• Coal Trains in 100 Degrees

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by Denver Dude
Here in Denver I saw today BNSF loaded coal trains grinding south in some pretty hot weather - it's around 100. The prime movers and other on-board equipment generate a lot of heat in all weather, of course.

Does this kind of heat present any special challenges to the engine and other equipment?
  by Desertdweller
Denver Dude,

I've run most of the late-model units on coal trains, and do not recall hot days having any effect on them. They seem to have been engineered to withstand high ambient temps.

  by toolmaker
Would there be track based speed restrictions while running in those temperatures? I know they do here in the Eastern U.S..
  by Allen Hazen
Re: Desertdweller--
Modern North American locomotives are engineered for the temperatures they are likely to encounter in North America. Run them somewhere really hot-- like the Pilbara iron ore mining region in northwestern Australia-- and they would probably have a bit of difficulty. There are several ore-hauling railroads in that region that operate big, American-style, power (up to GE AC6000), and their units are often modified with extra cooling capacity. One company bought 4400 hp GE locomotives (I forget whether they were C44-9, AC44, or ES) on 76-foot platforms with a gigantic radiator compartment that looked like that on an AC6000.
  by Desertdweller

Yes, speed restrictions based on track are common. The problem is greatest with continuous welded rail: sun kinks.


Increased cooling capacity for extra-high temps makes sense.

The challenge in North American operations is that temps fluctuate so greatly. The same territory that can experience 115F at one time of year might experience -50F at others. I have also seen Class One main lines shut down on account of blowing sand. The same locomotive fleet has to contend with all of this.