Most average, modern EMD types of diesel locomotives (diesel-electric to be more specific) are often hard to distinguish from one another, as well as their parts and components being hard to identify.
Average, modern, standard-cab "road switcher" EMD diesel locomotives consist of these traits:
Details 2nd generation EMD units:
- Hood: Can be seen on every "A-unit" EMD diesel locomotive. Often referred to as "nose".
- Cab: Houses the crew, as well as the controls to power and activate the locomotive. However, the locomotive may be started from within the engine compartment (long hood).
- Central air intake: Draws in air for the engine, and also draws air to pressurize the engine bay (compartment).
- Roof-top fans: The forward fans are for dynamic brake system cooling and only appear on locomotives fitted with dynamic brakes. The fans toward the rear of the locomotive (rear hood) are for drawing air through the engine radiators to cool the engine. The hot air is vented through the fans skyward.
- Engine radiators: The radiator intakes on all second-generation EMD units.
- Trucks: Consists of the wheels, axles, and traction motors to move the actual locomotive.
- Traction motor blower bulge: Near the top is an electric motor and blower (fan) that blasts cool air down to the traction motors to keep them within operation temperature. There is a duct under the left running-plate only that splits the air between the for and aft traction motors.
- Dynamic brake grilles: Intake for cooling air for the dynamic brake rheostats. Exists if dynamic brakes are fitted.
- Cab door: This is usually placed on the left of the locomotive, if standing inside the cab looking through the windshield over the hood. (Right-side when facing from an exterior position forward of the locomotive.)
- External handbrake: Placed on the side of the short hood. Used for holding the locomotive when stopped or stored. In this instance a ratchet system, but can also be a wheel type. This was moved near to the end of the long hood when Safety Cabs were introduced.
- Brake cylinders: Operated by air pressure, these apply the brakes by actuating the brake pistons and, consequently, the brake blocks.
- Fuel tank: This houses fuel for the locomotive. (Bell is usually located in front of right-side fuel tank as observed closely in the image shown above.)
- Air tanks: these are mounted on both sides above the fuel tank.