Autos East with Mid-Train Locomotives: CSX Q264 at CP79—3 Digital Photos.


In recent months CSX has adopted the practice of using distributed power on the former Boston & Albany.

Distributed power is essentially the application of radio-remote controlled locomotives positioned deep in a freight train and/or at its end to reduce drawbar stress and improve starting and braking characteristics with very long/heavy trains.

The concept dates to the 1960s, but much improved radio-controlled remote technology was introduced by GE-Harris in the 1990s where it has become standard operating practice, and the remote locomotives being known as distributed power units (DPUs)

Still, to me it seems like a novelty on the Boston & Albany route.

Yesterday (May 23, 2019), I made my first photographs of a CSX train with a DPU working east of Palmer.

Mike Gardner and I caught Q-264 (the loaded autorack train destined to East Brookfield) from the field of Route 67 near CP79.

By B&A standards, this was an enormous train for just two modern GE diesels.

I exposed these photographs using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens.

Head-end of CSX Q264 east of Palmer, Massachusetts.
Autoracks on the roll.
Mid-train DPU working hard on the grade up to Warren.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

4 thoughts on “Autos East with Mid-Train Locomotives: CSX Q264 at CP79—3 Digital Photos.”

  1. BNSF and UP running DP on coal forever headend and pusher.
    No it’s not just putting two freight trains together. From a Yardmaster’s viewpoint it is a nightmare getting a locomotive into the middle of a train, then linking, air testing the brakes etc… Same issue yarding inbound and removing DP. Not like you can hump a locomotive. IMHO retired 40 year BNSF Yardmaster.

  2. Isn’t distributed power really 2 normal-sized trains coupled together to save labor costs?

    And out in the Berkshires either train could still have break-aparts.

  3. Nice shots, Brian.

    Last year CSX said it planned to double its use of distributed power this year, up from the 30 or so daily trains scheduled to run with DP.

    They’ve exceeded that goal. CEO Jim Foote said last week that CSX was now running more than 100 trains per day with distributed power.

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