How hard would it be to build a locomotive?

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

Moderator: Alcoman

wess

Post by wess »

I remember someone mentioning that BN had test run a C-636 w/ the 251plus package and had liked it. So much so that GE almost had a fight on its hands to get it back. Why cant some big railroad take it on itself to make its own, especially when there is enough raw material available in retired locomotives and aftermarket parts?
wess

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

I had heard at one point that BN wanted GE to build their next order of locomotives using the 251 "plus" engine instead of a GE FDL. Needless to say, GE was not happy and would not do it.

One of the Mexican Railroads reportly removed the FDL from several of the "new" Super 7 locomotives and put 251's in their place. Again GE was not pleased with this.
It was well known at the time that the Mexicans liked the 251 engine better than any other prime mover. :-)

Allen Hazen
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Post by Allen Hazen »

I think GE's attitude toward use of the 251 engine was a bit more nuanced than you seem to be allowing. They did, after all, re-do an M-630 (sx-BCR?) with Super-7 control system etc as a demonstrator: evidently thinking that selling the electronic package would be profitable even if it was going to be mated with Alco engines. And I think I read somewhere that around the beginning of the 1990s (when they were working on the Super-7 program), GE had cleaned an (ex-UP?) U30C down to the frame to use in building a 251-engined version of the Super-7 (but didn't finish the project (perhaps because they got M-630 trade-ins to use instead?)).
End result: no takers, even in Mexico.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

Maybe the reason there were no takers was the cost.
Remember that GE also tried the Super 7 program in Canada with only 1 railroad trying it; The R&S.
I suspect GE price was too high. The R&S ended up with EMD rebuilds instead.

GN_RS-3

Post by GN_RS-3 »

I would pay to see a rs-3 with a sd-70 power pack..... :P
I personally like the idea, not all railroads need a big dash 9. There may verry well be a market for a four axle locomotive. GO FOR IT!

NRECer

Post by NRECer »

Some of this stuff is absolutely hysterical.(':wink:')

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO COMMERCIAL INTEREST IN NEW ALCO-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES IN THE US AND CANADA. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

THERE IS A RUMOR THAT A CERTAIN CHINESE OUTFIT WILL SEND A 6 MOTOR, AC/AC DEMONSTRATOR OF 4000-6000 HP TO OUR SHORES BEFORE THE DECADE ENDS. THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE BUILDING BLOCKS-ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS INTEGRATE THEM INTO A PACKAGE THAT MEETS AAR RP'S, FRA REGS AND APPLICABLE EPA REGS. IT WON'T BE ALCO POWERED AND NO-IT WON'T BE SOLD AT WAL-MART.

For all you purists-it appears that the last Alco bastion-DLW-is slowly starting to falll. Sooner than later-DLW will be producing more GT46MACs than Alco-design units. The indigenousization of EMD material continues. DLW's electrical equipment supplier, along with Siemens and other local suppliers, have constructed the first Indian built alternator, invertors and traction motors for these locomotives.

DLW has yet to get a reliable 4000 hp out of a 16-251 engine, and are only now developing EFI-working with a Indian subsidiary of Bosch. Eventually, a modified version of the EMD 3-motor truck is going to find its way under
DLW 6-motor units.

wess

Post by wess »

NRECer wrote:Some of this stuff is absolutely hysterical.(':wink:')

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO COMMERCIAL INTEREST IN NEW ALCO-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES IN THE US AND CANADA. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

THERE IS A RUMOR THAT A CERTAIN CHINESE OUTFIT WILL SEND A 6 MOTOR, AC/AC DEMONSTRATOR OF 4000-6000 HP TO OUR SHORES BEFORE THE DECADE ENDS. THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE BUILDING BLOCKS-ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS INTEGRATE THEM INTO A PACKAGE THAT MEETS AAR RP'S, FRA REGS AND APPLICABLE EPA REGS. IT WON'T BE ALCO POWERED AND NO-IT WON'T BE SOLD AT WAL-MART.

For all you purists-it appears that the last Alco bastion-DLW-is slowly starting to falll. Sooner than later-DLW will be producing more GT46MACs than Alco-design units. The indigenousization of EMD material continues. DLW's electrical equipment supplier, along with Siemens and other local suppliers, have constructed the first Indian built alternator, invertors and traction motors for these locomotives.

DLW has yet to get a reliable 4000 hp out of a 16-251 engine, and are only now developing EFI-working with a Indian subsidiary of Bosch. Eventually, a modified version of the EMD 3-motor truck is going to find its way under
DLW 6-motor units.
I love it when someone comes in so sure of themselves. I honestly did not know DLW was that far along in transitioning. And FYI---I may love ALCOs, I,m not going to let an obsession ruin my railfanning fun. I honestly hope you wont have to eat your words though. They seem to keep chuggin
wess

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

"For all you purists-it appears that the last Alco bastion-DLW-is slowly starting to falll. Sooner than later-DLW will be producing more GT46MACs than Alco-design units. The indigenousization of EMD material continues. DLW's electrical equipment supplier, along with Siemens and other local suppliers, have constructed the first Indian built alternator, invertors and traction motors for these locomotives.

DLW has yet to get a reliable 4000 hp out of a 16-251 engine, and are only now developing EFI-working with a Indian subsidiary of Bosch. Eventually, a modified version of the EMD 3-motor truck is going to find its way under
DLW 6-motor units.[/quote]"


Funny...the last few times I check their website, there was no mention of EMD anyplace...Just ALCO.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

"THERE IS A RUMOR THAT A CERTAIN CHINESE OUTFIT WILL SEND A 6 MOTOR, AC/AC DEMONSTRATOR OF 4000-6000 HP TO OUR SHORES BEFORE THE DECADE ENDS. THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE BUILDING BLOCKS-ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS INTEGRATE THEM INTO A PACKAGE THAT MEETS AAR RP'S, FRA REGS AND APPLICABLE EPA REGS. IT WON'T BE ALCO POWERED AND NO-IT WON'T BE SOLD AT WAL-MART. "


Yea right! Heres a country that was still building Steam engines until recently coming out with a 4-6000 hp diesel loco?
Sure they are... What are they using for a diesel engine? a Honda modified gasoline 4 cylinder engine?

Komachi
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Geo-centrism BAD!!!!!!!

Post by Komachi »

John,

Don't dismiss India so quickly. They're now one of the leading countries in the Technical and Engineering fields, as are the Chineese. Why are many "white collar" jobs being exported to China and India? Not just because of cheap labor, they have the technical know-how as well.

Also, with the technical backing of Siemens, Bosch and other heavy-industry giants from Europe, particularly Germany, then these guys are going to have a decent product out there. I wouldn't be too geo-centric in my observations on other nations' technical skills. Remember, back in the 50s and 60s, Japan was synonymous with cheap junk, but as they refined their technical processes, and gained capital backing to invest in various endeavors, they became an industrial dynamo to contend with. Give India and China another 10-20 years (if not sooner) and you'll see the same story.

(BTW, Japan was running steam locomotives in mainline service up until 1973 (not sure when they stopped building them), so don't use that as a meterstick to measure technical ability by!)

I'm not a technical expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I can't argue with whose platform is the best. ALCo.'s seems to be the most rugged, EMD... well, as any "car guy" will tell you, GM-motorparts are cheap and easy to come by and many have commented on the disposibility of GE products. Best combo. seems to be the ALCo. prime mover with GE electricals, from what I've read elsewhere here on the boards.

So, DLW moving to EMD designs? Why not experiment? Even Mexico, the miracle workers for ALCo. locomotives, tinkered with GE platforms for their locomotives. If the EMD platform falls through (Metra MP36s anyone?), then you still have the 251 to fall back on.

Anyway, my thoughts thus far.

N. Todd
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Post by N. Todd »

"THERE IS A RUMOR THAT A CERTAIN CHINESE OUTFIT WILL SEND A 6 MOTOR, AC/AC DEMONSTRATOR OF 4000-6000 HP TO OUR SHORES BEFORE THE DECADE ENDS. THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE BUILDING BLOCKS-ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS INTEGRATE THEM INTO A PACKAGE THAT MEETS AAR RP'S, FRA REGS AND APPLICABLE EPA REGS. IT WON'T BE ALCO POWERED AND NO-IT WON'T BE SOLD AT WAL-MART. "
Enough with the caps- we don't like shouting!

By the way, when was the last time an imported diesel or one with 'exotic' componets moderatly successful? (exclude AC technology and traction motors)

Alcoman- what makes you think that the prime mover would be full sized? Why not put a bunch of lawnmower engines with two turbos each? That would really cut down costs. Or they could make a copy of one of those small domestic industrial diesels that sounds like a vacuum cleaner?

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

N. Todd wrote:
"THERE IS A RUMOR THAT A CERTAIN CHINESE OUTFIT WILL SEND A 6 MOTOR, AC/AC DEMONSTRATOR OF 4000-6000 HP TO OUR SHORES BEFORE THE DECADE ENDS. THEY ALREADY HAVE ALL THE BUILDING BLOCKS-ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS INTEGRATE THEM INTO A PACKAGE THAT MEETS AAR RP'S, FRA REGS AND APPLICABLE EPA REGS. IT WON'T BE ALCO POWERED AND NO-IT WON'T BE SOLD AT WAL-MART. "
Enough with the caps- we don't like shouting!

By the way, when was the last time an imported diesel or one with 'exotic' componets moderatly successful? (exclude AC technology and traction motors)

Alcoman- what makes you think that the prime mover would be full sized? Why not put a bunch of lawnmower engines with two turbos each? That would really cut down costs. Or they could make a copy of one of those small domestic industrial diesels that sounds like a vacuum cleaner?
Ha Ha! You are so right. Just remember if sounds like a vacuum cleaner.....maybe its a Hoover. Hoover is expanding their product line.
Now you will be able to buy Hoover locomotives in K-Mart or Sears!
One thing is for sure; if it is a Hoover on wheels, don't get in its way.
One catch might be is that you have to change the filter bag every so often.
All right, I am gettin a little silly here......

Seriously, there is no room for another locomotive builder in this Country (except Alco) Most railroads don't want to stock yet another bulders line of renewal parts let alone getting service on these locomotives when they break down.
It just is not going to happen....period.

Ol' Loco Guy

Chinese Locomotive Diesel Engine

Post by Ol' Loco Guy »

NRECer is correct !!! SWRI, who does contract R&D, among other things-designed a locomotive engine for Dalian Locomotive Works-IN CHINA.
Here is the link for SWRI:

http://www.swri.org/4org/d03/engdes/brf-8702.htm

To my trained eye, there is something a bit familiar...

Note the following statement from their page:
Engine to meet anticipated international emissions standards
This the link that describes the locomotive with the SWRI engine:

http://techfair.china-dalian.com/jiche13e.htm

And finally, here is a link to another Chinese locomotive:

http://techfair.china-dalian.com/jiche8e.htm

Note the following sentence:

The electric transmission gear is improved by the cooperation of GE Company, USA and our Works. Micro-processor control and diagnostic display are applied. The locomotive is also equipped with anti-wheel slip system by micro-processor control

And, by the way-Hoover and the parent company, MAYTAG-are being bought by Haier-A CHINESE outfit. Next year, the Chinese are going to be sending AUTOMOBILES here-the Chery brand, to be exact. To put all of this in perspective...the average Chinese worker is paid 100 bucks a month.

Anyone want to bet which of the big 4 railroads is going to host the first field test of a Chinese diesel locomotive ?

These exchanges are like shooting fish in a barrel':wink:'

Allen Hazen
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On building new locomotives...

Post by Allen Hazen »

Didn't this string start out with the question what it would cost to build a new locomotive?
One answer is --PROVIDED you are willing to put it together from standard parts and not do the development to get your own engine and transmission designs -- apparently not all that much.
News in recent Australian rail-interests magazines is that someone (I think NREC may have a hand in it) is building ten (10: so not a very long construction run, and they seem to think they'll turn a profit anyway) new (as in NEW: they apparently are not rebuilds of old stuff, nor on the frames of older locomotives) diesel locomotives for CFCLA ("Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia" -- currently owners of a several dozen unit lease fleet in Australia, including some ex-NSWGR former Alcos rebuilt with FDL-12 engines from Conrail C30-7A).
Based on an early-1980s Clyde-EMD design, with 16-645 engines but GE 752 traction motors.
So: the barriers to entry to the locomotive-building business aren't all that high. (At least in Australia.) ... So, since no one seems to be building new locomotives with Alco engines here, apparently the demand for Alco's from railway operators just isn't there.

wess

Re: On building new locomotives...

Post by wess »

Allen Hazen wrote:Didn't this string start out with the question what it would cost to build a new locomotive?
One answer is --PROVIDED you are willing to put it together from standard parts and not do the development to get your own engine and transmission designs -- apparently not all that much.
News in recent Australian rail-interests magazines is that someone (I think NREC may have a hand in it) is building ten (10: so not a very long construction run, and they seem to think they'll turn a profit anyway) new (as in NEW: they apparently are not rebuilds of old stuff, nor on the frames of older locomotives) diesel locomotives for CFCLA ("Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia" -- currently owners of a several dozen unit lease fleet in Australia, including some ex-NSWGR former Alcos rebuilt with FDL-12 engines from Conrail C30-7A).
Based on an early-1980s Clyde-EMD design, with 16-645 engines but GE 752 traction motors.
So: the barriers to entry to the locomotive-building business aren't all that high. (At least in Australia.) ... So, since no one seems to be building new locomotives with Alco engines here, apparently the demand for Alco's from railway operators just isn't there.
The question I had presented was simply what the header says. What I had in mind was if a company got pissed off enough with the offerings of GE and EMD, how hard would it be to build a locomotive, with available equipment on the market today, and would it be possible to circumvent the builders in their monopoly of the market. The ALCO prime mover would only be icing on the cake, if wishful thinking. I felt it would be appropriate in this forum because there are folks who would like to see this engine make a come back. Me included. So go ahead and flame all you want. All I know is there is no argument against a "might" or maybe
wess

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