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The key word is modern! The early diesels were much weaker with less tractive effort.
The image is an Ice cooled (block ice, ya know the hard water that is cold) Fruit Express, high balled to the Midwest and further East which had to make stops to replace the melted ice. Refrigerated reefer cars were not in common use yet. The rail roads had fleets of the heavier ice cooled cars still good for years of use. The old reefers were insulated with cork or saw dust making the heavier than modern reefer cars.
Yard services for the refrigerated reefers still had to be built. Maintaining the mechanical reefers required a new skill set for the workers taking time to train the workers.
When better controls evolved, several diesel units would be run together.
An A+B+B+A Unit lash ups were common. A diesel unit had engineer controls while the B Units were just motive power slaved to the lead A Unit.
Now the steam engine shown was an oil burner, stinky, depending on the type of oil used. Low grade bunker “C” had to be heated with a steam coil to be used, was a common fuel used during the WW II. An oil burner could use just about any type of diesel fuel available with minor adjustment to the burner.
A modern diesel will not run on the cheaper bunker “C” oil which is good because it does pollute. Not a low sulphur fuel.
[Blame the spell checker.]