BNSF marks first distributed-power train to feature ECP brakes (4/18/2008)


BNSF Railway Co. recently completed the maiden run of a distributed-power train equipped with the latest generation of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

BNSF hauls coal for Southern Co. from the Powder River Basin (PRB) to Palos, Ala. A cross-functional team coordinated the installation of ECP systems on the distributed-power train. Southern-owned coal cars are equipped with ECP brake systems while BNSF's locomotives are 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 “BNSF News” item posted on the Class I’s Web site.

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

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News