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  1. #1
    Any railroaders on here?
    cptkrf's Avatar
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    Any railroaders on here?
    I have begun to discover the value of independent iNet coffee shops for a casual surfing environment - they are usually big enough to have an empty table, coffee and products are better and cheaper, and connection speeds are fast. Bigger, cheaper and faster than who, you ask? Well, that outfit with the elbow to elbow tables in an area the size of a closet, with the five person, five minute line to get a cup, and with the Internet connection that sometime tops out at a blazing .8mb. You know, the one with the white cups with the green logo.

    Anyway, rant aside, there is one in my town that faces a railroad spur across the street. Great place to relax with a laptop - roomy, quiet, 6mb connection. The track I am speaking of is about thirty miles long, joining the main line in a town to the south, crossing through our town and terminating in a small industrial complex to the north. Every day, one small freight comes through with four to six freight cars - no more, no less. Goes north, comes back an hour later. Twice I have seen the train stop, a pickup with the railroad logo park beside it, and a couple of guys roam around one engine or the other with a laptop. Apparently the railroads have moved into the same era as the auto - if you think you have a problem, you plug it into a computer of some kind.

    Anyway, on to my question...

    Every train always has two engines. Always. Two full sized 6 axle diesels to pull a half dozen cars at most. In a terrain with no mountains, few hills and mostly flat plains. Why? They can't be so unreliable as to always need to have a spare. Besides, a stalled engine on this spur wouldn't cause any major railroad traffic problems. Why would the railroad waste the fuel and occur the wear and tear by dragging along several thousand more horsepower than is needed? To me, it is like myself deciding that, rather than driving my little 4 cylinder pickup into the iNet cafe with my huge MacBook Air, what the heck, I'll just drive my Class A, bus sized diesel RV instead. (not that I have one, of course)

    Anybody?

  2. #2
    Any railroaders on here?
    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cptkrf View Post
    Every train always has two engines. Always. Two full sized 6 axle diesels to pull a half dozen cars at most. In a terrain with no mountains, few hills and mostly flat plains. Why? They can't be so unreliable as to always need to have a spare. Besides, a stalled engine on this spur wouldn't cause any major railroad traffic problems. Why would the railroad waste the fuel and occur the wear and tear by dragging along several thousand more horsepower than is needed? To me, it is like myself deciding that, rather than driving my little 4 cylinder pickup into the iNet cafe with my huge MacBook Air, what the heck, I'll just drive my Class A, bus sized diesel RV instead. (not that I have one, of course)

    Anybody?
    why do trains have two engines - Startpage Web Search

    Among the better hits:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-heading
    The Straight Dope: When multiple locomotives pull a train, why are they often pointing in opposite directions?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push–pull_train

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