Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Maximum Speed in a Yard

938 views
12 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,810 posts
Maximum Speed in a Yard
Posted by bearman on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 11:27 AM

So, my layout is essentially a Class 3 shortline with a modest yard.  I have done some research and maximum speed is 49 Mph according to the Federal regulations.  My question is, is there usually a maximum speed in a yard although it may not necessarily be dictated by the Feds.  I seem to recall reading somewhere that 15 Mph is the magic number.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,475 posts
Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 12:18 PM

There are three alternatives for what you are asking, depending on what you mean by "in a yard":

Q:  What is the speed limit in a yard track (not a main track but one of the tracks in the yard)?

A: It will be a speed for track other than a main track which is typically able to stop short of/within half the range of vision of, any equipment or obstruction, not exceeding some slow speed.  For example on the UP that speed would be 10 mph.  It will typically be between 5 and 20 mph, depending on railroad and era.

Q:  What is the speed limit on the main track in yard limits?

A: It will be restricted or yard speed which is typically able to stop short of/within half the range of vision of, any equipment or obstruction, not exceeding some slow speed, typically between 10 and 20 mph, depending on railroad and era.

Q:  What is the speed limit on the main track through a yard (not in yard limits)?

A: It will be main track speed, which is 49 mph for track outside a block signal system, or less depending on curvature and other restrictions.

 

 

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,810 posts
Posted by bearman on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 12:41 PM

Thanks, Dave, it is the first question that I was asking.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 94 posts
Posted by OldEngineman on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 10:30 PM

Here in the northeast (Conrail, Amtrak), maximum speed on yard tracks was usually 10mph, also the speed when diverging at hand-operated switches and crossovers.

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Potomac Yard
  • 2,006 posts
Posted by NittanyLion on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 2:27 PM

Hold up a second: being a class 3 railroad doesn't mean you have any mandated speed limit. Track classes are a different thing. 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,475 posts
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:22 PM

NittanyLion
Hold up a second: being a class 3 railroad doesn't mean you have any mandated speed limit.

True, however being a shortline without a block signal system does.  Outside of block signal limits, the maximum freight speed is 49 mph.  You could have class 6 track and still be limited to 49 mph without block signals.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 1,137 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:34 PM

Entering the yard, I would keep the train's speed around maybe 5-10 mph. Leaving the yard, it would be a little faster like 10-15 mph.  Just be careful and watch out for other locomotives/cars around you.

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,758 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 9:31 PM

When I worked on the railroad it was 10 mph leaving or entering. The head brakeman had to ride the steps checking for any switches left in the reverse position which  wasn't that uncommon.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,810 posts
Posted by bearman on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 9:39 PM

Brakie, what about in the yard when a train was being blocked?

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,758 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, March 21, 2019 12:11 AM

bearman

Brakie, what about in the yard when a train was being blocked?

 

We would enter on the arrival tracks or leave on the departure tacks..We didn't use the classification tracks since there was no need.

A short line usually builds their train and leave the yard(if any).Ive seen short lines use the enterchange tracks as a "yard" in order to build their short train in industry order.

 

 

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 12 posts
Posted by pennwest on Thursday, March 21, 2019 8:06 AM

I really enjoy switching and have basically an HO switching RR with four major industrial areas and a large yard.  Have a throttle with actual throttle notches and have set the speed for Notch 1, 1 mph, Notch 2, 4 mph, Notch 3, 8 mph and Notch 4, 15 mph. 1 is for coupling, 2 and 3 for car movements and 4 for light engine running. Looks realistic and lets you get into the fine points of loco control.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,475 posts
Posted by dehusman on Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:14 AM

BRAKIE
We would enter on the arrival tracks or leave on the departure tacks..We didn't use the classification tracks since there was no need.

Depends on the size of the facility.  All of the major classifications yard, those that originated and terminated multiple through freights, had arrival and departure tracks.  All of the smaller industry support yards that I delt with, that only originated locals and traveling switch engines (TSE's) did not have "arrival and departure tracks" per se.  The longer class tracks or possible the siding, if there was one, was used as an arrival or departure track, otherwise they used whatever tracks were open and trains ofter departed out of the "class tracks".  

In the larger yards the departure tracks would be equipped with ground air and some had roads between every other track to give quick access to car inspectors.

The timetable special instructions tyically has the speed limits for the various tracks and the rule book defines the speeds.

On the railroads I worked on, the speed limits were the same regardless of where you were (class track, lead, arrival track, departure track), with the exception that in the mechanical facilities or on wyes, the max speed was 5 mph, and in some of the major hump yards that had departure yards, the departure yard lead had a higher speed (30 IIRC).

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,758 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, March 21, 2019 9:20 PM

dehusman
All of the smaller industry support yards that I delt with, that only originated locals and traveling switch engines (TSE's) did not have "arrival and departure tracks" per se

The local yard was a different matter since local freights departed that yard..No  throught freights used the local yard. The TSE was allowed to take cars to one of the main yards and they could pick up any cars bound for the local yard but,wasn't allowed to switch the  three industries located by the yard..That was the job of one of the urban locals as per the company and union job classification and  work agreements. At one time the TSE could take reefers to and from the icing track but,that job was anulled and turn over to the cabin service track switch crew..

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!