• Were GE's Throw Away's ?

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: MEC407, AMTK84

  by Sir Ray
 
Forget the engine and sheet metal - the frames, man! THE FRAMES!
Looks like we'll need the frames and trucks for the next (several) generation(s) of small rebuild switchers and shortline locos (railpower) - so how are these components holding up after 30-40s years on the U-boats and -7s?

  by LCJ
 
Never throw away what you can recycle, I always say. I'm sure they're made of perfectly good steel. Steel usually melts at around 1370 degrees C (2500°F). At that point it becomes a basic component of a good locomotive.

  by trainiac
 
I was talking with a CP crew in Ontario a few days ago, and they said that the 8500's and 8600's (AC4400CW's built between 1998 and 2001) are starting to age--they apparently rattle a lot. The power for their train was led by a vintage-1975 SD40-2, which they said was decent--except for the seats.

  by Sir Ray
 
LCJ wrote:Never throw away what you can recycle, I always say. I'm sure they're made of perfectly good steel. Steel usually melts at around 1370 degrees C (2500°F). At that point it becomes a basic component of a good locomotive.
Well, I think the 'throw away' part infers more the 'planned obsolescence' of US auto manufacturing during the 1950s-1970s period (ironically many vehicles of the time are preserved, and are usually in 'better than new' condition since the originally assembly-line worker had a little less attachment to 1 of dozens of autos he worked on that day, as opposed to the restorer working on one vehicle for days or weeks).
Regardless, most of the vehicles when superannuated went to the scrap yard for recycling, and so do the locomotives (indeed one article I remembered expressed bemusement of a minimal reuse of a locomotive frame for a snowplow weight, indicating rocks are cheaper than steel at $70/ton).

  by dansapo
 
Do you think GE Capital has to do with it? :wink:

  by LCJ
 
http://www.gecapital.com/

Well, I'm not sure what you mean by that...

I believe GE Capital holds locomotive capital leases quite often. Do you mean that they might favor "throw away" locomotives?

  by dansapo
 
Sure why not! IMO its in GE's best interest.I would think that most companies(not just railroads)would have a set amount of time before replacing its equipment(15or20years) Sell them a new locomotive instead of rebuilding.This sound to good to be true.Dont count on your car lasting 20 years before it self destructs into a pile of [email protected]#$. unless its a Toyota ,then it just rusts and stilll runs.However EMD's get rebuilt.

  by Allen Hazen
 
Not sure whether it would be Capital or Transportation (or whatever the new name for the branch of GE that makes locomotives), but I think GE policy might be relevant.
You've got a 15-year-old locomotive: do you rebuild to get another 10 years of service out of it or use it as trade-in on a new unit? You look at the comparative costs!
All it would take, maybe, is for GE and EMD to have **slightly** different policies about the
---trade-in allowance vs.
---price of stuff you'd use in a rebuild
to account for the difference in longevity between locomotives from the two builders.

SOMEWHERE (but I don't remember where) I've read a suggestion that GE **did** have a polic6 which encouraged trade-in.

Possible case in point: the U18B, an obvious candidate for the sort of service seventh-hand GP-9 (and de-turboed GP-40 "pseudo-38") are used for. Supposedly in the 1980s the owners of large fleets (CSX?) approached GE about rebuild (??? maybe to something like a "B18-7SS" ???), and GE wasn't interested. With the result that most have been scrapped.

  by LCJ
 
The only major rebuild program I recall from Erie was the Super 7. Does that mesh with your recollection, Allen?

  by MEC407
 
I would think that GE might have been willing to do a B18-Super7 program for CSX... but maybe the price was too high. Maybe it ended up being more economical just to buy new Dash 8s or whatever CSX was buying during that time period.

  by Allen Hazen
 
LCJ--
Matches my recollection FOR U.S. SERVICE. GE seems to be involved with lots of re-building elsewhere: I assume that GE has some involvement in all the South American modifications of units retired in the U.S., and I think they had a part in the upgrading of one or mere New Zealand DX class. But this seems to confirm my suspicion that theproblem with old GE locomotives is economic-- what GE will and will not agree to for what price-- rather than technical.

MEC407--
Fair enough. Comes down to the same thing: GEs commercial policy makes trading in your old GE locomotives a more attractive deal than rebuilding them. (I'm sure you, like me, wish GE had been willing to sell affordable rebuild kits allowing railroads to upgrade U18B internally... preferably with minimal cosmetic changes! (Grin!))

  by MEC407
 
Allen Hazen wrote:(I'm sure you, like me, wish GE had been willing to sell affordable rebuild kits allowing railroads to upgrade U18B internally... preferably with minimal cosmetic changes! (Grin!))
That's for sure! Just a few days ago I was talking with a friend about what the Maine Central might look like today if it had remained independent. One of the scenarios we thought of was in regards to their U25Bs (ex-CRIP), which were extraordinarily tired and worn by the time MEC got them... but they would have made decent cores for a batch of Super 7s. And later, perhaps around the mid-'90s, it would be time to do something similar with the U18Bs.

Oh how I miss seeing and hearing those little putt-putts... :(

  by dansapo
 
While doing some research on GE super 7. A article in Railway Age came up. http://tinyurl.com/kp439

  by GN 599
 
Most guys I work with, myself included would rather have say SD40-2's vs a Dash 9. Except during the summer because they have good A/C. The old Santa Fe Dash 8's are already becoming rattletrap motors. Best GE rebuild I ever saw was the Oregon California and Eastern U25B's...they had 567's.........
  by MEC407
 
It's not so much that they were designed to only last for 20 years; it's more that GE wanted to provide customers with financial incentives that would make it easier to trade up to newer models. That proved to be more lucrative than EMD's strategy which was to make money on spare parts and rebuild kits. GE was always much better at the financial side than EMD was (or is), and that has paid off very well for them.

GE now has the best of both worlds by offering better financials AND by offering long-term maintenance contracts, spare parts (for both GE and EMD locos), and by offering rebuilds/overhauls that are higher quality and less expensive than if the railroads tried to do them in-house.