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How to Operate a Diesel Locomotive

*Disclaimer The following information is for entertainment purposes only. Do not try this on your own. It's against the law for unauthorized persons to move railroad equipment. You will face jail and/or a hefty fine.

For 150 years, trains and especially the engine have awed little boys and some little girls. The most fascinating is the engineer at the controls. From the smoke belching steam engine, to the modern computer controlled locomotives, the fascination with machines has not changed.

Operating a diesel locomotive is quite simple. Controlling an eight thousand ton train requires skill.

If engine is not running, start it. On the back wall of the locomotive is the isolation switch with two positions, isolate/start and run, switch it to start. Make sure the fuel pump switch located on the control stand is on. The engine start switch location varies with the age and type of locomotive. On older engines the start switch is either at the rear or front of the diesel engine depending on the manufacturer. On new locomotives the switch is inside the cab.

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Verify at least one hundred pounds of air pressure is available on the right hand gauge white needle.

Most cut-off valve to FRT position and move automatic brake handle to release.

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Move Dual Ported Cut Out Cock handle (usually found at the end of the control stand near the floor) from trail to lead position. Move independent brake handle to full service position.

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With the engine running, turn the isolation switch to the run position. Sit in the engineer's seat. Insert the reverser handle in the slot below the throttle. Find the generator field switch and flip it on. We're ready to go. Push the reverser to the forward position. Switch the bell on and give a small toot of the horn to warn and people close by. Move the throttle to number 1 position. Move the automatic brake to release. Release the independent brake. We should start moving. Use the independent brake to stop. Do not back up unless there is a ground person to protect the move. Always remember, safety first. Remember this is for information only, do not try this on your own.






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