NS acquiring 100 of UP's EMD SD9043MAC locomotives

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, May 6, 2019 10:12 PM

What are the odds that UP sells off their remaining 200 SD9043MACs with them downsizing their fleet due to PSR and 1000 GEs teed up for rebuild?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 2:55 PM

With Union Pacific now entering into a major GE rebuild program after a successful pilot program, I'm more curious if we'll see Union Pacific start to experiment with something similar for their older high-horsepower EMD's from the latter half of the 1990's and early 2000's.

We've already seen CPR follow Norfolk Southern's lead with ~50% of their SD9043MAC's slated for an ACU style rebuild this year (And assuming Canadian Pacific is pleased with the results, hopefully the remainder in 2020). Maybe Union Pacific will be next.

They also have a huge fleet of SD70M's. Norfolk Southern and Progress Rail have now shown that comparable units can be successfully and economically upgraded to AC propulsion, new electronics, reduced air emissions, and brand new cabs with enhanced safety and crew comfort.

The result seems to be like-new power at presumably a nice discount, with possibly superior reliability and fuel economy compared to the builder's Tier 4 offerings.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, May 10, 2019 6:44 AM

Here is a question related to avoiding straight Tier 4 purchases:

Is it possible for a railroad to get Tier 4 credits by upgrading their older power to higher tiers, which would then allow them to build some Tier 4 Credit SD70ACes or ES44ACs?

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, May 10, 2019 7:38 AM

kgbw49
Here is a question related to avoiding straight Tier 4 purchases:

Is it possible for a railroad to get Tier 4 credits by upgrading their older power to higher tiers, which would then allow them to build some Tier 4 Credit SD70ACes or ES44ACs?

I have the idea that manipulating a locomotive fleet to enhance Tier 4 credits is just like NFL teams manipulating the salary cap to their benefit.

Nerds revenge on the jocks.

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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, May 10, 2019 1:08 PM

kgbw49
Here is a question related to avoiding straight Tier 4 purchases:

Is it possible for a railroad to get Tier 4 credits by upgrading their older power to higher tiers, which would then allow them to build some Tier 4 Credit SD70ACes or ES44ACs?

I think so. That's how NS is getting so many Tier IV credit SD70ACes when they're only buying 10 SD70ACe-T4s. They have a lot of credits from their rebuild programs.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, May 10, 2019 2:22 PM

I suspect that's perhaps also behind why they're developing a GP34ECO right now.

By voluntarily going all the way up to Tier 4 with a locomotive that will be more expensive to build, maintain, and service due to the need for urea to reach Tier 4, I can only assume Norfolk Southern is going to gain something out of it past cleaner air.

Emission credits for more non-compliant locomotives might make some sense here for why they're undertaking this experiment.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, May 13, 2019 11:47 PM
If that GP34ECO works though, then that opens a flood gate to EMD rebuilds. I'd also keep watching the Metra rebuild program.
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:37 AM

Leo_Ames
By voluntarily going all the way up to Tier 4 with a locomotive that will be more expensive to build, maintain, and service due to the need for urea to reach Tier 4, I can only assume Norfolk Southern is going to gain something out of it past cleaner air.

I am hoping that this reflects recognition that use of urea/SCR allows much more efficient design and operation of the Diesel engine while still making politically-correct NO emissions.

Do not expect to see much open discussion of this as it undercuts the unfounded-mandate argument against the "imposition" of effectively mandatory use of DEF that the pre-Trump EPA openly stated at one point was an object of their number-setting for initial Tier 4 and beyond.

Once you have the lion's share of the cost of a DEF "infrastructure" in place for a given line or service, the economy gains from diesel operation as hot and free from things like EGR as possible may even cover the cost of the actual fluid consumed.  (Personally I can't figure out why Progress seems to be having so much trouble with the DEF delivery system on the Metrolink F125s, and I keep hoping for reasonably up-to-date scoop on the precise technical issues).

Emission credits for more non-compliant locomotives might make some sense here for why they're undertaking this experiment.

Do they need formal credits for rebuilt older units?  That's where most of the work in the brave new PSR world is likely to be for at least the next few years ... or until a blue wave puts the whip and chair back in autocratic hands after 2020.  

I think the adoption of significant numbers of non-DEF Tier 4-compliant road locomotives will be as minimized as possible whether or not there are 'credits' from this sort of rebuild (vs incremental 'tier' improvement on the "dirtier" ranks of older and less lucratively employed locomotives, where I'd argue the true antipollution efforts should be focused).  I would not throw out the potential perceived benefit of such credit, however, particularly the political and publicity value with respect to the progressive adoption of SCR with as much outside subsidization as possible.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:39 AM

Leo_Ames
By voluntarily going all the way up to Tier 4 with a locomotive that will be more expensive to build, maintain, and service due to the need for urea to reach Tier 4, I can only assume Norfolk Southern is going to gain something out of it past cleaner air.

I am hoping that this reflects recognition that use of urea/SCR allows much more efficient design and operation of the Diesel engine while still making politically-correct NO emissions.

Do not expect to see much open discussion of this as it undercuts the unfounded-mandate argument against the "imposition" of effectively mandatory use of DEF that the pre-Trump EPA openly stated at one point was an object of their number-setting for initial Tier 4 and beyond.

Once you have the lion's share of the cost of a DEF "infrastructure" in place for a given line or service, the economy and performance gains from diesel operation as hot and free from things like EGR as possible, with little limit other than particulate generation on fast loading, may even cover the cost of the actual fluid consumed.  (Personally I can't figure out why Progress seems to be having so much trouble with the DEF delivery system on the Metrolink F125s, and I keep hoping for reasonably up-to-date scoop on the precise technical issues).

Emission credits for more non-compliant locomotives might make some sense here for why they're undertaking this experiment.

Do they need formal credits for rebuilt older units?  That's where most of the work in the brave new PSR world is likely to be for at least the next few years ... or until a blue wave puts the whip and chair back in autocratic hands after 2020.  

I think the adoption of significant numbers of non-DEF Tier 4-compliant road locomotives will be as minimized as possible whether or not there are 'credits' from this sort of rebuild (vs incremental 'tier' improvement on the "dirtier" ranks of older and less lucratively employed locomotives, where I'd argue the true antipollution efforts should be focused).  I would not throw out the potential perceived benefit of such credit, however, particularly the political and publicity value with respect to the progressive adoption of SCR with as much outside subsidization as possible.

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Posted by beaulieu on Friday, May 17, 2019 6:10 PM

Canadian Pacific has decided to rebuild their remaining SD9043MACs to SD70ACCs. Originally CP bought 61 new SD9043MACs, but when it came time to overhaul  them they were stored and 3 were judged to be in poor condition and were stripped for parts and the hulks were scrapped. Last year 30 locomotives were shipped to Progress Rail for rebuilding. This year CP decided to have another 30 rebuilt and has begun shipping their remaining core locomotives to Progress Rail. However CP only had 28 remaing core locomotives and so they turned to Union Pacific and bought 2 locomotives to make up the required 30 core locomotives. Former UP numbers are unknown at this time. Delivery of the first batch is running late as the first few locomotives should have been delivered by now.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, May 17, 2019 6:20 PM

That's nice to hear. A testament to the package on Norfolk Southern when they've taken this step before the delivery of a single locomotive of their own to put through its paces.

Makes me wonder if the handful of used AC4400CW's they've recently purchased from CSX actually are just for parts as has been said, or if they'll be cycled through the GE rebuild program that I believe they've been sending AC4400CW's through in recent years.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, May 18, 2019 12:08 AM

Leo_Ames
Makes me wonder if the handful of used AC4400CW's they've recently purchased from CSX actually are just for parts as has been said, or if they'll be cycled through the GE rebuild program that I believe they've been sending AC4400CW's through in recent years.

Was not aware that CSX has disposed of any AC44s. Also, too bad CP didn't retain the four SD90s as rebuild fodder. Then again what's cheaper: rebuilding an SD90 with a 710 and new inverters or buying secondhand SD90/43s that already have the 710?

Editor Emeritus, This Week at Amtrak

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 10:28 PM

I suppose we always knew that would be coming...

At least they're selling them on and not rebuilding them with 16-cylinder power.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 10:42 PM

Perhaps the other SD70ACU operator will consider them with their focus on rebuilding older late 90's power in lieu of buying new.

That would bring things full circle considering how close CPR came to buying SD80MAC's originally. If my recollections are accurate (Which they probably aren't), I think they even went as far as to place an order before changing plans and going for the SD90MAC's.

But if not they're likely facing much worse things than getting repowered. Unless Progress Rail decides to buy them for potential rebuild fodder, it's tough to see a market for these past as razor blades. 

CPR though seems to like their SD70ACU's so far, where as it seems like NS may be concentrating on just their Dash 9 to AC44C6M program going forward. So perhaps the stars will line up just right and they'll move on to another career.

Conrail locomotives on the NS roster aren't too far away from being something rare at this point. It's essentially just Dash 2's (A fleet sadly in decline) and some SD50's that are now SD40E's. And if the stored SD70's go like they very well may at this point, it's otherwise just going to be the two shop switchers left if we still have a Juniata Shop.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, January 16, 2020 7:29 AM

If I recall correctly, NS converted all 110 SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

CP is also in the process of converting all the SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

UP is the only other large owner of the model and one would think hey would have to all be in storage right now.

Perhaps at some point they will be pulled from the storage line and sold for future conversions on either UP or sold to other roads, paiclarly if the NS and CP units are long term successes, but one would have to think it will be some time before that happens given all the surplus power sitting in storage across the country.

If the stored units are outfitted for PTC, perhaps that might increase their chances.

We are living in interesting times, for sure.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, January 16, 2020 8:59 AM

kgbw49

If I recall correctly, NS converted all 110 SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

CP is also in the process of converting all the SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

I am not up on current engines, nor am I a techniaclly-oriented person.

Could someone please explain in layman's terms:

What is the general nature of the SD9043MAC? What is wrong with them, such that railroads would go to the expense of converting them to something else? And what characteristics make the SD70ACU spec a desirable alternative?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:36 AM

Lithonia Operator
What is the general nature of the SD9043MAC? What is wrong with them, such that railroads would go to the expense of converting them to something else? And what characteristics make the SD70ACU spec a desirable alternative?

The original SD90MAC was the next 'evolution' of the high-horsepower road locomotive, using the "new" 265H four-stroke engine at 6000hp in a single unit, up from what the SD80 with a 20-cylinder 710 could make with much more trouble.

Railroads had the option of buying these as 'convertibles', with a normal 710 installed in place of the 265 but with the frame and cooling system, etc. fully in place for conversion 'later'.  This as delivered acquired the railran name "SD9043MAC" which I believe now has actually been adopted by some railroad sources.

Of course the 265H wound up with insuperable 'technical difficulties' (as did the Deutz 607 in competing GE 6000hp designs) and you found these very large units being used 'interchangeably' with more purpose-built 4400 and 4500hp nominal power.

As it turned out, there was a common-mode problem in the frame design that caused accelerated cracking, and this nearly proved an early death sentence for the class.  At one time you could buy substantial numbers for little over $100K apiece, which is astounding for a locomotive of this power and sophistication; as it turned out, a relatively simple patch operation would fix the issue (essentially 'permanently' it would now seem) and once this was done the locomotives were superb candidates for rebuilding in the wake of the Tier 4 final fiasco.

The most important changes are a rebuilt cab (with electronics and brakes) and changeout of the inverters.  They were also ballasted for better adhesion, first to 420K and then 432K lb.  There are other posters who can provide a much more detailed review of what different rebuilding programs provide, and what the details of the equipment are.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, January 16, 2020 3:04 PM

Those old UP 90mac43s were beat to hell.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:46 PM

Thanks, OM.

Where did the "43" come from? And what does common mode mean?

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:15 PM

Oh. I see: the 43 is for 4300 hp.

What I don't get is the need to rebuild them into SD70ACUs. If they are useful as 4300 hp units, what is the downside of leaving them as-is? Is the main odjective to wind up with an engine with a shorter frame, so it can used on tighter curves?

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:17 PM

Lithonia Operator
Is the main odjective to wind up with a engine with a shorter frame, so it can used on tighter curves?

Frames are the same length.  The radial trucks help a lot, though.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:18 PM

The 43 indicates the 4300 HP produced by the 16 cylinder 710 engine that many SD90MAC's were built with, instead of the 6300 HP 265H engine.

None of the "convertibles" were ever converted.  Same for the GE "AC6044CW" units that were built with 4400 HP FDL engines.

The SD90MAC's problems were not limited to the frame and 265H engine.  They had a lot of electrical and computer issues too.  Rebuilding to SD70ACe specs gets rid of a lot of those issues, and gives you essentially a brand-new locomotive that uses the same parts as the rest of your EMD AC fleet.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:22 PM

Lithonia Operator
What I don't get is the need to rebuild them into SD70ACUs.

http://www.nsdash9.com/rosters/7229.html

Scroll down.  Lays it all out. Plus, they were really worn out.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:36 PM

Thanks, Dude and zug.  Now I'm getting a handle on it. Interesting.

Sounds like the 90 was a great idea except for the fact that it wasn't.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:40 PM

In whatever guise, those suckers are brutes.

Are the wheels of a larger diameter than most diesels? It kinda looks that way.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:49 PM

Apparently so, scroll down to M636c's post:

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/183537.aspx?page=1

New GE units have 43'' wheels.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, January 17, 2020 12:47 PM

kgbw49

If I recall correctly, NS converted all 110 SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

CP is also in the process of converting all the SD9043MAC units on their roster to SD70ACUs.

UP is the only other large owner of the model and one would think hey would have to all be in storage right now.

Perhaps at some point they will be pulled from the storage line and sold for future conversions on either UP or sold to other roads, paiclarly if the NS and CP units are long term successes, but one would have to think it will be some time before that happens given all the surplus power sitting in storage across the country.

If the stored units are outfitted for PTC, perhaps that might increase their chances.

We are living in interesting times, for sure.

 

Last August on a trip to North Platte, I saw one (SD9043) in a dead line.  That was the first one I've seen in a long time.  If I never see one again in service on UP, I'll be happy.  

You read a lot of engineers complain about how long it took a GE DC engine to load/produce tractive effort.  Those had to be the worst in lag time of any EMD or GE DC model.  

Jeff

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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, January 17, 2020 4:58 PM

NS Dash-9 is also reporting NS is selling off some of their SD70s, which probably means the SD70ACC program is done.

 

These programs were fun while they lasted...

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, January 18, 2020 12:07 PM

I imagine that dooms the SD70M's and SD75M's then.

With this move, I suspect the sole question mark in regard to their late model DC motored EMD road power perhaps is the fate of their 130 SD70M-2's (Edit: And the SD60E's, if they count).

I sure feel sorry for the folks in Roanoke and Altoona that still have a job. This isn't heading in a good direction for them and those facilities that served this company so well.

PSR...

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