While lots of other railroads have rebuilt their second generation units, I can't think of any project that has been undertaken recently that is this massive. Of course, its supposedly over 10 years, so lots of things could change inbetween now and then.
But I find it remarkable that a 40 year old locomotive (not all of them are that old of course, but the -2 line is) is going to be given such a renewal by a Class 1 RR.
IMO, it shows how specialized the newer units are. They are very good at what they are designed to do, which is move freights along the RR. But how good are they at doing everything else? The SD40-2 might not be the best road loco, might not be the best yard loco, might not be the best local service loco, but it can still do all of those things very well.
My RR (a commuter RR) has recently had a shift as well, with its GP40s - a few years ago, the plan was to retire all the Geeps ("old, worn out 40 plus year old locos" they claimed) with brand new passenger power, which were to be wide body locos. But they recently have totally rebuilt 2 OOS locos of the fleet, and decided on a new maintence schedule/renewal program because they found that the fleet really wasn't as bad as they wanted it to be. Not to mention, the locos can be used for passenger trains, work trains, drilling, relay moves, whatever. the new crap can't.....they are passenger locos and thats it. After the first order of them (the PL42AC by Alstom) was delivered, and literally years of "teething problems" more units of them were no longer an option. The new switch engines bought have also had some of the same problems. So what do they do when they are short power? Grab a Geep - for a work train, passenger train or switch loco...can't do that with the other locos.
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.