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Questions relating to shoving platforms

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Questions relating to shoving platforms
Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:00 AM

Having seen various images of both real and model “shoving platforms”, I have come to the understanding that they are older cabooses (or cabeese Wink) that are no longer used on the end of trains in the traditional maner, but are brought along on switching maneuvers when the engine must shove a cut of cars a long distances with the engine on the back end in order to give crew members a place to stand.

What I don’t completely understand is what modifications must be made to make a caboose a shoving platform. I know windows are block out, but what else do railroads add/remove from their shoving platforms?

Also I have seen models of cabooses with added plows, headlights, ditch lights, and horns, sometimes called remote control cabooses or something like that. Do these work like cab cars in passenger service? Also are these still shoving platform?

I look forward to seeing some answers and also feel to add any more info about shoving platforms I haven’t directly asked for.

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:23 AM

A caboose used for remote control, has the electronics installed that will send "messages" and commands to locomotives that do not have the electronics installed.

This allows the operator to run the loco, with R/C caboose attached, in remote control, using a waist pack controler, while standing on the ground.

They can also be used to send "messages" to locos in DPU attangements.

As far as shoving platforms, I've never seen one in person, but have watched videos with caboose/shoving platforms equiped with lights and a horn, as it is at the "front" of a train in a shove move, to allert motorist at crossings, like a loco would.

The brakeman or conductor riding and watching has radio control with the engineer, and there is probably an air valve he can open, which also alerts the engineer when he sees brake pressure drop.

I would think that the more populated and congested the area is with vehicle traffic, the more safety equipment would be on such a shoving plateform.

Mike.

 

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:38 AM

Mike, thanks for your reply

So a R/C caboose is NOT a shoving platform, but is “MUed” to the locomotives to allow not remote control locos to be used as remote control locos, right? Do I correctly assume it would then be located next to the locomotive?

Also what you’ve said would indicate that Shoving Platforms are the ones equipped with headlights, horn, etc. Do all shoving platforms have headlights, etc.?

I anyone one knows more please feel free to chime in!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:46 AM

As far as R/C use, yes, attached to the loco.  Some roads mounted the R/C equipment on flat cars, and box cars, and not just a caboose.

I don't know if all shoving platforms had all the lights, a horn, etc., but like I said, I'm sure those that operate in congested areas might.

Those in remote areas or out in country, probably not so much. 

You'll get lots of good responses on this, as there is a wealth of guys in here who have forgotten more than I know, and many have, or do, currently work for a railroad.

Mike.

 

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:14 AM

I just remembered that I have seen a picture in I think Trains Magazine a few years ago were a crew member was using an air horn (like the one you hold in your hand) as his train was shoved across a road crossing. If I recall correctly the article was talking about fire damage to the UP in northern California, and it was a very rural scene.

This would indicate that some shoving platforms don’t have their own horns. I also recall this platform lacked any lighting.

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:21 AM

Former cabooses has a hit pitch air whistle and some may have a regular air horn..

Recall some cabooses are still fully fuctional that still have doors that can be be open or closed.

Larry

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 12:08 PM

Did some looking online for pictures of R/C cabeese and it seems most railroads add headlights and strobe lights/beacons in addition to MU cable plugs. This makes sense to me since they are coupled to a locomotive and the lights can be used if the car is ahead of the loco.

I am curious as to how railroads use R/C cabeese. Are they primarily used in yards or are they used in local service. On R/C trains would a shoving platform be needed if the loco is pushing cars? (Then we could get two cabeese in one train! Whistling)

It also seems mostly a short line/regional road thing, notable Montana Rail Link and Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic, but not class I. Makes sense since class Is can probably afford the less flexible R/C locomotiv.

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 4:38 PM

SPSOT fan

I just remembered that I have seen a picture in I think Trains Magazine a few years ago were a crew member was using an air horn (like the one you hold in your hand) as his train was shoved across a road crossing. If I recall correctly the article was talking about fire damage to the UP in northern California, and it was a very rural scene.

This would indicate that some shoving platforms don’t have their own horns. I also recall this platform lacked any lighting.

 

Not all ex-cabooses are shoving platforms.  Some have been outfitted for MOW work trains and are called "gang" cars.  These are the ones I see on UP that have had the horns added to them.  The interiors have been modified with lockers and storage cabinets, a tall work desk (the type you have to stand at) and a couple rows of seats.  They provide a work space for the foreman and seating for the MOW gang when being transported to the daily work site.  They can also be used by trainmen when protecting shoving moves of the work train. 

UP also has some old cabooses outfitted for transporting crews during severe winter conditions.  "Blizzard bus" or "Snow bus" is what crews call them.  Their interiors modified with enough seating for 5 or 6 crews.  They have also been equipped with mu hoses and cables so they can be sandwiched between two engines.

Jeff 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:44 AM

R/C is used in yards, and the class I's use them as well as short lines, etc.

I don't think any road switching is done with R/C.

Yes, I'm sure there are some caboose, used as shoving platforms, don't have lights or a horn, or MU capability.

Jeff gave some uses for a caboose other than a shoving platform.

Mike.

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:08 AM

SPSOT fan

 

What I don’t completely understand is what modifications must be made to make a caboose a shoving platform. I know windows are block out, but what else do railroads add/remove from their shoving platforms?

 

I don't think there's any modifications really.

A "shoving platform" is basically just a comfortable, safe place for a crew member to ride when pushing a train a fairly long distance. Caboose end platforms work great for this.

But since only the open end platform is what's really being used, the RR might not want to maintain the interior of the caboose anymore, and there isn't any reason for the crew to go inside. So glass windows may be plated over and doors sealed shut for safety/maintenance reasons. Or it may be left exactly as it was, again for the "don't want to put any work into this" sort of reason.

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:08 AM

Just to be clear, this thread is discussing two completely different things, shoving platforms and RC cabooses.  Literally opposite things.  

A shoving platform will be on the end of the train/cut opposite the engine.  An RC caboose will be next to the engine.

A shoving platform is a "shoving platform" because there may be rules or labor agreements regarding cabooses and how they are to be outfitted or handled.  If its a "shoving platform" its not a caboose.

How they are outfitted is up to the railroad.  It can be just a caboose, with no modifications or it could have the interior stripped and all the doors and windows welded shut or locked with no interior access.

Basically, Federal laws require anything on a caboose or engine that can work to be working.  Railroads will remove stuff so they don't have to repair or maintain it, they can't get fined if its broke, and nobody will get hurt on it if its not there.  That's why class lights were plated over when TT&TO went away.

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

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:30 AM

The two kind of got blended together with the OP's 4th paragraph in his original post.  Confused

Mike.

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:55 PM

A true shoving platform is pretty basic, just an old caboose. CP still uses several old Soo Line cabooses (as best I can tell, two white ones and one brown) for shoving platforms out of the old Milwaukee Road yard in St.Paul MN. I believe one is used when shoving tank cars down to the oil refinery along the Mississippi several miles south of the yard. The track is squeezed betweens a high bluff, Highway 61, and the river, so there isn't much room for moving the engine around to the other end of the train of cars. The old caboose leads one way and the engine the other.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 9:13 PM

When I first saw CSX's bulletin about shoving platforms I thought they were something like a hunter's tree stand that would hang on a freight car.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:23 AM

Even though cabooses have been used for shoving platforms, whether modified or not, some railroads have built their own from scratch. 

Some truly are nothing more than a platform.  An old flatcar modified in various ways depending on railroad, basically being a place for a trainman to ride. Some have minimal protection from the elements, some are nothing more than handrails.  Just a place to ride on a shoving movement.

Jeff

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Posted by Renegade1c on Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:35 PM

The BNSF has a pair of old ATSF cabooses they use as shoving platforms in the Golden Yard next to the Coors Brewery. All windows and doors are welded shut so only platforms are accessable. 

The main reason they have these is that there is a heavy traffic road crossing in between two sections of the yard and they only way to access the back half is by shoving the cars in long strings. 

Before the conductor would ride the rear ladder but I think this has been found to be too unsafe these days. These shoving platform cabeese only showed maybe 3-4 years ago at the most. 


Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

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