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Fun Facts

Moving cargo to and fro may seem simple, but Tacoma Rail has more going on than just great service. Check out these fun facts:

  • A diesel locomotive’s engine does not power its wheels. Rather, it powers a huge generator/alternator that powers up to six electric motors located on the “trucks” of the locomotive – the carriage that houses the wheels and axles.
  • Tacoma Rail services and inspects Union Pacific’s locomotives in addition to its own, which saves Union Pacific time and money and provides an extra source of income for Tacoma Rail.
  • The air brakes on all modern locomotives are essentially the same today as the originals designed by Westinghouse more than 100 years ago. Before air brakes, a “brakeman” would climb the cars and walk along the tops, turning each railcar’s brake wheel by hand.
  • Idle reduction technology used in 13 of Tacoma Rail’s 14 locomotives saves 130,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and keeps 80 tons of hydrocarbons out of the air.
  • Tacoma Rail’s 14 locomotives total more than 28,000 horsepower.
  • Tacoma Rail moves more than 20 million feet of rail equipment annually. That is roughly the equivalent distance from Tacoma to Chicago and back.