ThermOmegaTech®’s GURU PC® is a self-operating thermostatic drain valve designed to protect passenger railcars from the catastrophic damages induced by inclement weather.
Typically supplying onboard toilet facilities and galleys, potable water-bearing systems on passenger cars are at risk of freezing when the car heat is turned off, and temperatures drop too low. This damage can occur when a passenger train is shut down for a locomotive changeover, during a layover, or due to a power outage. Failing to implement a freeze protection plan to heat or drain the water in the system can lead to pipes cracking or bursting, disrupted kitchen galleys and sanitary systems, delayed operator schedules and, ultimately, very expensive and lengthy repairs.
The GURU PC® freeze protection valve is installed at the lowest point within the potable water-bearing system to continuously monitoring ambient temperatures. The valve will automatically modulate open to drain the water from the system if the air temperature drops below the valve’s set point (35°F). Once power and heat are restored to the railcar, the valve will warm up and modulate closed, allowing the water tanks to be refilled before returning the car to service. Since it’s 100% mechanical, requiring no electricity or air connections to operate, the GURU PC® valve’s automatic response to temperature makes it the ideal freeze protection solution for any situation. With a high flow, rapid draining design, the GURU PC® eliminates the risk of freezing and the burden of costly repairs.
The GURU PC® is available with an electric heater assembly that attaches to the valve’s thermal actuator to quickly warm it up once power is restored to the car. ThermOmegaTech® recommends implementing the heater assembly to ensure a rapid refill process to get the car back into service quickly after a valve activation.
The GURU PC® is NSF 61 Certified for use in potable water systems and shock and vibration tested to withstand harsh conditions. Compact, reliable, and in-line serviceable for ease of maintenance, the GURU PC® increases up-time on passenger cars by preventing water lines from freezing before any damage can occur.
ThermOmegaTech® Locomotive Freeze Protection History
In the early ’80s, Conrail sponsored and conducted a cold room test at –20°F to assess freeze protection methods for diesel-electric locomotive cooling systems to determine the best approach. The test proved that the freeze protection methods available at that time were simply not good enough and were unable to hold up in various extreme weather conditions. With electrical options failing when power is out and modulating valves unable to drain the locomotives’ water tanks quick enough, ThermOmegaTech® developed the perfect solution to remedy where other valves underperformed.
Since 1983, ThermOmegaTech® has been protecting locomotives from freeze damage with the tried-and-true GURU® railroad product line. The product line originated with the GURU® Plug—a self-actuating, snap-acting design that monitors water temperature and automatically snaps open to rapidly drain a locomotive’s cooling system before freezing can occur. The Plug can be rearmed and reset once maintenance personnel are ready to refill the locomotive and return it to service.
Recognized as the leader in locomotive freeze protection, ThermOmegaTech® has expanded its railroad product offering to include various connections for locomotives, anti-tamper options and locomotive refill tools, as well as freeze protection valves for compressor heads and passenger cars.
Trusted by the mechanical departments of all North American rail industry Class I’s and the largest passenger railroad provider in the United States, the GURU® truly is the gold standard in railroad freeze protection. Any winterization procedure without the GURU® is incomplete.
Chicago Area Rail Operator Turns to ThermOmegaTech® to Upgrade Passenger Car Freeze Protection
Located on the eastern side of the Windy City, a Chicago area commuter regional rail operator has an operating range that stretches from the Chicago collar counties up into Kenosha, Wisconsin. With more than 780 passenger railcars in its fleet, this operator provides daily transportation for thousands of commuters.
Struggling to find an effective freeze protection solution to protect the potable water-bearing systems on its railcars, the Chicago railroad operator turned to ThermOmegaTech®’s GURU PC® passenger car freeze protection valve to test its performance in 2018. After a year of testing a preliminary unit, the operator was so impressed with the valve’s performance that it implemented 186 GURU PC® valves with heater assemblies. The operator even mentioned recommending the GURU PC® to other commuter train operators.
Dana Logue is the Railroad Product Manager at ThermOmegaTech and has been a member of the team since 2014. She supports all the Class I’s, regional rail operators and rail OEMs across the United States and Canada in protecting billions of dollars of equipment from freezing each year.