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Locomotive Refueling

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Locomotive Refueling
Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:48 AM

Typically, would a diesel locomotive be fueled after it finishes its run or just before it begins one?

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 6:39 AM

When I worked on the railroad we  would leave our engine on the inbound service track so,yes,they are fully service after their run.

Larry

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:21 AM

bearman

Typically, would a diesel locomotive be fueled after it finishes its run or just before it begins one? 

Assuming an engine is at a location where fueling is done and the engines are supposed to be fueled, then at the end. 

Engines aren't necessarily fueld after each run.  They may not need fuel, the location may not perform fueling.  The power might be "turned" in the yard.  The engines might come in and go directly to the next train without going to the mechanical facilites.

At places I've woked we fueld the yard engines every third day and other places the switch engines were fueled once a week.  If there are runs with a mainline fueling station in the route, the power might not be fueled at either end, just in the middle.  Railroads have also have done weird fueling things and not fueled trains at certain terminals to avoid state fuel taxes, property taxes or lower fuel costs.

On the other hand if you think of the life of an engine as a circle, the time after finishing one run IS the time before the next run. 

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:29 AM

Ok, here is the situation with my layout and the reason for the question.  I have a modest yard which does not have any engine house or engine maintanance facility.  But I have ginned up a diesel fueling station.  A train is made up in the yard by a switcher, then the locomotive assigned to the train is moved off the turntable straight to the fueling station where it stops for a moment, ie being fueled, then it proceeds to the assigned train.  At the end of a run the locomotive proceeds directly to the turntable while the switcher places the returned cars on the appropriate yard track, caboose to caboose storage, box cars to yard track 3, empty stock cars to yard track 2 etc.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by NS6770fan on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:41 AM

At the Harrisburg Pa NS fuel rack, trains running through are fueled.  I have seen many freights occupying a section of the double track mains waiting for fuel or getting fuel.(Best time Ive seen the this done, is when NS 911 was in the lead and stopped at the rack. But locomotives coming into the yard may also sometimes get fueled.

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Posted by Attuvian on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:51 AM

When I was a budding student pilot, many places where I flew topped off the tanks fairly quickly. Often that was required of the pilot before the keys were turned in.  Not only was the plane ready to go without additional delay for the next junior birdman, but there was less residual air in the tank.  I was told that the more residual air, the more water was liable to condense in the tank as it would cool.  There were others factors that would contribute such as humidity and ambient air temperature, etc.  Any water that developed would accumulate in the bottom of the tank and pose a threat to engine performance, especially as many smaller planes employ gravity feed systems.  Not a comfortable circumstance while in the air.

I would suppose that the same issues would affect diesel fuel in railroad locomotives and tenders. This raises other issues.  Where are/were the drains in loco fuel tanks?  Gravity feed systems with the drains at the very bottom?  Merely near the bottoms?  Filtering?  And here's the other issue, with diesel fuel in particular.  Old, stagnant fuel is particularly susceptible to the development of algae which can clog the drains.  The less refined the fuel, the greater the presence of microbes that live and breed in the stuff.  The same would probably apply to bunker oil.  Tank agitation during operations or idling mitigates the matter, of course.  I would imagine that railroads had fueling policies to address these issues.  Prompt replacement would likely be one of them.

John

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 9:23 AM

Judging by the replies so far, I think it's up to you, Bearman.

When the engine returns, before going to the TT, he could stop and top off the fuel for the next run, or you can keep doing it the way you are, fueling the loco, then to the train.

On my layout, a fuel truck shows up every couple of days to top of the GP38, judging on how much work the crew has done.

Your the boss!

Mike.

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 9:56 AM

Having a local fuel delivery service bring fuel to waiting locomotoives was a surprisingly frequent occurrence, in my years of witnessing this.

Even the bigger railroads might have a delivery service, under contract, truck the fuel to remote yards for fueling. Probably scheduled for times when the locomotives are idle. Here is a screen-capture of a video I shot of Amtrak's #5 being refueled in Sacramento back in 2003.

 Amtrak_7_114-fuel by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Even here, AT a fueling track, they're still using a delivery service to top off the tanks. Maybe BN wouldn't sell their fuel to Amtrak?

 EB36 AMTK 311 with Train 8, The Empire Builder at Harve Montana by Marty Bernard, on Flickr

Classic Metal Works makes a fuel tank truck that would be ideal for this service.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:35 AM

I have seen local fuel trucks refueling an Amtrak train (the Empire Builder) mid-route in LaCrosse WI, possibly due to a lower fuel tax, or a favorable cost contract with a local dealer, or perhaps (and this happens) the train was released from Chicago without refueling due to tightly scheduled use of locomotives and consists -- the prior train arrived late and they wanted the Builder to leave on time.  I also remember that due to a malfunction or operator error, when the lead locomotive was topped off the hose flew out and spilled fuel all over the station platform while the operator rushed over to grab it and shut it off.

I have also seen a BNSF train refuel using a fuel truck in Galesburg IL's yard where the refueling facility was just a few tracks away BUT it would have slowed the progress of the train down (and perhaps blocked a needed track) to uncouple the locomotives and take them to the fueling facility.  Instead the train stopped, the truck drove up, engines were refueled fairly quickly, and the train was back on its way down the Quincy main.  

In Milwaukee when Amtrak was experimenting with turbo trains (1970s) the fuel trucks were from the local airport - smelled like jet fuel and I assume it was. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:26 PM

bearman
I have a modest yard which does not have any engine house or engine maintanance facility. But I have ginned up a diesel fueling station.

The vast majority of locations would fuel the engine on arrival, rather than on departure.  While they fuel it, the engine will be inspected and any defects, etc, corrected.  They would rather do that on arrival so there is no delay to the train on departure.  

Technically if the engine is just making a turn, out and back in the same shift or crew start, they probably wouldn't fuel it but every 2nd to 4th day.  Wouldn't need to be fueled.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 1:38 PM

    I don't think that it was a matter of BN not selling their fuel. More likely Amtrak had a contract with a private contractor and had to use their service.

    As for filling up the tank instead of leaving it half full I have read that you are supposed to do this for all vehicles including your personal car. I always try to fill my tanks full on my cars every payday or when they run low. I know other people who always do this also. I'm not saying to top it off all the time but when you do get gasoline fill it all the way.

 

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:33 PM

My home terminal doesn't have fixed fueling capability.  Any fueling needed is done by tank truck.  For the yard and local power, and any laying over for the few originating trains, the local mechanical dept. person watches the fuel levels and orders fuel as needed.  Through trains notify the dispatcher of fuel levels and they decide if fuel is needed or can wait to the next terminal.  

The local vendor may fully fill the yard and local power.  For road trains they may not fully fuel an engine.  Sometimes they will split the load on the truck between engines that need fuel.  Sometimes the truck has to make two trips to fuel a consist.

Tank trucks are really flexible.  I've had a trailing engine fueled at a rural grade crossing.  The engine had a bad order (defective) fuel gauge and ran out of fuel.  This actually happens more than one would think.  

Jeff

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:43 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe
I don't think that it was a matter of BN not selling their fuel.

I was being a little facetious Whistling

Happy Modeling, Ed

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:59 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe
As for filling up the tank instead of leaving it half full I have read that you are supposed to do this for all vehicles including your personal car.

It helps control condensation in the tank.  This is especially true in cold weather climates.  That's also why gas line antifreeze, like HEET are more popular in the bitter cold.  Keeps any ice from forming in the lines, that may have been there because of condensation.

I like Ed's theory, "We'll show you Amtrak for pluggin up our freightlines! get your own fuel!"  Laugh

Mike.

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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 9:38 PM

     Even in the days of steam, engines would be fueled and watered at the end of a run.  When the call came for the next trip, they would be ready to go.

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Posted by OldEngineman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:51 PM

Back in my Conrail days running freight into and out of Selkirk Yard (Albany), after we cut off from the train in the inbound yard, we'd run them light back to the fueling area where they'd get serviced first, and afterwards be put on the ready tracks to go back out later...

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 1:25 PM

gmpullman

 

 
Lone Wolf and Santa Fe
I don't think that it was a matter of BN not selling their fuel.

 

I was being a little facetious Whistling

Happy Modeling, Ed

 

I could just see the engineer jumping out of the locomotive and handing over his credit card and being shocked when he saw what the bill was for 5,000 gallons. lol

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by joe323 on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 1:58 PM

As far as I know and on my railroad all fueling is done by truck these days.  No one wants the headache of maintaining a dedicated fueling facility these days if they don’t have to!

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Erie1951 on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4:57 PM

joe323
As far as I know and on my railroad all fueling is done by truck these days.  No one wants the headache of maintaining a dedicated fueling facility these days if they don’t have to!

True, Joe. Old, leaky tanks, both above and below ground would eventually have to be replaced, too. 

Russ

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, February 15, 2019 11:13 PM

joe323

As far as I know and on my railroad all fueling is done by truck these days.  No one wants the headache of maintaining a dedicated fueling facility these days if they don’t have to!

 

Many terminals that originate/terminate multiple trains still have fueling facilities.  In Iowa, UP has fueling facilities, and fuels engines at yards in Clinton, Marshalltown, Council Bluffs, Mason City and Des Moines.  Boone doesn't, and I'm not sure about Beverly (Cedar Rapids) or Eagle Grove. 

However even with facilities, if a through train needed fuel it would probably be fueled by a truck.  It's quicker than trying to tie down a train, get into the yard to the fuel pad and then back to the train.

Jeff 

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, February 16, 2019 12:32 AM

BTW, just what is the standard fuel these days? I'm presuming #2 diesel (bio-diesel in environmentally hip states).

Except for the bio- component, would it have been #2 or comparable back in the Transition Era? For steamers back then, it seems that I have read that bunker oil was common. But what about now for restored locos?

So many questions, so little time - even in retirement!

John

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 16, 2019 7:06 AM

From what I've read, it's #2, and maybe some type of a seasonal additive, or during cold weather, #1 might be used.  On the farm we used the off-road, Ag diesel, it's got a red dye in it so you can tell it from from other grades.

I know nothing about the tranistion period, as I was transitioning from a baby to a boy. Smile, Wink & Grin

Mike.

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Posted by davidmurray on Saturday, February 16, 2019 8:51 PM

mbinsewi
From what I've read, it's #2, and maybe some type of a seasonal additive, or during cold weather, #1 might be used. On the farm we used the off-road, Ag diesel, it's got a red dye in it so you can tell it from from other grades.

Mike:

In the province of Ontario, farm fuel is dyed to show that the farmer bought it free of road tax, so should not be using it in non farm vechiles.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 16, 2019 9:28 PM

Yea Dave, that's what meant, just came out different, about the road tax.

We didn't have any diesel trucks, just tractors,  so never a thought of road use, but today it's much different.

Mike.

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Posted by wjstix on Saturday, February 16, 2019 10:16 PM

bearman

Ok, here is the situation with my layout and the reason for the question.  I have a modest yard which does not have any engine house or engine maintanance facility.  But I have ginned up a diesel fueling station.  A train is made up in the yard by a switcher, then the locomotive assigned to the train is moved off the turntable straight to the fueling station where it stops for a moment, ie being fueled, then it proceeds to the assigned train.  At the end of a run the locomotive proceeds directly to the turntable while the switcher places the returned cars on the appropriate yard track, caboose to caboose storage, box cars to yard track 3, empty stock cars to yard track 2 etc.

 

 
I notice you don't have an engine house but you do have a turntable? In the situation you're describing, if the railroad was running diesels, it would have removed the turntable, since it would primarily have been used for steam. In fact many early diesels were sold to railroads to work on branch lines specifically so they could eliminate turntables at the end of the branch.
 
Yes, I know sometimes steam locomotives worked backwards on branchlines, but railroads tried to avoid it. Those that had set up turntables wanted to get rid of them. That's why one of EMD's first diesels was the BL-1 / BL-2 - BL for Branch Line. Even before that, railroads like Great Northern had bought diesel switchers to use on branch lines. 
Stix
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Posted by GMTRacing on Sunday, February 17, 2019 7:12 PM

I guess different roads did things differently. The New Haven Danbury branch ran all diesel after the wires were pulled down for the electrics and used RS Alcos, or Geeps along with PA's and FL9's. the road switchers and Geeps had visibility fore and aft so they could be run long or short hood forward. The others were turned or run around in Danbury where there is a run arond track for the balloon yard. When they were still running passenger service north to Pittsfield, the engines were turned on the "Armstrong" turntable there for the trip home. 

   Now with the new units on commuter service, there is a control cab built into the last car so there is no need to turn anything. We end up with pullers northbound and pushers southbound.     J.R.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, February 17, 2019 8:36 PM

wjstix
That's why one of EMD's first diesels was the BL-1 / BL-2 - BL for Branch Line. Even before that, railroads like Great Northern had bought diesel switchers to use on branch lines.

The BL1/BL2 was no match for Alcos RS-1 and RS-2. Nobody wanted the BL2 neither the railroads nor EMD's own sales department.EMD's first attempt in the road switcher market was a total failure.

Only one BL1 was built while 58 BL2 was built compared to Alco RS-1 and 417 RS-2s. The RS-1 was produced from 1941-1960.

Dick Dilworth's "ugly duckling" the GP7 would end Alco's road switcher dominance seeing 2,729 GP7s (including the 5 GP7 B units) was produce between 1949 and 1954.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, February 18, 2019 5:07 PM

bearman
caboose to caboose storage, box cars to yard track 3, empty stock cars to yard track 2 etc.

Don't forget to fuel your caboose (or you'll have a cold conductor!)

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:18 AM

bearman
At the end of a run the locomotive proceeds directly to the turntable while the switcher places the returned cars on the appropriate yard track, caboose to caboose storage, box cars to yard track 3, empty stock cars to yard track 2 etc.

Actualy the caboose will go to caboose service track to be cleaned and service.. A dedicated crew added and removed cabooses from trains and worked the caboose service track..After the caboose was service it was placed on the caboose outbound ready track  until needed.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 6:30 AM

BRAKIE
Actualy the caboose will go to caboose service track to be cleaned and service..

I can understand that, especially if the caboose had holding tank for the privy.  Not sure if they did, just kind of speculating.

Mike.

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