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 Post subject: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:13 pm 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 am
Posts: 12
I was in Bear today and decided to stop by the Amtrak shops and saw the AEM-7s and HHP-8s in storage. Does anyone know what the future of these units is? I know that a few have been scrapped or sent out, but what will happen to these remaining units? They have been sitting in the same place for about 3-4 years now since I first discovered them. It seems as if the HHPs are still being maintained, but I could be wrong. The HHPs are split between Bear and Wilmington, with one AEM-7 in Wilmington.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8911
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
The HHP-8's have been widely reported to be sitting out their leases, in one of those actions that only make sense to accountants and financial bookkeepers. It is somewhat apparent that no one else capable of using such locomotives--MARC, SEPTA, etc.--has any interest in using them, or at least not under any terms the aforementioned accountants or lawyers find acceptable. (Oddly, MARC continues to field a couple of their own in service at last report.)


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:31 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 635
I always wondered about the HHP-8s, taken out of service after less than a decade, the report is always that they "suffered from low reliability", among other things the bracket for the yaw dampers on the trucks broke repeatedly and the whole assembly would fly off (at more than 100 MPH sometimes) but that was corrected. There also were issues with heat in the cowl and unreliable power control components. MARC has started a rebuild program on theirs that is apparently successful, I wouldn't doubt that AMTRAK is holding on to theirs in hopes of selling them if someone could make them work. I recall a fight with Bombardier over warranties soured AMTRAK on them also, but it always seemed like cutting off one's nose to spite your face to let them sit like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
Posts: 147
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it was my impression that things might be looking up for the HHP-8.

As PMC mentioned, MARC rebuilt an example and most of the issues with the model appeared to have been ironed out, with MARC set to rebuild the remaining 5. It has since led to various rumors such as Bombardier talking with Amtrak about doing a similar rebuild to their stored fleet.

I imagine it's a long shot that any of these will run again for Amtrak or another operator, but it's not quite as unrealistic as it appeared a while ago now that there's potential there for these still young locomotives to not be hangar queens.

And wasn't Caltrain interested in buying some of the AEM-7AC's?


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:40 pm
Posts: 179
Location: San Francisco, CA
I think that two AEM-7s have gone to museums. The first is at illinois Railway Museum and the second went to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Ted 66


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:03 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1073
I do know that the last 2 out of 2 times I've caught a train from the station adjacent to BWI into Washington there's been an HHP-8 on the back end.

Interesting ride. Perhaps some knowledge into the source of problems can be gleaned from the operating style I observed: the throttle is advanced only partially for about 5 seconds, then run to full advance. (Meanwhile the left cab door has been left open and the engineer swings away from the right-side controls entirely, crosses the cab, and watches down the train for a few seconds as things accelerate!)

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R.M.Ellsworth


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:57 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 635
This photo showed up on the IRM Diesel Shop FB page with this caption: "Amtrak 945 (AEM7) displayed in yard 5. The AEM7 is a Swedish design by the ASEA company. ASEA partnered with EMD and Budd to produce these locomotives here in Illinois at EMD's La Grange plant. The 945 was built in April of 1982, Amtrak retired its last AEM7 in June of 2016. This locomotive will be a static display unit as it is not compatible with IRM's overhead wire system."


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:11 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 9
Maybe somebody could tell me why the AEM-7's were not simply rebuilt instead of being retired? What's going to be worn out? Everything is either replaceable or rebuildable, and the shells seem to be OK too.
It seems like a waste to me.
Ned


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:39 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
Posts: 147
Not enough of them for one thing. Would've still required a second fleet of new power and all the associated costs and pitfalls of maintaining two fleets of electric locomotives, which would've only been slightly better than what they had before with two variations of AEM-7's and the Bombardiers.

And my impression was that Amtrak didn't have much flexibility before the 70 ACS-64's. Since they're not going to rebuild one locomotive at a time, what happens when say six AEM-7's are away for a major capital rebuild that turns them into essentially new power? And safety standards with crash-worthiness have advanced a lot as well since the AEM-7's were built.

I bet the ACS-64 is cheaper than trying to refurbish old locomotive bodies, recondition certain components, and essentially replace over 90% of the mechanical components with new technology. These Siemens locomotives, while apparently not perfect judging by threads such as over at Railroad.net with individuals that work on them talking about various issues, still have a lot to offer.

Proven technology, a single fleet of power and all the advantages that offers to Amtrak, enhanced safety for the crews operating them, and flexibility with Amtrak's existing locomotive fleet that was able to take up the slack as they slowly entered service and proved themselves. Not to mention that I assume there's some commonality with the Siemens Charger that looks set to be the major North American diesel passenger locomotive of the next few decades.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 510
Location: B'more Maryland
Don't forget that there is plenty of risk shifting involved too.

If they rebuild them and they have trouble, they're on their own.

If they get something new from Siemens, if something's wrong, Siemens has to fix it. And if it's really bad, Amtrak will be made whole.

That's also a big reason for going for something that's essentially "off the shelf".


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 9
Was Amtrak "made good" with the HHP- 8's?


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Amtrak DID rebuild some of their AEM-7's.

Amtrak rebuilt 29 of its AEM-7's with Alstom AC propulsion as AEM-7AC at Wilmington Shops. The AC motors have more horsepower and double the HEP capacity. The unrebuilt motors became AEM-7DC.

As to the HHP-8's, they share components with the Acela power cars (locomotives). The Acela sets are the premier high revenue trains, and Boston, Sunnyside and Washington have to make the street every morning. So, Acela got the attention and the HHP's? You could grab an AEM-7 and sent it instead.

Incidentally, MARC is rebuilding their HHP-8's.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak AEM-7s and HHP-8s
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 9
I think (note the word "think"), the big issue may be that Amtrak is not funded for maintenance but is for new purchases, so it's easier for them to buy new than remanufacture locomotives or anything else for that matter.


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