BHP SD70ACes on the Move

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BHP SD70ACes on the Move
Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 10:35 PM

Two of the ex-BHP Bilton SD70ACes have been spotted at Progress Rail Tacoma, WA, for conversion to North American standards. Rumor is they are destined for MRL.

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, February 01, 2018 5:04 PM

NorthWest

Two of the ex-BHP Bilton SD70ACes have been spotted at Progress Rail Tacoma, WA, for conversion to North American standards. Rumor is they are destined for MRL. 

These are the thirteen without isolated cabs. They arrived as standard units, but had a lot of extra equipment added to the cabs, CD players, refrigerators and microwave ovens (they worked in really isolated areas and this was needed - you could be held in a siding with nothing in any direction for 100 miles).

Otherwise they had marker lights. Not much else non-standard.

Peter

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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, February 02, 2018 9:51 AM

Looks like MRL is likely to get four, and they should be in service by summer. It will be interesting to see whether they get new cabs or not. This does seem like a great opportunity for MRL to pick up new power without getting a new model.

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Posted by SooBoy61 on Saturday, February 03, 2018 8:37 PM

Spotted two at the Tacoma BNSF Yard today (EMDX 3006 AND 3009).  Looking at the exhaust fans they seem to have extra equipment probably for added AC, gets kinda warm in Western Australia.

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Posted by Entropy on Sunday, February 04, 2018 11:10 PM
BHP ACe's have dual HVAC units, located in the sub base under the cab. Will also notice dual 5 chime horns, setting for town with only one horn or country with both. No radiator shutters on an Australian ACe either. The mid rail on the handrails another BHP item. Those are most of the visual items you will notice on these units.
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Posted by M636C on Sunday, February 04, 2018 11:36 PM

These units were called SD70ACe-LC, the LC standing for low clearance.

The cab was standard, although the illuminated numbers on the nose reduced the overall height by a couple of inches.

The requirement was caused by the No 1 Car Dumper at Nelson point which was that built for the Oroville Dam back in the 1960s. It was designed for U25Cs and made life difficult.

As a compromise, the SD70ACe radiators were lowered about six inches, just enough that they would fit through the old dumper, but the cab wouldn't. I guess someone decided that a new cab was cheaper than a new radiator.

An ATP (Automatic train Protection, a bit like PTC) device was fitted on the track to the dumper which would automatically shut down any consist with an SD70ACe in it as it approached the dumper.

Of course nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently dedicated fool and a crew driving from a low clearance GE decided that they could go through even though the second unit was an SD70ACe, and cancelled the ATP warning.

It apparently got as far as the inverter cabinet moving very slowly when the handrails above the inverters began to come off rather noisily. They stopped short of the cab, saving a couple of thousand dollars in repair. But the radiators had gone into, and came out of the dumper intact.

Apart from no shutters and slightly more open air intakes the radiators were standard, and the ten ex BNSF units went straight into service as trailing units with no cooling system modifications. The EVOs at Rio Tinto, 200 miles to the west had to have AC 6000 style radiators with two fans in place of one.

The old dumper is long gone and any unit can go through any dumper, but I think all units except the ten ex BNSF have the low radiator mounting.

The BHP units were all fitted with really serious fire extinguishing systems with big tanks mounted under the walkway. These may or may not still be used.

Peter

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, February 05, 2018 12:09 AM

Two more apparently are now on their way west.

It will be interesting to see what happens to these units, and the others that remain stored.

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Posted by M636C on Monday, February 05, 2018 4:51 AM

I'd be interested to know the identities of the locomotives involved in the sale to MRL. The BHP Billiton numbers were 4301 to 4313. I'm hoping that the EMD 30xx numbers were in the same order.

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, February 05, 2018 9:48 AM

It's complicated.

First batch:

4302 as EMDX 1001 (was 3006)

4306 (4308?) as EMDX 1002 (was 3009)

Second batch:

4307 as EMDX 1005

4309 as EMDX 3002

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Posted by M636C on Monday, February 05, 2018 6:16 PM

NorthWest

It's complicated.

First batch:

4302 as EMDX 1001 (was 3006)

4306 (4308?) as EMDX 1002 (was 3009)

Second batch:

4307 as EMDX 1005

4309 as EMDX 3002

 

 

What is the significance of the 10xx numbers compared to the 30xx numbers.

Will the 10xx numbers be used by MRL?

Peter

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, February 05, 2018 9:18 PM

M636C
What is the significance of the 10xx numbers compared to the 30xx numbers. Will the 10xx numbers be used by MRL? Peter

As for the first question, I have no idea. Both these series have been used to move late model domestic and export EMDs, and have been used on several locomotives.

MRL's ACes are in the 4300 and 4400 series, so I expect these will be included there, or perhaps in the 4500 series.

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Posted by Entropy on Monday, February 05, 2018 10:54 PM

Don't get flustered with the road numbers used to move the units. Its basically meaningless.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:40 AM

Without pictures it is all just talk.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:28 PM

OK, I understand that the BHP units have all of that extra equipment on them because of where they worked.  How much will it cost and who will pay to turn them into standard north americna SD70ACe's?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:53 PM

Here is a good photo of 4313 showing the exterior changes mentioned by M636C...

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/freight/single-view/view/bhp-billiton-orders-heavy-haul-locomotives.html

Here is 4310 earning its keep in 2006...

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/156506/

 

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:57 PM

caldreamer

OK, I understand that the BHP units have all of that extra equipment on them because of where they worked.  How much will it cost and who will pay to turn them into standard north american SD70ACe's?

 
You shouldn't need to take anything off unless you want to.
 
They were built in London as standard units with everythng in the usual place (except for the radiators being 6" lower). The actual radiators and fans are the same.
 
You could leave the CD player in place and just tell the crews not to use it if it was important that they not use it.
 
The marker lights can just be left turned off.
 
Shouldn't be a big problem.
 
Peter
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Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:09 PM

I don't have picture but there are several on FB though in closed groups.

As for taking stuff off, anything the FRA doesn't like will be removed (probably the CDs as they are electronic devices) as well as anything uneccesary, as the FRA will require it be maintained in workable condition.

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