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Go Back   Railway Forum > Diesel & Electric > Diesel & Electric Discussion

How much fuel does a diesel locomotive use?

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  #1  
Old 22nd August 2019, 13:03
ianrail ianrail is offline  
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How much fuel does a diesel locomotive use?

Yes, I know, how long is a piece of string?

The other day we were discussing if it was fair that preserved railways charge the same fare whether the train is diesel or steam hauled. It seemed to me that the cost of running a steam engine would be much higher, particularly when the railway has to buy coal in small quantities.

On the other hand, someone asked whether the fuel for a diesel locomotive (say, a Class 37) was really that much cheaper, considering that it has to be delivered to the railway in small quantities too.

Do any of our members who work on preserved lines have any figures regarding the relative costs please? I really have no idea how much fuel a locomotive might use during a typical day.


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Old 22nd August 2019, 14:53
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JEB-245584/2 JEB-245584/2 is offline  
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Let's see if I can help.

First off let me explain about the two main areas of locomotive "hire" and how the agreements work .
What you have to remember is most locomotives whether it be steam or diesel are not owned by the operating railway.
Option one is a maintenance agreement, what happens here is that the owning group sign over their loco to the said railway and they get to use it whenever they need it, however the owning group get no funds paid into their bank account during the period of the agreement. What does happen though is that all running repair costs are covered by the railway and at the end of the agreement which is usually ten years the railway will pay for a full overhaul. I must add these agreements are now quite rare.
The second option and the one we have 45337 on is a hire contract. At the end of each year you sit down with the railway and agree on how many days the loco will run the following year. For each day you run you get a fee. The railway does however pay for consumables such as fire bars and brake blocks, any other repairs are paid for by the owning group.

On to fuel, from what I know all fuel costs are lumped together and only sketchy records are kept on what loco uses what. A lot is down to the individual crews and how they drive. I've been on our footplate at the end of the day and seen our tender a ton of coal lighter than it was the previous day, even though its duties were identical on both days.

To summarise the overhaul cost of fuel might differ slightly but if you said that to a railways accountant they would come back to you with the answer that your fare is also paying for the upkeep of the carriages and the track, not just the locomotive on the front!

Cheers John
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Old 22nd August 2019, 14:55
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D.O.G.F.A.N. D.O.G.F.A.N. is offline  
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I wonder if they run on RED diesel. Which does not attract the same tax as the clear stuff.
Stuart
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Old 22nd August 2019, 15:08
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Originally Posted by D.O.G.F.A.N. View Post
I wonder if they run on RED diesel. Which does not attract the same tax as the clear stuff.
Stuart

They do Stuart. It's usually one big tank for all the railways needs, locos , plant, forklift trucks, cleaning down loco frames!!! Even used it for soaking rags in to get the fire going on our thing.

Cheers John
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Old 22nd August 2019, 15:18
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Originally Posted by JEB-245584/2 View Post
They do Stuart. It's usually one big tank for all the railways needs, locos , plant, forklift trucks, cleaning down loco frames!!! Even used it for soaking rags in to get the fire going on our thing.

Cheers John
Thanks John
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Old 22nd August 2019, 17:22
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Whatever happened to 'Bio-fuel'?
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Cliff
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Old 30th August 2019, 05:22
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aussiesteve aussiesteve is offline
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G'day Cliff,
You need a lot of stale fish and chips oil to produce bio fuel.
A brushless motor (no motor brush arcing permitted or KABOOM) to mix the solution.
Soap and bio fuel being the result, or singed eyebrows.
I know some bush bashers that converted their 4wds to bio fuel.
Less oomph produced from the fuel, plus they had to cart the fuel in jerry cans with them in a trailer.
As to how much fuel a weasel consumes, yes it all depends upon the donk and just how heavy the train is.
Plus, the gradients encountered en route.
Plus how aggressive the hogger is with the controls.
I recollect that back under the Good ole Days regime here, Lithgow crews were not permitted to work EAST (156 kms) to smog hollow Sydney with less than 1500 litres in the tank.
When you delve down into the depths of the fuel tank you are then sucking up the residue gunge lurking in there.
That clogs fuel filters and injectors etc.
But, once we got capitalized, trains began to run outa fuel and or oil.
Gotta cut costs, so NO going into loco to top up the fuel tank or sump oil.
Keep the thing rolling until it runs outa fuel or oil.
I also know that much angst was exhibited by nutters here when our monster soot belcher went stomping.
Dragged by weasels, how dare they.
COAL today is expensive to obtain by hysterical mobs.
And a soot belcher does consume a lot of it when percolating many miles.
The train comprising not only weasels to drag it, but also an open wagon of bags of coal plus a water gin.
Very few water columns here exist now days.
So, to top up the water tank, the local firies must be called out.
Such all adds to the cost of the hysterical tour.
Steve.
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