Old 02-05-2009, 02:29 AM   #1
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Default Bnsf A1a-a1a

I heard recently that BNSF was ordering a A1A-A1A version of the ES44AC. Was wondering if anyone else had heard or had any thoughts on the subject.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:04 AM   #2
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An order of 25 ES44C4's were ordered on top of the 322 BNSF ES44AC's that they will be getting from GE, plus another 35 SD70ACe's to finish up the order from EMC. The ES44C4's will be used in high speed intermodal service using 4 traction motors (1,100 HP per axle) rather than 6 axles (733 HP per axle) for acceleration and speed.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC Nick
I heard recently that BNSF was ordering a A1A-A1A version of the ES44AC. Was wondering if anyone else had heard or had any thoughts on the subject.
yes, BNSF will be taking delivery of 25 ES44C4's or ES44AC-C4's, model designation not yet confirmed. They will essentially be ES44AC's, but rather than having 6 traction motors will have only 4 traction motors, giving the units an A1A-A1A wheel arrangement. The idea is that the unit with 4 AC traction motors will be able to produce a similar amount of tractive effort as a normal DC traction ES44DC with 6 traction motors. These units will be numbered #6600-6624.
These units will be in addition to 322 DC traction ES44DC's (not ES44AC's as listed by someone else), delivery of which just started this week. This particular order starts with the 7200 series.

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Old 02-05-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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It is currently testing on the Buffalo and Pittsburgh main at least from Buffalo to Dubois, PA, maybe onto Butler and New Castle, PA. Damn work schedule!
Reports include the new BNSF, 2 GE locos with the test car, along with the normal B&P locos and freight consist.

GE did some testing in the past on the B&P as recent as last year. There are a few photos in the DB. GE uses the B&P to test because of the grades and curves etc., locale in relation to Erie, and low traffic volume.

I'll try to find the photos from last year and edit this post.

Edit: I guess it wasn't on RP.net, but from the BPRR yahoo group. Attached photo was taken at Salamnca by cp367 from the group.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Jones
They will essentially be ES44AC's, but rather than having 6 traction motors will have only 4 traction motors, giving the units an A1A-A1A wheel arrangement.
For those of us who don't know anything about locomotives (I may be the only one here), can you explain what A1A-A1A wheel arrangement is? Thanks.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
For those of us who don't know anything about locomotives (I may be the only one here), can you explain what A1A-A1A wheel arrangement is? Thanks.
It has to do with the powering of the axles. A C-C arrangement has three axles on the truck on each end (A=1, B=2, C=3, ...) and all of them have power. So EMD SD engines are C-C. EMD GP engines are B-B. An engine with A1A-A1A also has three axles on each truck but only the end ones have power (traction motor), the middle one is unpowered. So it bears weight but does not push.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:27 PM   #7
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The EMD E series of passenger engines (E3, E9, etc.) had A1A-A1A trucks also.

I just uploaded an E3(A) shot and not long before that, an E9(A); 4-10 views each, please!

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:54 PM   #8
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The GMD-1 built by GM's Canadian division is also an A1A trucked locomotive. This purpose built locomotive was designed to operate on light rail prairie branches by using the middle idler axle to help distribute the weight over six axles without incuring the added weight of the additional two traction motors. Most were delivered with A1A trucks, but some arrived with BB flexicoils.

In the eighties many were rebuilt, most became BB units in the in the 1400 series with trucks off retired GP9's (I think), though a clutch were R/B and numbered in the 1600 series retaining their A1A's to patrol the shrinking light rail line network. Only CN and NAR (Northern Alberta Railway's) purchased them new, and a few of them are still running around on CN as switchers, and are assumed to be BB trucked units... not sure if any A1A's are left.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:11 PM   #9
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Just remembered, there was also the EMD FL-9, a dual-powered (diesel + third-rail electric) used by the New Haven RR. It had an unusual imbalanced B-A1A arrangement, two axles on one end and three on the other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_FL9
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
For those of us who don't know anything about locomotives (I may be the only one here), can you explain what A1A-A1A wheel arrangement is? Thanks.
Fail! If you don't know something, go to Wikipedia!
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Fail! If you don't know something, go to Wikipedia!
But then we couldn't have a nice discussion about it here.

Thanks for the info, J and Mike.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
But then we couldn't have a nice discussion about it here.

Thanks for the info, J and Mike.
Searching allows J to give his fingers a break from typing so much everyday!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A1A-A1A#A1A-A1A
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #13
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Thinking about it, CP had at least one A1A freight locomotive that was along the lines of what BNSF is doing. The one of a kind CP M640 #4744 was built as a 4000hp locomotive in 1971 (I think) by MLW. It was reduced to a frame in a derailment some time in the 70's (again, not totally sure of exactly when) and eventually rebuilt as an AC traction testbed, with the trucks reconfigured from C-C to A1A-A1A. I think this was to accomodate the larger traction motors by removing the centre and making it an idler axle.

Not exactly a success, I think it spent a fair amount of time out of service. It was an 18 cylinder beast! Likely a "we'll repair it when we're running out of work" situation my the diesel shop crews, they'd have had their hands full keeping the DC drive MLW fleet running.

Here she is stuffed and mounted, long retired.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Fail! If you don't know something, go to Wikipedia!
Yeah! And of course, everything on Wikipedia is dead on accurate!
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Fladung
Yeah! And of course, everything on Wikipedia is dead on accurate!
Ha ha, I was going to edit the Wiki entry from this:

Quote:
"A1A-A1A" means there are two identical trucks, or wheel assemblies under the unit. Each truck has one powered axle, one idler axle, and one more powered axle. This was to more evenly spread the weight of the locomotive over the track. Examples include the EMD E-units and ALCO PAs, which were passenger locomotives, and the dual service FM Erie-built.
...to this:

Quote:
"A1A-A1A" means there are two identical trucks, or wheel assemblies under the unit. Each truck has one powered axle, one idler axle, and one more powered axle. This was to more evenly spread the weight of the locomotive over the track. But everyone knows that, except Jim Thias, who is either too dumb or too lazy to look it up himself. Examples include the EMD E-units and ALCO PAs, which were passenger locomotives, and the dual service FM Erie-built.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Ha ha, I was going to edit the Wiki entry from this:



...to this:

But everyone knows that, except Jim Thias, who is either too dumb or too lazy to look it up himself.


(by the way, every time I see this thread title it makes me think of South Beach....and Vanilla Ice. )
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:41 AM   #17
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OK, I'm gonna revive this thread. I understand what an A-1-A arrangement is and that these new ES44C4's are supposed to be built for high speed intermodal, but exactly makes them better than the 6 motor units? The fastest track I know of on the transcon is 70 MPH. I guess I'm just not getting the concept on how 4 is better than 6.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:38 AM   #18
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The May issue of TRAINS explains why BNSF is going this route...it could be the wave of the future!!!!
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:52 AM   #19
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Chris, could you write main points here for those of us, who can not get easily that magazine?

I also don't get what is the advantage of unpowered axle on these locomotives. Starting tractive effort no longer matters, when they're cutting 1/3 of it?
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Old 03-28-2009, 03:40 PM   #20
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Basically with the A1A-A1A, BNSF is hoping to get the same performance (minimum continuous tractive effort, starting tractive effort, adhesions, and dynamic braking effort) as a 6-axle D.C. loco but with the reliability and efficiency of A.C. (the article talks about how A.C. traction control is more reliable than D.C.; offering 20 to 30 days longer mean time before failure compared with D.C.).

Right now BNSF is testing the C4s (at first, they'll be solid C4 lashups eventually comingled with 6-axle D.C. power) in the same types of service that now used 6-axle D.C. (intermodal, merchandise, and grain).

The other brief point is now they have two fewwer traction motors to maintain.

All in all, it seems like a pretty ingenius set up...assuming it works. I wonder how hard EMD is scrambling to keep up?
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:13 PM   #21
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I'm still quite curious. All you describe are basically advantages of any brushless traction motors over brushed ones. But I still don't get one thing: why they do include unpowered axles in their design. AFAIK, it brings to locomotive only dead weight and increased resistance compared to locomotive with the same weight on drivers. The funny thing for me is that they've already produced a fast and heavy locomotive without need of idle axes - Genesis series, so they're capable of it...

As I write it, one real advantage of idle axes and extra weight comes to my mind - increased braking power. Maybe BNSF will need it to be able to run at higher speeds without massive upgrades of current cars...
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:19 PM   #22
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Not sure...I just typey typed what was in the article.

As far as 4-axle power on long-haul intermodal service, perhaps BNSF is hesitant after GE's B40-CW and EMD's GP60M. My understanding that both of those were rough riding and not a crew fav.

Also, from a cost standpoint, it would probably be much more cost effective to use an already established frame, etc. rather than design a new 4-axle unit/truck. The article does mention that maintenance is very very similar between ES44ACs and the ES44C4s so no extra cost on training.

But let me just state the obvious, I'm just a dude with a camera and have no first hand knowledge/experience on the rationale, just throwing out an opinion...
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween View Post
Not sure...I just typey typed what was in the article.

As far as 4-axle power on long-haul intermodal service, perhaps BNSF is hesitant after GE's B40-CW and EMD's GP60M. My understanding that both of those were rough riding and not a crew fav.

Also, from a cost standpoint, it would probably be much more cost effective to use an already established frame, etc. rather than design a new 4-axle unit/truck. The article does mention that maintenance is very very similar between ES44ACs and the ES44C4s so no extra cost on training.

But let me just state the obvious, I'm just a dude with a camera and have no first hand knowledge/experience on the rationale, just throwing out an opinion...

Just remember horsepower per axle is greater on a 4 axle locomotive than a 6 axle locomotive.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:47 PM   #24
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Ok, HP per axle is more for the 4 powered axles, but you still have the unpowered ones, so you're not putting any more power to the ground per unit. OK, you've got fewer traction motors to maintain, and purchace in the first place, but how much did it cost to develop the controls for that idler axle and the new tooling to make it all work? Seems like they're tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Ok, HP per axle is more for the 4 powered axles, but you still have the unpowered ones, so you're not putting any more power to the ground per unit. OK, you've got fewer traction motors to maintain, and purchace in the first place, but how much did it cost to develop the controls for that idler axle and the new tooling to make it all work? Seems like they're tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.

How much money in R&D do you really think that it takes to put a freight car axle in place of a powered axle? I'll tell you, NONE, both share a common 6.5x12" bearing design with common adapters. The point of this design is acceleration of the train. A 6 axle takes much more longer to accelerate than a 4 axle does. Since the locomotive is weighted down on 6 axles with only 4 axles powered, it is capable of a higher starting tractive effort while still offering high acceleration and high adhesion at all speeds, albiet what the gear ratio is capable of.

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