A preview of a video that will go live later this week. Western roads have been running with Distributed Power for several years now; however, until PSR, neither of the eastern roads had made much use of the technology, either because of unions (for helper crews) business conservatism, training, or expense. Regardless of previous barriers, since the operations reorganization that started early this year, NS has started running DPUs on four of its regular manifests over the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne Lines (10K, 14G, 39G and 38G). In this video, y'all will see my first catch of a DPU-powered freight, NS 10K running with an ES44DC, a Dash 9, an SD70ACe, and a rare SD80MAC. Also of note in the train are some Reading and Northern hoppers, orange NS MOW stone hoppers, and the lovely P5 horn on the leading ES44DC. 

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I remember when the SD-80MAC was brand new in ‘96.  I got to climb all over one as a guest when it arrived on a cold winter day on CR property (Oak Island NJ) for employee familiarization.  The engineers I spoke with were very impressed with the locomotive’s ability to stop a heavy train going down hill using only dynamic braking.  The relocation of the dynamic brake grid to the back eliminated most of the cab noise.  Steerable Trucks, Electronic fuel injection, Earthquake mode, DC-Link, Single liquid-cooled inverter/truck, automatic parking brake and the fact that you’d better be seated in the cab during high-power, slow-speed operations in the event an inverter should fail or the resulting shock wave could knock you on your butt are some of the characteristics I remember about this incredible machine.  I haven’t kept up with this locomotive but would like to know how many of the original 30 are still turning a wheel in revenue service?  Was this engine considered a success now that it is in the twilight of its career?

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.  

Considering that 20+ years after they were built they are still running with their original 5000hp 20 cylinder 710G prime movers, while the MK5000C's were rebuilt into SD50's, and the 6000hp GE and GM designs are all either retired or derated.  Also remember that Conrail was going to order more SD80MAC's, but the split between CSX and NS cause that order to be canceled.

Stuart

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

Stuart posted:

Considering that 20+ years after they were built they are still running with their original 5000hp 20 cylinder 710G prime movers, while the MK5000C's were rebuilt into SD50's, and the 6000hp GE and GM designs are all either retired or derated.  Also remember that Conrail was going to order more SD80MAC's, but the split between CSX and NS cause that order to be canceled.

Stuart

CNW was also supposed to order some, per Brian Solomon. According to Chris Toth's excellent website, 29 units are in service (1 had a fire, edit: and was repaired), though 14 are in storage. Now that the SD70ACU rebuilds are finished, I heard through AltoonaWorks that the SD80MACs will also be rebuild, supposedly into "SD80ACUs" with 5,500 horsepower. 

I had heard that NS was going to do a rebuild on the SD80MAC's, but I didn't expect them to keep the V20 prime mover.

When you consider the money wasted by CSX, CP, and UP on the 6000hp units, you have to wonder if they would have been smarter to have bought/leased additional SD80MAC's instead.

Stuart

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an on coming train!

I remember reading how EMD didn’t want a repeat of the serious issues that had plagued their first 645/20 i.e. crankshaft failures, excessive vibration and crankcase cracking are a few that I recall.  While the 710/20 is a direct descendant of the 645/20, there were significant improvements made to the crankshaft and crankcase to mitigate the previous issues.  One of the upgrades also included changing the firing order, something like over 60,000 different possible combinations to choose from in a 20-cylinder engine.  I remember being allowed to open the “Coffin covers” and observing the camshaft actuating the valves on an idling engine, very impressive, I think I still have the video I took of it somewhere.  From what some of you have said, it would appear EMD got it right.  

Stuart posted:

I had heard that NS was going to do a rebuild on the SD80MAC's, but I didn't expect them to keep the V20 prime mover.

 

That is a surprise to me as well.  If they retain their original V20’s, do they have be modified to meet Tier-4 or are they exempted?  Has anyone been able to meet T4 using a 2-cycle?  If so, was it accomplished using urea/ionized water injection (Blue TEC) or EGR? 

PRR 5841 posted:
Stuart posted:

I had heard that NS was going to do a rebuild on the SD80MAC's, but I didn't expect them to keep the V20 prime mover.

 

That is a surprise to me as well.  If they retain their original V20’s, do they have be modified to meet Tier-4 or are they exempted?

Exempted.

 Has anyone been able to meet T4 using a 2-cycle?

Yes, the marine industry simply loves the 710 engine in 12 cylinders, 16 cylinders, and even 20 cylinders.

 If so, was it accomplished using urea/ionized water injection (Blue TEC) or EGR? 

Almost 20 years ago, the railroad industry took a stand against the use on DEF (urea) in railroad locomotives. Thus, in order to comply with the T4 "requirements", varies forms of Exhaust Gas Recirculation had to be used by Progress Rail (EMD). As a result, the fuel economy went directly into the toilet! The marine industry, embraced the DEF additive, and are now using many, MANY 710 2-Stroke Cycle engines, with their longevity, reliability, and ease of maintenance/overhaul.

It is now beginning to look like the U.S. railroad industry made a very bad decision concerning the use of DEF.

 

Hot Water posted:
PRR 5841 posted:
Stuart posted:

I had heard that NS was going to do a rebuild on the SD80MAC's, but I didn't expect them to keep the V20 prime mover.

 

That is a surprise to me as well.  If they retain their original V20’s, do they have be modified to meet Tier-4 or are they exempted?

Exempted.

 Has anyone been able to meet T4 using a 2-cycle?

Yes, the marine industry simply loves the 710 engine in 12 cylinders, 16 cylinders, and even 20 cylinders.

 If so, was it accomplished using urea/ionized water injection (Blue TEC) or EGR? 

Almost 20 years ago, the railroad industry took a stand against the use on DEF (urea) in railroad locomotives. Thus, in order to comply with the T4 "requirements", varies forms of Exhaust Gas Recirculation had to be used by Progress Rail (EMD). As a result, the fuel economy went directly into the toilet! The marine industry, embraced the DEF additive, and are now using many, MANY 710 2-Stroke Cycle engines, with their longevity, reliability, and ease of maintenance/overhaul.

It is now beginning to look like the U.S. railroad industry made a very bad decision concerning the use of DEF.

 

I read years ago that while EGR will enable a 4-cycle to meet T4 standards, it often requires cleaning to ensure proper operation, not sure if this is still the case.  I also understand that no one has been able to achieve T4 using EGR on a 2-cycle which is why EMD(?) could only make international deliveries for at least a year.  Why the industry took such a hard stand against DEF especially considering the low cost that would have been realized once they started making it in-house is beyond me.  Looks like the marine industry made the best call.  

Dan, thanks for the great pics and sorry for the thread-drift.  

  Yes SD80MAC'S are getting to be a rare unit on the NS as it seems most older EMD's are either being sidelined or sold. 

 As far as the delayed reason for the NS using DP trains it's all about follow the leader.NS for several years has used DP on unit coal trains,but until CSX started running two mile long freight trains NS was sitting back watching to see if CSX would continue,it had nothing to do union agreements.

 NS has been ordering for years now the technology in about all their GE locomotives DP software. All new A/C units I've been on has it.

 I've heard of one 17,000 foot train run from Williamson,WV to Portsmouth,Oh so far as being the longest that was tried,but the upper management wasn't to happy about that.

 With all this PTC,Trip Optimizer and DP finding it's way into the mix ,it's getting to be a real headache to run a train anymore. Now were at 5th notch reduction for corporate trains that operate over 50mph,unless your on fuel management with Trip Optimizer.

Collin "The Eastern Kentucky & Ohio R.R."

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