An idea for "new" Alcos....

Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

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Alcoman
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An idea for "new" Alcos....

Post by Alcoman »

With Railpower, NRE and others building "Gen-sets", I came up with an idea for "new" Alcos.
Why not take a frame from an old EMD, GE or an Alco and rebuild it with a rebuilt Alco diesel(updated from FM/Alco meeting the latest EPA standards, Rebuilt GE or EMD trucks. Turning this into a med horsepower(2000 hp) endcab switcher-New design.
Have Super Steel do the fabracation of carbody parts and assembly.
This might reduce the cost of producing a "new " Alco for railroads that cannot use Gen-sets or need more "common" componets to go with exsisting loco rosters. The biggest hurdle I see is who's electrical gear could you use?
This for open discussion. Any thoughts?

DutchRailnut
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Post by DutchRailnut »

since ALCO used GE electrical gear why not just continue
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

Allen Hazen
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Post by Allen Hazen »

One thing wrong with this idea, I think, is the Alco diesel. It's a big, medium-speed (1100rpm) engine: the sort of thing used on locomotives. My impression is that one of the major selling points of gen-set locomotives is precisely that they get away from this sort of technology: the smaller, higher-speed, automotive-style diesels used are apparently superior for switching service. (Largely, I think, because they can be shut down and restarted more easily: if an engine is going to be used continuously for most hours of the day (as on road locomotives in mainline service), the bigger engine is more efficient, but for the intermittent duty cycle of typical switching locomotives shutting the engine down is more fuel efficient.)

Now, IF you want a diesel engine in the size-range typical of mainline locomotives... The Alco 251 was introduced at a time when EMD was using the 567C and GE was still buying ancestors of the FDL from Cooper-Bessemer. The Alco engine just hasn't had the development investment that the other builders have put into their engines.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

Allen Hazen wrote:One thing wrong with this idea, I think, is the Alco diesel. It's a big, medium-speed (1100rpm) engine: the sort of thing used on locomotives. My impression is that one of the major selling points of gen-set locomotives is precisely that they get away from this sort of technology: the smaller, higher-speed, automotive-style diesels used are apparently superior for switching service. (Largely, I think, because they can be shut down and restarted more easily: if an engine is going to be used continuously for most hours of the day (as on road locomotives in mainline service), the bigger engine is more efficient, but for the intermittent duty cycle of typical switching locomotives shutting the engine down is more fuel efficient.)

Now, IF you want a diesel engine in the size-range typical of mainline locomotives... The Alco 251 was introduced at a time when EMD was using the 567C and GE was still buying ancestors of the FDL from Cooper-Bessemer. The Alco engine just hasn't had the development investment that the other builders have put into their engines.
A number of thoughts came to mind after reading the above:
1) While the Gen-Set has up to 3 small diesels, I suspect that if you need to run all the diesels(3) at full throttle all the time, you would be be using far more fuel than 1 Alco diesel rated at 2,000 horsepower.
2) Shortlines cannot afford huge parts inventories of many different makes of locomotives. Those railroads often standardize on one or two makes. If the railroad already uses Alco products, it would make better sense to have an Alco product that would fit in with the rest of their fleet.
3) While I don't know how long a diesel in a Gen-set will last, I suspect that a Alco diesel could out last it by a large margin. Alco diesels go about 500-800,000 miles between required overhauls. Plus the Alco could be rebuilt many times over giving it a life span of about 60 years. Alco Parts are easy to find and still be made. Can the above be said about Gen-set engines?
4) While development of the Alco diesel has not matched GE or EMD, I believe that FM/Alco is working R&D into this engine.
5) One advantage in using the Alco diesel vs a Gen-set is the weight. Some say that traction control on a Gen-Set may work as well as a heavier diesel. Maybe so, however if you have a Alco locomotive with good traction control, it could out perform the Gen-Set especialy on grades and other difficult situations.
I do think that the Gen-Set has its place-light duty switching work around industrial sites. But I also believe that there still is a need for med-horsepower locomotives switchers such as Alco to replace older diesel locomotives of this type. Let GE and EMD build the high horsepower road units.

2spot

Post by 2spot »

A couple things come to mind with this.
1)This is very hypothetical and stands little chance of going to production, so whether this is a true hybrid or not makes little difference. Theres probably less difference in fuel consumption between a 2000HP Alco at part throttle most of the time and up to 3 C-9 Cat gensets charging mega banks of batteries. The difference would be when the genset locomotive is running on battery power alone.
The actual difference between a concept like this and the so-called "truck engine switcher" is probably emissions alone.
2)There is a market for a modern fuel efficient switching and transfer service locomotive. There are issues with some of the existing designs (I'm trying to be PC here). If someone can come up with a modern low emissions, fuel efficient road and yard switcher - they stand to benefit from that.
3)The real market for this technology has yet to be developed - Road power. The more efficient 6 axle locomotives (like the ES44 GE) sell well. The person who develops a signifiantly more efficient 6 axle locomotive will win big.
I reserve the right to alter my opinion based on your replies. lol.

2spot

Post by 2spot »

For some reason I keep picturing a remanufactured GE B series unit riding on FB-2 or AAR type B trucks (although Blombergs would also do just fine) and powered by a 6-251F rated at 1500HP. The economy and emissions should be fairly good with something like this. It might need ballast though. Something like the GP-15 made for EMD a while back. (Or you could remanufacture a retired 6 axle unit with the 18-251F at 4400HP.) I'm not sure what John had in mind, but this is warm and fuzzy enough for me for now.

Luther Brefo
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Post by Luther Brefo »

There are some documents published by a company in India that has researched the Alco 251 for Tier II and III usage and it was said that even an unmodified 251 put out less harmful emissions than the other engines of the day and to this day, the 251 could be made to be more EPA friendly with some minor changes. I'd have to agree with Alcoman on this one. It would certianly be nice and is not far from feasible FM simply has to drop the fears of the locomotive market from the 50's and 60's when they first got got scared out of the market. The 251 would apparently be easier and less costly to convert to Tier II status and cheaper too than what EMD had to do to the 710.
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steamman5320

Post by steamman5320 »

It would be nice to see more 'modern' locomotives with the 251 in them, I love that sound too. Your right, parts would be interchangable with road engines (if the line is mostly ALCO to begin with) And parts are still available. (The U.S. Navy still installs 16-251C in their ships for emergancy generator use. I know, I watched them install one 3 years ago. The best part? It was a brand new engine, coated in cosmolin, with a Manufatured date of Nov. 1969!!!)

I've worked on 251's in the Navy, I didn't relize they were close to Tier compliances. We always had more trouble with the EMD 567 and 645 than the ALCOs.

On the genset defense, sure, it won't share parts with the rest of your fleet. But could you go to NAPA for ALCO head gaskets?

Luther Brefo
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Post by Luther Brefo »

steamman5320 wrote: On the genset defense, sure, it won't share parts with the rest of your fleet. But could you go to NAPA for ALCO head gaskets?
I don't think so but I bet Fairbanks-Morse would be eager to sell you some. And I imagine there are/is some third party vendor(s).

The one complaint I have heard about the Genset Switchers is the amount of noise they generate. It seems that while they produce less air pollution, they make more than their fair share of noise pollution. One genset switchers is louder than a GP38-2.
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Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

steamman5320 wrote:
On the genset defense, sure, it won't share parts with the rest of your fleet. But could you go to NAPA for ALCO head gaskets?
Maybe not head gaskets, but fuel filters..Yes.

Herr Spreng

Post by Herr Spreng »

pass the pipe this way-I want a taste of what you guys are smoking.

ALCO 251=DEAD ISSUE in North America !!!

GE owns the Alco tradename and IP. Do you really think they are going to foster their own competition ???

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MEC407
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Post by MEC407 »

2spot wrote:(Or you could remanufacture a retired 6 axle unit with the 18-251F at 4400HP.)
How much would it cost to rebuild a loco with a brand new 18-251F, compared to just buying a new SD70M-2 or ES44DC?

The only railroads that are even buying 4000+ HP road units these days are the class 1s and the big regionals -- none of whom have any desire for Alcos, I'm afraid.

I'm still waiting for GE to come out with an "ES30B" or something along those lines -- 8-cyl GEVO engine, 3000 HP, B trucks, etc. Would be a great replacement for all those aging GP40s and GP50s. :-D

Anyway, back to Alcos... :wink:
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Nova55
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Post by Nova55 »

GE owns the Alco name? Though that went to NRE along with the rights to build Alco locomotives..

Alco 251 dead in North America? what are YOU smoking? Might not be for railway use but the 251 is big in ships and oil rigs...Just ask the guys who scrapped the M&E RS11s...

Seems as though people forget the 251 is still made to..
http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/locomotive_engines.php

Not to mention NASA just repowered the Shuttle Transporters with new 251's..

Might not be for locomotives, but the 251 is far from dead.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

Herr Spreng wrote:pass the pipe this way-I want a taste of what you guys are smoking.

ALCO 251=DEAD ISSUE in North America !!!

GE owns the Alco tradename and IP. Do you really think they are going to foster their own competition ???
GE has no part of the Alco diesel anymore.They sold the rights to FM. FM/Alco is the current owner and the engine is very much alive.

2spot

Post by 2spot »

..I did say that this was hypothetical. There is little chance of any of this coming to fruition. You didn't attack my hypothetical 1500HP locomotive, why?
MEC407 wrote:
2spot wrote:(Or you could remanufacture a retired 6 axle unit with the 18-251F at 4400HP.)
How much would it cost to rebuild a loco with a brand new 18-251F, compared to just buying a new SD70M-2 or ES44DC?

The only railroads that are even buying 4000+ HP road units these days are the class 1s and the big regionals -- none of whom have any desire for Alcos, I'm afraid.

Anyway, back to Alcos... :wink:

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