NS GP40-2 3046

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Heaters Are On High

“It’s not hard to tell when you worked last” stated a fellow conductor.
“How can you tell?”
“The heaters are on high.”
“Yeah. It’s cold from those drafty doors and windows. Don’t you feel them drafts?”
“Not really. I keep the heaters on low and it feels fine.”

Not all locomotive cabs are warm in 15 degree temperatures. Some have drafty windows and doors or heaters that produce luke warm air. The little heat that is created escapes into the cold metals that make up the cab due to the lack of insulation. It does not help that the conductor is constantly in and out of the cab since this is mostly a local switching operation. Usually when the conductor comes back into the cab from his ground duty exercises for a few minutes, the heaters goes from high to low. Since doors and windows are being opened and closed a lot, duck tape is a worthless tool to block the draft from the doors.

Most of the locomotives models (SW1500 has one blower heater) I’ve been in have two wall heaters and two forced air heaters. One set of heaters are located on the engineer side and the other set is on the fireman’s side. The sidewalls heaters provide a cushion of warm air maybe halfway up the side cab windows and the forced air heaters spreads heat around in the cab. Depending on which heaters are on, various heating temperatures can be achieved. Sidewall heaters working without the blower heaters will never be able heat the cab alone. One blower heater with both sidewalls will produce a luke warm draft around in the cab. If all heaters are on high, a warm draft will be generated in the cab. But as soon as it starts to get warms, I have to leave the cab to either drop a cut or throw a switch.

Hopefully soon, Old Man Winter will retire for the season……