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I know nothing about deisels (probably not even how to spell the darn word).

Anyway, here in Shelton Wa where I live I see almost every day the Puget Sound and Pacific train come through. It usually has two deisels but sometimes as many as four. It is not a huge train, maybe 50 cars maximum.

I have several questions:

1. What do the initials HATX and HLCX on the side of the engines stand for? Usually there are two with HATX and one with HLCX on it.

2. Why would they need so many engines to pull this train? Maximum of 50 cars does not seem like a lot.

Thanks for the help.

John
 

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1. What do the initials HATX and HLCX on the side of the engines stand for? Usually there are two with HATX and one with HLCX on it.


The initials are reporting marks, just like UP or NS or any of a number of others. All North American rolling stock in interchange service carries reporting marks and numbers. Also, anything other than a railroad has reporting marks ending in "X" - for example, TTLX (Trailer Train), RBOX (Railbox), ADMX (Archer Daniels Midland), etc. I'm not sure which companies in particular HATX and HLCX are, but I know that they are locomotive leasing companies.

2. Why would they need so many engines to pull this train? Maximum of 50 cars does not seem like a lot.

You might be surprised. I'm guessing that they're SD40-2s or similar, which are the most common units I've seen in lease service. On my territory (with grades of around 1%) it would take at least 3 SD40s to haul 50 loaded coal hoppers. It's also possible that they're staying with the train for quite some distance, and are needed for other, more difficult portions of the trip.
 
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