Unit Trains - engine assignments

SCENARIO: A unit train appears onto a layout from hidden staging. It's
being hauled by a three engine consist of roadnames foreign to the
layout. The train yard which hosts hidden staging arrivals is a large
interchange whose purpose is to accept individual cars from distant
railroads/locations and then redistribute these cars throughout the layout.
QUESTION: Would the host railroad also assume the responsibility of
assembling its own three engine consist and then haul the unit train to
its final location as it does with individual freight cars via the yard
ladder?
Thanks!
Matt
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
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Matt,
It depends. Now days, most unit trains just keep the engines the have for the entire run. Most railroads have multi-channel radio's so they just dial in the home radio channel and keep moving. If the delivering line is not contributing to the pool of engines, they will be charged for the use of those engines while they are 'off-line'. Back in the 70's, the Milw and BN jointly operated a coal train to the Wisconsin Electic power plant. The run from St Paul to the power plant was made on the Milw. The lion's part of the move was on the BN from Wyoming/Montana to St Paul. The coal hoppers were owned by the power company, but Milw bought 2 wide vision cabooses and 4 U30C engines built to BN specs. These were assigned to the coal train. Some days you would see 4 BN U30C's, some days there would be a 2/2 mix of BN/Milw U30C's. Same for the caboose on the end of the trains. That 'mix' equalized' the ownership of what equipment was needed to operate the train.
Jim Bernier
Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:
Reply to
Jim Bernier
=>SCENARIO: A unit train appears onto a layout from hidden staging. It's =>being hauled by a three engine consist of roadnames foreign to the =>layout. The train yard which hosts hidden staging arrivals is a large =>interchange whose purpose is to accept individual cars from distant =>railroads/locations and then redistribute these cars throughout the layout. => =>QUESTION: Would the host railroad also assume the responsibility of =>assembling its own three engine consist and then haul the unit train to =>its final location as it does with individual freight cars via the yard =>ladder? => =>Thanks! =>Matt
If the two railroads have a run-though agreements, only a crew change and necessary servicing (such refuelling) will be done. O'wise, there will be engine changes, too.
Wolf Kirchmeir ................................. If you didn't want to go to Chicago, why did you get on this train? (Garrison Keillor)
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
Depends upon the era. In the '70s the railroads started using other road locos for the consists although those locos spent as little time on the foreign road as possible. In addition, there was often a home road loco attached to provide the road standard cab to the consist for the engineer. Before that time, the locos were generally only run on the home road to a transfer yard and the returned light to the home road of the loco.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
M&KB> SCENARIO: A unit train appears onto a layout from hidden staging. It's M&KB> being hauled by a three engine consist of roadnames foreign to the M&KB> layout. The train yard which hosts hidden staging arrivals is a large M&KB> interchange whose purpose is to accept individual cars from distant M&KB> railroads/locations and then redistribute these cars throughout the layout. M&KB> M&KB> QUESTION: Would the host railroad also assume the responsibility of M&KB> assembling its own three engine consist and then haul the unit train to M&KB> its final location as it does with individual freight cars via the yard M&KB> ladder?
Yes and No.
It could be a 'run through' train -- the crew changes, but NOT the engines. The 'local' crew (supplied by the host railroad) takes over the 'foreign' engines and operates it over the host railroad.
(This is how such strange things like UP engines end up in places like New England or CSX engines end up in California.)
In the case of your model RR, I expect what is going to happen is you have another staging yard for some other foreign RR which is accepting the unit train. In this case the train, complete with foreign power, just 'passes' through your layout from one staging yard to another. Then passes back hauling a unit train of empties (not always the same cars, but since coal gons tend to get real grimy, it is really hard to tell...).
If the unit train is being delivered ON your model RR, the engines themselves might get 'confiscated' for some other train heading (more or less) back to the yard that interchanges with the RR they came from. At some point a unit train of empties will get hauled (with your host RR's engines) off into the staging yard and 'vanish' from your layout for awhile and the foreign engines will be around for a while (same while)... Basically, your RR is paying for the use of a foreign RR's engines by trading an equal number of its own engines. Eventually, another unit train arrives with *your* engines and eventually, you send off a string of empties with the foreign engines heads off into the staging yard. This all happens for much the same reason rolling stock (from foreign RRs) in general ends up on your RR: it is more cost effective to use your resources *productively* rather than spending time, effort, manpower, and fuel moving non-productive cars (empties) and/or making 'light engine moves' -- eg if the engines are going that way, they might as well haul some cars while they are about it.
M&KB> M&KB> Thanks! M&KB> Matt M&KB> M&KB>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu
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Reply to
Robert Heller
Could be. These days, a lot of times the same locos hang on for the entire trip. Though there are times where they might put a different loco on the front if they need special equipment (cab signals, fer instance!).
Kennedy
Reply to
Kennedy (no longer not on The Haggis!)
Thanks everyone.
Part II to this scenario [an over simplified description]:
I am planning a railroad that has the UP on one side of the room [inner edge], the BN on the other side of the room [inner edge], and the Santa Fe circling the entire room as the main line [outer loop]. The ATSF services specific locations on its outer loop since its tracks are elevated above the UP and the BN for a large % of the layout. In essence, the UP and the BN are branchlines that run on the inner edge of the layout. The UP and the BN each exchange cars with the Santa Fe as both the UP and the BN have a large interchange yard for this purpose.
I want assemble a long unit train of covered hoppers. They'll arrive onto the layout as described in the first scenario [from hidden staging]. This entire unit train will head directly to the upper level to service a major business on the Santa Fe tracks.
My idea is to break this unit train into two smaller trains once it has reached its initial destination. These two smaller trains would then be brought to the UP and BN interchanges. Once there, UP and BN engines would haul these smaller trains to businesses along their branchline route. In the end, all of these covered hopper cars from the initial, large unit train would be collected and reassembled at the arrival yard, and this long unit train would then head off into the hidden staging area.
Question: Given the competitive nature of the UP and the ATSF, might it be a better choice to use a 'nuetral roadname' for this unit train? I am thinking that a nuetral roadname would be more easily accepted [visually] behind UP, BN, and ATSF engines.
Thanks! Matt
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
M&KB> Thanks everyone. M&KB> M&KB> Part II to this scenario [an over simplified description]: M&KB> M&KB> I am planning a railroad that has the UP on one side of the room [inner M&KB> edge], the BN on the other side of the room [inner edge], and the Santa M&KB> Fe circling the entire room as the main line [outer loop]. The ATSF M&KB> services specific locations on its outer loop since its tracks are M&KB> elevated above the UP and the BN for a large % of the layout. In M&KB> essence, the UP and the BN are branchlines that run on the inner edge of M&KB> the layout. The UP and the BN each exchange cars with the Santa Fe as M&KB> both the UP and the BN have a large interchange yard for this purpose. M&KB> M&KB> I want assemble a long unit train of covered hoppers. They'll arrive M&KB> onto the layout as described in the first scenario [from hidden M&KB> staging]. This entire unit train will head directly to the upper level M&KB> to service a major business on the Santa Fe tracks. M&KB> M&KB> My idea is to break this unit train into two smaller trains once it has M&KB> reached its initial destination. These two smaller trains would then be M&KB> brought to the UP and BN interchanges. Once there, UP and BN engines M&KB> would haul these smaller trains to businesses along their branchline M&KB> route. In the end, all of these covered hopper cars from the initial, M&KB> large unit train would be collected and reassembled at the arrival yard, M&KB> and this long unit train would then head off into the hidden staging area.
Generally, unit trains serve a single customer pair: a coal mine power plant for example. Unit trains don't get broken up. A 'normal' train has a waybill for each car, while a unit train has a single waybill for the whole train.
M&KB> M&KB> Question: Given the competitive nature of the UP and the ATSF, might it M&KB> be a better choice to use a 'nuetral roadname' for this unit train? I am M&KB> thinking that a nuetral roadname would be more easily accepted M&KB> [visually] behind UP, BN, and ATSF engines.
Often the cars for unit trains are owned by the either the shipper or consignee. Eg the coal hoppers for a unit coal train would be owned by the coal mine or the power plant, not by any of the RRs involved in hauling it.
Note that although I have mentioned coal unit trains (they are most common), other sorts of unit trains exist, just as the 'Juice Train' from Florida to the Northeast, hauling citrus fruit/juices. Pretty much the same sorts of things happen.
M&KB> M&KB> Thanks! M&KB> Matt M&KB> M&KB> > M&KB> > M&KB> M&KB>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu
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Reply to
Robert Heller
Grain trains are very common. And I even have a video that showed a unit tank train. Out west somewhere...I don't recall at the moment.
There are also unit box car trains...although not as common as they used to be. Certain auto parts trains are still built that way.
Reply to
Slingblade
Matt, I think I understand your question. If you are asking, would a unit train have engines detached and replaced by the home railroad's engines, then the answer would usually be NO.
Railroads have worked out many agreements on run through trains. I work for NS, and we have UP coal trains come through all the time, with UP engines both on the head end and remote control pushers. Most of our grain trains originate on our own system, or are built in yards up north then pulled by our own power. However, if NS power isn't available, for a unit train, road train or local...they'll use whatever is available.
As a matter of fact, deadheaded back yesterday morning, after taking an intermodal train from Atlanta to Columbia, SC which used two BNSF engines, both were former Red and Silver Warbonnet paint schemes. They were probably engines NS leased from the BNSF, but could have been some kind of run through engines that were being used due to shortage of engines. I think the latter is unlikely since the engine terminal was jam packed with various road name's engines at the time however.
Reply to
Slingblade
If you want to be prototypical, then believe me...you can pretty much hook up any road name to any road name and it will be so. I work out of Atlanta, and NS's Inman yard is right next to CSX's Tilford yard. But both roads typically have the other's engines on their own territory. It's not unusual at all. Plus we see tons of UP, BNSF, KCS and all sorts of other roads. In fact, I saw a Montana Rail Link engine in the engine terminal last week. There are also scads of lease companies engines, most of them don't have a "Name" on the engine just some kind of reporting marks. I wouldn't worry about using a neutral railroad, unless you just want to.
Oh, and by the way. You mentioned something that I figured I'd comment on. Sometimes we have unit grain trains come down from Chattanooga with half the train going to one mill and the other half to the other. Many times, these mills are not on the same route, and belong to different divisions out of Atlanta. Often, they'll have 4 big engines (say 4 Dash-8's or 9's, or big SD's) on say a 100 car train. When they arrive, they'll often cut off the rear 50 cars in one track and shove the other 50 in another track. Sometimes a couple of the engines are left with the second shove, and the other two might double back to the original track, or in some cases, all the engines go to the shop to be reassigned to another train. Then when the respective crews go on duty, they go to the shop and get a set of engines (two or three engines. Might be 4 axles, might be 6's or even a mix), then they double back out to whichever track belongs to them, and go on their merry way. Usually if a graintrain comes in for one specific territory, they rarely ever remove the engines. Sometimes you might have a half and half train that goes the same route, and that same crew will set off 50 at one place and take 50 to the final destination. Mind you...the train can be longer than 100 cars. Say you might have 54 cars for one mill and 75 for another, or something of that nature...but you get the picture.
Reply to
Slingblade
If I'm not mistaken, Canadian National has a unit tank train in service for Ultramar (eastern can.) It's interesting because all the cars are connected with articulated pipes for loading. I think someone even has an HO model. _________________________________ Andrew Bunn Ainsley Specialized Transport bunn snipped-for-privacy@ns.sympatico.NOSPAMMERS.ca Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Reply to
Ainsley Specialized Transport
Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote: (whacked up an rearranged).
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...
Generally No. The interchange of freight is what make all the companies work well. This would be a perfectly normal situation. The freight arrives from somewhere off layout via the Santa Fe who then classify, divide, and deliver it accordingly. Doesn't matter if the destination is local or to an interchange of a railroad that does service that destination. The "competition" is usually settled by the freight agents making up contracts long before the railroad puts those contracts into operation.
Also I still don't quite understand. Do all three railroads UP, BN, SF have access to the staging yard?
I know it is a technically and we know what you mean, but by definition a "unit train" is never broken up. It is treated by the railroad as if it were only one car. They are not even broken up while loading and unloading (hence the "rotary" couplers on the hoppers).
Reply to
SleuthRaptorman
Has this poor lost soul found its way home yet? *8->
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Paul
Reply to
Paul Newhouse
Fantastic! Thanks Everyone!
Your input opens the door for a variety of options in train car acquisition, engine assignments, industry development on the layout, and operations. I like the idea of a random freight car mix [a few low priority freight trains] and a few specialty trains with 'names' that assume a higher priority, perhaps.
Reply to
Matt Brennan

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