American freight railroading is like nothing in the world. The sheer amount of tonnage carried, the length of trains, power of the engines, it’s all something to behold. Mountain railroading is the epiphany of this. Freight trains struggle to climb grades higher then 1.6% due to the sheer weight being carried, thus calling for pusher power. Not all trains require this, because the ability of the engines to pull the train up the grade is enough. When it’s not, then additional power is added on.
Here are two of my favorite mountain railroading videos, one from each of the Eastern United States Class 1’s.
Note the sound of all the blowers on the trailing motor screaming. While I’m not an EMD fan, it’s something else to hear the sound right up to the time to pushers come by.