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Rail News: Kansas City Southern

KCS to focus fuel management efforts on moving-train technologies

Kansas City Southern continues to seek ways to conserve fuel in the United States and Mexico since diesel costs are one of the Class I's highest operating expenses.

For some time, the railroad has made a concerted effort to improve fuel efficiency when a train is stopped by shutting down locomotive engines when they're idling for more than 30 minutes and using Auto Engine Start-Stop systems, which are designed to sense engine conditions and shut down motors. But in the year ahead, KCS' Network Services, Transportation and Mechanical teams are working to acquire an energy management technology that would address fuel efficiency when a train is moving, railroad officials said in an item posted on the "KCS News" web page.

The Class I expects to begin one pilot in May, then potentially evaluate a second energy management technology.

Since train size, track conditions and locomotive handling have an effect on fuel efficiency, onboard energy management technology helps to automatically optimize the conditions. An energy management system can control throttle and dynamic brakes to reduce fuel burn while ensuring safe train handling, reduced air emissions and lower diesel costs, KCS officials said.

The railroad also is working to acquire better baseline data to measure fuel efficiency, educate employees on how their actions affect fuel efficiency and manage a focused program on excessive idle management.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/17/2015