# Which way is forward?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by 60103, Dec 27, 2006.

1. ### 60103Pooh Bah

This was asked on a British forum recently, and I thought someone here might have some thoughts.
When you have a locomotive with both ends the same, e.g. a GG1, RDC or an ABBA set of F units, how do you know which end is the front, to tell it to go forward or backward?
This was asked in the context of bringing a train out of hidden storage.
2. ### prodigy2k7Member

why does it matter?
Im no expert, but why?
Technically, there is no "backward" only "foward" lol....
When it comes to trains, if u have multiple locos , most of them u should just be able to put them all on the same track, and see which direction they go, take a loco off and reverse it until they all go in the same direction, so all of them are facing the same direction....

I hope i helped, if not, u get to wait awhile before the people that know more than me finally respond lol..
3. ### jetrockMember

The whole idea of a double-ended locomotive is that it can be operated in both directions, in order to avoid having to turn a locomotive. For purposes of control via a powerpack, "forward" is the same as for a single-ended locomotive: the way the locomotive goes when power is applied.

when running DC, at least, you can't reverse a locomotive's direction of motion by turning it around, because the polarity is reveresed when you do so, and thus the direction of the locomotive's travel.

If you really need to know, set some marker flags or something on the "forward" end to differentiate it from the "back" end.
4. ### MasonJarIt's not rocket surgery

David,

I am not sure about your question - I think I don't understand it fully...

In any case, if you are operating DCC, you can designate one direction as "forward" and one as reverse, and switch them if needed. The MU function (at least with a Digitrax Zephyr) seems to reverse the direction of my trailing loco, assuming I suppose that they are back to back. Of course this is not how steamers did it, so I need to look into it a little more...!

In the case of bringing locos out of staging, should not the location and direction of travel be already known?

Sorry if this is not much help...

Andrew
5. ### 60103Pooh Bah

The intent of the question was, if you look at a DCC powered GG1, which way will it go when you say "Forward"?
The other forum discussion suggested having 2 crew in the fwd cab and 1 in the rev cab.
Or extra dirty weathering at the front.
If you're the only one putting trains into storage, you know which way you left them. If there are multiple operators, they may have different habits -- Joe may jockey the train back and forth to get it lined up right.
6. ### nhguyMember

US Federal Law requires one end of a double ended control cab unit to be designated "F" or front. GG1, RDC and the many double ended electrics of the New Haven railroad had to have one end designated as front. This is indicated by a small 'F' on the designated end.

This was also true for GP, SD and SW units. On cab units like the FA and F untis it was obvious. On the hood units a lot of railroad designated the long hood as front and set up the controls that way. This was a hold over from the steam engine days when the boiler faced front and offered more protection to the crews. For some railroads it was the short hood. It all depended on the railroad management and mechanical departments how the engine would be set up at the factory.

When the short end hood was lowered and a windshield put in by the manufacturers like EMD, ALCO and GE, this became the front of the engines because of the increased visability. The front of a locomotive is now the short hood end in the US.

On our models look for the small 'F' on US models. My GG1 and my RDC all have a small 'F' on them. That is what I designate as the Forward" end for setting up decoders.
7. ### fsm1000Member

If you mean which end of a loco is front look for the letter F on it. No kidding, that signifies the front of the loco. I hope that helps.
8. ### green_elite_cabKeep It Moving!

another way to tell the front of the GG1 is by the little round stack thing on the roof. it should be offset towards the front. thats the only other hint other than the F
9. ### N Gauger1:20.3 Train Addict

nhguy gets the nods of approval on this one.... The "F" -- usually located somewhere near "eye" level when standing beside the locomotive, signifies what is "front or forward" for that particular railroad company. The reason "under Federal law", Prodigy, is that all maintenance MUST be documented, in the event of questions (Usually after an accident/derailment).

If the mechanic has confirmed by a work order that the right rear journal was lubed and the left rear 3rd axle was inspected.... we all know where that is now - - because of the "F"

This obviously aids the train crew in isolating problems that need to be addressed by the repair team - by stating forward or rear sections of the trucks and - of course - which truck...

There's a reason for everything.. If the "F"'s weren't needed - they wouldn't go to the trouble of paying someone to paint them on sign1 sign1 sign1