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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF rolls out new end-of-train devices to boost service efficiency


Burlington Northern Santa Fe plans by month-end to begin operating 50 new air-generator-powered end-of-train devices (ETDs) on its transcontinental mainline to increase service efficiency, according to a statement prepared March 15.
BNSF used rechargeable batteries to power its original ETDs, which railroad officials believe were less reliable in long hauls. The new devices are powered by a turbine that runs off of a train's brake-line air.
"There have been misconceptions that the new ETDs are defective since they will not power up until air passes through them, compared with the battery units that power up when upright with a battery," said Harry Baldaccini, BNSF director, transportation-locomotive utilization. "The new turbine devices must be connected to a pressurized train line for a minute or so for air to turn the turbine and power the device — the resulting whining noise means the device is working properly, not defective."
If battery power is lost, ETDs no longer can communicate with the head-end device, causing a train to stop or continue running at 30 mph or less.

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More News from 3/20/2002