NS acquiring 100 of UP's EMD SD9043MAC locomotives

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, April 30, 2016 5:08 PM

NSDash9 reports that it's unknown if they'll be rebuilt as SD70ACU's, but I imagine that's a safe bet. [Edit: Actually, he says that they're "not planned to be rebuilt as an SD70ACU at this time".]

With just 13 MP15's stored right now if we include the rebuilds, hopefully no more will go than that number. I was hoping to see quite a few more MP15E's be done, but the pace has decreased quite a bit with that program so it may be drawing to a close. 

With dozens of GP38-2's idle and the MP15E program slowing down or already finished, I wouldn't be surprised to see all the MP15DC's be eliminated in the next couple of years despite many of them still being active. 

If more SD90MAC's go on the market in the next few years, I wonder if NS will jump at the chance and acquire them for rebuilding? With the unsatisfactory nature of the Dash 8.5 program, that can't bode well for the longevity of the slightly younger C40-8W's variants and this could help push all the Dash 8's out to pasture that new power and decreased traffic needs won't already have taken care of. 

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Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, April 30, 2016 6:52 PM

Despite what he says, I can't imagine them not turning them into SD70ACUs, as buying a small amount of relatively unique power doesn't make a lot of sense. Combine a small class size with typical leaser maintenence and...

I think that CP's long stored SD90MACs are still available.

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Posted by NSDash9 on Sunday, May 1, 2016 12:10 AM

Leo_Ames

NSDash9 reports that it's unknown if they'll be rebuilt as SD70ACU's, but I imagine that's a safe bet. [Edit: Actually, he says that they're "not planned to be rebuilt as an SD70ACU at this time".]

 

No, it's not what I said.  With reference to rebuilding, I only addressed CEFX 104, which is at Altoona, PA now. It is there for an engine overhaul and patch renumbering to NS 7329. It is not planned for that unit to be put through the SD70ACU program at this time. 

The other SD90MAC units NS is acquiring will be evaluated once they arrive.

Chris Toth
NSDash9.com
Also visit my NSDash9 facebook page for the latest NS power updates.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, May 1, 2016 5:30 AM

I quoted you word for word, but I apologize that I sloppily took it out of context. That very much wasn't my intention which is why I already tried to fix it once.

I did not realize that you were specifically only mentioning what was planned for #104 during its stay at Altoona before entering service officially as a NS unit.  

Thanks for correcting it and providing what's a very interesting resource on the motive power happenings of what's perhaps the most interesting Class 1 roster to watch these days. This topic in fact has pretty much been built around the information that you post at your website.

I only wish you had the time to cover all US Class 1's, since it almost seems like the railfan community is in the dark about the goings on elsewhere compared to the level of information provided by you. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, May 1, 2016 7:51 AM

It will be interesting to see if NS eventually becomes the largest owner of SD9043/SD70ACU units over time. Even with UP turning back 100 to the lessor, they are, of course continuing to operate somewhere in the range of 200 +/- SD9043 units. But NS seems to be gaining on them.

It seems to be a good strategy - putting reliable "like new" power out on the road for a fraction of the capital cost of a new unit, and leveraging the proven quality of the 710 engine for another 20 years or more.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, May 1, 2016 4:28 PM

Without a resource like NSDash9 available it's difficult to ascertain for sure, but I bet Union Pacific has most of the convertibles in storage right now.

They fell out of favor years ago and with the traffic downturn, I suspect that they're following in the footsteps of past UP power like the GE double engined monsters in sitting it out the moment power requirements allowed them to be stored. 

Hopefully they were favorably impressed with what they inspected and decide to rebuild and modernize them in a similar manner to what NS has successfully accomplished. 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 6:31 AM

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

An individual on the NSDash9 Facebook page reports that it was running as recently as December and another says that she was stored serviceable, so it wouldn't appear to be wreck damage.

So perhaps this is a sign that the SD60E program will soon be curtailed. Too bad and a bit of a surprise if true. Norfolk Southern has bought several variants on the used marketplace in recent years and the SD60E program seemed to be a success. But it looks like it won't just be Dash 8's being put out to pasture in the next few years if they're scrapping a running SD60. 

Assuming that she isn't resold, I wonder if this will be the first intact SD60 to be scrapped? Been retirements through the years such as on Union Pacific, but to the best of my knowledge, they always found new homes. 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 12:36 PM

Leo_Ames

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

Surprised they didn't retain the frame for use as a slug.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 6:18 PM

I suppose in a downturned economy with double digits less traffic overall, the need for rebuilding diminishes and they can be more selective in what they rebuild. 4300 HP units such as the SD70ACU have really become the "standard" HP for road units, so 3,800 HP units that are even older are probably not needed as much as they would have been in an economy that is booming along. 20 SD70ACU 4300 HP units do the work of 23 SD60E 3800 HP units. That is significant.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 6:35 PM

kgbw49

I suppose in a downturned economy with double digits less traffic overall, the need for rebuilding diminishes and they can be more selective in what they rebuild. 4300 HP units such as the SD70ACU have really become the "standard" HP for road units, so 3,800 HP units that are even older are probably not needed as much as they would have been in an economy that is booming along. 20 SD70ACU 4300 HP units do the work of 23 SD60E 3800 HP units. That is significant.

A SD60E is rated at 4000 hp; it's really a SD70 in all respects except classification. TE for a SD60E is 100,000 lbs.; a SD70ACu is 147,000.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 7:23 AM

D.Carleton, thanks for that good information. That is a nice boost in HP for the SD60E rebuilds. NS must have some talented people overseeing those rebuild programs.

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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 11:28 AM

What happended with the SD60E program the NS is shutting it down?  Was it performance, technical or maintenance issues?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 4:57 PM

caldreamer

What happended with the SD60E program the NS is shutting it down?  Was it performance, technical or maintenance issues?

Rumor has it the SD60E program is being curtailed but the SD70ACu program is ramping up. In a slowing business cycle that makes sense.

A SD60E starts out as a SD60, is stripped down to the frame, the prime mover rebuilt with EFI, the plumbing rearranged to split the cooling loops, the electric locker moved to the rear of the locomotive and, everyone's favorite, the new Crescent Cab. A SD90MAC has its cab and inverters replaced and, bingo, it's a SD70ACu.

As the man once said, "Follow the money."

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, May 7, 2016 5:14 AM

Earlier this week the AltoonaWorks Facebook page reported that the trade will be for 15 MP15DC's in exchange for an equal number of SD90MAC's from the CEFX fleet. 

And isn't the entire electrical cabinet replaced with the SD70ACU's? I thought that besides the main alternator and traction motors, that pretty much the rest of the electrical system was replaced along with the inverters. 

Other than the upgraded cooling system, I don't think that a SD60E rebuild is all that much different in terms of scope of work involved?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, May 7, 2016 5:11 PM

Leo_Ames
 

And isn't the entire electrical cabinet replaced with the SD70ACU's? I thought that besides the main alternator and traction motors, that pretty much the rest of the electrical system was replaced along with the inverters. 

That is correct. Basically, everything forward of the "Clean Air Cabinet" is new: https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12745531_10156623954720637_4239951590792302841_n.jpg?oh=d1d90be6ec392a8b6b8f60ddf530a7f1&oe=57B1F512

Aft of the clean air cab everything is left the same unless something specific needs to be addressed: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=570372&nseq=2

Leo_Ames

Other than the upgraded cooling system, I don't think that a SD60E rebuild is all that much different in terms of scope of work involved?

An SD60 is taken all the way down to the frame to become an SD60E; everything gets touched meaning many more man-hours of labor: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=532358&nseq=6

 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, May 7, 2016 5:31 PM

D.Carleton, thank you for the great info on the two rebuilds! One question arises-do you perhaps know what is done to boost the prime mover on the SD60E up from 3800 HP to 4000 HP? Thank you!

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, May 7, 2016 6:27 PM

D.Carleton
An SD60 is taken all the way down to the frame to become an SD60E; everything gets touched meaning many more man-hours of labor: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=532358&nseq=6

Thanks

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Posted by caldreamer on Saturday, May 7, 2016 6:34 PM

Will the rebuild of SD9043MAC's upgrade their emmissions to Tier2 or 3?.  I see nothing on the NS Dash9 site about their new emmission level or if it will be upgraded with all the new computer upgrades.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, May 7, 2016 8:08 PM

kgbw49

D.Carleton, thank you for the great info on the two rebuilds! One question arises-do you perhaps know what is done to boost the prime mover on the SD60E up from 3800 HP to 4000 HP? Thank you!

Same as any engine: squeeze in more air and fuel and make the engine work harder. http://www.altoonaworks.info/rebuilds/ns_sd60e.html

caldreamer

Will the rebuild of SD9043MAC's upgrade their emmissions to Tier2 or 3?.  I see nothing on the NS Dash9 site about their new emmission level or if it will be upgraded with all the new computer upgrades.

Still Tier 0: http://www.altoonaworks.info/rebuilds/ns_sd70acu.html

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:19 PM

Sorry, don't know what I did, but I double posted this.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:20 PM

Since they're removing the engines, is it safe to assume that it's being overhauled at the same time a SD60 goes through the conversion program?

Or is it just convenient to get it out of the way while applying upgrades like EFI to it (And I don't see it at AltoonaWorks, but isn't the turbocharger and intercooler changed in the process of converting them from their original 710G3A standard to Norfolk Southern's B-IC standard)?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, May 8, 2016 10:34 AM

There is some really great technical information in this thread. I'd like to add a non-technical observation and I apologize if it is too far off topic. Anyway, here goes...'

The SD90/SD9043/SD80 MAC units are sort of the last of the battleships, so to speak, in that the 80 foot frame was designed to pack "bigger firepower" (HP) into one unit. They are direct descendants of the U50C, C855, DD35A, DDA40X, and SD45, in the manner that the Iowa-class battleships were descendants of HMS Dreadbought. The additional frame length of roughly 6 feet longer than an SD70ACE and roughly 7 feet longer than a GEVO coupled with the EMD cab give these units a massive appearance.

So I hope at some time in the next 20-30 years one of these SD70ACUs are preserved as one of the last of the dreadnoughts.

 

 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 1:30 AM

Leo_Ames

Since they're removing the engines, is it safe to assume that it's being overhauled at the same time a SD60 goes through the conversion program?

Or is it just convenient to get it out of the way while applying upgrades like EFI to it (And I don't see it at AltoonaWorks, but isn't the turbocharger and intercooler changed in the process of converting them from their original 710G3A standard to Norfolk Southern's B-IC standard)?

The whole idea of the "E" program is to take an existing asset and make it as close to new as possible for less money than an actual new locomotive.

Given my druthers I would always want the prime mover on the shop floor for work. Obviously this is not practical in just about every case. I have never converted a layshaft engine to EFI but since it involves every cylinder of the engine and taking into consideration the age of the engine the best course is to remove it for rebuild. Every head will have to be changed or modified and electrical harnesses to each piston mounted to the block.

Could the engine be rebuilt in place? Most likely. Could the new plumbing splitting the intercooler into its own loop with its own radiator forward of the turbo be done with the engine still in place? Yes. Could the new electrial panel aft of the engine compartment be wired and installed with the engine in place? Sure. But then you would have machinists, electricians and pipe-fitters falling all over each other. NS seems to have found the right formula for the "E" rebuilds but the SD60E program appears to have come to an end at least for the moment.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:09 AM

Thanks, I hope that didn't sound like a stupid question. 

I basically was curious if the engine is overhauled concurently with their rebuilding to SD60E specifications, or just getting EFI and such.

For instance, I believe that SD80MAC/SD90MAC engine overhauls are happening on an as-needed basis and aren't necessarily concurent with their rebuilding to ACU specifications, where as Roanoke seems to be overhauling the FDL as the first step of a AC44C6M rebuild (At least judging by those being sent to Erie). 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 3:01 PM

Leo_Ames

Thanks, I hope that didn't sound like a stupid question. 

I basically was curious if the engine is overhauled concurently with their rebuilding to SD60E specifications, or just getting EFI and such.

For instance, I believe that SD80MAC/SD90MAC engine overhauls are happening on an as-needed basis and aren't necessarily concurent with their rebuilding to ACU specifications, where as Roanoke seems to be overhauling the FDL as the first step of a AC44C6M rebuild (At least judging by those being sent to Erie). 

It is a fair question. What differentiates the SD90MACs from everything else is that they were brought from EMD. As such it is safe to say they, besides fixing the defect where the fuel tank met the frame, would have performed the applicable MI for the prime mover concurrent with the number of hours on said engine. NS would have been foolish if they didn't require that.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 5:20 PM
Bought from EMD as the middleman though right? They came straight from the UP deadlines, got fuel tank fixes and then sent on.
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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 9:00 PM

YoHo1975
Bought from EMD as the middleman though right? They came straight from the UP deadlines, got fuel tank fixes and then sent on.

UP turned back the SD90MACs upon the end of their lease to EMD. The units were slowly filtered through a shop or shops prior to delivery to NS. It wasn't like a railroad auction of surplus locomotives where they are "as is/where is" and you don't get to look inside prior to bidding. This was all part of a plan between EMD and NS for purchase and eventual upgrade. Not your usual [iron] horse trading.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:04 PM

Are you sure that they were leased? I thought that they were traded in by Union Pacific to EMD?

So Union Pacific had a ~18 year lease or so on them? Isn't that somewhat of an unusual term? Or did they just sit for a few years on UP property after the typical 15 year lease expired before EMD got a customer interested? 

Also, while a large block of these are consecutively numbered sisters from 1996 which certainly makes sense for a group of lease expired units being let go, how'd the 1997/1998 units happen to go off lease at the same time as the earlier examples? And why the random selection from these later SD90MAC's, with many others retained by Union Pacific? 

For instance, NS got the 8187 but UP held on to the rest of the 818X group. Doesn't make sense to me if it wasn't Union Pacific trading these in or selling them off as surplus. Groups of locomotives typically go off lease, but not random examples with many others from the same order being retained. 

Could it be that the 8000-8074 group came off lease, but that the other ~25 were traded in or sold off direct by UP?

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Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, May 12, 2016 6:16 PM

Is it logical that when these units came off lease that the units in the best shape were put through the shop(s) and then sold to NS?  This would account for certain units not being sold.  I am sure that NS did not want any clunkers and probably pickedthe units that they wanted to purchase.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:44 PM

UP still operates something like 200 SD9043MACs. But with traffic down turns, perhaps there will be others on the market as UP continues to pick up new ET45AC, ES45AC credit units, SD70ACE-T4 etc.

It will be interesting to see if NS has "cracked the code" in terms of increasing the reliability of these models. I suppose we will know if they go back to the well several more times.

It seems UP tends to rebuild smaller power - switchers such as the MP15N, mid-range road switchers such as the SD40N, etc., but seems to prefer new power for over-the-road power.

At the same time, BNSF is producing AC44C4M units, and we all know what NS is doing with the SD60E, SD70ACU, etc., as road power in addition to all their lower horsepower rebuilds.

So perhaps if the SD70ACU performs well, maybe there will be additional adds to the fleet if UP decides to weed out the relatively small component of their fleet as new power comes on line.

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