GT Locomotives

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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby GTW6401 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:55 pm

MQT1223 wrote:What happened to the Central Vermont?


Sold by CN in 1995, forming the New England Central. Now apart of the G&W system.
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:29 pm

Ypsi wrote:
MQT1223 wrote:Why the change? Is their a benefit of painting loconotives all under one set of colors? Roster simplicity?

Why wouldn't CN want the locomotives in the cooperate paint scheme? If I owned a fleet of locomotives as a parent company I would want them to match my companies image. As neat as it is to see an GTW unit or EJE unit, reprinting them makes sense.


Expense. It doesn't just take time to repaint a locomotive, it takes money. Other than G&W after the Rail America takeover, what major railroad have you seen rush to repaint newly acquired locomotives into its own paint scheme? CN hasn't even repainted all of the secondhand units they picked up a year or two back and some of those had some very deteriorated paint jobs. The blue/red GT paint seems to be holding up pretty well, all things considered. And considering where most of these units spend the majority of their time (yards, switching, etc.), the people who do see these units either aren't the key transportation decision makers or know that the freight bill comes from CN (or Grand Trunk) regardless of what the engine says on the side.

Another thing to consider is the changes that CN went through since the GT units were last painted- the merger with the IC, various nationwide meltdowns and the EHH administration all played roles in determining how company financial resources were allocated. Rather than repaint a locomotive that didn't really need repainting, EHH would have either returned the cost to the company's owners in the form of dividends or simply spent the money elsewhere where the need was more urgent.



As far as when GT paint gave way to CN paint- If it wasn't NAFTA, there might have been something else passed right around the time NAFTA went into affect that changed some of the rules on how much control companies based outside the US could have on their subsidiaries operating within the US (i.e. CN's control of GTW). When the rules requiring subsidiaries of international companies changed, that's when a lot of the Grand Trunk was integrated into the CN organization. Grand Trunk Western still exists as a paper company, and there are things that it would be responsible for, but corporate branding (including equipment paint jobs) was no longer required to be completely separated from that of the parent company. That's why you see most of CN's maintenance fleet wearing the official CN paint scheme (white cabs/red orange work bodies) not the old GTW dark blue (although one or two dark blue trucks may still be floating around out there.)
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:39 pm

GreatLakesRailfan wrote:=Other than G&W after the Rail America takeover, what major railroad have you seen rush to repaint newly acquired locomotives into its own paint scheme?

And considering where most of these units spend the majority of their time (yards, switching, etc.), the people who do see these units either aren't the key transportation decision makers or know that the freight bill comes from CN (or Grand Trunk) regardless of what the engine says on the side.


Two interesting notes here. I do remember G&W being in that big rush to paint, paint, paint, but it seems to have fizzled out. Based on what I've heard, they found the physical plant so bad they had to divert funds to fixing track and buying new power instead of simply repainting everything. Very few repaints that I know of except new units, like the plethora of SD40-2s going everywhere, often to replace and/or supplement the RA "junk". That said, they're still spending way more than they anticipated with the merger. I think after their first quarter with RA they stepped back and just went "wow" with how bad things really were, and hence adjusted where the funds went. That's the suggestion I've been getting, anyways.

Second interesting point is on switching power. A connection I've made with the CSX roster is the sheer number of Geeps and especially the Slug sets getting repaints. All of these slug sets, most of which had gotten YN3 after 2008, already getting shopped! Some of them from as late as 2011, already back. Then you have C40s lurking in their 20-year old as-built YN2 scheme. Seems to me that perhaps they're giving their customer switching power a facelift for the same reason you suggested: image. As far as road power goes, there is enough to go around to keep the more modern schemes present, but of course 99% of those eyeballs don't care AT ALL.
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby Ypsi » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:50 pm

CSX did a pretty good job of getting rid of Conrail Blue I think in just about 10 years they were all off the active roster or repainted, as did NS compared to other railroads. Just because there is not a rush does not mean CN does not want them in their cooperate paint scheme. NS "officially" retired its last Conrail blue unit in November of 2014 according to nsdash9.com, so 15 years for them, however a true blue unit hadn't been in service sine 2011 or 2012. So 10ish years for a couple thousand units between the two railroads wouldn't be my definition of slow. (NS inherited 1167 units).. but my point doesn't have to do with time as I state below.

I feel like you are missing my point, As CN I would want my locomotives to match my cooperate image, as apparent by the fact that CN is repainting units and sub lettering them. COST is a reason to delay repainting, not to not repaint the units. All things equal, CN would probably have all of the units in CN paint by now, but as we see that has not happened yet. Cost may be a factor sure, but if CN wanted to repaint the units and could have them not in service while that takes place, I bet they could pay for each and every repaint no problem. NS repainted over 700 units in just over 10 years (probably a larger amount, but only 746 or so ex. Conrail locos are listed on the roster on nsdash9.com).. It is only a matter of time before the numbers of subsidiary paint schemes dwindles and eventually becomes zero or close to that (strange things have happened before, like a DMIR unit coming back from the shops in fresh maroon and gold)

What would prevent CN from repainting these in greater numbers is that the locomotives are in pool service away from major shops and or don't need major work/ overhaul. So the fleet of GT painted units in Detroit will likely last quite a bit as no repainting goes on in Detroit, but there will likely be a time when units start to disappear and come back in Black and red with GTW sub lettering.

To summarize, cost is a reason that you would delay repaint the units, however cost and time ARE NOT reasons that CN would not want to repaint the units.
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby MQT1223 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:40 am

MQT3001 wrote:
GreatLakesRailfan wrote:=Other than G&W after the Rail America takeover, what major railroad have you seen rush to repaint newly acquired locomotives into its own paint scheme?

And considering where most of these units spend the majority of their time (yards, switching, etc.), the people who do see these units either aren't the key transportation decision makers or know that the freight bill comes from CN (or Grand Trunk) regardless of what the engine says on the side.


Two interesting notes here. I do remember G&W being in that big rush to paint, paint, paint, but it seems to have fizzled out. Based on what I've heard, they found the physical plant so bad they had to divert funds to fixing track and buying new power instead of simply repainting everything. Very few repaints that I know of except new units, like the plethora of SD40-2s going everywhere, often to replace and/or supplement the RA "junk". That said, they're still spending way more than they anticipated with the merger. I think after their first quarter with RA they stepped back and just went "wow" with how bad things really were, and hence adjusted where the funds went. That's the suggestion I've been getting, anyways.

Second interesting point is on switching power. A connection I've made with the CSX roster is the sheer number of Geeps and especially the Slug sets getting repaints. All of these slug sets, most of which had gotten YN3 after 2008, already getting shopped! Some of them from as late as 2011, already back. Then you have C40s lurking in their 20-year old as-built YN2 scheme. Seems to me that perhaps they're giving their customer switching power a facelift for the same reason you suggested: image. As far as road power goes, there is enough to go around to keep the more modern schemes present, but of course 99% of those eyeballs don't care AT ALL.


Are their even any small switcher engines like GP38's in YN2? Seems like only all the old GE's are all you see in in YN2
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:50 pm

Ypsi wrote:I feel like you are missing my point, As CN I would want my locomotives to match my cooperate image, as apparent by the fact that CN is repainting units and sub lettering them. COST is a reason to delay repainting, not to not repaint the units. All things equal, CN would probably have all of the units in CN paint by now, but as we see that has not happened yet. Cost may be a factor sure, but if CN wanted to repaint the units and could have them not in service while that takes place, I bet they could pay for each and every repaint no problem. NS repainted over 700 units in just over 10 years (probably a larger amount, but only 746 or so ex. Conrail locos are listed on the roster on nsdash9.com).. It is only a matter of time before the numbers of subsidiary paint schemes dwindles and eventually becomes zero or close to that (strange things have happened before, like a DMIR unit coming back from the shops in fresh maroon and gold)

What would prevent CN from repainting these in greater numbers is that the locomotives are in pool service away from major shops and or don't need major work/ overhaul. So the fleet of GT painted units in Detroit will likely last quite a bit as no repainting goes on in Detroit, but there will likely be a time when units start to disappear and come back in Black and red with GTW sub lettering.

To summarize, cost is a reason that you would delay repaint the units, however cost and time ARE NOT reasons that CN would not want to repaint the units.


As far as I can tell, the GT units aren't actually assigned to any one yard. In my experience, it seems like the switchers in the Port Huron yard change from week to week. Sometimes they'll have blue/red units, other times they'll have black/red units. I highly doubt they're being repainted for the sake of being repainted, as Homewood isn't all THAT far away from here. I suspect that CN sends the four axle units where they're needed, rather than keeping them on "home" rails, as it seems a lot of the Grand Trunk power wound up on the IC over the past several years, and for a while we were seeing more six axle IC power up here.

I don't believe comparing CSX and NS repaints of the Conrail fleet to CN's present situation is correct. Visit CN's website and download a copy of their most recent annual report. You'll see a lot of feel good crap, but the important thing is this- CN's pouring an awful lot of money into their infrastructure right now, especially the parts that aren't branded (i.e. track). EHH and some of his predecessors ripped out a lot of track that CN now needs to move its freight, regardless of what the locomotives look like. Without that needed capacity, what good are a bunch of newly painted engines? I suspect that a lot of people at the corporate HQs in Canada and Illinois would like to see everything wearing the same general paint scheme, but branding and image marketing doesn't mean squat if you're not doing your primary job (hauling freight).

The short story is, in terms of pure dollars and cents, repaints may not be all that expensive, BUT when you're dealing with limited resources as CN is, a repaint doesn't just mean the cost of the paint/prep/labor, but also the downtime of the locomotive and the horsepower hours that have to come from somewhere. Waiting for a major failure that will take the unit out of service anyway for new paint makes a lot more sense than almost anything else.

For what it's worth, I've also heard that the GP9Rs weren't being painted until their rebuilds were paid off, but the reasoning behind that explanation never made any sense to me, and I know some of them have been repainted, so take that one for what it's worth.
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby Ypsi » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:17 pm

Again, cost is not a reason for not wanting to repaint the units, its a reason to delay repainting. My point is "why would CN now want to repaint the units" as in what reason would CN not want to repaint the units. My point IS NOT that CN should repaint everything RIGHT NOW, but rather there is no reason that CN should not repaint the units as they go and can. And yes the Conrail repaints are relevant as you said name another railroad that did fast repaints. NS probably did on average between 50-70 repaints a year for just about 13 years from 1999-2012 until all of the Conrail units were either black or retired, CSX was a little more aggressive.

My point again is CN wants to repaint the units and will, there is no reason to not repaint them. Money will slow them down but it will not make them decide to leave every GT unit blue or something like that.

CN's plan:

However, while each railroad's locomotives would eventually receive CN's logo and black, red-orange and white paint scheme they would still retain their respective reporting marks.


One railroad, one image.

Quote sourced from here, and the particular quote was sourced from the book posted below according to the article. (Wikipedia so take it as you may)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Trun ... n_Railroad

Hofsomer, Don. Grand Trunk Corporation, The Canadian National Railways in the United States 1971-1992. 1995. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 18790-94703
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:44 pm

No other railroad Repaints more units than NS. CSX is actually a close second. BNSF hardly ever Repaints anything...almost all rebuilds from what I hear.

That said, BNSF has FAR fewer ancient units than CSX or NS does. BNSF loaded up on the GEVOs and C44-9Ws, as well as SD70 variants. They just don't have a whole lot of other power out there but the Geeps and SDs they've rebuilt. Everything else was either scrapped post-merger or still wears the old colors. Galesburg and Corwith were loaded with smaller power in BN Green and ATSF freight colors.

Repaints just aren't always a priority...
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:44 pm

No other railroad Repaints more units than NS. CSX is actually a close second. BNSF hardly ever Repaints anything...almost all rebuilds from what I hear.

That said, BNSF has FAR fewer ancient units than CSX or NS does. BNSF loaded up on the GEVOs and C44-9Ws, as well as SD70 variants. They just don't have a whole lot of other power out there but the Geeps and SDs they've rebuilt. Everything else was either scrapped post-merger or still wears the old colors. Galesburg and Corwith were loaded with smaller power in BN Green and ATSF freight colors.

Repaints just aren't always a priority...
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:12 pm

MQT3001 wrote:No other railroad Repaints more units than NS. CSX is actually a close second. BNSF hardly ever Repaints anything...almost all rebuilds from what I hear.

That said, BNSF has FAR fewer ancient units than CSX or NS does. BNSF loaded up on the GEVOs and C44-9Ws, as well as SD70 variants. They just don't have a whole lot of other power out there but the Geeps and SDs they've rebuilt. Everything else was either scrapped post-merger or still wears the old colors. Galesburg and Corwith were loaded with smaller power in BN Green and ATSF freight colors.

Repaints just aren't always a priority...


BNSF uses far more ancient (albeit rebuilt) units that NS and CSX would never use today in some cases. They have a fairly larhe amount of SD9M locomotives (rebuilt SD9 with a chopped nose). Most of these SD9s come from before the BN merger. NS just got rid of all their SD9's not long ago, and CSX didn't keep them long. BNSF uses those rebuilt GP30's (GP39's) as well. Closest CSX can come are road slugs. I don't think NS has any GP30 rebuilds, although one would look good in NS paint.
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Re: GT Locomotives

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:42 pm

Ypsi wrote:Again, cost is not a reason for not wanting to repaint the units, its a reason to delay repainting. My point is "why would CN now want to repaint the units" as in what reason would CN not want to repaint the units. My point IS NOT that CN should repaint everything RIGHT NOW, but rather there is no reason that CN should not repaint the units as they go and can.


Ah, my mistake. I must have misunderstood your earlier post.

Ypsi wrote:And yes the Conrail repaints are relevant as you said name another railroad that did fast repaints. NS probably did on average between 50-70 repaints a year for just about 13 years from 1999-2012 until all of the Conrail units were either black or retired, CSX was a little more aggressive.


Perhaps. I was really thinking of the speed G&W started out at as a comparison, the repainting of the Conrail units was more typical of the rate that repainting seems to proceed at.

Ypsi wrote:My point again is CN wants to repaint the units and will, there is no reason to not repaint them. Money will slow them down but it will not make them decide to leave every GT unit blue or something like that.


There is no reason not to repaint them eventually, but everything seems to get new paint eventually. The blue/red paint that is left has held up pretty well- there's no reason to paint them in CN colors just for the sake of repainting them. The money invested in the blue/red paint isn't exactly recoverable, and as long as it holds up there's no reason to spend more money to turn the blue into black.
You're right, it's not really about money, but it is about maximizing return on investment and investing in new paint before the old paint is worn out doesn't maximize the value of the prior investment. I agree, eventually the blue/red will disappear under whatever CN's current paint scheme happens to be when the old paint is worn out or a unit needs a major repair, but I'll bet someone, somewhere in CN's corporate office has an amortization chart showing how much prior major investments in each of those locomotives is valued at today. The paint on some of those blue units may be worth more than we think (in terms of present value, not marketing value). The problem is that regardless of what is painted on the side of the unit, CN paid for that paint and it still has some residual value, value it wouldn't have if it was purchased secondhand as the ex-ATSF/BNSF and ex-CNW/UP GEs were a few years ago.

Ypsi wrote:CN's plan:

However, while each railroad's locomotives would eventually receive CN's logo and black, red-orange and white paint scheme they would still retain their respective reporting marks.


One railroad, one image.

Quote sourced from here, and the particular quote was sourced from the book posted below according to the article. (Wikipedia so take it as you may)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Trun ... n_Railroad

Hofsomer, Don. Grand Trunk Corporation, The Canadian National Railways in the United States 1971-1992. 1995. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 18790-94703
[/quote]

It's interesting that the book was published the same year CN became publicly owned. I wouldn't be surprised if he said that around the time some of the blue/red units still rolling around in blue/red received their current coat of paint. Guess I'll have to watch for a copy of that book, it would be interesting to read what he actually said in the context in which it's used in the book- despite the documentation requirements on wikipedia, I still don't view it as much more than a starting point for research, let alone a credible source of information. :|

It is my belief (and I may well be wrong- it wouldn't be the first time) that as a publicly owned corporation, most of CN's financial outlays are made based on what will earn the best return on the money spent. Spending money on paint just for image continuity isn't really in the best interest of the shareholders, especially when you consider how many of the railroad's customers are more or less captive customers. We can look to the example set by Fortress after their purchase of Rail America as to what kind of reinvestment is really necessary (over at least a short period of time), especially cosmetic improvements such as paint on equipment (locomotives, cars, etc.), by assessing the condition the property was in when following the G&W purchase. Being a hedge fund, Fortress' primary goal was to make money for their owners/investors, not maintain a consistent brand image among it's various railroad holdings and it was pretty obvious.

Because CN's primary industry is transportation, the company does have more reason to present that consistent brand image to it's publics, but all things considered, Grand Trunk has been part of the CN fold since before locomotive paint schemes were really an issue, and the blue/red is very similar to the black/red paint CN (and GTW) used in the past. Aside from the particular shape of the logo on the side, the blue/red is essentially an old CN paint scheme, or at least a minor variation of it. CN still has several units running around in its own older paint schemes as well, many of which need new paint much more than many of the GTW units. I've observed some very faded zebra striped units passing through this spring, as well as several units whose zebra stripes still look very sharp. Unlike the GTW's historical resemblance to CN, the Wisconsin Central, Illinois Central, BLE, DMIR, EJE and other roads CN's purchased over the past 20 years or so, were not already part of the CN hierarchy and do not bear any real resemblance to CN's corporate paint schemes, past or present, and should be phased out as quickly as possible to better bring the company in line with the "One Railroad, One Image" theme.

Two last things- First, I am aware that the blue/red units are really blue/Morenci Orange, but that orange looks red to me and "red" is so much easier to type than "Morenci Orange". :) Second, I apologize if my earlier post came across as insulting or a personal attack of any sort. For the most part, we can only write about what we see looking at a company like CN from the outside. Too often I see comments here and elsewhere on the internet about how dumb a business decision made by a railroad is/was, where the poster has no concept of what factors influenced the decision they're mad about. I've even done it myself in the past, but experience (in another industry) has taught (and is still teaching) me volumes about not just maximizing the value of each purchase or expenditure, but also about the importance of getting as much production as possible out of each piece of equipment in the shop, no matter how old and rickety it appears at first glance, and why equipment downtime can be so much more costly than you'd think at first glance. There are a lot of factors that influence the decisions that are made as far as equipment repair and maintenance that go way beyond how the equipment will run/look in the short term, and the value of the equipment both now and at various points in the future have to play into those decisions, not to mention who actually owns the equipment.
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