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More DC-to-AC for NS.

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More DC-to-AC for NS.
Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 1:19 AM

Word is two SD70M-2s are heading to Progress Rail for an AC traction install.

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Posted by rrnut282 on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 12:04 PM

Curious.  Altoona too busy?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 12:41 PM

What persons were responsible for NS delaying buying AC traction locos when othe RRs started many years earlier.  Are any of those persons still around?  There is one advantage for NS doing these conversions.  They can reuse the DC coponents in any loco that has a DC component failure.  Or is that not a PSR procedure?

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Posted by JayBee on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 1:55 PM

rrnut282

Curious.  Altoona too busy?

 
I think EMD is doing the conversion on speculation. If NS isn't happy with the upgraded locomotives, they will be sent back to EMD. If on the other hand NS is satisfied then EMD and NS will work out a deal to reman the remaining SD70M-2s that NS has in storage. Bottom line, EMD is pay for the conversions so EMD is doing the two conversions using two SD70M-2s that NS sold to them.
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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, July 7, 2022 2:21 AM

So for those keeping score, Progress Rail has come up with a DC-to-AC package for the SD90MAC to SD70ACU, the SD70 to SD70ACC and now the SD70M-2 to TBD. The hardware is certainly the same but packaging it so as to fit on the preexisting model should be interesting.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, July 8, 2022 4:00 AM

Employment is way down at Altoona. So even if it was NS doing it, the people left have their hands full just doing routine work. No excess capacity to handle a new project unless they bring people back, which goes against PSR.

Being newish locomotives with a lot of the former NS fleet under Progress ownership and with Canadian National as a potential customer for SD70M-2 to SD70ACe rebuilds, I could see this experiment slowly paying off for Progress Rail even if NS doesn't decide to buy.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Friday, July 8, 2022 12:56 PM

Leo_Ames
Being newish locomotives with a lot of the former NS fleet under Progress ownership and with Canadian National as a potential customer for SD70M-2 to SD70ACe rebuilds, I could see this experiment slowly paying off for Progress Rail even if NS doesn't decide to buy.

That is a very good point. The SD70M-2s are between 11 and 17 years old. They should be looking at mid-life overhauls in five years or so. By then Progress should have something that is tested and marketable.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, July 8, 2022 2:41 PM

CN's SD70M-2 fleet has gradually been going through contract shops for a bunch of upgrades for several years now (some have even been repainted), though I think this work falls short of a full overhaul.  

Currently there are several of our Dash-9s at the GE/Wabtec Texas plant, supposedly they are going to get rebuilt into AC44's but I haven't seen anything official yet.  A couple shop guys have also mentioned plans to send some SD75's out for a similar DC-to-AC rebuild, rumours about that have been floating around for even longer but once again I've yet to see anything official in writing.  

I could definitely see our SD70M-2s being rebuild fodder in the future, they still aren't the most reliable and if these other rebuild programs actually come to fruition they could end up being the last DC traction units in our high horsepower fleet (the Dash-8s should all be gone by this point).  

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 5:32 PM

Question: If CP ends up satisfied with their SD70ACU rebuilds might they also be a potential customer for SD70M-2 rebuilds to AC? Or will they have enough AC units if the merger is approved and/or enough Dash-9 to ACM feedstock?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 9:34 PM

CPR would seem to already be reasonably satisfied with their SD70ACU's. They went shopping and bought 40 ex-UP SD9043MAC's early last year for future ACU cores, after 18 or so months of experience operating their own SD70ACU's. Only the KCS acquisition has put a temporary halt to the program. 

While neither CPR or KCS bought Dash 9's new, I've seen it said on Loconotes that those KCS Dash 9's that they bought used a year or two ago (100 of them iirc, BNSF lease returns) are primarily for paying back horsepower hours owed to other roads. They're being portrayed as a shorter-term addition to their fleet.

Instead of being throwaway power like they were viewed at KCS, maybe the merged CPR system will have them rebuilt as AC44C6M's. But whatever that impact might have on further EMD rebuilds (such as buying more used Dash 9's for rebuild in lieu of their own EMD's) is impossible to say.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, August 13, 2022 8:19 AM

kgbw49
Question: If CP ends up satisfied with their SD70ACU rebuilds might they also be a potential customer for SD70M-2 rebuilds to AC? Or will they have enough AC units if the merger is approved and/or enough Dash-9 to ACM feedstock?

Neither CP nor KCS have SD70M-2s in their respective stables.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, August 13, 2022 11:17 AM

Good catch.

Given Canadian Pacific's 60 ACU's that Progress Rail handled the job on, perhaps kgbw49 was thinking that CPR might be in the market for the several dozen M-2's that Progress acquired from Norfolk Southern?

Progress would surely rather recondition and resell these than part out such modern power. And getting the contract to upgrade them to AC traction would be icing on the cake in this era of little new locomotive construction.

I suspect on the off chance that Canadian Pacific does end up buying used power from Progress in the next few years for another rebuilding program, it might be some or all of the reconditioned SD70ACU's that Progess similarly acquired from NS.

They're halfway there to being fully rebuilt thanks to their ACU upgrade, just in need of heavy mechanical overhauls that NS deferred to get them online as quickly as possible. And CPR obviously already is operating 60 of their own ACU's.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Sunday, August 14, 2022 12:51 AM

I am curious as to why CP acquired more former UP 90MACs instead of the already rebuilt 70ACUs. Then again, they were the first Siemens-to-MELCO rewire and lessons are always learned as you go along.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, August 14, 2022 5:55 AM

I believe CPR bought those 40 examples from Union Pacific in January 2001. That's the same month Progress Rail started acquiring SD70ACU's from Norfolk Southern (Going by the sale dates on the AltoonaWorks site).

Perhaps they just didn't know this step was about to be taken and it actually would've influenced Canadian Pacific's planning had they known these were going to become available on the market.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 4:41 PM

Any one know if NS keeps all the removed DC equipment for spares?  Or do they have too many parts and sell them to other RRs especially short lines ?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 7:42 PM

I've seen it said that a lot of the Dash 9 trucks frames at Altoona have been sold to Canadian Pacific.

If true, they presumbly are then modified to accomodate AC propulsion and go under their AC4400CW rebuilds to replace radial trucks. Not sure why Norfolk Southern themselves don't just do it to save money, given that and their own successful test of converted Dash 9 trucks under a AC44C6M.

I bet traction motors with a lot of life left in them are also saved, given that they're still running 400 or so Dash 9's on a daily basis. Probably those that are still operative but have a lot of miles under their belt since rebuilding aren't retained by NS for reuse.

I imagine operable computer modules are also pulled and retained for reuse, given their lack of availability. Any exceptions would probably be one that has proven to be long lived that NS has rarely had to replace, with consequently little demand to stockpile replacements for. 

If you're on Facebook, I bet someone at the AltoonaWorks or NSDash9 pages could elaborate on what NS is retaining for use at Altoona from their own AC44C6M rebuilds (And what they're getting back from Ft. Worth), and what they're perhaps selling to others for repurposing besides the truck frames.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 6:32 PM

And now it reported by NSDash9 that NS has acquired 44 KCS (nee-BNSF) Dash9s as cores for DC-to-AC rebuilds.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, December 23, 2023 1:41 AM

Looks like many of the remainder are also up for sale. I wonder where these were stored to so quickly be vandalized?

https://www8.cpr.ca/snpevweb/snp/Pages/ViewTender.aspx?Tender=6851

While still a possibility down the road as BNSF does more lease returns, I'm surprised to not see CPR having some of these rebuilt for their own roster. Given their preference for GE power and satisfaction with their AC4400CW rebuilds, I'd of lost a bet with these departing so soon after the KCS acquisition.

I wonder if the SD9043MAC's will be departing soon, too. Been some rumors there and I believe that I saw on Loconotes a while back that several have already been cut up (harvested for parts to support the SD70ACU's, I suppose?).

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, December 23, 2023 2:52 AM

KCS ostensibly acquired the Dash-9s to pay back HP hours. That they are ridding themselves of them now makes me wonder what CPKC thinks of their own business forecasts.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, December 24, 2023 4:54 PM

They did anticipate merger efficiencies and reactivating stored power pushing out the need for new acquisitions for several years (along with presumably the need for putting the ex UP SD90's through the ACU program anytime soon).

But to quickly cut dozens of running Dash 9's, even if they were bought primarily to pay back horsepower hours owed to other roads, surprises me a tad.

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Posted by rdamon on Sunday, December 24, 2023 7:56 PM

The latest grab bag on the VRF channel shows 23 former BNSF C44-9Ws with KCS patches on the move in Elkhart IN.

 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 9:00 AM

rdamon

The latest grab bag on the VRF channel shows 23 former BNSF C44-9Ws with KCS patches on the move in Elkhart IN.

Saw that. We know that ultimately they become rebuild fodder. Will any see service before rebuilding?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 9:04 AM

Leo_Ames
They did anticipate merger efficiencies and reactivating stored power pushing out the need for new acquisitions for several years (along with presumably the need for putting the ex UP SD90's through the ACU program anytime soon).

Supposedly CP had picked up maybe 40 SD9043s from UP a couple of years ago. Outside of one report the story goes cold. Do you have any more intel?

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 3:03 PM

Outside of what's already known about acquiring 40 ex UP SD9043MAC's from Progress Rail in 2021 (some say from Union Pacific, but most reports state Progress Rail), the only concrete thing that I can add is that a handful were reactivated and have seen service for CPR (Mostly it seems on work trains). Linked below is someone's picture showing one of these at work.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/821722/

For non-concrete information that I've seen, there's been some debate at various places that I've seen on whether or not these were even intended as SD70ACU rebuild fodder. While I think most believe that CPR was eyeing expanding the roster, some say that CPR got a great deal on these and picked them up primarily to cannibalize with no serious intentions of rebuilding them to ACU standards.

Lastly, like I said I swear I saw on Loconotes that two or three of these have been cut up (presumably stripped clean of useful parts for the SD70ACU's if accurate). But without digging into the archive, don't take my word on this since I could be misremembering.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Thursday, December 28, 2023 12:16 PM

Leo_Ames
Outside of what's already known about acquiring 40 ex UP SD9043MAC's from Progress Rail in 2021 (some say from Union Pacific, but most reports state Progress Rail), the only concrete thing that I can add is that a handful were reactivated and have seen service for CPR (Mostly it seems on work trains).

That's about all I've heard, too. So the new CPKC has parted with 44 Dash-9s and may be sitting on a few dozen SD90/43s for a potential rebuild. Oddly, NS gave up 66 SD70ACUs that no one seems interested in.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, December 28, 2023 10:08 PM

Speaking of those ex NS SD70ACU's, I've inquired on Loconotes a couple of times if those are still intact but never got an answer. Progress has been scrapping large numbers of power (including many UP SD9043MAC's), but the fate of these has me curious given their ACU rebuilding.

While still in need of a heavy overhaul on the engine and such (which originally was deferred by NS to get them online as quickly as possible), they strike me as well positioned for having a future given the ACU rebuild compared to the scores of well worn SD70MAC's, SD60's, and such that Progress is cutting up.

I'd be interested to know if Progress Rail thinks similarly and has held on to these in the hope of marketing them to a customer like Canadian Pacific that wants to finish the job that NS started (which makes perfect sense to me, but I still wouldn't be surprised to hear that they've all but parted out and scrapped).

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, January 6, 2024 10:43 AM

And now it appears CN has picked up 60 ex-BNSF Dash-9s for AC rebuild.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, January 6, 2024 12:56 PM

Can we suspect that with all the DC to AC traction work that rebuilding parts unique to DC traction has completely tanked?

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, January 6, 2024 1:21 PM

blue streak 1
Can we suspect that with all the DC to AC traction work that rebuilding parts unique to DC traction has completely tanked?

There were over 1300 ES40/44DC variants built. There are also hundreds of Dash-9s still running around so the DC traction spares business should be healthy for at least another decade. When the ES44DCs start coming in for their AC rebuild then the clock will be ticking for the GE DC traction parts' market.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, January 6, 2024 3:19 PM

D.Carleton
 
blue streak 1
Can we suspect that with all the DC to AC traction work that rebuilding parts unique to DC traction has completely tanked? 

There were over 1300 ES40/44DC variants built. There are also hundreds of Dash-9s still running around so the DC traction spares business should be healthy for at least another decade. When the ES44DCs start coming in for their AC rebuild then the clock will be ticking for the GE DC traction parts' market.

GE ES DC engines are approaching or have already past the 10 year mark so rebuilding is not that far into the future.

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