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F.R.E.D.

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F.R.E.D.
Posted by switch7frg on Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:43 AM

QuestionWho is responsible for  the tail end device on the train , and where are those kept  ??   How do those folk keep track of them?  Just curious.  

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Posted by henry6 on Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:52 AM

Each one is numbered and assigned to a train by a yardmaster, trainmaster, or dispatcher.  The train crew will sign it out and surrender at end of run to yardmaster or next crew. 

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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:55 AM

FRED is the conductor's responsibility on most railroads, depending on what flavor he is. In his off hours, he sits in a rack near a train crew's on duty point or engine facility. The menchanical department or communications folks try to keep him in good repair.

Interesting where these things get found along the R/W when they and IBC's decide to get lost. (the same applies to IBC's)....I've found a few.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, June 10, 2012 11:35 AM

mudchicken

FRED is the conductor's responsibility on most railroads, depending on what flavor he is. In his off hours, he sits in a rack near a train crew's on duty point or engine facility. The menchanical department or communications folks try to keep him in good repair.

Interesting where these things get found along the R/W when they and IBC's decide to get lost. (the same applies to IBC's)....I've found a few.

M.C.

    Mischief Would the above be considered a Dead FRED ? Homicide or Suicide? Dead

         Do many Flung FREDS survive?Blindfold

 

 


 

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, June 10, 2012 12:09 PM

If a train lost a FRED en-route, wouldn't the engineer know of it right away. Maybe since it takes a mile or more to stop a train they may never find it again, but they will know it is gone. Yes?

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, June 10, 2012 12:10 PM

We used to have a rack by the yard office, but now the car men take care of them.  If one is needed by a thru train, the car men or MIC (mechanic in charge) brings one out.  (The conductor is the one that has to change out the EOT.  For the car man/mic to do it they would have to blue flag the train.)  The yard utility man also may have one or two in their truck from trains that came in and terminated.  Although most out there are air-operated, there still are some battery operated ones.  The car men take care of the batteries too.  I haven't seen a charger for EOT batteries in quite a while.  It seems like most EOTs that I see listed as battery operated anymore are foriegn line ones.

I've seen some EOTs with a semi-permanent UPS tag to allow the finder to return it to the owner.  

Jeff 

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Posted by edblysard on Sunday, June 10, 2012 12:54 PM

Jeff,

Same with us, car dept. takes care of them.

They take them off the inbound trains when the foreign crew doesn't.

Because we set up outbound UP, BNSF and KCS trains, we get quite a collection of them.

When a foreign crew cabs in to pick up a train and brings their own, they have to tote it around and watch out for it.

Same as Jeff, conductor has to hang it...unless we set the train up on ground air and hang the EOT on the last double over, then our car men just grab one from the appropriate collection and hang it.

Find them all over the place, not real sure why, you would think if one failed the crew would just leave it hanging and close up the rear of the train, but the things are all along the UP East Belt ROW, just like they were tossed off and left on purpose.

Down here, crews just note the EOT number on their paperwork; they don't check them out from anyone.

About once a week, the trainmaster from all 3 of our member lines will show up and raid our stash of EOT, taking them back to their respective yards/terminals.

Our car men have a few steel lockers hidden around, they always have one or two tucked away just in case.

23 17 46 11

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:20 PM

Our FREDs just flash - no fancy radios, air hoses, or anything.  We're required to have a lighted FRED on the rear of the train, otherwise we'd probably just use a flag.

Any of the HOS crew can hang FRED on the coupler after securing proper protection. 

When he's not on the train, FRED sits in the office on charge, although since we changed the bulbs to LED's FRED will probably flash for several days on one charge.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:45 PM

April 11, 2011 photo of FRED rack at NS' Allentown Yard hump (east end):

 

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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, June 10, 2012 11:09 PM

samfp1943

 mudchicken:

FRED is the conductor's responsibility on most railroads, depending on what flavor he is. In his off hours, he sits in a rack near a train crew's on duty point or engine facility. The menchanical department or communications folks try to keep him in good repair.

Interesting where these things get found along the R/W when they and IBC's decide to get lost. (the same applies to IBC's)....I've found a few.

 

M.C.

    Mischief Would the above be considered a Dead FRED ? Homicide or Suicide? Dead

         Do many Flung FREDS survive?Blindfold

Runaway FRED

The smart FREDS with radio and telemetry onboard are ex$pen$ive rascals. Some of the dumb FREDS (some have no impeller or air gauge) are virtual antiques. Found one in tree branches and another drowned downstream in an arroyo/gulch. (and then there are the coupled- into ones)....

Freds tend to be tough little boogers.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by JoeKoh on Monday, June 11, 2012 6:22 AM

people can be picky with their freds.A freight train on csx had a damaged one but the intermodal terminal didn't want to give one of theirs up.So they had to wait until another fred came by from another train.

stay safe

Joe

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, June 11, 2012 6:45 AM

JoeKoh

people can be picky with their freds.A freight train on csx had a damaged one but the intermodal terminal didn't want to give one of theirs up.So they had to wait until another fred came by from another train.

stay safe

Joe

It is amazing the time crews try to waste on EOT problems.  Unless you are in specific territories where grades are involved - if the EOT fails enroute (at least on my carrier) the train may continue at 30 MPH.  With most of the crew runs on my territory being less than 200 miles and for trains that are not the Featured Premium trains (UPS etc.) time spent at a intermediate location trying to resolve EOT issues will rarely be regained on the balance of the run.  Running 30 MPH is moving, spending a hour or more trying to 'fix' the device just keeps you from your final terminal that much longer; especially since routine trains are generally only powered to be able to make 40 MPH when everything is working properly.

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Posted by dakotafred on Monday, June 11, 2012 8:15 AM

mudchicken

FRED is the conductor's responsibility on most railroads, depending on what flavor he is. In his off hours, he sits in a rack near a train crew's on duty point or engine facility. The menchanical department or communications folks try to keep him in good repair.

Interesting where these things get found along the R/W when they and IBC's decide to get lost. (the same applies to IBC's)....I've found a few.

How expensive is one of these buggers, anyway?

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, June 11, 2012 2:18 PM

dakotafred

 mudchicken:

FRED is the conductor's responsibility on most railroads, depending on what flavor he is. In his off hours, he sits in a rack near a train crew's on duty point or engine facility. The menchanical department or communications folks try to keep him in good repair.

Interesting where these things get found along the R/W when they and IBC's decide to get lost. (the same applies to IBC's)....I've found a few.

 

How expensive is one of these buggers, anyway?

In the quantities the Class 1 Carriers buy them - approx $5K each

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Posted by dakotafred on Monday, June 11, 2012 5:59 PM

Yikes, thank you, Balt.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 12:32 AM

tree68

Our FREDs just flash - no fancy radios, air hoses, or anything.  We're required to have a lighted FRED on the rear of the train, otherwise we'd probably just use a flag.

Any of the HOS crew can hang FRED on the coupler after securing proper protection. 

When he's not on the train, FRED sits in the office on charge, although since we changed the bulbs to LED's FRED will probably flash for several days on one charge.

There's a difference between a "FRED" and an "EOT".  A "FRED" is a "one way" device that has a flaching light and transmits air pressure information to the engineer.  An EOT is a "two-way" device that perfoms the functions of a FRED, but also permits the engineer to intitiate an emergency brake application from the device by radio command.  The end of train devices used on Class I roads are two way EOT's.

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:22 PM

Actually, Wikipedia lumps FRED, ETD, and EOT together, differentiating between them as "smart" and "dumb" (we've got the "dumb" kind).

Our FRED is a "no way" device.  It doesn't transmit anything.  It just hangs on the coupler and flashes.  It doesn't even have a guage attached (as do some "dumb" FREDs).

I'd opine that FRED (flashing rear end device), EOT (end of train), ETD (end of train device), and even "marker" are pretty much interchangable, with usage varying between railroads and regions more than anything else.

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Posted by CNW 6000 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:17 AM

BaltACD

It is amazing the time crews try to waste on EOT problems.  Unless you are in specific territories where grades are involved - if the EOT fails enroute (at least on my carrier) the train may continue at 30 MPH.  With most of the crew runs on my territory being less than 200 miles and for trains that are not the Featured Premium trains (UPS etc.) time spent at a intermediate location trying to resolve EOT issues will rarely be regained on the balance of the run.  Running 30 MPH is moving, spending a hour or more trying to 'fix' the device just keeps you from your final terminal that much longer; especially since routine trains are generally only powered to be able to make 40 MPH when everything is working properly.

Different strokes for different folks.  In my area there aren't too many places that a TM couldn't get to pretty quickly with a replacement device.  Two notable situations I've seen come to mind.
1) Southbound potash train had a marker go bad.  Dumped air & battery backup bad plus it was near twilight.  TM ran a new one out.
2) NB empty coal train had a car with rotary coupler on the end the marker was hung on.  The coupler kept tilting about 30 or so degrees and took the marker with it.  Apparently there's a "tilt alarm" (what the conductor kept saying over the radio) that makes a fun series of beeps on the Wabtec box...for 6 hours...

Dan

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:46 AM

When a non-DP coal train has EOT comm problems, the first thing asked the next train met, "Is Fred leaning?"  There is a device that is used on a rotary coupler to keep it from turning, but many times it isn't used.  We don't get an alarm, we just lose comm.  

FRED may not be the technically correct term, but it is used in conversation about has often as EOT.  I believe our air test slips ask for the ETD number, but in conversation it's usually Fred or EOT.  Sometimes it depends on what the main point of the conversation is.  If it's more formal, EOT is used.  More casual, Fred is often used.  It's kind of like Control Valve and Triple Valve.  It's almost universal that after an emergency application, undesired or just from cutting away from cars, especially in cold weather and the emergency portion doesn't reset, the crew will say they have a "stuck triple valve."  It's not correct, but is used anyway.

Jeff  

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:56 AM

CNW 6000

 BaltACD:

It is amazing the time crews try to waste on EOT problems.  Unless you are in specific territories where grades are involved - if the EOT fails enroute (at least on my carrier) the train may continue at 30 MPH.  With most of the crew runs on my territory being less than 200 miles and for trains that are not the Featured Premium trains (UPS etc.) time spent at a intermediate location trying to resolve EOT issues will rarely be regained on the balance of the run.  Running 30 MPH is moving, spending a hour or more trying to 'fix' the device just keeps you from your final terminal that much longer; especially since routine trains are generally only powered to be able to make 40 MPH when everything is working properly.

 

Different strokes for different folks.  In my area there aren't too many places that a TM couldn't get to pretty quickly with a replacement device.  Two notable situations I've seen come to mind.
1) Southbound potash train had a marker go bad.  Dumped air & battery backup bad plus it was near twilight.  TM ran a new one out.
2) NB empty coal train had a car with rotary coupler on the end the marker was hung on.  The coupler kept tilting about 30 or so degrees and took the marker with it.  Apparently there's a "tilt alarm" (what the conductor kept saying over the radio) that makes a fun series of beeps on the Wabtec box...for 6 hours...

Your TM's have EOT's at home?  For the most part, we have centralized Yardmasters at 'destination' terminals so there aren't any line of road yards with supervision to help.  Even when you can get a EOT at a line of road terminal, it takes a minimum of a hour to attach it and get 'the button pushed' to register it with the HTD and get the crew on the head end ready to go; 2/3 of the time the real problem is with the HTD on the locomotive and that can't be changed outside of a locomotive shop or service center.  For a premium intermodal train it is worth the efforts as they still have several hundred more miles to run, for divisional merchandise and bulk commodity trains, their normal running speed vs. 30 MPH that is allowed with a malfunctioning EOT makes time spent 'screwing' with the EOT a bad time investment; as their normal running speeds will not be significantly above 30 MPH for any real sustained time.

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Posted by CNW 6000 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:19 AM

I doubt that they keep them at home.  As I said above...marker wouldn't hold air and someone was close who could get a marker there in 20 minutes or less.  I'm just reporting on what i saw.

Dan

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