You are here

Easy Access to Freight Locomotives


Engineers, Conductors and Brakemen enter and exit from Freight Locomotives several time per trip in the course of the workday. This entails walking on ballast on a slope. Steps allow the worker to climb up to the first step and the remaining steps to the platform., walk towards the cab entry door. Often the step up is conjunction with the locomotive movement at slow speeds. This is “risky” business and many slips and falls can occur. Grab handles facilitate this climb up. The process is not ergonomically friendly. What is desired is an assisted from of  the climb up so as to significantly reduce the effort required. Some “elevator  system would make the effort a lot easier.


Although locomotive designs vary there are the same common elements—large first step, followed by three or more steps. Ant-skid protection helps but could be further optimized. A kind of stair climber is envisioned. Worker population is aging making it harder for the worker to get on/off locomotives.



An clear understanding of the railroad operations environment is essential. Train Occupant Protection  is the principal focus of this topic. Locomotives can be wide body or narrow body. The same basic arrangement would be required. Proposals will be evaluated for innovation, practicality, ease of incorporation into current design locomotives with reasonable design change.


The scope of research projects for this topic shall include design conceptualization, ,development of mock ups , laboratory demonstration of developed  mock ups. Detail design could be part of Phase II.


Expected Phase I Outcomes:


The scope of research projects for this topic shall include laboratory demonstration of developed mock ups 


Expected Phase II Outcomes: 


Production system capable of extended field testing.

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government