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Passenger Car Generator Control Systems

From Northwest Rail Electric

Phone: (503) 231-4808, Fax: (503) 230-0572, E-mail

See where our equipment is located on a typical passenger car


When a generator set is added to a heritage passenger car, in almost all cases it is put underneath the passenger car floor, with all the other under-car equipment. This is usually an excellent location. However, if the car owner simply places a standard off-the-shelf generator skid under the passenger car, there are problems to overcome. For example: normally these generator sets come with some sort of starting control and monitoring system. All of that equipment is mounted on the generator skid, with the engine. The generator, however, can not be accessed while the train is moving if it is under the car floor. This means the entire train must be stopped if there is a problem of some sort with the generator. Therefore, passenger car generator installations generally have some sort of in-car monitoring and control system that will allow the generator to be started, stopped, and basic engine conditions monitored from inside the passenger car.

Northwest Rail Electric has developed a number of packages to suit the needs of all manner of generator installations on railroad passenger cars. All of these controls include basic remote start and stop, remote sensing and indication of coolant temperature, oil pressure, battery voltage, and other vital engine data. Because the generator is remote, and because it is difficult to give it constant attention, even the most simple Northwest Rail Electric generator control includes automatic shut-down in the event of high water temperature, low oil pressure, and engine overspeed.

Our passenger car generator controls may be broken into several different categories:

Each of these is described in greater detail below. The exact specifics of each system depend on the needs of the customer and the engine of the generator in question. Certain generator engines require a completely electronic control system, while others require relay contacts, and others may use either, while others require a mixture of interface types.

Generator control with fully electronic engine monitoring system
An example of an NW-GC500 control from Northwest Rail Electric for an engine requiring a completely electronic interface. The display screen includes almost all engine indicators, including generator output voltage and current, coolant temperature, engine hours, and even includes a fault history log.

Typical Generator Engine Indicators:

Generator control system timers with labelsBasic Northwest Rail Electric generator control system types are:

Northwest Rail Electric generator control systems have a long history of use, including on railroad business cars on regionals, mainline, and short line railroads, tourist railroads, private cars, and regional passenger services.


Related Products from Northwest Rail Electric:

For those doing a complete upgrade on a railroad passenger car, we also offer:


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