Fuel costs are high and fuel is one of the largest expenses in your railroad operation. If you could cut down on that expense, it would fall directly to your bottom line. Manual shutdown policies are inconsistent and therefore, don’t give you the savings you need. SmartStart, an Intelligent Starting Technology™ from ZTR, can generate real fuel cost reductions year after year.

About SmartStart

SmartStart has been helping reduce locomotive idling for over 20 years, and now provides documentation of fuel and emissions reductions. SmartStart IIe has an ROI of less than 6 months, and it saves North American railroads 18 million gallons of fuel every year.


  • Fuel consumption reduction
  • Emissions reduction
  • Reduced lube oil consumption
  • Consistent fuel management
  • Automatic shutdown management
  • Verification of locomotive fuel savings
  • On-line documentation
  • EPA certified to 40 CFR 1033.115g
  • Reduced restart exhaust smoke
  • Locomotive is ready to use

Typical Payback Period: Less Than 6 Months

5-Year Return on Investment*: 970%

Fuel Savings Example:

  • Your locomotive is available for use 90% of the time
  • It’s typically idling in the yard about 25% of the available time
  • It consumes 4 gallons of diesel fuel per hour
  • The cost of diesel fuel averages about $3.75 / gallon
  • For the example, a SmartStart configuration with a price of $10,000 has been used.**

In this example, the estimated fuel savings in the first year is over $20,000, with a payback period of less than 6 months. The savings continues to add up year after year. Cumulative cost reductions over 10 years can top $200,000 on a single locomotive. With a fleet of 10 locomotives you will save $2,000,000 over 10 years; $20,000,000 with a fleet of 100 locomotives. You can see why the world’s largest railroads choose SmartStart.

Challenge: Save Money While Saving the Environment

Environmental Impact

Saving fuel does more than save money, it has a positive impact on the environment. ZTR has been helping reduce the impact on the environment for over 20 years, and now with the backwards-compatible SmartStart® IIe, the NEW Emissions Report provides documentation and verification of reduction.

Here are a few examples:
  • An east coast gateway port wanted a way to reduce diesel emissions on locomotives. With a grant from the EPA, they were able to retrofit 11 locomotives with the ZTR SmartStart automatic engine start stop (AESS) system. Anticipated emissions reduction is 19.33%, up to 18 tons a year.
  • A city on the west coast of the United States wanted to reduce emissions from idling switchyard diesel locomotive engines. A grant from the EPA funded 70% of the cost of retrofitting three diesel switchyard locomotives with the SmartStart system. This reduced switchyard diesel locomotive idling emissions by 90 percent (over two tons of emissions per year) and reduced noise.
  • A major railroad wanted to reduce diesel emissions on locomotives and a grant from the EPA funded 75% of the cost of retrofitting locomotives with the SmartStart system. Emissions were reduced by 1400 tons improving the local air quality and reducing noise.

Greater Locomotive Uptime

SmartStart improves starting reliability and locomotive availability. Automatic engine start stop ensures your locomotives are available when you need them. Add the SmartStart SAVER™ option (see next page) and you will receive SmartStart fleet performance reports, alerts, and the location of your SAVER-equipped locomotives. The performance reports give a fleet view of locomotive fuel savings, emission reductions, and identifies where additional potential savings were lost for future improvement. The SmartStart Detail Report is also available if you would like more information on a single locomotive.

A. Operational Improvements

Battery Saver

  • Used to reduce unnecessary drain on the locomotive batteries when being left shutdown and unattended for long periods of time. This option works electronically and disconnects all non-essential loads after a predetermined period of time (…much like a knife switch).

Main Reservoir Pressure Switch

  • Monitoring reservoir pressure as a shutdown and restart parameter.
B. Maximize Your Fuel Savings

Extended Fuel Saver

  • Includes load shedding of the locomotive lighting circuits, auxiliary load shedding and shutdown time delay override.

APU Interface

  • Interface SmartStart® with almost any APU system on the market.

Ditch Light Load Shedding

Works with auxiliary load shedding and turns off locomotive ditch lights at the same time as the headlights.

Anti - Tampering Device

  • Reduces the likelihood of a SmartStart system being disabled by unauthorized personnel while the locomotive is in service.
C. System Management

SmartStart SAVER Option

  • GPS location and locomotive movement alerts
  • Fleet Reports - find all your SAVER equipped locomotives at a glance
  • Export of SmartStart Reports - analyze data for continuous improvement
  • Automated Alarm Notification - text message or e-mail
  • Near Me™ mobile app for field operations

NOTE: SAVER available in select countries only; contact ZTR for an up-to-date list

Improve your bottom line by cutting fuel costs.

Call today to learn more about SmartStart, an Intelligent Starting Technology™ from ZTR.