Diesel-Electric Locomotives

  • Model: BK-19-932


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Diesel-Electric Locomotives by Walter Simpson

This beautifully illustrated, information-packed book, written by an energy expert, allows you to look under the hood of the most modern diesel-electric locomotives through an energy and environment lens. Here you can learn about:

How every energy-related component of a contemporary diesel-electric locomotive works, including the diesel engine, alternator, rectifiers, inverters, traction motors, braking systems, auxiliaries, head-end power systems, and aerodynamics.

  • Locomotive fuel economy technologies and the energy efficiency performance measures kept confidential by the railroad industry.
  • Locomotive Tier 4 emissions regulations, compliance technologies, and their impact on fuel economy. 
  • Meeting railroad environmental challenges with alternative fuels and locomotive motive power options.

Walter Simpson, an energy professional who led a nationally recognized campus energy conservation program credited with over $100 million in savings, has had a lifelong interest in railroads. With the assistance of many locomotive and other technical experts, he has applied his energy expertise to diesel-electric locomotives — producing this ground-breaking, comprehensive volume.

Praise for Diesel-Electric Locomotives: How They Work, Use Energy, and Can Become More Efficient and Environmentally Sustainable

Book Review:

This is a prosaic title that leads one to say: “Yet another diesel book?” But that isn’t exactly the case.


Simpson is an energy professional who led a nationally recognized campus energy program credited with over $100,000,000 in savings. His look at the railroads and at diesels in particular is, in this writer’s opinion, new and different from almost any previous book. We have said often that railroads have been slow to use their inherent environmental friendliness to promote themselves in this era of raised consciousness about energy sources use in industry and transportation.

Simpson’s research and analysis is detailed He uses graphs and other illustrative material to depict cogently his overall thesis that I think is that railroad transportation is the best way to move people and goods by ground. This is something we have been talking about for a long time--the inherent efficiency of the flanged steel wheel rolling on the steel rail.

He explains the workings of diesel-electric locomotive in good, understandable language that helps even the railfan who is perfectly knowledgeable to understand better the “big picture” of today’s locomotives. He takes it a step further, postulating how alternative fuels can replace present-day diesels to power railroads into a new era.

The book is thought-provoking and I think should be read by anyone who wants to explore the idea of the diesel-electric locomotive in further depth. It is not a history of the diesel, but an explanation of it and theauthor’s perceptions of its ramifications for the future. He uses several CSX images including one at Thurmond.

Simpson has just completed another book, this one of a history of the steam turbine locomotives that were tried by various railroads in the U. S., including C& O’s famous M-1 class steam-turbine-electrics of 1947-1950. Author Simpson visited C&OHS and used our photo archive in writing the book. It is to be published shortly by Kalmbach. We will carry it.

T. W. Dixon

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