THE magazine of railroading

SEARCH TRAINSMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

BNSF Executive SD70MAC Rebuild Program?

11990 views
38 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 14 posts
BNSF Executive SD70MAC Rebuild Program?
Posted by SooBoy61 on Sunday, November 29, 2015 6:35 PM

My travels throughout the Pacific Northwest take be through Tacoma and starting back in Mid-October I starting noticing a grouping of BNSF Executive SD70MAC's showing up at the Progress Rail shops here. What was unusual was that the units numbers were all closely grouped.

After doing a little research I see these units are about 20 years old and in what might be the beginning of a BNSF rebuild program. Since then, on occasions that I've driven by, various units have been out (or in) the shop. Also hoods have been removed, set outside and then returned in just primer. Its hard to get a real close look as they are behind a fence and sometimes parked next to each other.

The unit numbers seen are as follows:

9711, 9714, 9716, 9717, 9718, 9721, 9736

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 11:35 PM

BNSF has been rumored to be starting a rebuild program which will probably be in-kind.

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • 962 posts
Posted by Lyon_Wonder on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 12:39 AM

I can see BNSF rebuilding their AC-traction SD70MAC since they have such a large fleet of them.  The much smaller roster of DC-traction SD75Ms and SD75I's don't really have a future with BNSF and many have already been removed from their roster with several sold to NS.

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • 145 posts
Posted by Bryan Jones on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 5:15 AM

SooBoy61

 

My travels throughout the Pacific Northwest take be through Tacoma and starting back in Mid-October I starting noticing a grouping of BNSF Executive SD70MAC's showing up at the Progress Rail shops here. What was unusual was that the units numbers were all closely grouped.

 

After doing a little research I see these units are about 20 years old and in what might be the beginning of a BNSF rebuild program. Since then, on occasions that I've driven by, various units have been out (or in) the shop. Also hoods have been removed, set outside and then returned in just primer. Its hard to get a real close look as they are behind a fence and sometimes parked next to each other.

 

The unit numbers seen are as follows:

 

9711, 9714, 9716, 9717, 9718, 9721, 9736

 

those units plus 1 more are there for electrical system upgrades. The as-built Siemens inverters and associated gear are being replaced with Mitsubishi inverters and related gear as found on the SD70ACe.

Bryan Jones

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,480 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 9:18 AM

Are the SD70MAC's that are being rebuilt getting renumbered or are they keeping their same numbers?

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 14 posts
Posted by SooBoy61 on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 5:13 PM

They are keeping their old numbers although I haven't seen a finished unit yet.

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • 1,009 posts
Posted by GDRMCo on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 9:17 PM
Sounds like it's an electrical upgrade, no point renumbering them as there's around 800 of them on roster and it'd be easier to just leave them in their number block.

ML

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 12,628 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, December 03, 2015 10:27 AM

Does the rebuild program go from one inverter per truck, two per locomotive, to one inverter per motor, total six per locomotive, to give better slip control and better traction in less-than-perfect rail adhesion conditions?   Anyone know?

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,480 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, December 03, 2015 12:05 PM

Since thay are keeping the same road numbers, will they be recieving a new dsignation such as SD70MACu or such to show that these units have been rebuilt?

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 14 posts
Posted by SooBoy61 on Monday, February 08, 2016 9:55 PM

Time for an update since there has been some changes in status.  Unless there are some units still lurking in the car shops there appears to be a total of 12 units undergoing rebuild: 9714, 9716, 9717, 9718, 9721, 9725, 9728, 9730, 9736, 9738, 9746 and 9748.  Gathering some info from other sources the rebuild seems to be related to largely electrical upgrades like new Mitsubishi Inverters, and new traction control systems.  Over the past several months the units could be seen outside with 4 primered panels (two on each side) and the Primer Mover idling.  This seems to be some sort of enhanced testing perhaps? 

About two weeks ago units 9721, 9730, 9736, 9746 and 9748 were lashed up on the outbound track in their original colors except the primered inverter panels.  They have since departed the area and I presume headed east.  Units 9714, 9716, 9717 and 9725 remain outside the shops idiling, also in their original colors.  9718 and 9738 were last seen mid-January and may have left.  However, I have seen several primered radiator hoods so one or both could be inside the shops.

The real find was last night when I stopped by only to find a brand new sparkling 9728 in a H3 paint scheme parked on the outbound track.  Not only was it new but it had a new designation, a SD70MACe. I took a nighttime photo but haven't figured out how to post it if anyone is interested.

So, far this seems to be a pilot program with a limited number of units but with BNSF having almost 800 units it looks like they are at least looking into a long range plan of rebuilding at least a portion of their stable.  Could be cheaper than buying a bunch of new units with no proof they will last as long as the SD70MAC's.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 9:04 AM

Interesting that they are using that designation. I'm not surprised that they switched out the Siemens inverters for the SD70ACe Mitsubishi equipment, but I wonder if they bothered to upgrade them to the same Tier 2? Without any radiator modifications, I doubt it.

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • 1,282 posts
Posted by YoHo1975 on Thursday, February 11, 2016 4:42 PM
What would be the incentive to do that upgrade?
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:18 PM

Two things-parts commonality with the newer units as well as preserving parts supply as I believe that Siemens have dropped the inverter line used on earlier EMD ACs.

  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • 1,644 posts
Posted by Wizlish on Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:24 PM

NorthWest
Two things-parts commonality with the newer units as well as preserving parts supply as I believe that Siemens have dropped the inverter line used on earlier EMD ACs.

But didn't he mean the upgrade to tier 2 emissions?

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:06 PM

Oh, right. As I understand it there isn't any. I was just wondering why they added the 'e' instead of some other letter that indicated modification. They would need larger radiators anyway as the SD70Ms required to meet Tier I. Later SD70MACs had similar radiators but it was originally for a bump in horsepower.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 89 posts
Posted by Entropy on Friday, February 12, 2016 7:43 AM

NorthWest

Oh, right. As I understand it there isn't any. I was just wondering why they added the 'e' instead of some other letter that indicated modification. They would need larger radiators anyway as the SD70Ms required to meet Tier I. Later SD70MACs had similar radiators but it was originally for a bump in horsepower.

 

 

You will notice within the SD70MAC BN/BNSF orders there was seperate order numbers. You will see all but two of the units listed above are apart of the 956615 order. You can see all the order(s) serial numbers here:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locolist.aspx?id=BNSF&mid=19&Page=1

956615-1 "9717" was the first SD70MAC's built after the BN SF merger, delivery date of 1/1996 and the first order to include Seperate Circuit Aftercooled Tier 1. An engine rebuild is required to meet Tier 1+. 

Hope that answers your speculation. 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • 1,176 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, February 12, 2016 12:53 PM

What does 615 correspond to?

And I thought that Tier 1 standards were only mandated for those produced from 2002-2004, either new or when rebuilt, with Tier 0 covering EMD's that are remanufactured from those produced from 1973 through 2001?

So does that mean the 9400's, if they're ever rebuilt in this program, will remain designated as SD70MAC? They're the oldest SD70MAC's on the roster or anywhere, and I assume only have to be Tier 0? 

The absence of hundreds of their oldest SD70MAC's is conspicuous as well. Unless they did a light overhaul on them that meant that they were in better condition than these newer units once this capital rebuild program was started, I wouldn't think that it bodes well for the long-term survival of 9400-9571.

Even a fair chunk of the 946565 order, numbered 9572-9712, appears possibly threatened since only the 2nd highest number in the fleet was part of this initial group that was rebuilt. That to me suggests that a change was possibly made late in production of that order that makes the newest members of that group more desirable to rebuild for continued service than the bulk of the earlier group.  

And judging by a fair number being stored from their older SD70MAC's, I assume that they haven't received that work that would now be keeping them out of the rebuild shop while newer sisters go in. 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 89 posts
Posted by Entropy on Friday, February 12, 2016 2:21 PM

Leo_Ames

And I thought that Tier 1 standards were only mandated for those produced from 2002-2004

For "switch" engines. Line haul was 1993-2004 for Tier 1.  

Leo_Ames

So does that mean the 9400's, if they're ever rebuilt in this program, will remain designated as SD70MAC? They're the oldest SD70MAC's on the roster or anywhere, and I assume only have to be Tier 0?

They would have to be Tier 0+ ; when remanufactured/engine overhaul.

 

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: South Central,Ks
  • 5,801 posts
Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, February 12, 2016 2:41 PM

NorthWest

Interesting that they are using that designation. I'm not surprised that they switched out the Siemens inverters for the SD70ACe Mitsubishi equipment, but I wonder if they bothered to upgrade them to the same Tier 2? Without any radiator modifications, I doubt it.

 

Northwest: Regarding your question about the removal of Siemens Inverters in favor of the Mitsubishi model.

There may be a partial answer that appreared in a TRAINS Newswire atticle dated Feb.10th,2016 on a NS rebuild program [NS progresses on its SD70ACU program]  By Chris Guss

FTA:"...The program which began in 2015 is the latest for the railroad to upgrade older, less reliable locomotives in its fleet. The program draws from the 100 former Union Pacific SD90MACs acquired second hand from EMD.

The rebuild program features a complete electrical upgrade, replacing the existing Siemens electrical equipment, including the inverters, with Mitsubishi electronics. The existing cab is replaced with a new isolated SD70ACe cab along with a number of other smaller changes to the locomotive during rebuild.

The changes bring the locomotive up to essentially the same mechanical specification as EMDs SD70ACes. The first two SD70ACUs released from Altoona were NS Nos. 7248 and 7283 in January. Both units were sent to Progress Rail’s Muncie, Ind., plant for testing..."

Apparently, BNSF is going in a similar direction with their rebuild program(?)

  The question seems to be: will BNSF rebuildf the units in-house, or farm the work out to a third party rebuilder on their sizeable fleet? see list @ http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locolist.aspx?id=BNSF

 

Sam

 

 


 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, February 13, 2016 12:12 AM

I really wonder if we are reading more into this than is there, and if so, I'm sorry for bringing it up. It's just that the 'e' means so much in modern EMD nomenclature as it indicates later modification of the SD70 and SD80 line to meet Tier II standards. (Had the 'M' not been redundant we could have had SD70MACes. Although, the SD70M-2 also is Tier-II compliant without the 'e'. Perhaps they would have been SD70MAC-2s?)

I don't think there is much of a question regarding the uprade of inverter technology. These rebuilds are getting Mitsubishi equipment not only for the reasons stated above but most importantly because it is the current popular system.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, February 13, 2016 12:30 AM

Fed up with the quote editor tonight, so snipped out:

Entropy
For "switch" engines. Line haul was 1993-2004 for Tier 1.

Then what happened with UP's SD70Ms? The first unit with flared radiators, 4710, was built in January 2002. The previous unit, 4709, built in August 2001 lacked them.

Without checking, I think the only SD70MACs built after 1/1/2002 were CSX and ARR units that had the flared radiators. I think this was for emissions compliance and suspect EMD used the uprated 16-710G3 also used in the SD75 series on these later units.

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,007 posts
Posted by M636C on Sunday, February 14, 2016 5:17 PM

NorthWest

I really wonder if we are reading more into this than is there, and if so, I'm sorry for bringing it up. It's just that the 'e' means so much in modern EMD nomenclature as it indicates later modification of the SD70 and SD80 line to meet Tier II standards. (Had the 'M' not been redundant we could have had SD70MACes. Although, the SD70M-2 also is Tier-II compliant without the 'e'. Perhaps they would have been SD70MAC-2s?)

I don't think there is much of a question regarding the uprade of inverter technology. These rebuilds are getting Mitsubishi equipment not only for the reasons stated above but most importantly because it is the current popular system.

 
I'm pretty sure the "e" refers to Mitsubishi inverters...
 
It is the main difference between the SD70ACe and the SD70M-2...
 
But in Australian built export units
 
GT42CU-AC have Siemens equipment and GT42CU-ACe have Mitsubishi equipment.
 
They all have the same traction motors, Siemens design built by EMD.
 
The later larger GT46C ACe all have Mitsubishi equipment.
 
All of these units have an inverter per truck.
 
So "e" means Mitsubishi Inverters....
 
(officially, "e" means "enhanced" but only units with Mitsubishi inverters have the "e")
 
M636C
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, February 14, 2016 6:07 PM

Thanks, M636C. I had always assumed it meant 'environmental' but that makes a whole lot more sense. Thanks!

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 89 posts
Posted by Entropy on Monday, February 15, 2016 8:01 AM

NorthWest

Fed up with the quote editor tonight, so snipped out:

 

 
Entropy
For "switch" engines. Line haul was 1993-2004 for Tier 1.

 

Then what happened with UP's SD70Ms? The first unit with flared radiators, 4710, was built in January 2002. The previous unit, 4709, built in August 2001 lacked them.

Without checking, I think the only SD70MACs built after 1/1/2002 were CSX and ARR units that had the flared radiators. I think this was for emissions compliance and suspect EMD used the uprated 16-710G3 also used in the SD75 series on these later units.

There's a caveat to 1993-2001 'line haul' locomotive emission compliance. 

From the EPA-

*Locomotive models that were originally manufactured in model years 1993-2001, but were not originally equipped with a seperate coolant system for intake air are subject to Tier 0 rather than Tier 1 standards.

While EPA states for line haul 1993-2004 is Tier 1, (most) UP SD70M were Tier 0 using jacket water aftercooling through 2001.

UP SD70M 4635-4639 are actually Tier 1 built before 2002, explained in this link:

http://utahrails.net/up-diesel-roster/up-diesel-roster-52.php

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Monday, February 15, 2016 10:17 AM

Strange, but that makes sense. I wonder why the EPA set it up that way.

  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • 1,644 posts
Posted by Wizlish on Monday, February 15, 2016 12:07 PM

NorthWest
Strange, but that makes sense. I wonder why the EPA set it up that way.

I think it's the way the Government worded it.  Change the grammar a bit to reflect that the engines built WITH the cooling enhancements are made subject to Tier 1 criteria, because more capable of achieving it than engines without them, and it makes full sense.  (At least it does to me.)

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 14 posts
Posted by SooBoy61 on Friday, May 27, 2016 7:52 PM

Time for an update as it appears that the SD70MAC rebuild program is continuing at Progress Rail Tacoma.  Recent arrivals include BNSF 9749, 9750, 9752, 9753 and 9769.  The process seems to have been streamlined somewhat in that one unit has already had its paint stripped from the hood and is receiving the new inverters.  The first batch didn't receive new paint until they were ready to be rolled out.

There appears to be more units inside also, as 4 primer mover hood sections were spotted out in the back lot yesterday. This brings up a couple of questions.  With that many hoods removed, is that part of the process to access the control systems or are they doing an overhaul of the prime mover at this time?  Which brings up the next question.  How does BNSF determine which units are getting the upgrade?  Are these units that have been already had their prime mover  overhauled and have been deemed mechanically sound or are they the ones with the fewest issues?  BNSF seems to proud of them as I've seen recent photos of them paired up leading freights.  Or is this just a case of a kid with a new toy?

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: NW Wisconsin
  • 3,614 posts
Posted by beaulieu on Sunday, May 29, 2016 12:41 AM

At some point in the production of SD70MAC locomotives the Diesel Engine switched from a 710G3B-EC engine to a 710G3B-ES engine. One of the notes in my EMD SD70MAC shop manual says that locomotives equipped with the early EC series engine has two water pumps, one supplies water to each bank of cylinders of the diesel. The newer ES version also has two water pumps, but one pumps water to both banks of the diesel, while the other pumps water to the turbocharger aftercooler. And the plumbing arrangement is very different. I suspect that only SD70MACs with the ES engines are being upgraded. It is also being reported that they are officially being rated at 3999 hp. to keep them out of the mainline freight pool.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 2,834 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:51 AM

Interesting. I wonder why that is, as they mainline service is just about the only role they will be good at?

Rebuilt 9748 on a grain train:

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/578133/

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • 1,176 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, May 29, 2016 12:12 PM

Perhaps 3,999 gets them out of the most demanding coal service, leaving them other mainline assignments like this pictured grain train?

I think it's under 3,000 hp that makes a BNSF locomotive dedicated for local services (Some SD40-2's for instance are down as having 2,999 hp just to keep them out of the mainline pool). So this is still 1,000 too much even if it made sense to be used in such service. 

Is this a paper change like I just mentioned with SD40-2's? Or has it actually been derated 300 hp, which is what hundreds of early SD70MAC's were delivered at?

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Trains free email newsletter
NEWS » PHOTOS » VIDEOS » HOT TOPICS & MORE
GET OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Connect with us
ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

Search the Community