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 century to distinguish between mobile and stationary steam engines.

A locomotive has no payload capacity of its own, and its sole purpose is to move the train along the tracks. In contrast, some trains have self-propelled payload-carrying vehicles. These are not normally considered locomotives, and may be referred to as multiple units, motor coaches or railcars. The use of these self-propelled vehicles is increasingly common for passenger trains, but rare for freight (see CargoSprinter). Vehicles which provide motive power to haul an unpowered train, but are not generally considered locomotives because they have payload space or are rarely detached from their trains, are known as power cars.

Traditionally, locomotives pull trains from the front. Increasingly common outside North America is push-pull operation, where one locomotive pulls the train from the front and another locomotive pushes it from behind. In this arrangement the locomotive at the rear of the train is controlled from a control cab at the front of the train. Push-pull operation is generally infeasible in North America as, even if mid-train or tail-end "helpers" are provided, the front-end might have over 26,000 horsepower, net for traction, whereas the mid-train and/or tail-end "helpers" might have only 9,000 horsepower, net for traction.

Read more about LocomotiveOrigins, Locomotives Vs. Multiple Units, Locomotives in Numismatics, Gallery

Other articles related to "locomotive, locomotives":

Norris Locomotive Works
... The Norris Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that produced nearly one thousand railroad engines between 1832 and 1866 ... It was the dominant American locomotive producer during most of that period, and sold its popular 4-2-0 engines to European railways ...
Norris Locomotive Works - Demise
... Richard Norris and Son was the largest locomotive maker in the United States, if not the world, during the 1850s ... The property lay idle until the adjacent Baldwin Locomotive Works (which had surpassed Norris as the largest locomotive builder in the US) acquired the site in 1873 ...
Norris Locomotive Works - Growth and Success
1836, when the Norris Brothers ran a test of a 4-2-0 locomotive on the Belmont Inclined Plane of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad ... by its own power, proved that a steam locomotive could climb a grade while pulling a load ... after the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, this 4-2-0 engine was the world's first locomotive to feature a leading truck and may have been the first ...
Locomotive - Gallery
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Novelty (locomotive)
... Novelty was an early steam locomotive built by John Ericsson and John Braithwaite to take part in the Rainhill Trials in 1829 ... It was an 0-2-2WT locomotive and is now regarded as the very first tank engine ...

Famous quotes containing the word locomotive:

    The American people have done much for the locomotive, and the locomotive has done much for them.
    James A. Garfield (1831–1881)

    A bill... is the most extraordinary locomotive engine that the genius of man ever produced. It would keep on running during the longest lifetime, without ever once stopping of its own accord.
    Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

    I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926)