Question- SH, LH front- does it matter?

BnO_Hendo May 17, 2005

  1. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    Jerry, not too long ago I saw a CSX GP-38 heading out of town on a single line track- running long hood forward pulling a train! Now I've seen videos and photos of B&O first gen GPs and SDs running both LH and SH forward (even though they were designed to run LH forward). My question is- how hard is it to run one of these backwards? Wouldn't that put the engineer on the "wrong side of the tracks" so to speak in reference to signals? And wouldn't one have to twist around in the seat to be able to reach the controls?
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  2. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    Hey,
    Some engines have dual controls.This would put the engineer on the proper side.
    Most newer engines don't have them.Most companies took the controls out.So,by rule,you must have a quilified employee in the engine to call the signals.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  3. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    mechanically, it does not matter. However, There are certain requirements a locomotive much have to run LHF. One of those are ditch lights. All locomotives are required now to have working ditch lights on the head end of the locomotive.

    There are exceptions but locomotives without ditch lights have to keep speed under 20 I believe.

    Most railroads have their 4 axle locomotives fitted with lights on both ends. 4-axles units (such as a GP38-2 in this case) are traditionally used for switching when turntables or wyes are (usually) not available.

    Norfolk Southern is kinda an oddball and follows after old Southern Railway practices. many of their 6-axle road units (dash 8's and 9's) are equipped with control stands instead of desktop controls like most newer units., also they have ditch lights on the rear to allow them to run LHF.

    I have never seen a dash 9 run LHF in person (lots of pics though), but im sure that is an interesting sight seeing GE wings leading the way.

    It really comes down to railroad preference, weather they want to set a locomotives up to run LHF or not, it really doesn't make a difference although I can imagine it'd be a nuisance to the engineer to not be able to see anything in front of you except your own Locomotive.

    Jerry could comment more on this since he's the real Engineer here. :D

    NS 8628

    [ May 16, 2005, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: CP&E 3207 ]
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  4. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As the others have said here, a locomotive can run in either direction, but if it does only have a standard control stand, it is a real pain in the rear to operate 'backwards'.
    Not only are the operating controls awkward to reach while turned around, (Worse on the desktops.), running 'backwards' limits visibility quite a bit.
    When running in a straight line, it's not too bad.
    [​IMG]
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2008
  5. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Curves to the left are not too bad either.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    But looking here, you can see a curve to the right is very blind. Signals, signs, crossings are all impossible to see from the control stand side. This is were you must depend on your Conductor on the other side of the cab to relay everything to you.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    I guess steam engineers had the same problem in regard to blind sides, eh? The boiler had to get in the way. So running a steamer was definitely a two man job.

    As always, thanks for some very thorough answers!
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  8. Ngaged

    Ngaged Permanently Dispatched

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    I prefer short hood any time I can get it. Simply for this reason; I can see things better. Take a look at the above shot, thats my view, nothing less, nothing more, and I am blind to my right...I don't like that. Long hood forward has to be done in some instances, but in my opinion, spin the power whenever you can...as for conductors, the vast majority of them do their best work sound asleep.... ;) just kidding...no really, I am....I swear......oh wait, I said I would not post about real train stuff anymore....so never mind.

    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  9. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Does this engine have a "F" on the long hood? Is it intended to be run LHF? What effect does the "F" have, anyway?
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  10. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    All locomotives have an 'F' on them. This is to identify the 'Front' of the locomotive. Some units were ordered with the long hood as the front, and the 'F' would be on that end of the unit.
    This is important for the Conductor to know too, as when in a switching move, he needs to know which direction to tell the Engineer to move.
    Depending on the location of the 'F', a 'Take it Ahead' or 'Back it up 4 cars' could have the Engineer going the wrong way if the Conductor doesn't know which way the Engine is facing.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Good info OC Eng JD. I thought that F was to let the conductor know which chair he was going to sit in. :D

    That last was just a joke. [​IMG]
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  12. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Flash,
    Cab cars are concidered engines also.They to have an "F" on them.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    One time we ran long cab forward from Joliet
    yard on the Sante Fe side of the RR to Galesburg. I was the conductor, I hadn't gone
    through the engineers program at that time.
    The engineer was a fairly young guy, but by the time we got to G'burg he had neck and back pains. I told him that he should lay off and
    go see the Dr. I would stick up for him. The TM at Joliet(a real jerk who is now retired) told us to take that train and there was no place we
    could wye the engine and he didn't want to
    order out any power from Corwith in Chicago.
    I can verify from personal experience that it is
    NOT a comfortable way to run. What Jerry is saying is true. Also not too many locos with
    dual control stands around these days. I haven't seen one in years.

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  14. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    one more thing. as a comment only.
    I know your comments about having to wake
    up the conductor are meant in jest. but I have
    to say, that I have had to wake up several
    engineers while on the job, and this was WHILE RUNNING! A couple of times, the alerter
    woke them up.
    Its a very easy thing to succumb to "white line
    fever" and zone out!

    CT
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
  15. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Know what you mean! I am an airline pilot and we have one of those "alerters" that goes off every 15 minutes. Some nights I am superman and some nights are better than others. [​IMG]
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  16. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    Oddball is right. I've run NS -9s LHA many times and it ain't much fun at all, even with a stand that's (sort of) built to allow it. Not only are you on the wrong side and operating the controls backwards, but you have even less view ahead than the pictures above show because of those big old radiator wings hanging out. I usually crank the seat down as low as it'll go and peek out underneath them as as much as possible but still wind up with a stiff neck. On a rainy or snowy night you're just about completely blind. Normally you get smoked with exhaust too since the stack is in front of you and not tall enough to put the fumes over your head. The only thing worse (much worse) is running a desktop stand backwards. All the gauges and controls are 180 deg. from your field of view and reach. Most desktops don't have ditch lights on the long hood end so it's 20 mph over every public crossing which just adds to the workload that you've got to do with your head on backwards. Done that a time or two also and it makes my back hurt just thinking about it.

    The flip side to the story is running an engine that's built to run LHA with the short hood leading. The stand is on the wrong side again and everything is in the wrong place. If it's a high-short-hood, you're blind to the right again, not as bad because it's not as long but it's still ugly. You've got to think about what you're doing all the time to keep instinct from moving the handles the wrong way. The speedo is usually about a foot behind your right ear too so you spend all night twisting around to see how fast you're going. Very uncomfortable but at least you can breathe.

    If I have to run LHA, I'd much rather run an EMD unit that's built for it. At least the stand and controls are right, they tend to smoke less and you aren't bent up trying to see around the radiators. I've lobbied the yardmaster lots of times for a scruffy LH leading SD instead of a new -9 when I know it's going to be a long, long hood day.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  17. UP's_Ft.Worth_sub_MP_234

    UP's_Ft.Worth_sub_MP_234 TrainBoard Member

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    as for conductors, the vast majority of them do their best work sound asleep....
     
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  18. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    See, that's what I was wondering about. Running LH forwards on a SH forward loco means you're on the wrong side, and have to reach around behind yourself to control the engine. Seems to me the railroads would try to make sure their locos are oriented correctly for safety reasons alone, if they don't care about crew comfort.
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  19. Nick Leinonen

    Nick Leinonen TrainBoard Member

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    on the sd70/75 loco's cn has, there is a speedo located just below the electrical cabinet with all the breakers and battery knife switch.. there is a switch on the control stand to turn it on/off...
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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  20. William Cowie

    William Cowie TrainBoard Member

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    Does anyone know WHY Southern/NS preferred to tun long hood forward? I once heard to provide more bulk in case of an accident, but my puny brain would think the better visibility of a low SHF would reduce the chance of an accident, or at least give the hapless engineer more of a heads-up as to when to jump when an accident seems inevitable [​IMG]
    Copyright 2008 Jerry DeBene
     
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