extant, still rostered by NS, and has now left a long period of storage and is back out there running.

 

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, August 26, 2018 12:12 PM

I think the rebuilding has to be it, because there's not much else that NS has done to earn the credits, to my knowledge.

10 is a small class size, so I'm wondering if they will get more of them once they establish a reputation, or if they'll be doomed as oddballs.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, August 26, 2018 12:25 PM

Shades of CSX and their SD70ACes...

Have EMD/Progress/CAT done anything else to accumulate emissions credits that they could use on new locomotive sales?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, August 26, 2018 3:59 PM

Per postings by others on other threads, apparently Tier IV locomotives are actually less fuel efficient than Tier III locomotives.

If that is indeed the case, it would seem that with the rebuilding of older SD9043 units into SD70ACU units, SD70 units into SD70ACC, etc., that NS is also trying to minimze their use of Tier IV locomotives and maximize their Tier III units while they can.

It will be interesting to see if, after this round of new purchases of 10 SD70ACe-T4 units and 40 SD70ACe Tier III units as Tier IV credit units, they go back to the well to acquire more SD9043 units from the second hand market as they become available.

Canadian Pacific with 61 on the roster at one point in time, and CIT Leasing with 40, plus UP with another 200 or so on the roster all might be sources of SD9043 units on the second-hand locomotive market over time.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, August 26, 2018 4:34 PM

Canadian Pacific is having 30 SD90MAC's rebuilt into SD70ACU's next year by Progress Rail. There have been a few casualties in the SD9043MAC fleet I'm told, but I'd expect the remaining ~30 survivors to follow in 2020.

But I imagine you're right. While I don't see CPR being a source at this point, I suspect if more of the UP or CIT units come on the market at a good price, NS will snap them up since all evidence suggests they have a good thing with the SD70ACU.

I also would not be shocked to see more used DC motored SD70 series units be added. While NS is in the early stages of DC to AC conversions for late model EMD DC power, I bet they'd happily grab the right deal for something like more SD75M's if the opportunity arises again.

And then there's the two dozen or so early SD70ACe's out there that don't have permanent homes and various used SD70MAC's...

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 26, 2018 4:50 PM

On the other hand NS has just ordered 50 new locomotives from Progress Rail. They are 10 SD70ACe-T4 and 40 SD70ACe Tier 4 credit units.

https://www.facebook.com/nsdash9/photos/a.380536283842/10156020406928843/?type=3

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, August 26, 2018 10:08 PM

Apparently, from other information posts I have read, UP will be sending SD9043 units currently in operation back to the deadline when they fail, and won‘t be putting any more money in to them. So perhaps there will be more SD9043 units available for conversion to SD70ACU units in the future.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, August 27, 2018 4:52 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

On the other hand NS has just ordered 50 new locomotives from Progress Rail. They are 10 SD70ACe-T4 and 40 SD70ACe Tier 4 credit units.

https://www.facebook.com/nsdash9/photos/a.380536283842/10156020406928843/?type=3

Regards, Volker

 

 

This was the info literally just posted a few posts above this.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 4:18 AM

Sorry, I overlooked it.

And I thought it contradicted the speculation of possible further rebuilds.
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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 2:02 PM

kgbw49
Apparently, from other information posts I have read, UP will be sending SD9043 units currently in operation back to the deadline when they fail, and won‘t be putting any more money in to them. So perhaps there will be more SD9043 units available for conversion to SD70ACU units in the future.

All the repowered AC6000CW's and convertibles were also on the hit list it had been said. Yet UP earlier this year sent 20 to GE to be rebuilt with an upgraded electrical system.

Presumably many more will follow if Union Pacific likes the end result and none will be strickened from the roster until a decision has been made on future rebuildings. 

While I fully expect more Union Pacific SD9043MAC's to be on the market soon, it also wouldn't shock me to see them do likewise with these and send a sample batch to Progress Rail themselves to be modernized and rebuilt, evaluating a potential rebuild program of their own.

Interesting times. Despite all the doom and gloom early on with the EPA regulations supposedly killing off locomotive rebuild programs, the exact opposite seems to have happened. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 2:16 PM

That rebuild program to SD70ACU that NS pioneered must be working well. I would suppose some of those units have been worked on other roads on interchange traffic. Maybe some experience with SD70ACU units on interchange is what helped CP take the plunge. It would be great to see the rest of these “dreadnoughts” put through a rebuild program, somewhat standardized with SD70ACe units, for another two decades of reliable service. Time will tell, as always!

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, December 15, 2018 5:03 AM

I wonder if the SD70ACC program is perhaps under threat. Precision Scheduled Railroading is suddenly sending dozens of DC motored SD70's of various variants to the storage lines.

These I believe are active units that weren't scheduled for rebuilding anytime in 2019. The initial 27 unit slate of spartan cab SD70's for their DC-to-AC program appear to have been retired prior to this shift, with SD70ACC deliveries now underway (The NSDash9.com roster page for the model says that the remaining 23 units are due throughout 2019).

Even the relatively young M-2's from 2005/2006 are entering the storage lines. 36 units of the 130 fleet have already entered storage in recent days, with more I assume to be following in the coming weeks and months as NS seeks to discover the minimum amount of power that's required to keep the system fluid. This isn't a prelude to any announced rebuild program that I've seen for 2019.

Surprisingly, the aged C40-8W fleet, which along with the non-rebuilt SD60's are unlikely to be long for this world as age and shifting NS policies catch up with it, are faring well in the early days of PSR. Only 26 members of the 153 unit class have joined the storage lines.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:35 AM

PSR may result in more rebuilding over the long term. Witness CP taking their SD9043MACs out of storage after many years and coverting them to SD70ACUs. It is my understanding that the lower-Tier units are actually more fuel efficient than the Tier 4 units. If that is the case, maybe SD70ACC conversions might be delayed because of PSR but they may still happen a few years down the road. With the success of the SD70ACU program , it is demonstrating that the problems with the SD9043 were not with the EMD prime movers. So with PSR rollout, maybe some of these mothballed units that have reliable prime movers may be converted to updated units such as SD70ACUs, SD70ACCs or AC4400ACMs at a future date in lieu of more purchases of Tier 4 units.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 6:35 AM

I'm intrigued that Norfolk Southern now has 123 of their 130 SD70M-2's from 2005/2006 in storage, just weeks after beginning to implement Precision Scheduled Railroading. 

Yet at the same time, of their slightly older 2003/2004 built SD70M's, only 9 of 58 are in storage lines. 

Did fuel efficiency suffer when EMD went to Tier 2? Wondering if that's perhaps behind the M-2's seemingly being prioritized for storage over the newest SD70M's.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 5:23 PM

I see that all 130 SD70M-2's are now stored. Anyone heard any rumblings about these?

Substantial numbers of older SD70M's are still rolling and I can't help but notice the 2005/2006 build dates for the M-2's. I wonder if they're on 15 year leases and are stored to save on maintenance expenses pending a return to leasor?

The other shifts in Norfolk Southern's fleet in this new era of PSR aren't much of a surprise so far, in my opinion.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 5:38 PM

I've had quite a bit of experience operating CN's SD70M-2's, the only other big fleet out there besides NS's.

When they are working properly they are the best DC units to run, with excellent wheelslip control in both power and DB.  I would take one over an ES44DC any day (as long as it has a whispercab).

The problem is they are not very reliable, compared to the earlier SD70 and SD75 series units.  They have had a lot of electrical and computer problems and for a while ours were burning through traction motors like crazy, to the point where EMD came out with a software patch which cut power to the motors if the computer decided they were overheating, or in a stall (this did not work particularly well, and caused lots of operational headaches).

You can tell that EMD didn't put a lot of time into designing the things, everything inside looks like it was just slapped together.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 6:49 PM

SD70Dude
I've had quite a bit of experience operating CN's SD70M-2's, the only other big fleet out there besides NS's.

When they are working properly they are the best DC units to run, with excellent wheelslip control in both power and DB.  I would take one over an ES44DC any day (as long as it has a whispercab).

The problem is they are not very reliable, compared to the earlier SD70 and SD75 series units.  They have had a lot of electrical and computer problems and for a while ours were burning through traction motors like crazy, to the point where EMD came out with a software patch which cut power to the motors if the computer decided they were overheating, or in a stall (this did not work particularly well, and caused lots of operational headaches).

You can tell that EMD didn't put a lot of time into designing the things, everything inside looks like it was just slapped together.

In the transition from EMD of GM to EMD part of Progress Rail/Catapiller - through the various 'venture capital firms' that owned the company a mass amount of real world railroad locomotive experience hit the bricks and walked out the door - they appear to be paying for it in today's locomotive market.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 4:26 PM

I've been told by a reliable source (AltoonaWorks) that they're not leased. So my theory that perhaps a 15 year lease was concluding soon on the M-2's and NS was going to return them, isn't a possible explanation for why these are sitting at the moment.

Hopefully they're rebuilt eventually to AC specs and get a lot of their flaws ironed out so that they can keep on rolling for Norfolk Southern. That said, I've seen a few posts claiming they're going to be sold to Progress Rail over at the NSDash9 Facebook page.

Nothing from reliable sources yet, but perhaps they end up correct.

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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:18 PM

If anyone can convert them successfully it is the people at the Altoon Works.  They are the best there is.

     Caldreamer

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, May 6, 2019 8:28 PM

The Facebook page for NSDash9.com reports that Norfolk Southern SD70ACU #7332 has been completed at Altoona and released to service. This was the last rebuild in the program, with all 110 units now completed. 

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