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Passenger Trains > Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #8...


Date: 11/23/22 20:29
Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #8...
Author: jmulhol2

A lone BNSF GE C44-9W "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late eastbound Amtrak Train #8 ("Empire Builder") past MP96 on the BNSF Hillsboro Subdivision in Grand Forks, ND, during the evening hours of 11/23/2022. I assume that the original Amtrak Siemens lead motor had an issue, thus requiring a BNSF motor to come to the rescue. Can anyone confirm? Thank you in advance! 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/22 20:29 by jmulhol2.

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Date: 11/23/22 21:25
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: sethamtrak

Does not sound like 314 is powering the train. 



Date: 11/23/22 23:29
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: mp51w

Cool night video!



Date: 11/24/22 02:06
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: GenePoon

Cross posted from another board:

"From an informed source:

Understanding is that the new Siemens locomotives are failing and can’t power up the mountain grades. BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s on altogether.

Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all that interested. Shiny and new will always win out over old and tired, especially when someone else is writing the big checks.

Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE Dash 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is, except for the 4-axle configuration."



Date: 11/24/22 06:38
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Hou74-76

I agree, it is a cool video. Thanks for braving the cold.  Is the train effectively a dead head move to ferry the equipment back to Chicago?

I cannot help but think, it is not so "cool" for the passengers or the on board crew who got on 2 days ago.  I would like to read a trip report as to how things on board have been going for passengers and crew that remained on board.  



Date: 11/24/22 07:47
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: lordsigma

This crew had bad luck for sure. The initial delay was due to 7(19) getting held up due to a freight derailment. I believe the first delay for 8(21) was a multi hour disabled freight delay then they had an issue with the charger and got a freight engine, then the freight engine they got broke down and had to be replaced by another along with a couple recrews.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/22 07:54 by lordsigma.



Date: 11/24/22 07:58
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: lordsigma

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at
> least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s on
> altogether.
>
> Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to
> re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all that
> interested. Shiny and new will always win out over
> old and tired, especially when someone else is
> writing the big checks.
>
> Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE Dash
> 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is, except
> for the 4-axle configuration."

BNSF isn’t exactly having a stellar performance itself. The initial terminal delay being caused by a freight derailment, then this train getting delayed by another broken down freight and the first BNSF engine they got broke down. But of course all anyone here wants to talk about is the Charger issue, yes it occurred, but BNSF isn’t exactly speaking from a position of reliability.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/22 07:59 by lordsigma.



Date: 11/24/22 08:16
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: sethamtrak

lordsigma Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> GenePoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at
> > least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s on
> > altogether.
> >
> > Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to
> > re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all
> that
> > interested. Shiny and new will always win out
> over
> > old and tired, especially when someone else is
> > writing the big checks.
> >
> > Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE
> Dash
> > 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is,
> except
> > for the 4-axle configuration."
>
> BNSF isn’t exactly having a stellar performance
> itself. The initial terminal delay being caused by
> a freight derailment, then this train getting
> delayed by another broken down freight and the
> first BNSF engine they got broke down. But of
> course all anyone here wants to talk about is the
> Charger issue, yes it occurred, but BNSF isn’t
> exactly speaking from a position of reliability.

The late westbound 7/27 shouldn't have been allowed to leave Spokane. Late turn, after late turn, after late turn the last few weeks. 



Date: 11/24/22 08:20
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: lordsigma

sethamtrak Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> lordsigma Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > GenePoon Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at
> > > least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s
> on
> > > altogether.
> > >
> > > Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to
> > > re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all
> > that
> > > interested. Shiny and new will always win out
> > over
> > > old and tired, especially when someone else
> is
> > > writing the big checks.
> > >
> > > Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE
> > Dash
> > > 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is,
> > except
> > > for the 4-axle configuration."
> >
> > BNSF isn’t exactly having a stellar
> performance
> > itself. The initial terminal delay being caused
> by
> > a freight derailment, then this train getting
> > delayed by another broken down freight and the
> > first BNSF engine they got broke down. But of
> > course all anyone here wants to talk about is
> the
> > Charger issue, yes it occurred, but BNSF
> isn’t
> > exactly speaking from a position of
> reliability.
>
> The late westbound 7/27 shouldn't have been
> allowed to leave Spokane. Late turn, after late
> turn, after late turn the last few weeks. 


That is assuming motor coach alternate transportation was readily available from both Seattle and Portland at short notice and they are choosing not to do it - it’s possible but so is the possibility that it wasn’t available so one shouldn’t assume it’s cost cutting. There have been documented incidences lately of Amtrak being unable to secure sufficient alternate transportation at short notices in some markets as motorcoach companies are also short staffed. Now one could certainly have argued maybe they should have canceled the train again for a reset but with the holiday period they probably didn’t want to.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/22 08:23 by lordsigma.



Date: 11/24/22 09:05
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: jp1822

There is Amtrak Thruway bus service that operates a frequency between Seattle and Spokane during the day. There's also Thruway Bus Service operating between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. So there is at least a "provider" in place out of Seattle and Spokane the Amtrak deals with and has a contract with that COULD offer bus service between Seattle and Spokane - if they have both capacity and drivers to offer. I am just a little surprised that with these Thruway frequencies in place - there's not been some leverage to do a turn in Spokane when it's needed (as was the case). It's not like Amtrak is starting from nothing to call out buses for a route. Amtrak did send Thruway Buses out from Seattle to rescue passengers in Skymosh, WA when Train #7 was being delayed due to downed electrical wires and trees.

Not saying the bus service has extra capacity in a moment's notice when Amtrak may need to turn back a consist at Spokane, but I find it VERY odd that Amtrak has not ONCE arranged ahead of time to turn back a train at Spokane in quite a few years now. There was some trouble last winter in the Cascades with some alternate transportation eventually called out; even a derailment whereby Amtrak turned the consist at Whitefish, MT. But "the turn at Spokane" for when #7/27 is operating way too late has not happened in a proactive plan in quite some time. The Empire Builder crews and some station agents have even been commenting recently - "it's not happening, because management lost the know how on how to coordinate the turn at Spokane." Passengers, T&E, and OBS crew have all mentioned that Amtrak needs to put this back in place (so we don't have this spiral out of control), especially with winter coming. Winter presents its own problems in keeping ground travel moving admist winter weather conditions.

The turn at Spokane needs to be an option for winter if Amtrak can't get another Empire Builder set in the pool. The re-schedule of the Empire Builder didn't help the "same day turn" at Seattle/Portland. For the most part, that same day turn can be done, but Amtrak needs to have a backup in place. Turning extreme late consists at Spokane was the norm, now it's turned into a mess and outright cancellations of some Empire Builder train nearly weekly since beginning of the November. And its too bad, as the Empire Builder typically has a good run over the route - better than CA Zephyr and Southwest Chief as far as I am concerned. 

My experience from a 15+ hour late Empire Builder train earlier this year - we got an extra dinner heading eastbound to Chicago, onboard service crew was great and had a great attitude, we were kept comfortable and well fed, we arrived into Chicago just before 7 am and had all services meet us at the platform in Chicago - red caps, station agents that needed to provide re-booking options, etc. Everyone took it in stride. No horror stories. 

Amtrak released this train 7 hours late out of Seattle/Portland. It's now running nearly 20 hours late. The lead ALC42 had an issue, and despite having a P42 in the consist, the train had to borrow a BNSF locomotive. THe BNSF locomotive then had issues and there were re-crewing issues. Doesn't appear there was a third locomotive in the consist, as BNSF is generally requiring. Amtrak I think owns this. 



Date: 11/24/22 09:12
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Lackawanna484

Hasn't BNSF required three Amtrak units on 7/8 during the winter for several years?

I know Amtrak doesn't do a "deep dive" on catastrophic failures, but does Siemens look into failures like this?  It would seem in their interest to do so.



Date: 11/24/22 09:17
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: jp1822

My understanding was that Amtrak is supposed to have three units on the Empire Builder as of a couple of weeks ago. There may be some days or when conditions warrant that this rule can get overriden???



Date: 11/24/22 10:52
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: lordsigma

I should clarify I’m all for them turning at Spokane but I am cautious to avoid speculating as to why they aren’t.



Date: 11/24/22 10:53
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: lordsigma

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My understanding was that Amtrak is supposed to
> have three units on the Empire Builder as of a
> couple of weeks ago. There may be some days or
> when conditions warrant that this rule can get
> overriden???

I think the last few days the temp has been high enough where the BNSF rule has not been in play.



Date: 11/24/22 12:49
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Wolverine350

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cross posted from another board:
>
> "From an informed source:
>
> Understanding is that the new Siemens locomotives
> are failing and can’t power up the mountain
> grades. BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at
> least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s on
> altogether.
>
> Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to
> re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all that
> interested. Shiny and new will always win out over
> old and tired, especially when someone else is
> writing the big checks.
>
> Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE Dash
> 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is, except
> for the 4-axle configuration."

Chargers have better continuous tractive effort than P42s, plus why is this coming out now? Also BNSF requires three engines anyway.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 11/24/22 17:52
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Paniolo_man

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cross posted from another board:
>
> "From an informed source:
>
> Understanding is that the new Siemens locomotives
> are failing and can’t power up the mountain
> grades. BNSF has demanded that Amtrak put at
> least one P42 with two Chargers or put P42s on
> altogether.
>
> Wabtec, née GE, submitted a proposal to
> re-manufacture the P42s. Amtrak was not all that
> interested. Shiny and new will always win out over
> old and tired, especially when someone else is
> writing the big checks.
>
> Wabtec has gobs of experience re-building GE Dash
> 9s, which is what the P42 essentially is, except
> for the 4-axle configuration."

Yeah, because dash 8 rebuilds have been NOTORIOUSLY reliable...

Sheesh, it takes time to break in a new type and reach regular reliability. P42 rebuilds would not have been all this board is hyping them up to be, major engine modifications are difficult due to the body design and past projects to rebuild dash 8s have not yeilded desierable results. This same fuss happens whenever Amtrak gets new power, you'd think people here WANT the chargers to fail.



Date: 11/25/22 00:34
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Oregonpaul

Both 7/23 and 7/24 left with 2 chargers only, so I don't think there is truth to the statement that BNSF is requiring P42s
 



Date: 11/25/22 06:09
Re: Lone BNSF "Dash9" motor leads the 17-hour-late Amtrak Train #
Author: Wolverine350

Oregonpaul Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Both 7/23 and 7/24 left with 2 chargers only, so I
> don't think there is truth to the statement that
> BNSF is requiring P42s
>  

Train Orders is fake news.



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