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Western Railroad Discussion > The BL21CG Experiment


Date: 08/05/22 08:45
The BL21CG Experiment
Author: NickWolters

In the late 2000s, Brookville Equipment Corporation (based out of Pennsylvania) unveiled BMEX 259, a locomotive fitted with three Cummins QSK-19 engines. Brookville called this model the "BL21CG" as the unit was capable of attaining 2,100 horsepower at full output and showcased its "CoGeneration" technology (High Availability -> Low Emissions -> Fuel Efficient). Wearing colors very similar to the BNSF paint scheme, BMEX 259 was shipped out West to strut its stuff predominantly on shortlines.

Demonstrating on the Pacific Harbor Line and Sierra Northern Railway among others, BMEX 259 eventually arrived on the Central California Traction in Stockton. Number 259 reportedly tested very well during its short stay on the CCT. Impressed with the unit and its performance, Traction Company management opted to purchase the Brookville product outright. Renumbered 2101 and placed on the Traction Company's Lodi Line, the locomotive made its first run as a CCT engine on Halloween 2011.

CCT 2101 was the first string locomotive on the Lodi Flyer from 2011 until 2018. Because the unit was a prototype (and ended up being the only BL21CG ever produced), there were periodic mechanical issues that surfaced, which often sidelined the locomotive for some time until a specialist could come to the property. Not quite 7 years in service, number 2101 suffered a mechanical failure in February 2018 and hasn't turned a wheel in revenue service since. The unit is now stashed away at the Port of Stockton engine facility out of service and facing a very uncertain future.

The video clips featured showcase CCT 2101 handling the work on the Lodi job.

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Date: 08/05/22 09:44
Re: The BL21CG Experiment
Author: icancmp193

Somehow, having triple the moving parts, plus whatever extra electronics there were, seemed to be not the most practical idea for any Genset-type locomotive.
However, it does (did) have a very melodic horn!

TJY



Date: 08/05/22 09:54
Re: The BL21CG Experiment
Author: NickWolters

icancmp193 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Somehow, having triple the moving parts, plus
> whatever extra electronics there were, seemed to
> be not the most practical idea for any Genset-type
> locomotive.
> However, it does (did) have a very melodic horn!
>
> TJY

I definitely enjoyed hearing its horn. Nathan K5LA which I believe was of the “Round Tag” variety, fabricated in the mid-late 2000s. It was a good match for BMEX 259/CCT 2101 considering it’s heritage (built as a GP38 for MEC).



Date: 08/06/22 12:29
Re: The BL21CG Experiment
Author: Evan_Werkema

Brookville's website still lists the "CoGeneration Locomotives," but they sure haven't achieved much market penetration:

https://www.brookvillecorp.com/locomotive-congeneration.asp

icancmp193 Wrote:

> Somehow, having triple the moving parts, plus
> whatever extra electronics there were, seemed to
> be not the most practical idea for any Genset-type
> locomotive.

If anyone has experience with gensets and can cite an example of "triple the moving parts" specifically being a source of trouble, I'd be interested to read about it.  I've seen NRE 3GS21B's switching cars while one or two of their three powerplants were out of commission, so a single failure in one set doesn't necessarily take the whole locomotive out of action.  The descriptions we've seen on here of the problems suffered by NRE and Railpower gensets usually point to more simple issues of under-engineering that can bedevil single-prime-mover locomotives as well as gensets - air and fuel filters that are too small, poor cooling system design causing overheating, faulty computers, etc.

Railpower: hawker95's reply in this thread: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,5018549
NRE: MrMRL's reply in this thread: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4825571,4825880#msg-4825880



Date: 08/08/22 17:02
Re: The BL21CG Experiment
Author: ProAmtrak

Cool video, is CCT still a busy railroad up there? Only sad part is them abandoning their line from Stockton-Sacramento a fewy years ago!



Date: 08/11/22 23:04
Re: The BL21CG Experiment
Author: Evan_Werkema

ProAmtrak Wrote:

> Cool video, is CCT still a busy railroad up there?
> Only sad part is them abandoning their line from
> Stockton-Sacramento a fewy years ago!

They still use the Stockton - Lodi portion of that line, which is where most of the video above was shot.  The abandoned bit is Lodi - Sacramento.



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