• On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

  • 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

  • 115 posts
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  by 25Hz
 
As someone who just rode the maple leaf, I can say there is no real need for baggage cars. They use a combo of amfleet 2, amfleet 1, and snack/biz. It works fine. I'm sure specific times like dec 21-27 they may add a bag, but generally not needed. Anything to lessen the load on the unreliable P32's.

The batteries I'm thinking of actually power a select few yard switcher models, automobiles, even used in buildings as a kind of "UPS". You could get a few hours, and under-floor mounted packs could provide most of the juice for the lights, but it'd have a cumulative effect.
  by Jtgshu
 
AM, you aren't thinking like a train crew member, I know the "simple switch" would have more behind it, but thats what you guys are for, to make that happen - but in the end, a simple switch that could be flipped on or off and that switch would make all the "magic" happen. A simple switch that was for HEP from loco or HEP from diesel HEP unit....yes, it would need to be that easy. How it happens, I don't know, and I don't care, I just need to happen. It wasn't more complicated than that with the ACES power change from Electric to Diesel - it was just a few switches, just they had to be done in a certain order :)

I understand that most yards have wayside power. However, I also understand that most times, things don't happen near wayside power plugs. As much as one might think Amtrak and commuter operations are different, they really aren't. I know what its like to be broken down somewhere with no HEP, or no power from a dead loco, or luckily (like what happened last year in the blizzard when the MN train got snowbound on the Southern Tier) having a Geep with a seperate HEP motor which continues to run, even if the prime mover blew itself to bits.

Hudson yard doesn't have wayside power, Barracks Yard doesn't have wayside power, the list goes on and on. Sure, here on the NEC help isn't that far away (relatively) but not all times can help actually make it - 4 tracks blocked by downed wires. It happens, not often, but it happens...I remember the double stack taking out the wire at the BandO bridge in Linden in 2002. I think that took out 5 of 6 tracks. I also remember trains sitting in Rahway and that area for upwards of 8 hours in 2003 when an Acela yanked down wire at Menlo. Rescue diesels simply couldn't go anywhere because of the sheer number of trains parked and blocking all the tracks.

Also, there are places elsewhere in the country where like mentioned above, the only thing around for miles is a freight loco. Say you have 2 P42s, on a train - one provides HEP better than the other, while the other provides traction power better than the other one. Thats those trains where two locos = one loco! Which loco is gonna die first? Well, if the loco that has the working HEP dies, you can use the HEP diesel set to provide at least some 480 power to the cars, but still have traction from the other loco. If its the other one (traction), well, then your SOL, but you can wait til the rescue diesel arrives under the comfort of HEP from the other diesel that dont' like to move on its own. And im SURE this happens on Amtrak too, maybe not all the time, but seeing all those doubleheaded AEM7s on the NEC makes me wonder....

I still think Amtrak should look into using HEP motors for powering the entire train on a regular basis, I think the fuel savings would be significant, but im glad to see that they are at least thinking about these HEP motors for emergencies, which is a good start. So what if a train doesn't have a baggage car now? Maybe if this is successful it would require more cars to be built/converted and each train would be required to have one. How can that be a bad thing? And if folks are worried about "one more car" being added to a train and doing the diesel in, then those trains should be the FIRST to get these emergency generators, as obviously the locos need some help.....
  by ApproachMedium
 
Yes JT, I do think of this from both ends since I have worked both mechanical and transportation though but my explanation is from the Mechanical side since you already explained from the T&E side how you should see it. The reason I always expand is because some who dont know the mechanics of the whole deal might not understand what goes behind the whole machine. Its a lot more than just a diesel engine and a tank of gas and some wires. The more you know...

The doubleheaded AEM-7s vs the doubleheaded P42s is a different story. The reason they doublehead P42s is for redundancy. Both units SHOULD be fully operational when they depart the initial terminal, yes I know sometimes there can be one thats just POS. It happens. Now as for the AEM-7s there are only TWO reasons you will see them double headed. The first reason is because the train is very important, like Joe Boardman is on board, the president, some high paying charter, or Royals from overseas. The second reason is because one of the units is marked "pair only" When a unit is marked pair only, it has to be paired with a known good unit. Pair only status comes from a unit that just came back out of PM, had a major component related to propulsion fail/replaced, or caused any kind of delay over 30 minutes. Once a motor is in pair only status it stays that way until it runs X amount of trips with no problems.

And who says the P32s are unreliable? They are almost NEVER shopped. Compared to the yard switchers we deal with in sunnyside and the electrics they are bulletproof.

I do agree that fuel savings could be significant with the smaller engines. They run at about the same RPM but they are smaller and have about 6 cylinders in line? The only difference is the NJT pony motors in the back of a geep only make about 500kW HEP whereas our P diesels can make 800. The extra ummph is needed with longer trains, esp trains with diners! Although a single DC AEM-7 provides about the same, one of those is at its limit with one of the Florida trains. See the 911 fire.
  by 25Hz
 
The P32 pulling my train had to be re-booted 2 times and stalled 3 times. I've heard bad things about the metro north units as well from friends that actually work on/in them. It had very low HEP output as well, just vents & fluctuating lights, no side heat. Sorry just ranting a bit I guess. Not the best impression when carrying potential repeat customers. I personally dont care, but it portrays a lackadaisical & unreliable image. Canadians especially have a proper transit & intercity rail system in the Toronto/Hamilton area as well as niagara falls. It'd be wise to improve HEP reliability, I simply suggested 2 ideas.
  by DutchRailnut
 
guess your ranting, I have operated the MNCR P32acdm's since 1996 and have broken down 4 times in 15 years of daily operations.
sometimes its not the unit that fails but the linkage between seat and control stand.
  by ApproachMedium
 
DutchRailnut wrote:guess your ranting, I have operated the MNCR P32acdm's since 1996 and have broken down 4 times in 15 years of daily operations.
sometimes its not the unit that fails but the linkage between seat and control stand.

I agree dutch the comments he made dont sound realistic. Its either you have 480 or you dont. The system will not allow the contactor to close if your not making enough amps and you do not have 480v/60hz. If there is no sidewall heat its because some genius went under the car and turned the floor heat breakers off. I know I have only been on amtrak just over a year but in that time the only time we have had to go rescue a P32 is because the 3rd rail shoes broke off one side due to a failed mode changeover button. A simple fix that was no major failure.

I also sit in on an 8pm call and listen where they discuss the systems locomotives in the entire country. Almost never hear them mention P32s and if they do its usually for PMs, wheel changes etc.
  by 25Hz
 
Whatever the cause, the whole train nyp-alb had no side heat. People started putting on jackets hats etc. It would have been nice to have a warm train, between cars was well below freezing, you can guess what happened when both end doors opened. My regional from Trenton was very toasty warm. If a safe reliable economic way to ensure HVAC in inclinmate weather can be implemented, that'd be really great.

Not trying to ruffle feathers at all. I am interested in this concept. Being on a 9 hour trip, part of which had HEP & loco troubles I do have a few thoughts to share.
  by ApproachMedium
 
25Hz wrote:Whatever the cause, the whole train nyp-alb had no side heat. People started putting on jackets hats etc. It would have been nice to have a warm train, between cars was well below freezing, you can guess what happened when both end doors opened.

Someone turned off your floor heat. This happens a lot during the winter when they cycle trains in sunnyside from the Chicago trains to Florida. People will complain its too hot in a car, they will write it up, it gets to florida they shut the floor heat off and then all you are left with is overhead heat. The reason why this cant be fixed en route by the crew is because the breakers are under the car. You would have to stop the train and go down to the breaker cabnet and turn the Floor heat 1 and Floor heat 2 breakers back on.
  by Tadman
 
Maybe this is a dumb question, but what does "get under the car" entail? Approach the car in a bent-over stance from the platform and try to wrestle open a frozen and locked box? or literally slide into the track gauge on your back?
  by ThirdRail7
 
Tadman wrote: Approach the car in a bent-over stance from the platform and try to wrestle open a frozen and locked box?
That about sums it up, assuming you're talking about a low level platform.
  by ApproachMedium
 
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Tadman wrote: Approach the car in a bent-over stance from the platform and try to wrestle open a frozen and locked box?
That about sums it up, assuming you're talking about a low level platform.
Yes low level. At high level it would be blocked by the platform. And yes the ice freezes them shut. I have done this many of times.
  by Greg Moore
 
ApproachMedium wrote:
25Hz wrote:Whatever the cause, the whole train nyp-alb had no side heat. People started putting on jackets hats etc. It would have been nice to have a warm train, between cars was well below freezing, you can guess what happened when both end doors opened.

Someone turned off your floor heat. This happens a lot during the winter when they cycle trains in sunnyside from the Chicago trains to Florida. People will complain its too hot in a car, they will write it up, it gets to florida they shut the floor heat off and then all you are left with is overhead heat. The reason why this cant be fixed en route by the crew is because the breakers are under the car. You would have to stop the train and go down to the breaker cabnet and turn the Floor heat 1 and Floor heat 2 breakers back on.
Actually I've seen it fixed en route on the Crescent by a VERY helpful conductor. But otherwise yeah, it sucks. (my understanding though was the breakers were in the car, but the thermostat was outside, since I've had conductors on the Empire Service be able to turn something on/off but not adjust the temperature.)
  by DutchRailnut
 
only the 480 breakers are outside, the 120 volt and 32/64 volt breakers are mostly inside the car.
the thermostat on Amfleets is in ceiling (airduct) and can not be adjusted
  by ApproachMedium
 
DutchRailnut wrote:only the 480 breakers are outside, the 120 volt and 32/64 volt breakers are mostly inside the car.
the thermostat on Amfleets is in ceiling (airduct) and can not be adjusted

The 120V transformer breakers are outside, but all aux 120 stuff is inside. The only thing the conductor can do inside the car with HVAC is turn it on and off.
  by DutchRailnut
 
correct the 480 breakers feeding the 120 volt transformers are outside
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8