“Styles change. As time moves on, it’s inevitable. Take these two locomotives designed for passenger service in America. Southern Pacific Electro-Motive Division E9 No. 6051 was built in 1954 for service on trains such as the Daylight and Lark, while Amtrak Siemens SC-44 ITDX No. 4621 was outshopped in 2017 for regional Amtrak service in the midwest. What happened? Why does functionality so trump esthetics between the two? Couldn’t we design and build a great-looking passenger locomotive today?
Siemens calls the SC-44 a ‘Charger’ locomotive. Car maker Dodge came out with the Charger in 1965, and they still produce an automobile that is now in it’s sixth, or is it seventh generation. The current Dodge Charger doesn’t look anything like the first, and it’s good design and looks make it popular today with a strong following of its own.
A passenger locomotive built today certainly doesn’t, or shouldn’t, look like the E9 of 1954. But why can’t we have a ‘Charger’ that looks nice too?”
Photos and comments by Mike Danneman
I thought streamlining was the future. Less drag, more fuel efficiency. Today’s locomotives look like an abstract brick. Where’s the aerodynamics?