NS acquiring 100 of UP's EMD SD9043MAC locomotives

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, May 16, 2016 4:12 PM
I don't think NS cracked any code, I haven't heard about any reliability issues recently with the UP 9043MACs outside of the fuel tank that was a major issue. Roseville has a handful of them. They appear to be stored, but they aren't on the Sand Track or near the "City Yard" with the rest of the stored units. They're closer to the Smog track. It will be interesting to see what UP does given the new units coming online. Do they keep the 9043s which are unique snowflakes, but are AC and start getting rid of the SD70Ms? OR do they get rid of the 9043s and keep the 70Ms? Or maybe they just start purging SD60s and similar. Probably also matters when leases are up.
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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, May 16, 2016 4:58 PM

There are a lot of other things that need to be preserved sooner...

I don't think that the SD90MACs are unreliable, just that their nonstandard electricals have doomed them to be oddballs and the reputation that comes along with that...

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, May 16, 2016 7:07 PM

Other contributors have mentioned NS replacing the electrical systems as part of the ACU upgrade, so it sounds like you are on the right track with that assessment of the electrical system. Hopefully NS ends up satisfied with their ongoing performance and the ACU fleet is out on the rails for decades to come.

 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 12:55 AM

Leo_Ames

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

My understanding was they were leased but I may be mistaken. I seem to remember they were leased back in the 1990s but that doesn't mean UP didn't buy them outright when the lease was up. (Of course if you can remember the 90s you really weren't there.) I'm sure this is an interesting tale which would make a great story for Trains Locomotive page.

In other SD90 news, the ex-CIT unit is in Altoona getting an engine overhaul. BNSF is following NS' lead and rebuilding their SD70MACs into SD70MACes by replacing the inverters and electrical cabinet replacing Siemens with Mitsubishi.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 7:14 AM

D.Carleton
My understanding was they were leased but I may be mistaken. 

I'm envisioning a scenario where you're probably right, but perhaps for only a portion of the class.

That seemingly all of the surviving members of the first 75 locomotives encompassing the entire 936449 and 956613 groups went to NS fits with what you'd expect for expired leased power. 

But it gets cloudy with the newer units that they also bought in my opinion. I can't think of any precedence where such randomness has occured with scattered numbers going off lease while the bulk of their sisters remained under UP control. 

Such an arrangement suggest to me that it's the railroad themself that owned them and were selling off/trading in select members of the class as they downsize their fleet of SD90MAC's, much like we've seen with Class 1 SD40-2 fleets in recent years where many empty numbers crop up amid blocks of Dash 2's as the herd is thinned with only the best retained. 

Any insight on their ownership status before NS acquired them, Chris? 

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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 8:20 AM

At the bottom the page for the sd70ACU detail page on the NSDash9 web site gives a detailed   list of the upgrades being done on the SD9043MAC's.  This includes what appears to be a COMPLETE rplacement of all of the electrical systems on each locmotive.  Thisindicates that they are replacing all of the electronics with SD70ACe electrical components whic are the latest available.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, May 19, 2016 4:09 AM

Since we've talked a bit in here about this topic, I thought I'd mention that Norfolk Southern has donated Southern Railway's first SD40 which was restored last year by NS, to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

https://www.facebook.com/tvrail/

I wonder what the chances are that the N&W unit set aside will also be restored to service for a while prior to donation, or if they will just do a cosmetic restoration and then donate her to a museum one of these days (Which seems like a good bet will be the Virginia Museum of Transportation)?

Bryan Jones said that she was still safe from being scrapped or being used as a rebuild core a few weeks back, which was nice to hear when some other high nose SD40's that escaped going to Cresson are being turned into modern SD33ECO's as we speak. 

Wouldn't of been the first time that plans changed for a unit slated for preservation (Remember N&W's last FM powered Train Master which was slated to be saved but still ended up being turned into a slug?).

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:39 AM

Just double checking on something that I am guessing one of our contributors can definitively answer.

With the swap between NS and CIT of 15 MP15 units for 15 SD9043MAC units, does that mean NS will ultimately roster 115 SD70ACU units?

Thanks for sharing any knowledge.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, May 21, 2016 11:50 AM

kgbw49

Just double checking on something that I am guessing one of our contributors can definitively answer.

With the swap between NS and CIT of 15 MP15 units for 15 SD9043MAC units, does that mean NS will ultimately roster 115 SD70ACU units?

Thanks for sharing any knowledge.

Yes... for now.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, June 4, 2016 9:02 PM

Not sure if these 6 are part of the additional 15, or an additional 6.

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/578886/

 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, June 5, 2016 11:14 PM

Interesting. Scuttlebutt around Roseville shops is that UP is looking to unload the remaining units. There's a single 9043 out on the smog track (behind a dash 8, rumor has it both are awaiting sale to somewhere south of the border.

 

 

There's also a rumor that they're going to start purging the SD70Ms since UP is continuing to purchase new units (Grousing about why buy new units when they don't need the ones they have was also heard.)

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, June 6, 2016 12:09 AM

Interesting, and not surprising considering that UP consideres the convertibles as oddballs. I'm surprised NS hasn't jumped on the CP units but they have been in dead storage for far longer and so are probably in worse condition.

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, June 6, 2016 6:06 PM

YoHo1975
There's also a rumor that they're going to start purging the SD70Ms since UP is continuing to purchase new units (Grousing about why buy new units when they don't need the ones they have was also heard.)

I like those UP 70Ms with the analog gauges.  Probably be some regional and larger shortlines interested in them, I'd imagine.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 11:31 PM

Sounds like the deal is done. 15 MP15DC's have been retired and traded to CIT for 10 SD90MAC's (Not 15 like the earlier impression was). Sure sign that NS must be pleased with the SD70ACU program, I'd say.

4 of these were painted for and on long-term lease to the Indiana Rail Road. Wonder what, if anything, has taken their place? They do haul a lot of coal, so I hope it's not a sign that business is way down for them. 

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Posted by longhorn1969 on Thursday, June 23, 2016 10:05 AM

http://utahrails.net/articles/up-sd70m.php

UP did sign a record breaking order to lease 1000 at the time. Not to surprise to see them retiring them as there lease ends.

 

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Posted by CAZEPHYR on Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:39 PM

longhorn1969

http://utahrails.net/articles/up-sd70m.php

UP did sign a record breaking order to lease 1000 at the time. Not to surprise to see them retiring them as there lease ends.

 

 

 

True, the total lease number probably was a record, but they ended up with about 1250 total before the final ones hit the road.  

Abour half of those might go back when their lease time is complete since the AC motors type seem to be the rule today on the Union Pacific.

 

CZ

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, June 23, 2016 5:55 PM

They have even more SD70M's than that. The total should be about 1450 units, barring a handful that have been wrecked and retired. 

I would think that the remaining SD60M's, SD90MAC's,  Dash 8's, and the relatively small Dash 9 fleet would be at the head of the line right now rather than the newer and nearly 1500 unit strong SD70M fleet. 

Even large portions of the 1st gen GE AC fleet is getting up there and about at that age where a decision will have to be made soon on whether to rebuild or retire them, where as the vast majority of the SD70M's are at worst only at middle age right now.  

We might see some let go, but I bet that the majority hang on for quite sometime.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, June 23, 2016 7:37 PM

Leo_Ames
Sounds like the deal is done. 15 MP15DC's have been retired and traded to CIT for 10 SD90MAC's (Not 15 like the earlier impression was). Sure sign that NS must be pleased with the SD70ACU pr'd say.

A 90mac can be used in the road or the yard (yeah, I've seen more than a few 90s being used as yard goats), but a MP15 doesn't lend itself well to mainline use. 

Offers some more flexibility, even if that wasn't the goal.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, June 23, 2016 8:23 PM

I think that it's safe to assume though that while the MP15DC's were used as trade fodder, NS didn't go for these SD90MAC's with yard use particularly in mind. 

Norfolk Southern has a surplus of switchers and GP38-2's, so even if demand picks up for additional yard power in the short-term, the more versatile GP38-2's in storage right now can pick up the slack if there's not enough end cab switchers to go around (Not to mention various Eco's, SD40-2's, and GP40-2's). 

There's still going to be MP15's stored even after this transaction and with the apparent draw down of the MP15E program (Just 4 outshopped in 2015 and 1 in early 2016), I wouldn't be surprised to see further reductions. 

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Posted by The Shotgun King on Friday, June 24, 2016 3:13 PM

*Ding* You hit the nail right on the head. All these "eco-friendly" engines that are almost being forced on railroads are generally pieces of junk. NS has already had a few issues with some of their brand new ET44AC's, and I suspect that they will keep having issues. 

By the way, this is coming from a diesel mechanic who used to work for NS. I am not trying to be prideful, but I do know what I am talking about. 

When the "need" to protect the environment overrides the need to move freight efficiently, problems will arise. 

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Posted by Entropy on Sunday, June 26, 2016 2:54 PM

The Shotgun King

*Ding* You hit the nail right on the head. All these "eco-friendly" engines that are almost being forced on railroads are generally pieces of junk. NS has already had a few issues with some of their brand new ET44AC's, and I suspect that they will keep having issues. 

By the way, this is coming from a diesel mechanic who used to work for NS. I am not trying to be prideful, but I do know what I am talking about. 

When the "need" to protect the environment overrides the need to move freight efficiently, problems will arise. 

 

"Eco Friendly" I hope you're not implying ECO repowers? Just Tier 4 in general?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, June 26, 2016 4:52 PM

While the opinion of someone that has worked for Norfolk Southern as a diesel mechanic carries an awful lot of weight, it also doesn't strike me as particularly unusual for there to be some significant issues early in the production of a new model.

With as many differences as this one has and the complexity forced upon everyone by the government, there's bound to be growing pains and some embaressing failures for GE as they learn and evolve their current offering. 

I suspect the best test on GE's success or failure with the ET44AC will be what happens with Class 1 rebuilding programs over the next few years. For instance if we see Union Pacific undertake a massive rebuilding program for their large AC4400CW fleet while at the same time not ordering many new ET44AC's, that speaks louder than words. 

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Posted by The Shotgun King on Sunday, June 26, 2016 8:54 PM

Entropy

 

 
The Shotgun King

*Ding* You hit the nail right on the head. All these "eco-friendly" engines that are almost being forced on railroads are generally pieces of junk. NS has already had a few issues with some of their brand new ET44AC's, and I suspect that they will keep having issues. 

By the way, this is coming from a diesel mechanic who used to work for NS. I am not trying to be prideful, but I do know what I am talking about. 

When the "need" to protect the environment overrides the need to move freight efficiently, problems will arise. 

 

 

 

"Eco Friendly" I hope you're not implying ECO repowers? Just Tier 4 in general?

 

I meant the Tier 4, I never had the chance to see any of those repowers, so I really don't know much about them. I assume that because NS keeps making them that they are decently reliable.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, August 4, 2016 2:32 PM

Since this is our unofficial thread for discussion of Norfolk Southern's EMD power and this particular locomotive has been talked about here in the past, I thought this video might be of interest that NSDash9 linked to on his Facebook page. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fQTtgoRXoo

Credit goes to NS6677 for the video. I'm just an interested viewer that enjoyed it and wanted to link to it here. 

For the uninitiated, this unit was Norfolk & Western's first SD40, which has been saved by NS after pulling it from service. She's now being returned to operational status with an eye towards donating it for preservation, as done recently with the first Southern Railway SD40. 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, September 1, 2016 2:13 PM

CSX SD70ACe #4839 has been sold to LTEX due to ground relay problems.

I wonder if we'll see Norfolk Southern pick her up, or if they'll overprice her like they seem to have a tendency to do with 6 axle EMD's and we'll eventually see our first SD70 series locomotive be scrapped for a reason other than catastrophic damage.

Surprised she didn't go directly to NS, actually. They've done horse trading several times in recent years and NS obviously likes EMD's AC package. And Altoona probably could have her running like a fine watch in just a few days time.

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Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, September 1, 2016 2:33 PM

Strange. As a member of a small and not-well-loved class, it is odd that CSX wouldn't try to be rid of them all at once. I would not be surprised to see NS pick it up as their experience rebuilding EMDs includes complete rewiring. They can also easily replace the thundercab.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, September 1, 2016 4:02 PM

Leo_Ames

CSX SD70ACe #4839 has been sold to LTEX due to ground relay problems.

A twelve year old asset sold off because of a ground relay problem? I certainly hope there is more to it than that. On NS a problem child would be put in storage until traffic warrants spending the money to find the problem.

Also, remember that EMD is still sitting on a group of SD70ACes repatriated from Oz.

Even so, a few months back someone was advertising Dash 9s for sale albeit without an asking price. Since then I have not heard of any Dash 9s trading stables.

We (sadly) have an over abundance of high horsepower locomotives in need of tonnage to pull. Let's hope the wait is not too long.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, September 2, 2016 1:19 AM

It does seem strange, but it comes from a source that I consider reliable for CSX locomotive news.

http://railroadfan.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=362633#p362633

It's potentially not the full story though.

Perhaps the locomotive had other issues as well. It could also be the prelude to dumping the model en masse. CSX is set to slim their roster and EMD's SD70 range are oddities there among the masses of contemporary GE's, and the SD70ACe's are the oddballs of that relatively small group. 

They've already sold off SD70MAC's to Four Rivers Transportation (Albeit basically a CSX subsidiary). And the related SD80MAC model was traded in for late 60's SD40's rebuilt to Dash 2's, on a 1:1 basis.

CSX clearly has never been quite enthralled with EMD's 710 engined lineup, so I don't think it's unthinkable that we'll see some movements there soon.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Friday, September 2, 2016 7:14 PM

Leo_Ames
It does seem strange... 

There is nothing stranger than iron horse trading. CSX may be trading the problem child for parts. CSX may sell the piece and then lease it back to save on taxes. CSX may sell the locomotive, the new owner fixes it and then CSX buys it back. Anything can happen or has happened in regards to swapping iron horses. I stopped trying to keep track long ago (if it wasn't my specific job to do so).

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Posted by CPM500 on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 4:14 PM


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