UP powers-up real-life locomotives for the Holidays

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UP powers-up real-life locomotives for the Holidays

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From BLE website.

UP powers-up real-life locomotives for the Holidays
(Union Pacific issued the following news release on November 15.)

OMAHA, Neb. -- As the holiday season begins to rev up, so do millions of toy train sets circling just as many Christmas trees. Whether they're cherished hand-me-downs or just-opened gifts, the miniature trains take make-believe freight and passengers for rides extending as far as their engineers' imaginations.

As the "engineer" on your toy railroad, have you ever wondered what it would be like sitting in the cab of a 200-ton real-life locomotive? What it would be like to push the throttle forward and hear the powerful engine strain to pull a hundred rail cars down the track? Have you ever wondered how that locomotive works?

Toy trains and modern locomotives both need electricity to operate. For a toy train, it is as simple as plugging a transformer into an electric outlet and moving the "throttle" to supply electricity to the motor.

Powering a diesel-electric locomotive motor is a bit more complicated. Behind the engineer's cab is a 16-cylinder engine, as big as a mini-van, which burns diesel fuel. The locomotive engine produces up to 6,000 horsepower, enough to pull up to 6,000 tons of freight.

A shaft connects the engine to an electric generator, the size of a compact car. When the engine is running, the shaft turns the inner workings of the generator, creating electricity. The electricity moves through wires to electric motors driving the locomotive's axles and wheels.

Smaller locomotives that switch rail cars from one track to another in rail yards have four electric motors, while larger, high-speed locomotives used to pull freight trains from one city to the next have six.

Like the transformer connected to the track on a toy train set, the engineer's throttle has positions -- eight of them, with the last being "wide open," or top speed. Each position runs the diesel engine faster, which turns the electric generator more quickly and provides additional electricity to the motors. The more electricity fed to the motors, the faster the locomotive goes.

Also like a toy train transformer, a lever, or switch, determines the locomotive's direction. Located in the engineer's cab, the lever's three positions are forward, neutral and reverse.

Union Pacific Railroad's fleet of 7,800 locomotives, daily moves thousands of freight cars in rail yards and more than 2,500 trains across the company's 33,000-mile rail network. Just a couple of locomotives can pull more than 100 rail cars, filled with clothing, computers, lumber for homes, parts for automobiles and grain for bread.

Union Pacific has ordered 315 diesel-electric locomotives for 2005 delivery that are designed to significantly decrease air emissions and meet tougher emission standards. Currently, about 35 percent of UP's fleet is certified under existing regulations which govern air emissions. That gives Union Pacific the most environmentally friendly locomotive fleet in the nation.

So, whether it is several 200-ton locomotives pulling thousands of tons of consumer goods or a toy train locomotive pulling several toy railcars under a Christmas tree -- the locomotives are powered by electricity feeding electric motors.

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is the largest railroad in North America, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. A strong focus on quality and a strategically advantageous route structure enable the company to serve customers in critical and fast growing markets. It is a leading carrier of low-sulfur coal used in electrical power generation and has broad coverage of the large chemical-producing areas along the Gulf Coast. With competitive long-haul routes between all major West Coast ports and eastern gateways, and as the only railroad to serve all six major gateways to Mexico, Union Pacific has the premier rail franchise in North America.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004


They could have said model trains instead of toy trains. Toy trains sounds too childish.
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Unread post by ~Z~ »

i really thought somewhere in the article that it would state something about allowing kids to ride in the locos..did i miss that part or are they not doing that? plus, didn't think UP was into model trains, since they banned a number of model train producers from using the UP logo.
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