Locomotive Direction

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

denmarks

Train Travel Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
594
Location
Chico, CA
Why don't all locomotives face the same directions when there are multiples on a train. For example on the California Zephyr 2 are forward and then one is backward.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2,898
Location
Socal
Well I mean it doesn't really matter which way the rear locomotives are facing. But if one is facing forward and the other is facing backwards, in case something happens and the train now needs to go back the opposite way, there is no need to wye the engines, as they can easily be moved to the back.

Example: Due to a freight derailment in Idaho, the eastbound Empire Builder will end at Spokane and the westbound Empire Builder will end at Whitefish. The passengers will be bussed from Spokane to Whitefish or vise versa and board the train there. So basically they will turn the train at Whitefish and Spokane, respectively. If the locomotives are facing opposite ways, they can easily bring them to the back (now front) to bring the train the other direction.


Hope that made sense...
 

PeeweeTM

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
113
Haha, yeah, but if your front locomotive gets defected (windshield cracked by treebranche, truck hits front signal light, trainradio defect, etc.) and your second engine is facing forward, too, you could likely just switch their position in the train.
Either way, better hope nothing happens. (Or else I should perhaps butter the plate side of my toast, so when it accidentilly falls, it will land with the buttered side up.) 🤔
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

John819

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 29, 2021
Messages
36
Location
New York
There is no perfect way to arrange multiple locomotives. In general, the "front-back" seems to have more advantages than the "front-front". As an aside, when freight locomotives are all facing front they are said to be "elephants".
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal
Top