Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 50

RAILWAY TECHNOLOGY

Locomotive and Passenger Car
Freeze-Up Downtime Can Be Prevented
BY NICK TALLOS, VICE PRESIDENT ENGINEERING, THERMOMEGATECH

A manager at a major North American railroad related a story
about how one of his locomotives had been in shutdown mode and
unintentionally left in sub-freezing weather for a little too long. When
the crew returned to the locomotive, they expected that the worst had
happened to its cooling system. Anticipating that the water was now
frozen, they imagined cracked pipes, engine damage, a repair bill in the
tens of thousands of dollars and downtime of several weeks or more.
Instead, they found that the shutdown locomotive was in
practically workable condition because all the water in the engine's
cooling system had been automatically drained just prior to freezing,
as a result of a small, self-actuating, thermostatic plug, retrofitted at
the lowest point in its cooling system. To get the locomotive started
again, all they had to do was warm the cartridge to above 10°Celsius
(50° Fahrenheit) and insert it back into the plug. At this point, the
system automatically re-armed and they were able to refill the
cooling tanks using a water source and a simple tool. The locomotive
was back in operation within a couple of hours.
This railroad saved itself from having a big repair bill and a lot of
downtime because it had retrofitted each of its diesel locomotive
engine's cooling system water lines using a fairly quick and easy
installation procedure. Once the plug is installed, should the water in the
system ever approach the set point of the valve, it automatically snaps
open and lets the system quickly drain. No external power is required.
Said the railroad manager, "In the past, the only sure way of
avoiding locomotive freeze-ups was to leave locomotive engines
running constantly, resulting in a tremendous waste of fuel while
contributing to air pollution. This technology prevents a lot of
damage and downtime for our company."
The technology seems simple: at a precise temperature just a
couple of degrees warmer than 0°Celsius (32°Farenheit), the plug
snaps open to drain the water tank in the shut-down. The valve
senses the engine coolant water temperature and once the set
point of the valve is reached, the valve cartridge separates from its
housing and rapidly drains all the water in the cooling system. No
power is needed to trigger this action. The valve also has a latching
feature that prohibits its accidentally dumping water or tripping
open while the engine is running. The reason for one-time release/
draining is because the fixed volume of water will keep dropping in
temperature eventually reaching freezing temperatures. Modulating
valves slow the draining process and lack the flow capacity to empty
the tank fully once near-freezing temperatures are reached.
This state-of-the-art thermostatic technology has also been
applied to railroad passenger cars to prevent potable water systems
from freezing. For example, should a passenger car be brought
offline during a period of freezing weather, there is a strong

50 INSIDETRACK | SPRING/SUMMER PRINTEMPS/ÉTÉ 2018

Freeze Actuator
Hot Position
(above 40°F)
Wax in liquid state
Piston is extended

Cold Position
(35°F and below)
Wax in solid state
Piston is retracted

possibility that the water in its potable water tank, sinks, toilets
and water fountains could freeze, causing damage, expenses
and down time. However, with a thermostatic plug installed at
the lowest point of the passenger car's water system, the plug
would automatically modulate open and let the system quickly
drain of water (the same way it works on locomotives) should
the water in the car approach freezing temperature. Compared to
the locomotive plugs, the passenger car valves monitor ambient
temperatures to trigger the draining of the system. No electrical or
air connections are required to activate the valve.
The technology, which actually dates back to the 1930s, uses a
highly refined paraffin wax that changes from a solid-to-liquid, on
increasing temperature, and from liquid-to-solid, on decreasing
temperature. The temperature at which this wax changes phases
is so repeatable and reliable that the ASTM utilizes it to calibrate
temperature instrumentation.
In drain-type valves, like the locomotive freeze protection valve,
as the material cools below a set temperature, the actuator piston
retracts allowing the ejector spring to force the cartridge assembly
out of the hex body and drain the water out of the system. As the wax
material warms above its set point, the piston re-extends, permitting
the cartridge to be reinserted to the hex body of the valve.
In ambient sensing valves, like the passenger car freeze
protection valve, as the material cools below a set temperature
the actuator piston retracts allowing the valve to modulate open
and drain the water system. As the wax material warms above its
set point, the piston extends to modulate the valve closed. This
process can be sped up by using a heater assembly to warm the
thermal actuator. These modulating valves work in this application
even though it is a fixed volume system because they are sensing
the air temperature, not water to activate the draining process. ■
Nick Tallos is Vice President Engineering at ThermOmegaTech,
a world leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuated
thermostatic technology where temperature affects flow.
www.thermomegatech.com


http://www.thermomegatech.com

Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018

President’s Message
Bigger Hopper Cars, Faster Grain Shipments
Canada’s New Locomotive Emissions Regulations
Liquid Assets
Hydrail: A Profound Innovation Opportunity for Canadian Railway Suppliers
Locomotive and Passenger Car Freeze-Up Downtime Can Be Prevented
From Last Spike to First in Class: Creativity, Collaboration, and Determination in the Pursuit of Leadership
How to Achieve a Respectful, Harassment-Free Workplace
CARS News
New Members
CapEx: An Industry-Wide Look at Who’s Spending What
Railway Supplier Buyers’ Guide
Advertiser.com
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Intro
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover1
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover2
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 3
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 4
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 5
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 6
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 7
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 8
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - insert3
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - insert4
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - President’s Message
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 10
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 11
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Bigger Hopper Cars, Faster Grain Shipments
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 13
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 14
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - insert1
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - insert2
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 15
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 16
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 17
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 18
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 19
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Canada’s New Locomotive Emissions Regulations
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 21
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 22
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 23
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 24
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 25
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 26
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 27
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 28
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 29
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 30
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 31
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Liquid Assets
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 33
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 34
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 35
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 36
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 37
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 38
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 39
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 40
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 41
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 42
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 43
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Hydrail: A Profound Innovation Opportunity for Canadian Railway Suppliers
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 45
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 46
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 47
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 48
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 49
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Locomotive and Passenger Car Freeze-Up Downtime Can Be Prevented
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 51
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - From Last Spike to First in Class: Creativity, Collaboration, and Determination in the Pursuit of Leadership
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 53
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 54
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 55
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 56
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 57
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 58
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 59
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - How to Achieve a Respectful, Harassment-Free Workplace
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 61
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 62
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 63
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 64
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 65
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 66
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 67
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - CARS News
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 69
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 70
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - New Members
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 72
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - CapEx: An Industry-Wide Look at Who’s Spending What
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Railway Supplier Buyers’ Guide
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 75
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 76
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 77
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 78
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 79
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - Advertiser.com
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 81
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - 82
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover3
Insidetrack - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0215
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CRSB/CRSB0115
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