NS acquiring 100 of UP's EMD SD9043MAC locomotives

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, September 21, 2014 6:01 PM

By bidding, I thought that you were referring to selling to the highest buyer. I expect these SD70M-2's to remain leasor owned, by CIT (Most are owned by another company that slips my mind, as I recall) and just be leased back out. The question in my mind is by whom and if it will be short or long-term. 

I'd be surprised to see these be sold and end up somewhere like Canadian National or Norfolk Southern.

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, September 21, 2014 8:02 PM

IIRC Fortress owns the others?

I expect that they won't sit idle long, considering the power shortages.

(On another note, what of the AEX ex-QNS&L C40-8Ms? Are they still operable? Seems like they could be another target for NS...) 

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Posted by caldreamer on Sunday, September 21, 2014 9:09 PM

Norfolk Southern has lots of money, so the extra 20 units that they will be purchasing was not due to a lack therof, but the availableily of the additional SD9043MACs.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Monday, September 22, 2014 1:38 PM

NS is also picking up the remaining SD80MACs from CSX. Is it a safe bet the SD80s and SD90s will all be fodder for the same rebuild project? How about we split it down the middle and label the new units SD85Es?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, September 22, 2014 2:54 PM

Yep, NSDash9, a very reliable source, is reporting that they've bought the dozen CSX survivors. 

Odd how that worked since back when the split-up of Conrail happened, most of the motive power speculation in railfan circles centered on if a horse trade would happen to get all the SD80MAC's together on CSX rather than split the fleet up with some going to NS (then a DC hold-out).

He also reports that a major capital rebuilding is planned for the entire SD80MAC fleet to adapt SD70ACe electrical systems and components, with them retaining their 5,000 HP 20 cylinder 710's. So it sounds like they will likely be in the same rebuild program, with the main difference being 4 more cylinders and 700 or so more HP than the former UP SD9043MAC's..

Interesting times. 

NorthWest

IIRC Fortress owns the others?

I expect that they won't sit idle long, considering the power shortages.

(On another note, what of the AEX ex-QNS&L C40-8Ms? Are they still operable? Seems like they could be another target for NS...) 

Yeah, I'm 99% sure that it's Fortress Investments. 

Not sure what's up with the C40-8M's. I hope they find a good home even if it means a rebodying, but I haven't heard anything since they were sold and left. The most logical place would be Canadian National since they haven't been shy at buying used power and own the rest of the model's production, with hopefully plans to keep these cowled GE's kicking for a few more years yet.

I suspect, however, they probably wouldn't end up at Norfolk Southern. The engineering work might be hard pressed to justify for only three units, unless Norfolk Southern doesn't mind three cowls running around and possibly designated as trailing units only rather than turning them into hood units.

Something I don't envision they'd be too inclined to do.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Monday, September 22, 2014 5:56 PM

Leo_Ames

Yeah, I'm 99% sure that it's Fortress Investments. 

Fortress recently established the Central Maine & Quebec from the ashes of the MM&A. If eight SD70M-2 are not favored for fast freight in Florida then how about grunt work in the snow belt?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, September 22, 2014 6:09 PM

That's certainly a possibility, although I suspect they'd lose more by forgoing leasing them back out than they'd be gaining by running these themselves.

Especially for the next few years while they spend 15-20 million (The last figures I saw) to get things back up to adequate standards to restart crude oil shipments and to start hopefully rebuilding their traffic base.

Right now, they're reportedly getting by with 7 leased GP20D's and 8 SD40-2's, and perhaps fire up a B23-7 once in a while (I believe they bought those from the MM&A during auction). They just don't have the business to make efficient use of SD70M-2's. 

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, September 22, 2014 8:00 PM

The Juniata shops have a very long tradition is designing building, rebuilding and upgrading locomotives going back to early days of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  They can design and build just about anything nescessary, so they sure can rebuild thee SD80's and 9043's and get at least another 20 years of service out of them at a lot lower cost than buying new locomotives.

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Posted by GDRMCo on Monday, September 22, 2014 8:16 PM

That is what they're planning, as the 80s and 90s go thru the workshops they'll be gutted and receive the ACe electrical system, it's been confirmed that the 80s will keep the 20-710s but I haven't seen if the 90s will keep their 16-710s or get the bigger engines.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Monday, September 22, 2014 8:55 PM

Leo_Ames

That's certainly a possibility, although I suspect they'd lose more in lease payments than they'd be gaining by running these themselves.

As best as I can tell Fortress Investment Group does not have holding that leases locomotives. My guess is they will keep them for use on a Fortress property or sell them to the highest bidder.

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Posted by carnej1 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:17 AM

GDRMCo

That is what they're planning, as the 80s and 90s go thru the workshops they'll be gutted and receive the ACe electrical system, it's been confirmed that the 80s will keep the 20-710s but I haven't seen if the 90s will keep their 16-710s or get the bigger engines.

If you are asking about the 9043s getting 6,000 HP 265H engines, EMD is not building them for the North American market anymore so that won't happen. 

My money would be on the rebuilt 9043s retaining the 16-710,s, everything I have read indicates this and NS's other major rebuilding/re-manufacturing programs at the moment generally reuse the locomotives as -delivered prime movers.

Interesting question: would the new emissions regulations allow for the rebuilding  of an SD9043 with a 20-710 prime mover or would doing so void the core unit's "grandfathered" status (in other words their Tier IV exemption)?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:04 PM

carnej1

If you are asking about the 9043s getting 6,000 HP 265H engines, EMD is not building them for the North American market anymore so that won't happen. 

I'm all but certain that he was talking about installing 20 cylinder 710's.

I can all but guarantee that they will keep their 16 cylinder 710's. There's nothing wrong with their prime movers. Their weaknesses were elsewhere and were with the electrical system.

And surely if new prime movers were involved here, it would be the 20 cylinder 710's seeing their engines replaced since they're non-standard in a fleet of hundreds of 16 cylinder 710's and counting. That this isn't going to be the case all but confirms it. 

D.Carleton

Leo_Ames

That's certainly a possibility, although I suspect they'd lose more in lease payments than they'd be gaining by running these themselves.

As best as I can tell Fortress Investment Group does not have holding that leases locomotives. My guess is they will keep them for use on a Fortress property or sell them to the highest bidder.

They're being leased out, right now. Fortress owns them and Florida East Coast leases them.

My money is on them being leased back out to another line. They're an investment group and are in the business of managing their portfolio of assets to maximize its value. So unless a direct sale is more lucrative, I wouldn't expect it. 

Florida East Coast is their only rail operation where the operation of this fleet made any sense. So unless they buy another regional where a heavy duty, late model, 4,400 HP locomotive makes a good fit, they're going to be going elsewhere one way or another rather than to another Fortress owned property. 

Since FEC is still Fortress owned, I would suspect they would be well positioned to handle this task among their portfolio of companies even though their days as FEC power are coming to an end, if Fortress needs one of their entities to handle this. 

I'm sure we'll have our answer by the end of winter. 

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:37 PM

Leo_Ames
And surely if new prime movers were involved here, it would be the 20 cylinder 710's seeing their engines replaced since they're non-standard in a fleet of hundreds of 16 cylinder 710's and counting.

 There are plenty of 20-710s in the world, just not in locomotives.  There were well over 100 when Conrail bought the SD80MACs

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:40 PM

That doesn't make them not non-standard for Norfolk Southern's mechanical department. 

Surely my point must be evident. If they're keeping these 29 engines, why would they be replacing 16 cylinder versions that are just as modern and have even more in common with other power in their fleet like their SD70M's?

I think we can safely assume that a repowering isn't part of their ambitious plans here. 

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Posted by GDRMCo on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 7:28 PM

I've contacted Chris Toth, the SD80MACs will keep their 20-710s when they get the 'ACe' rebuild while the SD9043MACs will keep their 16-710s when they also go thru the 'ACe' rebuild program. The only thing different between the 2 engines is the crankshaft and block, EMD makes the cylinder assemblies as removable parts and they can be shared between the 20cyl and 16cyl versions.

Chris wasn't able to say if weight would be added or not.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 7:47 PM

Since NS likes their SD80MAC's it would seem and I haven't heard of any specific problems with the 20 cylinder 710's inside of them, I imagine this doesn't even have to be asked. But did he say if they would be dropping the RPM's down to 750? Some of the marine engines do that and output horsepower levels similar to the 16 cylinder at 900 RPM, like what's in these SD90MAC's. 

Derating was an old solution, of dubious worth it would seem when you hear someone like from MRL talking about EMD's previous 20 cylinder locomotive powerplant, to address reliability concerns and improve fuel mileage. 

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Posted by GDRMCo on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 8:20 PM

From what I've seen they'll stay 5000hp. And yes I've just realised who a previous post was in reply to, by bigger engine I meant 20-710 in the SD9043MAC not the 16-265H.

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Posted by zkr123 on Monday, October 6, 2014 6:49 PM
I think it's a brilliant move. Adding more and more locomotives, they'll rarely run out of locomotives.
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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 7:22 PM

zkr123
I think it's a brilliant move. Adding more and more locomotives, they'll rarely run out of locomotives.
 

 

True.  But running out of working locomotives is still a definite possibility.  Not like these were the pride of UP's fleet.

 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 caldreamer on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 7:42 PM

NS has some excellent shops, especially the Junita Shops in Altoona, Pa.  They can keep them running for a longtime.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 12:05 AM
That implies that UP's shops were bad.
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Posted by owlsroost on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 3:11 AM

YoHo1975
For my purposes, the fact that the P43C is a Cat engine isn't really as important as who was doing the work. Again, the question is how NS feels about Progress doing the rebuilds. As for the F125. The only difference I can think of that might matter. Aside from expected service, passenger vs. freight. Is that the F125 was designed by EMD, not Progress and that may make all the difference...or it may not.

A lot of the design work for the F125 has been done by Vossloh in Spain (apparently because they have much more experience of using Cat engines in locomotives than EMD/Progress Rail has, and have had a long relationship with EMD). So I suspect mechanically/structurally it's going to be basically a more powerful Americanised, single cab, version of a Vossloh Eurolight design. The interesting part will be if it uses AC traction equipment from ABB (like the Eurolights) or EMD/Mitsubishi.

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Posted by CPM500 on Thursday, October 9, 2014 1:42 PM
A while ago, EMD DE's/DM's (LIRR) and the GE Genesis both benefited from design expertise sourced off-shore via affiliates...in this case, Krupp and Siemens respectively. The most important contribution may have been a suitable high speed truck for both designs. Yes, Vossloh will enable EMD to not have to begin with a blank sheet of paper. Yet, no reason to not re-use many of the standard EMD design elements on the electrical side...as possible. EM2000. FIRE. etc. The only piece of equipment not in inventory is a suitable alternator for the high speed cat engine.
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Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, October 9, 2014 6:31 PM

Well  UP did not keep them up very well.  After all the frame cracks SHOULD have been spotted very early during routine maintenance and not let go until they side lined failry new engines.  Obviously UP's maintenacne quality control could could use a major upgrade.
 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, October 10, 2014 12:34 AM
Fairly new? These engines were sidelined when they were pushing 18 years of service right? SD90 being introduced in 1995, engines being taken out of service for the crack in 2013 (as I recall) either way, well more than 15 years. Not new at all. And the frame crack was at the fuel tank attachment point.
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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, October 10, 2014 9:05 AM

So why wern't those cracks caught during inspections or routine maintenance?  Poor maintenance staff or were they just not doing their jobs?

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, October 10, 2014 2:30 PM
The Cracks were caught during routine inspection. As far as I know, only one unit actually had it's fuel tank fall off due to the crack and I don't think that was the first unit to exhibit the problem.
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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, October 10, 2014 4:49 PM

Norfolk Southern bought these with rebuilding in mind. So a few issues really is rather a moot point. The basic platform is fine and should yield a fine, modern, six axle AC unit once overhauled and updated that should offer performance close to that of the latest EMD SD70ACe's (And perhaps in some respects thanks to the EPA, better).

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Posted by andyhjn on Saturday, October 11, 2014 6:34 PM

YoHo1975
The Cracks were caught during routine inspection. As far as I know, only one unit actually had it's fuel tank fall off due to the crack and I don't think that was the first unit to exhibit the problem.
 

i bet that was quite a mess.probably how the problem was discovered.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, October 12, 2014 12:55 AM
Just to reconfirm, the fix is a slightly larger welding pad and a complete reweld of the mount. Is NS receiving these before or after the fix is done? I assume before since UP/EMD hasn't fixed them all. Also, funny/sad that they're being relettered for WP as they leave.

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