Southern Shorthaul Railroad (SSR) in Australia is testing ZTR’s KickStart to extend locomotive battery life and improve starting reliability.
SSR is a privately owned and accredited freight rail operator that hauls grain and coal, provides intermodal service and offers equipment maintenance service and repairs.
ZTR and Australian-based rail consultant Imtram Pty. Ltd. arranged the pilot program for the railroad, following “annual service reviews revealing battery failures,” according to ZTR. Installation on Progress Rail EMD® GT46ACe locomotives was remote, a first for ZTR, the company noted. When KickStart arrived along with installation manuals, ZTR support employees worked with Imtram to move forward.
Engineers have monitored the trial via a data logger that has provided real-time accounts of location and all starting events that were Kickstart-assisted, as well as battery condition information, according to ZTR, which noted that “SSR has experienced zero starting issues” since the trial began.
“The most important factor is reliability for our customers and for us to be able to serve them well,” SSR Locomotive Maintenance Manager John Mackie said. “Our crews are much happier not having to perform excessive jump-starts, we’re saving on fuel burn idling, and spend less time with unnecessary shunting. KickStart has had a significant impact on our operational efficiency by eliminating the planning time needed to address starting issues.”
KickStart, as described by ZTR, “uses supercapacitor technology to supplement the locomotive batteries during the engine start, reducing strain on the batteries. The result is less energy drain from the batteries, longer battery life, faster cranking speed, less time to recharge the batteries, improved cold weather starts, and ultimately, increased locomotive availability.”