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Five Decades Strong
(Posted October 2015)
GP35 locomotive Metro-North’s “seasoned” GP35 locomotives--which are used to haul work trains used for rescues or for switching within the yard--are finding their “second wind” after more than 50 years of service to the railroad.
Recently one of our seasoned GP35s returned home to our Croton Harmon Shop sporting a long list of brand-new amenities as part of an “overhaul” program to keep the equipment running more reliably and longer.
This “work horse” is now retrofitted with top-of-the-line technology – including a “battery jog”, which switches its engine from diesel to battery power when entering a shop to keep employees safe from harmful fumes, as well as “Automatic Engine Start Stop” technology that reduces idle times, saving fuel and cutting emissions.
Other upgrades include a “remote health monitoring system,” which sends an email to a designated list of employees whenever the GP35 has a fault (i.e. a low amount of fuel). On top of that, each overhauled locomotive is being installed with the latest Positive Train Control technology.
More fresh features include complete electrical rewiring, a new braking system and new air conditioning, floors, seats, windows and fire extinguishers.
The locomotives are sent to Brookville Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania, where they are stripped down and decked out with new gear. This rejuvenation takes about eight months, depending on the extent of work.
According to Craig Gustavson, Deputy Director – Maintenance of Equipment Engineering, this locomotive revamp is an optimal, cost-effective strategy for getting the most out of our locomotive fleet while keeping it safe and reliable.
“For locomotives that are approaching the end of their useful life, this overhaul program is a chance for us to use every last bit of their potential,” Gustavson said. “It saw this equipment go from 1960’s tech to present-day tech. And once they come back to us, we expect them to last at least another 20 years.”
The GP35s aren’t the only locomotives getting the “extreme makeover” treatment: 31 of our P32 (you know them as the "Genesis") are currently being overhauled, as are 12 of our BL20s (used as passenger, switcher or protect-duty locomotives).