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New NS GP34ECO seen

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New NS GP34ECO seen
Posted by beaulieu on Friday, July 24, 2020 11:51 PM

Norfolk Southern has had one of their GP59s rebuilt to Tier 4 emissions using a 710 series engine and DEF. The locomotive looks sharp like a 4-axle version of a SD70ACe with the dynamic brake moved behind the radiator. The radiator looks like that used on the SD70ACe but shorter and with smaller fans, flush with the roofline. It was rebuilt from GP59 4630 and is painted like the earlier GP33ECO rebuilds with the green flash on the hood. It is now numbered 4800.

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, July 25, 2020 4:34 AM

Nice job ... thanks for sharing

http://www.nsdash9.com/rosters/4800.html

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 25, 2020 4:57 AM

Explicitly designed to mate with the series of 34 RP-M4C cabbed slugs -- at least 2 of which are explicitly LEADER-equipped -- that have been used with the 4700-series GP50 rebuilds, the GP33ECO rebuilds mentioned.  (Two more of the RP-M4Cs  are supposed to be still in process of construction at Juniata). 

Any reports on the projected number of 4800s to be made?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, July 25, 2020 8:44 PM

The unrebuilt GP59's have been sold since this project was initiated and 4 axle rebuilds annulled for 2020 (Besides apparently a few in progress ECO units and matching slugs). 

So even if a big success, there's no guarantee of more. The prime core units have now been sold (The GP34ECO prototype is a GP59 with her original 12-710 rebuilt and upgraded). To rebuild additional units to this standard will require the expense of a brand new engine.

That said, the GP33ECO fleet has received all new engines so there's precedent there for NS making that investment (The GP59 rebuilds were classified as GP59E's and then GP59ECO's; The GP33ECO's have been rebuilt from GP50's and with the latest units, GP38-2's). But I would think if there was any plans to follow up anytime soon with more such units, they'd of hung on to the unrebuilt GP59's.

If I were to bet, the gameplan when work first started was probably envisioning rebuilding the remaining GP59's in this manner if the prototype succeeds. But PSR and the economy combined with a glut of power probably killed off any plans for production versions of the GP34ECO for now.

I suspect she's purely a testbed now and while probably destined to spend most of her time sitting, hopefully she's successful and we eventually start to see Tier 4 ECO rebuilds for NS. 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, July 27, 2020 3:30 AM

I think I asked this somewhere before and don't believe I received an answer, but let's say that something like this experiment ends up not being particularly successful, yet could economically be downgraded to a GP33ECO.

Do EPA rules allow an old locomotive like this GP59 core that has been rebuilt to today's emission standards for new locomotives and certified as Tier 4, to be downgraded back below Tier 4 if the owner ever desires? Or do the regulations now lock this Tier 4 locomotive to this emissions level in order to be legally operated in this country? 

I don't believe NS will ever want to convert it into a GP33ECO, I'm just curious if they could if they wanted to. I imagine if it performs poorly or just ends up being viewed as too much of an oddball by the mechanical department, it will end up auctioned off a few years down the road.

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, July 27, 2020 12:34 PM
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Posted by pennwest on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 8:46 AM

I expect that the conversion to Tier 4 involved use of a catalyst rather than straight exhaust cleanup, and would therefore be a "captive" loco used only on the NS in a yard assignment. EMD was unable to develop a Tier 4 710 engine using non-catalyst exhaust cleansing, and had to move to a new 4-cycle diesel. And to my knowledge, their SD70ACe Tier 4 has been a sales failure.

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Posted by rrlineman on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 9:48 AM
With a number like that, maybe history will help it to succeed.
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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 9:51 AM

PSR and now COVID-19 have impacted new locomotive sales.

EMD has placed some Tier 4 units with UP and CSX. KCS is leasing 50. CN had ordered 20 but cancelled the order due to COVID-19. 

From various pictures I have seen the units are seen leading consists in all types of service on those railroads that have them, with maybe the exception of coal train service.

I don't know if they are working well or not but I am sure time will tell and the ultimate proof will be whether there are repeat orders when the economy eventually improves.

Of course, with PSR enabling the storage of so many units there are literally thousands of locomotives available as "feedstock" for rebuilding, so new locomotive orders are likely to be relatively small for North American railroads for quite some time.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 5:59 PM

I read somewhere that the CSX examples are now free runners, so evidently CSX is pleased with their Tier 4 EMD buy so far.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 6:33 PM

I tend to check in to www.railpictures.net frequently, and there are more and more pictures accumulating of EMD T-4 locomotives leading consists on UP, CSX, and KCS. One would think that could be an encouraging sign. They are also seen on Office Car Specials on UP, and often as solo leaders on various trains.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, August 6, 2020 7:03 AM

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