Good question , I'd say it starts with having two SDIS (Smart Displays in GE speak) where a NR has one and if you throw in comms equipment it becomes three instead of the NRs two . Freightmiser actually makes it four because its currently in a 93 where the Ice radio is supposed to be going . SDIS screens are taller and wider and it seems Gonads changed the whole top section across the middle . On the co drivers side the 93s Microwave install is quite bulky and it kind of shunts the ICE comms unit and the "space saver" speedo /distance counter into the left side . One SDIS and the ICE console would have been better on the co drivers side and with a centrally mounted hot plate NR style there should be room for it . I'm not sure how many smart displays the computer systems can support and I think it may only be four .
As in the picture above NRs have the well for the kettle and another central one for the hot plate .
From memory the 92s had a hotplate in the middle which takes up less space than a microwave , they have their wave in a mount behind the drivers seat . 93s have an extra console behind the primary driving position for the co driver for running long end leading and NRs/92s don't . It has a digital speedo and distance counter the same as the 1 end leading co drivers side has - the space saver thing . 93s also have a much wider "inspectors" seat than NRs have .
With the hot plate NRs have a problem because they have a drain pipe that has to run over the top of the fridge and eventually runs out underneath . Sadly grubs cook fatty foods on the hot plate and wash it down the drain hole . The fat coagulates and blocks the pipe which is difficult to clear - compressed air from underneath and a heap of rags up top - messy . The drain pipe sometimes rusts through meaning anything run through it hits the top of the fridge and ends up all over the cab floor . In a way its not hard to see why Gonads is reluctant to go with a hot plate . A simple means of cleaning and some basic life skills would solve this one .
It seems a lot more space in the sides of the vestibule is taken up by electronic hardware and that extends into the back of the cab on the co drivers side where the cupboard that holds safeworking forms is in an NR .
If you don't know locomotive cabs you may not understand why in the case of NRs switch groups were set out as they are . These switch all kinds of things and they can be cab/reading/timetable/marker/headlights/ditchlights/steplights and go beyond into brake pipe maintaining cutouts/dyno brake cut outs/millipede blowers/demisters etc etc etc .
They should all be accessable from the primary driving position because these are a driver only equipt engine as well .
I believe you should be able to reach over and switch the head and ditch lights on/off/dim/bright without looking where your hand is . Its no fun looking into high beams and ditch lights at night coming the other way and its preferable not to blind adjacent road users as well .
One other thing that comes to mind is the timetable light and I think it may be in the middle on 92s and a bit blinding at night as well . They need to be where they can be seen though in this day and age writing times in your notebook and comparing times with the table and fuel sheets keeps you informed anyway . Its not like these are going to haul suburbans up the Shore or on Bankstown circles .
I think the thing to understand is that a C44ACi may look similar to an NR but in reality just about everything is different . That extends to the cab and its equipment as well and equipment seems to have changed partly because some components in NRs are no longer made . The other thing is that the original C44ACi was the 92 class and because they were earmarked for northern coal the final fit out was left to what coal division wanted . Some think Hunter coal leans towards driver/"fireperson" operation and they don't set locos up to go any distance long end leading . Intermadal division sets locos up for two driver or driver only operations and for long distance/high mileage crew stints . There are some long hops out there eg Parkes to Broken Hill and Taree to Brisbane and to do 600+ km over up to 12 hours means trying to keep the crew in a fit and healthy state . I'm not sure what distance and shift length Hunter Bulk crews do - not that they should have anything less than any other division has .
Anyway had some 92s gone to Intermodal or a single multi purpose variant been speced these issues would have been thrashed out years ago . Those with the say at Bulk for whatever reasons did what they did and the 92 cab and its cab fitout are the result of that . When it came to building more C44ACis the other operators would have had 92s to look at and base their opinions on and may not have had the original to compare . Possibly the manufacturer had issues with recreating some features of the NRs and wanted minimum customisation and costs - in other words start a virtual 92 production line and churn out the one model with a minimum number of variations and minimise manufacturing agro .
I can't understand why anyone would have a problem with raising the bar a little and as I've said before if the final price is virtually the same what has anyone got to lose ?
A locomotive is a serious aquisition and the more it can do for you while having good operators conditions the better off it is for all concerned .
Its possible that the 93s cab in final form could become the standard for C44ACis and if other operators or divisions choose to opt for a poverty pack version they simply delete a few things . Its far easier to retrofit optional extras to a Belmont if the basics are there to support them . Would make life easier at UG and give their catalog a few price/equipment level variations for very little effort .
Another unknown is how long the soon to be one surviving manufacturer continues to build locomotives here . If they eventually go offshore too it would be easier for them and their customers to order batches of Belmonts Kingswoods or Premiers if the groundwork is thrashed out now .