AEM7 Retirement

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by ronkstevens, Feb 7, 2014.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Feb 7, 2014 #1

    ronkstevens

    ronkstevens

    ronkstevens

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Philadelphia Suburbs
    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)
     
  2. Feb 7, 2014 #2

    NE933

    N

    NE933

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Queens, New York
    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)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  3. Feb 7, 2014 #3

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    16,717
    Location:
    OTN
    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.
     
  4. Feb 7, 2014 #4

    ronkstevens

    ronkstevens

    ronkstevens

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Philadelphia Suburbs
    Very well put, Robert
     
  5. Feb 7, 2014 #5

    MattW

    M

    MattW

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,729
    Location:
    East of Atlanta, GA
    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  6. Feb 7, 2014 #6

    amtkstn

    a

    amtkstn

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    OK
    Great video. For us born in the late seventies. We grew with these fine locomotives. They have truly earned their retirement.
     
  7. Feb 7, 2014 #7

    bgiaquin

    b

    bgiaquin

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Messages:
    219
    Location:
    Minnesota
    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. Feb 7, 2014 #8

    gmushial

    gmushial

    gmushial

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Location:
    RDD
    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. Feb 7, 2014 #9

    NE933

    N

    NE933

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Queens, New York
    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. Feb 7, 2014 #10

    afigg

    a

    afigg

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,896
    Location:
    Virginia
    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. Feb 7, 2014 #11

    NE933

    N

    NE933

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Queens, New York
    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. Feb 7, 2014 #12

    benjibear

    benjibear

    benjibear

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,077
    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. Feb 8, 2014 #13

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,139
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    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.
     
  14. Feb 8, 2014 #14

    edjbox

    e

    edjbox

    Guest

    Anyone know which units will be retired first and when will they start going offline?
     
  15. Feb 8, 2014 #15

    gmushial

    gmushial

    gmushial

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Location:
    RDD
    :) 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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2014
  16. Feb 8, 2014 #16

    Blackwolf

    Blackwolf

    Blackwolf

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,503
    Location:
    CIC
    :cool:
     
  17. Feb 8, 2014 #17

    gmushial

    gmushial

    gmushial

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Location:
    RDD
    :) 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. Feb 8, 2014 #18

    bgiaquin

    b

    bgiaquin

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Messages:
    219
    Location:
    Minnesota
    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. Feb 9, 2014 #19

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,139
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    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.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2014 #20

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    16,717
    Location:
    OTN
    Nice!
     
  21. Feb 9, 2014 #21

    gmushial

    gmushial

    gmushial

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Location:
    RDD
    Impressive :)
     
  22. Feb 14, 2014 #22

    cirdan

    cirdan

    cirdan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,274
    Yes, they will probably want one, although I daresay they are running out of space and all of the equipment parked outside and rusting in the rain is not a pretty sight.

    I hope other locations will also want to preserve one, as happened with the GG1s.

    But I guess the chances of one getting preserved as a working machine are slim? As far as I am aware there isn't a precedent for this, other than some of the freight railroads having F-Units to pull director's trains. But I have difficulty seeing that in an NEC context.
     
  23. Feb 16, 2014 #23
    Electric railroading preservation is a problematic area, because there are so few museums with live electrification. There are a number of trolley museums with overhead DC, and some which have enough juice to power interurbans.

    But the only third rail example I know of (worldwide) is the NYC Transit Museum, which is actually part of the MTA.

    And I know of *no* examples of live AC overhead electrification at *any* museum.

    Having an *operating* AEM-7 would be a bit like having an operating GG-1 -- you need a track to run it on! If some museum is connected to one of the AC electrified railway lines, it might be viable to set the preserved electrics on an electrified siding with the possibility of excursion trips. But I'm not aware of such a museum. Perhaps New Jersey or Pennsylvania, with their multitude of electrified branches, would be the best places to set one up.

    It might be possible for one of the museums with a really large budget to set up its own museum track electrified with overhead AC, but that would probably be even harder.
     
  24. Feb 16, 2014 #24
    OK, I did a little research. Perhaps the best possibility would be for a "museum" AEM-7 to be stationed in Harrisburg, next to the non-working GG1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRR_4859 Apparently there are enough spare tracks there to just leave a museum exhibit sitting there... and the tracks are electrified. Some museum would have to sponsor this, of course.

    (This also seems like the best place for a restoration project to get a working GG-1.)
     
  25. Feb 16, 2014 #25

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,039
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    The Strasburg Rail Road, which connects the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania with the Keystone Line at Leaman Place, would be an ideal place for this...There was at least one occasion when they 'rescued' GG-1's, needing wheel repacement at their drop-table equipped shop....
     

Share This Page



arrow_white