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Is a caboose or shoving platform necessary for one car?

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Is a caboose or shoving platform necessary for one car?
Posted by restorator on Friday, August 10, 2018 12:58 PM

Modeling the early 1970's 

Is a caboose or shoving platform necessary for one low car such as an empty flatcar or gondola? (Without someone riding the car)

 

I ask this because I have one particular switching location that has both a facing and trailing point spur fairly near each other, and this would never have more than one car ahead of the engine if I switch it out that way. Otherwise it would require a long run around, or more likely I would just service it with another train from the other direction, but I would prefer not to do that for scheduling reasons.  

 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, August 10, 2018 1:49 PM

Hello all,

It depends...

If the siding only has room for one car, and the siding can support the weight of the locomotive, then no pusher car is needed.

Some sidings cannot support the weight of a locomotive for various reasons; under-built trestle or culvert or light-weight rails. 

If that is the scenario then a pusher car would be used to spot the car to avoid the full weight of the loco on the sub-standard trackage. 

Hope this helps.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, August 10, 2018 3:30 PM

Early 1970's there would be a caboose on a local (not a "shoving platform").

The question is how far are you shoving it?  50 ft?  1/4 mile?  5 miles?  Current agreements (which were not necessarily in effect in the 1970's) say a shoving platform is required if the move is over 1 mile.  It almost sounds like you are making the train up out of the yard with a car, the engine, the rest of the train and the caboose.  Technically, trains shoving cars tend to be speed restricted (5-10 mph) and would have to stop at road crossings to flag them, unless they had gates or flashers (your rules may vary).  A 1970's local or yard crew will have an engineer, conductor, at least 2 brakemen and maybe a fireman and another brakeman.

Flatcars are almost impossible to ride, no place to hold onto.

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Posted by selector on Friday, August 10, 2018 6:50 PM

Also, it is dependent on the weight restriction for the roadbed/tracks/rails.  If you need to 'reach' into the yard or siding further than just the length+ of a single car, but are not to make the tracks bear the weight of the pusher, then an intermediate car or more is going to be necessary.  IOW, the overweight item will need more reaching units between it and the car(s) to be placed depending on how far into that trackage the car is to rest.  A caboose might suffice for a siding only 80 feet long beyond the frog to get a single car up nice 'n tight to where it needs to be.  Why it would be a caboose, though, is an oddity for me.  Maybe some rails will speak up and enlighten us.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, August 10, 2018 7:05 PM

Methinks it is because cabooses are converted into such. Or is that just for post 1980's?

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Posted by restorator on Friday, August 10, 2018 7:42 PM

This is the modeled situation:

Forget the term "shoving platform", I think that is incorrect and/or misleading in this case.

 
This particular run is a "very local" local that only serves a set of team tracks, a scrapyard, and a coal dealer, just outside the main yard limits. The coal dealer is served with a low gondola that is unloaded by hand and winch, and has no weight restrictions on the spur.

This train would only have a handful of cars at any given time and the one facing point spur for the coal dealer would be much easier if it could be tacked on the front of the engine when picking it up or setting it out rather than making a runaround and keeping it there all the way back to the main yard. I often do this now, and we are only talking a short distance, let's say an imaginary mile, more like a couple feet in reality, before it gets back into the yard limits. Just not sure of prototype practice or regulations in a case like this and would like to know the proper procedure. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, August 10, 2018 7:56 PM

restorator
Just not sure of prototype practice or regulations in a case like this and would like to know the proper procedure.

First you will have a 4 men crew so a caboose is needed for the conductor and rear brakeman.

Second you will need to protect your shove and the caboose will provide a whistle for crossings and a safe  place for your rear brakeman to stand while protecting your shove.

Larry

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, August 10, 2018 10:04 PM

There are speed restrictions for trains shoving cars.

Unless there are automated crossing warning devices (gates or flashers) a train shoving cars has to stop and flag the crossings.  

Somebody has to ride the leading end of the car being shoved if there are any crossings or switches the train has to cross or come up to.

Those are basically the rules.

There is nothing prohibiting shoving a car, the train will have to get a "double air test" of sorts because it has to make sure it has air brakes on both ends.

Many crews would pull the car out and drop it by, especially in the 1970's or earlier.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by restorator on Friday, August 10, 2018 10:18 PM

Yes, the train has a caboose. So the simple answer to the question appears to be that, yes, even for one car you need a caboose out front or someone riding the car.

Then should I have two cabooses as I still need it on the rear with all the going toward and backing up, right?

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Posted by dirtyd79 on Saturday, August 11, 2018 12:15 AM

Nah you just need the one caboose. I'm pretty sure they would cut the caboose off on the mainline and have a flagman to protect it. After dropping off the car to be spotted, they'd pick up the caboose and continue on their trip.

If a train had more than one caboose it was usually because one was a Drover's caboose on a livestock train hauling a crew of cowhands to help with loading and unloading livestock. Another case for multiple cabooses on a train would be a particular yard accumulated too many cabooses from elsewhere and was sending them back to where they're needed. Only the last caboose would contain a working crew. The others would be empty and those crews would have rode back to their home terminal on a passenger train.

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, August 11, 2018 6:39 AM

What the crew would probably do in most cases is drop the car by.

The train stops about 100 yard from the switch.  We will assume the gon is right behind the engine. It uncouples the rear of the train from the gon to be dropped.  They turn angle cocks on the engine and bleed off the air on the gon.  The gon and the engine accelerate to about 4-5 mph.

If they are doing it by the book, the switch is lined for the spur.  When they get to 4-5 mph the engineer backs off on the throttle, the slack runs in, the brakeman at the joint with the gon (rear engine platform) pulls the pin, the engineer opens up the throttle and accelerates away from the gon.  The engine heads into the spur.  As soon as the engine clears the points the brakeman lines the switch for the main track.  The gon rolls by the switch.  As soon as it is by the switch, the brakeman riding the gon sets a handbrake and stops the gon.  The engine comes back out of the spur, couples into the gon and sets it into the spur.

Alternate if the crew wants to take a short cut.  They drop the car into the spur and keep the engine on the main.  They just better make sure the handbrake on the gon works and the spur is long enough to make sure they get stopped.  If its a flat car, I'd drop two cars, the flat and a box or gon (or the caboose) to ride while setting the brake.

Having said all this, its quite possible that if its a short distance (a mile or less) with few or now grade crossings they might just shove it out there because that's easy.

Another question is what happens after they spot the gon?  Do they go back to the yard, do they continue on to the next location?  How did they get to the industry, they are out of yard limits, are they on train orders, CTC or what?

By the way, yard limits really makes no difference to this question, Whatever the answer is outside yard limits will be the same answer inside yard limits. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, August 11, 2018 7:09 AM

dehusman
They just better make sure the handbrake on the gon works and the spur is long enough to make sure they get stopped.

We tested the handbrake before making a flying switch..You don't need to shove the car at high speed just enough so it rolls at a safe speed-recall a man will need to uncouple the car and in my experiences the conductor would open the switch and after the wheels cleared the points he would close the switch...

Larry

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Posted by BigJim on Saturday, August 11, 2018 7:58 AM

dehusman
What the crew would probably do in most cases is drop the car by.

The train stops about 100 yard from the switch.  We will assume the gon is right behind the engine. It uncouples the rear of the train from the gon to be dropped.  They turn angle cocks on the engine and bleed off the air on the gon.  The gon and the engine accelerate to about 4-5 mph. If they are doing it by the book, the switch is lined for the spur.  When they get to 4-5 mph the engineer backs off on the throttle, the slack runs in, the brakeman at the joint with the gon (rear engine platform) pulls the pin, the engineer opens up the throttle and accelerates away from the gon.  The engine heads into the spur.  As soon as the engine clears the points the brakeman lines the switch for the main track.  The gon rolls by the switch.  As soon as it is by the switch, the brakeman riding the gon sets a handbrake and stops the gon.  The engine comes back out of the spur, couples into the gon and sets it into the spur.


First:
This is not a "Drop". It is a "Swing". A "Drop" is where gravity causes the car to roll/"drop" to the intended spot.

Second:
You don't run the engine in the spur. That comes under the heading of "Double Switching", creating more work than is necessary...doing things the hard way!

Alternate if the crew wants to take a short cut.  They drop the car into the spur and keep the engine on the main.


Which is what a good crew would have done to begin with!

They just better make sure the handbrake on the gon works and the spur is long enough to make sure they get stopped.


Which they should know before starting the move.

.

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Posted by DSO17 on Saturday, August 11, 2018 9:34 AM

restorator

Modeling the early 1970's 

Is a caboose or shoving platform necessary for one low car such as an empty flatcar or gondola? (Without someone riding the car)

 

I ask this because I have one particular switching location that has both a facing and trailing point spur fairly near each other, and this would never have more than one car ahead of the engine if I switch it out that way. Otherwise it would require a long run around, or more likely I would just service it with another train from the other direction, but I would prefer not to do that for scheduling reasons.  

 

 

From the late 1950s through the 1970s on a couple large eastern railroads: Most commonly the crew would just shove the car or even several cars back to the yard, even if a road crossing or two was involved. They might swing the car(s) by the engine, but usually wouldn't bother. Wouldn't matter if was a yard job or a local freight.

 

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Posted by BigJim on Saturday, August 11, 2018 12:39 PM

DSO17
Most commonly the crew would just shove the car or even several cars


Yes, we used to have run around a string of cars at a siding, then we shoved them three miles to the plant and its facing point switch. An everyday move.

After the work was done, we "kicked" the cars up the main, ran the engine in the plant and let the cars "drop" back down to the cab.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, August 11, 2018 6:45 PM

BigJim

 

 
dehusman
What the crew would probably do in most cases is drop the car by.

The train stops about 100 yard from the switch.  We will assume the gon is right behind the engine. It uncouples the rear of the train from the gon to be dropped.  They turn angle cocks on the engine and bleed off the air on the gon.  The gon and the engine accelerate to about 4-5 mph. If they are doing it by the book, the switch is lined for the spur.  When they get to 4-5 mph the engineer backs off on the throttle, the slack runs in, the brakeman at the joint with the gon (rear engine platform) pulls the pin, the engineer opens up the throttle and accelerates away from the gon.  The engine heads into the spur.  As soon as the engine clears the points the brakeman lines the switch for the main track.  The gon rolls by the switch.  As soon as it is by the switch, the brakeman riding the gon sets a handbrake and stops the gon.  The engine comes back out of the spur, couples into the gon and sets it into the spur.

 


First:
This is not a "Drop". It is a "Swing". A "Drop" is where gravity causes the car to roll/"drop" to the intended spot.

 

Second:
You don't run the engine in the spur. That comes under the heading of "Double Switching", creating more work than is necessary...doing things the hard way!

 

 
Alternate if the crew wants to take a short cut.  They drop the car into the spur and keep the engine on the main.

 


Which is what a good crew would have done to begin with!

 

 

 
They just better make sure the handbrake on the gon works and the spur is long enough to make sure they get stopped.

 


Which they should know before starting the move.

 

 

Sorry Jim, but in my neck of the woods, which is close to where Dave is, it is known as a "Drop".  Until the age of the internet, and voices from all over, I've never heard of it called a "Swing".

Jeff

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Posted by BigJim on Saturday, August 11, 2018 9:17 PM

jeffhergert
Sorry Jim, but in my neck of the woods, which is close to where Dave is, it is known as a "Drop".  Until the age of the internet, and voices from all over, I've never heard of it called a "Swing". Jeff


Put a ball in your hand. Now, open your hand and what happens? Pure gravity takes over and the ball "Drops"!
Try getting that same ball up to the ceiling. You have to use force and "Swing" it or "Kick" it up there.
Maybe, you are living in the wrong neck of the woods. Wink

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, August 11, 2018 11:14 PM

Well, my 1968 Uniform Code rule book says this about dropping cars. "...and when dropping cars, know switches and brakes are working properly and run engine on straight track when practicable."  (The first couple of GCOR editions also said about the same.  Back when the move was allowed.)

The Consolidated Code, and some that later adopted the CCOR, calls it a "running switch".  But, the CCOR also mentions kicking and dropping in other parts of the the book.

The Penn Central book I have says "flying switch", the Conrail book says "running switch".  Both also have the same note, "also known as a drop of cars".

Current GCOR says dropping cars is prohibited.  However, "gravity switch" moves may be allowed at specifically authorized locations.  In reality, the locations where gravity switch moves are allowed is getting pretty rare these days.

No mention of "swinging cars". Big Smile

Jeff

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, August 12, 2018 5:51 AM

jeffhergert
The Penn Central book I have says "flying switch", the Conrail book says "running switch". Both also have the same note, "also known as a drop of cars".

In the PRR and Chessie we laugh at the term "drop of cars" believing some inexperience college boy coin that term.

On the PRR and Chessie the term was "flying switch".

On the PRR there was even a hand signal for such a move.

Larry

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Posted by DSO17 on Sunday, August 12, 2018 8:43 AM

It's probably just a local or regional thing. Crews in different areas used different terms. I've heard drop, swing by, roll by, fly by, flying switch, and several others, including one I can't put on the forum.

1948 B&O Rulebook said Conductors "...will exercise good judgement in making running or flying switches..." I guess if anything went wrong he didn't use good judgement?

The easiest thing to do is just shove the cars back to the yard and be done with it.

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, August 12, 2018 8:55 AM

BigJim
Put a ball in your hand. Now, open your hand and what happens? Pure gravity takes over and the ball "Drops"!Try getting that same ball up to the ceiling. You have to use force and "Swing" it or "Kick" it up there.Maybe, you are living in the wrong neck of the woods.

Nah.  We are living in a "neck of the woods" where we realize that there are different rules and rule books and that different regions and eras had different slang names for the same thing.

A "swing" is when you move a cut from one track to another.  If I told Jeff to "swing the head 25 cars from track 15 to track 201", he would couple the first 25 cars in the track 15, pull them out of track 15, couple them into the cars in 201 and shove the 25 cars into track 201. 

We called a gravity switch a "dutch drop", because it was "cheap" and required less work.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:10 AM

BigJim
Yes, we used to have run around a string of cars at a siding, then we shoved them three miles to the plant and its facing point switch. An everyday move.

And that would be the way most crews would do it.  However that is subtley different from the scenario presented.  The runaround suggested above would be done out on line and the OP's scenario was out of origin.

Probably the crew wouldn't care about the difference and would shove them straight out of origin.  An ICC/FRA inspector or a railroad official would probably see the difference.

The "requireent" to have a caboose or shoving platform is probably not a rule, per se.  Its is most likely part of a labor agreement so is optional for the crew, if they want one and it meets the criteria in the agreement, they can have one, if they think it would be too much of a PIA, they don't have to use one.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:31 AM

dehusman
If I told Jeff to "swing the head 25 cars from track 15 to track 201", he would couple the first 25 cars in the track 15, pull them out of track 15, couple them into the cars in 201 and shove the 25 cars into track 201.

Dave,All the brakeman I worked with on the PRR and Chessie would not make that move the because to them you're speaking gibberish. The "swing" would lose us.

Now in our speak "We will be moving the first 25 cars in the track 15, pull them out of track 15, couple them into the cars in 201 and shove the 25 cars into track 201." would be precise information and we would make the move.

Now in our real speak..

We need to pull the first 25 cars on track 15 and your cut will be between 34522 and 65440.

Couple these cars to the cars on 201 and shove those cars to the clearance point.Your number on 201  will be 23441.

Larry

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, August 12, 2018 10:50 AM

I worked with ex-PC, RDG and CR guys.  We used the terms flying switch (not that I would know...Whistling ), drop, and dutch drop.  We only swung cars from one track to another: "Grab the first 10 cars off of 4 track and swing 'em to 6".

 

We also don't make hooks.  We make hitches.  Well, except this one guy we have.  I don't know where he picked that term up - he's pretty new.  Must have been a southern guy that taught him that.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, August 12, 2018 10:53 AM

BigJim
Second: You don't run the engine in the spur. That comes under the heading of "Double Switching", creating more work than is necessary...doing things the hard way!

Uness the spur has a good upgrade or curve.  Then I'm guessing you'd want to run the engine there as the car would probably stall out?

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, August 12, 2018 11:49 AM

zugmann

BigJim

Second: You don't run the engine in the spur. That comes under the heading of "Double Switching", creating more work than is necessary...doing things the hard way!

In that case it would drop back out and you'd do it again. Run the engine where you don't want the cars to go.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:09 PM

But then you're still double shifting, with a possible 3rd, 4th, or n=whatever shift. 

 

And you hope it will drop out, and not get hung up in the frog.

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:14 PM

A good engineer will get it up there the first time!

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:16 PM

BigJim
A good engineer will get it up there the first time!

In the days before GPS and satellite tracking, I'd agree.  Now where's my push pole?

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:26 PM

zugmann
Now where's my push pole?


What you are forgetting is, if you run the engine in the spur and the brakeman didn't bleed the car off all the way and the car/s hang up out on the main, then you are really screwed! You have no way to get home!
Ooh, ooh! The spur has a pipe connected derail and you can't get the engine down close enough to pole it out of the way!

.

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