FRA Safety Advisory issued for reservoir tanks on some GE locomotives

Members cautioned as 'catastrophic failures' cited in four cases

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen's National Legislative Office in Washington, D.C., is warning its members of potential "catastrophic failures" in main air reservoir tanks of certain General Electric locomotives.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has also issued Safety Advisory 2005-02 to make the rail industry aware of the situation. Reservoir tanks hold compressed air used to charge the brakepipe for the train. Air is pumped to them until they reach a pressure of approximately 140 psi from the locomotive's air compressor.

The defective reservoir tanks were manufactured by R&R Metal Fabricators, Inc., and installed in approximately 2,700 General Electric Transportation System (GETS) locomotives. A total of 5,826 suspect main reservoir tanks were manufactured from 1988 to 1995.

To date, four of them have failed catastrophically while in service. None of the failed reservoirs has resulted in any injuries. Additional tanks have been removed over the years due to leakage through welded seams.

Members can identify suspect main reservoirs by looking for a nameplate attached to the skin of the tank. They are found at eye to chest level on both sides of freight and passenger locomotives. They range in size of four to six feet in length and approximately 12-18 inches in diameter.

The FRA announced Safety Advisory 2005-02 through a notice in the Federal Register on April 20. General Electric has provided the FRA with a list of the 2,700 locomotives that are equipped with the suspect tanks.

Raymond Holmes, BLET Vice-President & National Legislative Representative, requests that all correspondence and questions regarding Safety Advisory 2005-02 should be sent to his office for handling. Members should call (202) 624-8776 or e-mail:

A copy of Safety Advisory 2005-02 is available on the BLET website at:


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen