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iCe
08-25-2003, 10:14 PM
In most countries (and even in the USA with the Acela Express), the locomotive and the train cars are the same height. However in North America (I'm referring to the very common GE Genesis Locomotives) the locs are significantly taller than the cars. Why is that? Are the cars shorter than Acela Express cars, or are the GE Genesis Locs taller than the Acela Loc?

And if it is the Genesis Loc being taller (which I suspect) then why? Why didn't they make them the same height as everything else? Also, are the Genesis locomotives as tall as a double-decker railway car?

Well, if you have the actual heights for comparison, please share them, that would help. I looked around a bit on the internet, couldn't get much information.

Guilford350
08-26-2003, 12:52 AM
Good questions. The Acela Express is considered as a trainset, and all of the cars are the same height as the locomotive because it was desinged for aerodynamics and speed. Also, since the Acela travels at high rates of speed, you wouldn't want a tall locomotive or car because they have higher center of gravity. If you compared the height of the Acela to a Genesis, the Genesis would be much taller. Genesis locomotives are 14 feet, six inches in height. They wouldn't be able to take turns at 90Mph like the Acela does. I suspect the reason why the Genesis locomotives aren't the same height as everything else is beacuse everthing else is either shorter or taller than the Genesis. The double-decker passenger cars are taller than the Genesis locomotives. Hope that helps.

iCe
08-26-2003, 02:57 AM
Thanks for the answer, but why didn't they design the Genesis less tall? I mean it wouldn't hurt to be more aerodynamic, would it?

Guilford350
08-26-2003, 01:27 PM
Thanks for the answer, but why didn't they design the Genesis less tall? I mean it wouldn't hurt to be more aerodynamic, would it?
The Genesis is a full size locomotive and don't forget that it's a diesel locomotive so it needs room for the engine and altenator and things like that. It probably wouldn't hurt to be more aerodynamic but that means you would have to change the shape of the locomotive in some way.

petertenthije
08-27-2003, 10:06 PM
I don't think the main reason for the larger size of locomotives is because they are diesel. In Europe we also got some diesel locomotives that are still smaller when compared to US locomotices.

http://www.railpictures.net/images/l/loc6496.jpg.41251.thumb
Click Here (http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=27697) to view this pic full size!

http://www.railpictures.net/images/6/66204270300.jpg.93553.thumb
Click Here (http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=28315) to view this pic full size!

There are two main reasons I think:

the loads the US locomotives pull are heavier. In Europe freight trains are very much the minority. In the US the opposite is true, passenger trains tend to be the minority. Therefore the Acela is smaller, it can do with hauling less weight. Another big advantage of the Acela, and other European trains, is that they are electric. This is lighter because there is no need for diesel and other equipment.

Another point is that US trains travel longer distances. Most European freight trains (and even some passenger trains) still have to change locomotive when crossing the borders. Each national railway has its own signalling, electric current etc. There are plans for a standardised freight network covering Europe simlar to the high speed rail network being build, but that is very much a long term goal.

At the moment only the newer trains (ICE, TGV, Thalys, Eurostar etc) can drive on 2 or more national tracks. Take for instance the ICE-3, in the pic you can see that the it has more than one power tap (or whatever it is called)

http://www.railpictures.net/images/i/ice3.JPG.85995.thumb
Click Here (http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=23709) to view this pic full size!

Of course this problem can be bypassed by using diesel locomotives. But since there is a very dense electric network in Europe it is used more often. It is cheaper to use, more environmentally friendly (remember, I am talking about Europe, we are bordering at lunacy when it comes to the environment), interchangable with passenger trains etc. Another point is that on some vital routes diesel trains aren't allowed. For instance the tunnels linking Italy with France and Switzerland and the Eurotunnel linking the UK with continental europe. Therefore for these routes the rail companies could not go diesel even if they wanted to!

The US probably could have made their locomotives longer and less tall, thus having the same volume. But why bother? Because of the nature of the load, high weight freight, speed was not the most important concern. Traction (sp?) is!
In Europe speed is of a larger concern because passengers can complain. Since the weight is lower, traction is less vital. Therefore European trains tend to be aerodynamic were US trains are not.

iCe
08-27-2003, 10:53 PM
Argh...you are reminding me of my years in Europe...

When I lived six years in Germany, I was on every single one of their trains at least 10 times... ICE, IC, EC, IR, RE, RB, S, blah blah blah...and even small cities had stations with considerable amounts of rail traffic...and you were always allowed on the platforms, no questions asked...however, I never thought about taking pictures! damn!

Guilford350
08-28-2003, 01:25 AM
You brought out some good points there petertenthije. The trains that we have here in America (and Canada) are longer and heavier so we need more powerfull locomotives. Trains in America do travel a long distance and since they travel such long distances they need locomotives that can carry large amounts of fuel (another reason why diesel locomotives are big, the fuel tank).

That GM Class 66 locomotive in the picture, the paint scheme on it looks very similar to the Wisconsin Central paint scheme. I heard that there are railroads in England and Australia that are owned by Wisconsin Central, is this true?

petertenthije
08-28-2003, 06:33 PM
I don't know if the English train company is the same/owned by an American company. I am only interested in trains because I am a passenger. I like to compare material and stuff, but don't ask me for organizational charts or anything! :D

You might want to ask EGLL, he is from England and I believe he is also the person that made the pic.