• 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 Engineer Spike
I do think that the new Ace series EMDs aren’t that good. I have logged extensive throttle time on 70mac, and think that they were good. I’d rather have one than an AC44. The AC44 and -9 seem to have more rattles and squeaks. The EMDs of the 1990s seemed to have really good fit and finish. Now the tables have turned, and I like the ES series (except for the A1A versions).

My assessment is that GE was still getting the bugs out on the U series. -7 was pretty good. -8 and -9 seem to be a case of let’s give a rock bottom price, and we’ll work the bugs out as we go. By the early 2000, GM didn’t have the cash to out bid GE for orders. With GM out of the picture, EMD lowered its quality. This was to try to remain price competitive. Now GE is doing this in the used market. The Guilford units were rode hard and put away wet by CSX. GE gave a rock bottom deal, and even offered to maintain them. What did they have to loose? They were headed for scrap anyway.

The few -8 that I’ve run were junk. 60 series were well put together. If they weren’t, why did CN and NS buy up just about every 60 that was up for grabs?
  by MEC407
Engineer Spike wrote:The few -8 that I’ve run were junk. 60 series were well put together. If they weren’t, why did CN and NS buy up just about every 60 that was up for grabs?
Sure, but CN also bought close to 150 Dash 8s at roughly the same time. I don't think that proves anything about SD60s, or Dash 8s for that matter. It just proves that CN and NS both needed large numbers of additional locomotives at that moment in time.

It's easy to argue that "Railroad X got rid of their ABC locomotives, therefore ABC locomotives are bad," or "Railroad Y bought used ABC locomotives, therefore ABC locomotives are good," etc., but that doesn't tell the whole story. A huge factor is whether a particular railroad's traffic is increasing or decreasing at any given moment; that influences whether they keep or return their older locos. Another big factor is fuel prices. If traffic is down and diesel prices are up, you'll see railroads storing, returning, or even scrapping their old stuff. A year later, a competitor railroad might buy those same locos because their traffic is booming (maybe they handle different commodities than the other railroad) and they can't wait months/years for new locos to be built.
  by Engineer Spike
I think the biggest factor was that NS and CN could get fairly modern units cheaply. The reason was likely to have as many pre tier 4 units available as possible. Both builders seemed to struggle to meet that hurdle. It wouldn’t surprise me that those roads felt that having the used, modern, and proven power, just in case the new tier 4 power turned out to be lemons.

Personally, with 20 years as an engineer, I still prefer any EMD up to the 70 series. Since then the ES GE power seems to have the quality of older EMD, while EMD itself has declined. At the end of the day, I feel GE previously was more interested in selling new power. One other point is what is the availability of aftermarket GE parts? I’ve always heard that the aftermarket EMD parts market was much wider. If EMD parts were more widely available through new reconditioned, or aftermarket, then it makes sense that more older EMDs would still be running. Moreover, with more EMDs built, at least until about 1980, more could be scrapped for parts, to keep remaining units in service.

How backwards compatible would a 1980 FDL be with a 1965 version? My question is whether newer parts could be used to keep some old U25, 28, or 30 running? We all know how railroads slapped 645 power packs in GP9s.
  by MEC407
I don't know precisely how backwards-compatible the parts are, but I've heard anecdotes about Dash 7 parts being used in U-Boats, and Dash 8 parts being used in Dash 7s, so I think there is a certain level of backwards compatibility, at least as far as mechanical parts are concerned. This makes sense, especially regarding FDL engine parts, because most of the changes made to the FDL over the decades were incremental improvements rather than huge design changes. I think your compatibility prospects are better if you're only trying to bridge two adjacent generations — e.g., putting Dash 7 parts in a U-Boat or putting Dash 9 parts in a Dash 8, for example. Trying to use Dash 9 parts in a U-Boat might be a bridge too far.
  by slchub
Having worked for the UP and Amtrak as an engineer I can truly say I prefer EMD over GE. That said, I am very surprised that the GE eqpt. that Amtrak still uses is running as well as it is. Millions of miles on this 20+-year-old eqpt. and most are still pulling and working like a champ.
  by Engineer Spike
Too bad that EMD didn't come out with a F60, and have a 4000 hp answer to the P40/42. Those are typical GE dogs, which take a century to build load. GE finally came up with a decent load control on the ES, except the C4 junk. Those probably load slow because they'd be more prone to slip without 100% weight on drivers.
  by MEC407
As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. I have a friend who is an engineer and he has worked for UP, Amtrak west coast, and Amtrak east coast. He ran Amtrak EMD F59PHIs on the west coast and GE P40s/P42s on the east coast. He prefers the GEs and, in his words, "It's no contest, the GEs are far superior."
  by Engineer Spike
I'm fairly certain hat the F59 would be good for the California trains which make frequent stops. With more horsepower the P40 would be fine where a train goes 30 miles or more between stops. They do load r e a. l. l y s. l. o. w. l. y.