Sometimes a new locomotive purchase isn't in the budget or in the timetable of a rail company. Or sometimes a rail company has been happy with the equipment they have, but that equipment can no longer perform within emissions standards. When a rail company isn't looking for a new locomotive, but needs one that performs like new, NRE has the solution, from full remanufacture to in-the-field rebuilds.
Steve Sonni, Senior Account Executive at NRE, says there are different levels of engine restoration, and NRE can handle it all.
“In the industry, there's both rebuilding and remanufacturing,” said Sonni. “When a railroad actually removes the engine from the locomotive and sends it in to us for remanufacture, it's an actual restoration of all dimensions on an engine. NRE can actually do full remanufacturing, which very few rebuilders can do.
“In an NRE remanufacture, the engine is made essentially like new,” Sonni continued.
“So when the client gets it back from us as a remanufactured engine, it will have the same life as a new engine. It will have many new parts, as opposed to many rebuilt parts, and the crank case — that's the basic foundation of the engine — is remanufactured in the sense that it's welded up and re-machined to new standards. So you really have a very high-quality rebuild. Dealing with us is like dealing with the OEM.
We give you the same quality and the standards as the OEM.”
NRE also offers rebuild services. NRE has all the parts needed in inventory and these rebuilds can be done in the field, minimizing downtime. Additionally, like the remanufacture, these rebuilds can be customized.
“With the rebuild, we take all the old parts off and put on rebuilt parts and/or new parts, depending on what the specification is,” said Sonni. “You get new power assemblies, you get a new turbo charger, you get new bearings. It's a pretty good rebuild.”
Railroads can also rest assured that when NRE services their engines, they will not only be back to peak performance, but will also be in conformity with the latest emissions standards. NRE not only has the most current emission Tier kits — it builds them.
“For both of these types of rebuilds, the engine is also upgraded to the latest emission standards at that time, almost all the time,” said Sonni. “With the parts that we use when we do this work, the engine obtains the latest emission standard, which is Tier 0+. We design and build those emissions kits, and there's very few people who do that. So there's a good package deal with us. We not only can remanufacture an engine to a high rebuild standard, but we also have all of the Tier kits available for those engines.”
In addition to emissions compliance, Sonni says there are multiple key components that NRE rebuilds improve.
“We can retrofit a locomotive's original control system, which could have been built in the '50s, '60s or '70s,” said Sonni. “Essentially we strip those old systems out, all the wires, all the contactors, all the electrical components. We put in our own microprocessor control system, NFORCE. It modernizes the performance and the efficiency of the locomotive. We also address the generators. We can go from a DC to an AC generator, or we can even upgrade AC to the latest AC generator. That's a big component of the locomotive — that's where all the power comes from. And we can also upgrade the traction motors.”
NRE also offers high-tech add-ons, designed, built and tested in-house, that add some “bells and whistles” to the performance.
“We have a lot of electronics available for locomotives that do specialty things,” said Sonni. “We have GPS electronic systems. We have NLIMIT, our automatic engine start and stop electronic system. We design and build all this at our NRE Calgary division.” Railroad companies need not worry that their equipment is too old to benefit from NRE technology and rebuilds.
“We can pretty much rebuild any engine in service,” said Sonni. “Any engine built from 1950 to today can not only be easily rebuilt, but we have the parts and inventory to rebuild it and to upgrade it to newer standards. There's nothing we can't rebuild or can't repair.”
So why choose an NRE locomotive rebuild? Sonni says there are several reasons.
“Why would you choose NRE to rebuild a locomotive? To make it more reliable, number one — which means it works all the time,” said Sonni. “Number two, it increases the performance of the locomotive. Reason three, you have the opportunity when you rebuild it to change the specifications to make it more to your liking. You may want a new air conditioning system. You may want a different kind of control stand. You may want to incorporate a new PTC system (positive train control). You get the opportunity to make all these changes you've been wanting to have. You not only modernize, you customize it to your needs.”