Travis Johnson wrote: It is a lot different here because we have a lot of grades (hills). American locomotives have 8 throttle positions, so the engines are constantly changing in RPM, though on such a big engine, that is not a lot of RPM's. I think full throttle was something like 900 RPM. The diesel engines still hold a LOT of oil. I think the engine oil capacity is around 238 gallons of oil.
If people do want to change oil, you could always take the oil and dump it into the diesel fuel and just burn it up that way. You cannot dump 5 quarts into a the seven gallon tank of a Kubota tractor, it would be more like 5 quarts in a hundred gallsons of diesel fuel, but will dillute the oil enough to burn it. Before switching to no oil changing, we used to do that on the railroad; drain 238 gallons of oil into the 5000 gallon fuel tanks and burn it up.
As a side note: my career was strange in that Tug Boats use locomotive engines, so after getting done for the railroad, I went to work as an Engineer on Tug Boats. I used that experience to stay dockside, working at a shipyard building Navy Destroyers where I retired.
Although we digress from the topic …
Apologies for the delayed response, I needed to confirm data with my brother who is a freight train driver.
For train nerds:
1. We also have variable grades and speed boards – not a lot has been done to improve the rail network for about 100 years, so the old corridors remain. For some obscure reason, they decided to run the main north/south lines along the east side of the Great Dividing Range – lots of hills and rivers to negotiate. Only now are they thinking about a continuous inland route – relatively flat. (Typically, politicians are too busy spending our money on their overseas ‘fact-finding-missions’ to expensive resorts, with expensive food and ‘private personal entertainment’)
2. Train lengths here are limited by the length of sidings on the public railway network, so, travelling north from Sydney to Brisbane (988km by rail) the maximum length is about 1,500 metres (1,640 yards), Sydney to Perth (4,352km by rail) the maximum length is about 1,800 metres (1,968 yards). (Iron ore trains in Western Australia are enormous e.g. 3,000 metres long, 24,000t of ore, but they mostly operate on special purpose private lines, rarely on the public network.)
3. Weight wise: 3,600 tonne (3,968t US) for 1,500 metre intermodal trains, for steel trains it's 5,000t (5,512t US) but only up to 1,500 metres in length
4. The locomotives are generally manufactured here but the engines are GM's purchased from the USA. Some loco's were fully imported too. They have 8 throttle positions in power, 8 positions in dynamic braking
5. Fuel consumption: they can travel Melbourne to Brisbane (1,948km by rail) on a single tank of fuel. Likewise, Sydney to Adelaide, where they refuel to do the long haul across to Perth.
Your oil/fuel capacities sound about right.
The companies recycle the oil, though, as you said, it could be used in the engines – I suspect the companies aren't willing to take the wear and tear risk on such expensive items = loco’s not working is money lost, that’s why they hardly have a chance to get cold.
Incidentally, a cousin once ran an inland oil drilling team, they would burn pure crude oil in their diesel trucks – worked fine, but there’s tax concessions for business vehicles, not something I’d do to my personal vehicle!
I aim to have my current car, that is 18 years old, last another 6 years so then I can buy the ‘retirement package’: a fully kitted 4WD to go bush with and use on the farm. That should be the last purchase. As a consequence, I don’t follow the norm of changing vehicles every 5 or so years like statistics suggest – it’s simply uneconomic. But, doing regular service ensures it will last unless involved in a crash!
Thankfully we don’t have the cold weather/salt issues you guys have, but we do have thousands of kilometres of shit roads that really give vehicles a hammering. So ignoring body conditions, the engine longevity is achieved by routine maintenance (fluid change) and being aware that fuel quality differs enormously – water content, dust, etc. A mate of mine has a late 1980’s/early 1990’s 4WD Land Cruiser Troop Carrier he purchased new – diesel engine, manual gearbox, etc. It has crossed the continent several times, done lots of dirt tracks, and been subjected to many instances of crappy fuel quality. He only recently had a new gearbox installed and engine rebuild, can’t recall the mileage but it’s exceedingly high. He is methodical in fluid changes, that has given an extended life to the vehicle.
Economic versus environmental costs when it comes to these items are hard to quantify. It’s like the combustion engine car versus the electric car debate or nuclear versus coal, etc. If I were a gambling type, the money would go on hydrogen as the winning underdog in the race – combustion engines aren’t bad, it’s just what they burn. Battery technology remains an issue, particularly longevity and recyclability.
Since we’re on the topic, I always wanted to ask a Yank how they address the environmental issues of salting roads?? I assume they use sodium chloride and it ends up in the waterways?