Our first foreign-built power, the DF11 series, are the most powerful diesels MSVR owns. The first unit, #9990, was constructed by CDR in China, while the remainder were assembled at the Nor Cal Rail Shops with assistance from GE and CDR. MSVR currently owns one type: the DF11G. Rather than being a 2-unit , permanently-coupled set as they are used in China, the locomotives are used as individual units here. Initially equipped with a 5,750hp prime mover and the first diesel-electric AC drive geared for a top speed of 125MPH, they were the designated power of the Daylight Talgo and Lark Talgo.
However, the Chinese-built 16V280ZJG prime mover's reported reliability failed to materialize, largely due to the 350hp up-rating that other components of the engine were not engineered to withstand. The humid Pacific air also wreaked havoc on the locomotive's electrical controls. Both systems could be expected to fail during prolonged periods of maximum load with almost impeccable timing. After just 3 months in service the DF11Gs were sidelined while replacement engines and electronics were evaluated.
In December 2014, DF11G #9990, the lead unit of her class, was re-powered with a CAT 3616, rated at 6,500hp, and Siemens AC drive. Even with throttle stops installed at Run 7, the engine developed a reputation for burning out its electrical components. 9990 was later repowered with the smaller CAT 3612, identical to those that originally powered the MK5000C, and the additional space filled with an auxiliary genset to provide HEP. The new configuration proved successful and all DF11Gs were retrofitted, starting with #9991's rollout in February 2015. The last unit, appropriately #9999, was accepted into revenue service in January of 2016. Although they had issues when returning to service, the class' reliability significantly improved, and the completion of the debugging process has produced a fleet of powerful passenger power.
In the wake of the DF11G's mechanical shortcomings, MSVR canceled its order of dual-cab DF11s.
DF11G #9990 in one of her first runs back in service. Since then the unit has received better-tinted windows and new wheels among other improvements.
Acquired as OCS power, MSVR is currently refurbishing an A-B-A set of ALCO PAs that will wear SP's famous Daylight colors to match one of the MSVR's business trains. Units are being rebuilt with more modern Alco 251 prime movers in place of their original 244 power plants.