Rookie Railfan Questions

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:52 PM

Overmod

Stephanie, wasn't it?

Nora.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, August 15, 2019 8:53 AM

Ah yes.

I believe she expressed a desire not to continue that thread, and retitled it (to Bad Train Pictures).  That didn't stop people posting in it for a while.  Not only did she think it was too long to find useful answers in, but the old thread had a further problem.  At some point, every post became doubled.  Someone made fun of this by quoting a Pink Floyd song with a pronounced heavy echo.

This was its replacement, which was supposed to become the new 'rookie questions' thread.  It contained some useful material, but only went to 5 pages:

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/53144.aspx

Both these threads still contain material worth reading.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:42 AM

Nora would be in a position to answer more questions than she asked now.  She was a train dispatcher for NS based at Conway, but resigned rather than move with her job from Pittsburgh to Atlanta.

Several years ago (2016, I think) on a vacation to northern California, Pat and I met her entire family (parents, sister, spouses, niece and nephew).  Quite a crew, all as bright as can be.  Nora's older son is off to college this year; the younger one isn't that far behind.

Even with the job, she was still curious.  One time when she and the kids visited here, we sat in the car along the BN Racetrack for several minutes, so she could actually see a searchlight signal change color.

Carl

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:19 PM

One problem often encountered with threads/posts such as this is the crusty old-timer who remembers that the same question was asked some time back, and gruffly (or even angrily) posts that the poster should learn to use the search function.

Sometimes that's valid, but since people come and people go, oftimes the bulk of the people active on a forum weren't there when the question was originally posted.

It's far better to just answer the question in an informative manner.  And if someone does know how to use the search function, include a link to the other thread - which is often done.

It's all about helping railfans grow.  I use information I've gained here in a number of ways, including on the railroad.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:02 PM

tree68
One problem often encountered with threads/posts such as this is the crusty old-timer who remembers that the same question was asked some time back, and gruffly (or even angrily) posts that the poster should learn to use the search function.

Kalmbach needs to may the Search Function actually work FIRST.  My use of is has been 'hit or miss' with more misses than hits.

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:35 PM

   While I'm sure everyone here is happy to answer all questions, I think just about everyone would also recommend the book, The Railroad, What It Is, What It Does by John H. Armstrong for any new railfan (and even not so new railfans).   It covers everything you can think of and more.

_____________

   "A stranger is just a friend you ain't met yet."  ___ Dave Gardner

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, August 16, 2019 7:14 AM

BaltACD
Kalmbach needs to may the Search Function actually work FIRST.  My use of is has been 'hit or miss' with more misses than hits.

Yeah - there is that, too...

LarryWhistling
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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, August 16, 2019 9:09 PM

tree68

One problem often encountered with threads/posts such as this is the crusty old-timer who remembers that the same question was asked some time back, and gruffly (or even angrily) posts that the poster should learn to use the search function.

 

And if someone new has a comment or further question and reopens a long-dormant thread, you'll find people who get their nose out of joint over that.  Really, there's no way to win.

Most search functions and search engines seem to give me everything except what I'm looking for.  Even when I'm looking for something I posted in the past on here, it's very hard to find.

Jeff 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, August 16, 2019 9:22 PM

SD70Dude
But if there is no new crew available or that train is not proceeding further for some time (yard congestion and planned track work are common reasons) then the inbound crew will have to secure the train, and it will sit with no one onboard, sometimes for days.

Saw that repeatedly on the former L&N in Elizabethtown, KY which is South of the mini-mountain type grades South of Louisville, KY.    They would park a freight train the crew would lock it up and drive away and it would literally sit there for days on the siding......just short of Louisville.    Man if I were a rail customer and my shipment sat there parked just short of the destination I would be livid.    That was back around 1994-1995 though......hopefully it's better now.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 16, 2019 10:18 PM

CMStPnP
 
SD70Dude
But if there is no new crew available or that train is not proceeding further for some time (yard congestion and planned track work are common reasons) then the inbound crew will have to secure the train, and it will sit with no one onboard, sometimes for days. 

Saw that repeatedly on the former L&N in Elizabethtown, KY which is South of the mini-mountain type grades South of Louisville, KY.    They would park a freight train the crew would lock it up and drive away and it would literally sit there for days on the siding......just short of Louisville.    Man if I were a rail customer and my shipment sat there parked just short of the destination I would be livid.    That was back around 1994-1995 though......hopefully it's better now.

I have been watching YouTube videos on present day maritime industry.  Railroads are not unique in having terminal congestion that prevents arriving vessels from proceeding directly to their dock for either loading or unloading.  Vessels are held 'at anchorage' for days, sometimes weeks before they get authorization to dock.

In the late 1970s, early 1980's when the export coal market took off.  At one time the local newspapers reported that there were in excess of 100 vessels at anchorage off Annapolis waiting their turn to dock at the B&O Coal Pier at Curtis Bay.  Curtis Bay could load between 50K & 60K tons into a vessel in 24 hours - the maximum that they could handle with the channel depths in Baltimore Harbor.  After leaving Curtis Bay they would head down the Chesapeake Bay and load another 100K tons at the C&O Coal Pier at Newport News and then head across the pond to their ultimate destination.  The following video was made in May 2017 of a Maersk container ship transiting the Yangtze River near Shanghi - Note the vessels on the river.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FatmZFoTlw

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Posted by steve-in-kville on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:35 AM
I'm trying to wrap my head around the term "stringlining." Is when the train isn't kept tight and the car's couplers start rattle? I've heard the term "jack knifing" as well. Please explain.

Regards - Steve

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:50 AM

steve-in-kville
I'm trying to wrap my head around the term "stringlining." Is when the train isn't kept tight and the car's couplers start rattle? I've heard the term "jack knifing" as well. Please explain.

Take a string and start moving it up a curving right of way with a relatively heavy weight at the trailing end of the string.  What happens to the string?

Jack knifing is more appropriate to trucking where in the rear of the trailer and the nose of the tractor are facing in nominally the same direction.

In the railroad context it would be where the buff forces of the kinetic energy of the rear of the train act upon the head end of the train that has already stopped.

The forces in a train are draft and buff - draft being where the locomotives on the head head end pull the train.  Buff is where the forces of the train push the locomotives.  The locomotive engineer's job is to manage the buff and draft forces to get the train over the territory without damage to the train.

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Posted by steve-in-kville on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:57 AM
So there would obviously be a lot of force to the inside rail? Potentially causing a derail?

Regards - Steve

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 17, 2019 11:01 AM

steve-in-kville
So there would obviously be a lot of force to the inside rail? Potentially causing a derail?

Yes - more than the wheel flange/rail head interface can support if the car doesn't have enough weight to keep that interface intact.

Most railroads have trailing tonnage restrictions concerning long (nominally 80 foot and longer) empty cars in certain territories of high curvature and grades.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, August 17, 2019 2:28 PM

Jack knifing a train is more apt to happen when shoving a train or part of it, for example when making a set-out.  Railroads, ours does and I imagine all the major ones do, have limits for how much power (engines on-line, throttle positions, how much air brake applied) can be used when shoving cars.

Jeff  

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Posted by Psychot on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 3:57 AM

Hey y’all - First-time poster, though I’ve been browsing the forum for some time now. 

 

I have a question for the engineers that post here, if you would indulge me: in DP operations, do you often use the “fence” to control the DPs separately in order to control slack action etc., or is that a relatively rare thing?

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 12:36 PM

Psychot

Hey y’all - First-time poster, though I’ve been browsing the forum for some time now. 

 

I have a question for the engineers that post here, if you would indulge me: in DP operations, do you often use the “fence” to control the DPs separately in order to control slack action etc., or is that a relatively rare thing?

 

Depends on the train and where the train is at.  I use the fence a lot, especially on loaded bulk commodity trains and long manifests.  Other engineers maybe not as much.

When the auto throttle energy managment systems (LEADER or Trip Optimizer) are engaged, they always put the fence up and run the DP separate from the lead.  Sometimes, IMO, not in the best fashion.

Jeff        

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Posted by Psychot on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 12:43 AM

Thanks!

So what percentage of UP locomotives have Leader or Trip Optimizer? And if they’re installed, are you required to use them?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:44 AM

Psychot
Thanks!

So what percentage of UP locomotives have Leader or Trip Optimizer? And if they’re installed, are you required to use them?

Virtually all GE and EMD road locomotives produced in the 21st Century have been equipped with either Trip Optimizer (GE) or Leader (EMD) and some from the last century are also equipped.  Don't know UP policy.  CSX policy is that they are to be used in the name of 'fuel economy', or at least that was what was stated by the Senior Road Foreman of Engines when he conducted a 'staff meeting' for my division's Train Dispatchers back when I was working.

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Posted by traisessive1 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:07 AM

ON CN:

No EMD engines with Leader. 

Any GE locomotives equipped with Trip Op must have it engaged when in the lead position if the trip is in the computer. 

It's the worst. It's sloooooow and very cautious. Always slowing down way before you need to and loves to run well under the speed limit. 

10000 feet and no dynamics? Today is going to be a good day ... 

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