Monday, July 26, 2021

“In the Pit”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

March 21 2018

How many of us have witnessed or even performed an inspection on or repairs to a locomotive? Thought so! So few of us buffs understand what it takes to keep a locomotive in good working order, let alone complying with the myriad FRA criterion such as in performing a 92-day inspection. I won’t even bother to list them. But just imagine the mass of electrical and mechanical moving parts; the tolerances and limits; the maximums and minimums; the fluids and consumables; the safety appliances, all must be checked, verified, and as required, repaired, refilled, and replaced before the “unit” can return to service. Not an easy task nor one to be taken lightly. It never is. The railroad depends on its motive power for its bread and butter; to be ready to work at a moments notice; to safely perform at the highest level for indefinite periods without fail or failing on line. Here, in the “Pit,” at Davenport on the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad, under the NIWX C40-8 9129, running gear, truck frames, traction motors and related components are meticulously inspected, double checked, go-no-go findings discussed, confirmed, recorded and signed off. The entire locomotive is step-by-step – literally – inch-by-inch scrutinized by two sets of trained eyes. Every non-complying item, each defect is resolved by certified personnel which can take several days. Longer if repairs require. Only then is the “Blue Card” signed and the locomotive released for service for another three months before the entire process is necessarily repeated. 

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