CPR has a limit of 8 locomotives in a consist. I agree with the point of control breakers tripping. There might be air problems too. We have a rule about using the automatic brake to control large consists, since the lag time is so long, when using the independent brake. One leak may prevent the rear unit from getting enough air to bail off the automatic applications too.
24 axles, or its equivalent had been the norm. First, I said equivalent because the railroads base 6 axles off of the output of SD40/C30-7/U30C/C630. They know that newer units, such as -8/9 GE, and SD60/70 can equate to about 25% more TE. The AC motored units rate even higher. Some late 4 axle units, such as GP60 can produce the effort of a SD40. Second, some western railroads allow much more than 24 equivalent axles of power. Again CPR allows more axles on the SOO, vs. the D&H. This is because of the steeper hills, and tighter curves in the east, as opposed to the flat prairie. Some has to do with the types of cars. A mixed train might have empty cars, which could be ripped right off the track. This is most likely on a curve, and is called string lining. Many general freight cars aren’t designed for the high forces. Some coal cars, for example have higher strength couplers. Also a unit train can have less problems in other ways. All the cars are the same, and are loaded uniformly. This eliminates some in train forces, which are present in mixed trains, where cars react differently.
This topic is becoming somewhat moot. Most of the newer power comes with distributed power gear. This way the power is spread through the train. There isn’t the strain on the head end, and no need for a large head end consist.