Trains.com

Hostling a B Unit

5098 views
20 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2017
  • 16 posts
Hostling a B Unit
Posted by IC EC on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:09 PM

All,

I'm curious how often B units were/are moved individually.  Did/do railroads usually move them connected with an A unit?  I read somewhere B units could only move on their own at notch 2.

Thanks,

IC EC

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • 573 posts
Posted by pajrr on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:22 PM

Most "B" units had control stands for limited self movement capability. As for going to only notch 2, you are in a railyard. No need to be able to do high speed or long distances.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,591 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:26 PM

Many EMD B units had basic operator controls on one side of the locomotive near a porthole.

This is why some FT B units had a 5th porthole for instance, which signified that it had hostler controls and allowed the operator to look out to see where he was going. 

  • Member since
    March 2013
  • 711 posts
Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:51 PM

The control stand is shoehorned in on the right hand (engineman's) side corridor inside the unit.  It has a reverser, throttle (only a couple notches as previously mentioned) and an independant brake valve, but no automatic brake valve (not needed when moving only locomotives).  Also our unit doesn't seem to have a bell but it does have a one note horn (Leslie A-200 maybe?) and a whistle cord above the other controls.

And the control stand is indeed right beside/underneath the aforementioned fifth porthole, whose glass sits on a hinge and can be folded down so the engineer/hostler can stick his head out the window and see a bit better.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    February 2017
  • 16 posts
Posted by IC EC on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 5:01 AM

Is it possible to move two B unts together?

RME
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 2,073 posts
Posted by RME on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:15 AM

IC EC
Is it possible to move two B units together?

Relatively easy to move them simply by 'towing' the second one (or others) isolated, without connecting anything electrically.  Hard to imagine a situation where you'd have something like an A-B-B consist where the A unit would suffer a disabling failure, like a TM bearing failure or wheel problem due to undetected wheelslip, and you'd need to move the train with only MUed B units without attaching a substitute cab.

Preston Cook would know a definitive answer to this for different stages of F-unit evolution.

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Rhode Island
  • 2,289 posts
Posted by carnej1 on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:06 PM

 Interestingly some industrial users, particularly coal mines, bought retired EMD F sereies B units and converted them into switchers.

http://worldwiderails.tumblr.com/post/88480642853/a-truly-unique-machine-the-haysi-1-a-former

 While most commonly these locomotives were set up to be operated by radio remote control I have seen images of converted B units that were operated by an onboard engineer. They had windows added but I've never seen a pic of one with anything like a full windshield.

 I've read that some railfans in coal country referred to them as "Bug slugs" even though they weren't technically slugs. There have of course been F units converted to unpowered road slugs;KCS was a user and I believe the Milwaukee Road was as well....

"I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

  • Member since
    November 2015
  • 1,251 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, February 26, 2017 1:46 PM

You can move a B-Unit by itself in the yard or in the shop, but they can not be so controlled on the maineline. 

RME
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 2,073 posts
Posted by RME on Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:21 PM

ATSFGuy
You can move a B-Unit by itself in the yard or in the shop, but they can not be so controlled on the mainline.

Well, their little control had only two notches -- so don't expect too much speed!

Be interesting to see if any of the 'bug slugs' were rebuilt with a full control stand or something that could tap into the relays to give coordinated 'higher notches' for higher engine output and making transition.

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,400 posts
Posted by NDG on Sunday, February 26, 2017 10:16 PM

 

I know very little about Hostler Control, but, HAVE seen B-Units moving alone controlled by same. Light Years ago.

These manuals may inform schematically how control is obtained, electrically, and IF it can be MUed to coupled locomotives??

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/alco-em.html

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/rs2-master.html


This one from CLC is heavy in schematics.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/clc-opsman.pdf


From this site.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/manual.html


Hostler's Control 244 B Unit. Scroll down.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/manual/rs2-opspro.html


AFAIK.

The pin can be removed to operate Diesel Engine in SHOPS thru No. 8, using controller shown. Locomotive STATIONARY.

I do NOT know if control A B C D or whatever to operate Governor is 'TRAINLINED' to MU Receptacles to Rev. other locomotives in Consist.

Ditto Air Brake Function to coupled Units thru hoses.

There is an Urban Legend story about a load test being done on a locomotive. Someone plugged in a Jumper Cable for a later move, and THAT second  locomotive went to RUN 8, dragging the first locomotive into the Turntable Pit, putting it out of action for quite some time.

May be true??

Thank You.

RME
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 2,073 posts
Posted by RME on Monday, February 27, 2017 3:24 AM

NDG
I do NOT know if control A B C D or whatever to operate Governor is 'TRAINLINED' to MU Receptacles to Rev. other locomotives in Consist.

I believe wires 3, 7, 12, and 15 in the MU jumper cable correspond to governor D, C, B, and A respectively.  The 'eight notches' come from binary control involving combinations of the relays on the governor.  (The notch 'number' isn't obtained by simple binary addition, though, as with something like SCSI: energizing D alone stops the engine, and the notch positions are:

Notch 1, idle, all four off.

Notch 2: A

Notch 3: C

Notch 4: A, C

Notch 5: B, C, and D

Notch 6: A, B, C, and D

Notch 7: B, C

Notch 8: A, B, C)

Randy Stahl and Preston Cook can probably explain or account for how you could get Run 8 'logically' by plugging a cable into a nominally standing or idling unit.  I for one would like to know what would have to happen, procedurally and electrically, inside the standing unit to have sufficient voltage (maybe not +74V) on just A, B, and C but no power on D.  Would this be the case if the controller were in notch 8 but the engine cut off with the external fuel-pump cutoff?

  • Member since
    March 2021
  • 59 posts
Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Thursday, April 1, 2021 5:49 PM

Since this thread didn't distinguish between B units of the DMU or EMU type, I thought I would comment on how a EMU B unit of BART worked. There were hostlers controls at each end(x & y) of the B units and at the opposite end of the motorpersons cab(x) of the A unit. These panels had a uncouple button, a reverse jog, a horn button and a propulsion handle. The propulsion handle was spring loaded to the down position and when lifting the handle past the second click, the brakes would fully release and the car would begin to move...limited to a very slow speed for use in the yard. The reverse jog would move the car a few feet in reverse after electrically uncoupling the car. Any hostling control could move a single car or if coupled in a consist, move the entire consist through MU control. It was always mandated that line of sight vision of the trackway be maintained when hostling a car, either through the end door window or via radio to a second person posted in a cab or end door. When hostling was occurring, amber lights on the exterior of the units ends would illuminate warning trackside personnel of possible train movement. I understand earlier EMU's (circa 1948), hostler station usually had a brake dump handle, a reverse handle and a two click controller but have never seen picture...  

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,161 posts
Posted by wjstix on Monday, April 5, 2021 2:47 PM

Leo_Ames
This is why some FT B units had a 5th porthole for instance, which signified that it had hostler controls and allowed the operator to look out to see where he was going.

Originally, FT B-units were designed to only run connected by a drawbar to an FT-A unit. Later in it's construction EMD made some adjustments to allow a coupler to be used instead of the drawbar, since some railroads wanted to be able to use the A and B units separately. Those later B-units would be the ones that could have the hostler controls and fifth porthole on one side.

I assume on later F-units the hostler controls, if present, would be located near one of the usual portholes on the side, so there would be no way to tell from the outside if the B-unit had the hostler controls or not.

Stix
  • Member since
    March 2021
  • 59 posts
Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Monday, April 5, 2021 5:41 PM

There was quite a evolution from early MU control schemes. Early patents of 1900 from Frank Sprague for electric interurbans running in MU mode consisted of 10 conductor wire jumper from unit to unit. The number of MU conductor wires seemed to increase in later years with the deployment of electrical contact boards attached to the couplers In lieu of jumpers. I am unsure of when the 37 wire standard used in modern DMU's came about. Some modern EMU's have 100 wires in their coupler contact boards, some include LAN data, etc...

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 1,768 posts
Posted by MMLDelete on Monday, April 5, 2021 10:24 PM

SD70M-2Dude

The control stand is shoehorned in on the right hand (engineman's) side corridor inside the unit.  It has a reverser, throttle (only a couple notches as previously mentioned) and an independant brake valve, but no automatic brake valve (not needed when moving only locomotives).  Also our unit doesn't seem to have a bell but it does have a one note horn (Leslie A-200 maybe?) and a whistle cord above the other controls.

And the control stand is indeed right beside/underneath the aforementioned fifth porthole, whose glass sits on a hinge and can be folded down so the engineer/hostler can stick his head out the window and see a bit better.

 

I'm confused.

You said the open porthole enables the hostler to see "better."

In addition to what? Is there a porthole or window at that end (as opposed to on a side) of the carbody?

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,325 posts
Posted by zugmann on Monday, April 5, 2021 10:30 PM

Lithonia Operator
In addition to what? Is there a porthole or window at that end (as opposed to on a side) of the carbody?

Just move until you hear something expensive? 

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 3,358 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, April 5, 2021 10:39 PM

Better than nothing.

If the window is closed you can see through it, but your switchman has to be standing right outside the window for you to see his hand signals.  

If the window is open you can lean over the controls and stick your head outside.  Not exactly ergonomic, but it worked.

On EMD freight units you might be able to sort of see out the front door if it were open, but the steam generator would be in the way if the unit had one (CN's had two).

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,167 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Monday, April 5, 2021 11:16 PM

zugmann

 

 
Lithonia Operator
In addition to what? Is there a porthole or window at that end (as opposed to on a side) of the carbody?

 

Just move until you hear something expensive? 

 

Switching via braille method.

 

CB&Q's (BN's) Havelock shops kept a GP9B (604/1709) around for this purpose. BN, the big dumb dinosaur it remained to the end, kept the practice until the shops closed because of clearance issues. (They eventually added a half cab engineer's porch to the thing for the ergonomic reason stated earlier)

 

 

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
  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 1,768 posts
Posted by MMLDelete on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 1:05 AM

Oh. Better than if the porthole was closed! Got it.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,161 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 4:29 PM

Remember it's only for moving the B unit a short distance, like onto the turntable then into a roundhouse stall, or to connect it up to another engine in a lash-up of diesels.

Stix
  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 10,242 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:06 AM

I watched a couple SAL B units being moved separately  back and forth  thru the interlocking at Jacksonville terminal RR.  They had both an engine bell while moving and used horn signals when changing directions.  Being new to those units I was completely floored. Forget what kind of horn.

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