Locomotives and Extreme Cold

General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

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Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby Denver Dude » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:49 pm

I am aware of switch problems, but was wondering how prime movers, fuel lines, and other parts of locomotives handle -50 temps. I have heard that idling diesels can shut themselves down if they are idling too slowly - I don't know if that's true. I am sure that the engine compartment is usually sweltering in normal weather, but this might not be true at 53 below.
I'm sure they are designed for this, but wow...
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:19 am

During cold weather crews are usually asked to leave standing locomotives in notch 2 to keep things heated.
The fuel actually keeps pretty warm as it circulates over many components mounted to engine block.
The engine does not use AntiFreeze,no one wants 180 gallons of antifreeze spilled in case of leak, so just water and a pink water treatment .
If the cooling water gets to cold a valve mounted under frame opens up and dumps the cooling water.( so called Ogontz valve)
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby Denver Dude » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:52 am

Wow - notch 2. I never would have guessed that.
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby gp9rm4108 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:07 pm

For us at CN it's notch 3 for units not equipped with a self high idle feature and notch 4 for ALL locomotives when temperature is -30C or colder.
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby D Alex » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:05 pm

Back in the early 1990's, I used to drive tractor-trailer. I can't remember which town along route 11 it was, but outside of a paper mill, there was a switcher parked by the highway that would be plugged in to an electric box by the tracks. I assume that was because NY has laws against diesels idling around residential areas.
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby Pj » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:38 am

N2 might be for some ancient power, but modern power will increase RPM as needed. GE calls it “engine warming”.

The AESS systems require certain parameters to be met before shutting down (temp, main res pressure, number of shutdowns in a 24 hr period, etc) depending on system manufacturer. They will auto start after one of the parameters are not met (usually called triggers).

Our SD40-2’s that have not have not been retrofitted still maintains an EMD high idle. Retrofitted power allows for a low idle and autostop.

Where I work we get to -30f several days a year and never have an issue.
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Re: Locomotives and Extreme Cold

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:55 pm

CPR units up to the -2 had a summer/winter switch next to the isolation switch. This let the unit idle faster in the winter, but slow in the summer. The winter setting also automatically sped up the idle speed if the water temperature got to low. They also had an alarm silence switch. The switch had to be in the run position for the prime mover to run. The reason for this is because most units of the era wouldn’t ring the alarm bell if the unit was isolated. The setup would allow the bell to ring no matter the isolation switch setting. This way the crew would know in an isolated unit had shut down in the cold. It could then be restarted, or the water drained, and the silence switch thrown. We had in instruction to pay close attention if a foreign unit was isolated and it was cold weather, since it might shut down and not let us know.
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