• F40PH-3C overhaul program

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by Dick H
If indeed, the 1139 work is complete, time to sign a contract with Fore River for more...
  by mxdata
Bids on the most recent RFP for the 1025 and 1050 class overhauls were due last week.

  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Any bites this time, or did the unchanged gibberish wording on what exactly was being asked for make RFP: Take 2 as much a waste of time as Take 1?
  by mxdata
From what I could tell, the RFP was just as confused as the last time around. I would expect that most of the companies that bid it would have had to provide a menu of options to cover all the internal conflicts within the specification.

  by RenegadeMonster
Good article.

Found this interesting:
Joseph Aiello, chairman of the board, voted for the overhaul but with reservations about spending so much money on equipment that is already so old. “Chasing old junk is not my cup of tea,” he said. “Not a way to run a business.”
The T has no plans to purchase new locomotives any time soon, so it has embarked on a crash course to speed up repairs or bring out-of-service locomotives on line.
My thoughts are if we are against chasing after old junk why do we have no plans for purchasing any kind of new equipment any time soon?
  by Backshophoss
Since MPI was the Leader on the HSP-46 with GE,you would think the T would stay away from them.
They are a good rebuild shop for these worn out units since most of their work is rebuilding EMD locos.
Wonder if some of the Seaview units were offered up as parts sources?
  by chrisf
Backshophoss wrote:Since MPI was the Leader on the HSP-46 with GE,you would think the T would stay away from them.
They are a good rebuild shop for these worn out units since most of their work is rebuilding EMD locos.
Wonder if some of the Seaview units were offered up as parts sources?
MPI (then known as MK/Morrison-Knudsen) built the F40PHM-2Cs and rebuilt the entire fleet of -2Cs once before. I'm sure they'll do fine this time around.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
MPI has done a whole lot more rebuilding and second-source manufacturing of other builders' product in its corporate history than it has spent peddling its own homegrown loco lineup. Far more. In spite of the runaway success they enjoyed with the MPXpress lineup and the healthy niche they've now carved out in freight, these kinds of overhaul services are still what proportionally butters more of their bread and most lucratively leverages their place in the Wabtec corporate empire.
  by GP40MC1118
There's no units in Seaview. Only T engines down there are for PTC installations.

I suspect the first five units will be the five stored at the Kingston layover yard since early last year.

  by F-line to Dudley via Park
RenegadeMonster wrote:My thoughts are if we are against chasing after old junk why do we have no plans for purchasing any kind of new equipment any time soon?
Depends on what the details of this contract are and how it jibes with their idea of a new Integrated Fleet Plan.


The Best Possible Case:

If the overhauls are going to be full-fledged like the Metra and Metro North F40PH-3/3C rebuilds then the resulting work will net a full-on 20-year life extension with real enhancements like Tier 0+ emissions improvements, rebuilt electronics, and microprocessor controls. That's a scope of work that sticks pretty conservatively to everything that's generic and good about the F40--such as still in-production EMD 645 prime mover--while fending off the few potential points of obsolescence that would make the back end of that life extension potentially dodgy for maintaining with a fresh supply chain. And it treats the rebuild whole system-by-whole system, rather than on an individual needs list of what just happens to be the most worn in one unit vs. most worn in another unit. The resulting product ends up having much stronger fleetwide consistency in what components got renewed, making plotting MTBF of the whole rebuilt fleet a much more precise exercise. It's a much stiffer up-front price to do it that way, but the payoff comes that the fleet's life extension can be managed homogeneously--all units aging on more or less the same curve--like a new-purchase fleet's MTBF can be managed homogeneously from break-in to first rebuild.

The systemic nature of the overhaul means you don't have to short the projected span of life extension because some units are predicted to fail before others; if they all decline at more or less the same rate, and it takes 15 years before re-attrition claims your spares and leaves you with too many shortages for the rebuilt fleet to fulfill its service goals...then you can safely call it a "15-year rebuild." It would be very different if the rebuild were treated non-systematically and just went unit-by-unit, firsts needs first by unit. A more heterogeneous mix of old & new parts means there's going to be a wider spread in eventual failure rates unit-by-unit throughout the fleet. Say you send 20 units for first-needs-first rebuild: 17 needed to run baseline service, and 3 spares. Maybe 5 of the resulting rebuilds are so solid they can run for 2 more decades without any serious decline. Maybe 2-3 of the resulting rebuilds have resulting quirks from their particular mixes of old/new/borrowed and quickly develop reputations as shop queens. The other 12 units stick to the averages. Well...by the subtle variability of that "average" group you're going to inevitably wind up with a fleet that's too frequently short of the daily number of in-service units required for the baseline schedule. And you'll get caught in that available-units fleet shortage a few years sooner than the systematic "15-year" rebuild where the whole fleet ages at more or less the same rate...maybe more like an 8-10 year extension before uptime can no longer be reliably predicted to match the schedule. Even if the first-needs rebuilt locos are still day-to-day repairable enough to stretch the full 15 or longer, you'll end up with much the same milking diminishing returns situation as today's -2C's running on fumes. That is: an "active" roster that's not "available" in enough numbers each day because of minor aches and pains.

As a strategic move spending for the full-on systematic overhaul would solidify the fleet plan for the long-term.* They'd stake out that they're committing to at least 20 years of a half- GEVO (because the HSP's are sunk cost) & AC traction fleet, and a half- 645 DC traction fleet, with systems maintained consistently enough that both half-fleets would age in tandem instead of by individual unit. Thus, the only changes they would need to worry about making to that GEVO v. 645 ratio in the next decade only need to concern big picture changes in fleet makeup like that new CR Needs Study, and finally going electric. They'd be relieved (mid-term at least) of the pressure of cueing up another diesel procurement cycle that's unsatisfactorily 'tweener in size. As nice as it would be to get some T-logoed Siemens Chargers into the mix, fragmenting their engine platforms to a split GEVO's, Cummins, and EMD's comes with its own price in shop overhead.

*DIFFICULTY: the Geeps aren't rebuildable at any price worth paying because of age + dealing with those horrible MC mods, so there's still a CR numbers deficit for the long-term if you can't come up with more F40's and are forced to make another new procurement of something completely different (e.g. Siemens/Cummins). The conventional wisdom that rebuilding the Screamers is the easy answer to squaring those numbers isn't so easy anymore given the severity of the -2Cs' exponential decay and questions about how much improvement this rebuild program will pay for on such severely decayed -2C units. But that's a whole separate discussion re: integrity of the Fleet Plan. Have to also consider possibilities of buying somebody else's -2C's to rebuild, buying some EMD 710 -based engines (F59PH's & the like) very similar to the 645 for minimum tolerable fragmentation...or some combination of outside help and plucking a much-reduced quantity of Screamer remans to square the "Geep gap". Geep replacements aren't an insurmountable obstacle to netting a nice, elegant Fleet Plan thru 2030...but it's a tricky spot.


The Likely (underwhelming) Case:

Aiello's a smart guy who knows his nuts-and-bolts, so when he uses specific phrases like "chasing old junk" being "not a way to run a business", you are most likely looking at a desperation job that's a far, far cry from picking up the shattered pieces of the last fleet plan and re-weaving something strategically coherent. If all this contract does is get the OOS -2C's running again, with no true life extending modernizations of the scope Metra and MNRR did with their full-scale -3/-3C rebuilds...then the only thing they're doing is running in place. That's replacing components on a first-things-first basis with outright busted parts refreshed by not-busted identical replacements, and targeted parts replacements going on a sliding scale of what components are next most worn and most liable to impact MTBF. A needs list which could be completely different from one loco to the next, meaning the resulting overhauled fleet is going to have a hodgepodge of old/new/borrowed parts that could be significantly more or less worn than the same parts in a different unit. On the aggregate, can you say "This will net us another 10 years of service?" Superficially, yes, in that if the rebuild program is successful fleet uptime should even out at the most macro-level monthly/yearly reliability charts that Keolis and the FCMB most care about for doling out the operator's performance $$$ incentives and/or penalties.

But it's a slapdash way of running the railroad, because a needs-first approach to refurb won't make the fleet perform predictably day-to-day. If each unit gets addressed by its own SGR deficit, that means each differing unit is going to be left with some components more worn and some components less worn than the same part in another unit. As above, you'll hit--in fewer years than the systematically-rebuilt fleet--a threshold where day-to-day availability dips below the point where the fleet can field the baseline schedule, and you'll be in another fleet shortage. But that's just the macro-level. It also chews up more resources day-to-day to have the shops be tasked with sorting out unit-by-unit band-aids, units with differing freshness by-part, and the shop queens whose dumb-luck mix of old/new/borrowed doesn't mesh right. And the more chintzy labor that chews up, the less proactive they can be about other things.

Aiello's criticism (if the fine print gives him credence) is thus that he doesn't think the agency is doing enough with this contract to make a clean break from pivoting band-aid to band-aid with their fleet management. Which probably means this is just a needs-first rebuild that's refilling an empty bucket rather than making it easier to do consistent whole-fleet management for period of X years like a Metra/MNRR-scope F40 rebuild program would've done. It's catching up, but it's not changing the maintenance conditions that landed them in this rut in the first place...and Aiello would rather see them make some bigger strides at cleaning up the entanglements that chew up so much unnecessary overhead at the back end of the fleet's projected life. Especially if betting odds are so strong at at any transit agency nowadays that next procurements are so likely to be day later, dollar shorter, and/or thwarted by unforeseen complications than any neat-and-tidy Integrated Fleet Plan document ever predicts in advance. Age on builder's plate is only a number, but fleets that are poor risks for finishing the back end of their projected service lifespan strong are most definitely behaving like "old junk". So in his mind it does matter the world how systematically you approach the rebuild decision: whole-fleet vs. individual needs-and-deficits.


The Worst Case:

The +26 contract options beyond the initial 10 OOS units for tackling the active/available -2C's doesn't net much meaningful gains in fleet-wide reliability, because too many more active units crap out and re-fill the dead line while the OOS units are being brought back to life. Meaning there's less cash to spread around in above-and-beyond reliability increases because the first-needs list is just a revolving door of unit failures. The program ends a moving target of tactical retreats as the -2C's continue to outpace the most pessimistic predictions of their decline...and +10 year life extension becomes wishful thinking at best, rationalized to a +5-8 stopgap (and unspoken acknowledgement that we'll be back in power shortage hell at the end). Here the band-aiding might abate for a couple years...but it's never that far from coming back. And you have to take with giant grain of salt how well the FCMB has funded the program to cover even the barest of those needs when the -2C's keep unpleasantly surprising with their rate of decline. A program structured around first needs would be more likely to stay within budget and impress the politicians...but scope of work would keep shrinking until the budget's gone. Whereas a full-on systematic rebuild would be at risk for budget blowouts for rolling back worse-than-predicted wear, but would have a fixed quality target for its endpoint that you could set an Integrated Fleet Plan to.

Again...see how the details square with Aiello's pessimistic take on whether this is actually a change for the better in whole-fleet management. Any too-murky endgame re: how far that budget will stretch in real achievable rehab work performed is bad news that Aiello's giving to us point-blank here. We want to see a rehab program highly structured towards an end goal of whole-fleet reliability if we want to have any hope of dismissing Aiello's quip as hotheaded political bluster. Even when he's showboating with bold pronouncements he tends to hold fast to pretty solid nuggets of truth. If there isn't a solidly reasoned endgame for the greater Fleet Plan, then it's not forward-looking enough to keep "old junk" from reverting back to form a little too quickly and he's got a pretty solid nugget of warning in that take. :(
  by RenegadeMonster
Very informative F-line.

Thank you for your interpretations.
  by MBTA F40PH-2C 1050
hhhmmmm GE rebuilding EMD products...what could go wrong

the 5 old girls calling Kingston Facility home currently are part of the group to go. I'll get the numbers this week
  by chrisf
MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:hhhmmmm GE rebuilding EMD products...what could go wrong

the 5 old girls calling Kingston Facility home currently are part of the group to go. I'll get the numbers this week
MPI isn’t a GE company.
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