A coupling question

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Ralph, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I took today off from work and have been blessed with a beautiful day to be outside. Part of it I spent walking the half mile to where the Wisconsin Central has a small yard located near a diamond crossing. I timed my trip well and watched a string of cars being backed into another long line of mixed freight cars. Once they were coupled I observed the brakeman connect the air hoses and then he did something I didn't understand. He grabbed some sort of bar just above the truck of the car he'd been riding and made several ratcheting movements up and down. Shortly after that I heard the hiss of air along the length of the train and it was underway. What was that ratcheting move about?
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    After he made the joint he coupled the air hoses and cut the air in. Then he released the hand brake. Some hand brakes have a handle that you pull or push away from the hand brake wheel, depending on which side he was standing on. They don't always release on the first try so the ratchet looking movement. The air hiss you heard had nothing to do with the hand brake. It was releasing and just happened to coincide with his releasing of the hand brake. Hope this helps answer your question.

  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    That makes sense! Thanks for the info Greg!
  4. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    The bar in question is a brake stick. The railroads trying to cut down on injuries have been using the brake stick in certain yards. I don't think it is mandatory on all the railroads, but they have been in use in my terminal for a little over a year. Not many guys use them because they already have enough to carry around with them while at work.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    One of the best features of this forum is the experience of professional railroaders.
    Thanks guys!

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