Western trains

JNXT 7707 Jun 5, 2013

  1. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    While riding the Empire Builder - and while driving from Dallas to Portland to get on the train - I saw a LOT of trains, and was pretty much surprised, I guess from my eastern perspective.
    The most common train I saw, both BNSF and UP, was containers - and most always with 2-3 locomotives in front and 1-2 in back. This didn't seem to matter if it was flat or mountainous. I NEVER see pushers here in the Kanawha Valley - lots of coal trains and grain trains, but no pushers.
    Also - I saw a lot of BNSF locos in the green/black scheme with BN logos. PLUS one small train that had a great looking BN caboose! Traffic seemed high too, was rare not to see a train.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes. There are a few cabooses still in use. Locals, where a back up move is necessary, or work trains. Containers and trailers are big business to and from west coast ports. There can be plenty of grain and coal moves as well.
     
  3. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    I guess the biggest eye-opener was all the pushers. Seemed to be standard operating procedure to have 1-2 locomotives on the back of every train. Is this a fairly recent phenomena or have western trains always used them?
    Here on CSX mainline I commonly see 2 locomotives at the head end of coal and grain trains, even mixed freights and the trains are long ones. The western trains seemed on average to be shorter, but with power to spare.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Having a "pusher" or two is quite common. Known as "DPU" for distributed power units, they may not be on line, but being moved back to a point where they are needed. There are some interesting mountains and other terrain features out west which must be overcome.
     
  5. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    OK yes that makes sense. It was so strange to be able to see an entire train front to end, or at least nearly so - and even where the land seemed "flat", it rolled and dipped over the length of the train.
    Something really beautiful about a train out in those wide-open spaces.
     

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