Keep on Track: Tips to Keep up with an Aging Locomotive

Keep on Track: Tips to Keep up with an Aging Locomotive


For train operators and railroads, aging locomotives can pose significant challenges. As locomotives age, they become more prone to breakdowns, require more frequent maintenance, and may even need to be retired or replaced. 


However, with proper care and maintenance, an aging locomotive can continue providing reliable and safe operation for years. Let’s dive into some helpful tips to help you keep up with your aging locomotive.


How To Maintain Your Locomotive

Perform Inspections

Regular inspections are crucial to identifying any potential issues before they become major problems. Conduct daily inspections of the locomotive to check for any visible signs of damage, leaks, or wear and tear. Ensure the locomotive is inspected thoroughly during scheduled maintenance checks to identify any underlying problems.

Preventive Maintenance

Regular preventative maintenance is essential for keeping your locomotive in optimal condition. Regular maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and extend the locomotive’s lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for the locomotive and its components, such as the engine, brakes, and electrical systems.

Train Crew Education

Train crew members should be educated on proper locomotive operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting procedures. They should be trained to identify warning signs of potential issues and to perform basic repairs and maintenance tasks when necessary. 

Proper training ensures the safe and efficient operation of an aging locomotive.

Keep it Clean

Keeping the locomotive clean prevents corrosion and reduces wear and tear. Clean the locomotive’s exterior regularly, including the wheels, undercarriage, and engine components. Use a pressure washer to remove dirt, grease, and grime from hard-to-reach areas.

Monitor Fluids and Lubricants

Fluids and lubricants play a vital role in the operation and longevity of the locomotive. Regularly monitor engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and hydraulic fluid levels and quality. Change these fluids according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or when necessary.

Replace Worn-Out Components

As locomotives age, specific components may become worn out and require replacement. Replace worn-out parts, such as brake pads, bearings, and gaskets, promptly to prevent more significant issues from developing.

Retrofitting and Upgrades

Consider retrofitting and upgrading aging locomotives with modern technology to improve performance and efficiency. Upgrades may include new electronics, fuel-efficient engines, and emissions control systems.

Monitor Performance and Efficiency

Keep track of the locomotive’s performance and efficiency over time. Monitor factors such as fuel consumption, speed, and load capacity. Use this data to identify areas where improvements can be made to improve performance and efficiency.

Retirement or Replacement

At some point, the cost of maintaining an aging locomotive may outweigh the benefits. Retaining or replacing the locomotive may be more cost-effective than continuing repairs and maintenance. Consider the locomotive’s age, condition, and overall performance when deciding whether to retire or replace it.

Trust the Experts at Motive Power Resources


An aging locomotive requires regular maintenance, inspections, and repairs to ensure safe and efficient operation — but the experts at Motive Power Resources are here to help!


By following these tips from our team, you can easily keep up with your aging locomotive and extend its lifespan. 


Remember to prioritize safety and comply with all regulations and guidelines when maintaining and operating an aging locomotive. With proper care and maintenance, an aging locomotive can continue providing reliable and safe operation for years.

Published: May 1, 2023
Author: Motive Power
Categories : Uncategorized