• ES44c4 weight on drivers

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by Allen Hazen
Does a locomotive engineer's pay on BNSF still take into account weight on drivers? And if so, how is the ES44c4, whose weight on drivers is variable, handled?
More general question: does anyone know how much of the time, in normal operation, an ES44c4 transfers weight from its idler axles to its drivers? Is it done only on starting a train, or does it happen a fair bit of time when the train is in motion?
  by Engineer Spike
Alan, I had one of these once, but I never ran it. My conductor was a set back engineer, and he wanted the practice, since he was in line for promotion.

As you know, these units have what looks like a brake cylinder, which actuates a device, which takes weight off of the idler axle. That weight is transferred to the two powered axles, in that truck. It seems most likely that this happens in high T/E situations. It wouldn't surprise to find the weight transfer events tied to the wheel slip correction system. The unit also seemed to load slower than an ES44AC. This more incremental increase of power may be needed to stay on top of wheel slips, since only 2/3 of the unit's total weight is the weight on the drivers.

As to the labor end, the pay for weight on drivers may have been simplified to a flat rate for everything, SW1-SD90MAC. I'll have to ask a BN friend. The agreements aren't uniform anyway. While I was there, I was under CB&Q agreements. A few times I worked AT&SF, and was under that CBA. Northern Lines, C&S, Frisco, AT&SF, and Q were separate.
  by Allen Hazen
Engineer Spike--
Thank you for that reply! … The idea behind the ES44C4 was that the weight transfer feature would allow more than 2/3 of the total weight to be on the drivers when maximum tractive effort was needed, but obviously it would still be less than 100%. So it would make sense for the control software (speed of loading, these days, is probably computer controlled and not a consequence of the intrinsic properties of the diesel engine) to make them accelerate a bit slower than a "straight" ES44-AC.