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1987 Time Traveller Questions #2

  • Hi, I last was concerned with model and real railroad as a teenager, 17 years ago. But I was recently inspired to get interested in the subject again. You can imagine how many changes I discovered. I posted all of my hobby questions on the Model Railroader forum but wanted to cut and paste my "real" trains questions here in the hopes some of you might be able to answer.

    1. Does anyone know of a website or source that has a current roster of VIA Rail rolling stock?

    2. I went and met the Coast Starlight the other night to get an idea of its consist. I found it was largely Superliner II. I know Amtrak still has substantial Superliner I numbers. Where have they gone? Or is the Starlight just an anomaly?

    3. Now that smoking is totally banned on Amtrak, what becomes of the Coach Smokers Superliners that Walthers modeled?

    4. Finally, I was reading Greg McDonnell's Trains locomotive guide and he writes that AC traction is the most revolutionary development in locomotives since the advent of diesels. Having majored in history, technical things are sometimes out of my grasp, but can someone explain to my level just why was this so revolutionary?

    Thanks for anyone that can help!
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  • Well the only question I can tackle is the last one regarding AC engines. Much higher output from an alternator than a generator so much higher output in the AC equivalent to traction motors. Much higher fuel efficiencies. Easier and cheaper methods of control. Able to take higher sustained overloads I think. something the railroads have been after for fifty years or longer.
  • Not sure of website - but Bytown Railway Society puts out the Canadian Trackside guide - it has a full VIA rolling stock list - also lists all the stock on Canadian railroads - great tool . Try their website for info
    2860 Restoration Crew