No NS DPU On Trains

3 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,765 posts
No NS DPU On Trains
Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:01 AM

What is the reason that NS does not use DPU units on their trains?  I once saw a mid train helper on a south bound train at Duncannon, PA, but have not seen any other mid traind or rear DPU units on any of their trains.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 15,366 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:59 AM

I can't speak to NS reasons for using DPU or not.

On CSX territory where it was intended that DPU operation be used, radio communications had to be improved to be able to keep the in train DPU engine consist in reliably constant radio communication with the lead engine consist.  Eastern railroads CSX & NS have been constructed in areas that have many radio 'dead spots' that if not improved to remove the dead spots would result in locations where the Engineer on the lead consist would not have effective control fo the DPU consist for some period of time.

Using DPU is not just a matter of putting the remote controlled set into the train and operating without any further concerns.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,526 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 12:55 PM

If the NS ex-Southern main line from Memphis through Chattanooga 'counts', there are plenty of unit coal trains with operating DPU that run through on a regular basis.  It does not appear there is any benefit in modifying the requisite number of 'native' NS locomotives to handle other services (intermodal including large empty moves, manifest, tank, etc.) with the special advantages DPU could provide, and does provide on long loaded mineral trains.

  • Member since
    August, 2004
  • 573 posts
Posted by pajrr on Thursday, January 18, 2018 2:08 AM

I see plenty of NS DPUs in Ohio. They do not use them through the mountains of PA, those are manned helpers. The helpers are on for only the climb up the grades. DPU's stay with a train the whole time, as they are part of the power needed to move the train under normal circumstances. I also heard that the mountains in Pa mess up the radio signals between the lead loco and DPUs. Manned helpers in that situation are much more reliable.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy