Keeping the trains running so they don't break down in the cold.

JCitron

Trainzing since 12-2003
http://www.whdh.com/story/31006826/mbta-preparing-trains-for-cold-weather-on-wednesday-morning

The MBTA, our transit organization, is keeping the trolleys (trams), and subways running all night to prevent them from freezing up in the cold which is heading our way. They also said, in this very brief news article, that they are exercising the switches too to prevent them from freezing as well.

The system is very old, one of the oldest transit systems in the world.

John
 
One thing that did not work too well, was the practice of pouring gallons of rubbing alcohol into completely frozen trainline air hoses, as the liquid fouled up the air reservoir portions in the long run

You know it's cold outside, when your nostril hairs keep freezing up, with every breath you take ... and when you are fighting, walking in between long strings of railcar consists, and the wind from the river keeps propelling you backward ... and you run your hands under 50 F lukewarm water in the restroom, to unfreeze your frostbitten fingers, and you are totally screaming in agony ... then 10 minutes later after the frostbite has gone away, your fingers feel SOOO F In' GOOD ... Like you been totally reborn again !
 
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NJT does this as well at the Hoboken terminal. It's raised the ire of the local residents who complain about the noise and diesel fumes. Hoboken has gone from a blue collar waterfront town to a very high priced hipster haven and the locals don't like being reminded of it's past history.
 
There is a way to keep the engines from freezing without running those big engines: an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). These are engines that are much smaller that keeps the fluids moving in the engine to prevent them from freezing. They can also do the same thing you do with your diesel-powered truck: plug it into a electrical socket, though on a bigger scale.
 
For diesels this works where they can do that, but in this case, they are trolleys and subways so this might be the difference and they may not have that option, Jordon.

John
 
For diesels this works where they can do that, but in this case, they are trolleys and subways so this might be the difference and they may not have that option, Jordon.

John

Yeah, I was reading 'electric' while my mind was reading 'diesel'.
 
Yeah, I was reading 'electric' while my mind was reading 'diesel'.

That's okay. :)

They do keep their old FP40s and newer replacements running all the time in the cold weather. The NIMBYs don't like it though and that's become an issue when it comes to expanding the commuter lines. The Haverhill line that I'm on was supposed to be expanded up to Plaistow New Hampshire about 6 miles. The NIMBYs from Atkinson, two miles away from the terminus, came out in droves like cattle after sweet corn and hay, to complain that the overnight diesels "might make noise and smell". They along with their lawyers killed the deal even though it would have benefitted a lot more people.

John
 
They do keep their old FP40s and newer replacements running all the time in the cold weather. The NIMBYs don't like it though and that's become an issue when it comes to expanding the commuter lines. The Haverhill line that I'm on was supposed to be expanded up to Plaistow New Hampshire about 6 miles. The NIMBYs from Atkinson, two miles away from the terminus, came out in droves like cattle after sweet corn and hay, to complain that the overnight diesels "might make noise and smell". They along with their lawyers killed the deal even though it would have benefitted a lot more people.

John

The MBTA should have told them: "It isn't going to be in your backyard because your backyard is on your property."
Then again, I'd probably take one of the diesels up to where the trains would 'layover' overnight, put the NIMBYs in their backyards, and see if they can hear it. They might not hear it, but then if they hear it, it may not be loud enough to bother them. Then again, they'll be asleep while the trains layover for the night.
 
The MBTA should have told them: "It isn't going to be in your backyard because your backyard is on your property."
Then again, I'd probably take one of the diesels up to where the trains would 'layover' overnight, put the NIMBYs in their backyards, and see if they can hear it. They might not hear it, but then if they hear it, it may not be loud enough to bother them. Then again, they'll be asleep while the trains layover for the night.

Spoken like a real rail advocate!

It's up in New Hampshire too which is one of the least rail friendly states in the country. If this was going to be a new 4-lane freeway, people would be all over it. Besides, the NIMBYs have lawyers...
 
One thing that did not work too well, was the practice of pouring gallons of rubbing alcohol into completely frozen trainline air hoses, as the liquid fouled up the air reservoir portions in the long run

You're tempting me to change my signature to "Australia: where the air hoses never freeze!"
 
What about steam locos? If fired up I'd think there would be little to freeze other then possibly the water in the tender and even then only if the level was low, the temperature vey low for some time, and the lco stationary for quite a while.

If not fired up (cold iron) I'd think that might be a bit of the problem. Steam has a nasty tendency to condense in the strangest and un-accessible places then freeze.

Ben
 
What about steam locos? If fired up I'd think there would be little to freeze other then possibly the water in the tender and even then only if the level was low, the temperature vey low for some time, and the lco stationary for quite a while.

If not fired up (cold iron) I'd think that might be a bit of the problem. Steam has a nasty tendency to condense in the strangest and un-accessible places then freeze.

Ben

I remember reading how the locos were never allowed to cool completely down. Could this have been one of the reasons?

Steam and moisture are nasty like this.
 
That and it takes a while to get one up to operating temperature from a cold start.

Ya know - in thinking about this I remember when I was in Alaska most of the pipes were on the outside of the walls so if they did freeze (in spite of you keeping the water running all the time) you could slip a sheet of asbestos between the pipe and the wall, hit it with a blowtorch, and thaw things out. Now the question is what pipes on a steam engine do not have flowing or heated water in them when the engine is idle?

Another thought is what about water of condensation freezing in the sand pipes?

Ben
 
Well we don't have to worry about that many steam loco's freezing up nowadays, do we ... as all but several dozen have been scrapped, or winterized by draining all water, and are kept above 32F in protective sheds

Now how the PRR once did it when they had hundreds of thousands of idle loco's ... that was a different story ... probably drained if they were mothballed, and blown out with air, and indefinitely shut down ... diesels had their freeze plugs pulled, and coolant was drained out right on the already polluted ground
 
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Metra does this a lot to their F40PHs engines by leaving them in idle to keep the engines from freezing over here in Chicago (especially since we had several days of sub zero temperatures)
 
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