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NS vs CSX operational difference

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NS vs CSX operational difference

Postby James » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:19 am

There's a Norfolk Southern line that runs through the little village I live in. Occasionally CSX runs a train on this line, too. Many of the trains carry coal. I've noticed that the two roads set their coal trains up differently.

NS puts all the locomotives at the head end, usually either 2 or 3 units.

The CSX trains typically put one locomotive on each end.

Why the difference? Is this because of NS using DC traction vs CSX's using AC, or due to some other reason (maybe just operator preference)? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks in advance.

Oh, the CSX trains are louder on the horns, too, especially at night. I can usually tell when a CSX train is coming for that reason.
James
 
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Re: NS vs CSX operational difference

Postby John Coker » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:35 pm

The CSX, the BNSF and UP like to have rear units pushing. They are radio controlled from the front cab(automatically dialed into the front throttle's computer), in most cases, the idea is to keep a long train's slack as bunched up as possible, cutting down on broken couplers and drawbars. Also, if the train has to back into a siding or spur, having power on the back can make it far easier and safer to do so.

The NS is an "old school" operation, inheriting the Southern Ry's very conservative mentality about a lot of aspects of railroading. Having all the power up front is not a terrible idea. A good engineer who knows the district he or she is running on can control slack a variety of ways. Also, if the rear pusher unit has problems with radio reception or power failure, a break-in-two is a strong possibility.

The CSX has had a long reputation of striving to be a modern, dynamic road ever since Robert Young combined the C&O and B&O under his management in the late 1940s. Despite almost opposite points-of-view on management both the CSX and NS are very healthy and successful roads.

I worked a short time on the BNSF(could not take the hours). We were running 6000 foot trains(@125 cars). They were the most skilled engineers I ever saw. I will always have deep respect for them.
John Coker
 
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Re: NS vs CSX operational difference

Postby James » Sun May 08, 2016 3:18 pm

Update: As of the past year or so, NS is now running a rear locomotive on most of its medium-long freights that go through here. Earlier post was almost six years ago so I suppose things change! My understanding is NS has gone through some management changes; perhaps that had some influence on operation.
James
 
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:00 am


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