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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF seeks better lube job to cut friction, save fuel

Burlington Northern Santa Fe is focusing on wheel and rail lubrication to reduce friction, improve efficiency and cut fuel consumption 1.5 percent this year.

The Class I's engineering and mechanical departments are concentrating on locomotive stick-lubrication systems, wayside lubricators at curved rail and hy-rail lubricators.

BNSF plans to install on-board stick-lubrication systems on 4,000 locomotives by year-end, including all high-horsepower and some intermediate-horsepower units.

A stick lubricator can be serviced in less than a minute, and requires no special training, tools or servicing equipment to apply, according to a prepared statement. The lubrication system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and improve locomotive operability by prolonging flange life.

BNSF also plans to install or upgrade 100 wayside lubricators this year. The railroad currently has 1,135 wayside systems and 166 hy-rail lubricators.

A hy-rail vehicle's speed determines the amount of lubricant applied. Studies show that lubrication by hy-rail remains on six-degree or higher curves after 10 train passes, BNSF said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/9/2003