Temple, TX BNSF Locomotive Service Facility

3 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 865 posts
Temple, TX BNSF Locomotive Service Facility
Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 10:09 PM
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 I have been driving to Temple, TX four or five times a week to watch trains.  In addition to the Texas Eagle, 30 to 35 freight trains a day go through Temple.
One of best spots to watch the action is from a bench that sits on a raised platform by the Central Texas Model Railroad Club.  Among other things it affords an excellent view of the BNSF locomotive maintenance facility.   
Today - June 1st - I saw a freshly painted BNSF SD40-2 that looked fabulous.  Where would BNSF paint or have its locomotives painted?
Also, the engine on one of the locomotives, which was stationary, was roaring.  It went on for more than 30 minutes.  What likely test would the maintenance people be performing?
Almost every day I see locomotives being transferred from the maintenance facility to a yard north of Temple or one south of the city.  The distances are approximately a mile.  Would the persons moving the locomotives have to be qualified engineers? 
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 3,607 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 2:13 AM

It sounds like you saw a load test taking place.  During this test the main generator's output is routed to a resistor instead of the traction motors, allowing the unit to be 'put through its paces' while stationary.  Most locomotives with dynamic braking can use their own DB grid as the resistor, some older units or those without DB have to be connected to a external resistor, which is sometimes made of DB grids salvaged from scrapped locomotives, as an example CN's Edmonton load tester is made of parts from two F-units.    

It is normal for locomotives to be load tested after a repair has taken place (to make sure the fix worked), or in an attempt to diagnose a problem (some issues only show themselves when the engine is operating under heavy load). 

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 865 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 8:57 AM


Thanks for your insights.  Very helpful. 

Every time I read one of your responses, I think of my college roomate.  He was from Toronto.  We roomed together the entire time that we were at Penn State.  He was a great friend.

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 2,190 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 3:09 PM

If BNSF painted the engine it could have been done at Alliance, TX or Barstow, CA.  Both of which are major repair facilities.  If not it may have been at Relco at their Iowa shops.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy