ALTOONA, Pa. — Long freights and experimental, long haul trains with distributed power are becoming increasingly common on Class I railroads in the east. On Tuesday morning, that was the case on Norfolk Southern's Pittsburgh line.
Equipped with two mid-train distributed power units, a massive NS 12G train successfully rolled across the railroad’s West Slope grade into Altoona, and east toward Harrisburg with 176 cars. The Conway, Pa., to Harrington, Del., general merchandise freight was led by NS EMD SD70ACe No. 1133, a Union Pacific GE AC4400CW and two mid-train DPUs, NS GE ES44AC No. 8056 and CN GE C40-8W No. 2146.
The train is one of the first of its kind in recent history on this route. Local sources familiar with operations say this move is something the railroad has wanted to experiment with in recent months as a way to run longer, bigger trains.
While distributed power is occasionally used on the railroad’s Pittsburgh line, high tonnage freights are unusual across West Slope grade, with most trains rarely exceeding 150 cars.