• Switching with desktop controls

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by tj48
Asked to any and all Engineers out there. With new EMD and GE locomotives being produced with desk top controls and those controls face forward, how is it to run long hood forward or switch with these controls?
  by Engineer Spike
We hardly ever switch with them. The most is a setoff or lift. One day while I worked a switch engine, the only available power was a Draper car body unit. I had to use the mirror to see any motions from the trainmen.

One other day we had to switch a few cuts, then we were to double a train together. The yardmaster insisted that I use the road power for everything, rather than changing power. The road unit was an AC4400. As many know, it takes them 20 years to load up. I couldn't give a good kick. The result was to keep the independent applied until the load built up.
  by Desertdweller
It's kind of a bitch.

I personally much prefer the desktop-type controls, except for switching. I know it is OK to use mirrors in that situation, but you do not have the field of vision you should have with a mirror. At least with side-mounted controls, you can sit facing the opposite side of the cab and look over your shoulder. I have run some CSX units that actually had a second speedometer mounted on the back wall (more useful for running long-hood forward than switching. Who uses a speedometer to switch?) I like to watch the ground to judge my speed.

Using the independent to hold the loco while it amps up will work, but is an awkward way to go about it. I once had a boss who told me, "Now when you are running a GE, you move the reverser, open the throttle, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and by then it should be just about ready to move."

  by tj48
There are times where I have to use mirrors just backing up my car and I'm not that comfortable, but at least I control everything with just my right foot. I cannot imagine trying to back up say a AC4400, 73' long, weighting 400,000lbs and filled with 5,000 gals. of fuel while looking at a mirror on the side of the cab and using control levers.
  by 10more years
Switching cars while looking backwards through a mirror or running backwards while looking through a mirror is not pleasant, but in recent years most trainmen don't use hand signals. Everything, or almost everything is done with radio communication, which means you can't see what is going on and are completely reliant on verbal commands from your fellow employee. If you think backing up by looking through a mirror is tough, try doing it by listening to your wife telling you what to do.