Trains.com

Helper configuration

5275 views
6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2015
  • 390 posts
Posted by Enzoamps on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 9:37 PM

Pushers quite often were on the rear, but that would make my original question irrelevant.  No way to MU helpers on the rear to locos up front.  Not in those days anyway.

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • 22 posts
Posted by acmatth on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 8:20 AM

Except foor troop trains during WWII.  My father distinctly remembered travelling to Ft. Knox from Baltimore on a troop train through the mountains between Cumberland and Grafton with the pushers on the rear.  I guess the G.I.s didn't rate the same treatment as paying passengers and it was easier to cut off the helpers on the fly. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,258 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 1:37 PM

timz
 
Enzoamps
They added a pair of GP9s to the front as helpers. 

What do you mean by "helpers"? An actual helper, with its own engineer, or just two extra units with no added engineer? Could be either one, for all we know.

When Helpers are referenced, they are operated by a Helper Crew consisting of a Engineer and a Flagman (at least under the 'B&O' Agreement on CSX).  Helpers will operate from their normal 'attaching point' to their cut off point, the light power of the Helpers will then return to their starting point to be in position to assist another train.

Added power that is coupled and MU'd into a train's existing power will operate on the train until the next terminal or wayside set out point for the power.  The set out power will remain at the set out point until either a crew is called to operate it from the set out point as a train or another train picks up the power at the set out point and moves or uses the power in its normal operations.

When railroaders referrence 'Helper' they are normally referring to a manned locomotive consist that is added to a existing train for assistance over a defined segment of the existing trains route, once that segment has been transited the Helper will cut off and return to its original location. 

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 869 posts
Posted by mvlandsw on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:36 PM

When I worked helpers on the head end of a train I would fully MU my power to the trains power. This gave me full control of the engine consist without depending on the other engineer to do anything.

Rules required that at least the trainline had to be connected and the automatic brake valve on the trailing unit cutout.

We never cut off head end helpers without stopping but I did see that done on the Milwaukee Road east of Butte, Montanna.

Mark Vinski

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • 2,031 posts
Posted by timz on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:11 PM

Enzoamps
They added a pair of GP9s to the front as helpers.

What do you mean by "helpers"? An actual helper, with its own engineer, or just two extra units with no added engineer? Could be either one, for all we know.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,258 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 12, 2021 10:39 PM

Enzoamps
Was rereading a Classic Trains issue for the hundredth time... A long passenger train starting into a grade with some F7s on the front.  They added a pair of GP9s to the front as helpers.

In such a situation, do they simply MU the helpers to the main F unit power?   Or do they run the helpers separately as they would with steam, thus making it easier to cut them off at the top of the grade?

Passenger trains - in both the steam and diesel era's got their helper engines on the head end of the train.  The diesel Helpers ARE NOT MU'd to the road power - they just couple the air brake line through.  

I suspect, but don't know for a fact - the diesel Helper may just couple to the head end power of the passenger train, without coupling up the air brake trainline and thus being able to uncouple on the fly (anglecocks on E & F cab units were not easily accessable to on board personnel).

Back, Back in the day the B&O would attach head end steam helpers to passenger trains that had diesel road power to get the trains over Sand Patch and the grades between Cumberland and Grafton.

  • Member since
    April 2015
  • 390 posts
Helper configuration
Posted by Enzoamps on Monday, July 12, 2021 9:56 PM

Was rereading a Classic Trains issue for the hundredth time... A long passenger train starting into a grade with some F7s on the front.  They added a pair of GP9s to the front as helpers.

In such a situation, do they simply MU the helpers to the main F unit power?   Or do they run the helpers separately as they would with steam, thus making it easier to cut them off at the top of the grade?

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy