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When deadheading locomotives, is it better for them to be running?

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When deadheading locomotives, is it better for them to be running?
Posted by aegrotatio on Thursday, June 24, 2021 4:23 PM

When deadheading locomotives, is it better for them to be running?  In other words, since locomotives are so heavy, does it save or waste fuel to keep them running providing power to the consist?

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 24, 2021 4:45 PM

aegrotatio
When deadheading locomotives, is it better for them to be running?  In other words, since locomotives are so heavy, does it save or waste fuel to keep them running providing power to the consist?

When I retired the instructions were if the temperature was expected to remain above 40 degrees F - engines not needed for power in a consist were to be hauled Dead In Tow (DIT).  If temperatures were reasonaby expected to be less than 40 degrees F, engines not needed for power were either have their prime movers operating at idle or for the engine to be dead and have its cooling system drained.  Some engines were equipped with a automatic auxilary system to charge the batteries and keep the coolant in the prime mover warm when engine is shut down.

Name of the game was fuel conservation.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Friday, June 25, 2021 8:25 PM

I always liked to have the lead unit on idle with the trailing units making all the noise.

Mark Vinski

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:01 AM

mvlandsw

I always liked to have the lead unit on idle with the trailing units making all the noise.

Mark Vinski

Our operating rules don't allow this anymore (unless the lead unit is defective), and we get tattled on if we don't follow the throttle restrictions exactly.  

We normally leave trailing units isolated or in DB only if it has that option (up to the maximum number of powered axles), though sometimes the shop will manually shut them down when assembling the consist.  AutoStart is free to shut down and restart trailing units as it sees fit.  

We've had a number of cases where a unit was shut down either manually or automatically and then failed to restart out in the field due to bad batteries.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, June 26, 2021 6:47 PM

When standing, I won't let that auto start/stop shut down the lead unit.  There's been too many times it won't restart or allow a manual restart.  It's not just weak batteries which is usually, but not always, tagged in the cab.

Our rules don't allow us to isolate the lead and run with the trailing engines either.  However, they can tell us to do so.  And that is a favorite thing for them to have us do when the lead engine is low on fuel.  (We have a few places where the fuel truck vendors will no longer do business with the railroad.)

Jeff   

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, June 26, 2021 7:02 PM

Jeff, do any of the current engines have the same functionality of the P42, where a switch could restrict the lead unit to limited notch without constraining the other units in a consist?  I understood that as providing a somewhat quieter ride for the engine crew...

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Posted by mvlandsw on Saturday, June 26, 2021 8:38 PM

Overmod

Jeff, do any of the current engines have the same functionality of the P42, where a switch could restrict the lead unit to limited notch without constraining the other units in a consist?  I understood that as providing a somewhat quieter ride for the engine crew...

 

Chessie System had that on some units. It wasn't for the crew's benefit though. The idea was to limit the power of the lead unit to reduce slipping on poor rail conditions. The trailing units could operate at full power after the lead unit cleaned and sanded the rail.

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Posted by Big Cat on Saturday, June 26, 2021 8:46 PM

Right before I retired, the rule was changed so that if the unit had auto-start, auto-stop, it should be running even if off line no matter the temperature.  If it didn't have that feature, it was to be shut down unless it was cold.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:33 PM

mvlandsw

 

 
Overmod

Jeff, do any of the current engines have the same functionality of the P42, where a switch could restrict the lead unit to limited notch without constraining the other units in a consist?  I understood that as providing a somewhat quieter ride for the engine crew...

 

 

 

Chessie System had that on some units. It wasn't for the crew's benefit though. The idea was to limit the power of the lead unit to reduce slipping on poor rail conditions. The trailing units could operate at full power after the lead unit cleaned and sanded the rail.

 

I remember seeing a switch that limited an engine to notch 7.  That was on the GE DC traction engines.  I haven't seen one in quite a while now.

Jeff

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:56 PM

GE C40-8's have that Notch 7 switch, our Dash-9's don't have it.  Not sure about 4-axle or older GE's, never seen anything like it on EMDs.

Our GE AC traction units have a power reduction option in with the pacesetter control menu in the computer.  I've never actually used it so I'm not sure if it only affects the lead unit or trailing units as well.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Saturday, June 26, 2021 10:37 PM

The question of leaving an engine running reminds me of a joke related by author P J O'Rourke about military personnel running border and other check points.

A man pulls up to a checkpoint in a VW Beetle, and a soldier barks at him to "open the trunk."  As you know, the engine is in the back on that car, so the driver gets out and opened the hood where the Beetle had a shallow luggage compartment.

"What kind of foolish person do you take me to be, I asked you to open the trunk!"  This takes place in a part of the world where on account of nepotism and other forms of corruption, soldiers and especially those at the checkpoints are not the brightest people in the society.  Civilians are also accustomed to such abuse from government officials, so the driver shrugs his shoulders and walk around to open the rear compartment.

"Aha" exclaims the soldier, "I see that you have stolen an engine!  And you have just done this crime, because it is still running!"

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Psychot on Monday, June 28, 2021 8:01 PM

So what's the logic behind requiring the lead locomotive to be online?

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, June 28, 2021 8:05 PM

Psychot
So what's the logic behind requiring the lead locomotive to be online?

So you can monitor amperage. 

   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 SD70Dude on Monday, June 28, 2021 10:29 PM

The consist monitor screen on newer units lets you see how hard the trailing units are pulling or braking.  Of course for this to work they all need to be compatible with each other, and the reading isn't instantaneous either.  

You can usually 'feel' approximately what the trailing units are doing if the lead one is isolated, even without the help of the screen.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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