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davideglasgow
05-05-2006, 07:44 PM
Living here in NS country, I'm used to seeing the familiar black horsehead power, along with the usual compliment of old Conrail. However, every now and then, I see UP or BNSF power. Is this basically NS "taking control" of an original BSNF/UP train to operate it on its own trackage? Would it still be considered an NS train?

4kV
05-05-2006, 08:49 PM
Living here in NS country, I'm used to seeing the familiar black horsehead power, along with the usual compliment of old Conrail. However, every now and then, I see UP or BNSF power. Is this basically NS "taking control" of an original BSNF/UP train to operate it on its own trackage? Would it still be considered an NS train?

If it is an NS train, it's an NS train, pure and simple. It doesn't matter what the power is. That seems to be a common misconception, especially around STL where you get whole foreign power sets running on the UP. People like to say they saw an NS train or a CN train on the UP, but that is not the case. They are UP trains, they just have someone else's power.

It's not necessarily a matter of "taking control" of an original train from some other railroad, though that certainly is the case many times. As an example of that, here is a CSX train, it's on CSX, it has a CSX crew, it has a CSX train ID, it's a CSX train. I'm sure Ween has something ill and misguided to say about this picture. Let's see if he notices.

http://n691lf.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=96405

This one had all UP power, as Q687 usually does. This train is UP's QNPWXP into East Saint Louis. The UP crew leaves, a CSX crew gets on, and there you have it, it's Q687. The power usually turns and goes back to the UP. But let's say it doesn't. Let's say this set is needed in Nashville (I think that is where Q686 ends up these days) to take a train to Atlanta or something. Then the power gets split and goes elsewhere on the system. That would be a case where the foreign power you are seeing is not necessarily from a "taken over" train.

That is most likely the case with what you are seeing.

Where did this UP train's power come from originally?

http://n691lf.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=345164

Who knows. It probably came from different sources, different trains off the NS and CN, the power found itself together, and here it is. Specifics are hard to tell. Perhaps the CN unit came in with the NS units. Maybe the NS had it and just sent it to UP as if it were their own. None of this is out of the ordinary.

Ween
05-05-2006, 09:16 PM
I'm sure Ween has something ill to say about this picture. Let's see if he notices.

I noticed...and was going to say something if you didn't!

Alot of times too, it seems that railroads owe 'power payback' or something along those lines. If NS uses a bunch of BNSF units for whatever reason, I think NS goes into some sort of power per hour debt with BNSF.

Up here, either BNSF is getting paid back, or there will be some BNSF units on the NS when the need arises because there have been alot of NS units on BNSF trains. Here's a couple solid NS lashups I've seen:
[photoid=131369]
[photoid=142350]

davideglasgow
05-05-2006, 09:19 PM
Very good explanation. Thanks! It seemed logical, but on the other hand, it seems strange that a company would allow a multi-million dollar locomotive to end up in the hands of a competitor. I guess from a logistical point of view, it's worth the risk. I just seems counter-intuitive! :smile:

davideglasgow
05-05-2006, 09:23 PM
It's actually pretty predictable here in Elkhart on the NS. If it's an eastbound coal train, will have BNSF power, and more than not, be EMD. Of course, CP has trackage rights through Elkhart, so we see a lot of authentic CP trains. You can always tell them by their bright orange reflective vests during crew changes!

4kV
05-05-2006, 09:24 PM
Up here, either BNSF is getting paid back, or there will be some BNSF units on the NS when the need arises because there have been alot of NS units on BNSF trains.

It's likely there already are BNSF units all over the NS. It works more in trade than it does "you use mine for a while, I'll pay you back next week." Certainly if an imbalance ever arises, the bean counters will see that things are paid back. There are probably just as many solid sets of NS power going to the BNSF as there are BNSF units going to the NS at any given time.

In keeping with this thread, here is what happens when BNSF units on the NS get interchanged to the UP. It's a UP train that has BNSF power from the NS.

http://n691lf.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=89473

Here's a UP train with four engines, none of which are UP's. I imagine the first two came from CSX at some time right before this picture was taken.

http://n691lf.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=87566

4kV
05-05-2006, 09:27 PM
Very good explanation. Thanks! It seemed logical, but on the other hand, it seems strange that a company would allow a multi-million dollar locomotive to end up in the hands of a competitor. I guess from a logistical point of view, it's worth the risk. I just seems counter-intuitive! :smile:

But.... that multimillion dollar hunk of metal on someone else's railroad is likely replaced by one from their fleet on your property. Logistics is the other reason. This isn't 1950 anymore. Every railroad had their own yard at one time, and trains weren't given whole to another railroad, at least not in common practice. There were more transfers from one RR to another. That meant that cars coming from another line were put together at your yard, and you originated a train with your own power once that was completed.

If you see an NS train with BNSF power coming through Elkhart, think of it this way. Would NS want to keep power staged in Chicago waiting on that train to show up? Then what does BNSF do with the power while the train is off east? If the power stays with the train, it is being employed at maximum efficiency given the situation. A lot of times, these interchanges don't take place at a terminal anyway. It may be a track near a yard, or sometimes, it's just a simple interchange track in the middle of Illinois, as is the case with some trains coming onto and going off the UP to and from CSX and CN. The foreign road's crews operate out of a UP facility and take the train on UP tracks to that interchange, then continue on their merry way to their own terminal.

J
05-06-2006, 03:04 AM
Roads keep track of unit exchanges by keeping track of horsepower hours. An SD40-2 generates 72,000 horsepower-hours a day. (3000 hp X 24 hours) An AC44 generates 105600. In my power bureau days, if a horsepower "deficit" climbed beyond a certain amount the railroad had an agreement to settle the amount in cash. We watched the figure carefully and if we got close, pushed locomotives onto the connecting road to work some of the hours off. This is why a "foreign" unit might spend a considerable amount of time on someone else's road.