Post #2 about helpers

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Post #2 about helpers
Posted by CW45 on Friday, July 06, 2018 8:45 AM

I understand the placement of helper in long heavy trains, and how to avoid tearing couplers out, but, whether in the middle, end, or both,  how does the engineer know how much to push?  On a train using a rear pusher, how does he know that somewhere in the middle of a long train he can't fully see, he's not doubling it over on itself?  Is he watching the traction motor current to determine how much to push?  How did they determine how much to push during the heyday of steam?

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 06, 2018 9:51 AM

CW45
I understand the placement of helper in long heavy trains, and how to avoid tearing couplers out, but, whether in the middle, end, or both,  how does the engineer know how much to push?  On a train using a rear pusher, how does he know that somewhere in the middle of a long train he can't fully see, he's not doubling it over on itself?  Is he watching the traction motor current to determine how much to push?  How did they determine how much to push during the heyday of steam?

Being qualified on the territory!  Engineers on both the head end and helpers KNOW the territory where the blips and sags are that create train handling issues.  In the steam age Whistle signals were the primary means of communication between the engineers involved in moving a train.  In the present era radio communication is used.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by CW45 on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:24 AM

Well, you explained the communication involved, but not what indicators the engineer watched for.  The Belton coal train here in Western NC had mid train and end pushers to get to and then down the Saluda Grade.  I don't think they just put it in run 8 and sat back.  There had to be some indication of not enough or too much.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:02 AM

It all comes under the mysterious heading of experience (apologies to Dan Ranger).  The engineers know their location on the line and adjust accordingly.  They also have a feel for how the train is handling.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 8:17 AM

CW45
Well, you explained the communication involved, but not what indicators the engineer watched for.  The Belton coal train here in Western NC had mid train and end pushers to get to and then down the Saluda Grade.  I don't think they just put it in run 8 and sat back.  There had to be some indication of not enough or too much.

Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!

Being a Engineer in any territory is a learning experience - train by train, trip by trip.  Gaining the 'feel' of how the train handles, how it accelerates, how it brakes, how the slack moves throughout the train in both draft and buff modes.  Engineers have various landmarks on their trips where they have certain expectations of what a properly handling train will be doing and what form of control inputs (additional power, additional air braking, additional dynamic braking).  From experience the head end engineer knows what he is looking for, the helper engineer also knows what he is looking for.  Where DPU is involved the engineer also knows where the DPU is located in the train and what kind of operating statistics he is looking for the DPU set to be showing at any point on the route.

Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!

In some cases Timetable Special Instructions may specify specific train handling instructions for engineers to comply with in their battle with grades - both ascending and descending.

Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!

The easier part of mountain railroading is getting the train up the grade, you either make it or you stall.  The descent is where the engineers real skills get displayed - they either get the train down the grade safely and under control or they lose control and have a runaway - that will normally end up in a large derailment.

Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!
Experience!  Experience!  Experience!

There is no substitute for experience.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 8:27 AM

CW45
The Belton coal train here in Western NC had mid train and end pushers to get to and then down the Saluda Grade. I don't think they just put it in run 8 and sat back. There had to be some indication of not enough or too much.

Strange you should mention this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IABM8UPplY

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