Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the US?

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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby David Benton » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:43 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: That leaves just niches...and there just aren't enough niches to create much of a worldwide market for dual-cab diesels, let alone create enough of an import market to bring that worldwide niche through all the FRA compliance hoops to sell in the U.S.

I can't think of any British diesel locomotives that are not double cabbed, Can't think of any European ones either, but I am less familiar with them. I don't think it is correct to say it is a niche market.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:26 pm

Do European freight trains generally use more than one locomotive at a time? It’d make a lot of sense for a single-locomotive train to have two cabs for ease of use. Over here, most freights (even local ones, increasingly) use two locomotives.

How about passenger trains? American regional passenger trains usually only have one diesel, but long-distance trains have usually used at least two
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby Alcochaser » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:36 am

Well we did.

Many many first and second generation diesel locomotives were set up for bidirectional running with a single cab.

N&W took this to the extreme. They put two complete control stands in every locomotive they bought up until just after the first SD40-2 order. One facing each way on each side of the locomotive. There were a few other roads that had similar set ups. PRSL for one. It was not that much different running long hood forward on a roadswitcher then an old steamer anyway.

The other school of thought was one control stand, mounted 90 degrees to the side instead of at 45 degrees. Often this would be so that the engineer would be on the right for long hood forward. So that when short hood forward you just looked thru the cab door. Southern went nuts with this and bought them like them well into the third generation of locos.

Locomotives started getting too long for this and often had protruding radiators on the long end, that put a stop to this.

That said many roadswitcher units were bought for passenger service that were fully bidirectional.
For example most passenger equipped GP9s and RS3s
Later examples?
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby RRspatch » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:17 am

David Benton wrote:I can't think of any British diesel locomotives that are not double cabbed, Can't think of any European ones either, but I am less familiar with them. I don't think it is correct to say it is a niche market.


Class 43's are single ended.

Class 91's appear to be single ended but have a cab at the blunt end and are speed restricted when running that way.

There are videos on Youtube of British and European freight trains running double headed but this is somewhat rare as most freight trains on that side of the Atlantic are under 30 or so cars.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby David Benton » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:36 am

RRspatch wrote:Class 43's are single ended.

Class 91's appear to be single ended but have a cab at the blunt end and are speed restricted when running that way.

There are videos on Youtube of British and European freight trains running double headed but this is somewhat rare as most freight trains on that side of the Atlantic are under 30 or so cars.

Most people would think of the Class 43 as a power car for a HST set. But they are technically locomotives. I guess. The 91's are used as a loco for a car set with a driving cab on the other end.
Neither were ever intended to be run on anything but the trainsets they were designed for, but they are theoretically capable of doing so, more so the class 91.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby DougM60 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:35 am

BandA wrote:It's worth noting that competing buses & automobiles don't perform a brake test very often. I know the systems are different.

As a CDL holder, I am required perform a break test every day on the bus. I know it doesn't take as long, but still gotta pump the air down and then recharge. Yup, not so much for cars.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:28 pm

David Benton wrote:Most people would think of the Class 43 as a power car for a HST set. But they are technically locomotives. I guess. The 91's are used as a loco for a car set with a driving cab on the other end.
Neither were ever intended to be run on anything but the trainsets they were designed for, but they are theoretically capable of doing so, more so the class 91.

Aren't there still some BR Class 20's still in service? That's basically the equivalent of a US roadswitcher design.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby Tadman » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:37 pm

ExCon90 wrote:
Tadman wrote:3. Someone implied there is a regulation about not mixing transit couplers on mains with freight. The above would imply this is wrong. Some members have told me that the reason NJT carries adapters on every MU is because of an FRA reg, but then why doesn't South Shore or Metra Electric carry such adapters on their MU's?

Could it be to enable a failed trainset to be rescued by a diesel from a freight railroad? (Presumably not likely on Metra Electric, but I'm sure an NS diesel might be within call on NJ Transit.)


I'm not quite sure how Metra does this. They have a few switchers with transit couplers, but you never see them staged to prevent disabled trains. South Shore has a set of adapters on 1100, the grey geep, and probably a few more at the shops.

I don't know that you hear much about disabled trains at all on either Metra or South Shore, so I can't help much here. There are a few videos on YouTube of trains being dragged by geeps, but that's usually in response to wire outages planned in advance. This was big in the last few years due to catenary replacement.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby David Benton » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:12 am

Ridgefielder wrote:Aren't there still some BR Class 20's still in service? That's basically the equivalent of a US roadswitcher design.

Yup , some still going. All the early (1950's) BR diesels were single cab , the Class 20 the only one to survive any lenght of time.
From early 60's on , all double cabs, with the above exceptions.

The modern passenger thinking is for either, a locomotive and a driving car on the opposite end, a DMU /EMU, or a fixed consist train set with a power car(loco) each end. Amtrak and Via are probably the main exceptions to this, apart from countries with no real corridor service( such as Australia and NZ).
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:17 pm

Denmark has 'em:

https://goo.gl/images/o3Dczx

They almost look like EMD's
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby Nasadowsk » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:57 pm

The NOHABs were built with EMD parts, under license.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby David Benton » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:55 pm

I wasn't arguing that single cabs don't exist in Europe, just that the notion that double cab locos was a niche market was wrong. there are some single cab units in Europe , but double cab is far more common.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby eolesen » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:29 am

Tadman wrote: I'm not quite sure how Metra does this. They have a few switchers with transit couplers, but you never see them staged to prevent disabled trains. South Shore has a set of adapters on 1100, the grey geep, and probably a few more at the shops.


More often than not, disabled trains on Metra get rescued by another passenger train. I've seen a 20+ car monster pushed into Olgilvie where the first locomotive failed, and the following train pushed it downtown to keep the line open. (nobody was in the second train because it couldn't platform)

Occassionally, on the UP, they'll dispatch one of the station GP's (which are equipped with the tightlocks and have modified B ends to accommodate the reduced clearance). BNSF also has what I'm guessing are modified GP's for working their coach yard.


Getting back on topic... some roads used center cabs to avoid turning locomotives. EJ&E comes to mind. They eventually abandoned the practice in favor of MU's.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:36 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Denmark has 'em:

https://goo.gl/images/o3Dczx

They almost look like EMD's

They sound like 'em too--stand with your back to one and it sounds like you're home.
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Re: Why don't we use bidirectional diesel locomotives in the

Postby ryanov » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:49 am

ExCon90 wrote:
Tadman wrote:3. Someone implied there is a regulation about not mixing transit couplers on mains with freight. The above would imply this is wrong. Some members have told me that the reason NJT carries adapters on every MU is because of an FRA reg, but then why doesn't South Shore or Metra Electric carry such adapters on their MU's?

Could it be to enable a failed trainset to be rescued by a diesel from a freight railroad? (Presumably not likely on Metra Electric, but I'm sure an NS diesel might be within call on NJ Transit.)
More likely their own diesel equipment, for which they'd also need the compromise coupler. I guess they could have them on the diesels instead and have fewer of them, but it does seem to make sense to carry them on the thing that might need rescuing.
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