• PAR Locomotive Fleet - General Discussion

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by CN9634
 
Two LTEX units are now on property, a GP40 the 6528 at Waterville, ME and an SD40-2 exUP the 2964 presently at East Deerfield
  by neman2
 
I don't think Pan Am gets it, what do you think the average person (non-railfan) thinks when they get stuck at a rail crossing for ten minutes when one of these beat-up looking locomotives goes by in the consist of a mile long train of graffiti-covered cars at a whopping ten miles per hour? Creates more ammunition for the railroad haters.
  by MEC407
 
I think it's more likely than not that Pan Am will repaint it. Many of the locomotives they've acquired in the past have looked as bad as that, or even worse, but the worst ones were repainted pretty quickly after arriving on the property. One of the GMTX GP40s arrived in the rattiest, nastiest, most horrendous looking CSX paint I've ever seen, and it got a dark blue dip in relatively short order.
  by KSmitty
 
neman2 wrote:I don't think Pan Am gets it, what do you think the average person (non-railfan) thinks when they get stuck at a rail crossing for ten minutes when one of these beat-up looking locomotives goes by in the consist of a mile long train of graffiti-covered cars at a whopping ten miles per hour? Creates more ammunition for the railroad haters.
With all due respect, I doubt many people notice the paint on a locomotive. Most of the people I know who are neither employed by the railroad or enjoy watching trains find the most interesting thing about trains to be the graffiti. The fact that its a mile long and is moving at 10mph does more to harm the image of "railroading" in the public's eye than does a ratty locomotive. "Average people" know 1 thing: the damn train is in the way, has been for at least 90 minutes and at current speeds will likely still be in the way for another 6 or 7 hours. The endless parade of graffiti covered cars, to them adds the only interest to the train, and then only mildly so.

Ask someone you know, but that doesn't have an active interest in railroads, what the name of the railroad is. From personal experience most won't tell you "Pan Am Railways." "Guilford" comes up a lot, and "Maine Central," up here in the woods of Maine, comes up less frequently. Really eye opening, just how unobservant people are. Of course it also makes you wonder how unobservant you are of other things.

And as far as Pan Am, or any railroad, is concerned I doubt they care much what somebody thinks, unless they own a business that ships a hundred thousand tons of product every year and are conveniently located within 500' or so of the right of way.
  by gokeefe
 
I know we've discussed the economics of new vs. used power acquisition before. This article from TRAINS (Subscription) made me think about it all over again, especially since IAIS is a similarly sized railroad:
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Iowa Interstate has placed another order for new power, again from General Electric. The railroad has ordered three additional ES44ACs for delivery this month, bringing the total number of this model on their roster to 17.
...
Andrew Reid, Iowa Interstate’s chief mechanical officer tells Trains News Wire that the purchase was made primarily to replace older power, such as the railroad’s remaining SD38-2s, with more fuel efficient units.
  by newpylong
 
I have supported Pan Am's insistence on wrent a wrecks up until recently. Similarly sized Class IIs are buying small numbers of new units for heavy mainline use.

The majority of their units lack good batteries, working APU, working dynamic brakes, on top of the fact that many road jobs end up losing units on the road. They are throwing money out the window with the power breaking.

If not brand new units, I think it's time to look at a small batch of "lightly used" units. NS just bought 100 ex-UP SD90MACs from EMD. 8 of those roaming Rotterdam/Mohawk to Rigby would be like night and day.
  by MEC407
 
I agree. But on the other hand, if PAR doesn't have the resources or the will to maintain simple things like batteries/APUs/dynamics/radios/telemetry gear/toilets, how would that be any different with new(er) locomotives? All of those things have to be maintained and serviced regardless of the age of the locomotive.

As long as CSX and NS continue to provide high quality run-through power, PAR doesn't have any incentive to improve their own fleet. And as long as PAR's fleet remains inadequate, CSX and NS won't pull the plug on run-through power because that's the only way their traffic to/from PAR will get over the road in a semi-timely manner.
  by gokeefe
 
MEC407 wrote:I agree. But on the other hand, if PAR doesn't have the resources or the will to maintain simple things like batteries/APUs/dynamics/radios/telemetry gear/toilets, how would that be any different with new(er) locomotives? All of those things have to be maintained and serviced regardless of the age of the locomotive.

As long as CSX and NS continue to provide high quality run-through power, PAR doesn't have any incentive to improve their own fleet. And as long as PAR's fleet remains inadequate, CSX and NS won't pull the plug on run-through power because that's the only way their traffic to/from PAR will get over the road in a semi-timely manner.
Well said and I think therein is the true crux of the situation. PAR is getting good run through power for many of their priority trains. The real question is do they need something good on EDPO/POED, WAPO/POWA and the more humble but no less significant RUPO/PORU.

The key difference of course is how much money is it costing them to do business this way right now vs. how much would it cost for them just to buy new power. I'm certain that GE offers financing terms. The real issue might be that PAR doesn't want to finance anything and prefers to work on a "strictly cash" basis. In that case the $2,500,000 unit cost (in 2008) might be a bit much.

Here's my source for the pricing:
Recently, IAIS made a multimillion-dollar investment that Miller said will make hauling freight even more efficient; IAIS purchased 12 brand-new General Electric Evolution Series locomotives. The new GE ES44AC locomotives, which cost $2.5 million each, are 18 percent more fuel efficient than other alternatives that IAIS looked into. Miller said one of the new 4,400-horsepower units will pull a train equivalent to what two or three of its current units can handle.
  by MEC407
 
I think it's closer to $3m now. The other issue is that if PAR places an order today, it would have to be for Tier 4 locomotives. Those might cost more, and they're such an "unknown" that even the Class I railroads have been feverishly buying up anything/everything that's Tier 3 or older.

The MEC 500 series locomotives were financed, by the way. But in that case they were getting 20 used locomotives for the price of 2 new ones.
  by MEC407
 
Another option would be to do ECO upgrades on the existing fleet, which I'm told can be done for about $1m to $1.5m each. Canadian Pacific has been doing that with hundreds of their older GPs and SDs, and the results have been excellent from what I've heard. SDs get a new 12-cylinder 710; GPs get a new 8-cylinder 710. Both get totally new electrical systems, new crashworthy cabs, etc. The end result is for all intents and purposes a brand new locomotive that performs significantly better than its "donor" did, with much better fuel efficiency to boot.
  by KSmitty
 
MEC407 wrote:Another option would be to do ECO upgrades on the existing fleet, which I'm told can be done for about $1m to $1.5m each. Canadian Pacific has been doing that with hundreds of their older GPs and SDs, and the results have been excellent from what I've heard. SDs get a new 12-cylinder 710; GPs get a new 8-cylinder 710. Both get totally new electrical systems, new crashworthy cabs, etc. The end result is for all intents and purposes a brand new locomotive that performs significantly better than its "donor" did, with much better fuel efficiency to boot.
How about just an inkind rebuild, or an rebuilt+upgrade to -2 or 3? 500K for a like new unit. Sure its not environmentally any friendlier but it would be just as good "quality of horsepower" wise, cost 1/2 as much, and still sport the always popular 16-645E3.
MEC407 wrote:The MEC 500 series locomotives were financed, by the way. But in that case they were getting 20 used locomotives for the price of 2 new ones.
Over the last year MRL sent almost their entire SD45 fleet (almost all rebuilt to -2) to scrap, for scrap prices. Imagine the power they could have picked up, trading a single 500 for 2 or 3 SD45-2's. With 4 axle prices spiking, a good running condition GP40-2 is worth 250K+. A scrap price SD45 is what? 70K? They were mostly all operable, had been upgraded to -2, maintained well, etc...You lose 15 running units, pick up 30 or 40.

Sure you lose some flexibility, but they they've killed off a lot of 4 axles restrictions in Maine this year. Madison Br, Bucksport Br, East of Waterworks. Theres 100 miles and the need for eight 4 axles/day right there. Plus, with no need for 4 axles east of NMJ, they can effectively run 6 axles to NMJ, releasing another three 4 axles a day. Doesn't take long to make up the losses in flexibility with the added benefit of extra power.

When one breaks, they do what they've done with the gutted 500's, sell them to GMTX and lease them back, with the condition that GMTX pays to have them rebuilt to SD40-2's.
/armchair railroader ramblings...
  by guilfordrailfan
 
Years ago I always heard that Guilford wanted to own everything outright and not have lease payments. In more recent years PAR seems to have decidedly moved away from that business model since they've been leasing locomotives for years and now use sale/lease-back as a means to refurbish locomotives. I believe the difference between PAR's present/future lease obligations and the cost of leasing some brand new GEVO's with GE's creating financing has to be shrinking substantially. Factor in fuel and maintenance savings, and the case to NOT buy new becomes a little thin. On the other hand, Tier 4 changes everything and what I just said may no longer make sense in 2015.
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