Is the Real Thing getting, well, blah?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by ls1gto, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. ls1gto

    ls1gto Member

    Ive grown up around Southern/NS rails. I recall when I was younger seeing consists of SD 40-2's, GP 35 High nose's, GP 38-2's, u-boats and a few C motors and of coarse sd50's and 60's. Plus many many more. Now I still see a big variety of loco's but it just seems like those days of variety are coming to an end. It used to be no problem distinguishing a Uboat from an SD???. Now, all the locos are going to comfort cabs. Personally, I dont like them near as well. GE had their own look of a low nose and EMD had theres. Then you had the High nose versions of both. To me, the new units from both manufacturers are looking more and more alike. Now as far as size and function they are sweet. But they seem to be loosing some personality. It takes a second glance alot of time to distinguish between EMD and GE. Anybody else agree or have I hit my head? I know this is where the future is headed and the railroads could care less about "personality". This is just purely from a railfan perspective.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, yes. I really like steamers, and you hardly ever see any of those any more. And when you do, they're full of tourists taking pictures of things. No outside braced boxcars or wood cabooses with windows any more... :(

    ;) :D

  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I am incline to agree..I was raise around the likes of EMD,Alco,FM and Baldwins.Of the more modern type units,I like the GP38,38-2,40,and 40-2 as well as the SD35,40,40-2,50,60 and the Spartan cab SD 70.Never cared much for any GE units except the C&O U25B,U23B and the B23-7 HH of the NS.
    IMHO something is missing in todays railroads and that is a variety of locomotive types.After all you see one GE or EMD wide cab you seen the all! :eek:
  4. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    I notice this too. But on the other hand I almost lost it the other day when I saw a U boat still kicking in the middle of some of the new units. How exciting that was! I can;t tell the others apart unless I see it written on the side like on BNSF dash-9s. Oh well there are still some varieties in paint schemes =]

  5. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    I was...

    ...hoping by posting a thread "Spotted Today" there would be a few words from the many members. Not a book- just a snippet. Even without pics, the mind paints great images. Even liven's note on the U-Boat.

    Mark :)
  6. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Having grown up in the fifties and being somewhat familiar with the New Haven' Berkshire line. I got to know and like the Alco RS series of Road Switchers. I can usually tell other Alcos, too, when I see them; but I never have been able to pick out most of the other diesels. I don't know a GE from an EMD, let alone the individual models. I agree that there is a lot of sameness in todays locos. I like to watch 'em work, regardless of the make and model, so I guess that sameness doesn't really bother me. Of course, if you really want variety, you need to go back to the steam days. Even there, though, there is a lot of general sameness. It's just when you really get to looking at the details and different wheel arrangements that you really can see the differences. I suppose, to some extent, you could say the same for diesels. It's all in the details.
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    personaly i think that the newer GE units look almost to much alike unless you really do give it a second glance. I really wish that the paint schemes would get more colorful. BNSF is (or was) an exception. the new BNSF lettering stinks. after that, the paint schemes are getting bland. i like the old paint schemes better then what they go going now.
  8. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    G.E.C. I completely argee! the BNSF "swoosh" lettering looks like a shoe company's logo, not 'railroady' at all.

    The new locomotives are all 'comfort cabs and lack character, because all the railroads seem to buy them R-T-R like us modelers, and don't modify them cosmetically.

    Furthermore, looking 'down the track' or locomotive models, they seem to get blander and uglier. In europe EMD or GE built this hideous loco called the "Blue Tiger" it looks like an american frame on a body that may appear in the U.S. in the future, and boy, that is UGLY!

    Of course the paint schemes of the past are about the same as they have been since the LATE fifties. UP has always had their Yellow/Gray/Red scheme since day one with their first diesels, and NS is keeping the tradition of the steam engines with a Black/White scheme. The CSX scheme is uninspiring, While the BNSF looks like a halloween costume gone wrong.

    There needs the sense of beauty and Industrial Design again, none of these angular nightnares that we see every day, like the ES44AC or the SD90MACS. What kind of name is that? It's alphanumeric, unprovooking and, well, blah!

    Perhaps there needs to be a resurgance of style, like the fantasticc streamlining of the 1930's, what do you think?

    How about bright beautifully designed paintschemes that will wear well against the elements?

    It seems that the railroads may no longer be a source of pride for our nation, which is extremely sad. I hardly hear anyone besides my train buddies talking about the railroads except when they complain about their horrible time on Amtrak.

    We need something to re-inspire the nation about our railroads, but what?
  9. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Unfortunately, you guys are missing the larger mission here. Railroads are in the business to move freight. Yup. I'll take a break so you have time to wipe off the tears. . . . . Better now? In a world where railroads deal with corporations and not individuals anymore how can you expect them to cater to a railfan's tastes? It's true there was a time when railroads pushed their image on the public. It was just part of drumming up more business. "Locate your new factory on our railroad! Ride our passenger trains!" Today railroads carry what can't go economically another way. In doing this they need to maximize their potental traffic, in other words they need to be the most efficient operation they can be. Simplifying paint schemes, combining facilities, and standardizing motive power is just the way to accomplish this goal. EMD started using GE-style windshields on its new units. Why? The railroads requested this to make fewer parts needed and keep costs down. They eliminated the caboose and reduced crew size to make the operation more efficient. I could go on all night but I won't for the sake of all our sanity. Simply put, that's business
  10. REflectiveMAN

    REflectiveMAN New Member

    I see this alot, railfan complaints about how locomotives look, but I gota ask, does the locomotive make money by how it looks, the answer to that is natrually no.

    Fancy designs like seen on E's F's and others are inpractical, ever tried to remove a power-assembly on a F unit? Its a time consuming and because theres no room to work and some body panels must be unbolted and removed.

    Compair this to a modern EMD where body panels simply fold out of the way with no requirement to remove them from the unit, allowing me to use my tools with no restrictions. Means that it can be done faster, meaning the unit is down for less time and out making money quicker

    Form follows Function.
  11. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    well, imagine a AC4400CW in PRR touscan red and gold stripes? i think that some of these locomotive carbodies aren't to ugly, they just need the right paintscheme. GEs don't particulary bother me with their shapes. Dash-# and U-boats (specificaly U34CHs) look absolutely fine to me.

    the only new ones i really really hate are the SD70ACes. those are ugly. whole nose and cabe is ugly, and those radiators have gone to far. The SD80MACs looked fine (until NS painted them all black and white!), but EMD seriously messed this new locomotive up.

    the old CSX scheme wasn't so bad, the new one i don't like though. Union Pacific looks fine to me to. the paintschemes that come to mind though are the PRR's, the Erie Lackawanna, CNJ, LV, all those old ones atleast here in NJ. they all had neat paint schemes.

    Amtrak is starting to loose its color. it went from red white and blue, and then they slowly got rid of the red, and now there is no white or red, only silver and blue. i hate that. the whole Acela and phase 5 paint isn't the best either. its called amtrak for a reason! the old red white and blue should stay striped on there!

    Personaly I think the reasons for all of this is simply because its some how saveing the railroads big buck to slap a whole load of one color paint on locomotives and just add stickers where needed. i suppose thats how the BNSF swoodh came into existence.

    unfortuneately though, there really isn't a need for a pretty train anymore. the Railroads used to try and look nice to attract passengers when they still had passenger service. then cars and airplanes cut in, and struck railroads down. at that point it was a waste of money to get all fancy with paintschemes and carbodies. now only Amtrak or your local commuter railroad even have a reason to try to look attractive, but in reality they know you are kinda trapped into useing either of the two. there is little need to competer railroad to railroad, as far as aesthetics are concerned. freight lines don't have to care.

    The railroads are not likely to ever make a come back in my opinion. most people are ignorant of the importance of railroads. no one knows where power plants get all that coal. they assume dump trucks are doing the work. the pride can't be there if no one even knows what the railroads do for the country.
  12. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I completely agree with Brian, it is indeed a business and what few railroads we have now (class 1's I mean, there are plenty of great shortlines out there!) is better than none at all.

    On another point, I agree with GEC, those SD70ACe's are horribly chunky! Form certianly follows Function in this case!
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    As far as short lines most shorties has their bigger brothers beat in paint schemes and if these shorties can have sharp looking schemes why can't the big boys? After all a short line engine is also working for a living hauling freight so,IMHO the argument that the class 1' are a business doesn't excuse them from looking sharp.As far as car load lots there is thousands of single car shipments handle daily..After all railroads are in business to haul freight.
  14. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    That's totally true, by the way, what does "IMHO" mean?
  15. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    It's the system

    I've never understood the obsession with locomotive design and paint schemes, etc. For me, it's always been the whole system of railroading that was interesting, including what they haul, but also how they haul it--car types, track layouts, signalling, etc.

    Locomotives could be big, featureless rectangular boxes on wheels and I'd still find railroading fascinating. I won't deny, the look of a diesel locomotive (or a steam locomotive) can have its appeal, but it's so frustrating to see books and magazines dominated by photo after photo of motive power, with scarcely any idea what the rest of the train looks like, or the surrounding railway landscape.

    Also, railroads are in the business of providing transportation, which to me means more than just moving freight. Right now, in North America, moving freight makes money and moving people does not, but I still find the moving of people by rail just as interesting as the moving of things.

  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

    I agree that it would be nice to see the return of the streamlining and Art Deco / Craftsman design of the early part of the 20th Century. Even if it is not steam, the Zephyr was great to look at - even looks fast standing still.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the railroads realized what Andrew (above) points out - they are in the business to make money. The shrouding was too problematic when it came to maintenance, resulting in higher costs. Ultimately steamers were too expensive to maintain compared with diesels. Some diesels were more expensiv eto maintain than others.

    However, as Andrew also pointed out, it is interesting to watch the railroad as a whole and see how they solved certain problems, or came up with new ideas and approaches. All this innovation ultimately is driven by the bottom line.

  17. ls1gto

    ls1gto Member

    Sheesh, I didn't think this would go this way. I'm well aware that railroading is a business in the corporate world. This is why I placed the following sentence at the end of my post,

    This is just purely from a railfan perspective.

    I will continue to be a railfan when there are SD100mac's with lg. fries:) ,
    I was just simply making an observation about the continued advancements and streamlining taking place in the locomotive world.
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I know it's just a business, and you are right - the stuff out there today is not that interesting to look at... I think we are just hashing over the reasons why. Also maybe pointing out that watching locos isn't the only form of railfanning... ;)

    Andy Sperandeo wrote something that I always enjoy...

    "Mine is the truest form of nostalgia - the fond memory of something never experienced."

    I guess that's how I feel about the steamers, streamlined or no.

  19. ls1gto

    ls1gto Member

    Again, please understand, I'm not saying that watching loco's is the only form of railfanning, I was just simply pointing out a small aspect of the railfanning experience from a railfan veiwpoint.
  20. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    Yeah, but in your very first post you said "anybody else agree or have I hit my head?"

    Some people agreed with you, some people didn't. Why get upset at those who disagree?


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