Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by masscoastalfan
 
does anyone know why via's F40's are never placed back to back. i have seen only one picture of this and it was taken in 1989. is this just an operational preferance or is there an actual reason for it? just curious.

  by Ken V
 
There is no reason I know of why VIA does it that way. I guess it's just easier to add/remove lead locomotives and still have a cab facing forward.
Trailing locomotives usually face the other way, probably for the same reason.

  by Tom6921
 
When I rode VIA train #60 in the summer of 2001, it had two F40s back to back.

  by Silverliner II
 
Amtrak has taken to operating multiple locomotives "elephant-style" as well over the past few years.

But that's more because if the lead unit dies...the second unit is facing forward to power the train if the leader has to be removed. Doesn't say much for their reliability though.....

  by lock4244
 
Not really an issue if the leader dies. More if the leader becomes unable to lead (defective speedometer for example), swap with a trailing unit. I think a deal locomotive can still lead a train so long as the electrical system remains operable... someone better versed my know for sure.

  by Silverliner II
 
lock4244 wrote:Not really an issue if the leader dies. More if the leader becomes unable to lead (defective speedometer for example), swap with a trailing unit. I think a deal locomotive can still lead a train so long as the electrical system remains operable... someone better versed my know for sure.
With most of these computer-controlled units, it it dies, you lose the computer screens on some models as well. That in turn leaves you no displays, and an inability to change or setup air brake and other functions if you have a computer-controlled brake. I once had a CW60AC unit die on me, and the computer screens went about 5 minutes after the engine shut down. With the computer down, the brakes applied in full service by default, since there was no communication with the air brake computer as well. Thanks to my conductor also being a qualified engineer, we only got moving again (at restricted speed) with him running from the 2nd unit after we cut the trucks out on the leader to get a release on the brakes.

And even if you don't have that issue, you would eventually drain the batteries, hence the main reason they drop dead leaders off the train ASAP. Also, if running from a dead leader, you have no readings on amperage or tractive effort from the trailing unit when powering or in dynamic brake modes, so if something goes wrong back there, you won't know about it up front either.
  by timberley
 
The issue of having them both forward makes sense. On the Ocean, for example, 2 locomotives are usually only used for part of the trip, although sometimes for the whole thing, depending on the train length. If it's only part of the trip, they have to stop to cut-in/cut-out one locomotive, somewhere in Quebec (it was late night when I was on it last year, I don't remember exactly where we were). If they're both facing the same way, well, it makes sense. You throw one on the front, or cut it from the front, and you're ready to go, no turning required.