Is the trial finished / extended, awaiting decision or Loco's placed back in storage, just like to know. please advise.
Both are currently being used to shunt at Penfield, neither have even left the SCT depot since March 16.If that is the case then it might just show that they are not quite right for SCT use on trains. But then again it could just be that the experiment was curtailed early and SCT are just getting their money's worth out of them so to speak.
From the sound of things they are not all that they are cracked up to be. Similar findings to the use of these things elsewhere though a bit. Good idea in practice but reality is another thing altogether. They are good as shunt type locos genset loco's but not that good as mainline locomotives though by the looks of it! They are not what you would call a roaring success anywhere really as very few are in service as against normal diesel locomotives!What's "wrong" with them?
Like I have said they are good for shunting and you can get a bit more power when you need it if the load is beyond the setting you are on but on the mainline you need all the horsepower you can spare at any one time in case one of the other units in the consist drop's off line. Starting up extra motors just after your train has had a normal unit drop off line while going up a grade is going to need some very careful manipulation to get it done. Generators do not respond favorably to being started with a load on the motor, you have to start it up and get it to full revs before you introduce the load onto it. Meanwhile your train has possibly come to a halt because of lack of horsepower to move the train. Also to keep the motors on all genset's warm and ready they would need to be in idle all the time if not in actual traction use. That makes for easy start up if needed!I agree with much of what David has said here but I believe tthe experiment of GM's left idling was more related to the nature of the early 567B engines which were considered to be "leakers" and the idling was to stop gaskets from contracting too much when cooling. EMD eventually supplied a "better gasket" and the need was no longer there. The idling of locos here in Victoria went to the early 70's as I recall. I cannot quite see how an idling loco can consume more than out on the tracks given the way the racks are set...
Commonwealth Railways years ago tried an experiment that kept the GM's idling overnight to keep them warm for the next days use, but it was found they guzzled more juice idling than they did actually out on the track in service. So it was back to closing them down each night and starting them up again in the mornings.
On a mainline it could be a while till you are able to again move the train even slowly to clear the line, and what happens if a genset or two just does not wan't to start or work at all, you have even less power available then. So really whether the complete loco fails and you cannot pull the load or a genset drops on that locomotive on the same train, it amounts to the same thing lack of power to clear the grade or section. Also a genset loco would be a lot more complicated wiring wise than a normal diesel would, by virtue of the fact that each genset can be bought on line or closed down as needed. You would not like to be the driver that has to take out a train and be a bit dubious about actually how much horsepower you really have especially if it is in an emergency or something!
So it might simply be the simple things in life are still the best, rather than trying to persevere with a complicated one off type of loco. Yes I know there is more than one of them in Australia and in use!
If used as a shunter you have less worries as if it fails or a genset or two fail and it is out of service any diesel locomotive can do the shunting in a pinch if needed. Also if it fails in a yard you can get it put somewhere out of the way as well till repairs are made to it. They are virtually standard diesel Genset's in them and you only have had to use one to know that if anything can go wrong with one it probably will.