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Distributed Air Brake Cars on Canadian National

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Distributed Air Brake Cars on Canadian National
Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:03 PM

    The March 2009 issue of TRAINS contains an article by Dan Calabrese on  new technologies in use on the CN in Canada; where there are Distributed Braking Cars. These cars are used in flat terrain to facilitate longer trains without using additional locos as Distributed Power. The cars resolve a winter problem of very cold weather, shrinking gaskets, obviously a real problem on the Canadian plaines.

  My question is directed to the specific of what, exactly is a distributed brake car?  The article mentions air compressors and generators as part of the equipment involved in the process. Are these cars made out of old locomotive chassises that have been worn out? Are they made out of old cabooses, or box cars? 

 Some years back the Southern Railray used old boxcars to house their LOCOTROL units that were coupled to locomotives spliced into heavy trains; the Locotrol units were somewhere about the size of a couple of desks in the boxcar.    Are these distributed air brake cars a similar use of old boxcars?

Does anyone have any ideas or even photos, I hope I'm not the only one with a curiosity about this.Confused

 

 


 

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Posted by jrbernier on Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:16 PM

  Nothing new here.  GN/BN/BNSF have had a fleet of 'Air Repeater' cars for many years.  Most I have seen are older 40' & 50' cars that have a compressor/air tank that helps keep train line air pressure up in cold weather.  DPU locomotives can provide the same action.  Here is a link to a picture of an 'air' car:

http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr0001/bn8.jpg

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by Boyd on Friday, January 30, 2009 12:46 AM

These cars are probably placed in the middle or maybe 2/3 back from the locos. I'm guessing they have their own engine, compressor and some type of remote controll via the engines. 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, January 30, 2009 11:41 AM

samfp1943
. . . These cars are used in flat terrain to facilitate longer trains without using additional locos as Distributed Power. The cars resolve a winter problem of very cold weather, shrinking gaskets, obviously a real problem on the Canadian plaines. . . .

[emphasis added - PDN]

Makes sense - adding more locos part-way back in the train wouldn't be needed, because the several locos up front already have enough power to move at the required speed over the flat terrain.  Also, moving one or more of the front locos to the middle of the train would add that complication (and any required initial tests of the brakes, etc.), plus the costs of the remote controls on both the front and the remotes.  But, another source of air is needed partway back to counteract the air leakage, etc.  This seems to be a sharp way to provide just what is actually needed, without overkill = added costs and complexity.

- Paul North.

 

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Posted by xtrack42 on Friday, January 30, 2009 10:56 PM

 

Here's a photo of one  in CN's  Sarcee Yard, Calgary Ab.

http://gallery.mac.com/photo2day#100016/P1300079&bgcolor=black

 

Laurence

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Posted by stmtrolleyguy on Monday, February 23, 2009 12:49 AM

 I've seen some photos of a new type of repeater car for end-of-train service.

This new type of air repeater car isn't a car at all, but a shipping container with a compressor, air tanks, and even the flashing lights required of an EOT built in.  Instead of needed a specific car, just leave the last container slot of the train open, drop in the brake repeater container, and away you go.

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=272091

StmTrolleyguy
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Posted by CNW 6000 on Monday, February 23, 2009 8:47 AM

Shame those cars probably won't make it down this way, that's neat.

Dan

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Posted by CShaveRR on Monday, February 23, 2009 9:40 AM
Don't be too sure about that, Dan! Over on Trainorders.com, there's a "What is this" photo of a Wisconsin Central car that looks an awful lot like the CN car referenced above (except that it's gray, and was rebuilt from a double-plug-door insulated car).

Carl

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Posted by CNW 6000 on Thursday, September 3, 2009 9:41 AM

Any idea what that number is/was?  I'm going to try to model one of these cars.

Dan

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, September 3, 2009 11:18 AM

stmtrolleyguy

 I've seen some photos of a new type of repeater car for end-of-train service.

......Sounds interesting.  What kind of brake functions does this device perform......and does it perform any other needed services for the consist...?   I expect {by noting their designs}, the warning red light bars possibly might be flashing LED hi intensity lights.....To be seen much easier than typical FRED's.

Quentin

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Thursday, September 3, 2009 10:18 PM

Modelcar
To be seen much easier than typical FRED's.

 

A typical EOT is visible more then enough as it is. Some are blindingly bright with the LED arrays they use now.

 

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Posted by jchnhtfd on Friday, September 4, 2009 9:39 AM

 

From what I've read -- and I could surely be wrong, have been before! -- they can recharge the train line (their own air compressors) but... they can also dump the air in an emergency (and possibly in a normal application) since many EOT devices now have two-way communication with the head end.
Jamie
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Posted by Kootenay Central on Friday, September 4, 2009 6:25 PM

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