Locomotive Cabs

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1/8th of an inch armor plating has been used in some North American locomotives, to protect the unit/crew in case of a collision. The hope was that, the locomotive would plow through anything in it's path... with the end result being, nothing more than a few cosmetic scratches to the cab exterior.

Massive impact members are also built into the cabs, to provide further protection for the crew.

I suspect these measures have their limits re: effectiveness.

GE wide cabs on the ES models are much tighter and quieter than earlier models, they ride and feel very nice. EMD wise, give me an isolated SD70MAC cab with an AAR style control stand and the tear drop two piece windshields, for the road. The ACe and M-2 cabs suck. Im not a big fan of desktops either, but especially the EMD desktops, they have you leaning too far forward and you hit your knees on the slanted panel underneath. For switching, either builders spartan cab is fine as long as its not toad stools for seats.


New Member

I enjoyed your post. Recently, I found some pictures, online, of a GEVO cab, and an ACe. The main impression I came away with was... the GEVO seemed to have a better view(looking forward); and had a bright and airy feel to it.

The ACe didn't look bad, but seem more closed off... less open. The forward view didn't appear as good as the GE's, but that could be due to the different angles of the pictures.

One thing that impressed me about the ACe cab was, the substantial post/structure that separates the front windows. That looks structurally stronger than the GE version. I might be wrong, though, about it being strong; and thinking it provides significant structural support. It might just be an area where some wiring is routed, and has no structural integrity benifits to it?


Chris de Vries

"They fixed these cars?"
Not once have I ever, nor have I ever seen anyone stand in the centre of the cab while passing another train.

CN has been installing fridges, microwaves and hot plates on the IC SD70's as they have been going in for the DPU software upgrades.
They have also removed the ovens, yes ovens, out of some of the BC Rail units and replaced them with microwaves.
The WC units that are being used in western Canada also have had microwaves and hotplates installed on them.

I didn't see any pictures here of CN's high back reclining seats. Those are amazing seats to have. It sure is nice to have some of, if not the best, cab conditions to work in.

For you guys that work for the other big class ones ... have your unions ever approached the companies about having microwaves installed?
I frequently watch modern CN units cruise the rails in my area, and I never knew you guys had it so good, re: on-board amenities.

It makes sense to provide a certain degree of comfort for the crews.

I wonder what those narrow-nose Dash 8's cabs look like, and how well they are appointed?



Hammerhead Pusher
Here are a few pics of CN GP38-2W 4768 that were taken with permission.

Standard control stand

Digital speedo

Looking between the two middle windows through the interior door

Rear wall and top of the middle brakemans high back seat

Conductors view

Looking out the rear door behind the conductor

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New Member
I'm curious if the teardrop windshields found on some of the older EMD locomotives(i.e. the older SD60's, 70's, 80's, 90/9043's), and the current GE CN ES44DC's, improve the crews viability? Does the teardrop feature offer a greater field of vision over the current rectangular windshields?


Restricted Speed

1st: Air ride seats

2nd: Microwave ovens.

3rd: Some sort of electronic device like a cross between a Kindle, a laptop, and a hammerhead that could contain the rule book, signal awareness forms, delay reports, etc with docking stations on the locomotives that allow real time uploads and downloads of pertinent information and updates.
I agree 100% especially with computer access to pertinent info.

Air ride seats...nice :D Also get rid of all vinyl seats and go with cloth to help eliminate swamp a$$ in the summer:p

Conventional, Canadian, North American Safety and Isolated Whisper; are there any preferences, for you train crew guys, when it comes to your place of business?

Does EMD's Isolated Whisper cab, really improve crew comfort and reduce noise and vibration?

Some EMD models used to come with a tear-dropped front window; CN had this feature incorporated into some of it's GE's; was there any preference for this design over today's offerings?

What are some of the special options/features(i.e. micro waves, air conditioning etc.) that have been added to make your working experience more pleasant?

Do you really use those on-board cans/toilets; or just wait for your next stop? I heard one of the big six, didn't even have a toilet put in it's locs?

What would you, personally, like to see done(re: changes/upgrades) to make your work environment that much better?

I'm not an engineer.....yet, so the controls don't mean much to me, but I do like the flat dash and larger desk area of the GE's. And the lighting is much much better on the GE's. The EMD's cast to many shadows...especially if you're a lefty like me.

I still don't understand why they won't go to electric wipers, other than cost. I hate listening to those pneumatic wipers hissing air all the time.

I only use the on board can for going #1:rolleyes:

Thanks for your opinions.

BTW, summertime swamp a$$, and then a notch 2 event in the can... followed by more summertime baking and swamp a$$... sounds good.


I think you might have ruined my track-side enjoyment... at least on the hot days. Now, instead of concentrating on the trains, I'll be wondering if the crew is sitting on vinyl... SWAMP A$$?

In my opinion, the NS SD70, SD70M, and the SD70M-2 all should be traded in for those GE ESDC engines. Those 7500-7700s are awesome engines!! Although I haven't been in NS's new 1000 series SD70's which I hear have vast improvements on the 2700 which are extremely loud, slippery, rattle traps. We'll see if the 1000's start to rattle with age.
I'm curious if the teardrop windshields found on some of the older EMD locomotives(i.e. the older SD60's, 70's, 80's, 90/9043's), and the current GE CN ES44DC's, improve the crews viability? Does the teardrop feature offer a greater field of vision over the current rectangular windshields?

IMHO the "teardrop" forward glass offers greatly improved visibility. Especially of the trainman when they're up close to the locomotive.

Alas, it's gone the way of the Dodo on my property due to my employer's preference to not warehouse yet another part, plus it cost more....:rolleyes:

I've heard plenty of complaints about EMD's SD70ACe's/SD70M-2's and I find it amazing that those models are still being purchased, if they really are that bad.

When a particular model comes out, there is usually ongoing enhancement of the model over the years, while the model is still in production. You'd think EMD would have addressed whatever shortcomings the original models had.


Another thing that puzzles me. EMD put it's teardrop windows in many different locomotive models over the years. If they provided better visibility, why the change? Is it a money thing? That the rectangular window is cheaper to do?

You've only got two domestic products for sale. That share many common features. You have a significant amount of experience building locomotives. Why is it so hard to get it right?

Not all enhancements are a hit and then the manufacturer makes a change. Same goes with the carriers orders. Sometimes the carriers make the change and sometimes they are forced to. If the NS still had it their way, the employees would still be going to the bathroom in a bucket. State laws forced the NS to install toilets in their engines. Something they did not want to do due to COST. So you hit the nail on the head. It all revolves around cost. The more the manufacturers have to cut, bend, or press their product, the more expensive it is to manufacture cutting into their profit. I'm sure if manufacturers would be able to produce locomotives that resemble a brick, they would be as happy as a pig in mud! Thankfully, the FRA and the AAR mandate the manufacturers and carriers have to apply and maintain safety appliances such as grab irons, headlights, and windows with approved FRA 223 glazing. So it all boils down to costs and savings.
Did CP paint over some of the cab side windows, the outer two, on each side of the clear windows, on some of their MP15DC units?

I always thought CP had structurally modified their MP15DC cabs, so they have fewer see-through windows, on either side of the cab.

Too me, it looks like they just painted over, with red, some of the side windows.

Why would they do that? Why would they diminish the visibility... from inside the cab?

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