If American Locomotive Company is out of business then where do Alco operators get aftermarket parts?

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If American Locomotive Company is out of business then where do Alco operators get aftermarket parts?
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, July 06, 2018 10:59 AM

Alco is still being used by a dozen or so short line RR. So other then butchering existing locos who makes parts for these beasts?

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, July 08, 2018 8:46 PM

DLW in India still produces new parts (and at least up until a couple of years ago, complete locomotives), and Fairbanks-Morse still makes 251 engines.

New parts are still around.

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Posted by M636C on Monday, July 09, 2018 12:06 AM

NorthWest

DLW in India still produces new parts (and at least up until a couple of years ago, complete locomotives), and Fairbanks-Morse still makes 251 engines.

New parts are still around.

 

 

As of 21 March 2018, DLW are still building Alco locomotives:

https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-supplies-18-make-in-india-locomotives-to-myanmar-locos-made-in-varanasis-dlw/1106049/

This is a DL535, known in India as a YDM4.

It is generally similar to the DL535s supplied by Alco and MLW to the White Pass and Yukon, but has microprocessor control and a new dynamic brake installation in the short hood.

Myanmar is generally better known as Burma...

The DF prefix indicates a six motor locomotive.

Peter

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Posted by NorthWest on Monday, July 09, 2018 12:25 AM

Thanks. The last one I had heard about was the 2016-built Myanmar units.

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Posted by jrbernier on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 8:34 PM

  FM bought the Alco 251 series.  They produce them, and sell parts...

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, July 12, 2018 6:59 AM

FM was smart to acquire the 251 design.  The 251 engine still sees a fair amount of use in stationary and marine applications.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:23 PM

Many parts were bough from suppliers, the electrical gear as the best example.  Just because the erector went out of business didn't mean the supplier did, also.

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:03 PM

Backshop

Many parts were bought from suppliers, the electrical gear as the best example.  Just because the erector went out of business didn't mean the supplier did, also.

 
As a deliberate policy, the Indian government adopted the Alco design because Alco were willing to licence the construction of the whole locomotive including the diesel engine. EMD would not allow licence construction of the engine, and missed out on the long term orders.
 
To be honest, while GT16 was probably at least as good as the DL560, maybe better, the GA12C was a clumsy adaptation of the GA8. It didn't help that the DL535 was one Alco's best products, high power (1200HP) from the 6-251D, assisted by air to air intercooling (as used on recent GE T3 and T4 engines). There is a reason that they are still building DL 535s for sale this year.
 
It seems that India went with the British AEI equipment rather than GE. AEI incorporated GE's British subsidiary British Thomson Houston. It is pbably worth recalling that the "tom" in Alstom, originally Alsthom, came from Thomson Houston too.
 
AEI often adopted new features, better insulation, earlier than GE.
 
Turbochargers from Napier and ABB are used in place of the old Alco designs.
 
These Indian products could keep US Alcos running for many years to come...
 
Peter
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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, July 12, 2018 9:51 PM

M636C

British AEI equipment

I take it that AEI is/was a electrical equipment manufacturer.

To North American railroaders the initials "AEI" stand for Automatic Equipment Identification, that is the RFID tags on rolling stock and trackside scanners.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by M636C on Friday, July 13, 2018 12:07 AM

AEI stood for Associated Electrical Industries

(or just to be confusing, in Australia, for a while, Australian Electrical Industries, using the same brand logo... until the English name was used in Australia)

I think AEI was the result of the merger of British Thomson-Houston (as noted above) and Metropolitan Vickers, another British electrical company with origins in the Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company and Vickers, the shipbuilder and armament manufacturer. M-V were tied up with Beyer Peacock as well...

This merged later with the General Electric Company (no relation at all to the USA GE, that was BT-H, remember) to form GEC-AEI, and later just GEC again. About then English Electric was taken over as well. That GEC merged with Alsthom or Alstom depending on when it happened.

Confusing the letters is the least of your problem.

But as Associated Electrical Industries, it supplied a lot of equipment for Alco powered locomotives designed by both Alco and MLW.

Peter

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 14, 2018 5:42 PM

Look at it this way, if there's a demand for parts, and a need for parts, someone, somewhere is going to fill that need.  That's what capitalism's all about.

Not quite the same thing, but pick up a copy of "Hemmings Motor News" sometime and look at all the ads for new-manufactured aftermarket parts for automobile restorers, all makes and models and time periods.  It'll amaze you.  It amazed me!

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Posted by rrnut282 on Friday, July 27, 2018 3:01 PM

I always heard "someone" bought out Alco's parts department and has a warehouse or two of genuine ALCO parts, if one is inclined to pay for them.  (as an example, I know a guy who has a warehouse full of P51 parts.  He keeps two or three flying as playthings.)

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Posted by Dmacleo on Saturday, August 04, 2018 12:04 PM
didn't also also use lot of gm/emd designs/parts in their electrical systems?
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Posted by mandealco on Saturday, August 04, 2018 3:49 PM

Alco and MLW used GE electrical equipment right till the end, though MLW/BBD tried other suppliers, I think Hitachi was one.

Cheers
Steve
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Posted by mudchicken on Saturday, August 04, 2018 5:35 PM

NRE - Mt. Vernon IL is still a supplier (Take a look at the NRE/PNE/C&EI Shops roof)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Dmacleo on Saturday, August 04, 2018 5:58 PM

mandealco

Alco and MLW used GE electrical equipment right till the end, though MLW/BBD tried other suppliers, I think Hitachi was one.

Cheers
Steve
NZ

 

thanks, remember reading something about the alco doc rebuilding a century series and he mentioned how electrical runs were built. must have mixed up ge and gm in my mind.

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, August 05, 2018 1:01 AM

mandealco

Alco and MLW used GE electrical equipment right till the end, though MLW/BBD tried other suppliers, I think Hitachi was one.

Cheers
Steve
NZ

 

I've never heard of any Alco/MLW/BBD locomotive with Hitachi electrical equipment.

The two locomotives illustrated in my photo in the recent Trackside "Numbers" entry were fitted with Mitsubihi equipment.

The locomotives built in France for North Korea and Iraq had French electrical equipment. At least those built  for Iraq had Alco 16-251 engines. I'm not sure about the North Korean units.

I've mentioned elsewhere about British AEI equipment in Australian and Indian units. But I think all North American units used GE equipment.

Peter

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Posted by mandealco on Sunday, August 05, 2018 3:39 PM

M636C
I've never heard of any Alco/MLW/BBD locomotive with Hitachi electrical equipment.

The Bombardier - Hitachi joint venture produced export only models in the early 1980's, according to the Steinbrenner book.  My assumption that these locomotives used Hitachi electrical equipment may be incorrect.
Cheers
Steve
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Posted by cx500 on Sunday, August 05, 2018 11:50 PM

M636C
I've never heard of any Alco/MLW/BBD locomotive with Hitachi electrical equipment.

I can't recall for certain who supplied the electrical equipment when the lone MLW M640 (CP 4744) was converted in 1984 to A1A trucks with four AC traction motors replacing the original six GE751 DC motors.  Hitachi may have been one of the partners in that experimental precursor to AC traction in North American freight diesels.  The 4744 ran in that condition at least until 1991 so it seems to have been moderately successful, albeit not repeated.

John

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Posted by M636C on Monday, August 06, 2018 7:06 AM

mandealco
 
M636C
I've never heard of any Alco/MLW/BBD locomotive with Hitachi electrical equipment.

 

The Bombardier - Hitachi joint venture produced export only models in the early 1980's, according to the Steinbrenner book.  My assumption that these locomotives used Hitachi electrical equipment may be incorrect.
Cheers
Steve
NZ

 
I checked Steinbrenner's book. Page 462 I think.
 
I don't think any locomotives were built under the joint MLW-Hitachi arrangement.
 
However, a number of Hitachi design locomotives were built with Alco engines for use in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Technically these aren't MLW or Alco locomotives with Hitachi equipment, but in the great scheme of things they should be counted as Alcos even if they don't look as expected.
 
Peter
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Posted by mandealco on Monday, August 06, 2018 10:39 PM

Thanks for the info Peter.  What electrical equipment did Bombardier use in the demo unit # 7000?  I assume it was numbered 7000 in the hope of being demonstrated on CP, as they used the low 7000 numbers for demo units.

Cheers
Steve

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, August 06, 2018 10:51 PM

I don't have much information on the M640's electrical gear, but I do know she was rebuilt with Swiss made Brown Boveri AC traction motors.

Bombardier #7000 was built as a rolling labratory rather than as a demonstrator, with permission from CPR and CNR to operate her whenever Bombardier wanted to leave the confines of static testing on Bombardier property.

#7001-7004 though were numbered that way so as to fall into CPR's numbering series for demonstrators after CPR surprisingly agreed to give them a try (Which Wikipedia contradicts on the HR-616 article, incorrectly stating that the CPR demos were numbered as #7000-7003).

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, August 07, 2018 7:53 PM

Leo_Ames

I don't have much information on the M640's electrical gear, but I do know she was rebuilt with Swiss made Brown Boveri AC traction motors.

Bombardier #7000 was built as a rolling labratory rather than as a demonstrator, with permission from CPR and CNR to operate her whenever Bombardier wanted to leave the confines of static testing on Bombardier property.

#7001-7004 though were numbered that way so as to fall into CPR's numbering series for demonstrators after CPR surprisingly agreed to give them a try (Which Wikipedia contradicts on the HR-616 article, incorrectly stating that the CPR demos were numbered as #7000-7003).

 
In the back of my mind I had the name ABB, a company that resulted from the merger of Brown Boveri (Swiss and German) and ASEA (Swedish - the letters translate as Swedish General Elecctric but there was no connection with GE) as the supplier. It may have been prior to the merger. I know there was a lot of early work in Germany on AC traction and Brown Boveri were involved.
 
To return to MLW and the HR series, the 251 Plus engines proved a disappointment in the hot conditions of the Pilbara in Western Australia. The new head design, supposedly resistant to cracking, suffered from cracks more than the standard F design head. At least two 16 cylinder 251 Plus engines were rebuilt with 251F heads for the last few M636s to run in that area.
 
I was under the impression that 7000 was testing new designs of auxiliary equipment to increase the locomotive availability and reliability, resulting in the HR series, rather than new traction equipment. I'd expect that more modern electronics in the control system were involved. The engine supposedly came from the LRC demonstrator. I don't know if the 251 Plus modifications were made to it, but I would expect so.
 
Peter
 
 
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Posted by tdmidget on Tuesday, August 07, 2018 9:15 PM

"

To return to MLW and the HR series, the 251 Plus engines proved a disappointment in the hot conditions of the Pilbara in Western Australia. The new head design, supposedly resistant to cracking, suffered from cracks more than the standard F design head. At least two 16 cylinder 251 Plus engines were rebuilt with 251F heads for the last few M636s to run in that area."
 
No wonder Alco went under. If the problem is a high ambient temperature then the answer is not a new and unproven head design, it's a bigger cooling system. Or the same head design in a higher temp alloy such as Ni Resist D4. They could likely have cast several sets of heads for the cost of the redisign and certainly quicker.
 

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Posted by mandealco on Wednesday, August 08, 2018 5:31 PM

My memory of the circumstances around the 7000 are a bit faded.  I seem to remember (dangerous I know!) that the 7000 followed regular HR-412 production (a single order) and was intended to be used for road testing a new prime mover that never got off the test bench.  I need to do some research on this, but I thought the new design was called the B2000 or something similar.  I just can't find any info on this.  Might be my vivid imagination!!!!

Cheers
Steve

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, August 08, 2018 11:46 PM

tdmidget

No wonder Alco went under. If the problem is a high ambient temperature then the answer is not a new and unproven head design, it's a bigger cooling system. Or the same head design in a higher temp alloy such as Ni Resist D4. They could likely have cast several sets of heads for the cost of the redisign and certainly quicker. 

I have been a bit unfair to MLW in my comments. The new head was intended to improve fuel economy and increase power. I think the 16-251 Plus engines in Australia were rated at 4000 HP into the alternator. The head design was more complex than the standard 251 head, but in some glossy brochure they promiosed greater resistance to cracking as well, which didn't prove to be the case. These engines had GE logos on the helmet-like covers over the fuel pumps, so you could presumably blame anyone you liked....

Heat wouldn't have been a problem as these units had a four core counterflow cooling system with much greater capacity than the M636 (and two of them had huge vertical radiators at least twice the size of the HR412) and a few of them had air to air intercooling as well as the counterflow system. Boy were those units ugly, with huge external air ducts above the hood.

But the head change wasn't instead of improving the cooling, and the change came so late that you can't blame Alco. Maybe MLW, maybe BBD, maybe GE, but not Alco.

Peter

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