• ES23B; FDL & GEVO dimensions; repower options?

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by Allen Hazen
Thanks for correcting me on the reason for the height difference. I think I'd seen heights quoted in a GE entry in an (old: 1980s) volume of "Jane's World Railways" and just assumed that the turbocharger mounting made the difference.
  by MEC407
Thanks again for the info, guys. I must have gotten distracted and forgot about this thread. I'm also curious about the lengths of the 16-645 and 12-645. Basically trying to figure out if the inline-6 GEVO has any chance of being a serious competitor in the re-engine market. One would assume that it's pretty close to the same length as the GEVO-12, which isn't exactly a small engine, and probably longer than the FDL-12. Plus it would need bigger and more sophisticated cooling systems.

If a railroad wanted to rebuild a U23B, B23-7, or Dash 8-32B with a GEVO-6, would that be possible, given the existing length of those locomotives? Likewise (and this is probably a lot less likely to happen), if a railroad wanted to rebuild a GP38/GP39/GP40 with a GEVO-6, would that be doable?

Inline engines certainly have many advantages, but shortness of length is not one of them. It seems clear that if EMD had gone with an inline-8 710 instead of a V8 710, their ECO Repower program would be far less successful than it has been thus far. Sure, you could fit an inline-8 710 in an SD60, but I don't see how you could possibly fit it (and accompanying cooling system) into a GP. And it seems that the GPs are the most likely candidates for conversion at this point.

Is GE actually serious about this, and if so, do they have any chance of success? Wouldn't a V6 GEVO be much more suitable for a four-axle locomotive?
  by Allen Hazen
I think I have basic dimensions of the (off-brand!) 645, but am in a hurry: maybe tonight.
A V-6 would probably involve more new engineering than a straight 6. My recollection is that the crankshaft (and, I would assume, the whole lower part of the engine structure) of an Alco 6-251 was the same as that of a 12-251; if GE has done similar things to the GEVO design, the inline 6 would be a very simple derivative of the V-12 design.
One hopes that Freightliner won't be the only customer for the "Powerhaul" line of locomotives. (Not just one: I'm sure GETS, their Turkish partner for building Powerhauls for European and middle eastern customers, and United Group (ex-Goninans) in Oz, who would like to build Powehaul derivatives for both the standard gauge and the Queensland/Westralian 3'6" networks, also hope this!) Do not forget: GE has another, smaller, diesel engine design to play with!
  by Allen Hazen
Sorry, the reference book I thought would have the dimensions of the 12-645 and 16-645... doesn't. (It does say that the 710-- in, I assume, 16-cylinder form-- is 1 5/8 inches higher and 4 5/8inches longer than the 645.)

It DOES give dimensions for the Alco 251 in various configurations:
Type length width height weight
Straight 6 12' 10" 4' 8" 7' 5" 22,500 lbs
V-8 11' 7" 5' 1" 8' 5" 25,700 lbs
V-12 15' 5' 1" 9' 1" 33,000 lbs
V-16 17' 9" 5' 1" 9' 1" 42,000 lbs
V-18 20' 7" 5' 1" 9' 5" 49,200 lbs
(I have no idea why the inline 6 is so much shorter than the V-12, and suspect this may be a typo in the book.)
On the straight-6 vs. V-6 question: inline engines are maybe a bit better from a maintenance standpoint, with more parts easily accessible. The British Rail Class 60 (the last BR diesel locomotive design before the dismemberment and privatization of BR) has a mammoth straight-8engine, chosen over various V-type engines: I remember reading at the time that BR preferred inline engines over V-types, other things being equal, because of maintenance accessibility.
  by Allen Hazen
This is positively annoying! You'd think the dimensions of the the 645 engine would be in print somewhere: maybe in the EMD 645 Engine Service Manual. But, courtesy of George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" rail image site,
the service manual gives (page 6 of this section) the weights of different sizes of 645, but not the linear dimensions.
I recall, many years ago, wondering whether the (then-new) British Rail Class 56 locomotives could have been built with EMD engines instead of the Ruston RKC they actually used(*). Somewhere (most likely an earlier and more helpful edition of the "Jane's World Railways" whose 1986 edition has just disappointed me!) I found comparative dimensions. The 20-645 (as in the SD-45) was a bit taller than the 16RKC (so-- the Ruston entry in the 1986 "Jane's" being more helpful than the EMD entry-- a bit taller than 91"), but a bit shorter (so shorter than 249") and a bit narrower (so narrower than 71"). But I don't recall how much taller, shorter or narrower.

(*) A 20-645, or even a 16-645, would have matched the power of the 16RKC as applied to the Class 56. It would probably have been cheaper (if we ignore import duties) and more maintainable.
  by MEC407
Thanks again for the info and the research!

I also agree that it would be very interesting to see GE offer the PowerHaul engines as a repower option for North American railroads. Knowing how change-averse most American railroads tend to be, it might not be an easy sell... unless someone else was paying for it. I don't believe for one minute that the railroads would be buying genset switchers in such higher numbers if they weren't receiving subsidies / grants / no-interest loans from the government to fund them.

Inline engines are very likable for a lot of great reasons, but when one thinks about an inline engine the size of the I-6 and I-8 GEVO, it seems like the available/plausible rail applications in post-2005 USA would be quite limited. You need a great deal of cooling capacity to meet Tier 2 (or Tier 3 or 4); that cooling capacity takes up space. Where do you put it when your inline engine is longer than the vee engine it replaced (a vee engine which required less cooling capacity to boot)?

I could see the I-6 GEVO going into a six-axle locomotive to create the Tier 3 equivalent of an SD38-2 -- a locomotive that many railroads appreciate for hump switching, as well as drag freights and transfers where speed isn't a priority. You might even be able to shoehorn an I-8 GEVO into, for example, an SD45/SD45-2/SD45T-2/SD50 -- essentially creating a Tier 3 SD40-2, which obviously would be a very versatile locomotive. But how many SD owners would be willing to do this? And if they at least liked the concept in theory, what would be the compelling reasons to choose the inline GEVO repower in favor of the EMD ECO 8-710 or 12-710 Repower?
  by RickRackstop
If you are comparing lengths of EMD vs. GE you should include the length of the generator. EMD turbo and/or blowers overhang the flywheel by a couple of feet. The main feature of the EMD conversions is reusing the old AR10 alternator which fits right under the turbo.
  by MEC407
I did a quick-and-dirty mashup of what a Dash 8-40BW repowered with a GEVO-6 might look like:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/m ... 40-8w2.gif

It seems like the GEVO-6 would fit. The Dash 8-32B, being a few feet shorter, would be a tighter squeeze. Not sure if that would work unless they got creative with the location of the cooling equipment.

GP38/GP39/GP40 are even shorter than the 32B, so you'd either have to get very creative or lengthen the frame.
  by v8interceptor
Allen Hazen wrote:Just looked at the Jim Gray video. At the end, U-tube gave a choice of related videos: one was a GE promo on L250 and V250 marine engines: lots of shots of tugboats (etc)with loud music. Also a bit of a view of the engines. (L250 is GE's name for the eight-cylinder (and maybe 6-cylinder) inline versions and the 12 cylinder and 16 cylinder V versions of the GEVO engine when they are marketing it for non-locomotive applications). The 12-V250 is NOT quite the same as the GEVO-12 used in locomotives: it seems to have two turbochargers, and the turbochargers are at the end with the flywheel for connecting the generator rather than at the far end.

(And-- given that CP has made a big purchase of off-brand 2000 hp locomotives with two-stroke engines-- when is some big railroad going to decide to be serious enough about GP-38 replacement to make it worth GE's while to build the "ES22" with a straight-6 GEVO?)

I think the reason the L250 repower package hasn't been ordered by any railroad yet is that older 4 axle GE's are a scarce breed indeed. GE did say they would build brand new ES22B's if a customer wanted them but most of the Class 1's (CP of course being the big exception) seem to be focused on remanufacturing older EMD GP series locomotives for the applications the ES22 is aimed at.
The CP ECO units seem to use just enough salvaged parts from "donor locomotives" to qualify as rebuilds in the eyes of emissions regulators and that might be harder to do with GE products.
IMO if any railroad were to purchase ES22's, either new from the frame up or not, it would be NS, with their decent size fleet of DASH 8-32Bs..(I would bet they would do the re-manufacturing (or assembly) in house with GE components)...
  by MEC407
I was thinking the same thing about NS, but on the other hand they might find it easier and cheaper to simply extend their "Dash 8.5" rebuild program to the 32Bs rather than go with a more costly repower package.

The other factor is that GE hasn't been anywhere near as aggressive as EMD in promoting their repower solutions. EMD had ECO demo units out on tour and has been very actively promoting them, with great results. GE hasn't done anything even close to that.
  by Allen Hazen
"The other factor is that GE hasn't been anywhere near as aggressive as EMD in promoting their repower solutions. EMD had ECO demo units out on tour and has been very actively promoting them, with great results. GE hasn't done anything even close to that."
I can't help feeling that here is an Avis vs. Hertz thing going on here: "We're number 2, we try harder." Alas.


As for the tax advantages of "rebuilds"-- CP's 2000hp units have new frames, so the "recycled" content comes down to … truck frames and ??? Very close to the old joke about "rebuilds": Tie the bell to the locomotive shop roof, build a new unit underneath it.
  by NorthWest
A lot of future rebuilds* will have emissions, not tax credits, as the primary motivation. Yes, they are essentially a new unit, but don't have to meet TIER IV. We'll see if GE picks up on this, as B-B Dash-8s are starting to see the scrapper.

*Rebuild is really a useless term.
  by MEC407
GE could've bought one of the ex-MMA Dash 8-39Bs at auction for less than $40K, repowered it with a GEVO-6 and sent it out to demo on various railroads. Railroads generally want to "try before you buy."

Unless, of course, GE doesn't actually want to get into the repower business. Makes you wonder...