BNSF sets annual goal, empowers employees to improve fuel efficiency (3/8/2004)


In January and February, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's locomotives consumed 106 million and 103 million gallons of fuel, respectively. If the Class I's fuel efficiency plans take hold, gallons used in subsequent months should continue to drop.

During 2004, BNSF plans to improve fuel efficiency 3 percent compared with last year, which would save 38.2 million gallons of fuel and $31 million in costs. The railroad expects to achieve 774 gross ton-miles (GTMs) per gallon this year compared with 2003's 751 GTMs per gallon — requiring every locomotive to save 26 gallons per day.

"Some of our fuel efficiency is affected by external factors, such as the weather, but there are actions we can control to conserve fuel, and that's where we need to focus " said Jeff Wright, BNSF assistant vice president, locomotive distribution, in a prepared statement. "On a large scale — with more than 5,000 locomotives and 33,000 route miles — lots of small conservation efforts add up to a lot."

The railroad is encouraging all transportation and mechanical employees to follow BNSF procedures, such as shutting down idling locomotives, which can burn four gallons of fuel per hour; ensuring trains adhere to horsepower-per-ton ratios by isolating or shutting down unneeded locomotives in a consist; lubricating wheel flanges and rail to reduce friction, and ensuring onboard lubricators are properly maintained; managing shop time and maintenance schedules to reduce idling, and assembling locomotive consists for optimal fuel efficiency; adjusting acceleration, braking and other train-handling techniques; pacing trains, and managing meets and passes to ensure smooth train speeds and minimize waits; and properly maintaining track.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News