Pakistan Railways adopts High Flash Point HSD for enhanced performance, safety

Pakistan Railways’ choice to use high flash point HSD reflects a strategy to prioritize safety

LAHORE   -   The Pakistan Railways (PR) has committed to using high flash point High-Speed Diesel (HSD) oil, opting for quality and to ensure optimal performance and safety of its diesel locomotives.

This decision addresses concerns about the use of imported HSD and emphasizes PR’s focus on operational efficiency and maintenance cost reduction. While talking to APP, Nasir Qureshi, a senior mechanical expert, clarified misconceptions about the procurement strategy. He explained that PR’s locomotives are equipped with state of the art technology including American and Chinese manufactured locomotives. The sophisticated technology necessitates high-quality HSD for optimal functionality. “Using lower quality HSD could impair performance and significantly raise maintenance costs,” Qureshi stated. A recent correspondence between PR and a local petroleum company revealed critical safety considerations. Local refineries produce HSD with a flash point of 54°C, posing safety risks in regions like Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan, where summer temperatures often exceed this threshold. Given that locomotives carry up to 8,000 liters of fuel, and considering large above ground storage tanks the potential hazards of a lower flash point HSD increases. There is a risk to travelling passengers, infrastructure, and personnel.

To mitigate these risks, PR has established a minimum flash point requirement of 66°C for its HSD procurement. This specification not only aligns with safety protocols but also enhances locomotive performance. The selected HSD has lower sulfur content, contributing to better engine efficiency and reduced frequency of lubricant changes. Consultations with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) affirmed PR’s decision to maintain its high flash point HSD and Euro V standard. OEMs have raised serious observations about the method being used to lower the flashpoint and recommended to use HSD with low sulphur content for better performance and lower maintenance costs. Following extensive evaluations, PR decided to procure Euro-V HSD through an open bidding process from Pakistan State Oil (PSO). This strategic move ensures compliance with international standards and reinforces PR’s commitment to safe and efficient railway operations. The Pakistan Railways’ choice to use high flash point HSD reflects a deliberate strategy to prioritize safety, performance, and cost-effectiveness in its locomotive operations, dispelling any perceptions of undue preference for imported fuel.

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