On the subject of rebuilding what they already own: this is another thing I've advocated for a long time. Other railroads, large and small, do it... so there must be something to it. Over the past couple of days I've been researching this subject further. I was fortunate to be able to discuss it with some people who work in the locomotive rebuild industry.
The general consensus that my sources were able to come up with is that it would cost around $275K* to take a stock GP40 (currently running/operable) and fully rebuild it into a GP40-3. This is based on the following: completely replacing all of the wiring; new wheelsets; rebuilt traction motors; rebuilt alternator/generator; adding a microprocessor control system; requalifying/refurbishing everything else as needed (including the 645); and a one-color paint job. That figure is also based on doing the work in-house, rather than sending locomotives away to a rebuilder. Obviously the cost would be higher if we're talking about rebuilding a unit from the deadline which has multiple parts missing; how much
higher depends on which parts need to be replaced.
What you end up with is pretty close to a brand new locomotive.
This can certainly be considered a bargain compared to actually buying new locomotives; on the other hand, it's easy to see why PAR has thus far preferred to say "Let's go with SD40-2s
for $100K, Alex."
Whether or not that's a good long-term solution is something I'll let all of you discuss.
*This is just a rough estimate that was given to me by two industry sources who are not affiliated with PAR. PAR's actual costs could be different.