- Feb 2, 2014
- Reaction score
When the T was working on the RFPs for the rebuilds of the F40s, I wondered why they didn’t price out replacing the fleet with Chargers.
Remember that the T first RFP'd the F40 rebuilds back in mid-2016. It went through several iterations before the program was finally bid out, but the thrust was set 6-1/2 years ago. 6-1/2 years ago there were no Chargers whatsoever running in revenue service, and only 1 production test unit undergoing shakedown. The Chargers used a prime mover that had never been tried before in a locomotive, while the current -3C designation F40PH modernization spec had a 13-year proven record with multiple agencies. Plus the T was able to score a parts deal that would guarantee a 25-year extended lifespan if components were refreshed, something they wouldn't have been able to count on if the Chargers ended up being a market flop. So given what they knew at the time, rebuilding the F40's was the sanest decision. The Charger ended up taking off and cornering the market for new diesel purchases...but look what's still the #2 incumbent across North America: ye olde indestructable F40 and its 4-1/2 decades of variants and rebuilds.When the T was working on the RFPs for the rebuilds of the F40s, I wondered why they didn’t price out replacing the fleet with Chargers.
The other option is buying Montreal Exo's fleet of 20 ALP-45DP's, which no longer run in electric mode up there with the Mt. Royal Tunnel shut down for LRT conversion. The price would be right, and they're only 10 years old and fairly lightly run. Exo is buying Chargers to replace some of its straight diesels on other lines, and the ALP's are somewhat inefficient in diesel mode (two small and more maintenance-intensive genset diesel engines instead of one large prime mover). They'd be better off picking up some more Chargers to unify their fleet rather than running the ALP unicorns solely in D mode. The units would only have to be fitted with new signaling equipment to move down here. But I suspect NJ Transit would be ahead of us at picking up the Exo fleet, since they have a far larger installed base of ALP-45's and dearly want to get rid of their problematic PL42AC diesel, which are unicorn lineage and fast approaching rebuild age. NJT has the incumbent scale to make that worth their while.There's lots going on at the T, and well... the indecision appears to extend to CR electrification. The newest slides from the fiscal subcommittee have a FY24-28 CIP Preview, which includes $50 Million for multimode locomotives - presumably, the same ones that they sent out an RFI for back in December. Realistically however, $50m isn't actually enough to buy a substantial fleet of anything, or for the T to be dabbling in unicorns. If we assume that the quantity means they're going off the shelf "exists today," NEC, push-pull compatible, and with a reasonable delivery timetable, I'd be willing to bet that this could only be exercising some of NJT's remaining ALP45 options. But say $50M is enough to buy just about 5 of them, realistically 4 with parts and spares. Is that enough to do anything meaningful to Providence Line ops other than a photo-op?
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There's worse possibilities than NJT options, admittedly - Notably, the Chicago Metra battery F40 conversion seems dead in the water as they failed to come to an agreement, and they're going to have to re-bid the thing.
Could battery locomotives ever be a solution in a partially wired-up system? Perhaps a conversion of the more modern locomotives would work? I feel like that could be a solution for outside-128 bound trains with EMU’s working inside. Maybe if freight railroads pour enough resources into battery locos that could be a viable option in the future.F40's are older-style DC-electricity traction, while most new components for locos are AC traction.
Battery locos have all the shortcomings of push-pull--worse performance than multiple unit trains--with added weight and complexity. The T's BEMU dalliance isn't exactly great, but it's better than trying battery push-pull.Could battery locomotives ever be a solution in a partially wired-up system? Perhaps a conversion of the more modern locomotives would work? I feel like that could be a solution for outside-128 bound trains with EMU’s working inside. Maybe if freight railroads pour enough resources into battery locos that could be a viable option in the future.
Plus, they can function as reservoirs for all of the electricity diesels generate during regenerative braking.Battery locos have all the shortcomings of push-pull--worse performance than multiple unit trains--with added weight and complexity. The T's BEMU dalliance isn't exactly great, but it's better than trying battery push-pull.
Battery locos are starting to percolate into the freight space. They do well in a yard switcher role where the unit is traveling short distances, usually in a yard where it can plug-in to recharge when not in use, where the repetitive braking maneuvers of shunting cars helps recharge the batteries in motion. It also does a world of good for air quality in a limited-space yard setting. Those will start seeing widespread adoption. It's not likely to be more than a niche for passenger ops, though (example: batteries for unventilated tunnels like NYC).
So now we take it seriously?Anyone know how serious this idea is from the 'South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan.' This is my first time seeing this cross harbor RR plan - one of the slides cites London Crossrail/Elizebeth Line as a precedent ($$).
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I don't know, but if we are going to do it, having the Needham Line be the train that crosses the harbor works for me personally. Seems like a terrible idea, though, compared to a true NSRL implementation.What problem does this plan even solve?