MARC HHP-8

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STrRedWolf
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by STrRedWolf »

avgeeky wrote:Do you happen to know what its reliability is like post-rebuild? Or does it still need to keep going to Ivy City after the morning run, possibly to come back after a few days?
Not off hand. It's being tracked in the Amtrak forum.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

dt_rt40
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by dt_rt40 »

Well, in my opinion the SC-44s cannot arrive soon enough and these (hopefully successful) HHP-8 rebuilds cannot be completed soon enough.

We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

daybeers
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by daybeers »

dt_rt40 wrote:Well, in my opinion the SC-44s cannot arrive soon enough and these (hopefully successful) HHP-8 rebuilds cannot be completed soon enough.

We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I live in DC, and while I've actually never ridden MARC, I've ridden on the NEC quite a bit. I've also railfanned at New Carrollton before, so I am pretty familiar with MARC's equipment. While I don't think I can answer your question, I am a little confused on which train you were on. It sounds like you were on a MARC train that encountered a disabled northbound Amtrak 148 because it hit a tresspasser, is that correct?

I will agree with you that the SC-44s and rebuilt HHP-8s will be welcome, but I didn't know the MPI diesels were unreliable also. That's interesting that whenever you've ridden MARC, it hasn't been delayed because of one of their electrics, just Amtrak's or one of the MARC diesels.

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STrRedWolf
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by STrRedWolf »

dt_rt40 wrote:We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.

Anyhow now that I'm done griping...perhaps a question which would maybe be better posted to Amtrak...but it's not like they don't have their hands full with topics at the moment LOL. *After* the Amtrak 148 de-energized (HEP off) to connect the bridge to the MARC train, we had to wait almost 5 minutes before the engineer - I guess - said on the radio it was ok to connect the train bodies. I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like 'clear' or 'safe'. Why the wait? Do they literally use a voltmeter somewhere to check for potential differences between the train sets? I have actually been through this procedure before with two regionals, and I know both had to be de-powered because I walked from one to the other. In this case I was on the receiving train. Not sure if that is done by just opening the MCB, or actually lowering the pantograph? I'm sure the legal department insists that the procedure is extensively detailed in some operations manual. They told the people not to touch both cars.

Nevermind the question of whether this was actually the best way to handle the scenario! Delayed us over an hour. (and more importantly, Amtrak customers from NYC who were paying full price) This was right next to the NS yard...they have scads of locomotives seemingly just sitting around on idle. Is it completely out of the question for them to do an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" FAVOR, and just pull the disabled MARC back to Baltimore Penn where the PAX could have transferred to 419 or 421? It can't be against rules to pull a passenger train with a loco that can't supply HEP, right? For a couple miles? Our car got a bit cold due to the almost hour long period w/o HEP. The trip back to Baltimore would have taken 10 minutes at most, and the NS locomotive could have been back to the yard in a half hour or so. The 'transfer the passengers' rodeo seemed a bit ridiculous in this case. I could accept it more if the train got disabled way out in Aberdeen, for example. (which actually did happened to me...I just realized I've actually been through this before, back in 2010 or 2011...the dark days before the ACS-64 LOL. In that case the gangplank was in a different car so I wasn't as aware of the goings-on. FWIW, the prior scenario I recalled in the above paragraph was not a breakdown, but a train-human frontal contact incident.)
cf: https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules/disp ... hbound.xls" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Just to get things clear: You were on Amtrak 148 and it turns out MARC 517 hit a trespasser, right?

Yeah, here's the deal. When a person goes squish by a train, the line in that section shuts down while the police investigate. The police (Amtrak, MTA Maryland, and local county officers) are in control of the line in that section. It doesn't matter if it happened in Bayview and there's NS tracks with trains on one side and CSX on the other. Police have the say in an accident. I know this because I used to work for MTA Maryland and coded bits of MARC's Operations system.

For example: August 7th, 2017, about 7:20am. I was in the coffee shop at the Odenton MARC station at the time. A person waiting on the platform makes a decision, drops his backpack, goes out to the center track and kisses a Regional going 125 MPH northbound... in front of a full load of people waiting for the 7:24am to DC (MARC 415).

Police were already called, but it was too late. There was not much of the guy left.

People at the station were traumatized, and some go home. Others are able to catch MARC 415 as the police wave it through the station... then lock the tracks down. No MARC, no Amtrak, no nothing. The Regional is terminated at BWI, trains are canceled until 11am, when they open up but close the MARC station until 12:30pm. They as in AA County, MTA Maryland, and Amtrak police. Oh, and maybe Homeland Security's TSA. They're known to be around the NEC.

Now, I've gone through the MARC Ops logs back in the day and it's always the same thing, no matter who owns the track: Some person goes squish, the line is shut down for at least four hours, and if something is already on the way up and can't stop, the police do dispatch in the local area.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

D40LF
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by D40LF »

dt_rt40 wrote:Well, in my opinion the SC-44s cannot arrive soon enough and these (hopefully successful) HHP-8 rebuilds cannot be completed soon enough.

We were told of a disabled train on 148 this morning. I say to myself "better not be a sick HHP-8 with a marc train". Turns out it was 517. We pull alongside it, sure enough it was a hideous MP-36...which remember MARC bought less than a decade ago to be 'more reliable' than previous locomotives. In many years of being a MARC rider, my only extreme delayed trains were due to Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8 when riding the cross honored regionals, and a MP-36. Never one of the MARC electrics. Yes I know that statistically, they were an improvement. But they still fail at too high a rate.
Are the MP36s really that bad? I haven't heard of any other MPI operators having major issues. If MARC is having problems, is it because of inadequate maintenance, or perhaps they are using MP36s in ways they weren't designed for (like pulling 8 car trains at 100mph)?

dt_rt40
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by dt_rt40 »

First of all, YIKES! Sorry for typing 148 when I meant 151. I've always confused the numbers of those cross honored regionals, and yes, I was on one.
We were told several times the MARC train was stopped due to being "broken down". The code word for a trespasser tends to be "police activity". I saw no police trackside. Had they hit someone, I would have expected to see that an hour later. Nothing was covering the front of the cab car - l looked - and none of the MARC passengers were agog over such an incident. Are you sure that's what happened?
The Sun article where the MTA touted the sc-44 purchase said the mp-36s had a 85% reliability, whatever that means. The reliability of the electrics was "50 to 60 percent". Neither figure seems like something we'd accept for say, our personal automobile!

dt_rt40
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by dt_rt40 »

Might as well ask now...I feel like this morning, 523 might have been pulled by a Charger. Anybody know if they are testing yet on revenue trains? Yep, I wasn't going to lose my seat near the cab car to walk back and find out!
It finally occurred to me something felt "odd" around odenton. Decided to take a reading. We hit 110 so it was NOT a mp-36 pushing.

avgeeky
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by avgeeky »

523 had a HHP-8 on it yesterday, I was too sleepy to check the number. And out of all the equipment MARC has, the diesels are the most reliable. I'm definitely on record here trashing the MP36s, but they are what's keeping MARC running and are really not as bad as this thread suggests. They're fat, a little ugly, and slow, but they are the backbone of the fleet and doing a decent job of it.
Just a guy who rides the train way too often and is kinda good with numbers.
MARC rider 6 days a week BWI-WAS
Unfortunate rider of the WMATA's "railroad"

dt_rt40
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by dt_rt40 »

Ok. For some reason he or she seemed to driving a little more gingerly than usual. This made me think it was the new locomotive. I hope MARC is going to announce when they are on regular trains.

avgeeky
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by avgeeky »

Depends on the engineer I think, most of them will push it to 125 especially that little stretch between New Carrollton and DC, but I've had that experience before as well where they don't go above 110. This was in winter as well, so heat orders weren't a thing either.
Just a guy who rides the train way too often and is kinda good with numbers.
MARC rider 6 days a week BWI-WAS
Unfortunate rider of the WMATA's "railroad"

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STrRedWolf
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by STrRedWolf »

406’s being pulled by 4913 and the conductor isn’t happy about it. Asked him how it’s working and he said “It’s not.” They’re probably working the hippo with kit gloves until they’re rebuilt.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

Milepost 110
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by Milepost 110 »

Now that at least one of the HHP-8 rebuilds has been in service for several months (or so I hear), how are they doing? Does this rebuild significantly improve their reliability?

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STrRedWolf
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by STrRedWolf »

So far so good. It's been on MARC 404's equipment and I haven't heard any complaints.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

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STrRedWolf
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by STrRedWolf »

Ether 4910 had its first failure or 4912 just got rebuilt. 409 today had 4912 hauling in lead southbound, pano up, while 4910 was on The northbound end pano down.

I’m hoping it’s the latter and not the former.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

TheOneKEA
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Re: MARC HHP-8

Post by TheOneKEA »

Every time I see a weekend Penn Line service with a pair of MP36s on the front, I wonder again if the lack of electrification at Martins Yard is the reason why MARC doesn’t use HHP-8s on the weekends. If their reliability improves sufficiently and the reliability of the MP36s declines, will MARC actually do the sensivle thing and start rostering the HHP-8s for weekend service?

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