• Locomotive stickers

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

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by trainiac
I've been going through a lot of photos of new locomotives from the 1970s and 80s, and I can't help but notice that they have a very "clean" appearance with almost no stickers or text anywhere on the carbody. Maybe a couple of notices about the engine start switch or water fill locations (and always the fuel and emergency cut-off locations) but that's about it.

In contrast, it seems any new locomotive since about the early 2000s is plastered with stickers all over the carbody, with "Danger - high voltage" on 2/3 of the hood doors, extensive maintenance instructions (oil drain, air filters), auto-start, "watch your step", handbrake instructions, emissions certification etc. New EMDs even have warning stickers at the top corners of the nose.

I can think of several possible reasons for these stickers - increasing complexity of the locomotives, liability concerns and ease of maintenance - but part of me also thinks that if you're reading the stickers on doors to figure out how to operate or maintain a locomotive you might not be quite qualified to do so. Is there any particular reason other than a combination of the above for all the stickers?
  by John_Perkowski
Three acronyms:


1 body per railroad corporation: Office of the General Counsel.

IMNSHO, every sticker is a reactive or proactive response to a liability suit.
  by PFLJohn
John is right, but to expand on this, they are not the only reason. Say you have a tank car leak or fail in some regard and a cleanup crew has to come out. They will need the SDS and to quickly know where/how to unload the tank, if they need any specialized equipment and where the valves are located in the off chance it's a specialized valve. Maybe the car will need to be flared off.

I'm going to try and not "advertise" or be spammy, but on our company website I keep a "cheat sheet" for people who are shippers and don't know themselves what kind of car they need for their commodities. (Could be first time rail shippers, new commodity for them or need to check to see if any regulations changed.) It's where companies like us and google come in.

Final note, these cars do time to time get stored at class 3 locations. This can be anywhere from a couple months to a couple years. (Sometimes days if they are only there to wait for their next load). They need to know at glance when doing their daily tasks what car is a haz car and if there is an emergency what precautions must be made. (Just in case they don't have easy access to a SDS form)
  by BR&P
John_Perkowski wrote:Three acronyms:

FRA is responsible for enforcement of locomotives and rolling stock regulations. OSHA may claim some jurisdiction over facilities. As far as I know, NTSB does no enforcement, merely analysis and suggestion.
  by Engineer Spike
I believe high voltage notation is a FRA requirement. Auto start is really a safety issue. A machinist or electrician may go to work thinking that things are safe, while the unit could start at any time a start parameter is met. By making these workers aware of the auto start, they know to manually shut down the unit.