Tag Archives: #DPU

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.

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A Rolling Meet, a DPU and Sun at Highway F, Byron, Wisconsin.


With some pavement passing beneath us in spirited run on the ascent to Byron, Brian Schmidt and I arrived at the Highway F overpass near the summit of Canadian National’s Wisconsin Central line over Byron Hill in time to record the passage of a northward double stack train meeting a southward freight.

I’ve featured both trains previously on Tracking the Light:

Byron Hill, Lost Arrow Road—Old location Revisited in January 2019.

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2019/01/25/byron-hill-lost-arrow-road-old-location-revisited-in-january-2019/

Canadian National Kicks Up Snow at Ackerville.

For this post: as the northward train glided below me, I was watching for the DPU (the locomotive working as a ‘distributed power unit’, 1990s-speak for a ‘radio controlled remotely operated helper). I timed my exposure to document its passage as the uphill train approached.

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