Talk:Diesel locomotive

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Incorrect Statement[edit]

Hi, I read the following statement in this article: "While the steam engine manufacturer Baldwin offered almost five hundred steam models in its heyday, EMD offered fewer than ten diesel varieties.[21]" This statement is simply untrue. Just from memory I was able to come up with 42 different EMD/GMD models, and there are considerably more than that listed on the List of "GM-EMD Models" Wikipedia page. If no one can justify this statement, I'm going to remove or modify it. I think what the author of the statement is trying to say is that there was far more standardization of diesel models than steam engine models, and this is true, although badly put. Most railway motive power departments had specific design criteria for steam engines, which made the production of standard steam engine models difficult. The builders had "generic catalogue steam engines", but most major railways insisted on a high level of customization, which precluded them buying standard models. GM-EMD resisted customization of orders as much as possible, to achieve economies of scale, but they had far more than 10 models.Resinguy (talk) 20:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Why Diesel-electric?[edit]

In the Diesel-electric section, I wanted to find what prompted the use of Diesel-electric but there is no mention of the advantages and disadvantages of the Diesel-electric system over any other. Why the railroads go through the added complexity of using two systems ought to be discussed in its section, but it is nowhere to be found. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


A recent edit by Peterh5322 claimed that Transition on modern locos was no longer required. I would have to disagree, as some form is still used to extend the mph range of even modern locos, especially for higher speed operation. Typically, EMD set generator transition at 50 mph. --Suckindiesel (talk) 13:27, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Structure of the chapter "History"[edit]

I think, the present structure of this chapter is not sustainable. In all periods engineers inside and outside USA learned from each other. One of the countries with a high split of diesel traction is UK, and British wiki-users primarily use as well as US-Americans do. Therefore the chapter "History" should have one main thread for the general history. If necessary, there may be additional sections for single countries.--Ulamm (talk) 00:56, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Practice in Northern America[edit]

"Current North American practice is for four axles for high-speed passenger or "time" freight, or for six axles for lower-speed or "manifest" freight.": The above statement in the paper was correct in the 80s when, for example, Santa Fe operated their intermodal trains with GP60; however, it is obsolete now as locos with for axles are built only for passenger service (eg. GE Genesis) and as switchers; any other modern locos for freight service have six axles (EMD SD70ACe, GE ES44, etc.).

Therefore, I propose to delete this statement. (talk) 11:13, 5 April 2013 (UTC)dms


Although pollution from steam locomotives is certainly more visible than pollution from diesel locomotives, that doesn't mean pollution from diesels is less hazardous. For one thing, soot from steam locos has far larger particles and is therefore less likely to enter someone's lungs than soot from diesels, which may also produce more nitrogen oxide. It will largely depend on sulphur oxide emissions, which depend on fuel quality. I think we need a citation (if anyone has ever done serious research into this). PiusImpavidus (talk) 17:05, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Steam locos not only emit soot, their sulphur emissions are also a major factor – especially somewhere with poor coal. This was widely cited during the 1950s, the main period of dieselisation, as a big advantages for them, apart from their other better-known advantages. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:33, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
True, especially using poor coal. I mentioned that point above. I'm not saying steam locos are clean, but diesel exhaust fumes may be more toxic. I'm mostly questioning the word considerably. Not that it's such an important point... Where I live the largest pollution problem is fine dust from diesel exhausts, mostly from road transportation, and most (heritage) steam railways I know use low-sulphur coal. Railways are mostly electric and have been so since the 1950s. I may be a bit biased. Rephrasing a few sentences may be the best fix. PiusImpavidus (talk) 14:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Environmental Impact Section[edit]

In this section it says, "Residents of several neighborhoods are most likely exposed to diesel emissions at levels several times higher than the national average for urban areas." The use of terms like 'most likely' are what Wikipedia used to call 'weasel words.' They talk about 'possibilities' and 'maybes,' not facts. Just because someone found a source filled with weasel words doesn't mean it should be quoted in what should be a fact based Encyclopedia. Even stranger, this section is talking about pollution levels which are measurable, and have been for half a century- either they have been measured or they haven't. If they have been measured it should be stated as such. If they haven't this is no place for conjecture.

2602:306:3A95:22D9:CDB5:36DE:B865:E8F6 (talk) 05:22, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Unreliable source ?[edit]

  • Doherty, J.M. (1962), Diesel Locomotive Practice, Odhams Press 

From this was made the claim for the first diesel (1896) - an earlier work "Evolution of the Internal Combustion Locomotive" was criticised in Railway Gazette International 104: 255, April 27 1956, He omits the first oil-engined locomotive (Priestman's), which worked in the Hull docks in the 1890s. He does not mention the first American designs with Junkers-type engines ..  Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help) - I don't know if these criticisms are fair, but many more are made in the text - stating that the author has an innacurate view of the history.

The Priestman locomotive is well documented elsewhere - including a report by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin prepared for the company - a UK history can be found in "The British internal-combustion locomotive: 1894-1940" by Brian Webb.

eg Diesel Railway Traction (Railway Gazette) 17: 25, 1963, In one sense a dock authority was the earliest user of an oil-engined locomotive, for it was at the Hull docks of the North Eastern Railway that the Priestman locomotive put in its short period of service in 1894  Missing or empty |title= (help)

also more generally in "Real Steel: An Illustrated History of the World's Greatest Trains", Colin Dennis Garratt

I don't know if the work mentioned is innacurate, or just missing info... (talk) 15:32, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Speed record statement[edit]

Are there any reliable and independent sources for that statement?

As of right now, the accepted record is the British Class 43 HST at 148 mph, the wiki page Land speed record for rail vehicles states the following about the TEP80: "Claimed,[29] but no verification from an independent witness[30]", citing a Russian newspaper article dating from 20 years after the event, and a video of the presumed record.

Given those circumstances, I believe we should revert to the verified facts (what this is supposed to be, an Encylopeadia), rather than, at the moment, unsourced speculations. (talk) 20:25, 9 April 2016 (UTC)