locomotive direction

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This is a total newbie question but why do you see real locomotives both running forward and backward on a train? Is it just because it's too much work to turn them around or is there another reason? Now in model railroading using DCC can I recreate this or will I just be dragging another locomotive along as rolling stock? I've ordered an Athearn Genesis F7A/B set but haven't received it yet. Are the B units powered or are they "dummy" units...and if they are powered do I need a seperate decoder for them?

-- Ken Varble (kvarble@tekord.com), August 13, 2003


Using DCC you can create the effect of powered locomotives running "forward" and "backward" in the same train depending on your operational requirements - ie will the engines ever run separately or are you using them only as a set. With an A/B set, both powered and equipped with decoders, you will have to match the speeds using the decoders speed tables, but with same manufacturer paired units this should not be too hard.

If you ever add an additional A unit running "backwards" the direction of the 2nd A unit can be set with programming the decoder on that engine, or by intentionally hard wiring the decoder to normally run backwards when the direction is set for forwards. Again it depends on your operational requirements.

I believe the Athearn A/B sets are both powered (the Athearn site is down at the moment so I couldn't check to see if they have dummy B units) so both engines will need to have decoders installed.

In any case it is easy to do with DCC, despite my rambling answers.


-- Charles Lewis (cslewis1@comcast.net), August 14, 2003.

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