I need to ask what might be a dumb question but I'm asking anyway because I feel like learning this afternoon.
The question is: What was the purpose of the extended pilots with the platforms on the prototype engines? I understand that the purpose of a pilot is to guide the locomotive into curves, but these pilots seem unique in their overall length, and the fact that a usable platform (with guardrails) was built above them.
Wouldn't it have made sense to allow the pilot to remain, pretty much as they were, but eliminate the handrails and extend the cab out over the pilots? Doing so would have either increased the cab space for the crew OR would have created revenue-generating baggage space for parcels and other cargo. Sort of like having the first baggage car in the consist integral to the engine.
I should add that I realize the pilot would need to remain free swinging so either the cab or some other part would need to be articulated OR the cab would simply be "over" the pilot but not touching it. I also realize this might introduce some untenable overhang issues but that pilot is so pronounced that I have to ask the question: Why such a large front porch?
I know I don't know the full story, so I'm asking. Why this unusual design?
Steven J. Serenska