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Locomotives get less hungry

07 Aug 2009

EFFICIENCY: More than 2·3 billion litres of fuel a year would be saved if every train in North America were to be fitted with GE Transportation's Trip Optimizer, the supplier believes. The launch customer for the energy management package is Canadian Pacific, which is to fit it to 200 locomotives after the success of trials with an initial 18.

Trip Optimizer optimises fuel consumption based on the specific train's make-up and the route. It uses GPS and a digital track database to learn the train’s characteristics, and can then calculate a fuel-optimal speed profile for the journey based on the train length, weight, gradients, track conditions, weather and locomotive performance. Trip Optimizer automatically controls the throttle to maintain the planned speed, but the crew retains responsibility and can engage or disengage it at any time.

More than 500 train starts and 80 000 km of running were accumulated during testing on three CP subdivisions with significantly different geographical characteristics, including mountainous British Columbia, the Saskatchewan prairies and winding, undulating track in Ontario.

‘Results measured by CP on intermodal freight of various train lengths have shown fuel savings ranging from 6% to more than 10% depending on territory’, according to Pierre Comte, President of GE Transportation Intelligent Control Systems.

Trip Optimizer is currently available for Evolution Series locomotives, and can be combined with other fuel saving products from GE including Locotrol distributed power and Auto engine Start Stop to futher decrease fuel use. Versions of Trip Optimizer for other locomotive types will be available from next year.