Hotstart supplied its Hotflow CSM engine heater (pictured below), which is designed to preheat coolant and circulate it through the engine to keep it warm and ready for a quick start-up. The single-cab locomotive is equipped with two six-cylinder 35-litre engines, and the CSM system was fitted to one engine to evaluate how much exhaust smoke would be emitted from a pre-heated engine compared with one started from cold.

Hotstart says that over a two-and-a-half hour period, the CSM raised the engine temperature from the ambient temperature to around 27oC, a difference of 1.7oC, and after starting the engine there was a 50% reduction in exhaust smoke. In an effort to establish whether further reductions would be possible, Hotstart swapped the 6kW heating element for a 9kW element and carried out a second test. The temperature in the engine rose to around 38 oC over a three-and-a-half hour period. The engine started on the first crank with only very low levels of exhaust smoke.

IKT is now planning to install the CSM system in all four of its diesel locomotives, and set them using timers which will allow the engines to be heated before the locomotives are started in the morning.

IKT operates an 11km freight-only line from Akasaki Iwate-Ishibashi, which is linked to JR East's Ofunato line at Sakari. The railway carries around 2 million tonnes of freight per year, primarily limestone.