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Locomotive Inspections: Tips from an Expert

The 1999 Rail Passenger Car Alliance (RPCA) convention in Cumberland, MD, featured a seminar on diesel locomotive inspection by Steve Lee. Steve is Chief Mechanical Officer / Passenger Cars on the Union Pacific RR.

Steve explained he periodically creates a report of all FRA warnings or citations recorded by UP computers. He can then see what areas really concern locomotive and car inspectors. He said there are about two dozen things they examine consistently which you might not expect! He hoped that sharing his list would help people better understand the FRA's concerns, and therefore better prioritize maintenance and repairs. The result? Safer equipment, a happy federal man, and a better day on the railroad.


Fuel tanks

Brake shoes and rigging

MU cables

Handrails, grabirons

Light bulbs


Oil leaks must be corrected and cleaned up

Traction motor covers and gear cases


Cab floor

Cab, general

Engine room


Cut levers


All items covered by FRA regulations are important. This information is intended to help you prioritize your efforts.

Thanks to RPCA for hosting this seminar. Visit them on the web at http://www.rpca.org.

Copyright (c) 2000 by Paul Ganter

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