What kind of maintenance is done on locomotives and how often?

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  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 14 posts
What kind of maintenance is done on locomotives and how often?
Posted by IbanezGuiness on Thursday, October 26, 2017 9:57 PM

Just curious about what kind of maintenance is done on locomotives and how often is said maintenance done? Always something I've wondered about. 



  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 3,909 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, October 30, 2017 12:03 PM

When the water gets low, add water.  When the oil gets low, add oil.  Add sand and fuel up as needed.  Empty the toilet and the trash and restock the crew supplies.  Clean the windows.  If something minor can be fixed, fix it.  If not, hope it holds together until the next required shop inspections.  

At least that seems how things are done.


  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: On the Ballast.
  • 5,795 posts
Posted by zugmann on Monday, October 30, 2017 6:02 PM

Normally, they get fixed when they break. Some conditions require removal from service and immediate shopping, others can wait (depending on rules and laws).

They do have to be inspected every calendar day they are in use, but that can be done by an engineer (or robo operator) or mechanical.

Locomotives go in for periodic inspections (by mechanical staff) every 92 or 184 days as outlined below.  That's when they get a thorough going over, and usually come back with new brake shoes, filled fluids/sand, etc. 


From https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.23 :


§ 229.23 Periodic inspection: general.

(a) Each locomotive shall be inspected at each periodic inspection to determine whether it complies with this part. Except as provided in § 229.9, all non-complying conditions shall be repaired before the locomotive is used. Except as provided in § 229.33 and paragraph (b) of this section, the interval between any two periodic inspections may not exceed 92 days. Periodic inspections shall only be made where adequate facilities are available. At each periodic inspection, a locomotive shall be positioned so that a person may safely inspect the entire underneath portion of the locomotive.

(b) For each locomotive equipped with advanced microprocessor-based on-board electronic condition monitoring controls:

(1) The interval between periodic inspections shall not exceed 184 days; and

(2) At least once each 33 days, the daily inspection required by § 229.21, shall be performed by a qualified mechanical inspector as defined by § 229.5. A record of the inspection that contains the name of the person performing the inspection and the date that it was performed shall be maintained in the locomotive cab until the next periodic inspection is performed.

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

I occasionally post off-topic remarks.  Adults can handle that.

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