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Rail News Home BNSF Railway

May 2008

Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF: Distributed-power train equipped with ECP brakes makes maiden run

BNSF Railway Co.’s implementation of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes now includes a distributed-power train. Last month, the Class I completed the maiden run of a distributed-power train equipped with the “latest generation” of ECP brakes, BNSF said.

The railroad hauls coal for Southern Co. from the Powder River Basin (PRB) to Palos, Ala. Southern-owned coal cars on a distributed-power train will be equipped with ECP brake systems while BNSF locomotives will be outfitted with compatible ECP technology.

ECP brakes send out electronic signals to simultaneously apply and release brakes throughout a train. Conventional brake systems apply each car’s brakes individually as air pressure moves in a series from car to car.

“The use of ECP brakes will provide the potential for improved safety, faster coal deliveries, fewer rail cars and reduced maintenance expense,” said Jeff Wallace, Southern Co.’s vice president of fuel services, in a news item posted on BNSF’s Web site.

In January, the Class I operated its first ECP-equipped revenue-service coal train between the PRB and Southern’s Birmingham, Ala., power plant. Last year, BNSF and Norfolk Southern Railway obtained Federal Railroad Administration waivers to begin using ECP brakes in revenue service.


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