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BNSF Locomotive Maintenance Facility - Temple, TX

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BNSF Locomotive Maintenance Facility - Temple, TX
Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, November 20, 2022 9:23 AM
BNSF has a locomotive maintenance facility in Temple, TX, which is one of my favorite train watch spots.  I don’t know how extensive a repair they can handle, but they are able to change out motors.
 
The other day I watched them changing the motor on an ES44AC. The work was performed by a contract crew of five.  They had some seemingly pricey equipment to do the job.  Changing a motor appears to be expensive.  How does an engineer know when one of the motors on his/her locomotive is bad or is going bad?
 
Yesterday I heard as much as watched an employee running up the diesel engine on a locomotive.  He seemed to be running it at high rpms, as judged by the sounds and exhaust.  What was he likely testing? 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 20, 2022 11:07 AM

Are you referring to changing a 'traction motor' or the Prime Mover of the locomotive?

Traction motors in many cases get changed out in the field with the use of off track contractors to do the lifting and company mechanical forces to do the mechanical work necessary.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, November 20, 2022 11:10 AM

BaltACD

Are you referring to changing a 'traction motor' or the Prime Mover of the locomotive? 

It is the traction motor.  

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, November 20, 2022 2:12 PM

PJS1
The other day I watched them changing the motor on an ES44AC. The work was performed by a contract crew of five.  They had some seemingly pricey equipment to do the job.  Changing a motor appears to be expensive.  How does an engineer know when one of the motors on his/her locomotive is bad or is going bad?



Sometimes you get an alarm light or a message on the computer screen indicating that a particular motor (or even the generator) has suffered a flashover, or that a motor is suffering from pinion slip (the motor and axle gears aren't turning together properly).  Or the motor catches on fire and you notice the smoke.  But more often the unit just stops loading properly for no apparent reason and you get to do some troubleshooting.  Cut out one or more motors at a time and try throttling up to see if it will load.  Repeat until you've found which motor seems to be the problem.  
 
Traction motor or axle bearing failures can also lead to a locked axle, which also requires that the motor-wheelset combo be replaced.  Usually this happens out in the middle of nowhere but if the unit failed close to the shop they might jack up the locked axle and put little rollers underneath to limp it home at slow speeds.  
 
PJS1
Yesterday I heard as much as watched an employee running up the diesel engine on a locomotive.  He seemed to be running it at high rpms, as judged by the sounds and exhaust.  What was he likely testing? 

That sounds like a load test.  Rev the engine up with the generator's output routed to a resistor ('load box') instead of the traction motors.  Most units built since the 1970s can use their own dynamic brake grid as the resistor.  There are any number of engine or electrical problems that load testing can help diagnose, or he may have simply been testing it after a repair was completed to ensure that the shop did everything right.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, November 20, 2022 7:41 PM

SD70 Dude,

Thanks for your thoughful answer.  I appreciate it.  

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 21, 2022 7:47 AM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by mvlandsw on Monday, November 21, 2022 11:24 PM

   One cold winter day I had a traction motor lock up on an eastbound trip. After much delay due to a frozen switch we got the unit set off in a siding.

A couple days later on a westbound trip the unit had been moved about five miles east to a location where it could be worked on and was leaning over on top of one of those dozers. Something had failed while it was being lifted.

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Posted by PJS1 on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 10:38 PM

BaltACD

Great video!  This is the company that I have seen perform the job in Temple.  Even the pick-ups have the same color scheme.

Any idea how much it cost to change out a traction motor?  

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by Psychot on Thursday, November 24, 2022 10:05 AM

PJS1

 

 
BaltACD

 

Great video!  This is the company that I have seen perform the job in Temple.  Even the pick-ups have the same color scheme.

Any idea how much it cost to change out a traction motor?  

 

As someone pointed out in the comments section, they swapped it out for a dummy axle rather than changing the traction motor. I'm guessing that's what they usually do in the field.

I'm guessing someone has to crawl under there to unbolt things and disconnect the cables, which has to be fun...

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