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Thread: Why Does the Engineer sit on the right side in the United States?

  1. #1
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    Question Why Does the Engineer sit on the right side in the United States?

    In the United States, we drive on the right side of the road, but operate our cars from the left side. In the UK, the opposite is true.

    My question is - why did the railroads position the engineer/train driver on the side opposite from the "driving" side?

    Robert

  2. #2
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    I guess it's easier for them to see the trackside signs, signals, and hazards (like people walking along the tracks and other things). Had to move this to General forum because it has nothing to do with MSTS.
    Last edited by bnsf1959; 01-26-2012 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForestHIllsRob View Post
    In the United States, we drive on the right side of the road, but operate our cars from the left side. In the UK, the opposite is true.

    My question is - why did the railroads position the engineer/train driver on the side opposite from the "driving" side?

    Robert
    In a typical situation where the trains run on the track on the right, putting the Engineer on the right allows him to catch his orders from his side of the cab. Otherwise the block operator would have to be standing between the tracks! It is also helpful for spotting a passenger train at a platform on the outside (right) side of the tracks. These were very important considerations in the age of steam and manual blocks. Not important now, but why change?

    David Carleton
    D. Carleton Rail Books

  4. #4
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    It's because the Fireman sits on the left side and if the Engineer sat there too, people would talk.

    Paul :-)

  5. #5
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    Don't know about the US, but in the UK (where both roads and railways are driven on the left) in the 19th century there was no hard and fast rule, railway companies did what they thought best, with driver and fireman position being a matter of tradition more than anything else.

    Before the grouping of 1923, most locomotives were driven from the right hand side. After the grouping most railways changed to the driver being on the left for new designs of locomotive, the main exception being the GWR which persisted with the driver being on the right.

  6. #6
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    Paul, LMAO!!
    Neil

    Sincere thanks to the many generous freeware artists in the community

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by charland View Post
    It's because the Fireman sits on the left side and if the Engineer sat there too, people would talk.

    Paul :-)
    Ok, now let's not get political here. We have enough of that every day.

    Robert

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForestHIllsRob View Post
    Ok, now let's not get political here. We have enough of that every day.

    Robert
    Particularly if your the Engineer!
    Later,
    Spud

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by charland View Post
    It's because the Fireman sits on the left side and if the Engineer sat there too, people would talk.

    Paul :-)
    Thanks Paul,

    it is great to get some humour into our lives.

    Regards

    Daniel
    Daniel - Sydney (wishing I was in Townsville)

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