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    • March 22, 2017 5:59 PM EDT
    • David Maynard said:
      Devon Sinsley said:

      Trains magazine (investigative reporting, you be the judge?) http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/booster-units

       

      From here we see that "booster" locomotives include both B units and calves. Both powered with prime movers and controlled from the cab model it is paired with. This was my understanding. Slugs are non powered with prime movers.

       

      Nudge to John if we can agree that the folks at Trains have anything to say about it.

      Ah, slugs get their electrical power from the the A unit, they do not have prime movers.

       

      John Bouck said:
      Devon, Calves and B units do have prime movers and traction motors. They are controlled by the attached locomotive. And with remote controls, can move by themselves. Slugs do not have prime movers and cannot move unless they are connected to a locomotive equipped with a prime mover.

      Well John....that's mostly true. But a friend of mine told me about an occasion when they came back from lunch to find that the slug was gone. Here they found it 2 miles down the track. It seams the track had a slight grade to it, and the slug just kinda....wandered off.


      But that's only true if you speak to a non Burlington Northern rail. Otherwise, its the opposite... I always knew that I liked the BN for some weird reason...

    • March 22, 2017 5:53 PM EDT
    • Devon Sinsley said:

      Trains magazine (investigative reporting, you be the judge?) http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/booster-units

       

      From here we see that "booster" locomotives include both B units and calves. Both powered with prime movers and controlled from the cab model it is paired with. This was my understanding. Slugs are non powered with prime movers.

       

      Nudge to John if we can agree that the folks at Trains have anything to say about it.

      Ah, slugs get their electrical power from the the A unit, they do not have prime movers.

       

      John Bouck said:
      Devon, Calves and B units do have prime movers and traction motors. They are controlled by the attached locomotive. And with remote controls, can move by themselves. Slugs do not have prime movers and cannot move unless they are connected to a locomotive equipped with a prime mover.

      Well John....that's mostly true. But a friend of mine told me about an occasion when they came back from lunch to find that the slug was gone. Here they found it 2 miles down the track. It seams the track had a slight grade to it, and the slug just kinda....wandered off.

    • March 22, 2017 10:46 AM EDT
    • Craig Townsend said:
      Dang it, I knew something was wrong yesterday with my students... I just couldn't quite place it. ;) Dear class, We will be having a 1000 point quiz in the next two days. It will only consist of one question; what is a slug? ;)

      The most famous slug(s)?

      The fighting Banana Slugs of Santa Cruz!

    • March 22, 2017 9:37 AM EDT
    • Dang it, I knew something was wrong yesterday with my students... I just couldn't quite place it. ;)

      Dear class,
      We will be having a 1000 point quiz in the next two days. It will only consist of one question; what is a slug? ;)

    • March 22, 2017 9:14 AM EDT
    • This is what's wrong with education in America.  The school teacher is trolling railroad forums on his phone when he is supposed to be teaching!    No wonder he can't figure out the difference between a B Unit and a Slug.

    • March 22, 2017 9:06 AM EDT
    • Devon,
      I'm using what BN crews call those things you posted of on the Chewalah turn... I'm mostly yanking every ones chain because, I know that what the BN calls them is completely opposite of every other stinking railroad. For some reason my smiley face isn't showing up when I post from my phone. Afterall, Ray asked what those units in your picture, of a BNSF train where called. So, I answered his question....

    • March 22, 2017 8:35 AM EDT
    • As far as I have ever been taught, the inventor of the multi unit set was GM with the FT.  They refereed to the cabless (with prime mover) units as Boosters.  Over time Booster was simply shortened to B.  Slugs were units usually converted by a RR in which the PM was completely removed, and weight was added for traction.  These units completely relied on another unit for power.

       

      The Union Pacific converted several of Missouri Pacific SD40-2s to Boosters by doing nothing more than removing the control stands.  They labeled them as.....(drumroll please).....

       

      The DD35 Boosters were also labeled with a B

       

      As were the GP30 Boosters

       

      As well as the GP9 Boosters

       

      The fact of the matter is, not every railroad had the same name for everything.  For example, the 4-8-4 steam locomotive was pioneered by the Northern Pacific, which is why it is generally named a "Northern"   However, that same wheel arrangement went by 11 other names depending on the RR it was on.  But the name "Northern" has become widely accepted unless you are talking to a NYC fan, who will argue Niagara until they are blue in the face.

       

      So, while Craig is NOT wrong in his terminology according to his experience with the Burlington Northern; the rest of us are also NOT wrong with what has become the widely accepted terminology for these units.

       

      Chris

       

    • March 22, 2017 1:32 AM EDT
    • This is fun, how about a hybrid cabless that makes everyone right. https://www.google.com/patents/US20050279242?cl=en This is a 2005 patent application for a very cool idea.

       

        BACKGROUND
      • [0003]
        Conventional stand-alone locomotives have output power typically ranging from approximately 300 horsepower (for example, locomotives used in mining and tunneling) to 6,000 horsepower (for example, locomotives for long haul cross-country freight trains). In many applications, especially if there are significant grades along the route, a number of conventional locomotives may be used in a consist to haul a large train of a few to over a hundred cars.
      • [0004]
        Alternately, a consist may be composed of B-unit locomotives (a conventional locomotive without a functional cab) controlled by the crew of the lead or A-unit locomotive. Another multi-locomotive configuration might be comprised of conventional diesel locomotives and one or more slugs. A slug is a cabless locomotive that contains traction motors but has no integral prime power supply, receiving its power from another locomotive called the mother. Slugs are usually constructed from old conventional locomotives which have their cabs removed. The deactivated diesel engines may be left in place or replaced by inert ballast to maintain sufficient weight over the wheels for proper traction.

      This would give nod to John. But again who is this guy and what makes him an authority? I can apply for a patent and make any claim I want too. Doesn't mean I know what I am talling about. But on a project like this I would hope it is someone with technical understanding.

      See what you guys started.

    • March 22, 2017 1:21 AM EDT
    • Trains magazine (investigative reporting, you be the judge?) http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/booster-units

       

      From here we see that "booster" locomotives include both B units and calves. Both powered with prime movers and controlled from the cab model it is paired with. This was my understanding. Slugs are non powered with prime movers.

       

      Nudge to John if we can agree that the folks at Trains have anything to say about it.

    • March 22, 2017 1:05 AM EDT
    • Now this is fun. According to CSX your both wrong, lol. According to them:

       

      B Unit A cabless locomotive slug unit, not equipped with a diesel engine, but equipped with MU capability and traction motors, which receive electrical power from an "A" unit or mother locomotive. https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/company-overview/railroad-dictionary/?i=B

       

      Slug A locomotive unit equipped with an operating cab, but not equipped with a diesel engine. This type unit has MU capability and traction motors, which receives electrical power from a mother locomotive.https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/company-overview/railroad-dictionary/?i=S

       

      While they agree with Craig that a B unit is a slug unit. They also agree with John's claim that a slug does not have a diesel motor and that also is consistent with CSX. They clearly state that a "B" unit/slug unit is it is not equipped with a diesel motor and receives its power from the A. Now I have to argue this and would have to aske then what is a GP60B used by BNSF which is powered by diesels. The smoke is a dead giveaway. I wrote to EMD (the parent company actually) to ask them. We will see.

       

      But is this a case of no one "knows" because there is no actual universally accepted terminology or trade vernacular. Is it relative to the authority speaking?

       

       

    • March 22, 2017 12:27 AM EDT
    • OK we are all grown ups here. So I believe we can have this debate. We have pitted against each other the Internet and a real train guy.

       

      Craig,

      Beyond your experience working with these things, which earns you the nudge in my opinion, what documentation can you provide to back your claim to the terminology? Are you relying on layman's RR jargon used by the BNSF crews or is there something in your manuals and/or formal training that designates these as such. Your a researcher so its fair of me to ask you to back up your claim with primary sources.

       

      John,

       

      What is this reference to RR terminology you are quoting. Is this a a reliable technical sight or some one who "knows" what they are talking about, or worse yet an un monitored wiki that is user manipulated and unverifiable.

       

      I would love a definitive understanding. The best way to accomplish this is to reference industry accepted reference materiel used either by the manufacturer or the class 1 RRs. So state your cases gentlemen and keep it friendly. We are here to learn

    • March 22, 2017 12:11 AM EDT
    • Craig Townsend said:
      Ray, A B unit or a slug has a prime mover and traction motors. Some b units even have cabs, but they can't be occupied, so they are labeled as b units. Meanwhile a calf unit is a locomotive that has its prime mover removed and replaced with weight. All of its power comes from a cow unit, hence the name cow and calf. A calf can't be run alone but a slug or b unit can. Make sense?

      Moving to page two.... If its got a prime mover its a slug... If not its a calf! End of story or at least when you ask a back asswards Burlington Northern rail..

    • March 21, 2017 11:46 PM EDT
    • Makes sense to me

       

    • March 21, 2017 11:29 PM EDT
    • Copied and pasted from Railroad terminology.

       

      A B unit, in railroad terminology, is a locomotive unit (generally a diesel locomotive) which does not have a driving cab or crew compartment, and must therefore be controlled from another, coupled locomotive with a driving cab (an A unit). The terms booster unit and cabless are also used.

      Cow-calf. ... Cow and calf. In North American railroading, a cow-calf (also cow and calf) locomotive is a set of switcher-type diesel locomotives. The set usually is a pair; some 3-unit sets (with two calves) were built, but this was rare. A cow is equipped with a driving cab; a calf is not.

      A railroad slug is an accessory to a diesel-electric locomotive. It has trucks with traction motors but, unlike a B unit, is unable to move about under its own power, as it does not contain a prime mover to produce electricity, and there may or may not be a cab for an operator.

    • March 21, 2017 11:19 PM EDT
    • Devon,
      Calves and B units do have prime movers and traction motors. They are controlled by the attached locomotive. And with remote controls, can move by themselves.
      Slugs do not have prime movers and cannot move unless they are connected to a locomotive equipped with a prime mover.

    • March 21, 2017 11:09 PM EDT
    • John Bouck said:
      Devon, it has its own twin diesels and traction motors. Controlled by the cow.

      Then I think would be a B. But I am going by Craig's definition. Until this conversation I had no idea that Calves did not have primary power units. I just thought they were cute little locos that followed switchers around.

       

      I do like it though. I want to build a GP9 phase 3 B (slug). As far as I know the only B version of the GP9 was a phase 2. But in my world St Maries River Railroad bought the three phase threes and chopped the noses on two and made a B out of the third. Its my RR I can do what I want. Your little B gives me the inspiration to do it.

    • March 21, 2017 11:05 PM EDT
    • Devon, it has its own twin diesels and traction motors. Controlled by the cow.

    • March 21, 2017 11:04 PM EDT
    • Well far be it fro me to argue with a 1:1 train guy but since the manufacturer but a b in there designation and many of the RRs put a B in their numbering I think I am safe calling them B units. But who cares about that. If the the guys that run them call the slugs then they are slugs. i will try and correct my vernacular.

    • March 21, 2017 10:52 PM EDT
    • Those are not b units Devon.... They are slugs! Get it right!