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Date: 01/10/19 04:23
Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: NYC4096

Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?

Some stakeholders and interested followers are asking why at least half (if not more) of Amtrak's new locomotive order isn't contracted to an American company EMD - specifically the EMD F125 locomotive.  Many commentaries regarding the subject remark that the Siemens SC44 Charger locomotive is a better choice than the EMD F125.

Since when did a company with the experience, technology and production capabilities of EMD - which has presented a stand-up product in the F125 - suddenly not be able to tweak its product to be competitive or even superior?  To avoid all of the inherent problems of purchasing from only one company, and many other reasons the F125 should be put on the Amtrak LDT roster.  Perhaps such a move could be complemented by rebuilding a number of current Amtrak P40/P42 units that are still servicable. 

What are the pros and cons of making the Amtrak locomotive fleet all Siemens?
What if the F125 proves to be a better locomotive for LDTs than the Siemens unit?
Isn't the better choice for Amtrak utilizing an adequate, similar number of F125's for LDT duties?

References:

Amtrak orders 75 new locomotives from Siemens
https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/news/Amtrak-orders-75-new-locomotives-from-Siemens--56369

The F125 Locomotive: Not good enough for LDTs?
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4697909



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 04:24 by NYC4096.



Date: 01/10/19 04:34
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: abyler

Given how things went in the last 10 years, isn't the right question asking who did or did not make the right political contributions?

Who did Siemens USA give money to, and who did Caterpillar/Progress Rail/EMD give money to?

This seems to be how purchasing decisions of this sort are actually made.



Date: 01/10/19 04:46
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: howeld

How many current EMD products are in service vs Siemens? Only Metrolink uses the F125 and they sat for months waiting on some fix. UPs newest EMDs are mostly in storage.
Brightline, Midwest Amtrak service, California Amtrak service, MARC use Siemens locomotives and haven’t been any major issues that have sidelined them from service.

Why buy crap? It’s our tax money, buy the best possible no matter where the headquarters are based.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/10/19 05:36
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: engineerinvirginia

Freight roads with vast numbers of spare engines can afford to beta test a new locomotive platform....an agency like Amtrak must if it can, buy engines that will work. Absoulutely work. But even that's not guaranteed for the Chargers come with Cummins QSK series engines and I just don't think Cummins has enough experience building always available locomotive engines. EMD for it's part is finding it's way again switching from two stroke to four stroke. But then you also have with EMD flaky electrical doo dads that complicate the issues. Choosing the Chargers as I see it was a marginally better idea in the hope that they would get engines that would run all the time. At the end of the day, and I have worked in the past in government service...you are allowed to excercise perceived or real preferences for an overall better product. It's all in how you write the specifications....if only one bidder can meet the proposal, so what? If you believe the things you want could be made by many different companies you take their bids and accept the most responsive bidder...but if only one could do it, you get one repsonsive bid. Responsive doesn't mean lowest....repsonsive means....offered product meets or exceeds the specifications



Date: 01/10/19 05:50
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: joemvcnj

Ask Canadians, as least VIA Rail and Montreal's Exo (whatever they call it now), why they don't "Buy Canadian" (IOW buy Bombardier).
Because they don't want to but junk based on a philosophy. 
 



Date: 01/10/19 05:52
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: DevalDragon

This topic, much like the F125, is a dead horse. Why do we keep bringing it up and beating on it?



Date: 01/10/19 06:05
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: KM-ML4000

The F125 has less American made content than the Siemens SC44.
The SC44 has a made in America content that is above 80%.
The F125 is made mostly in Europe with assembly performed in the USA.
The F125 is not reliable and has a poor track record at Metrolink.
Today’s EMD is not the same EMD of the past, and design, build, and quality have suffered under Progress Rail / Caterpillar ownership.



Date: 01/10/19 06:16
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: keelhauled

“Which has presented a stand-up product in the F125”

...and other hilarious jokes you can tell yourself.



Date: 01/10/19 06:44
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: MEKoch

Having grown up in Peoria, IL and having a preference for Caterpillar products, I hope that the F125 proves to be a very good product.  Competition usually produces good products. 

As we all have watched new locomotives shake out over the years, we can remember some real 'turkeys' which took several years to debug.  And yes, some locos never did make the grade. 

So, I wish Progress Rail and Caterpillar success in their F125.   And I hope GE does not disappear either in the passenger loco market. 



Date: 01/10/19 07:03
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: KM-ML4000

I will add, that Amtrak's decision for locomotives was largely based on the PRIIA 305 Locomotive specification. All offers/proposals were evaluated against the PRIIA Specification, with highest PRIIA compliance being one of the determining considerations in the award. Some of the other key points were Buy America content, Price, Reliability, and schedule adherence.
Siemens most likely captured the PRIIA Compliance and Buy America wins. I have no idea who had the best price. Siemens would also be the winner in the reliability evaluation between the F125 and SC44.

Another huge advantage for Amtrak, is the fact that a large number of components are interchangable between the ACS64 and the SC44 locomotives. This greatly reduces supply chain issues as well as warehousing space.

I have posted this numerous times, and here it is once again, the PRIIA 305 Passenger Locomotive Specification for Amtrak. 
http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Doing-Business/RFP/Multi-State-locomotive/PRIIA%20Locomotive%20Spec%20305-005%20Rev%20A%20-%202012jul10.pdf



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 07:35 by KM-ML4000.



Date: 01/10/19 07:44
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: Short-Hood-Lead

KM-ML4000 wrote
... Some of the other key
> points were Buy America content, Price,
> Reliability, and schedule adherence.


Reliability and schedule adherence??? Do you really believe the crap you write? Chargers break down on a normal basis causing massive delays to not just the train it’s pulling but all in the area. Your posts sound like press releases from Siemens. I’m not sure if you work for Siemens or are a stock holder. Siemens has a lot of explaining to do when they offered an untested locomotive available for purchase. Revenue trains are now test trains and when problems arise, paying passengers are let down when the schedule does NOT get met leaving some to say “never again”. Amtrak is not at fault if they are provided faulty equipment but are looked upon as the culprit when a train takes a multiple hour delay. The F125s were slow to get into service. Since they are now, I have not read many posts of them breaking down stranding passengers and causing massive delays. I read those posts (here and elsewhere) about the Chargers all the time. With this in mind, the F125 is MORE reliable than the SC44. You chastised Metrolink because they purchased the F125 because they don’t have 125MPH railroad although you can’t see Metrolink’s future. Give it a rest dude. Stop beating your drum until the SC44 problems get fixed.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 08:11 by Short-Hood-Lead.



Date: 01/10/19 07:54
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: altoonafn

NYC4096 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be
> Included?
>
> Some stakeholders and interested followers are
> asking why at least half (if not more) of Amtrak's
> new locomotive order isn't contracted to an
> American company EMD - specifically the EMD F125
> locomotive.  Many commentaries regarding the
> subject remark that the Siemens SC44 Charger
> locomotive is a better choice than the EMD F125.
>
> Since when did a company with the experience,
> technology and production capabilities of EMD -
> which has presented a stand-up product in the F125
> - suddenly not be able to tweak its product to be
> competitive or even superior?  To avoid all of
> the inherent problems of purchasing from only one
> company, and many other reasons the F125 should be
> put on the Amtrak LDT roster.  Perhaps such a
> move could be complemented by rebuilding a number
> of current Amtrak P40/P42 units that are still
> servicable. 
>
> What are the pros and cons of making the Amtrak
> locomotive fleet all Siemens?
> What if the F125 proves to be a better locomotive
> for LDTs than the Siemens unit?
> Isn't the better choice for Amtrak utilizing an
> adequate, similar number of F125's for LDT
> duties?
>
> References:
>
> Amtrak orders 75 new locomotives from Siemens
> https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/news
> /Amtrak-orders-75-new-locomotives-from-Siemens--56
> 369
>
> The F125 Locomotive: Not good enough for LDTs?
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,
> 4697909

With how global markets work now, there’s really no such thing as an “American company” or a “Chinese company.” Imagine if China or any of the other countries restricted the use of General Electric locomotives. With the new emissions standards and railroads in the US downsizing their fleets, GE might be in a position, in that situation, where they never build a new locomotive in the US again

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/10/19 07:58
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: ts1457

KM-ML4000 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will add, that Amtrak's decision for locomotives
> was largely based on the PRIIA 305 Locomotive
> specification. All offers/proposals were evaluated
> against the PRIIA Specification, with highest
> PRIIA compliance being one of the determining
> considerations in the award. Some of the other key
> points were Buy America content, Price,
> Reliability, and schedule adherence.
> Siemens most likely captured the PRIIA Compliance
> and Buy America wins. I have no idea who had the
> best price. Siemens would also be the winner in
> the reliability evaluation between the F125 and
> SC44.
>
> Another huge advantage for Amtrak, is the fact
> that a large number of components are
> interchangable between the ACS64 and the SC44
> locomotives. This greatly reduces supply chain
> issues as well as warehousing space.
>
> I have posted this numerous times, and here it is
> once again, the PRIIA 305 Passenger Locomotive
> Specification for Amtrak. 
> http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/
> Doing-Business/RFP/Multi-State-locomotive/PRIIA%20
> Locomotive%20Spec%20305-005%20Rev%20A%20-%202012ju
> l10.pdf

Some good points there. Of course those spec's were for 125 mph corridor locomotives, so I think this procurement will result in paying a whole lot more for LDT locomotives than is necessary. If you are one who believes, like me, that economics may have some impact on how many LDTs we can have, that would be of some concern. 

My proposal would be for Amtrak to take a couple of Chargers and borrow a couple of F125's and set them up for LDT service. Also invite GE and Progressive to each supply a couple of modified freight locomotives (6 axles, 4 motors). Send the bunch to Pueblo to test for stability and then assign them to one western LDT route for a few months to see how they actually work out.



Date: 01/10/19 08:30
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: keelhauled

Short-Hood-Lead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Reliability and schedule adherence??? Do you
> really believe the crap you write? Chargers break
> down on a normal basis causing massive delays to
> not just the train it’s pulling but all in the
> area. Your posts sound like press releases from
> Siemens. I’m not sure if you work for Siemens or
> are a stock holder. Siemens has a lot of
> explaining to do when they offered an untested
> locomotive available for purchase. Revenue trains
> are now test trains and when problems arise,
> paying passengers are let down when the schedule
> does NOT get met leaving some to say “never
> again”. Amtrak is not at fault if they are
> provided faulty equipment but are looked upon as
> the culprit when a train takes a multiple hour
> delay. The F125s were slow to get into service.
> Since they are now, I have not read many posts of
> them breaking down stranding passengers and
> causing massive delays. I read those posts (here
> and elsewhere) about the Chargers all the time.
> With this in mind, the F125 is MORE reliable than
> the SC44. You chastised Metrolink because they
> purchased the F125 because they don’t have
> 125MPH railroad although you can’t see
> Metrolink’s future. Give it a rest dude. Stop
> beating your drum until the SC44 problems get
> fixed.

The record states otherwise.  The most recent NGEC meeting minutes (http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20activities%20report%20-%20monthly%2012-31-18%20-%20includes%20Quarterly%20progress%20report.docx) has comments from Charger operators.  From the IDoT rep: "Jennifer Bastian reported that the overall equipment delivery and performance of the new Charger Locomotives has been the best she has seen.  She noted that it is her understanding that it has exceeded Amtrak’s expectations."

From California: "Kyle Gradinger agreed with Jennifer that the procurement has been a good one operationally [...] overall we are very happy with the operation."

From Amtrak: "Charlie King, Amtrak, echoed the comments made by California and IDOT."

The only areas of concern seems to be ensuring consistent parts supply and a solid warranty relationship with Siemens.  Personally I am more inclined to listen to the people who own and run the things than anonymous Internet reports with no data behind them.



Date: 01/10/19 08:45
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: KM-ML4000

Short-Hood-Lead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
Sir, in response to your comments, I am simply stating how equipment procurement works, and the procurement is driven by some of the key factors I pointed out and of course a Technical Specification.
> Reliability and schedule adherence??? Do you
> really believe the crap you write? Chargers break
> down on a normal basis causing massive delays to
> not just the train it’s pulling but all in the
> area. 

Fair enough, but I never stated the Chargers were perfect. I only pointed out criteria used during a pocurement. It took Siemens 2-3 years to iron out the kinks in the ACS64, and it will take a similar time frame to do the same on the SC44s, and Amtrak is fully aware of this.

>The F125s were slow to get into service.
> Since they are now, I have not read many posts of
> them breaking down stranding passengers and
> causing massive delays. I read those posts (here
> and elsewhere) about the Chargers all the time.
Since you seem to be a rail, all you need to do is inquire with the LA crews running the F125s. 

> You chastised Metrolink because they
> purchased the F125 because they don’t have
> 125MPH railroad 
I never chastised Metrolink for buying the F125. I simply stated fact, that while testing at TTCI (I was there, and I know for sure that you were not!) that the locomotive is incredibly unstable at speeds above 90mph, and therefore was not qualified for speeds above 90mph. I also indicated, that the F125 was pushed with a freight locomotive at TTCI for some of the testing due to mechanical issues or failures.
I do not work for Siemens, and have no bennefit in their success or failure, and the same goes with EMD/Progress Rail/Cat.



Date: 01/10/19 08:56
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: KV1guy

Then they are lying, flat out.  I talk to fellow Engineers that run Chargers and they absolutely hate them.  They say the only thing good about them is that they are clean lol.  Out of the complaints I've head, dynamic brake effot is weak (especially given the fact that they are AC's), the ergonomics of the cab are horrible, as is the visibility ( I was told by an Amtrak exec that the Amtrak units will have a redesigned windshield for better visibility).  They load fast, but have a horrible time holding the rail due to their weight.  AC helps with that of course, but apparently not much.  Not to mention they hate the fact that they sit so much lower than a Genesis unit (that of course is not a performance issue).  I have not heard on how they ride at speed, but such will not be truthfully made clear to us until a few years of break-in time to see how they fair.

One thing many Am-hoggers are talking about is the cab sitting so low.  The Chargers have what Siemens calls Crash Engergy Management, but like all things such is small talk to folks here.  What REALLY needs to be done to put this to rest is sending a test charger "chassis" (well a gutted but properly weighed down) to AAR and to run that thing into the side of a loaded dumptruck at 79mph and see what happens.  The Charger is positioned to become the mainstream passenger diesel in the North American market.  No physical test has ever been done  like this on a Charger (think cars and crash dummies that auto manufacturers do) and I think if Amtrak and VIA have any sense, they will request Siemens to do just that to put those issues to rest.  



keelhauled Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Short-Hood-Lead Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Reliability and schedule adherence??? Do you
> > really believe the crap you write? Chargers
> break
> > down on a normal basis causing massive delays
> to
> > not just the train it’s pulling but all in
> the
> > area. Your posts sound like press releases from
> > Siemens. I’m not sure if you work for Siemens
> or
> > are a stock holder. Siemens has a lot of
> > explaining to do when they offered an untested
> > locomotive available for purchase. Revenue
> trains
> > are now test trains and when problems arise,
> > paying passengers are let down when the
> schedule
> > does NOT get met leaving some to say “never
> > again”. Amtrak is not at fault if they are
> > provided faulty equipment but are looked upon
> as
> > the culprit when a train takes a multiple hour
> > delay. The F125s were slow to get into service.
> > Since they are now, I have not read many posts
> of
> > them breaking down stranding passengers and
> > causing massive delays. I read those posts
> (here
> > and elsewhere) about the Chargers all the time.
> > With this in mind, the F125 is MORE reliable
> than
> > the SC44. You chastised Metrolink because they
> > purchased the F125 because they don’t have
> > 125MPH railroad although you can’t see
> > Metrolink’s future. Give it a rest dude. Stop
> > beating your drum until the SC44 problems get
> > fixed.
>
> The record states otherwise.  The most recent
> NGEC meeting minutes
> (http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/305%20act
> ivities%20report%20-%20monthly%2012-31-18%20-%20in
> cludes%20Quarterly%20progress%20report.docx) has
> comments from Charger operators.  From the IDoT
> rep: "Jennifer Bastian reported that the overall
> equipment delivery and performance of the new
> Charger Locomotives has been the best she has
> seen.  She noted that it is her understanding
> that it has exceeded Amtrak’s expectations."
>
> From California: "Kyle Gradinger agreed with
> Jennifer that the procurement has been a good one
> operationally [...] overall we are very happy with
> the operation."
>
> From Amtrak: "Charlie King, Amtrak, echoed the
> comments made by California and IDOT."
>
> The only areas of concern seems to be ensuring
> consistent parts supply and a solid warranty
> relationship with Siemens.  Personally I am more
> inclined to listen to the people who own and run
> the things than anonymous Internet reports with no
> data behind them.



Date: 01/10/19 09:01
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: Lackawanna484

I don't think the BrightLine has hit anything larger than a pick up truck at speed.

With two units and four cars on a mostly flat line, the train has a lot of momentum.

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/19 09:18
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: Short-Hood-Lead

KM-ML4000 Wrote:
> I never chastised Metrolink for buying the F125.

Care to revise your statement?


by KM-ML4000
Posted: 8 weeks ago
...The Metrolink tax payers are the ones who should be upset, since they bought a 125mph locomotive that has not been able to be qualified at that speed due to stability issues.

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4666062



Date: 01/10/19 09:19
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: MaryMcPherson

I don't run the engines, so I can't speak from the standpoint of having throttle time.  I do have a few things to add.

In dealing with the Illinois trains on C.N. for nearly four months, I never had a Charger break down on my train or the train we were meeting.  I never had a train delayed at its initial terminal due to a locomotive issue.  Is that to say it never happens?  No.  It just never happened to me.

It's quite true that the Chargers are prone to slipping.  Even on dry rail, they will slip if you pour the power on from a standstill.  You have to ease into it, and then they will take off like a scared jackrabbit.  You can feel the acceleration back in the train in a way that you never do with a P42 on the head end.  That was the first thing I noticed on my first ride behind one.

The only cab time I have had on a Charger is from Union Station to Homewood.  I was surprised just how quiet the cab is.  It is as quiet compared to a P42 as the P42 is compared to an F40.  Between CUS and Homewood, the top speed is 60mph and the ride was as good as, if not better than, a P42.  How is the ride at speed?  I couldn't say, and that stretch I did ride was not exactly a rough stretch of rail.

The cab of a Charger is cramped compared to a P42.  To get the fireman's side door open, the fireman's seat has to be scooted up so it will clear.  I would not want to be the one to have to spend any length of time in the center jumb seat, which folds down from the rear wall.

It's accurate to state that visibility is very limited other than straight ahead.  I assume that this is due to the crash bracing, but I've never seen the blueprints.

Also, the bottom step of the ladder to the cab is a little higher than on a P42.  I have long legs, and it's a stretch for me to get it from anything other than tie level.  On sloping ballast, forget about it.  It seems that this could easily be addressed.

As to how the dynamic brakes hold and so forth, I have nothing to add.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



Date: 01/10/19 09:24
Re: Amtrak's New Locomotives: Shouldn't the F125 be Included?
Author: keelhauled

KV1guy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Then they are lying, flat out.  I talk to fellow
> Engineers that run Chargers and they absolutely
> hate them.  They say the only thing good about
> them is that they are clean lol.  Out of the
> complaints I've head, dynamic brake effot is weak
> (especially given the fact that they are AC's),
> the ergonomics of the cab are horrible, as is the
> visibility ( I was told by an Amtrak exec that the
> Amtrak units will have a redesigned windshield for
> better visibility).  They load fast, but have a
> horrible time holding the rail due to their
> weight.  AC helps with that of course, but
> apparently not much.  Not to mention they hate
> the fact that they sit so much lower than a
> Genesis unit (that of course is not a performance
> issue).  I have not heard on how they ride at
> speed, but such will not be truthfully made clear
> to us until a few years of break-in time to see
> how they fair.

You're changing the subject.  None of that has anything to do with the road reliability of the units.  The only way to know for sure is to see a mean distance between failures comparison between the Charger/P42/F125.  I don't know if any of that imformation has been made public; if it has, I haven't seen it.  The most extensive recent discussion of their service history was the link I posted. Otherwise we are all going around in circles trying to one-up the next guy with anecdotes.

> One thing many Am-hoggers are talking about is the
> cab sitting so low.  The Chargers have what
> Siemens calls Crash Engergy Management, but like
> all things such is small talk to folks here. 
> What REALLY needs to be done to put this to rest
> is sending a test charger "chassis" (well a gutted
> but properly weighed down) to AAR and to run that
> thing into the side of a loaded dumptruck at 79mph
> and see what happens.  The Charger is positioned
> to become the mainstream passenger diesel in the
> North American market.  No physical test has ever
> been done  like this on a Charger (think cars and
> crash dummies that auto manufacturers do) and I
> think if Amtrak and VIA have any sense, they will
> request Siemens to do just that to put those
> issues to rest. 

381 walloped a large farm tractor in November.  The locomotive was damaged, but the engineer survived.  The occupants of the Charger that wrecked in Washington also survived the crash.  Unfortunately, I think that by the time Amtrak and VIA receive their units we will have ample in service evidence of their crash survivability.



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