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Road switcher

Road switcher

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A road switcher is a type of railroad locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

 used for delivering or picking up cars
Railroad car
A railroad car or railway vehicle , also known as a bogie in Indian English, is a vehicle on a rail transport system that is used for the carrying of cargo or passengers. Cars can be coupled together into a train and hauled by one or more locomotives...

 outside of a railroad yard. Since the road switcher must work some distance away from a yard, it needs to be able to operate at road speeds, it must also have high-visibility while it is switching, and it must have the ability to run in both directions. For these reasons, road switchers are generally hood unit
Hood unit
A hood unit, in railroad terminology, is a body style for diesel and electric locomotives. On a hood unit, the body of the locomotive is less than full-width for most of the locomotive's length, with walkways on the outside of the locomotive. In contrast, a cab unit has a full-width carbody for...

s. The set-back cab of a hood unit provides more safety in the event of a collision at speed than most switcher
A switcher or shunter is a small railroad locomotive intended not for moving trains over long distances but rather for assembling trains ready for a road locomotive to take over, disassembling a train that has been...

 designs, and the rear visibility is much better than that of a cab unit
Cab unit
A cab unit and a carbody unit are body styles of locomotives in railroad terminology. While closely related, they are not exactly the same....

. Due to their ability to both run at road speeds and switch cars, road switchers are often used for yard switching and freight duties.

The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market.The carbody configuration of...

 was the first successful example of the type, and virtually all modern hood units are laid out in the same fashion.

United Kingdom

The term "road switcher" is not used in the UK and few locomotives of this type have been built. One exception was the British Rail Class 14
British Rail Class 14
The British Rail Class 14 is a type of small diesel-hydraulic locomotive built in the mid-1960s. Twenty-six of these 0-6-0 locomotives were ordered in January 1963, to be built at British Railways Swindon Works. The anticipated work for this class was yard shunting, trip work and short distance...



The term "road switcher" is not used in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 either, but there are some types of heavy shunters suited for those tasks and used for them, like the DB Class V 90
DB Class V 90
The DB Class V90 locomotive is a German diesel-hydraulic locomotive for shunting and freight hauling.-History and design:...

 and the Voith Gravita
Voith Gravita
The Voith Gravita locomotives are a new family of diesel-hydraulic locomotives built by Voith Turbo Lokomotivtechnik GmbH & Co. KG.. Available in a range of configurations from 2 to 4 axle they are designed for shunting and light and medium freight operations....