Bad news for Cat/Progress

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Bad news for Cat/Progress
Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 20, 2017 4:56 PM

Surprised no one else saw this over the weekend

https://signalscv.com/2017/11/metrolinks-tier-4-locomotive-unveiling-stopped-in-its-tracks/

Does anyone know the actual cause of the repeated road failure?

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, November 20, 2017 5:10 PM

I like where Leahy says "Don't talk to me, just get it done." Like the cable guy's GET HER DONE!" Engineer can't start a prime mover that doesn't want to run.

What if the prime mover shuts down, whats a poor engineer to do? He hasn't been trained on a very complicated computer managed locomotive. Do the Chargers have a limp home feature like my car has?

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, November 20, 2017 5:47 PM

Somewhat reminicent of the inaugural runs of Canadian National Turbo Train. Out of 4 sets, 2 Leaving Toronto to Montreal and 2 leaving Montreal to Toronto, none of them made it. 3 broke down and 1 hit a truck. It kind of went downhill from there. 

Eventually they got them running somewhat ok. 

... but yeah, this is a big deal big story! 

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 11:11 PM

As I asked in the Locomotive forum (where this topic also exists) do we know it was an engine failure? Electrical? PTC kicking in and stopping the movement? There are many possibilities. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 23, 2017 4:17 AM

I hope we get some answers and also hope there is a good solid fix.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:27 AM

What kind of PTC failure would allow other trains to run happily around the stalled train?  Hard to believe that a handpicked unit would develop crippling train-control issues incapable of being cut out.  I notice the story is unclear about whether the train was separated (to clear the crossing) by the F125's own power or by having another locomotive pull the blocking part clear.

It will be interesting to see what is released about this (vs. what the grapevine discloses for both truth and rumor).  I am still waiting for fuller discussion of the details of why it took so long for the F125s to enter service (even for California, that was a long time for expensive new assets to sit and older locomotives to go on polluting...)

I would like to propose that we fork the responses to this depending on what it turns out to be.  If it is primarily locomotive-related it should go in a NEW thread in the Locomotives forum (not shoehorned into that thread about the fluorescent light shining out); if it is PTC or operationally related it should continue here (and if necessary I will edit the thread title away from any implication it is Cat's or EMD's problem).

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:48 AM

Thanks.   Over another's objections, I did start a new thread on the Locomotive Forum.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, November 23, 2017 1:53 PM

Overmod
I am still waiting for fuller discussion of the details of why it took so long for the F125s to enter service (even for California, that was a long time for expensive new assets to sit and older locomotives to go on polluting...)

We started to discuss the matter here: http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/741/t/263485.aspx

The pictures I linked in that thread showed the changes made to handrails and grab irons.Here are the links and my text from the other thread:

 

To understand the handrail issues I compared photos on rrpicturearchives.net.

 

Here are four of them:
Rear end #905: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4603279
Rear end #913: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4700525

 

Front end #905: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4479889
Front end #908: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4687860

The changes are more than just the handrails.

The PRIIA §05-005 specification asked for the handrail to be in recesses which is not possible after the change. That might be one reason.

On the other hand Metroling and Progress Rail had difficulties complying with
49 CFR 231.17.e, "(e) Handrails and steps for headlights caused by the Crash Energy Management (CEM) elements in that area.

That led to a request for a waiver of this paragraph from FRA in May 2017:
https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=FRA-2017-0041-0001&attachmentNumber=1&contentType=pdf

The waiver was finally granted. The papers are here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FRA-2017-0041

The waiver request letter describes the dilemma. As attachment it contains 40 pages of information about the CEM system by Vossloh.

I'm not sure how much of delay this explains and if there were other issues.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:20 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I'm not sure how much of delay this explains and if there were other issues.

That's basically why I brought the issue up again after the handrail issues were covered in that previous thread.   Thanks for reposting the detail now as a reminder.

"Headlight bulbs" being changed?  Don't those engines have long-life LED arrays?

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, November 24, 2017 4:12 AM

The 49 CFR 231.17.e, (e) doesn't differentiate between LED and bulbs:

49 CFR 231.17.e, "(e) Handrails and steps for headlights.
(1) Locomotives having headlights which cannot be safely and conveniently reached from pilot-beam or steam chests shall be equipped with secure handrails and steps suitable for the use of men in getting to and from such headlights.

This problem was solved very late, waiver request of mid May 2017, so it may be the reason for the late test clearance by FRA. The changed handrails next to the steps to the access doors led to a non-compliance with the specification.

At least there was a delay because of non-compliance with 49 CFR 231.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 24, 2017 4:41 AM

It was the language they used, as if ignorant there was a technical difference.  The effect, which is that headlights can be changed only in a shop with adequate fall protection, etc. is of course as you note, and it is certainly a reasonable requirement with the extended life and reliability of the LED array -- but it's awful if this was the sole reason the F125s were kept out of service so long!

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, November 24, 2017 11:05 AM

I think it was the last non-compliance. I remember a post on another forum where they discussed the handrail problems. A poster wrote (analogous quote): we visited EMD during the assembly of the first two F125 and found so many non-complying points that we bad ordered them. But EMD shrugged and continued building.

It sounded as if this guy was with Metrolink. He didn't elaborate the problems.

In a different post someone related street talk that Metrolink and EMD tried to pass the buck who was wrong and lawyers had to solve the situation.

But it is just hearsay and must not be true.

I think we will not find out what really caused the delay but I'm quite sure there must be a number of them.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Saturday, November 25, 2017 10:56 PM
Wasn't part of the issue with the handrails related to what Vossloh provided to EMD. When dealing with 2 international companies and a huge government agency. I'd say a year delay is pretty good. :)
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Posted by YoHo1975 on Saturday, November 25, 2017 11:16 PM
Also, to be clear, I didn't object to a new thread per se'. The thread originally didn't explain it's purpose well.
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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, November 26, 2017 11:22 AM

I had a bit of time and tried to track the F125 problems through the minutes of the SCRRA Board of Directors meetings: https://www.metrolinktrains.com/about/board-meetings/agendas--documents/
Here is what I found:

-       December 14th 2012: order for 17 Tier 4 locomotives to be placed with EMD. The following link contains the evaluation: http://metrolink.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=211
Starts on page 28

-       May 10th  2013: Financial questions

-       February 14th 2014: EMD delivers Intermediate Design Review (IDR) drawings too late, no effect on locomotive delivery expected. FRA approval will be delayed as EMD has to solve a frame imbalance before further CEM certifications.

-       May 9th 2014: Imbalance solved. FRA hasn’t taken exception to the F125 structure. Delayed IDR postponed Final Design Review by three month. US Steel to cut and form first steel for frame and trucks to be shipped by air to Vossloh Valencia.

-       September 14th 2014: EMD needs paint scheme decision

-       April 24th 2015: F125 project is progressing on schedule and budget.

-       February 12th 2016: Board was notified of delay of delivery for first locomotive in November 2015. It will bedelivered two month later in February 2016. Since then changes to schedule, design and manufacturing process have further delayed the delivery date. The first three locomotives were given prototype status. Until final design is agreed upon, a considerable amount of testing is required to identify and correct any deficiencies identified before production of units can begin.

-       September 23rd 2016: Changes to schedules last presented to the Board in July 2016. Number of locomotives to be delivered to the end of 2016 reduced from 9 to 4 units. EMD is working through some difficulties as the manufacturing process has encountered quality issues stemming from vendors who supply materials and components. Correcting these problems has significantly delayed project delivery.

-       November 18th 2016: Delivery schedule reduced to three units to the end of 2016. During the final review process some concerns were noted by staff about the compliance of cab access step configuration with federal regulations. EMD and staff have agreed in principle on a solution to be finally designed by EMD.

-       January 27th 2017: EMD delivered on locomotive #905 to the end of 2016. In January 2016 three more were delivered. The cab access ladder problem is resolved. Replacement ladders are produced.

-       March 24th 2017: Description of necessary tests.

-       June 9th 2017: FRA has brought up additional safety items to be addressed by Metrolink late in 2016. These included end of car hand holds, cab ladder pocket and headlight accessibility requirements. The redesign was accepted by FRA and test permit granted. Excessive cooling blower noise level has been reduced.

-       July 14th 2017: Primarily test procedures.

-       September 8th and October 13th 2017: No new reasons for delays

That is what I found. I don't guarantee for completeness. Minutes of staff meetings are not accessible. Some minutes contain information that updates were presented to the Board at an earlier date but the regarding minutes don’t show these updates.
I don’t know Metrolink’s corporate structure but I have the impression the Tier 4 locomotive procurement was not very high on the Board’s priority list.
Regards, Volker

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