• Rebuild/Remanufacture is back in vogue

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by John_Perkowski
Saw this article by the editor in chief of Railway Age.

Just as the Santa Fe renewed fleets of F-7s, SD-24s, and GP-7s/9s in the 70s, so now there’s a secondary industry within railroad business logistics to remanufacture modern equipment.

Turns out it’s less expensive to make an existing unit Tier IV compliant, than it is to buy new power.

Here’s the link. Rebuild, Renew, Repower: Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
  by AllenHazen
Last year's (2021) "Trains" locomotive annual had a couple (maybe 3) articles on GE's FDL engine. One told us that, despite the FDL's replacement by the GEVO in new North American locomotives, development and improvement continued on the FDL, including work to enable the FDL to meet stricter air pollution requirements. Now we see one application of this work: the article John Perkowski links (thank you!) mentions updated FDL engines installed in some of the locomotives Wabtec (GETS as was) is rebuilding for UP.
After the end of B23-7 production, GE basically gave up on intermediate power locomotives. There has been talk on and off for years about a new GE "switcher" with a six-cylinder GEVO (essentially one bank of the 12 cylinder engine used on big power), but nothing seems to have appeared (at least in North America: anybody know what has happened in Kazakhstan?). Given that there is no longer a population of GE intermediate power locomotives available for rebuild programs, this may not change in the foreseeable future, but it's worth noting that Wabtec has suitable engines: six and I think eight cylinder GEVO (marketed currently for stationary and marine applications) and also updated FDL.

Thanks again for linking that article!
  by eolesen
I know there were accounting tricks in the 70's with regard to rebuild vs. trade-in, but are there other benefits with regard to EPA compliance by rebuilding a grandfathered frame/engine type?
  by John_Perkowski
A railroad can reuse…
- Frame
- Fuel tanks
- Trucks
- Traction Motors
- Generators
The cost to overhaul is significantly less than the cost to buy anew.
  by AllenHazen
Years ago, the rough estimate was that a diesel locomotive was, by cost, one third engine, one third electrical, and one third everything else. Looking at John's list, the big thing that gets replaced is the engine: leaving two thirds. Assuming that "everything else" gets thoroughly refurbished, and the electrical get a new computer (but microchips are -- relatively -- cheap), maybe an even rougher, ballpark+stadiumparkinglot, gesture in the direction of an estimate should still leave the cost of a rebuild in the half to two thirds of a new unit area. (Add further vaguifying qualifiers ad lib!)
This may go on for a while, even if new units show major technological advances. A couple of years back, "Trains" (in, I guess, an eightieth anniversary issue) ran a story about what American railroading might be like in a few decades. The main freight network was largely electrified, but many of the locomotives were "legacy" units: GEVOs and SD70MACs that had been re-built by substituting storage batteries for the Diesel engines.