Amtrak Siemens Charger locomotive (SC44, ALC42, ALC42E)

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Dutchrailnut

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Jul 4, 2006
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as I said before both Genesis and Charger have gap anticipation software, reducing traction when contact is getting lost on leading shoes.
with AC traction its a different game, as power is not interrupted as abrupt as with DC traction.
 

cirdan

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Mar 30, 2011
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I don't know about the US locomotives, but in Britain, dual power locomotives were typically restricted to lower power when on third rail. For example both the Class 92 and first generation Eurostars could only reach full power when drawing AC from the catenary. The DC third rail restricted the power to something like two thirds (speaking from memory so please don't quote me on that figure). For EMUs this restriction was never a problem as they had distributed power gear and the dual system units could AFAIK always achieve the same performance on DC as on AC.

The DC-only locomotives (classes 70 and 71) had an on-board "booster" unit which was basically a flywheel to store energy. At times of peak power draw they would draw power from both third rail and from the flywheel at the same time, so limiting the peak amount of juice that had to come out of the third rail at any moment. The same flywheel also helped with gapping and even running shorter distances away from the third rail. They could also startup the flywheel by plugging into a ground supply which was useful for staring them up in the morning when they had been parked away from the third rail (most locomotive sheds were not electrified for safety reasons). The running lines were all electrified with only EMUs in mind and so in places there were/are longer gaps in the third rail that would have been too long for a locomotive. Some freight yards had DC catenary on account of the danger posed by the third rail to ground staff. Both classes had pantographs for this purpose.

On the newer classes 73 and 74 (the 74s were actually rebuilt 71s) they didn't fit a flywheel, but used a diesel engine instead. But this was quite small and although the engine could technically run any distance away from the electrified line, the effectively moderate power on diesel meant this only happened rarely. Recently some 73 have been upgraded with more powerful diesel engines and are being used on sleeper trains in Scotland, far away from any DC electrification.

I understand that in the 1980s when Class 73s were inroduced on the Gatwick Express as replacement for EMUs, they had trouble because the frequent gaps on the Brighton line led to the diesel engines being started up and shut down continuously which lead to overheating and failures and even at least one nasty fire. I think they fixed that by tinkering with the software and also trained the drivers to better anticipate the gaps.
 

Agent

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Nov 30, 2011
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Iowa
AMTK 310 and 311 have been released from the factory and are traveling east on Amtrak #6(27). Railyard Films caught them at Roseville, California.



Kevin Standlee filmed this California Zephyr at Fernley, Nevada.

 

west point

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Jun 9, 2015
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SW ATL airport
It may be at least another year but sooner or later we will see 2 active chargers pulling 2 to be delivered. I can imagine the fans falling all over themselves getting that 4 charger consist.
 

billosborn

Train Attendant
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Mar 6, 2022
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The previous two, 308 and 309 were released from the factory in Mid April - I looks like the factory is finishing two engines every month and a half or so. I know the earliest ones are in service on the Empire Builder, hope to see more of them on the Western LD trains.
 

Cal

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Jan 23, 2021
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I kind of wish my CONO trip in July will have them, but at the same time I don’t. I’m miss the beautiful horns on the P42s
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
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UK
Hi All.
I've been to the US many times on work/vacation, but I've just done my first trip to the US whilst making an effort to have a reasonable amount of time to go watch things on rails.
I've had look through here and can't find any pics of the ACE SC-44s, so I thought I'd share one from my trip.
#3111 at San Jose Diridon on 18 May 2022, about to shove one of the afternoon/evening trains to Stockton - probably train ACE06.
Nice clean lines and an uncluttered livery, complete with a matching - I believe - newly repainted bi-level set.
 

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billosborn

Train Attendant
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Mar 6, 2022
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The Skykomish webcam captured the #301 ALC-42 pulling the Eastbound Seattle portion of the EB on 6/11. Does anyone else have current info on where other ALC=42's are currently in service (i.e not including the ones that are being transported to Wilmington)
 

Cal

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The Skykomish webcam captured the #301 ALC-42 pulling the Eastbound Seattle portion of the EB on 6/11. Does anyone else have current info on where other ALC=42's are currently in service (i.e not including the ones that are being transported to Wilmington)
It's been on the Builder for a few months now. I think I heard that the next train to be equipped with them is the CONO but I'm not entirely sure. Other than the Builder they're not in revenue service.
 

AmtrakBlue

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May 6, 2011
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Delaware
I kind of wish my CONO trip in July will have them, but at the same time I don’t. I’m miss the beautiful horns on the P42s
You might get your wish. 307 just left WAS on #19 heading to NOL. I'm guessing another one will head down tomorrow. 2 or 4 of the new engines left the Wilmington shops yesterday for WAS...to be dispersed. (and I missed both moves :( ) I think NOL maintenance people have already been familiarized withe the new engines, so maybe they'll go into service soon.
 
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billosborn

Train Attendant
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Mar 6, 2022
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Simple Railways just posted a video of his trip from Seattle on the EB. He was hoping to see an ALC-42 and he was rewarded - As always, he has chapter links in the description. You can click on "A Charger in the mountains" to see #300 pulling the train, and a closeup walk-around of the charger at the Whitefish, MT stop.
 
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