Turning Diesels?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Omaha Road Man, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Omaha Road Man

    Omaha Road Man New Member

    It my understanding that turntables are less necessary for diesel operations. I am wondering how true this is and if it is for all diesel locomotive classes. For example, I would guess that an F7 would need to be turned while a GP7 could run in either direction.
  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    It entirely depends on the crew's reverse visibility. You can run a GP9, etc. in reverse although most crews would prefer to not. Generally speaking the hostler tried to pull power with a forward-facing cab for road trains. Locals on branches without turning facilites and similar operations were forced to run long hood forwards on at least one leg of their journey. You can run an F7 in reverse, though it's not particularly safe to do for great distances. (Erie-Lackawanna used to assign them to road locals. D'oh!) Some engines, namely those purchased by Norfolk & Western and its subsidiaries, were equipped with dual control stands to allow for easier operation in either direction. Then there's the whole mess of railroads that did operate long hood forward as standard operating practice, but the cabs were reversed to make it easier on the crew.
  3. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Since diesels are, in many cases, operated in multiple, the need to turn a unit is not that great. Maniline power consists typically are set up so there is at least one unit facing each direction (there will ALWAYS be exceptions to this). To turn a locomotive, they'd either use a wye or a turntable. Hood units working alone don't really need turning, nor do switchers, and F unit's didn't get out on the road alone all often... again, they'd operate in sets on the mainline.
  4. Omaha Road Man

    Omaha Road Man New Member

    So after steam died gradually you saw the elimination of wye's/turntables excpet at say division points?

    I guess my basic question is this: I know diesels needs turning sometimes, just not as often as steam, so when and where did they get turned?

    Thanks for the info guys.
  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I've seen it done with wyes and reversing loops..

    There is a photo floating around here somewhere where Southern Pacific used a reversing loop to turn an entire train at one of its yards (near Tehachapi? I don't remember for sure)...

    I've seen VIA Rail use a wye to turn its passenger locomotive around at some passenger stops in Ontario.. (It is necessary, because the AMD103/P42DC Genesis passenger locomotive is a full-width unit).

    Here in New York City, I see Conrail (now CSX) freight trains coming onto Long Island via the Hell Gate Bridge arrive at the Fresh Pond Junction/Yard in Queens, and the locos are also turned around with a wye at the yard where it intersects with the Long Island Railroad's Montauk branch.

    In Manhattan, the Metro North Commuter Railroad turns its trains around on a giant underground reverse loop in Grand Central Terminal. The MNCRR's predecessors (New York Central, New Haven, and Amtrak) all used the GCT loop.

    Long Island Railroad, the other major commuter railroad here in the New York City area, avoids having to turn its locos completely, by using a DM30AC locomotive on one end of the bilevel commuter train, and the last bilevel car would be outfitted with a control cab (this arrangement is called "push-pull" I believe). And before the DM30ACs and Bilevels showed up, LIRR used a GP38-2 hood unit on one end and a de-motored Alco FA-turned-steam-generator/cab control unit on the other end. Freight trains on the LIRR would avoid turning the engines by using multiple units as previously mentioned by others.. Or they can use the wye at Fresh Pond and elsewhere.

    Just what I see in my neck of the woods.. :cool:
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    CNR and VIA in Toronto used the steam roundhouse and turntable for years, until some idiot built a football stadium on it. They also had a reverse loop running around the roundhouse and the coach yard.
    Now VIA has a yard miles out of the city and turns the locos there on a wye, or sends them on to some other city to be turned. The Canadian train isn't turned, but runs into Toronto on one line and out on another and eventually rejoins the first line.
    The local shortline (Brampton and Orangeville) has only one loco and no turning facilities.
  7. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    At it's MacMillian Yard just north of Toronto, CN has turning loops for locomotives at the engine shop, and could turn an entire freight train within the yard (in theory, I don't know if they actually do that). These are more exceptions than the rule, however.

    Edit: hwy 7 and keele street, concord, ontario

    Use the above as a search in Google Earth... you can't miss the yard. The engine facility is in the northwest corner of the yard.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Often times passenger terminals were set up with the tracks being stub ended. Even large city terminals like Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal used stub ended tracks that required the trains to be backed accross a wye to turn the entire train when they left the terminal. San Diego used to have to back trains 5 miles up the track to the Del Mar wye to turn their passenger trains around and then back them into the terminal. In order to increase the traffic on the surf line, Amtrak now runs push-pull service between Santa Barbara and San Diego. The Verde Canyon Railroad, a tourist line in Arizona, uses the other method that is common. They have a pair of Fp9's coupled up back to back that pull the train down to the end of the tour. At the end there is a run around siding where the locomotives uncouple from train and run to the other end of the train where they couple up and tow the train back to the starting station. For freight service, diesels are usually coupled with the units on either end facing in opposite directions. Then when a train is dispatched, it makes no difference which way the locomotives are pointed. I think most major yards have a wye or a balloon track to either turn a train around or to turn the locomotives if needed. Turntables have generally been removed because you can't turn more than one diesel at a time on a turntable.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Interestingly, according to John Armstrong, some stub-on-wye terminals were operated in head-in fashion and others were back-in.
  10. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    The end of steam was not the ned of the wye. In fact many wye's are still in operation. On some of the mainline wyes like at a junction it is possible to turn an entire train.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The 2 stub end terminals that I'm familier with are Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, the the San Diego station. In both cases they operated as head in terminals, but San Diego was on the end of a branch so the arriving train would head in, discharge passengers, and then back 5 miles to Del Mar where they would turn on the wye and back down 5 miles again to the San Diego station before loading passengers. Converting the operation to push/pull in the Amtrak era enabled them to almost double the number of trains running between Santa Barbara and San Diego. The wye is adjacent to LAUPT, so turning the train isn't as time consuming in Los Angeles.

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