Old 12-30-2018, 07:35 PM   #1
railrev59
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Question Why all the hating on gensets?

I've seen a lot of derogatory comments about gensets over the years, so I'd like to clear up, in my own mind, what the problems actually are. I'm not interested in foamer-type comments like 'They're ugly' or 'They don't sound right'.
Maybe the build quality is poor? In which case, that's not because they're gensets; it's because the build quality is poor!
Maybe they're too complicated? A miniature version of the monster locomotives of the '50s and '60s - too many engines on one frame?
Maybe the technology hasn't caught up to the ideas? Maybe the maintenance crews aren't properly trained in how to look after them?
Or maybe it's just a modern-day version of the steam-to-diesel transition era; they're just different.
Maybe they're boys being sent to do a man's job?
Or maybe they're just driving up a blind alley, like gas turbines.
Bring on the discussion!
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:58 PM   #2
NorthWest
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Much of the problem stems from reliability issues. 3X the mechanical equipment leads to 3X the things that can break.

The other main thing is that gensets are fairly awful for switching because they tend to load really slowly. They're designed to only run the prime movers that are necessary for the load required, but in switching, this load varies quite a bit, and it takes time for the other sets to come online when maximum power was needed up front.

Decreased reliability + difficulties switching = pairing with an EMD...
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:49 PM   #3
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Also, they are oddballs, and railroads have a long history of not loving oddballs. Perhaps someone looking for a cheap-to-buy used one will go for one or two.
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Old 12-31-2018, 03:46 AM   #4
railrev59
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Two of my theories confirmed so far; too complicated, and boys being sent to do a man's job. And another one added, that I hadn't thought about. Mind you, if railroads buy oddballs, they've only got themselves to blame.
Thanks guys!

Last edited by railrev59; 12-31-2018 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthWest View Post
Much of the problem stems from reliability issues. 3X the mechanical equipment leads to 3X the things that can break.

The other main thing is that gensets are fairly awful for switching because they tend to load really slowly. They're designed to only run the prime movers that are necessary for the load required, but in switching, this load varies quite a bit, and it takes time for the other sets to come online when maximum power was needed up front.

Decreased reliability + difficulties switching = pairing with an EMD...
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