How Do You Operate A Diesel Locomotive?

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This article will give you a basic rundown of the controls on a modern diesel-electric locomotive and how to operate them. This article is based on locomotives built by EMD (General Motors Electro-Motive Division) but the controls are similar on most diesel locomotives. Find a place where you can operate a locomotive. Several museums and a few NRHS chapters across the United States offer the ability to operate locomotives. Locate and become familiar with the basic controls. The first is the throttle. On an EMD locomotive, it is usually the middle control handle, below the dynamic brake handle and above the reverser handle. There are eight positions, called 'notches', on the throttle, in addition to the Idle position. The higher the number on the throttle, the faster the locomotive will travel. Next is the reverser. This is the small handle that is lowest on the control stand. There are three positions, Forward, Neutral, and Reverse. While the reverser is set to Neutral (the middle ... more
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