You sit at your desk staring at two files. On the book shelf to your left sits the certificate from the American Railway Association (ARA). Two weeks ago, the ARA certified your company to begin regional operation in the city of Chicago as the Illinois Union Railroad, ARA marking IURR. After the approval, you worked hard to purchase some track property and a small switching yard just outside the city. Now that you have the tracks, you need to buy some equipment. As a regional railroad, you dont have to worry about purchasing passenger or freight cars. All of your work will involve transferring trains from the western railroads to the eastern railroads, and vice versa. The only thing you need at the moment is a locomotive, but which one?
A friend of yours works for the Union Pacific. After your company was certified by the ARA, he sent you some information about good locomotives that Union Pacific was trying to sell. He highly recommended starting out with a second-hand engine. After some time, you eliminated those that were too expensive and you were left with just two.
The 0-6-0 Y-1 Six-coupled:
A very good starter engine. Cheap, economical, and easy to maintain. Good for switching light trains around the yard and is capable of some main line work. However, it doesnt have much power and it struggles with heavier trains.
The 2-8-0 A-1 Consolidation:
The A-1 is much more expensive than the Y-1 and Y-2. This engine is actually intended for main line work, but it can be used as a switcher in the yards. It is a powerful engine which can pull heavy trains, but it is not economical when it comes to smaller trains.
As a young, upstart company, you only need to purchase one engine. Once your railroad expands, you can buy more. Each engine has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Choose carefully here, because the results each will provide will be different.