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Showing posts from August, 2014

We can't change rule brakers so we'll punish people who follow rules

This week's post is based on some thoughts I've had after reading the TSB report on the Quebec rail disaster last year... I don't like to touch politics but the investigations and aftermaths have been very political events...

It's been over a year since the rail disaster in Quebec. The TSB investigation report is finally out and is publicly available on their website (if you do care to read, Google it, it's not linked here).

I didn't read it in great detail or try to analyze every little section. My intelligent reading stopped at the early part in the report where it stated that the locomotive engineman performed a handbrake effectiveness test with locomotive independent brakes applied. The rest of the report became a formality from there.
A simple Google search will yield some quite detailed information on freight train brake systems in North America. Briefly speaking, for a conventional freight train, there are 3 sets of brakes. Two of which are pneumatic, 1 …

DB Class 245

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Diesel electric locomotives are usually a rarity in Western Europe. The vast coverage of electrification usually means that only lines with the lightest of volumes can quench a railfan's diesel thirst.

This week I'll write about an introduction of a new type of such rare locomotives. It has taken some pretty radical new directions of design of a locomotive carrying its own prime mover. Although the Bombardier TRAXX DE locomotives aren't exactly new (diesel electric variants of the famous TRAXX), this is the first time I've heard of any single locomotive that carries so many diesel engines.



Now the model number for the DB Class 254 is TRAXX P160 DE ME. Quite a long one isn't it. We know what TRAXX and DE are. The rest isn't difficult to decipher. P160 for passenger 160 km/h, ME for multi-engine or multiple engines.

We've had a few twin-engined diesels to date. The most famous in our neck of the woods would probably be those legendary, slick, streamlined EMD …

NSW 90 Class / EMD GT46CWM

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All right, another week just flew by. Let me go back to an EMD again this Friday and write about this flavor of the SD70 locomotive, expertly crafted upside-down in London, Ontario, for the State of New South Wales in Australia.

Locally she's known as the 90 Class. To those of us from the Northern Hemisphere, she's called the GT46CWM (somehow people really like the number 46, it must mean something, I just can't figure out what). Well, actually, most of the locomotives of this class were built properly in London, except for the last 4 units, which were built by EDi in Upside-down Cardiff (to distinguish from The Cardiff). Bruce.


For Australia, the 90 Class is a heavy locomotive and only works in coal service in NSW. She weighs in at about 364 000 lbs. and pump out the standard 4 000 horsepower.

A railfan music video

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Argh I'm late again this week because I've lost track of time again. I haven't got anything nerdy to say this week. I was bumming around on YouTube and saw this music video made by some Japanese railfan on his channel. It's a composition of footages of trains running in and connecting to the Akita Shinkansen Komachi Service with some pop song in the background. Of course the lyrics are all in Japanese and I haven't got the slightest idea of what it's about. The name of the video, however, is Komachi Love Story.

Yeah pretty uncomfortable sounding name at first glance isn't it. I'm not sure if this is a mere cultural reference or maybe, hey, people's love for trains can reach substantial levels. Akita is a prefecture in northern Japan and home of (apparently, very) famous poet Ono no Komachi from way back in the days. It is said that she also happens to have been an exotic hottie. The word Komachi is synonymous with belles in the Japanese language. Ne…

EMD GP20C-Eco

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Oops I forgot to update this blog didn't I. Well, here's a little post about one of the newest members of the EMD family featuring the vastly successful 710 family of engines. Oh and by the way, if you don't know this already, traditionally EMD has named its engines by cylinder displacement (this doesn't apply to the metric H-engine), therefore 710 engines have 710 cubic inch displacement cylinders (yup, it's big enough for my head to fit into).

So far, Canadian Pacific is the only user of this little EMD (well, really Caterpillar now, but what the hell). The GP20C-Eco isn't built as an entirely new locomotive in the traditional sense. They are what's called re-manufactured locos. The buyer sends older generation GP locomotives to Caterpillar, depending on the specific model, certain parts are retained, and the rest are built from scratch. In CP's case, the GP20s used GP9 "cores", the trucks were rebuilt and reused, the rest completely new. Wi…