Diesel Cab Comparisons and Qualifying

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1. Would C/E's comment on the differences between modern locomotive cabs of different models (GE vs EMD) and between the same locomotive and different railroads. Amenities, comfort, ergonomics of reaching controls, toilets, etc? I know there are options railroads can add onto their orders, and some do, and some don't.

2. Do engineers have to qualify on each type of locomotive? How much of the mechanical/electrical/electronics to you need to know? I know bigger railroads have help desks, but smaller ones, I'm don't know about. I would assume the smaller the railroad the more the engineer needs to know about trouble shooting and basic repair.

Thanks! I run a GE 23-tonner which has so few controls, I have to invent things (safe things) to do to keep myself attentive. ;-)

Tacoma Tom

New Member
Most all locomotives operate the same. I know when I was a hostler and a Conductor we had a wide variety of locomotives from all sorts of railroads. The only exception I can think about is cab signals. I know Union pacific and CNW both had cab signals. Most of the other railroads don't have them. I remember some of the locomotives had electric hand brakes with no wheel. It took a while to figure out how to get the brake off.

Norfolk southern has some modifications on their locomotives. I know they all have the yellow safety alter button which has to be pushed every 30 seconds or so or else the brakes will lock up. They used to run their locomotives backwards a lot so there is a speedometer to the right of the engineers door. Amtrak also has a alerter system. EMD and GE cabs are pretty much identical and so are the control stands regardless if it was the old style or the desktop style. They both ride about the same.

Some of the ex SP and D&RGW locomotives used to have a power control switch with numbers 1-8 on them. It was for remote control pusher locomotives and you could run your pushers in notch 8 even though you were in notch 6 or 7.

If you can run one you can pretty much run them all.

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