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Most US freight trains have several locomotives hauling them - I have seen up to ten!!! The external walkways makes it easier to pass between locomotives whilst running, to check out a malfunctioning unit, or whatever. Also the access doors can be opened without fouling the loading gauge, so work can be done on the run.

Most passenger trains in the US have full width bodies, as there is usually only a single unit, at least on commuter trains, etc. But mainly the full width ones are for aesthetic reasons, I think
 
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