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Locomotive Inline Refuelling System

In countries with extremely long trains doing long haul trips, diesel-electric locomotives often work in multi-traction. In some cases, they need to carry the diesel in fuel tankers or containerized tanks towed directly behind the locomotive consist. This allows train operators significant fuel cost savings. Frequently, for example, fuel supplied at inland facilities is significantly more expensive than at coastal ports.

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Fig. 1: Diesel-electric locomotives with towed fuel tanks

Liquip International in Australia developed the Liquip Locomotive Inline Refuelling System, a revolutionary solution which continuously refuels the locomotive day tanks from towed tanks during long haul operations.

Originally developed for Freight Victoria in 2001, Liquip’s locomotive refuelling system has recently been upgraded to continuously balance dual bulk tanks, and operate with non-dedicated Australian SGT locomotives, providing flexibility for rail operators such as Pacific National with shared infrastructure.

Selectron MAS 72x controllers monitor fuel tank levels in each of the locomotives and in turn regulate the supply of fuel from the fuel tanker during transit. This ensures that a uniform and continuous supply of fuel is pumped from the storage tanks to the locomotives.

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Fig. 2: Fuel pumping control

The locomotive tank control system constantly regulates the level of fuel in the locomotive's fuel tanks, ensuring that they are always topped-up. Fuel is fed on demand, either by gravity or by pumping, along with periodic pressure testing in order to meet safety requirements. Regular tank gauging then balances the tanks behind the locomotives, ensuring that they do not discharge at an uneven rate.

All of this enables locomotives to travel continuously without stopping in country towns or remote rail sidings to meet up with road tankers for fuel tank refilling.


The rugged and compact Selectron solution in the control cabinets is perfectly suited for the harsh environmental conditions and required longevity. Fleet operators benefit from fuel cost savings and uninterrupted missions, with no delays for refuelling.


Source and photos: Liquip International, Australia


Subject to technical changes and amendments to technical specifications at any time.

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