"Red Points" on CP freight

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Allen Hazen
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

"Red Points" on CP freight

Post by Allen Hazen » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 pm

Typical configuration of freight trains on the CP main west of Calgary has two 4400hp GE locomotives on the point and a third as a DP unit somewhere further back. Many of these units are "off colour": of about a dozen locomotives I saw on trains on a recent trip to Banff, at least two were yellow (Union Pacific), one orange (BNSF) and one blue (a leasing company: CFLC?). The leading uint of the train, however, was in each case red: home team.
I wondered if perhaps there was some CP-specific equipment or cab furnishing that only the CP units had that forced their exclusive use on point. I spoke to a CP person (conductor on a westbound that was being held at the Banff passenger station while several eastbound went through), however, who said this wasn't it: the reason for red on the point was that the trailing locomotives spent more time idling (or at reduced power). They are leased, and a modern locomotive's onboard computer can record just how much time the locomotive is operating in each notch, and CP pays their owners for "power by the hour": the rent varies with how many kilowatt-hours the unit puts out while in CP service. With the result that it is cheaper for CP if the foreign units are the ones that can take a rest.

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NorthWest
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Re: "Red Points" on CP freight

Post by NorthWest » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:37 pm

Canadian crews are entitled to microwaves, hot plates and fridges by union agreement. Not all of these amenities are included in foreign power.
Theoretically, crews are allowed to switch a different unit onto the head end if that's the case.

The blue units are CEFX AC4400CWs and have been on lease to CP for more than a decade now.

Allen Hazen
Posts: 2446
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

Re: "Red Points" on CP freight

Post by Allen Hazen » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:34 pm

Northwest--
Thank you for further information! My initial guess was that cab radios might not be st up to use the same frequencies, and the conductor I spoke to said that all the relevant locomotives could communicate on the same wavelengths. I hadn't thought about "kitchen facilities," and nothing was said about them in our conversation.
"CEFX." I remembered that it started with "C," and at least in Australia "Chicago Freight Car Leasing" has leased out locomotives: my confusion, thanks for sorting it out.
(I live in Edmonton, far enough from the CP main line that I don't see CP trains very often, but I saw my first "blue" AC44 in the Strathcona (south side of Edmonton) yard several years ago.)

Engineer Spike
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Re: "Red Points" on CP freight

Post by Engineer Spike » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:15 pm

CP doesn’t have microwaves in the engines, but CN does. They do have a refrigerator and hot plate. Most engines have radios capable of working on all the FCC railroad band frequencies. Canada uses the same ones. Some railroads have cab signaling. UP does, and NS and CSX do on parts of the Conrail lines that they took over. The leader must be equipped.

There are cab agreements. Unions on various railroads have negotiated them, as the example of hot plates. Other items include seat agreements. Southwest lines needed air conditioned cabs for desert heat. Early in my career I was a hostler at a BN shop. When we made up power consists, we had to try and put a unit in the lead with the agreement amenities. The Canadian units are usually best. CSX, and NS are very plain. sometimes they just have an ice chest. CSX seems to be the pits for crew comfort. Their engines seem dirty inside, they have really cheap uncomfortable seats, and just an ice locker.

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