DPU trains (was Re: Thunder on Blue Ridge)
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jan 17 19:19:53 EST 2011
DPU unit trains were created to run on long haul applications, where the train runs through multiple terrain types. BNSF and NS run the Ga. Power coal train to Plant Schrer in Macon, Ga., using DPU set-up with two AC motors on the point and one one the rear from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. The lead unit has to have the appropriate electronics to do so. A DPU set-up typically runs from the mine to the power plant and return. On double stack trains, they are using DPU to increase train length and speed simultaneously between specific terminals where if tonnage and length reach a certain "critical mass", they would need multiple sets of manned pushers to reach the intended destination.
NS used this modern technology on power plant trains from the Pokey to plants in Virginia and the Carolinas before expanding its use. One of the first non-coal train uses on NS was 172/173, a through freight from Birmingham, AL to Linwood, NC. Typically this train would come through Atlanta with 2-3 Hi-ad GE's on the point (a 9200 series leading) and two more ~2/3 of the way back with another 9200 series unit leading ththe DPU consist.
NS had Dash 9's retro-fitted with the hardware (9200 series) and then later Dash 9's and GEVO's can equipped from the factory.
Southern was an innovator of this technology with their cracker boxes that were originally built from B units and then from both 40' and 50' boxcars. DPUs and radio controlled units can be used either mid-train or on the end of the train. Southern used mid-train because of the loss of signal over certain distances. Nowadays technology has increased this capacity in order to run DPU trains over 9,000' in length with a DPU set-up on the rear end.
Manned pushers are location specific, Welch to Bluefield, Elmore to Kellysville, Starkey Hill, etc. They won't go away as train length and tonnage on manifests and other non-unit trains vary from train to train.
Mechanically it doesn't make sense to run a DPU'd train from say Williamson to Sandusky. It does to run DPU from Williamson to Roanoke or Norfolk if going via Lynchburg.
If I recall the length correctly UP ran a double stack train with mid-train and end of train DPU units from LA to Ft. Worth/Dallas that approached 22,000'. It was well covered on Trainorders.com.
> Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:46:29 -0500
> To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
> Subject: Re: DPU trains (was Re: Thunder on Blue Ridge)
> From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
> As Joe stated, they have been running DPU trains. However I doubt DPU
> will be the end of the Pusher (DPU=Unmanned Pusher=Manned). There are
> enough trains that only need a Push to Bluefield that I think the Pusher
> will be hanging around awhile. Trains also get Pushed from Whitethorne
> to around North Fork on VGN.
> Nathan Simmons
> trainman51 at gmail.com
> On 1/17/2011 16:36, NW Mailing List wrote:
> > For a time in the 80's the N&W run coal trains from Bluefield to
> > roanoke and maybe beyond using the southern radio cars (tin cans)
> > in midtrain service untill they were brought up to speed in regards to
> > VA law that no unmanned units were to be run.
> > My field trip obersvations all pushers were had crews, in the 70's and
> > the 80's this was A 3 man crew just forthe pusher!! Recent trips show
> > that only one person is in the pusher.
> > If they do start using DPU's it will take all of the fun of watching
> > the crews sync up and get that big ole coal train rolling. I did miss
> > the steam era but it had to be something to see the rolling thunder of
> > the Y's working an unhill train
> > Mike ritschdorff
> > > To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
> > > Subject: DPU trains (was Re: Thunder on Blue Ridge)
> > > Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 13:49:26 -0500
> > > From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
> > >
> > >
> > > > About 6:30 AM stack train 202 went east through Jonesborough TN today
> > > > with a DPU pushing on the rear.
> > >
> > > 202 and 23G both just came through Christiansburg within the last hour.
> > > 202 did not have DPU, but 23G did.
> > >
> > > As for DPUs being illegal in WV, NS has been running DPU coal trains out
> > > on the Pocahontas Division for the last couple years, so I guess not.
> > >
> > > Joe Shaw
> > > Christiansburg, VA
> > > http://www.krunk.org/
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