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Unfortunately for steam engine lovers, there is more to locomotive design than thermal efficiency. One problem with steam engines is the poor balance of the driving wheels, which is hard on the track. Also, they are miserable to drive, being uncomfortable and dirty. In addition, modern diesel-electric locomotives have very sophisticated control systems that offer independent control of each axle, which improves the ability of operating at the limit of traction. The introduction of electricity into the equation allows the use of multiple un-manned helper units, and can support an integrated diesel-electric hybrid system.

Perhaps some of these difficulties might be overcome with a large development program...

by asdf on Thu Jul 13th, 2006 at 12:32:58 AM EST

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