Recently I have been playing a game called Railroad Tycoon II on my PC. If you liked playing with trains as a kid (or adult) and like economic simulations this game is worth a look.
Anyway, while reading through the manual it mentioned (in its historical tidbits) that diesel train locomotives are actually diesel-electric engines. Basically, a diesel engine turns a generator producing electricity for the electric engine which actually moves the train.
Is this really the case?
If it is the case why go to all the trouble and extra expense of essentially two engines? Why not just have the diesel engine move the train?
If the diesel engine is only there to turn a generator how come you see locomotives huffing and puffind as they try to accelerate with a heavy load? You’d think that the engine would spin up the generator and then work at a constant rate after that. The strain of accelerating the train wouldn’t transfer through the electric motor to the generator to the diesel engine (would it?).
Note: I’m not an engineer and I’m sure if this is how locomotives are built then there is probably a very good reason for it. I’m just curious as to what that reason is.