Real World Reasons For Mixed Loco Road Names On Trains

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DougC

Member
I almost posted this under the "I almost pulled the trigger" thread just below, but I thought a new thread would be more appropriate.

Regarding operating "incorrect" loco equipment on your model railroad -

My HO model RR is set in the mid-1970s with the yard placed "in the only flat spot in West Virginia." Without trying to focus on a single road I've wound up with most of my diesels in the CSX family tree. But I also run some engines from other roads like BNSF and UP. And I know, some railroads and hence their locos like CSX and BNSF are "out of my mid-1970s period." However, it doesn't bother me.

On the other hand, when I run out-of-area/off-their-home-road locos by themselves on a train or mu'd with the other railroads' units, I don't have to "justify" them BUT in the real world there are lots of reasons that do apply:

(Please feel free to add to this list; I probably missed some, and this list kinda fascinates me.)

- Railroads A and B have a loco run-through service agreement on certain trains on certain routes

- Railroad A is testing some of railroad B's locos because they are thinking of buying some (new or some of railroad B's locos)

- Railroad A just bought or merged with railroad B

- EMD or GE have a particular repair or update service only on railroad A, so you could see almost any road name operating or being pulled dead-in-tow

- Special moves of old equipment going to a museum. I'm speaking of locos but as a sort of example I currently have two "old fashioned" empty passenger coaches in the middle of one of my 65-car freight trains - 'one museum bought or traded for them with another museum'.

- Special trains: For instance the UP could permit one of their steamers on the head end of an NRHS special passenger train running on say the NS from Altanta to Louisville.

- Some old locos could be/would be moved on the head end dead-in-tow to a salvage yard.

- Emergencies - floods; snow storms; etc. where railroad A lends railroad B some locos

- Shared industry switching agreement

[your input here appreciated]

DougC
 

MGWSY

Active Member
Or RR A is Leasing locos to RR B or Repaying for use of RR B's locos.

Also as for museum cars in a train. These would be handled at the rear of the train so they don't get damaged with all the force of pulling freight cars. Also Now passenger cars are also handled in freight trains as I have seen brand new Metro North M8 MU cars on the rear of CSX trains and CSOR trains as they get delivered to New Haven, CT. Back in the CR days the CV and CR would have Amtrak Horizon cars and Superliner 2 cars on their trains and hand them over to Amtrak in either Palmer, MA or Springfield, MA.
 

DougC

Member
Mark:

Thanks for your response. Yep, leasing locos is another reason for mixed head end road names.

I know my thread is about mixing different road name locos, but we can sure address older cars too (since I brought it up in the original post).

Regarding museum cars on the end of trains. At least in the old days the caboose crews could keep an eye on them, and you've seen new passenger cars moved on the end of trains.

I was thinking that with old museum-type cars maybe some of them would be moved on the head end because (a) the head end crew could keep an eye on them (no rear end crews), (b) the draft gear should be up to snuff for handling the train stresses in any position on any train, and (c) the train slack action wouldn't "beat them up" near as much as being on the end of the train.

All that being said, I bet there's a lot of factors that come into play about where old cars are positioned in trains - including safety first, FRA rules, and expediency.

DougC
 

cv_acr

Active Member
Run-through or pooling agreements (on specific trains/lines) and horse-power hours repayment are the most common reasons. HPH repayment is done to balance out locomotives operating on different railroads in run-through and pool service. If at the end of the month, more locos from RR A have spent more time on RR B, RR B provides several locomotives to RR A for a certain amount of time to balance the books. When things really get colourfull is when locos from RR C, on HPH repayment to RR B, end up on RR A in run-through service.

If railroad A is in a real power crunch, they might rent some extra engines from a leasing company or another railroad. For example, Canadian Pacific has quite often leased extra power from widely varying sources. In recent years CEFX leasers have been common. In the 1980s, Chessie and Conrail GP30s and GP40s were a common sight on CP. In the 1970s all sorts of weird stuff showed up at various times including IC C630s, B&O F7s, BLE F7s, B&M RS3s, ex-QNSL PNCX GP7s and GP9s, Algoma Central GP7s and even GP40s from commuter operator GO Transit and oddball PNCX RS32s. If you really want weird, in the 1990s CP rented passenger F40PH-2s from VIA rail:
http://www.railpictures.ca?attachment_id=731

Renting/leasing won't result in reciprocal HPH repayment, since the railroad is paying for those engines.
 

DougC

Member
Chris:

Thank you very much for your detailed explanations.

And I'll admit I didn't know of the common HPS system of measurement and hence repayment. Your point about "colorful" makes almost any foreign loco legitimate - "...when locos from RR C, on HPH repayment to RR B, end up on RR A in run-through service."

Also, your comment about renting and leasing leaves the door sort of wide open for running almost any foreign loco (at least one that is not too old unless it's a museum show piece.)

Regarding your other comment about the 1970s - that's one reason I chose the mid-1970s for my time period. I remember seeing first hand and numerous photos of the wildest power consists (which you described below on the CP) on trains - including 6 to 12 locos in a consist, almost no two the same road or type (I imagine they did this because of poor maintenance (("saving" money)) and hence reduced power ouput per unit). That was a mixed-up time for the railroads - going belly-up, mergers, generally poor infrastructure all around, etc. And my memory tells me that there wasn't a clean loco in any of the consists for the whole decade (I'm exagerating somewhat here, but not by much.)

For all of the reasons mentioned so far in this thread it looks like almost any diesel road name and type prior to a model railroader's current time period is a candidate for mu'ing on the home road.

DougC
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
- Railroads A and B have a loco run-through service agreement on certain trains on certain routes
I guess here it depends on what you mean by mixed in this context. This is a good reason a locomotive would be on foreign rails, but usually run throughs are going to have a set of maching locos (well I guess they could be mismatched :confused: but) from the railroad doing the run through. Leasing or shared trains would get a much better "mix" as explained above.

I still can't believe the surprise I got when I saw a set of D&RGW black/orange units in the middle of Kansas in the 1980s! I had never seen a D&RGW unit further east than Pueblo.

Anyway the execption would be that there is a grade or somthing where the home rail had to add a unit to give the foreign train some extra HP through that section.
 
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DougC

Member
Iron Horseman:

Thank you for your comments and insights.

The one I hadn't considered was not just sharing industry switching but yard switching also - I guess I haven't actually seen that (or if I did I didn't notice it).

Also, as you said it would make sense if RR A was using its locos on RR B trackage (run-through) and needed RR B's help (locos) up a grade or two. So, with my model railroad being in the West Virginia area I could have a couple of UP or SP or ATSF engines with a WM/CSX/or ? on the head end. Lots of potential prototypical and semi-prototypical combos possible - including say an SP unit, WP unit, and UP unit plus two home road units on the head end - and all five could be different years and types. That would indeed picture the 1970s' "mix them up" power theme. Heck, if I did this then I'd have to dirty-up the locos so I couldn't even read the road names. :)

DougC
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
.... Heck, if I did this then I'd have to dirty-up the locos so I couldn't even read the road names.
Technically I believe the reporting marks have to be visible for the train to run legally. Sort of like a license plate on a car. Do any "real" railroad people know if this is true or if I'm imagining things.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
Technically I believe the reporting marks have to be visible for the train to run legally. Sort of like a license plate on a car. Do any "real" railroad people know if this is true or if I'm imagining things.
Well, the employees have to be able to properly identify the equipment...

For freight cars, they need to identify the correct car if they're switching.

For locomotives, clearances and orders are normally addressed to and reference lead engine numbers. So it's critical for crews to to properly identify the locomotive(s) on their own and other trains that they pass on their journey.
 




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