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Amtrak Locomotives--How Many on Each Train

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
  • 16 posts
Amtrak Locomotives--How Many on Each Train
Posted by IC EC on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:21 PM

Does anyone know why Amtrak uses multiple (usually two) locomotives on the Crescent versus only one (usually) on the City of New Orleans?  The Crescent is almost always only nine cars long.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 7,852 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:32 PM

One reason may be Crescent operates over many grades including several in Georgia and Alabama.  CNO is mostly a water level route.  extra power  needed to maintain schedule on grades for Crescent.

We probably can guess Amtrak wishes it could have put extra locos on CAL Z west of Denver and really especially the Empire Builders this past few weeks.

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 234 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:43 AM

Grade profile also if the train splits into 2 pieces anywhere on the route dictate the number of engines required.  Most trains that run west are pulled by 2 due to grades alone.  Trains like the Texas Eagle and CNO can get by with 1 due to lower grade profiles.  The Auto train requires the most power due to the weight of the train.  Some trains require more power due to speed also. 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 11,253 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, March 10, 2017 12:37 PM

Not sure if this is still in effect or not.  CSX's Amtrak contract in the past specified additional time allowance for check points if trains contained more than 8 cars with a single unit.  As I recall, the contract called for an additional 10 minutes to the allowed deviation for being On Time.  During this contract, Auto Train always ran with at least two units.  Silver Service trains of more than 8 cars normally had two units.

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