Chapter 9: Locomotives

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A Locomotive is a diesel-electric power plant form of energy that provides horsepower and the tractive effort to pull trains. Tractive effort is a measurement of locomotive power. Locomotives come in all different sizes and are meant for different types of jobs.

The following chart lists a very simple description of the types of locomotives in use today. The difference between a yard switcher and a road engine is the amount of horsepower the locomotive produces. Locomotives range in horsepower from 2,500 to over 7,000. The smaller ones are used in switching service in yards where only a few cars at a time are moved. Larger locomotives are used in the long-haul movement of trains with 50 to 100 cars per train.


Locomotives can run just as fast in either direction. With this, there is no "front" or "rear" to a locomotive and we will see locomotives sitting in configurations that would seem to be back-to-back or front-to-front.

Carry spare knuckles and air hoses. This is only the front part of the coupler for the locomotive, as well as the air hoses that will connect the locomotive to the first railcar.

The fuel tank runs from side-to-side and holds approximately 4,000 gallons of fuel.

Fuel is the largest expense, with payroll second.




Cabooses are what we all looked forward to seeing as the trains moved by, and if we were lucky, we could get the conductor to give us a wave as the end of the train moved by. Although this is what most of us think of when thinking of cabooses, it is not the reason why the cabooses were first used, and used for so many years. Cabooses were used as a rolling home for the train crew; it allowed them to have a home away from home and a mobile office for the operation of the train. Today, cabooses are used very rarely and mainly used by local industry trains when there is a need for a train crew to ride on the rear of the train to operate switches or provide crossing protection when needed. The uses of cabooses began to disappear in the 1980s and are being replaced by a new technology called an End of Train Indicator (EOT).



End of Train Devices

End of Train Devices are a portable telemetry device mounted on the last car of a train to transmit information to a receiver desplay unit on the engine. It serves as a marker to identify the end of the train and transmits air pressure and motion information. Effective July 1, 1997, trains operating 3 mph or greater must have an EOT device. End of Train Devices may also be call EOT - End of Train Indicatior, ETD - Electronic Train Device, LIGHT, FLASHER, REAR DEVICE, or REDLIGHT.

THe EOT must be connected correctly to operate properly. The following pictures show an EOT that is connected correctly and one that is not.



This EOT is not properly connected; we see that the air hose and electronic connection are dangling on the ground, thereby not allowing either connection to work as they should, and not providing the safety they are intended to provide.



Here is an EOT device that is properly connected and providing motion detection and air pressure for safe operations.