How much does...

How much fuel does a diesel locomotive typical consume idling? I'm
talking during long periods while parked. I know that it is hard to
restart a cold engine, especially here in the north country during
winter...has there been any thoughts about using the same systems that
have been developed for the trucking industry to limit idling
emissions? The one I saw recently was sweet...kept the air
conditioning running in the summer, maintained a warm cab in the
winter, provided ample electricity to heat the fuel and keep the engine
warm, plus run all the amenities, also provide hydralic and air
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GVoigt: Here's some info:
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You may skip over the flame.
Try to skip over the asthma, cancer, etc. BS. What these people rarely mention is that they see nothing wrong with putting power plant workers out of work (depression, suicides, etc.) and encouraging power costs to increase faster (lack of bill payments, power is shut off, no heat, widow dies from hypothermia) in order to 'eliminate 500 deaths per year', or in other words, to help 450 people in a country of several hundred million cough and gasp for five more miserable years of agony and maybe help 50 be slightly more comfortable, or to shift their deaths to other causes such as the chain smoking that gave them the emphysema in the first place.
You think this is hyperbole? The local gas supplier, losing money as people stopped paying their bills when gas went shrooooom through the roof, now has the right to shut off the friggin' NORTHEASTERN WINTER. After a 10 day notice. Sure, blame hurricanes...but it's the gas-fired wind through the 'clean' gas-turbine power plants so popular today that REALLY take the blame. I saw this coming 10 years ago.
[Ja, and the gas people also want to slap on a fee that will only kick in if people keep using less gas on average...and they claim it will 'encourage conservation'. There's one for your collection, Steve Caple.]
We are not dealing with Donora any more, people. This is not 'killer smog'; the smoke you see is bur-eau-cra-cy. I would really love to see a cost versus benefit analysis of this stuff, but of course this makes me an inhuman monster. Think of the children. The children! Grr. I hope my kids have somewhere to work...
And here's somebody's better idea:
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I'm all for it, since it actually Solves A Problem That Exists, namely, that switchers really do idle a lot, and that is unnecessary power use and pollution, and doesn't do this without Moving All The Industry To Somewhere Not Here.
Trucks are a little different from locomotives, in that the railroads don't use antifreeze in the coolant, unless I am greatly mistaken. They have about 500 gallons of cooling water, so you can see how antifreeze would be rather expensive...though I'm told a salt-based antifreeze is used sometimes, though I don't know how that would work.
*Road* locomotives idle much less often than switchers or trucks, anyway. Train crews don't pull into railyards, park, put up their 'No Lot Lizards' signs, and sleep. It costs too much to stand a locomotive still. Another crew takes over if the run is too long for one.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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Diesels take really very little fuel when idling. I had a friend explain to me that his diesel will consume less fuel if he left it idling for 2-3 hours than if he shut it off and restarted it again for a road trip. I didn't believe him so he showed me his fuel logs and that indeed proved that keeping the engine running did use about 1/2 the fuel that would have been used to rewarm the engine up.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
Reply to
Bob May
About 4 gal per hour, according to page 11 of
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Googling the topic produces many references to efforts to reduce the amount of locomotive idling, for reduction of fuel use, emissions and other considerations.
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When I was volunteering my first day at IRM way back when, I got a ride in the Illinois Terminal GP-9. I think they mentioned it used 8 gallons per hour at idle.
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Jay Cunnington

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