Don't mean to be dumb

westcoaster Jan 23, 2009

  1. westcoaster

    westcoaster TrainBoard Supporter

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    but could someone answer some questions for me please?1st,when two,three or more locos are lashed together,are they all cntroled from the 1st?If the last two are reversed,how does that work?2nd sand,is it done automatically or does the engineer do it when needed?Lastly,when helpers are used at the back of a train,how do they get it right and not skid trying to push and also not having the train trying to pull them along?sorry about all the questions,I model trains but have nothing to do with the real things.thanks for your time if you read this and please not to many "what a fruitloop" remarks,cheers stu.
     
  2. firechief

    firechief TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to the group.
    Don't worry, there is no such thing as a dumb question, everyone has to start somewhere.

    Where MU's(multiple units) are used, they are all controlled by one crew in the lead loco, even the locos at the end of a train.
    As to the technical side, others will have more knowlwdge than me.

    Have fun and enjoy the ride.
    What scale do you model?

    Dave.
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    To answer the previous poster, yes,they are all controlled by the lead locomotive. As for
    the direction the locos are facing, that is wired into the circuitry. A switch position determines which loco is the lead and which is trailing. The circuitry doesnt care which way they are facing, only the polarity of the traction motors.
    Sanding is controlled by the locomotive engineer. Some locos have auto sanding but for the most part the engineer controls that. There is a "wheel spin" indicator light on most
    locos to let you know if there is wheel spin.
    On helper locos, many railroads are now using "distributed power" operation with helper locomotives whereby the engineer controls all units,regardless of their position in the train, from his control stand. This is done via special radio control boxes in the loco cabs.
    As far as manned helper operation, it is a learned skill. The lead loco controls the air brakes and the helpers mostly shove when they know the air is released at their end and they begin shoving. Whistle signals and/or radio signals are sometimes used, but mostly
    it's done by learned skills. I've never worked a mountain division and I dont envy the guys who do. That is not easy railroading. They face weather and dangers that flatland
    railroaders never see. But I dont know of any mountain railroader who would want to work anywhere else.

    Charlie
     
  4. westcoaster

    westcoaster TrainBoard Supporter

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    Firecheif and charlie,thanks alot for your answers.Makes sense now.firechief I model n scale,modern logging and coal,thats the main frieght we have on the coast.Charlie,did you do frieght or passenager.A couple of steam locos together would be good to watch!Thanks anyway Stu.
     
  5. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Both! When I retired I was on the Passenger Engineers Extra board. That meant I ran the
    METRA commuter trains.
     
  6. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    So very, very true... We don't get much of the nasty weather on Tehachapi that other districts get, but nobody has fog like we do. Known as "Tule Fog"... The San Joaquin Valley is "famous" for it(50+ car pileups on the freeways). Some of the thickest fog in the United States. Spent last night staring into it(100 ft. visibility) and the headlights just make it worse. Takes 110% of your concentration to work safe in it.
     
  7. westcoaster

    westcoaster TrainBoard Supporter

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    sp4009.what sort of trains do you operate,ie.one sort of frieght or mixture?How long would your trains be?The ones here are coal but can only go to 30 wagons.Ive been told they can only be that long because of the otira tunnel,which is 8.5ks long &3% gradient.Watched a you tube vidieo today of a train going throuh it.Theres going to be more trains on the line now because a new coal loading whatsit has been built near our farm,somebody reckons there going to three trains a day from it.Might have to sharpen up my camera skills i reakon.The place you are at is where roughly?Cheers Stu.
     
  8. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Just trolling ( not much to do tonight and not in the mood to go to bed) so I figured I'd throw a few pennies at this topic.

    When I was a BNSF hogger I ran mainly "junk" trains. You know Mty cars at the head and loads at the rear lol.I did get the coal loads and intermodals,but mainly we got manifests.My favorite was a sulfur train out of Texas.It was a fun one to run.

    Now on the road I work for we have just junk trains really. No intermodal to speak of. But I have a feeling we will be doing that soon. I have seen some of our manifest with auto racks mixed in and all I can say is "ugh"Never did like auto racks but its the nature of the beast.

    If you check you tube and jsut look up trains you can get an idea of what a manifest train looks like. Everyone is different.
     
  9. EricB

    EricB TrainBoard Member

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    Why don't you like autoracks or is it that you don't like them in mixed freights? Just curious.

    Eric
     
  10. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

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    Long drawbars combined with light weight makes for a sloppy train when blocks of them are in the middle of a mixed freight. They'll really let one know where they are in the train on undulating territory.
     
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I say a big A M E N to that!!!!!

    I've got a photo in my files of a cut of empty auto racks all laying on their side at the east end of East Yard at Eola. The hogger stringlined" it while he was switching in the yard. I was working as a helper on a swith engine that was working industries in the area and we were heading back in when we saw the "scrap iron" laying all over the ROW. I dearly despised switching those things cuz the drawbars skewed too easily and I was always having to get down deep in a cut of cars to straighten the drawbars. You cant really hump those things nor can you effectively "kick" them into a track.They are a real pain in the "you know where" but they make money for the railroads!!!


    CT
     
  12. SteveM76

    SteveM76 TrainBoard Member

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    I know exactly what you mean, Charlie. CSX's auto hub is Louisville so I deal with racks on a daily basis (well, I used to until business went in the crapper!!!) When we made the switch from mixed freight to autos our production went WAY down on the hump.
     
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    this leads to another story...
    one afternoon I was ordered off the brakemans list to work an extra switch engine at Eola. I was the helper and they called a woman off the conductors list to work as foreman. She normally worked commuter trains and didn't know all that much about yard work. We were working at the east end of East Yard(E.Y.was my normal haunt when I was a yardman) while the regular job was doing their normal work at the west end of East Yard. Now SteveM76 (as well as you other rails)know what it means when you have two or more jobs working the same yard. It's a pain you know where! The job we had to do was to take a couple of tracks of auto racks and consolidate them into one track, not a big deal but what we had to do was get the bi-level and the tri-level racks into full cuts so they could be unloaded properly. Not only that but we had to check the
    headlights on the autos inside the racks to see which way they were facing and get the cars with the headlights facing the wrong way(a requirement of the transloader who would unload the racks we were switching)into full cuts of bi or tri levels so that they could be wyed and faced the correct way. Well at any rate this girl was have one %^#*@ of a time getting the racks to a joint. She kept skewing the drawbars and couldnt
    get them moved. About 3 or 4 times I had to go to her rescue and get the drawbars unstuck(for which I was rewarded with back problems). Most of the "beater" leased switch engines the BNSF used in the Chicago terminals(NREX,Oakway etc)didnt have the
    drawbar straps on them and chances are the engines that did have them were out on industry switch jobs. The hogger was getting a big charge out of it cuz he didn't like her
    and he was sorry for me. We got thru the night though but I never worked freight with her again.

    CT
     
  14. westcoaster

    westcoaster TrainBoard Supporter

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    interesting stuff,reading about someones daily grind!Stuff us average joes dont know much about.stu.:mcool:
     
  15. flexeril

    flexeril TrainBoard Member

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    Can anyone show me or point me to a picture of what these drawbars look like??? I model trains and like the OP, I know NOTHING about real trains. Thanks to the OP, I've learned a lot on this thread.

    Rob
     
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome Rob,

    Interesting screen name, does it have anything to do with the muscle relaxant medicine?

    A drawbar is technically that part of the coupler minus the knuckle,and various pins but there are and have been various types and shapes of drawbars. Some Chicago streetcars carried portable drawbars on their undercarriage. They were a round pipe about 3' long with flattened ends and a hole drilled thru each flattened end. A disabled streetcar could be towed by another using the drawbar from the disabled vehicle. there was a slot on the anticlimber with a pin in it.Just remove the pins,position the drawbar in the slot,drop the pins back in and tow! Railroad couplers are a bit more sophisitcated(and MUCH heavier)and are normally solidly fixed in a drawbar pocket. A few engineers can tell you stories about pulling drawbars right out of the pockets. Not a desireable thing to do! The carrier will see that the hogger puts in a bit more work on his train handling skills. My buddy Bob got a drawbar at Burke(IIRC). Maintenance just left the pieces there for the track gang to pick up at some time in the future. When I was qualifying on the Chicago/LaCrosse pool my engineer mentor always used to point out, "There's your buddy Bob's drawbar"! Drawbars
    weigh several hundred lbs. Just the knuckle alone is 90lbs! You dont wanna have a busted
    knuckle pin and have the sucker fall on your foot like I almost did while opening a knuckle.
    Just missed my right foot by a couple inches!

    CT
     
  17. Ed Pinkley#2

    Ed Pinkley#2 TrainBoard Member

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    I personally love running autorack trains with loads of syrup or any other fun loaded tank cars an the rear. Why are they always built that way?????
     
  18. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Because yardmasters are sadistic *&$%))#!


    Charlie
     
  19. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Westcoaster,

    There are no stupid questions here.

    See? You asking about M.U.'s got a nice explanation from some experienced rails and then we got to hear about why Charlie doesn't like auto-racks.

    I would not have guessed they were so troublesome in the ways he says they are, so I learned something, too.

    Keep the questions coming!

    Adam
     
  20. flexeril

    flexeril TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the explanation CT. Yes, the screen name is related to the muscle relaxant. I ran out of screen names and I am slowly returning back into modeling. I just could not remember what my previous handle was in this board.

    Rob
     

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