Locomotive usage in north America

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Locomotive usage in north America

Postby Dibbedabb » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:45 pm

Hello guys,

I have a question about the real trains and railroad companies. I've seen videos on Youtube showing american freight trains. And in most trains are locos from different companies. For example, the first loco is a Union Pacific loco, the second is a Norfolk Southern and the third Canadian National.
Now my question: Can you tell me, if locos are "free to use" for every railroad company unimportant if it is their own, or do the companies have special agreements? In Europe we have the RIV-EUROP system that allows railroad companies to treat foreign freight cars like their own to prevent empty runs. The same but not so important is the RIC system for passenger cars, although passenger cars are mostly used in complete trains with schedules. Locomotives are mostly scheduled in circulation plans and bound to (and owned by) one company, so here you won't see trains with a DB loco and a french SNCF loco in one train (apart from this most trains in Europe are pulled by just one loco). Companies here have partnerships too, like DB and the swiss BLS, but in general the companies are competing.

And do locos have unique numbers? Or has every company it's own number scheme? The number system in Europe is regulated, since 2007 every newly authorized traction vehicle gets a unique 12 digit UIC identification marking, telling the type of vehicle, origin, class, loco and owner (in short).
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Re: Locomotive usage in north America

Postby Marquette » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:57 pm

Locomotive numbering is entirely up to the owning railway.

And the mixes of owners you see is due to trading of horsepower-hours. In short form: say BNSF is short on power somewhere, so they borrow some locomotives from CP; instead of paying for the rental in cash, they pay by letting CP use BNSF locos for an equivalent amount of time when CP is short on power somewhere.

Freight cars though here operate largely the same way as RIV-EUROP.
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Re: Locomotive usage in north America

Postby ctxmf74 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:24 am

Mixed road locos are common here in central cali now but until about 20 years ago mostly home road locos was the norm. I don't know how it was in the east but I suspect it was similiar?......dave
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Re: Locomotive usage in north America

Postby Dibbedabb » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:49 am

Thank you very much!
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Re: Locomotive usage in north America

Postby Dibbedabb » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:35 pm

That horsepower-hour trading seems to be an interesting system. A quiet similar system is established here for the european passenger traffic, called kilometer compensation. In short: Swiss trains travel through germany, german trains through switzerland and so on. Let's say, a swiss train (or austrian, doesn't matter) travels 1,000km through Germany. Now the DB would have to pay for the train, because it's used for inland traffic. But they don't pay, but send a DB train 1,000km through Switzerland (or austria). But as far a I know this system is not intended for freight trains, but locomotives and passenger trains only.

Do you have interval inspections for rail vehicles (locos and cars)? I found this picture on the internet. Of course the paint is not everything, but at least it's an indicator for the loco's condition I think. And I thought that this is a very bad condition. Here rail vehicles have time limits (besides regular checks). After 8 years the vehicles get a general inspection (the limit can be extended by one year to a maximum of 10 years after a condition checkup). Then locomotives, EMUs, DMUs and passenger cars also get a new paint, freight cars only get a new paint if the old paint is too bad.
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Re: Locomotive usage in north America

Postby CSD » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:33 pm

Dibbedabb wrote:... I found this picture on the internet. ...


I often look at the Czech version of this site for referencing my railway projects. Lots of good pictures in there.
Mark
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