Though I refuse to get involved with the whole EMD vs GE arguments, I have admitted that I like the way GE engines look better. I don’t really understand why or what it is about them; but from among the GE ES44-Family of engines, I’ve really come to like the ES44C4s.
Outwardly similar (the C4s use different trucks than their AC siblings), the ES44C4 (and the ET44C4s as well, for that matter) have only 4 driven axles per truck. The middle axle doesn’t have a traction motor on it.
A GE ES44C4, BNSF 4261, sits in a consist of quiet motive power in the Pueblo Railyard. The biggest difference between the ES44C4 and the ES44AC is that the middle axle of each truck on the locomotive is unpowered.
The BNSF logo on the side of the locomotive:
The front truck of the engine. I think the cylinders on the truck have something to do with transferring weight from the powered axles to the unpowered middle axle, but I don’t know exactly how it works. The model designation decal above the truck helps to confirm the unit’s type. A trend I’ve noticed, but haven’t confirmed, is that the model designation for BNSF’s ES44AC is green rather than the yellow you see on the ES44C4s. I wouldn’t call that a rule, per se; for all I know the different color paint on the model designation could be as simple as the result of where the engine was built, rather than a conscious effort by BNSF to distinguish models.
(Edit: Since writing this, I’ve seen the designation in the green paint, so if there’s any significance to it at all, it’s probably where the engine was manufactured. If you know, please tell me in the comments. Thanks!)
A pair of GE ES44ACs, BNSF 5747 and BNSF 6267, and a third Evolution Series locomotive GE ES44C4, BNSF 5263, lead a train of covered hoppers north through Colorado Springs. The Hoppers belong to CIT Group, a leasing company. I’m sure there are some rail fans who know what might be in these, but I’m not one of them.
The railroad tracks through Colorado Springs is a major artery for coal transport. Most of the trains are transporting coal to power plants. The empty trains go north through the city, and the full ones come south. Mixed freight and intermodal trains make up a minority of the train traffic. Mostly there are coal trains.
If most of the traffic is coal, I also see a lot of wind power equipment. I personally think wind power is relatively unfeasible, but it is interesting to see the equipment on the trains. It’s difficult to get good perspective of the size of the equipment from ground level. The wind turbine blades are long and very impressive.
Whether you get your power from wind or coal, it probably came by train first.
In the rain on the way to work, I saw the flashing signal. I was a little late for work, but I waited anyway. BNSF 9321, an EMD SD70ACe led the train. I like that in the photo, you can see the rain in the headlight of the train.
A pair of GE ES44C4s were the last two locomotives:
On the way home after work, I saw the train with the wind turbine blades. A GE DASH 9-44CW and a GE ES44C4 were the locomotives for this train. I didn’t think I was going to get into a good position for photos, but I did: