Rails of Tomorrow: Modernizing Older Locomotives
Modernizing Older Locomotives

Rails of Tomorrow: Modernizing Older Locomotives

As the railway industry evolves, it’s vital that our machines keep up with the changes. Did you know the average U.S. locomotive is 25 years old? Now many of us face the challenge of updating older machines, so they meet the latest standards. Keeping these essential workhorses rolling is critical to the health of the U.S. economy. Also, updating them to fit our age of smart and connected machines is necessary. Luckily, the expert team at Motive Power Resources is here to help! We want to ensure your investments stay efficient and safe. Let’s talk about the many benefits of modernizing older locomotives.


  1. Understanding New Guidelines
    As with any industry, staying current with what’s happening in your field is essential. We encourage you to talk with industry organizations and regulatory bodies. Knowing the new guidelines helps you know where to start. Additionally, staying informed will help you predict future customer demands. This way, you can easily keep chugging down the track.
  2. Better Technology, Better Performance
    Integrating advanced technologies into your train is key to optimizing your engine’s performance and getting the proper maintenance at the right time. Additionally, upgrading communication systems enables your machine to connect with your control center. That way, getting real-time data right when you need it is easier!
  3. Better For The Environment 
    A big struggle with these machines is the amount of emissions they produce. Many of us want to do our part for the planet and align with global efforts to combat climate change. Luckily, the rail industry is chugging down the environmental track. Now rail operators can use exhaust after-treatment technologies to lower emissions. 
  4. Improving Passenger Comfort
    Safety and passenger comfort are key components of new customer guidelines. We can now upgrade trains with advanced safety systems to ensure passengers have a safe ride. You can now install tech that helps avoid a collision. Additionally, you can invest in your suspension and vibration-dampening systems. Upgrading these systems can reduce noise and provide a smoother ride experience.
  5. Improving Your Passenger’s Experience
    In the digital age, passengers always want access to the outside world. Adding Wi-Fi and charging services will help your passengers stay connected. In addition, you can add interactive infotainment systems. These systems can provide real-time travel information, entertainment options, and safety updates. All these enhancements improve your passengers’ experiences. And a better experience equals loyalty and attracts more travelers to rail transportation.
  6. Improving Maintenance Practices
    You can install tech that performs condition-based and predictive maintenance practices. These systems enable real-time monitoring of the important pieces of the train. Also, it gives you essential performance data. This performance data helps you do a multitude of things. For example, address potential issues, improve maintenance schedules, and lessen operational disruptions. 
  7. Performance Testing
    Always do performance testing after making updates. After all, you want to make sure these upgrades are working correctly! Always test emissions, braking performance, fuel efficiency, and safety features. This is a big part of complying with customer guidelines and regulatory requirements. Use your test data to fine-tune your train for peak performance.
  8. Data Security and Cybersecurity
    A big part of your machine’s ability to work well is in the online world. With the big switch to digital, it’s crucial to have top-notch data security and cybersecurity. We always encourage our customers to focus on cybersecurity measures. These measures will safeguard your machine’s control systems, communication networks, and customer information. It’s important to do everything you can to prevent any data leaks. We recommend the following:
    – Using encryption protocols
    – Regular vulnerability assessments
    – Employee cybersecurity training
  9. Reuse The Energy!
    We can now reduce your train’s energy use by reusing the energy! Systems such as regenerative braking can convert kinetic energy into electrical energy. You can store the electrical energy and use it to power auxiliary systems or recharge onboard batteries. This approach increases your train’s efficiency and saves you money.
  10. Benefits to Rail Shippers
    Upgrading to state-of-the-art technology makes your machine more dependable. This improves its ability to support the growing demands on the rail network. In addition, it provides more reliable, consistent service for customers. 
  11. Circular Economy
    Updating your train also supports the circular economy. How? Throughout the order, we will reuse and recycle approximately 70,000 tons of steel. That’s the same as 51,000 passenger cars.
  12. Future-Proofing 
    Investing in upgrading your machine will help protect your investments later. As regulations change, you will be ready. Over time adding different upgrades to your machines allows you to invest in future innovations without significant delays or upfront costs. This proactive approach helps you stay competitive, efficient, and compliant. As the industry standards change, you’re ready for them as a forward-thinking industry leader.


Motive Power Resources Is Here To Help You Upgrade

Upgrading older locomotives to meet new customer guidelines helps you thrive in our changing industry. We hope the above tips gave you a better understanding of the tools at your fingertips! Your train still has a lot of life left in her.


So what’s the result of modernizing older locomotives? You’ll have easier-to-maintain, more reliable, better-connected machines. They’ll be ready with limited delay to return to work, pulling whatever the world’s largest economy demands. Art Erbacher, a leader in Locomotive Aftermarket Operations, states, “There’s more technology in an iPhone today than there was in a fleet of machines built 25 years ago.” That’s a problem we need to fix!


If you want to talk about how we can help modernize older locomotives, call our team of experts today! With over 15 years in locomotive rebuilding, we have the expertise, tools, and customer care you deserve.

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Published: August 7, 2023
Author: Motive Power
Categories : Uncategorized