Always better working on an externally clean locomotive because you can walk down the sides and not get the grime all over your clothing .
The bottom line is that there is mostly never enough time to wash them because they are either needed on trains or the fuel point road is needed for shunting rakes of wagons .
For example Adelaide Brisbane trains are only in the terminal for an attach/detach and engines in for a top up because 12500L won't get you from Brisbane to Adelaide .
XW/PW4 sometimes has its engines run continuous from Melbourne to Port Kembla via Sydney and back so they get a top up if they need it too . Your Business would look pretty stupid if you held trains off their paths because the locos got a bath . Deadlines and penalty payments , possible loss of contracts - worth the risk for clean locos ? Performance and reliability are high priorities .
The railway culture is not as it was in the Govt railway days , we don't have local crews signing on every couple of hours 24/7/365 just in case the sky fell in .
A6 a loco prep hasn't really changed over the years and its no faster now with an NR than it was with a brand new 81 class .
Reflective tape . This is on the sides not the no1 or 2 end and the headlights will always be the most visible thing . I hardly think anyone is going to have any legal advantage having run into the side of a locomotive or train dirty or clean reflective strips . The responsibility is on the motorist at level crossings and if they choose to ignore the headlights and horns dirty tape on the sides isn't going to win them the right of way .
We got 15 minutes to prep an 81 & every other diesel up till when I was finished up end of 88, along with 8 extra for each multiple to couple up.
What is involved in the 6 hours that it takes to wash an engine? Again, when a cleaner we got 30 minutes to wash down an engine, & that was with an 8 inch brush on a handle & to hose it off, one on the brush & one on the hose, the same allowance applied through to the Jumbo's & 81cl.
The whole aspect that I am saying is that I would not expect to see engines come out spotless after a roll through wash plant & especially at walking speed which I would imagine would still be the allowed operating speed of the loco's in yard & depot environs. Certainly if the loco's get that sort of wash at least on a weekly basis then the whole environment would also be better to work in & on, & less chance of getting your clothes as dirty as ones that have not been washed.
Environmental concerns are worth the expense, but surely in this day & age where huge amounts of money is spent on fuel & other servicing facilities, which also includes the separation of waste materials from overflows, then its not that hard nor expensive to include for a decent washing plant. I am also not talking about something that places extra burden on the driver or his mate at the beginning or end of shift, nor a drop down in their proper duties which is the running of trains, & their normal duties. All I am saying is that these washing plants can be started by pushing a start button as the loco's enter the plant & then stopped when they are through.
All I am saying is that surely as people who are working on these loco's you would prefer to be in a better environment or workplace that actually looks as if its cared for. It was one of the conditions that we fought for in the areas of simple aspects of decent meal rooms instead of a dirty room stuck on the end of a corrugated iron store room, with wooden bench seats & table in it. Likewise the placing of a mop & bucket in the cabs to keep the area clean, simple things that management fought against & saw was not needed, while they sat in the air conditioned towers & plush arm rest cushioned seats, & spent every night in their own beds.