Ha Ha . . . Yup . . .
we got trollets in Anchorage, don't you have 'em in Winnipeg?
I would love to see an Box Cab Electric humping over the mountains heading west to Seattle (Milwaukee Road, 20s,30s,40s) pulling the Olympia Hiawatha again. But, alas, aside from the GM
/Standard Oil issue, the catenary was simply too expensive to maintain. (But electric locomotive survived, in mass, well into the 1980s (PA GG1s, AEM7 for example), and still run regularly on the NE Corridor. So, the steam engine and eventually, the diesel locomotive took over. If you look at the Horsepower and Tractive effort of the electric GG1 and one of today's EMD SD70MACs you'll see them on par. Early diesel engine, just like early electrics (and early steam) didn't have the horses or the pull initially . . . it took time to develop.
I think America (and Canada as well) need a substantial rail network. I remember the days when "The Canadien" went coast to coast, daily. In 1968 I rode the train East to West, I remember the big selling point for me, as I was 9 years old then, that train had a "Kiddie Car".
Personally, I'm all for subsidizing Amtrak, for many reasons, but primarily out of personal pleasure. I enjoy riding the train.
Dieselization impaired trains ability to compete with cars and trucks for both passengers and freight. This left the U.S. with a third-rate railway system
I don't necessarily agree that dieselization impaired trains ability . . . in fact, I think it enhanced it. Look at some of the advertising from the mid 40s/early 50s "Diesel Streamliner Vista Dome North Coast Limited" (Northern Pacific, Chicago to Seattle/Portland). Folks rode that train just to get pulled by a diesel (initially a FP3, then FP7 usually in an A-B-B-A configuration). Competing on the same route "The Superdome Empire Builder", Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q). Big silver E3s, then E8s on the lead.
Diesel engines allowed for longer trains hauling more tonnage. They were far easier to maintain and weighed much less than steam. They were more expensive to operate than an electric (fuel and consumables), but not prone to breakdown as often nor loss of current if the catenary was down. Often, electrics operated as single units. If the unit went down the train was stranded. Diesel units, initially, rarely, if ever, operated as a single unit so if one unit went down the train still had heat, light, and could move slowly to the next stop.
But, now I'm babbling.
Regardless - would love to see a rail network in the states and Canada like the one in Europe.
Tell me about your trollets there in Winnipeg
[Edited 2005-02-03 05:16:30]
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