Are diesel locomotives kind of bland/boring compared to steam locomotives?

That might be why, even though diesels have long replaced steams, the latter are still what everyone thinks of as a train. I guess diesels just aren't as unique and don't have the "personality" that steams do. And I guess the modern air horn doesn't sound as pleasant and musical as a steam whistle.

Ghost Of Christmas Past

It's largely nostalgia. We like to hark back to a golden age when trains were pulled by steam locomotives and people were polite to one another. When trains are powered by cosmic rays, people will go dewy-eyed when they see a diesel loco.

Rona Lachat

Suggest you ask a Fireman that had to shovel tons of coal to fuel the fire every shift. edit There were many other steam locomotives than just the 20'th century limited. YES the humans did shovel tons of coal per shift one shovel at a time. Some locomotives had mechanical stokers. some were fuelled by oil and some with wood and in Egypt they used mummies. During a railway expansion in Egypt in the 19th century, construction companies unearthed so many mummies that they used them as locomotive fuel." —Discover Magazine, 2006 It was very hard work and when your timing was off the coal flew into the closed doors and went all over the cab. In area I live it was NORMAL to shovel 7 tons 15.000 pounds on a shift.more if it was a heavy train or a mountain route. In the rail sorting yards it was a lot less. PASSENGER trains used different locomotives than the freight trains. Mike you do know a half a ton of coal can be shovelled in a minute or two by a human.The human did not shovel every second of the shift. A baggage loader at an Airport loads many tons of luggage in a shift.The machine does not do all the work.


I think the diesel locomotives used in the US in the 1940s were really stylish and better looking than the clunky looking things used nowadays. Also, the Burlington Zephyr, Comet, Rock Island Railroad Jet Rocket, and Union Pacific M10000 were diesel streamlined trains which ran in the US in the 1930s and 40s, and the 'Flying Hamburger' train which ran in Germany. Those trains showed that diesel trains could have style. The UK was still mainly using steam, but was developing streamlined steam engines such as the Coronation Class, and the A4. The US also had a lot of streamlined steam locomotives.


There are BULLET TRAINS now. Get on with life. Innovate or STAGNATE.


I love steam locomotives, but they do make an awful lot of smoke. Even a modern locomotive, CO 614, left a sheen of soot on every exposed surface when it stopped near here 20 years ago.


Any vehicle that is crude, primitive and difficult to operate well, has character/personality and often endear themselves to us. Anything too efficient doesn't create the same bond with us and we regard them as little more than white goods/appliances