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Run Through Power from Different Railroads

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Posted by Railway Man on Saturday, September 13, 2008 12:09 AM
 Lyon_Wonder wrote:

I've seen pics in the late 50s and 60s of CB&Q and UP GPs pooled together. 

One thing I've never heard of was pooling F-units of one road with F-units or other locos of another road, which I guess wasn't likely since covered wagons were mostly coupled as sets.

Frisco and Santa Fe had for a time run-through agreements where F units ran through.  I never saw any evidence that the sets were broken up.  But I don't think that means much as at that time, usually the power ran through in solid sets regardless of what type of locomotive it was because locomotives had very different air braking, dynamic braking and M.U. set-ups on different railroad, e.g., point-potential dynamic brakes vs. field-loop dynamic brakes.  Today the national locomotive fleet is highly homogenous with much fewer differences, but there are still some such as cab signals, ETMS equipment, and Canadian-leader qualified.  Interoperability has always been a problem, but in North America it's trivial compared to Europe.  I've been underneath an HGK Class 66 in Germany equipped with six different cab-signal systems to enable it to run on six different systems, and talk about a wiring and software nightmare.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, September 12, 2008 8:55 PM

Its not that hard.  The railroads don't track where their units are on a foreign line, they just track which foreign line they are on.  That's realtively simple and has been done for decades, even before computers.

Dave H.

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Posted by Lyon_Wonder on Friday, September 12, 2008 8:14 PM

I've seen pics in the late 50s and 60s of CB&Q and UP GPs pooled together. 

One thing I've never heard of was pooling F-units of one road with F-units or other locos of another road, which I guess wasn't likely since covered wagons were mostly coupled as sets.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Friday, September 12, 2008 8:09 PM

The locomotives of BNSF, CN, CP, CSX, NS, UP seem to be completely dispersed throughout the U.S. and Canada from viewing CN trackside.

Railroad employees must have a hard time keeping track of all the locomotives, unless there are evenly distributed electronic identification tag readers that send the information to a central dispatcher.

Andrew

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, September 12, 2008 12:24 AM
about 1956 N&W used mostly SOU e units on the run through trains washington - Knoxville and beyond. However I was told that SOU once in a great while when SOU was trying to dieselize (early 1950s) and there was a failure a N&W steamer from bristol would sometime run to bulls gap, TN and meet relief diesels and N&W would return to Bristol.
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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:14 PM
 Andrew Falconer wrote:

Back in the 1950's, before easy computer data storage, did a lot of clerks and managers need to start keeping track of the run through power seperately?

Andrew

Yes.  Although RRs were early adopters of computers - in order to keep track of the cars, among other things.  So, as long as the inbound, outbound and interchange reporting included locomotives, they would have had a shot at keeping score electronically - or at least auditing their manual process.

Also, it's not as automatic as it may seem, these days.  There's a lot of manual intervention needed to arrive at good numbers.  RR reporting is notoriously poor and incomplete.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by inch53 on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:02 PM

On the CSX Indy-St Louis tracks outback I get to see different kinds of run-through power, mostly just plain o boring CSX & UP. But sometimes it's KSC, and an occasional BNSF, CN. In the last 6 months or so, there's been patched WC, GT, IC, BN & SF [usually on a UP coal drag. About every kind of lease power around came through here up till 3 or 4 months ago, but it's rare to see them anymore.

inch

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Posted by Big Appa on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:46 PM

Evidently they must repair the other road's locomotives, too. At the CSX Locomotive Shops at Cumberland on Sep. 6, there were two BNSF engines there, an ES44AC and a ES44DC.

I wonder how that's handled, cost wise. The BNSF AC unit was pulled onto  the turntable while I was at the shops (you can stand on the public street and watch thru the chain link fence) and she sure looked good surrounded by all the CSX units, added a nice touch of color. Run through power sure makes for fun railfanning.

 

Big Appa

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Posted by trainfan1221 on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:30 PM
Run through power seems to vary on where you are.  We always like to see different railroads locomotives on our local trains, it keeps things interesting.  Around here, they seem to be rare, over on CSX there are very few trains with run through power.  This is the main line out of Albany, so we assume that maybe the power from other railroads is taken off at Selkirk Yard and sent back and therefore never makes it down this way.  Anyone else familiar with my territory know of this?
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Posted by killer dragonoz on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 5:59 PM

 youngengineer wrote:
you could say the opposite in the west that UP owes CSX a gazillion hours! remember its all about perspective. From where I live it looks as though the BNSF took over the NS with all the NS power over here, but I'm sure back east the opposite looks true!

It is true over here on the eastcoast NS piedmont divison alot of BNSF and UP run on the mainline.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:33 AM

Railroad balance power by "horsepower hours". That is one 3000 hp unit for 24 hours is 72,000 hphrs. If a train with three 4400 hp unit comes on a railroad at 0300 on Sept 5 and the engine go back at 1700 on Sept 8, then that would be 13,200 hp x 86 hrs = 1,135,200 hphrs. The total accounts between railroads easily run in the hundreds of millions of hphrs. So what a railroad has to track is what railroad they got the engine from, how much horsepower does it have, when did they recieve it and when did they give it back. Its simple information, there just is a lot of it. Obviously its much easier with computers.

The railroads have "interline service agreements" with run through trains which specify who provides how much power and where it is interchanged.

The railroads review the horsepower hour balance with each other about once a month and internally weekly if not daily. If the balance is too far out of whack a railroad may offer the other railroad units to get it back in balance or the owed railroad may demand some units to repay hphrs. If a railroad chooses, it can repay hphrs in cash money. There is a standard rate for the worth of a hphr. 10-15 years ago it was running about a half cent per hphr. Most railroads only pay for hphrs as a last resort.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 9:39 PM

Back in the 1950's, before easy computer data storage, did a lot of clerks and managers need to start keeping track of the run through power seperately?

Andrew

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 9:33 PM
 Andrew Falconer wrote:

What years did run-through power become an established practice?

Andrew Falconer

While I can't speak authoritatively - I don't remember - I offer a few points.

By the late 60's or so power was starting to standardize across the country.  The minority manufacturers equipment was disappearing from the mainlines leaving EMD and GE (with some ALCO's holding on) as the prime players.  MU issues had also been pretty much worked out - a prime issue in the early years of Diesels.

Recall that in their day, many Class One's were analogous to today's regionals.  Once the merger movement started, what would have been a trip across four or five railroads became a trip across two.

I suspect that in the early days of Diesels, locomotives may have tended to have a "home," a la steam locomotives, meaning that once they hit a certain point management wanted them turned back toware home.  That mindset is certainly gone.  You may see the same locomotives running out of the same terminals for a certain period of time, but then they disappear, off to some other base of operations.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 8:44 PM

 BaltACD wrote:
 Kurn wrote:
 I guess CSX owes UP about a gazillion HP/Hrs.!
There are over 500 CSX account units currently off line....with nearly half of them on the UP.

But UP gives them power too, I've seen a UP unit (think it was a GE 4-axle Dash 8, but I didn't get a good look) in Worcester, MA. CSX does have a lot of units on other railroads though...

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Posted by scottychaos on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 8:25 PM
 Andrew Falconer wrote:

What years did run-through power become an established practice?

Andrew Falconer

 

Probably began with the diesel era..1950's..and was quite common by the 1960's..

Steam engines werent as easy to "pool"!  but diesels are easy to keep on any train.

I know the LV and the NKP were pooling power between New York City and Chicago beginning in 1964..

The two railroads established a joint TOFC train, the "Apollo"..NKP would take the train out of Chicago, heading east to Buffalo, (which was the NKP's eastern terminal.) 

Buffalo was the LV's Western terminal..the train was handed off at Buffalo to the LV to continue East to New York City..(same for the opposite train running east to west) 

NKP power would often "run through" onto the LV at Buffalo and continue east over LV rails..and conversly LV power would often stay with the train at Buffalo, heading west to Chicago on the NKP..it was more efficient and faster to simply keep the same power on the train for the whole run..and since it was a joint operation, the two railroads "shared" their locomotives to make the train more efficient and competitive.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 8:00 PM

What years did run-through power become an established practice?

Andrew Falconer

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Posted by route_rock on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 2:25 PM

   Well VL thanks for bringing me my favorite ride out of Chicago!!. If I see you at Koestner ave Ill tell ya hi.

 

  We have coal loads go to the EJE that they wont take our power they use their own. Yesterday I came home on a baretable with two CSX motors( love the Captain Kirk chair) and they were going on to KC

 

  

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 23, 2007 5:13 PM
 Kurn wrote:
 I guess CSX owes UP about a gazillion HP/Hrs.!
There are over 500 CSX account units currently off line....with nearly half of them on the UP.
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Posted by vlmuke on Saturday, July 21, 2007 12:49 PM
the other thing is to, many RR will use other RR power but with thier crews I don't know if this falls under the borrowing of power catagory as I am a new conductor but for example we take a BNSF coal train out of chicago to elkhart with BNSF power drop it off in elkhart and another crew takes it to OH then to detroit a few days later I will take that BNSF empty coal train from elkhart back up to the BN in chicago or another example is we take a NS train to the BRC every day the next morning another crew uses those units from the day before to build a train and take it back to elkhart
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Posted by youngengineer on Friday, July 20, 2007 4:44 PM
you could say the opposite in the west that UP owes CSX a gazillion hours! remember its all about perspective. From where I live it looks as though the BNSF took over the NS with all the NS power over here, but I'm sure back east the opposite looks true!
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Posted by Kurn on Friday, July 20, 2007 4:39 PM
 I guess CSX owes UP about a gazillion HP/Hrs.!

If there are no dogs in heaven,then I want to go where they go.

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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, July 20, 2007 4:09 PM

There are other reasons for a forign unit running on another railraods tracks. Long term lease is one reason, Where a railroad that has excess power will lease units to a railroad that is power short. Then there is also pooling, where two railroads that jointly run a train over both railroads tracks will pool units for that train. An example being the inside gateway (GN(BN) Vancouver to Bieber & WP(UP) Bieber to Stockton) where GN(BN) and WP pooled power.

There are also detours, like when one railroads line gets washed out and they have to detour on anothers route. Unless there are signal requirements (like cab signals) they usually use the detouring roads power and crew with a pilot from the hosting railroad (unless it's a long detour over multiple crew districts. 

 

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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, July 20, 2007 4:04 PM

Borrowing locomotives happens all the time for various reasons. How ther railroads keep track is horsepower hours. If say NS borrows a UP SD40-2 (@3000HP) for a day then NS will owe UP 72,000 horsepower hours. Now NS can pay UP back by sending them a 6000hp unit for 12 hours or 2 3000hp units for 24 hours, either way the debt will be canceled. That is just one example.

Each railroad (usually the power desk) keeps track of each other railroads horsepower hour balance. When a railroad gets a lot of horsepower hours in debt with another they will usually send the owed railroad a bunch of units to pay of the debt. This means the owed railraod can pretty much use the units as they see fit. That could mean the forign unit may end up at the farthest points of the owed railroad.

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Run Through Power from Different Railroads
Posted by Bunn19 on Friday, July 20, 2007 2:29 PM
I have a question about run through power. I understand that if one rail road borrows a locomotive from an other, they have to repay the favor by loaning a simular locomotive back for the same amount of time at a later date. How does this work exactly? Say if NS is short of a locomotive, do they call BNSF or UP and ask to "borrow" one? It seems to me like it would be kind of a conflict of interest. Does this happen at major interchange points between two different railroads?

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