The SD70ACe-T4 – A Super Bad Omen? (w/ Photos) Is Siemens the Freight Power of the Future?

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The SD70ACe-T4 – A Super Bad Omen? (w/ Photos) Is Siemens the Freight Power of the Future?
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:16 PM

This forum contributor saw the rather unbelievable on Friday, December 29, 2017.  At Mojave, CA, UP 3027 (a new SD70ACe-T4) led a small cement train into town from a branch!

It is understood the new units are mainly operating on the Powder River Basin trains, but some are roving the system.  But, a 10 mile branch line?  The earlier SD70ACe’s were often regulated to locals for a long time.  Now they are system wide.

CAT may have bitten off more than it can chew.  The commuter F125 seems to be a nightmare.

So, new CAT power of any type are very limited, and having delays.  And, GE seems to want to exit.  Is Siemen’s the power of the future?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:38 PM

Class I's often use big power on locals simply because it is there, and may be the only power available.  Gotta sweat those assets.  Seeing new high-HP units switching is no cause for concern.

What I find more telling is that Canadian National has been quietly testing two SD70ACe-T4 demonstrators in Western Canada for the past month, and the only thing to come of that is the big 200-unit GE order.  Seems CN management is not impressed with the EMDs.

The crews seem to like them though, I haven't been on one yet but everyone who has says they are great to run.

As for the F125's, CAT has been trying to crack the railroad market for 30 years and every one of their attempts has met with failure.  Their diesel engines, for whatever reason, just don't do well in the railroad environment.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, January 01, 2018 1:18 AM

Well then in regards to the Metrolink F125, CAT better admit the tier 4 diesel engine needs to be redesigned   or they're going to be in a heap of trouble regarding the F125 model.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, January 01, 2018 3:48 AM

ATSFGuy
Well then in regards to the Metrolink F125, CAT better admit the tier 4 diesel engine needs to be redesigned   or they're going to be in a heap of trouble regarding the F125 model.

We had the F125's problems as topic in another thread: 
http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/266321.aspx

According to minutes of Metrolink meetings the problems lay in the DEF transport from tank to day tank. It had nothing to do with the C175-20.
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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, January 01, 2018 9:12 AM

Might the biggest hurdle for new orders be the large numbers of units formerly assigned to coal loads that are now available for other work with the natural gas revolution in the electric industry?

Look at the numbers of Grinstein Green SD70MACs, for instance, that with some investment probably will be good for another 20 years. Or what Norfolk Southern is doing with their DC to AC conversions, the SD70ACu conversions, etc.

Canadian National and Canadian Pacific both went through years of downsizing their fleets under Precision Scheduled Railroading, including putting some "relatively" new (i.e. significant useful life left in them) units on the storage tracks.

Now CSX is going through the same process.

UP has all those units in storage on the former main line in Arizona and at other locations around the system.

There are some very significant surge fleets in storage all across the country.

At the same time, it would not be beneficial in the long run for the railroads to lose one of their suppliers of new motive power, so one has to think that there may be some moderate orders over the next several years to keep them in business.

That would not be a "gift" by the railroads but a defensive position, for the same reason that most of the larger airlines - not all but most - have both Boeing and Airbus units in their fleet inventories.

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, January 01, 2018 12:40 PM

GE is trying to sell its locomotive division. A end of year fire sale to have some orders on the books would sweeten the deal for a potential buyer.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, January 01, 2018 12:48 PM

If I recall correctly, the 200 unit GE order is going to be spread over three years for the deliveries.

It will be interesting to see if one of CN's "US railroad" legal entities - Grand Trunk Western, Illinois Central, Wisconsin Central - is the one that actually purchases the units so that they can take advantage of the provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that allows for immediate expensing of capital investments for Federal Tax calculations.

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, January 01, 2018 8:35 PM

kgbw49

If I recall correctly, the 200 unit GE order is going to be spread over three years for the deliveries.

That is correct.  The first units are to be delivered in Q3 2018.

kgbw49

It will be interesting to see if one of CN's "US railroad" legal entities - Grand Trunk Western, Illinois Central, Wisconsin Central - is the one that actually purchases the units so that they can take advantage of the provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that allows for immediate expensing of capital investments for Federal Tax calculations.

That has already been happening for over 15 years, the last batch of Dash-9's were delivered in CN paint but with IC numbers (2698 to 2721 if memory serves).  The blue cards of many ES and ET44AC's list the owner as WC, IC or GTW, even though they are all painted and numbered for CN.

No idea what the exact reason for each ownership "change" has been, but it must be something the accountants came up with 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 12:06 AM

Ugh, the presumptive nature of the initial post is kinda surprising. First of all, since when are the SD70 T4s operating out of Powder River? If that is true is would be a MAJOR change in the power assignments. UP has been assigning most Tier 4 units to maintenance out of Hinkle and they operate the I5 Corridor. This is because of the Agreement with CARB. They want their best Emissions units in California.

 

As for that local, It was probably the power on hand. and West Colton didn't need to send it back north yet. Like I said, the GE and EMD Tier 4s tend to dominate between West Colton and Hinkle. Not that they don't go elsewhere, but that's where UP tends to congregate them. 

On the 29th, I saw what was probably the San Jose Turn operating with an SD59MX, an SD70M and a ES45ACCTE. That train NEVER rates GEs. It is held down by 59MX/60M/70M. But one of the pretty Tier 3 GEs was running behind the 2 EMDs. Why? is it an ominous sign for GE? NO, OF COURSE NOT. It was the power the power desk had to give that train.

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Posted by Entropy on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 2:26 PM

ATSFGuy

Well then in regards to the Metrolink F125, CAT better admit the tier 4 diesel engine needs to be redesigned   or they're going to be in a heap of trouble regarding the F125 model.

 

Redesigned because?

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 5:00 PM

YoHo1975 (1-2):

It has been rather general knowledge that the SD70ACe-T4’s are in coal train service, and is supported by photo sites.  Some have been photographed in various other locations, however, including non-UP trackage such as in Florida, New York, etc.

K.P.’s office overlooks from a distance the I-5 Corridor line, specifically, UP’s Mojave Sub in the High Desert of Southern California.  I have yet to see an SD70ACe-T4 from the window.  One was in Cajon Pass, UP 3012.

That UP 3012 floated around out of West Colton Yard in the Colton, CA area for some time, then I saw a photo of it in the Powder River Basin, which is consistent with the general understanding they are in coal service.

K.P.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 5:30 PM
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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 5:48 PM

I live in Roseville, There are fewer SD70ACe-T4s than there are GEVO-T4s and I5 trains don't always stop for service in Roseville, but we do see them regularly coming down from Redding. 

The statement that the bulk of T4s are running out of Hinkle is generally true. That doesn't mean they won't wander the system. Certainly the pictures of them on the Yuma Subdivision implies that West Colton Dispatched them a different direction. I don't know if the T4s are Captive service...or maybe only some of them are. The way some GEVOs are captive service as helpers over "the hill."

 

What does General knowledge mean in this case? I don't recall seeing such news on Loconotes for instance, though I may have missed it.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 7:09 PM

Yoho1975, it does make total sense that the bulk of SD70ACe-T4 units are being used in the I5 corridor. I did not post the picture links to agree or disagree with anyone. With a total of, I believe, 100 on the UP roster right now, it is certainly possible and logical that the lion's share of them operate in and out of CA, for sure, for the reasons you mentioned. And it also makes sense that some of the units are being put through their paces in other service by UP so they can ascertain whether or not those units are as reliable as the original 1,000+ SD70Ms that UP ordered 15-17 odd years ago, and whether or not they are worth another order. I am guessing that both you and K.P. are right to some degree.

It is interesting to see those units being used very often in lead positions, probably to get crew input as to how they like them in the various uses.

All of us are probably keeping our fingers crossed that the SD70ACe-T4 does pass all of its "tests" with flying colors and becomes a viable, effective option for all North American railroads over time. Time will certainly tell!

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 11:16 AM

YoHo1975 (1-2):

The “general knowledge” idea came from the heavy coal train photos that have been at some photo sites.  Perhaps the SD70ACe-T4’s are getting around more now, and that will be reflected at those photo sites soon, if not already.

kgbw49 (1-2):

The website rrpicturearchives.net suggests under 60 have been delivered after all this time, AS IF some bugs have been encountered.

http://rrpicturearchives.net/locoList.aspx?mid=1536

Bugs have plagued the delivery of Metrolink’s F125 deliveries, SCAX Nos. 903-942.

http://rrpicturearchives.net/locoList.aspx?mid=848&Page=2

K.P.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 3:45 PM

UP had stopped delivery and restarted it last spring as has been reported. There is no longer anything delaying delivery that I'm aware of. They are also building T4C units so it's only 100 T4s, but I think an equal number of SD70ACe T3s.

 

Pictures on the internet are not sufficient data, because there isn't an equal number of photographers in each area. 

 

 

Example, 3012 has 20 pictures, but a large portion of those pictures are of it on the Southbound Coast Starlight. So yeah, it was in Coal service later in the year, but It was in Eugene to lead that Coast Starlight, because I5 Corridor. 

 

Going through the pictures it feels a lot more like they're working their way west and it may very well be that UP is going to try them out in a lot of different work, or local power desks bogart them cause NEW. Also a lot of Roster shots in Mx and Muncie and then in Proviso which is the first stop after Muncie. 

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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 5:04 PM

It seems that ALL new locomotive models seem to have various teething problems. They do get fixed as they come up.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Thursday, January 04, 2018 1:44 PM
Yeah, the Roseville Shop has had it's share of issues with the GE's as well.

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