• Amtrak HHP-8 Discussion: Use, Reliability, Disposition

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by gokeefe
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:23 pmEven if you get Amtrak to eat half of the residual position at the end of term is going to make someone look like a hero at PMCC's parents finance/treasury department.
This is only true if you assume Phillip Morris won't get buried in legal bills and eventually go underwater on the deal. I think for a case of this magnitude that's entirely possible. One major indicator would be whether or not they have outside counsel representing them on this. If this is being done by their corporate counsel I would say that they don't think it's going to get very far and are just trying to shore things up a little for the scrap value.
  by ApproachMedium
 
These things are worth jack in scrap. The AEM-7s were basically worth nothing. They had to beg the scrapper to get them off the property basically. The horns as a pair were worth as much as what the weight of the loco was.

Their value in dismantled parts however, is much much higher. But the problem is that nobody at amtrak cares and the scrappers do not know how that works.
  by rcthompson04
 
gokeefe wrote: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:10 pm
rcthompson04 wrote: Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:23 pmEven if you get Amtrak to eat half of the residual position at the end of term is going to make someone look like a hero at PMCC's parents finance/treasury department.
This is only true if you assume Phillip Morris won't get buried in legal bills and eventually go underwater on the deal. I think for a case of this magnitude that's entirely possible. One major indicator would be whether or not they have outside counsel representing them on this. If this is being done by their corporate counsel I would say that they don't think it's going to get very far and are just trying to shore things up a little for the scrap value.
When you are looking at a $90 million + residual hole spending a million or two to get $30 million of it back is still a good business proposition. Whomever made the decision to do this deal back in the late 1990s was a moron. A 37% residual position at the end of a 20 year term on equipment with a speculative, at best, secondary market seems to be risky (thus why a real bank did not do it). I am guessing they thought Amtrak would buy them out and run them into the ground like the AEM-7s. Oops.
  by ThirdRail7
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:19 am Just so everyone completely understands, its not like PMCC suddenly popped in and said oh lets look. Apparently whoever else owns the other engines or maybe PMCC was already there a few years ago when they were all in Bear DE. They threw a fit about it, they brought a few to wilmington, they fired them up and blew out all the power modules. Amtrak spent 2 million refurbishing those HHPs to be functional to satisfy the lessor agreement.
How does the lack of parts fit into this process? That was one of the main reasons they were mothballed. If the power modules blew out every summer and they were not able to be replaced because the suppliers folded, is that on Amtrak since they were leases "as is?"
  by ApproachMedium
 
Lack of parts isnt just the power electronics modules, the MARC update negates that problem. There is really no issue with parts for the power modules because you can break them down and replace the GTO modules or in MARCs case replace the GTOs with IGBTs and be more reliable.

The parts problem exists with the HHP/HST specific parts. Like CMUs. When i was doing tech work if a CMU failed we always had to rob it from an HHP that was in wilmington back shopped. Things like that, the ITSU etc are all HHP specific and not easily replaceable. Im sure amtraks robbed these specific parts and used them for HSTs. Oh and those stupid Lockheed battery chargers!
  by gokeefe
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:59 amOh and those stupid Lockheed battery chargers!
Haha ... Classic! Reminds me of when we had to worry about special parts for military equipment. God help you if you needed one of the little knick-knacks for your widget. "Oh we have to special order those from depot level".

Curious to see if MARC decides to expand their electric fleet now that they've "solved" the HHP-8.
  by STrRedWolf
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:31 pm
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:59 amOh and those stupid Lockheed battery chargers!
Haha ... Classic! Reminds me of when we had to worry about special parts for military equipment. God help you if you needed one of the little knick-knacks for your widget. "Oh we have to special order those from depot level".

Curious to see if MARC decides to expand their electric fleet now that they've "solved" the HHP-8.
*looks at the two CSX lines ("Brunswick" and "Camden" lines per MARC)*

No bet. They won't. They can only run electrics on the NEC and they got two other lines that need diesel power, plus the demand on the NEC is high enough that they need both the electrics AND the diesels to fill it (and folks need MOAR for DC service).
  by ThirdRail7
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:59 am
The parts problem exists with the HHP/HST specific parts. Like CMUs. When i was doing tech work if a CMU failed we always had to rob it from an HHP that was in wilmington back shopped. Things like that, the ITSU etc are all HHP specific and not easily replaceable. Im sure amtraks robbed these specific parts and used them for HSTs. Oh and those stupid Lockheed battery chargers!

My question still remains: If parts aren't available (which is one of the reasons they were benched,) is that on Amtrak on the owner?
  by Tadman
 
I haven't seen the purchase or lease agreements, but that level of service support is probably addressed in them. I can't imagine Amtrak signing a sell-leaseback agreement where they are responsible to keep the HHP fleet at operable status without having some sort of support agreement either from the builder, lessor, or third party parts supplier regarding crucial parts. The risk imbalance otherwise would be really large.

That's not to say they did/didn't have such an agreement in place, I'm just saying what would make sense given the requirement to keep the fleet operable even if stored.
  by ApproachMedium
 
ThirdRail7 wrote: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:18 am
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:59 am
The parts problem exists with the HHP/HST specific parts. Like CMUs. When i was doing tech work if a CMU failed we always had to rob it from an HHP that was in wilmington back shopped. Things like that, the ITSU etc are all HHP specific and not easily replaceable. Im sure amtraks robbed these specific parts and used them for HSTs. Oh and those stupid Lockheed battery chargers!

My question still remains: If parts aren't available (which is one of the reasons they were benched,) is that on Amtrak on the owner?
If you look at almost any new locomotive order it includes plus spare parts. The ACS 64 did NOT include that. Right now all the spare parts for ACS-64s came off the 601 and the 627. Usually a parts contract is set aside for some projects from the manufacture at the start of delievery to provide a parts supply which i believe was set with alstom. But when Bombardier bought or put most of the parts suppliers for the fancy things out of business in the process of the HHP and HST being made and used then there is no real supply network. This is why i believe MARC removed the ITSU. This is also why we are having people reverse engineer battery chargers from Lockheed. This is why all of the high speed power cars got new event recorders because the old bombardier ones are not made or supported anymore (and they had a ton of problems)
  by gokeefe
 
ThirdRail7 wrote: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:18 amMy question still remains: If parts aren't available (which is one of the reasons they were benched,) is that on Amtrak on the owner?
It's not on Amtrak, however in theory they have to leave the broken units "complete".
  by STrRedWolf
 
Okay, theory time.

MBTA's board overwelmingly commits to electrification as of Nov 4th, which means MBTA's going to be in the market for electric engines. (per WBUR Public Radio report)

Someone at PMCC catches wind of this, and gets inspired. They do a superficial check and find the HHP-8 lease. They dig in, and find that they're being stored, not running. Then they get the lawyers shifting through the paperwork and find enough to file a lawsuit. Why? Because they want the HHP-8's to sell to MBTA, and they want to cancel the lease agreement (which looks bad on their books). And they want 'em in original working order (aka broken from the factory) -- which looks to be impossible from Amtrak's standards, and that parts were being stolen "under the books".

Meanwhile, MARC and Bombardier are reworking the MARC-owned HHP-8's with more standard equipment and better cooling. PMCC likely won't want to do that, preferring to have whoever they sell it too (read: MBTA) to pay for all that rehab. Amtrak is also smarting because they got the equipment "as is" and Bombardier/Alstom sold them a lemon of a hippo with no recourse.

Ugh. The only way out I see is that Amtrak's forced to rehab all the HHP-8's on their dime to match what MARC did and start using them again, on their dime. PMCC loses out because they won't have equipment to sell and they're stuck on the lease. MBTA keeps looking (and there's alternatives if they can get past the regulatory paperwork).

The only winners I'm seeing is MARC for not doing the sell/lease-back in the first place.
  by mtuandrew
 
Not a bad theory, if PMCC has an ear that close to the industry. MARC also wins if/when PMCC dumps these units back onto the market, because who would buy them without upgrades? MBTA would try them on lease and then dump them as junk. Even if the HHPs still don’t run right, Maryland could have a fleet of parts units for pennies on the dollar.

No one else would win out here, even parts suppliers - I highly doubt that any company could custom-make the equipment needed without taking a financial bath from Amtrak change orders and rejections.

Ultimately I suspect PMCC and Amtrak resolve the lease issues on terms more favorable to Amtrak, and the Hippos get scrapped where they sit.
  by rcthompson04
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:27 pm
Ultimately I suspect PMCC and Amtrak resolve the lease issues on terms more favorable to Amtrak, and the Hippos get scrapped where they sit.
Yea I would guess that Amtrak pays $15-20 million to settle.
  by gokeefe
 
I would note that per reports this case has been ongoing since 2017. That being said the MBTA may have had early discussions with stakeholders long before committing publicly to electrification.
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