KSmitty wrote:Why has Pan Am allowed their six axle fleet to fall apart while they are so strapped for power. Isnt maintaining your own fleet of power cheaper than leasing?
Their philosophy, at least from the late '80s / early '90s onward, has been to standardize on four axle locomotives, based on the [theoretical] ability of those units to "go anywhere and do anything." Hence, they sold off most of their six axle locomotives and added more GP40s. The recent trend of adding leased six-axle locomotives is purely based on the severe lack of power and the need for something, anything, to pull a train. I suspect that Norfolk Southern's increasing influence also may have had something to do with it.
As has been stated in other threads, the Helm SD40-2s are being leased with terms that are very affordable to Pan Am -- perhaps even "free" in exchange for storing them when they aren't needed, according to a couple of sources. Class I railroads are dumping SD40-2s like hot potatoes, and leasing companies such as Helm are overflowing with them. Helm has to pay money to store these units at various yards around the country; it stands to reason that Helm, being almost as desperate as Pan Am, would be willing to work out a deal that benefits both parties.