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<< Rail News Home: Mechanical

3/3/2005    Freight News

Rail News: Mechanical

BNSF routes poor-performing locomotives to Montana reliability center

Last week, BNSF Railway Co. marked the opening of a new reliability center at its Glendive, Mont., diesel shop.

The railroad's mechanical department uses the center to diagnose and troubleshoot locomotives. The center features infrared cameras, ultrasonic devices, and vibration and cylinder pressure analysis computers to help evaluate the condition of locomotives and components.

"The concept of the reliability center is to address the worst-of-the-worst performing locomotives," BNSF officials said in a prepared statement. "Repairs are then designed to improve the reliability of these poor-performing locomotives."

In November 2003, BNSF opened the Kansas City Locomotive Maintenance and Inspection Terminal — the railroad's first reliability center. Diesel shop crews repaired 200 locomotives during the Kansas City, Mo., terminal's first year of operation. The locomotives' average mean days between failures and average defects per unit per day improved 157 percent and 57 percent, respectively, compared with 2003 data, BNSF said.

Earlier this year, the Class I also opened reliability centers at its Alliance, Neb., and Northtown, Minn., locomotive shops.

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