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Old 09-04-2011, 07:54 PM   #1
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Question: Diesel pusher-trains

Does anyone know how the train engineers control the one or two diesel pushers at the end of the long trains in the West? Those trains looks to be over a mile or more long. Very impressive. Also the handling and scheduling of many trains going both east and west is great see, hard to understand.
JB
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #2
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Roughly 80 coal trains of up to 140 cars leave Wyoming every day. Length of the trains can be up to 1.4 miles. Typically there are 3-4 engines up front and at least one in the rear. I, too, would like to know how they control it.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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Ever hear of radio control? The mule engine where my wife works is done that way.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:34 PM   #4
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depends if it is a thru train then they are radio controlled from the lead locomotive, if they are being used to help push the train over a grade there are people in the locomotives in radio communication with the lead units.
they can also stand on the ground and radio control a locomotive to switch cars into sidings, this is all done to keep costs down and handle the trains with fewer people
at times you will see units in the middle of a train this is to handle long heavy trains and lower the stress on the couplers these are also radio controlled
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by pwf16129 View Post
depends if it is a thru train then they are radio controlled from the lead locomotive, if they are being used to help push the train over a grade there are people in the locomotives in radio communication with the lead units.
they can also stand on the ground and radio control a locomotive to switch cars into sidings, this is all done to keep costs down and handle the trains with fewer people
at times you will see units in the middle of a train this is to handle long heavy trains and lower the stress on the couplers these are also radio controlled
I see trains with pushers all the time. It's been a good 30 years since I saw units in the middle and those were units without a cab.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:30 AM   #6
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The use of locomotives within or at the rear end of trains, in addition to those at the front, is called "distributed power." The technology has been around since the 1960's. Early in my railroad career, way back in the early 1970's, "LocoTrol" is what was being developed and used and it was VERY complicated and wrought with problems! By the time I retired a couple of years ago, the process had been significantly improved and is now very common.

Take a look here:

Distributed power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
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we actually see quite a few standard locomotives being used in the middle of the train here in the edge of Oklahoma they are bringing coal to the power plant, and then they will have pushers on the rear until they top the hill outside of town.
i think it is so they can be used as lead on the return trip i don't think they ever got around to building a wye at the power plant but i haven't got to ask anyone but they are generally the first pair run short hood foreword and the two in the middle run short hood toward the rear of the train.
i have a cousin who works for the local railroad just haven't seen him lately to ask.
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