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Electrics of the future
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   Author  Topic: Electrics of the future  (Read 1164 times)
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Electrics of the future
 
« on: Jun 4th, 2007, 1:05am »
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    What do you think electrics of the future (say, 15-20 years) be like? Do you see locos becoming even more advanced than today's latest hi-tech units, or, do you see some semblence of a return to a "back-to-basics", no-frills type of  engine? What refinements do you think might occur on the next generation of electrics? I think this might make for an interesting topic. btw, NJT has come to favor electric locomotives over MU's. Do you think that this trend might eventually carry over to other electrified commuter carriers as well? Pros? Cons? John

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Walt_C
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #1 on: Jun 4th, 2007, 3:00pm »
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That's an interesting question. I think the tendancy will always be to try to advance the technology-- I just hope that new concepts can be more thoroughly tested than seems to have been the case with this generation of "new" electrics. With regard to locomotive- trailer vs MU, I suspect that the driving force here will be economics. Theoretically, MU cars should be more suitable to the frequent stopping and starting which can characterize most commuter operations, for a number of reasons-- with each car being powered, again, in theory, the operating characteristics of an MU train should not change simply because more cars are added. If dynamic or other motor assisted braking is used, it should be easier to stop an MU train than to stop a heavy locomotive drawn train--- however--- since each MU car is considered a locomotive, each unit will be subject to regulations which apply to maintaining and inspecting locomotives--- regulations which do not apply to unpowered passenger cars,  and which will add to the cost of operating MU cars. Similiarly, maintenance costs on MU equipment will be higher, irrespective of any regulations, because of the power compnents of the cars. I suspect that this is a major reason why NJT, and other financially strapped commuter operations are opting for the locomotive-trailer combination as replacements for aging MU units.

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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
Former Member
Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #2 on: Jun 5th, 2007, 12:44am »
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  Hi, Walt: Thanks for sharing your views! Hard to believe that NJT's Arrow MU's (in service out of Hoboken on the former DL&W/E-L Morris and Essex lines) are only about 23 years old, and are already thought of as "old"; heck, the old DL&W "Wickerliner" MU's that they replaced dated back to 1930 (the oldest trailer dated back to 1912) made it all the way into the mid-80s.....still using tried-and-true old-fashioned electric railroad technology....and not an on-board computer aboard any of them!! I've always believed that "basics" are the best way to go...... John

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GP72ACe

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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #3 on: Jun 5th, 2007, 4:35pm »
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Quote:
do you see some semblance of a return to a "back-to-basics", no-frills type of engine?
If our national security depends on it, then yes.  We don't need overseas software causing a controlled outage of our rail operations.  As it stands, we don't even have the old systems to fall back on.
 
The Arrow rebuild was botched.  Aside from not installing "long doors" (which were already previously introduced on the Comet III push-pull cars and enabled automatic door operation at low platforms as well as high), they left one truck unpowered (with the DC setup, all four trucks on a married pair were powered, but with the AC setup, they left one truck as a trailer), plus there were some other characteristics that were not corrected, so a type of MU that was supposed to return to service as a 100-mph performer including better acceleration was restricted (by Amtrak and NJT) to 80 mph.  (Also, the Arrows were not rebuilt with automatic variable-tap transformers, so they could not be used on the trains operating between New York Penn and Dover NJ due to the differences in voltage and frequencies on the NEC and the Morristown Line.)  The Arrows have not been maintained very well over the years, and AFAIK this came right from the top, due to the bizarre preference for push-pull stock at NJT management.
 
We don't have to imagine about electrics of the future.  All we have to do is look at new electrics coming out of Japan, Germany, France, Spain et al.  (RailfanEurope.net has photos of very interesting vehicles, all outgrowths of technology pioneered by the USA.)


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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
Former Member
Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 5th, 2007, 9:57pm »
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                       GP72ACe: Thanks for your views as well as the link. One thing that certainly can be said about "first-generation" electrics was that they were certainly built with longevity in mind. Many circa-1910 NYCRR MU's were still hauling commuters into the 1960s; likewise, NH's ancient "Mutts" were still doing their job through the 60s as well. PRR's trademark MP-54's (as well as those on the LIRR), lasted seemingly forever, with a number of PRR cars making it into PC green. Likewise, the old DL&W "Wickerliners" lasted many years after the time when one would have expected them to be retired. These hardy old veterans were anything BUT sophisticated, but they were BUILT TO LAST, and ran reliably and safely for decades, without any electronic aids whatsoever. They sure don't build 'em like THAT anymore!!   John

« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2007, 2:02am by JOHN_LUTHER_JONES » Logged
Pennsy
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 6th, 2007, 4:19pm »
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Hi All,
 
Okay, especially John, you all twisted my arm. So, it is with pleasure I refer you all to my thread, some time ago, for the GG-2, a concept well ahead of its time and most probably, sorely needed.


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Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
Walt_C
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 6th, 2007, 10:53pm »
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I agree with everyone who is saying that the "old" electric technology was much more serviceable than the present generation of "high tech" units. While there is certainly nothing wrong with using newly developed technology, I think that the first step should be to ask---what is it that we need this new unit to do. Having answered that question, we can then decide what technology-new or "old" best fits that identified need. This is what was done with those old units, and what I'm afraid hasn't been done with the current units. It seems that sometimes, new technology is applied simply because it is there, rather than because it is really needed.

« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2007, 10:55pm by Walt_C » Logged

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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 12:58am »
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     All: I guess we can all agree on at least one thing: that the old electrics.....the old, tried-and-true rivets-and-bolts steel-bodied mastadons......certainly served well and long....without any sophisticated electronic gizmos on board. Our good friend Pennsy mentioned the GG-1.....now THAT maginificent, handsome machine DID NOT rely on computerized whatzits....and yet....went on to become one of the most reknowned engines in history!!! 'nuff said!!!   John

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Pennsy
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #8 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 1:15am »
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Hi Walt & John,
 
Looks like you agree with me, hence the concept of the GG-2. It would represent the best of both worlds.


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Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #9 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 1:52am »
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on Jun 7th, 2007, 1:15am, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi Walt & John,
 
Looks like you agree with me, hence the concept of the GG-2. It would represent the best of both worlds.

    Hi, Pennsy: YOU SAID IT!!!!!!! Ahhh, if only a GG-2 had actually come into bieng!!! (with PINSTRIPES, of course!!)  John


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GP72ACe

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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #10 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 4:08pm »
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The E60 should have been built with the 2-C+C-2 wheel arrangement, thus being a de-facto GG2.  If that was done, then the AEM-7 would never have been heard of, methinks…

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RDG_4-8-4
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #11 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 4:18pm »
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I can't imagine anything more futuristic than what we have right now.  Maybe something that looks basically the same that goes faster?  I think we should bring back the P&W Bullets, but with air conditioning and more comfortable seats (Go ahead, laugh at me .....).

« Last Edit: Jun 7th, 2007, 4:19pm by RDG484 » Logged
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #12 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 10:24pm »
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on Jun 7th, 2007, 4:18pm, RDG_4-8-4 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I can't imagine anything more futuristic than what we have right now.  Maybe something that looks basically the same that goes faster?  I think we should bring back the P&W Bullets, but with air conditioning and more comfortable seats (Go ahead, laugh at me .....).

   RDG: LAUGH at you On the contrary, my friend, if I were Donald Trump, I'd give the FINANCIAL BACKING to make that a reality!!!!!!  John


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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #13 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 10:27pm »
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     First-generation electric longevity: One ex-PRR DD-1 (dating from 1910) was STILL in use as a work motor in 1970.....SIXTY YEARS after it was built!! And, we cannot forget how many decades those massive, hulking Swiss "Crocodiles" lumbered along through the Alps......BUILT TO LAST!!!!!!!   John

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Walt_C
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #14 on: Jun 8th, 2007, 4:40pm »
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Remember, also, that the Bullet Cars ran in daily service for almost 60 years. ( 1931 to somewhere near 1990) and it was braking problems which ultimately did them in.  And,unlike the DD1, the Bullet Cars were being used in essentially the same kind of service on the last day they ran as on the first. I suspect that the problem with their continuing in service was simply that replacement parts could no longer be obtained. Definately NOT a failure of that "old" technology.

« Last Edit: Jun 8th, 2007, 4:48pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
RDG_4-8-4
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #15 on: Jun 8th, 2007, 4:49pm »
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Thank you for your understanding, Walt and Winston.  It goes to show that they certainly don't build them like they used to.  You could start with the basic Bullet body, perhaps arrange them as a permenantly-coupled 4-car or 6-car train, maybe add larger trucks with longer wheelbases for better ride quality, quieter and more powerful motors, air conditioning, picture windows, different interior arrangements (1st class, cafe, straight coach) and I think you would have a winner.

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Pennsy
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #16 on: Jun 8th, 2007, 6:04pm »
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Hi All,
 
Not so sure that is the case. Brakes can always be rebuilt, exchanged, upgraded or even replaced with newer etc. models. Depends upon the economics of the situation and those making the final decisions, and let's not leave out the ones that are convinced that the buses were better. Makes you kind of wonder what the enticement was to get rid of these mass transit vehicles in favor of "modern buses" . Do you think Generous Motors had something to do with it, perchance


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Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #17 on: Jun 9th, 2007, 12:21am »
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on Jun 8th, 2007, 4:49pm, RDG_4-8-4 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Thank you for your understanding, Walt and Winston.  It goes to show that they certainly don't build them like they used to.  You could start with the basic Bullet body, perhaps arrange them as a permenantly-coupled 4-car or 6-car train, maybe add larger trucks with longer wheelbases for better ride quality, quieter and more powerful motors, air conditioning, picture windows, different interior arrangements (1st class, cafe, straight coach) and I think you would have a winner.

      Hi, RDG: I LIKE what I'm hearing!! Sounds like a cross between a Bullet and an Electroliner........oooohh, man!!! Imagine one of these babies zipping by a grade crossing with horns blaring, doing 90?? WOW!!!!!   John


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O. WINSTON LINK esq.
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #18 on: Jun 9th, 2007, 12:25am »
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on Jun 8th, 2007, 6:04pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi All,
 
Not so sure that is the case. Brakes can always be rebuilt, exchanged, upgraded or even replaced with newer etc. models. Depends upon the economics of the situation and those making the final decisions, and let's not leave out the ones that are convinced that the buses were better. Makes you kind of wonder what the enticement was to get rid of these mass transit vehicles in favor of "modern buses" . Do you think Generous Motors had something to do with it, perchance

         Hi, Pennsy: I'm going to refer this post to my good friend, Vern (Hwyhaulier). Trust me, his knowledge of what transpired that led to the mass slaughter of the American streetcar industry is both encyclopedic and highly insightful.......  John


« Last Edit: Jun 9th, 2007, 12:26am by JOHN_LUTHER_JONES » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Electrics of the future
 
« Reply #19 on: Jun 9th, 2007, 7:47am »
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on Jun 8th, 2007, 6:04pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
...Makes you kind of wonder what the enticement was to get rid of these mass transit vehicles in favor of "modern buses" . Do you think Generous Motors had something to do with it, perchance

Pennsy - John -
 
Ah! G M C theories don't much wash, despite some hysterical sources readily found on the 'net. A colleague here has done a good bit of research and analysis of what was going on with G M C and N C L. At the moment, I don't want to use bandwidth on it.
 
It all came down to pure business decisions, in conversion of rail services to highway.  Consider the post WWII environment when much of it happened. So much of the rolling stock was completely depreciated, and well past useful life of equipment. (Per IRS guidelines, and accounting principles, rather than whether the equipment actually worked reliably.)
 
The regulatory agencies (PUC and PSC entities) were simply not cutting any breaks on rate relief. Evidently, they did not fully consider impacts of inflation of the currency. A result, sufficient reserves were not being set aside for equipment replacement, nor enough for capital investment in improvement of rail physical plant. On top of that, it was becoming clear that retention of ridership was more and more of a crap shoot.
 
The result: Strictly business, "prudent man" decisions to follow least risk considerations. Such conduct, of course, was defensible as solutions to uphold protection of interests of the share holders of the many firms. Sure, many may not have liked it. The conduct, though, averted share holder lawsuits....
 
.........................Vern....................


« Last Edit: Jun 9th, 2007, 11:33am by HwyHaulier » Logged

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