Hooniverse Asks- What Locomotive Would You Like To Drive?


Well handling cars are often described as feeling as though they are driving on rails. That’s despite the fact that very few of us have ever experienced driving something that was actually on rails, outside of Disney’s Autopia that is. Of course that was not how it was supposed to go. When we were all kids most everyone – well, boys at least – wanted to be an engineer when they grew up. At least I did. That seemed to be as exotic and lauded an advocation as astronaut – or porn star – but far more obtainable.

Today I’m not an engineer, although I am proud to say that I can navigate Los Angeles’ resurgent light rail and subway system with the best of them. And when doing so I’d still like to be the guy sitting behind the lever as there’s just something cool about being an engineer. Driving a train underground does limit your sightseeing opportunities and vitamin D production, so perhaps that’s not the most aspirational of railman jobs out there.

There are however trains that travel above ground, and far faster than you can legally or safely travel on any highway. One of those might be fun to command, at least once in one’s life. Alternatively, the guy leaning out of the cab of an old fashion stem locomotive always seems to be having a good time, and since his job is driving the train instead of stoking its fire, there’s not a lot of backbreaking work to do. What about you, have you ever wanted to drive everywhere as if “on rails?”  If so, what would be your top choice for train travel?

Image source: railway passion

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63 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Locomotive Would You Like To Drive?”

    1. skitter Avatar

      Weird looking NSX.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        Pre-production model. Even still, it handles like its on rails.

  1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I'd be happy to start off by driving ANY train. Which reminds me that some guy's just been sent to jail for stealing transit buses and trains. When you gotta, you gotta.
    Then, there's Bugatti's train, the jet train, the atomic train (concept), the road train….
    And for the route, there's the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and that train over the mountains in Mexico.

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    While I'm not a hardcore rail fan, I've always been fascinated with trains and think it'd be rad to pilot any train. In a different world where I where I had no other commitments, I wouldn't mind being a train engineer.

    1. windbuechse Avatar

      Beat me to it. Saw the White Pass 1 in Skagway in '07.
      <img src="http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/KCqEBdjaXpM/hqdefault.jpg?feature=og&quot; width="600">

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Awesome! I'd love to see one in person.

        1. windbuechse Avatar

          We did an Alaskan cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. The RR has sidings that come right to the docks. The snow train was off the bow of our ship.
          <img src="http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii311/morrodds/Skagway_zps967a456d.jpg&quot; width="600">

    2. P161911 Avatar

      Blow snow, or since this takes the place of the traditional "cow catcher", make your own ground beef.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Hahaha! Nice one!

      2. windbuechse Avatar

        Mmmmm….beef snow cones…

    1. monkey_tennis Avatar

      "Where we're going we don't need rails!"

  3. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    <img src="http://www.bugatti-trust.co.uk/moxiepix/b3_65.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. mac350 Avatar

      Now that's cool – I can't believe I never say this poster before.

  4. windbuechse Avatar

    On of these would be interesting, as long as there is air support….
    <img src="http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/galleries/armored_trains/MBV-2.JPG&quot; width="600">

    1. RegalRegalia Avatar

      Who do you have to kill?

      1. windbuechse Avatar

        Russians used these on anybody they could… I'd rather use it for grins.

  5. DonFehlio Avatar

    It's basically the multi-colored S13 of trains.
    <img src="http://gifs.gifbin.com/112012/1354558133_train_multitrack_drift_deal_with_it.gif&quot; width="600">

  6. nicjasno Avatar

    This would also be nice 🙂 two russian 3TE10M locos pulling a long train.
    [youtube wEETEOcQW90 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEETEOcQW90 youtube]

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Everytime they climb a hill, a polar bear falls off its drift ice.

      1. nicjasno Avatar

        The fuel consumption of these must be enormous.

  7. P161911 Avatar

    Big Boy
    <img src="http://www.trainweb.org/jlsrr/bigboy/historical-pictures/full-pictures/4004.JPG"width=500&gt;
    Because 4-8-8-4.
    6,290HP, 135,375 lb f tractive effort.

    1. VolvoNut Avatar

      That is friggin awesome. I'll have to show it to my neighbor with the stupid "coal burner" diesel pickup.
      "You call that a coal burner?"
      <<<pulls out above pic>>>
      "THIS is a coal burner!"

    2. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      Somewhere in a book of trains I had as a kid there was a picture of one of these engines with a mile-long train crossing a prairie. From the camera's POV you could see the entire train against the sky, with this huge smoke trail extending beyond the caboose to the edge of the pic.
      Not much detail on a picture of something so large, but enough in the engine of that huge front truck and long-ass boiler that I never forgot it.

  8. topdeadcentre Avatar

    I want one of these inspection speeders because it's a damn sight easier to store in the garage than a Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy…and the PMY color will really help me pull in the chikz while cruisin' the main line.
    <img src="http://pw1.netcom.com/%7Emparsons/UP40.jpg"&gt;
    And because it's really, really cute! Kawaii!!

  9. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    In the 40s and 50s, in an effort to make crossing the Sierras between Sacramento and Reno go a little better, Southern Pacific ordered a couple of really massive traditionally configured 2-8-8-2 steam engines to try out on the Donner Pass route. The engines worked great except that:
    1–the stack velocity of hot gasses coming out of the engines blew the roofs of the snow sheds that lined much of the route, and
    2–the volume of exhaust gasses literally nearly killed the crews.
    What to do?
    Build a frickin' massive iron monster that shot exhaust out sideways and had the cab on the front and was bigger than anything before it.
    <img src="http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn.volusion.com/ztna9.tft5b/v/vspfiles/photos/IMR-79009-2.jpg?1373869292&quot; width="450/">
    The SP-Baldwin Locomotive Works AC-12 class 4-8-8-2 engines were so long they had to be articulated so they could make it around bends. With a full oil tender car it weighed nearly one million pounds. There's something like five miles of pipe in the thing.
    It's huge and complicated and massive and scary and impressive and thoroughly terrifying and utterly fascinating. If I were going to drive a train, I want it to be this one, with no cars attached, in that wonderfully empty stretch of desert between Fernley and Elko, Nevada, burning fuel oil by the drum and leaving a black smudge in the sky behind me. Coyotes will hear me from miles away and run away in fear. Birds will scatter, desert lakes will inexplicably dry up, seismographers will wonder if their machines have gone haywire, fundamentalists will think The Day has come. . . .
    <img src="http://www.brian894x4.com/images/SPcabforward4294x1.gif&quot; width="450/">
    There's one left, on display at the Sacramento rail museum. Next time I go, I need to go alone. My wife and kids won't want to spend four hours next to one single display. Even if that display is 130 feet long.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I nominate this for the best Hooniverse comment ever.

      1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Here's one running. The good stuff starts around 3:00.
        [youtube n_ErZ5SgkVw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_ErZ5SgkVw youtube]

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          What an engineering masterpiece! Reminds me a bit of the fastest operational steam locomotive, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DR_18_201">DR 18 201.
          <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a9/18201_Hersbruck_30062007_Wasser.JPG/800px-18201_Hersbruck_30062007_Wasser.JPG&quot; width="600">

          1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

            One of these days, after I get rich and don't have to work anymore, I need to spend a couple of months getting to know European trains. That one's really pretty, and I've never seen it before.

  10. Batshitbox Avatar

    Any cog railway steam loco would be acceptable, here's the current Mt. Washington Railway loco, Kroflite. I'm partial to the Mt. Washington Railroad because I spent a lot of time in the White Mountains as a kid. Never did walk, ride, or drive up Mt Washington, though.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Mount_Washington_Cog_Railway_Start.jpg/640px-Mount_Washington_Cog_Railway_Start.jpg&quot; width="550/">

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      It's been a beautiful summer up in the White Mountains this year… Take a few vacation days and go!
      I've only walked up Mt. Washington a few times, as I was on multi-week backpacking treks and with a group.
      Speaking of which, another "locomotive" I'd like to drive (though I'd need to make sure my life insurance is paid up first)… 3 1/2 miles in 3 minutes down the Cog Railway's center cog track. Anything named "The Devil's Shingle" has just got to be good, clean fun:
      <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-04srfC2eAZw/Tq7uZu93qXI/AAAAAAAALbY/uSKvZu-TaDs/s320/img_7109.jpg"&gt;
      That lever on the side is the brake.
      <img src="http://www.minisontop.com/stories/devilsa.gif"&gt;

      1. FЯeeMan Avatar

        That brake lever looks like a great way to lose fingers, if not a whole hand!

      2. Batshitbox Avatar

        Seems a bit sketchy for my taste. For gravity powered railroading, I'll take the Mt Tamalpais and Muir Woods Gravity Railroad. Open cars were pushed (so as not to block the view, and pour soot on the passengers) up this super wide gauge railway. Then the loco was unhooked and the whole train rolled back down with nothing but brakes.
        [youtube GJg-Zzd589Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJg-Zzd589Q youtube]

      3. Kogashiwa Avatar

        That must be at the top of the run. He still has his hat.

        1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

          And he's not screaming.

      4. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        excerpt from An Irish Zombie's Dictionary Of the New Century, with Occasional Witty Commentary and Rare Illustrations
        Shit on a Shingle
        1–noun Slang: Vulgar.
        WWII troop slang for creamed chipped beef or ground beef in a sauce, served on toast, frequent fare in mess halls.
        2–noun Slang: Vulgar.
        Stuff left on sled shown above, after the rider covers 3.5 miles in 3 minutes, at an average speed of 70 mph. Removal was the responsibility of the next rider, as the depositor was generally incapable of anything but incoherent screaming.

      5. Felis_Concolor Avatar

        And here I thought today's alpine slides were dangerous.

    2. Felis_Concolor Avatar

      As a resident of Colorado Springs I became extremely annoyed with the Chinese and their high altitude railway when it was completed, as it eclipsed the PIke's Peak Cog Railway as the highest altitude train line in the world.

  11. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    I don't know enough to say which I'd drive, but I've seen this thing in person a few times and it's pretty sexy.
    <img src="http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2012/173/7/f/the_nebraska_zephyr_train_festival_2011_by_metalheadrailfan-d54h3r5.jpg&quot; width="400">

  12. FЯeeMan Avatar

    I've actually driven one! Though, sadly, i no longer remember the model.
    My step dad ran the day shift at the UP's Pocatello yard hump (where there is now a track named in his honor), and, when i was in high school, he got me on a switcher as it pushed a string over the hump for sorting. It was really awesome for the first 2-3 minutes as i got a few million tons moving at the right speed, but it got boring very quickly as all i did was sit there with my hand on the control and my foot on the dead man pedal for about 30 minutes as we moved at a less than walking pace up the hill.
    Still wouldn't trade it for anything, and i still miss him. He died after having had a heart attack on the job. Hence the line in his honor.

  13. Sjalabais Avatar

    DR 130, because I think it's beautiful and because I grew up with it. And it's freaking LOUD.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/130_101_Luetzel_03042010.JPG&quot; width="600">
    Flåmsbana, a local engineering feat that is attracting people from all over the world, comes a close second.
    <img src="http://www.visitnorway.com/ProductImages/TellUs/TellUs_1447_315_large.jpg&quot; width="600">

  14. Stu_Rock Avatar

    The Pennsylvania Railroad's GG1 is one of the greatest locomotives of all time. Developing 4500 hp, the GG1s were used to replace pairs of smaller electric locomotives in PRR's long trainsets. It was designed by GE, and it was already destined to be a classic when Raymond Loewy came in as a design consultant after the first prototype was assembled. He called it "the most up-to-date design in electric motive power," and made only a few suggestions, such as using smooth–instead of riveted–bodywork.
    <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/GG-101.jpg"&gt;

  15. hwyengr Avatar

    All time historical, the Santa Fe Super Chief. The train that colonized Los Angeles with Midwesterners.
    <img src="http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/i/partypictures/08_17_10/supr%20chief/SUPER-CHIEF-PASADENA.jpg&quot; width="300">
    Still operational, the CTA Brown Line. You get the best views of the Chicago skyline, and there are enough slow zones and curves that it's never boring.
    <img src="http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/wells-street-bridge-0301.jpg&quot; width="300">
    Most likely to ever happen, the Los Angeles Live Steamers in Griffith Park:
    <img src="http://images.onset.freedom.com/ocregister/article/lqvd4h-b78841087z.120110901171954000gi9111gng.1.jpg&quot; width="300">

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      I saw a guy toting around a push-mower on the Brown Line on a Saturday afternoon once. This isn't out of the ordinary, I suppose, except that he exited in the Loop where there isn't a blade of grass for probably a mile or two.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Going to Sears?

    2. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      HA! Never thought of the Super Chief as a plague vector. The shoe fits, though. . . .

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Both were offered as G-scale models by LGB!

      1. Felis_Concolor Avatar

        When I was 8 years old, my father surprised me on Christmas Day with the "Stinz" starter set from LGB, along with a dozen additional cars, a smaller railbus and several hundred feet of additional track to allow me to create very large layouts. Being a kid in the 70s, I enjoyed helping my parents serve alcoholic beverages during their parties using the extended garden railway layout; a pair of flatcars fitted with elastic bands held the concoctions in place as I sent them to their recipients, with the empties returning to the outdoor bar shortly after.
        15 years later, we decided I had finally grown tired of using the train – I was only setting it up 2 or 3 times a year at that point – and sold the whole lot at a weekend flea market in Kahului for $200. No, I did not forget a zero there. I gave the original display box a last caress before handing it over along with the dozens of boxes containing track parts and the additional cars.
        We received a phone call early the next morning; the lucky kid who had received the train had played with it into the night, then left the transformer plugged in while he slept, burning it out. The father asked me where he could obtain a replacement transformer.
        I wanted to blow up. I wanted to howl imprecations at him concerning the care and feeding of the train set, and how we emphasized to always switch off and unplug the transformer when finished using the train. Instead, I simply replied, "Germany," and hung up.

  16. mac350 Avatar

    Stan Mott's racing trains look cool
    <img src="http://sbiii.com/autopix/cyclops/smcrtt17.jpg&quot; width="600">
    or the Hogwarts Express looks like fun.
    <img src="http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120522212630/harrypotter/images/thumb/b/bb/HogwartsExpress.png/1000px-HogwartsExpress.png&quot; width="600">

  17. katyakakhov Avatar

    A Sternad Steamer, now , with more side rod action !

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