Aar Alternative Fuels Research Program

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) was formed in 1934 and currently serves a membership which consists of 21 of the 23 Class I railroads plus numerous regional railroads. The AAR serves as the joint agency for the railroad industry in matters requiring cooperative handling, research being one example.(1)

Faced with steadily increasing fuel prices and the potential of additional fuel shortages, the railroad industry,

San Antonio, Texas. Other sponsors of the cooperative program include: the three locomotive manufacturers. (EMD, GE, Bombardier); U.S.Department of Energy (DOE); U.S.Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); Transport Canada; National Research Council of Canada (NRC); and representatives from the oil refining industry (Mobil, EXXON, ARCO, Chevron, Conoco). Technical direction of the program is provided by a steering committee comprised of members representing individual railroads and each of the sponsors.(3)


The AAR/SwRI medium speed diesel engine test facility is jointly owned and operated by the AAR and SwRI. Contained within the facility are the following engines complete with all the peripheral equipment necessary for their operation and data collection purposes:

o two-cylinder, two-stroke, EMD 567B, Roots-blown o single-cylinder research engine (SCRE), Bombardier 251 series, four-stroke, variable turbo-charger o twelve-cylinder, two- stroke, EMD 645E3, turbocharged o twelve-cylinder, four- stroke, GE 7FDL, turbocharged

Table IV summarizes the principle specifications for these engines.

The power generated by the SCRE engine is absorbed by a conventional dynamometer. The EMD and GE engines drive either a generator (EMD) or a DC-rectified alternator (GE). Two sets of fan-cooled dynamic brake grids are used to dissipate the electric current generated by the engine sets. Engine temperature is maintained through the use of engine thermostats and a cooling system comprised of seven locomotive radiators. A const ant speed, variable pitch turbine fan is used to air cool the radiators.

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