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switching the caboose track

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switching the caboose track
Posted by banjobenne1 on Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:58 PM

How does the yard switcher handel the caboose track? I mean the bule flag is up, the car cleaners are in the cabs, do they all have to vacate the cabs until the swicher is done? How about delivering cabs to the caboose track?

Once the switcher has hold of the cab, is it the first or the last car to be added to the train? Does the switcher back the whole train onto the cab? How long does it take to walk a train of 150 cars?

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Posted by pajrr on Sunday, July 23, 2017 5:16 AM

I believe cabooses were tacked on last. As for walking the train, if you figure madern freight cars averaging 60' per car, that is a 1.75 mile long train. You take it from there. The road locos and the FRED are put on at the same time when the train gets inspected.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 23, 2017 7:47 AM

banjobenne1

How does the yard switcher handel the caboose track? I mean the bule flag is up, the car cleaners are in the cabs, do they all have to vacate the cabs until the swicher is done? How about delivering cabs to the caboose track?

Once the switcher has hold of the cab, is it the first or the last car to be added to the train? Does the switcher back the whole train onto the cab? How long does it take to walk a train of 150 cars?

 

First there would be a Union grievance filed for violation of work and job discripton..You see in major terminal a switch crew was assign to caboose servicing track.It was this crew's job to add or remove a caboose to a train and to switch cabooses from the inbound to service then service to outbound.The crew would not switch the service track until called to do so by the supervisor and the blue flag would be removed before the switch crew arrived switch the service track.

Any outbound cabooses was taken from the outbound ready track and placed on the train..

Now carmen will blue flag a outbound train while they inspect it and insure all is ready-air hoses connected,air line cocks open etc.

As far as walking  150 cars we wouldn't unless a road emergency required us to do so.One brakeman would start from the caboose and the head brakeman from the engine. Depending on the terrain it could take up to 30-40 minutes to walk those 150 cars.

Back in the terminal we would have them pulled or shoved since there was no need to walk.

Larry

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, July 23, 2017 8:02 AM

banjobenne1
How does the yard switcher handel the caboose track? I mean the bule flag is up, the car cleaners are in the cabs, do they all have to vacate the cabs until the swicher is done?

Caboose supply is a clerical function, not a carman function so there are no blue flags.  The clerks aren't working "on or under" the equipment they are just moving around in it (just like a train crew moving around in the cab doesn't require a blue flag). Blue flags are placed by mechanical employees.

How about delivering cabs to the caboose track? Once the switcher has hold of the cab, is it the first or the last car to be added to the train?  Does the switcher back the whole train onto the cab?

It could be done either way.  If there are switchers on both ends of the yard then the one on the "rear" end of the yard will put it the caboose on.  Other wide a caboose will be put in the track and the train added to it.  Remember that you don't double 150 cars onto the caboose.  That's not how trains are built.  The switcher isn't going to swing 150 cars.  First off when they used cabooses they rarely had 150 car trains.  Most trains were much shorter.  Even if they would build a 150 car train, they would assemble it from multiple shorter cuts (three 50 car cuts or five 30 car cuts).  They would swing 50 cars against the caboose, then add the rest of the trains to the 50 (51) cars.

 How long does it take to walk a train of 150 cars?

Figure a minute a car.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 23, 2017 9:19 AM

Dave,I have worked a cabin track and you can bet the service track was under blue flag protection as the carman,fuel man and cleaners went about their work.

I don't know where you got your information but,both the N&W and C&O ran coal drags over 200 cars in length on a daily bases. A 150 car freight was not unusual either.

Again on most roads it was not the yard crew job to add cabooses since their job was to break down and build trains. A major terminal would melt down if that was the case especially if you had 70-80 trains a day arriving or departing that yard.

Larry

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Posted by cx500 on Sunday, July 23, 2017 10:49 AM

Not covered, and we don't know which era the original poster is asking about, is whether we are talking about assigned cabooses (to each conductor) or modern era pool cabooses.  That will make a big difference.  And in many yards the train count was considerably less than 70-80 trains a day, and the yard crew did have time to deal with the cabooses as part of their assignment.  They might even have to spend an hour switching out or adding a car to a through train at the passenger station.

John

 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:29 AM

cx500
And in many yards the train count was considerably less than 70-80 trains a day, and the yard crew did have time to deal with the cabooses as part of their assignment.

If the work and job description allows such combination of job classes for that division due to the needed work to build or breakdown trains it may not be possible..

If your flat switching to build or breakdown trains you're talking about a lot of time being consumed doing the work.Kicking cars speeds up the process but,not enough. Humping is faster but,still requires several crews again due to work and job descriptions. Then there's the safety and operation rules each crew must obey.There will be peeking Tommie's watching for violations as you work.

I understand  with today's one person yard crew the terminal dwell time keeps inching up on the clock due to the work load.

Thankfully in our HO world we have none of that to worry about.Thumbs Up

Larry

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, July 23, 2017 12:50 PM

When it comes to handling brake vans I have the best of all possible worlds.  The brake vans are all parked on individual spurs, one per each, at the freight house.  Pulling one for a local (or a switch-block to be added to a through freight) doesn't disturb any of the others.  Only (somethingorother)-brakes are switched.  Trains with full cabins carry them from staging to staging.

Why the freight house?  All of those cars are regular box cars (except for the pig-and-chicken car!) that have a guards' compartment on the end.  They are loaded with LCL, which is worked at the freight house.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:22 AM

This kinda presumes that the cabooses are unoccupied, and being cleaned out by cleaners the way freight cars would be. Before about 1960 or so, cabooses were often assigned to specific conductors / crews, who would eat and sleep in the cabooses when they were at an "away" yard, waiting for the next freight train going back to their home base. They would not welcome outside "cleaners", as most crews were quite proud of their cabooses and not only kept them very clean inside, but in some cases added things like curtains, repainted the interior, etc. to make it more 'homey'.

Stix
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Posted by DS4-4-1000 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:29 AM

In the larger yards like Enola the Pennsy had a different way of adding the caboose to a train.  After the "cabin" was serviced it was placed on the caboose track which was a ramp facing away from the yard.  When a train was ready the crew would pull it past the caboose track the switch would be thrown and the hand brakes on the next caboose would be released and it would roll down and couple to the train.  Attach the brake line, do your air test and you are ready to go.

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Posted by oldline1 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 9:01 AM

DS4-4-1000
In the larger yards like Enola the Pennsy had a different way of adding the caboose to a train.  After the "cabin" was serviced it was placed on the caboose track which was a ramp facing away from the yard.  When a train was ready the crew would pull it past the caboose track the switch would be thrown and the hand brakes on the next caboose would be released and it would roll down and couple to the train.  Attach the brake line, do your air test and you are ready to go.

I was told the Pennsy called that a "pimple track". It saved a switching move and time.

oldline1

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:23 AM

oldline1
I was told the Pennsy called that a "pimple track". It saved a switching move and time. oldline1

It was not uncommon to uncouple the cabin on the fly and let it roll into the adjoining yard track for the cabin crew to pick up..The rear crew would swing off the cabin just as soon as it was uncoupled.

I know of three instances where this moved backed fired and the cabin rammed into its train because the switch wasn't thrown in time.You can bet the farm the devil was to be paid over that. 

Larry

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:58 AM

By the way, regarding the need to put up a blue flag while clerks service a caboose.  From the GCOR:

5.13 Blue Signal Protection of Workmen

This rule outlines the requirements for protecting railroad workmen who are inspecting, testing, repairing, and servicing rolling equipment. In particular, because these tasks require the workmen to work on, under, or between rolling equipment, workmen are exposed to potential injury from moving equipment. As used in this rule, the following definitions apply:

Workmen. Railroad employees assigned to inspect, test, repair, or service railroad rolling equipment or components, including brake systems. Train and yard crews are excluded, except when they perform the above work on rolling equipment not part of the train or yard movement they are handling or will handle. 

“Servicing” does not include supplying cabooses, engines, or passenger cars with items such as ice, drinking water, tools, sanitary supplies, stationery, or flagging equipment.

A clerk sweeping out the caboose or servicing it would NOT REQUIRE a blue flag.  It might be local custom but its not required by rule (or by law because if it was required by law the BNSF would have it in their rules.)

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:18 PM

Dave,I never seen a clerk clean a caboose..I seen laborers do that while a carman inspected the caboose and you can bet the farm there was blue flag protection.The carman would make sure there was protection.

Engine service tracks is protected by blue flag and/ or blue lights.

Larry

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Posted by DSchmitt on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:18 PM

 From Freight Terminals and Trains by John Albert Droege 1912

Page 31

 

Page 25

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:01 PM

BRAKIE
Dave,I never seen a clerk clean a caboose..

When you get your "way back" machine working, go back to the Mopac before the 1990's and all the caboose supply was clerks.  

What craft it is is immaterial, the point is that if its just a caboose supply person or the train crew on the caboose there was NO requirement under the rules to blue flag it.  The only time that a blue flag was appropriate was when the carmen were working on the caboose or inspecting it.  When they were done, they took down the flags.  Diluting the purpose of the blue flag by using it when it isn't required can lead to problems too.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:56 PM

dehusman
The only time that a blue flag was appropriate was when the carmen were working on the caboose or inspecting it.

Exactly..That's why there was blue flag protection and more then likely there was several cabins/cabooses getting cleaned and serviced..

It was not my job to clean a cabin or caboose because there was company/union job descriptions that filled that job. A souped up laborer did the cleaning and restocking while a carman inspected the cabin/caboose.

The clerk stayed in the office and drank coffee while filling out various paper work.That was his job.

Larry

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:06 PM

BRAKIE

Dave,I never seen a clerk clean a caboose..I seen laborers do that while a carman inspected the caboose and you can bet the farm there was blue flag protection.The carman would make sure there was protection.

Engine service tracks is protected by blue flag and/ or blue lights.

 

I have a Rock Island clerical bid sheet from 1977, showing vacant jobs for the seniority district.  Among the clerical jobs listed is caboose supplyman.  His/her job is to sweep out the cabooses and supply them with ice, water, stationary, fusees and torpedoes as needed.

Another job eliminated by FRED.

Jeff 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:56 PM

Did different RR's do it different ways?  Does that explain why two different methods of working the caboose track are being put out there and in conflict with each other?

BTW, there is a scene on the Rio Grande Odyssy DVD which shows a helper set push a caboose then cut loose of it, the caboose drifts to the back of the train, someone quickly thows the switch and the engine set goes into the pocket.  The caboose clunks agaist the last freight car and is coupled.  Probably would be as illegal as heck if there were cabooses today, but in the mid-1960's it was  a regular occurance.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by banjobenne1 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:03 PM

And speaking of ice I think it's Walthers is selling a kit for iceing cabs, looks like a short elevated platform. So I have never see cabs with ice hatches on the roof. If such a prototype thing did exist surely there must be protection for the folks on the roof. FYI I am trying to model railroading as it was around 1939. 

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 5:18 PM

riogrande5761
Did different RR's do it different ways?

Not only different "ways" but different ways on the same railroads.  WHO did the work was controlled by labor agreements and a class 1 railroad might have a couple dozen agreements.  For example at Houston we had 5 different agreements for the train crews on the MP alone (HNS, MP, IGN, Gulf Coast, Kingsville) and that doesn't count that in the days of yore (way before my time) there were separate agreements for both "white" and "colored" crew members.

Then you have different staffing at different areas, some locations had car men some didn't, some had clerks, some didn't, some had laborers, some didn't.

Then there was the "we've just always done it that way" stuff.  So if somebody decided that since the laborer putting ice on the caboose was from the mechanical department they should blue flag the track, even if the rules didn't cover it, then they might do it that way one place and not another.

Then there was era, as rules and labor agreements evolved (railroad labor agreements never expire, per se, they may be superseded or modified but there is never a time when there isn't a labor agreement in force), the way things were done were changed.  Going from assigned to pool cabooses, going from sleeping on cabooses to lodging, all brought process changes.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:10 PM

riogrande5761
Did different RR's do it different ways? Does that explain why two different methods of working the caboose track are being put out there and in conflict with each other?

Jim,Every railroad had company/union job descriptions and work agreements and like Dave said every agreement could vary from division to division.

A PRR shop union in Columbus could walk out on strike and paralyzed five sub divisions.

Larry

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