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Crescent:Why Two locomotives?

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Feb 2, 2020
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I was surprised to see that even with the current somewhat reduced consist the Crescent is running with two locomotives. Is there a significant grade along the route that requires this? Is it the sleeper(s) need for additional HEP?
 

crescent-zephyr

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A few years ago I was on a crescent that had to set out a locomotive at Atlanta for some issue. We had to stop for fuel in the yard in Charlotte.
 

GaSteve

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I was surprised to see that even with the current somewhat reduced consist the Crescent is running with two locomotives. Is there a significant grade along the route that requires this? Is it the sleeper(s) need for additional HEP?
My understanding is that NS requires two. There are grades both ways in North Carolina and Alabama. 19 and 20 have always run with two. The consist that has been running for the past 3 or 4 months is only about one car less than before the pandemic.
 

PVD

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My last Crescent trip I got the full assortment, I had 642 as my Sprinter, and had 42 and a 500 series after Washington....
 

west point

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It is not HEP as only one loco can provide power at a time. Without a 2nd loco timekeeping would be even worse due to the may slow orders and accelerating to track speed.
 

dlagrua

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Running with one engine on a full consist slows the train from getting up to speed. Running with two engines also insures a fail-safe mode. The only LD route that I saw running with one engine is the Cardinal but that has a smaller consist and often runs only one sleeper.
 

Bob Dylan

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Running with one engine on a full consist slows the train from getting up to speed. Running with two engines also insures a fail-safe mode. The only LD route that I saw running with one engine is the Cardinal but that has a smaller consist and often runs only one sleeper.
The Texas Eagle and the City of New Orleans regularly run with only 1 P-42.
 

Thunder

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Every LD should have two in my humble opinion.

Only one provides HEP as stated above. This restricts the HP to the rail to about 3200 to 3600 depending on how quirky your unit is.

So give us two every time. Easier to maintain a schedule and you aren’t beating one to death.
 

NativeSon5859

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In the era of the Gulf Breeze train, the NOL-BHM segment often ran with one unit, and the second was added from the MOE-BHM Gulf Breeze to continue the journey. When the Breeze was discontinued, two units once again ran all the way NYP-NOL. There were also times in the 1980s when the train ran with just one between NOL-ATL since the consist was usually only around 7 cars. A second F40 was added in ATL along with several more cars.
 

twropr

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Two locomotives are certainly not required on the CRESCENT - even with Fairfax hill in VA and equivalent grades between Atlanta and Birmingham. Note the CARDINAL, which operates with a similar consist and similar topography, does OK with one unit. The true reason for the second engine is that when the Roanoke, VA regional or CAROLINIAN run into problems with their single unit, trains 19 or 20 can drop off a unit for them.
Andy
 

Seaboard92

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Actually the Cardinal doesn't have a similar consist the Crescent is a bit longer.

Last time I was on the Crescent it was

~3 Coaches
~1 Cafe
~2 Sleepers
~Bag/Dorm

The Cardinal was
~2 Coaches
~1 Cafe
~1 Sleeper
~Bag/Dorm

The difference in weight is 262,000 pounds based on quick googling.

I remember a few years ago when the Crescent used to have four coaches, two food service, two sleepers, and a baggage car.
 

west point

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BHM - ATL has elevation change 500 feet twice. ATL - Greenville 700 feet then down to 800 feet crossing the Savannah river then up to Clemson unknown elevation. Crescent route can almost be defined as a hogback route BHM - Mananssas.
 

jruff001

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Jan 23, 2020
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Does the Crescent still cut cars in/out at Atlanta? I remember once upon a time they used to run some sleepers and coaches only NYP-ATL cutting them out at ATL (and some OBS crew would turn at ATL and go back to NYP that evening). So it was a big train until ATL, and then much smaller ATL-NOL.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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No drop cars in Atlanta. Good idea but station design and location prevent a easy solution.
 

frequentflyer

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In time it may go to one unit. I have noticed the Cap Ltd. is now using one unit like the Texas Eagle both having 7 car Superliner consists.
 

GaSteve

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Thanks JT51. I wonder what changed.
The change was at least 20 years ago. I imagine they stopped doing that account of the expense and time of switching and there really wasn't a benefit. Part of that time they were hauling express cars WAS-ATL and they dropped those off also.
The track configuration at and near the station used to make the switching fairly easy, but it has changed considerably.
 

jruff001

Service Attendant
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Jan 23, 2020
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The change was at least 20 years ago.
LOL. I feel so old.

But that sounds about right. I think the trip I was thinking of when I noticed this was back in the 90s in an old Heritage Slumbercoach.
 
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