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Locomotive Compressor Evolution

Historical Development of the Locomotive

Locomotive Compressor Evolution

Gardner Denver has been building air compressors and compressor-exhausters for diesel-electric locomotives since 1935. Locomotive compressors perform the critical function of operating the air or vacuum braking systems and other accessories in the locomotive. Gardner Denver currently offers a complete line of locomotive air compressors and compressor-exhausters that includes 3 cylinder, 4 cylinder, and 6 cylinder models.

Gardner Denver Locomotive compressor

The first Gardner Denver compressors designed for locomotive use were water cooled. Air cooled compressors came into use in the 1940’s for diesel electric freight locomotives that incorporated a car body design that directed a free flow of air to the air compressor. In the 1950’s enclosed car body freight locomotives were built with higher horsepower engines that required the use of water cooled compressors. Over the years there have been many changes in locomotives and Gardner Denver currently offers both water cooled and air cooled compressors and compressor-exhausters for a variety of locomotive applications and has the engineering capability to design a compressor to meet your specific locomotive requirements.

Downtime is costly and the locomotive compressors were designed with ease of service in mind. The design and location of the valves is critical since valve maintenance and replacement is one the items that is most often serviced on the compressor. Gardner Denver’s compressor design incorporates valves that are reliable, highly efficient and these valves are located in the compressor so that they are easy to access and quick to replace. To reduce service intervals the crankcase has been designed with a larger oil capacity for longer oil life and reduced maintenance through lower oil temperatures. In addition the compressors are built with a full flow, spin on oil filter for improved life and reliability. The compressor design includes a gear driven positive displacement oil pump that provides pressurized lubrication under all operating conditions including low idle speeds.

These compressors have been uniquely engineered to perform in the harsh environments that locomotives are subject to in locations throughout the world. These compressors have been designed to perform in environments that include tropical heat, desert sandstorms, monsoons and arctic cold. You can be sure that Gardner Denver locomotive compressors have been designed with reliability, serviceability, and efficiency in mind from the ground up. Gardner Denver is committed to product research and development that incorporates the latest technology including powerful CAD systems to assure that the current locomotive compressors include the latest advancements in technology, design and materials. Gardner Denver locomotive compressors have provided proven performance that is measured in decades.

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