Monday, 5 November 2012

What's next for EMD products in Australia?

The withdrawal of EDI-Downer from new locomotive construction in Australia means local operators are facing the imminent need to order new or modified EMD designs such as the GT38C-AC, GT42CU-AC and GT46C-ACe from Muncie, India or South Africa. It's probably too early to tell just what the new standard EMD model for narrow gauge and standard gauge will be post EDI-Downer, however this significant change in direction for Australia's local builder shouldn't mean they will be discounted from producing new locomotive models for the Australian rail-scape. From Perth to Burnie to Cairns, there are 531 second generation 645-engined locomotives with 12, 16 and 20 cylinders. All of these will reach or pass life expiry within the next decade and all are ripe for EMD's re-engining ECO program which could be undertaken by EMD's local guessed it - EDI-Downer. The ECO program is currently being rolled out in North America and has been adopted by some Class 1 railroads in a big way - Canadian Pacific has just signed up to have more than 500 locomotives rebuilt during the next eight years. Rebuilding involves fitting turbo-charged 8-cylinder 710 primemovers to roots-blown 12-645 and 16-645 models (such as the GP9u and GP38-2) and 12-710s to the ubiquitous turbo-charged 16-645 SD40-2. In Australia there are 206 GT26C/GT26C-2/JT26C-2/JT30C/JT36C-2 versions of the North American SD40/SD40-2/SD50 models currently being targeted by EMD for 3000hp 12-710 rebuilds, while another 325 roots-blown 12-645, 16-645 and turbo-charged 12-645s would be available for 2000hp 8-710 rebuilds. Yes, there is a cost, but the results could make up for it - a rebuilt locomotive will use 25-percent less fuel, 50-percent less lube oil and produce 70-percent less greenhouse gasses. So there's big gains for rail operators, not to mention local manufacturing...this could be one of those spaces worth watching. Don't count EDI-Downer out yet. 

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