Sources: The Washington Post, Shutterstock
quote: The angled front isn't there to look pretty, it is there to reduce aerodynamic drag at high speeds, and it is important if you want the train to stay in one piece while moving that fast over long distances.
quote: That long, angled front is mostly for looks. A more blunt, rounded shape like the other picture is more aerodynamically efficient at subsonic speeds. Those principles of aerodynamics were figured out over a hundred years ago.
quote: Your 4,000 ton diesel-hauled freight train trundling along at 40 mph can have every single truck shaped like a brick and it will make no noticeable difference to efficiency. ... Your 400 ton electric-powered 200 mph passenger service is an altogether different story... The overall energy usage depends almost entirely on how much energy needs to be spent maintaining a high speed, and that is determined by how much rolling-resistance and aerodynamic drag it experiences.
quote: A long pointy nose might not be viable on a plane for weight (weight == fuel usage on planes) and weight-distribution reasons, but a couple of extra tons on the front of a train costs nothing compared with the rest of the weight and can help it cut through the air that bit more efficiently. Don't judge how trains should look by how planes do.