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FP9A tail to tail question

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  • Member since
    January, 2018
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FP9A tail to tail question
Posted by cpbc on Sunday, January 07, 2018 4:54 PM

Hi, 

i've seen photos of FP9A's running tail to tail, and am curious  ... if when reaching the end of their run, they get turned around individually or just change which locomotive is lead after manuevering through a siding?

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, January 08, 2018 9:48 AM

This is tail to tail:

 

 

They change which loco is the lead.  Meaning they guys/gals grab their gear and move themselves to the other end of the consist.

 

Here we have nose-to-tail:

 

 

In that case, they turn the engines/consist whichever way is most convenient.  For example, if there is a wye with a nice long tail track (Klamath Falls OR GN yard comes to mind), you can turn the whole consist on the wye (whole train for that matter).  The same is true if you have a turning loop (WP terminal facilities at Oakland CA). 

If all you have is a turntable, that's what you use.  It's slower, so it wouldn't be the first option.

Last, if you have none of the above, you move the engines to the other end of the train and run backwards.  You can imagine how unpopular this can be for more than short distances.

 

Ed

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:12 AM

Welcome

.

One of the advantages of running a pair of locomotives with the front ends facing away from one another is that you do not need to turn the locomotive for the return trip. Just move into the other cab.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by dti406 on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:50 AM

In later years the Santa Fe ran their diesel consists with two of the F units with the cabs in the direction of travel, so if the lead unit failed, they could easily change out to the second F unit without losing too much time on the schedule.

Rick Jesionowski

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, January 08, 2018 11:16 AM

CB&Q got into running their E's nose to tail:

 

 

I view the concept as "aesthetically questionable".  They had relatively few B units in their passenger fleet.  Say, as compared to UP.  Of course, this also meant that "any" engine could lead, since "any" engine had a cab.  A true convenience.

But also (especially if you've got mostly A units), I think it's the most aerodynamic setup of multiple A's.  That is, it saves fuel.  That is, it saves money.

And, of course, it answers any questions about which units get turned for the trip back: all of them.  And, I'm convinced that at the "end" of each trip,there was a turning loop/wye for the whole engine set.  As opposed to a turntable.

 

Ed

 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 08, 2018 1:15 PM

I run passenger trains on my layout with A-A engines tail-to-tail for aesthetic reasons (similar to Ed 7j43k), despite prototypical practice. One visitor was being 'helpful' by pointing out that Amtrak aligns engines nose-to-tail elephant style. Maybe they do, and maybe they don't, but I gave his suggestion the consideration it deserved.

The passenger trains on my layout are treated as unit trains, and are never broken down, turned, re-routed, re-powered, re-crewed, and whatnot. That is not just a simple runaround operation. Baggage cars, dining cars, observation cars, parlor cars, etc would have to be all individually turned and reordered. If a train needs to run the other direction (as they all eventually do), I simply run the entire train around and through one of the reversing loops on the layout. Easy.

Robert

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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, January 08, 2018 4:33 PM

In a back to back set the engineer, changes the positions of some of the switches and valves in each cab, setting up one as a leader and the other as a trailer, and just uses the one in right direction.  The point of putting them back to back is so they don't have to be physically turned.

Amtrak (and many other railroads) may have the trailing unit pointed forward so that if there is a failure of the lead unit they can just move it to the rear of the consist and use the 2nd engine as the leader.  I was riding the Texas Eagle and the computer died on the lead unit and they had to do just that.  That is a common arrangement on high priority intermodal trains  for the same reason.

Sometimes a unit will be facing forward in order to "split the train".  We had an intermodal train that operated from Chicago to Salt Lake City and then split into a train going south to LA and a train west for the Bay area.  The train would arrive, the inbound crew would set the LA portion out to a track with LA cars in it, leaving the rear two units on the LA portion and put the rest of the power on the Bay area pick up.  The outbound west crew would double the front half of the power and Bay area pick up to the rear of the train, all bay area.  Meanwhile the south crew would depart with the LA train and power.  The whole process took less than 30 minutes.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by cpbc on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:39 PM

Thanks for the info and photos Ed.

thanks for confirming that locomotives connected tail to tail would just swap ends to run opposite direction. I wasn’t sure, cause I thought I read somewhere that some FP7A and FP9A didn’t have connections in their nose for a nose to tail consist.

was thinking of buying another Rapido FP9A for my layout and run them tail to tail ... since I don’t have room for a wye or turntable

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Posted by cpbc on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:40 PM

Thanks Kevin 

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Posted by cpbc on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:41 PM

Interested to hear how Santa Fe did it, thanks Rick

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Posted by cpbc on Monday, January 08, 2018 5:46 PM

Yes, good point Robert ... do want you want, on your RR :)

Nice that you have a reverse loop to bring them around again. I don’t have space for that 

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Posted by ACY Tom on Monday, January 08, 2018 6:30 PM

On my trip to and from Florida on the Seaboard's Silver Meteor in 1967, the E units all faced forward. At Wildwood, the train was split, with two units taking the largest section to Miami. A singe unit handled the Tampa section. 

On the Burlington in the late 60's, most E units faced forward on the CZ and DZ. 

During that time period, the Santa Fe often operated the Super Chief and Texas Chief with F units in ABABB or similar consists, with the A units facing forward. 

Meanwhile, the B&O, PRR, NYC, Erie, and others usually had the last unit in reverse, no matter what was in between. This way, the power did not have to be turned at terminals. Later, the B&O/Chessie often ran their freights with all units facing forward so that any unit could be substituted for the leader enroute with minimal difficulty. 

Tom 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 08, 2018 8:15 PM

dehusman

In a back to back set the engineer, changes the positions of some of the switches and valves in each cab, setting up one as a leader and the other as a trailer, and just uses the one in right direction.  The point of putting them back to back is so they don't have to be physically turned.

Amtrak (and many other railroads) may have the trailing unit pointed forward so that if there is a failure of the lead unit they can just move it to the rear of the consist and use the 2nd engine as the leader.  I was riding the Texas Eagle and the computer died on the lead unit and they had to do just that.  That is a common arrangement on high priority intermodal trains  for the same reason.

Sometimes a unit will be facing forward in order to "split the train".  We had an intermodal train that operated from Chicago to Salt Lake City and then split into a train going south to LA and a train west for the Bay area.  The train would arrive, the inbound crew would set the LA portion out to a track with LA cars in it, leaving the rear two units on the LA portion and put the rest of the power on the Bay area pick up.  The outbound west crew would double the front half of the power and Bay area pick up to the rear of the train, all bay area.  Meanwhile the south crew would depart with the LA train and power.  The whole process took less than 30 minutes.

Hey Dave,

This is useful information. I wish the guy who told me I was running my Amtrak train wrong would have explained it like you just did. Of course I could have been a little less hard-headed, too. Embarrassed

Anyhow, I  think will adjust my aesthetics a little and run the Amtrak elephant style for a while and see what happens. Splitting/combining the train at some remote depot could also add a little interest. The laziest guy at operating sessions (usually me) chooses the passenger train. Now there'll be some actual work involved.

Thanks.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by cx500 on Monday, January 08, 2018 8:26 PM

Some railways decided to save money, and declined the option of an MU connection through the nose of an A-unit.  CPR is the one I am certain of, but there may be others.  As a result they had to be run tail to tail.  If mixed with roadswitchers an A-unit could only be in the lead or trail position.  (That was the true for the various models from all three builders.) 

Other roads who may have made the same initial misjudgement could retrofit their A-units with nose MU once they realized the advantage of greater flexibility.

John 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 08, 2018 8:27 PM

Dave might be able to clearify this, but I also read that the freight lines that Amtrak runs on, required Amtrak to have a "spare" loco, in case of said breakdown.  I freight loco can pull an Amtrak train, but cannot supply the "hotel power" required by passenger cars.

I'm probably straying off topic here.

Mike.

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