As Chicago’s daytime or overnight temperatures dip beneath freezing about 108 days per year, keeping water-cooled locomotives running can be challenging. For example, out of the Belt’s 23-unit fleet, its two leased locomotives were the only ones equipped with GURU valves, which protect the engine, compressor and radiator from a freezing incident by dumping the unit’s water when the ambient temperature dips below 35 degrees. Therefore, a decision was made to install GURUs to the entire fleet.
In addition to safeguarding the units from potential damage, the move boosts efficiency. Employees no longer have to constantly monitor locomotives to ensure they’re running and not vulnerable to a freezing incident.
Pipefitter Jeremy Maxedon, who has worked for the Belt since 2015, has been the main GURU installer. Pipefitter Mick Goulding also has performed the work.
“Jeremy is one of the hardest working employees the BRC has and is a valuable asset for maintaining our locomotives and shop equipment,” Assistant Superintendent-Mechanical Patrick McCarron said.
As GURU-equipped locomotives may dump their water in winter, a new 200-gallon water trailer will soon make the yard-filling process quick and easy, eliminating the need to bring those units into the shop. The trailer is expected to arrive this spring while freezing temperatures are still likely.