Reliability of Chinese Manufactured Locomotives

 
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I received the following link from a colleague in New Zealand regarding the decision by Kiwi Rail to phase out operation of electric traction on the North Island Trunk Mainline and operate all with diesel.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/leaked-documents-reveal-serious-concerns-kiwirails-decision-switch-electric-trains-diesel

Whilst that is an interesting topic in itself, the interesting point that has come out relates to the performance and reliability of the quite extensive fleet of Chinese manufactured DL Class locomotives and as far as I am aware a further order underway.


An extract of the report reads: "
KiwiRail announced the decision last year, and said diesel would improve reliability and efficiency.
But an external peer review by engineering consultants WorleyParsons warns diesel trains bought from China have "a very high failure rate".

Seven to nine are out of service at any one time for maintenance, repair and asbestos removal. And their performance has been
"extraordinarily poor".    

The reason I've raised this in a separate thread is that we have a reasonable fleet of units here with SCT having a number and they too have had their problems.   In fact in very recent times SCT have had an extensive run of "motive power" problems, disrupting services but I'm not sure of what the split has been between the EMD SCT class versus the Chinese units.

Given that Worley Parsons is an independent engineering consulting firm who do a lot of work in Australia and elsewhere, I would view their advice as being of significant concern.

Is this something that the operators here in Australia are still grappling with, do we know what are the type of reliability issues etc

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  M636C Minister for Railways

While it took a long time to get the SDA-1 units cleared to operate over jointless track circuits, they seem to be out there running trains, both the QBXs and the CSRs  and BKs.

While the Australian locomotives have the same engine, the MTU 20V4000, as the Kiwi Rail locomotives, that is where the similarity ends.The NZ units are DC traction, all the Australian units are AC traction which should improve reliability.

The NZ units were built by the former China Northern at Dalien (hence the class DL) while the SDA-1s were built by the former China Southern at Ziyang.

The PN 88 class (SDA-2) have not been seen by me in operation, but they are different to both  the SDA-1 and the DL and built by a third factory in central China. There aren't a lot of railfans watching the Goonyella system. They were sent to Maryborough for some work (they have ABB electrics which are familiar in Maryborough).

The Kiwis were stuck with not particularly reliable British built electric locomotives. Back in 2000 the Wellington-Auckland passenger trains were as often diesel as electric. I was surprised they didn't pick up any of the Aurizon locomotives that wre scrapped recently, it would be hard for them to be worse than what they had, but they might have been too wide for the NZ tunnels.

The Kiwis need new locomotives and they haven't much money to spend. They can't keep repairing their old EMDs and GEs forever, although it is suggested that the new units fail more often than the older units.

The trains seem to keep running, from what I've heard.

Peter
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I wonder which loco was the one responsible for the SCT train blocking the Main Road level crossing at Glenalta for over two hours yesterday morning?
  jmt Deputy Commissioner


Is this something that the operators here in Australia are still grappling with, do we know what are the type of reliability issues etc
Trainplanner
May gain a more accurate picture looking at reliability from a worldwide perspective

At least four established users of Chinese locos have recently placed orders with GE

Pakistan (55), Angola (100), Namibia (6), and Nigeria (figure of 200 mentioned in some press reports), where GE have signed an agreement to establish a loco assembly operation as well as supplying 25 units in 2010/11 from GE do Brazil

Argentina's recently displaced Peronist government placed huge orders with China c.2015, around 3.5k wagons, 600+ EMU/DMU, +/- 300 coaches, and over 150 locos

One of the early deliveries was 24 SDD7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSR_SDD7

These units have a propensity to self immolation, at least 8 of the 24 have ignited so far. The Cat 3516 turbos have shown a tendency to let go, the resulting fire stoked by melted plastic low pressure fuel lines

Examples of Dalian "workmanship" on CKD8G https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNR_CKD8


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ekHQ0YaqhY


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GHQkJ9vAY4

Namibia purchased 4 CKD8C in 2004, and 17 SDD6 in 2007. All withdrawn except for a pair of SDD6 used for Windhoek shunting. Mainly replaced by rebuilt phase 1 U20C, and GT26C from South Africa
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

I wonder which loco was the one responsible for the SCT train blocking the Main Road level crossing at Glenalta for over two hours yesterday morning?
justapassenger
A CSR, I am told.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner


The reason I've raised this in a separate thread is that we have a reasonable fleet of units here with SCT having a number and they too have had their problems.   In fact in very recent times SCT have had an extensive run of "motive power" problems, disrupting services but I'm not sure of what the split has been between the EMD SCT class versus the Chinese units.
Trainplanner
I believe the CSR class loco faults would outweigh the SCT class loco faults by about 3 or 4 to 1.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks, very informative.    Further to this I believe the Ausloco sight has an extensive discussion running ATM on the same topic (ill have to join).   Some recent photos and YouTube clips have shown some SCT services running multiple lash ups of the CBR/BK units.  I don't know whether that's just for loco balancing purposes or account failures and the train being rescued.

Either way it must be causing enormous grief
  1771D Junior Train Controller

As usual, in relation to replacement of quality items with cheap crap products; short term gain = long term pain.  There are very few exceptions to this rule that I have ever encountered within the rail industry.  In  short, you get what you pay for.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The last I've heard of the 88s they had been relegated to trailing unit status, but I'm not sure how extensively they're being used. The PN crews don't seem to be particularly fond of them.
  1771D Junior Train Controller

It's funny how the economic rationalist management types and bean counters who suggest or approve the procurement of cheap inferior equipment/materials, without solid supporting evidence of ANY good reason to do so, besides initial cost savings, NEVER seem to be held to account.  It looks good on paper, but in reality, almost always ending up costing more in the medium to long term.  This is typical of today's corporate management strategies.  It's all just a part of the race to the bottom.  End of rant. Evil or Very Mad
  1771D Junior Train Controller

Also, it beggars belief that products (locos) are still being imported into Australia/NZ containing asbestos.  Surely someone should be held to account for this.  To me it borders on criminal that it can be allowed to happen.  Sorry, end of rant again.
  NOELWB Locomotive Driver

I have asked this question before on similar threads and the silence re responses was deafening. What are the nature of the failures. This a relevant question given that the major components of all the locomotives in question have different countries of origin.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Yes it would be great to get that understanding.   Without being overly simplistic, the Chinese locomotives (like products produced by Bombardier and Siemens and many others) are in effect an assembly of various components sourced far and wide.   At face value when you see major components like MTU prime movers or similar you at first get a sense that this is well proven good kit, but is it how the systems, as well as the mechanicals and electricals are integrated/brought together.

Added to that are some of the quality/workmanship issues that have been noted by others.

What I do know on other rail industry supplies like wagons for example a lot of those issues (through experience) have been overcome by having overseas (in this case Australian) technical people on the ground basically undertaking quality control and catching issues before they become major etc with a consequential improvement in the quality and reliability of the end product.

Purely an assumption on my part but the SCT (CBR) units are a few years old now and I'm not sure if SCT or its technical advisors employed independent quality assurance people on the ground when these units were built.

All stuff of course that we'd be very interested to know.   In some ways and I stress some ways, this experience is not totally dissimilar to some of the very early experience in relation to the importation of some first generation diesels into Australia.   Some of that was because there were several unique designs, whereas the Chinese units could be argued as not being unique in that regard as we have well and truly gone past the early development phase of diesel electric traction compared to the 1950's.
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
1771D. Asbestos was found in imported fibre cement sheeting at our new (Perth) children's hospital.
Worse still IMO, is the DIYers who don't care, or don't know what their ripping up.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Also, it beggars belief that products (locos) are still being imported into Australia/NZ containing asbestos.  Surely someone should be held to account for this.  To me it borders on criminal that it can be allowed to happen.  Sorry, end of rant again.
1771D
Biggest problem appears that the Chinese government doesn't seem to think that white asbestos is dangerous, whilst they do regard blue asbestos as dangerous!
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Yes it would be great to get that understanding.   Without being overly simplistic, the Chinese locomotives (like products produced by Bombardier and Siemens and many others) are in effect an assembly of various components sourced far and wide.   At face value when you see major components like MTU prime movers or similar you at first get a sense that this is well proven good kit, but is it how the systems, as well as the mechanicals and electricals are integrated/brought together.

Added to that are some of the quality/workmanship issues that have been noted by others.

What I do know on other rail industry supplies like wagons for example a lot of those issues (through experience) have been overcome by having overseas (in this case Australian) technical people on the ground basically undertaking quality control and catching issues before they become major etc with a consequential improvement in the quality and reliability of the end product.

Purely an assumption on my part but the SCT (CBR) units are a few years old now and I'm not sure if SCT or its technical advisors employed independent quality assurance people on the ground when these units were built.

All stuff of course that we'd be very interested to know.   In some ways and I stress some ways, this experience is not totally dissimilar to some of the very early experience in relation to the importation of some first generation diesels into Australia.   Some of that was because there were several unique designs, whereas the Chinese units could be argued as not being unique in that regard as we have well and truly gone past the early development phase of diesel electric traction compared to the 1950's.
Trainplanner
'What I do know on other rail industry supplies like wagons for example a lot of those issues (through experience) have been overcome by having overseas (in this case Australian) technical people on the ground basically undertaking quality control and catching issues before they become major etc with a consequential improvement in the quality and reliability of the end product.'

This was certainly the case with the most successful 40 tonne axleload FMG ore wagons where FMG employed highly experienced Australian rolling stock engineers to watch over the construction of their ore wagons whose build quality far exceeds some more recent Chinese rolling stock builds. A similar arrangement applied to several other operators until the bean counters decided that a 'she'll be right' approach should be adopted. Much of the result is history..........
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
And don't forget that the Chinese count insulation with 5% asbestos as 'asbestos-free' Shocked
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
And don't forget that the Chinese count insulation with 5% asbestos as 'asbestos-free' Shocked
LancedDendrite
I thought that meant "asbestos included for free".
  ssaunders Train Controller

Also, it beggars belief that products (locos) are still being imported into Australia/NZ containing asbestos.  Surely someone should be held to account for this.  To me it borders on criminal that it can be allowed to happen.  Sorry, end of rant again.
1771D

It doesn't boarder on the criminal, it is an offense to import asbestos. It is a "prohibited good". If found they are seized by the crown and forfeited for disposal.
  1771D Junior Train Controller

If found.  There's the issue.
  MEASWELL Locomotive Driver

Location: werribee/tullamarine
Australian Border force (Customs) have made shipments of machinery & manufactured goods (from especially China) a target for asbestos testing of late. testing is at the importers expense and means having an asbestos hygienist on site and having things like clutches & brake pads sent for lab testing.

it quite frightening to see a list of goods that have been found with Asbestos  

they say they are not accepting documentation just saying "no asbestos", they actually want lab reports from authorised bodies, and material data etc, but the onus is on the importer to make sure that asbestos is not used in the manufacturers supply chain

what percentage of shipments are actually held i could not say, probably only a drop in the ocean... although one could assume that if certain exporters/manufacturers have had product found with asbestos in the past that they would be targeted in the future, but on the flip side i know of company who recently had their products tested and were found to be free of asbestos, so it would be unlikely they will be tested again for quite some time
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
And don't forget that the Chinese count insulation with 5% asbestos as 'asbestos-free' Shocked
I thought that meant "asbestos included for free".
Gaz170
''asbestos-free''
Are you Chinese by any chance? Smile
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
And don't forget that the Chinese count insulation with 5% asbestos as 'asbestos-free' Shocked
I thought that meant "asbestos included for free".
Gaz170
As in "This Product is Asbestos Free - all this Asbestos - it's free!"

Used to apply to rust as well

BG
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

These are my personal observations from the job. I am happy to be corrected in any of these details.

Regarding PNs 88s up in the CQCN, they arrived in Gladstone around 5 or so years ago, and sat on blocks at Auckland Point for a fair while, quite a few months IIRC. I have heard various reasons for this, asbestos, reliability, and financial, but these could all be chinese whispers. I have no real idea.

They eventually made their way on track and disappeared up north.

My first sighting of them was a couple of years later, when 2 were stabled in the bad order siding at Yan Yan. They sat there for a number of months. I was told the other 3 were hidden away in a siding up at Waitara. Its strange that they spent so much time up in the Goonyella system, as it is almost 100% electric. The only diesels that venture into that territory are Lake Vermont, German Ck, and Oaky Ck trains from the Blackwater system, and more recently, with the completion of the northern missing link, some Newlands system trains also come down to Lake Vermont. A PN electric in the Blackwater system is an extremely rare event. It happened recently after Cyclone Debbie closed Black Mountain. One wandered down this way from Hail Ck, I think it was, a couple of times. That's no longer happening. Its the only time I have seen a PN electric down this way in about 9 years.

Only recently, in the last couple of years, have the 88s started to see real service in the Blackwater system. I have never seen them in any other position than the second lead loco. About 6 months ago, there were 2 of them that were stabled in the old Mt Morgan spur at Kabra. It seemed the 2 were taking approx. weekly turns at running as 2nd lead loco. I have been told that they have communication issues with the 83s. They don't like talking to each other apparently. Again, this could just be chinese whispers. But in the last month or so, they seem to be MIA again.

There is a discussion about them in the Qld forums. But to me, given the capital expense the company would have gone to, to purchase them, and the amount of track time, (unless they have been seeing a LOT of service up in the Newlands system) they don't seem to be paying their way. Perhaps that's why there are only 5 in the class. Again, that's only my opinion, and in no way is representative of any companies official stand on the issue.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

These are my personal observations from the job. I am happy to be corrected in any of these details.

Regarding PNs 88s up in the CQCN, they arrived in Gladstone around 5 or so years ago, and sat on blocks at Auckland Point for a fair while, quite a few months IIRC. I have heard various reasons for this, asbestos, reliability, and financial, but these could all be chinese whispers. I have no real idea.

They eventually made their way on track and disappeared up north.

My first sighting of them was a couple of years later, when 2 were stabled in the bad order siding at Yan Yan. They sat there for a number of months. I was told the other 3 were hidden away in a siding up at Waitara. Its strange that they spent so much time up in the Goonyella system, as it is almost 100% electric. The only diesels that venture into that territory are Lake Vermont, German Ck, and Oaky Ck trains from the Blackwater system, and more recently, with the completion of the northern missing link, some Newlands system trains also come down to Lake Vermont. A PN electric in the Blackwater system is an extremely rare event. It happened recently after Cyclone Debbie closed Black Mountain. One wandered down this way from Hail Ck, I think it was, a couple of times. That's no longer happening. Its the only time I have seen a PN electric down this way in about 9 years.

Only recently, in the last couple of years, have the 88s started to see real service in the Blackwater system. I have never seen them in any other position than the second lead loco. About 6 months ago, there were 2 of them that were stabled in the old Mt Morgan spur at Kabra. It seemed the 2 were taking approx. weekly turns at running as 2nd lead loco. I have been told that they have communication issues with the 83s. They don't like talking to each other apparently. Again, this could just be chinese whispers. But in the last month or so, they seem to be MIA again.

There is a discussion about them in the Qld forums. But to me, given the capital expense the company would have gone to, to purchase them, and the amount of track time, (unless they have been seeing a LOT of service up in the Newlands system) they don't seem to be paying their way. Perhaps that's why there are only 5 in the class. Again, that's only my opinion, and in no way is representative of any companies official stand on the issue.
Expost
"Chinese Whisper"...........I love it. The sound they make when they're parked in a cripple siding in the middle of nowhere.

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