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I understand working to get more efficient, but to me trains over a mile long are disruptive to traffic and potentially horribly dangerous. With one operator on board, how would he ever know if something happened 2 miles behind him? According to a recent video by DJsTrains (one of our members and a locomotive engineer), there's no real way to know what's happening behind you beyond your visual capability. There's a point at which efficiency and economy become destructive to themselves.
 

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Eventually, the fad of "precision scheduled railroading" is going to fall out of favor and get replaced by something else.

When that happens, all the big RR's are suddenly going to find themselves "short on power"...
 

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I understand working to get more efficient, but to me trains over a mile long are disruptive to traffic and potentially horribly dangerous. With one operator on board, how would he ever know if something happened 2 miles behind him? According to a recent video by DJsTrains (one of our members and a locomotive engineer), there's no real way to know what's happening behind you beyond your visual capability. There's a point at which efficiency and economy become destructive to themselves.
And if you go around a curve, how do you know what's going on even ten cars behind you at that point?

Automated defect detectors are spaced at regular intervals along the railway to detect overheating bearings or dragging equipment, the FRED/EOT/SBU device communicates back to the lead locomotive via radio link, and any breaks in the air line cause an immediate emergency brake application as the control values detect the drop in air pressure.
 
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