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AEM7 Retirement


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#1 ronkstevens

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:26 PM

Are there any plans to "celebrate" the retirement of the AEM7's after their long service history? I think it would be nice to put one in Phase III paint and run it for awhile, and give it a nice farewell, similar to what was done with the GG1's when they were retired from service. (and more recently, the old SEPTA Silverliner II and III EMUs)

 


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#2 NE933

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:09 PM

I know many younger and modern fans will disagree, retiring the AEM7's is something of sadness; what we celebrate is the arrival of the ACS-64.

 

For a good deal of their lives, they were great machines, and still are, they are malfunctioning because of their age, hard wear and tear, and no money to fix what's broken anymore.  They handled 125mph operations for over three decades, powerful and reliable.  Many were doubtful after their debut, of whether they would be good enough to replace the GG1's and keep the NE Corridor fluid.  Well, they did that and much more.  Along with their diesel brothers, the F40's, they were the railroad's molecule of life, along with the Amfleets and Superliners.  Like I said, many detractors write on here and other sites of how much they are breaking down, and it's true -- they are, but it's because they have arrived at the end, and there's really no more to be expected of them.  It is time for these engines to pass on to locomotive paradise, which hopefully is the same Paradise we can get to, if we're 'good'. 

 

Mark my words:  the Corridor, it will look awfully strange after the last few units are gone, for as a person in my upper 40's, AEM7's made the route tick.  And forget, of course, today's bland horror that is their Phase 5 paint scheme, in the beginning, their stripes SHINED.  I mean, they rocked, and they wore the face of hope of American passenger railroading.  AEM7's bridged the chasm from the ruins of post automobile rail, to the future of what was to come and what can be.  These 7,000 horsepower locomotives embarassed arogant air shuttles by enabling trains to compete with them, and it gave train travelers a trump card in which to argue.  And while their domain was in the Northeast only, it gave bulk to the visions of people like W. Graham Jr., whose infant designs of electrified routes in California and the mid-West, had they actually been given money, would have had trains powered by either an AEM7 or derivative successor. 

 

The engines were moving, even while not in motion.  To see a double headed 13 car Amfleet consist waiting for take off was like waiting in the Roman Coluseum for the lion to pounce on its doomed target, I mean, the way they sounded -- that hum and whine during acceleration, the air hiss while stopped, was a life chapter of awe.   If possible, try to overlook what they've become, and see -- remember -- the dream of what they were not long ago even. 

 

ACS64 has big shoes to fill, as do we.  We can gripe about various things about Amtrak, but that requires the bold question:  what do we want, and what can we expect, of the American passenger train?  And what kind of work are we willing to expend to get it?

 

- Robert (NE933)


Edited by NE933, 06 February 2014 - 10:19 PM.


#3 RyanS

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:12 PM

I'm definitely going to miss them. Need to spend a lot more time trackside, I've got a goal of getting pictures of all of them before they go away.

I love looking at pictures of old rolling stock and am thankful for the people that took the time to preserve them. Hopefully I'll feel the same about my pictures 20 years down the line.
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#4 ronkstevens

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:51 PM

Very well put, Robert


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#5 MattW

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:03 PM

I only hope someone with more skills than I puts together an AEM-7 tribute video with nice, sadish music ("You Raise Me Up" would be a good choice? That is what they did, raised up the NEC)

 

[EDIT]

I spoke too soon:

 

I still hope to find one with slow, sad kind of music though.


Edited by MattW, 07 February 2014 - 12:36 AM.

Forum's official broken record about expanded Georgia passenger service!

#6 amtkstn

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:31 AM

Great video. For us born in the late seventies. We grew with these fine locomotives. They have truly earned their retirement.

#7 bgiaquin

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:18 PM

A few AEM-7s need to be preserved!  They are worthy of it in so many ways. They were ( and for now still are ) the workhorses of Amtrak's most important rail line for 34 years, and, considering the fact that they have been nearly run into the ground for the past few years, it is amazing they are still going strong. I say we give a good toast to the toasters.



#8 gmushial

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:35 PM

What type of retirement are the AEM-7s likely to see: sell them off for use on some other smaller lines? Sold as scrap for the metal and parts? Used as backups for the -64, just in case? Or, make no decision and simply park them in a rust-yard?   Though have to agree: they for many are the signature of the NEC.



#9 NE933

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

Chatter on other forums suggests appropriately, the Railroad Museum of PA, in Strasburg and near Lancaster, will get one or two.  Which ones I will surrender that debate to the rest of the other members, because my namesake #933 is burned up and scrapped, and #903 died long ago in the Chase, MD disaster.

 

Well, I take it back:  I vote for either 904, 902, or 901.  904 is like a cat with many lives:  in 1988, as part of the northbound Night Owl, crashed into work train equipment in the middle of the night, overturned, and slid perfectly in the middle, through a bridge.  A few inches off and the thing would've been shredded. 



#10 afigg

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:35 PM

What type of retirement are the AEM-7s likely to see: sell them off for use on some other smaller lines? Sold as scrap for the metal and parts? Used as backups for the -64, just in case? Or, make no decision and simply park them in a rust-yard?   Though have to agree: they for many are the signature of the NEC.

There is probably no viable resale market for the AEM-7s. Too many miles and years on them. Also configured for the NEC, other than a NE commuter agency who could use them? With their additional state funding, SEPTA has announced that it is planning to replace their AEM-7s with a RFP going out this year. Since there is a rather short list of vendors who have an active production line building electric locomotives to US requirements and suitable for NEC operations, pretty easy to guess who is likely to win that contract (with deliveries starting in early 2016).

 

Now Amtrak could lend or lease some AEM-7s to SEPTA or MARC on a short term basis if the agencies needed units to tie them over until new locomotives come in. But the AEM-7s are likely be gone entirely from the Northeast in 3-4 years.

 

One or two AEM-7s will probably go to museums, the rest to storage until the ACS-64s are all in and working. I could see Amtrak keeping a set of the AEM-7ACs around for a few years as insurance, but the rest would be candidates to get scrapped. I wonder how many pounds of copper are in an AEM-7DC? The copper would have good scrap value.



#11 NE933

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:25 PM

If any of you know any of the rail magazine publishers and editors (ex. RailPace, Trains, etc.), ask them to please not run any photos of scrapping.  A short blurb will do.  Thanks.



#12 benjibear

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:00 PM

I think at least one will get preserved in a museum.  Probably the Railroad Museum of PA would be one of the primary candidates.  I think most will be scrapped within the next 10 years. 

 

Any word on how they will phase in the new locomotives?  Will we see them on the Keystone or will we see the older locomotives for awhile yet.     



#13 Acela150

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:07 PM

Even at 22 years old my first memorable train ride was on train #172 behind toasters 923 and 935. Before the shore line was electrified. This was in 1997 and I was 6! :) I was thrilled! Those two units will have special meaning to me. Even though 923 seems to stalk me now a days.. Ever since that day I've never ridden behind 935.. A few years ago I rode behind 923 and 928 on my first double header since that day in April 1997. They will always be something special to me. I'm rather sad to see them go. But IMO it's not the same as when AE came on line. With ACS-64's I'm still sitting in an Amfleet. With AE that changed. Riding new equipment was a treat and still is. 


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#14 Guest_edjbox_*

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:08 AM

Anyone know which units will be retired first and when will they start going offline?



#15 gmushial

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:11 AM

:-)  ON

 

Wonder if the neighbors would object (too strongly) if one parked one in their front yard...  after all: what's move unique/distinctive, having a mundane green lawn, or a waxed and polished AEM7... 

 

hey...  maybe Amtrak won't be able to find bidders for all of them...   imagine the fun one could have on a $1 bid...   ;-)

 

:-)  OFF


Edited by gmushial, 08 February 2014 - 12:12 AM.


#16 Blackwolf

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:13 AM

:-)  ON

 

Wonder if the neighbors would object (too strongly) if one parked one in their front yard...  after all: what's move unique/distinctive, having a mundane green lawn, or a waxed and FOAMED AEM7... 

 

hey...  maybe Amtrak won't be able to find bidders for all of them...   imagine the fun one could have on a $1 bid...   ;-)

 

:-)  OFF

:cool:


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#17 gmushial

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:22 AM

:-)  ON

 

Hey...  it's just a toaster - I'm waiting for the electrical hookup for it in the kitchen....    ...  it should be only be another day or two...

 

:-)  OFF



#18 bgiaquin

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

Anyone know which units will be retired first and when will they start going offline?

 

The unrebuilt AEM-7DCs will go first. Those are #s 902, 906, 907, 909, 910, 912, 931, 932, 937, 945, 947, 949, 950, 951, 952, 953. They will be gone by this fall. Next is rebuilt AEM-7ACS. Those are 901, 904, 905, 908, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919, 920, 921, 923, 924, 925, 926, 927, 928, 929, 934, 935, 936, 938, 939, 940, 941, 942, 943, 944, 946, 948. Those will be gone by spring 2015. The other AEM-7s (900, 903, 911, 913, 922, 930, 933) are already gone. 900 and 903 were destroyed in the famous Chase, MD wreck in 1987. 911, 913, 922, 930 , and 933 were retired due to fire damage.



#19 Acela150

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 11:01 PM

I'm definitely going to miss them. Need to spend a lot more time trackside, I've got a goal of getting pictures of all of them before they go away.

 

I got one up on you Ryan.. I have photos of every AEM-7 except 900 and 903.. I managed to get a photo of 913 years ago.. 911 and 933 I got a few months before they were toast.. 922 I some how got.. I also have photos of every Acela PC. Although for years 2021 and 2024 eluded me. One Thanksgiving Sunday we had just packed up and I was starting to walk away from trackside and there she went.. 6 months later I got her at BWI. Then again 2 months later. 


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#20 RyanS

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:00 AM

Nice!
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