All in a days work

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by brakie, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    While working on the C&O under the Chessie banner I transfered from the Big Sandy SD to the Cincinnati SD..After completing my required student trips to qualify I was called to protect the job as a head brakeman on a transfer run to a rail to barge trans-loading facility at South Shore Ky about 30 miles from the Russell yard.This should be a piece of cake-easy money.Take the loads,drop them off,pick up the empties and return to Russell.

    The engineer and I went to get the unit consist while the conductor and rear brakeman was taken to the train.The first sign of trouble was the unit consist make up..We had 3 Chessie GP40 the lead unit was a B&O unit..We would need to switch that out as a B&O unit could not lead on C&O track due to the signal system in the cab unless it had the C&O type of signal pick up in the cab which this unit did not.It had the straight B&O signal pick up(apparently this unit was a trailing unit on a train off the Northern SD or the Cincinnati SD) we switch this unit out and made it the second unit in the consist with a C&O unit on both ends.The DS,conductor and rear brakeman was advised of the new lead unit number.After coupling on to our train pumping up the air and making a inspection we was ready to high ball and that we did after getting clearance out of the yard and lined up for the main.
    We made it as far as the first bad dip in the track about 7 miles out of Russell -then WHAM! the train goes into emergency.Well nothing to do but walk the train to see what happen..The rear man would begin his walk from the caboose..About 73 cars deep we found a air line pop loose.Ok..No real problem so we thought.
    Before recoupling the cars we noticed that the coupler on the both cars was CLOSED!!! What?? Ok,so I open the coupler and told the engineer to ease her east and was good for 12-14 cars before making a joint.We made the joint and notice we had about 1/4 of a coupler doing the work due to a very low coupler on the car we just coupled on to..:mad: Well,Lets try it and see what happens we might make it to South Shore.Again the air was pump up and the train was inspected..Off we go.2 miles down the line outside of Greenup Ky-WHAM! back into emergency.Again the same problem this time the conductor came to look over the situation.Not please he radioed the DS and told him about the problem and that he would like to sit the car off at Limeville so the carmen could fix it..No dice-if you are that close to South Shore after you get to Limeville you just it take on to South Shore.
    So we repeated our steps as above and headed off on down the line and made it as far as Limeville before we went back into emergency.Well the old conductor had enough of this problem..He started to walk down the track..He was gone about 20 minutes before he return carrying some spikes.He said, Larry left up on that coupler and I will fix the problem.The rear brakeman had been sent to protect the rear of our train.The conductor wedges the spikes in the coupler box under the coupler and raised the height of the coupler where we could make a fairly good joint and that we did..We finish the run without any more problems and return to Russell in about 9 hours..If all went well we would have returned in about 4 or 5 hours depending on Limeville(the junction where the Cincinnati SD,the Northern SD and the Russell SD join together) and getting clearance into the yard.
    The Russell SD runs from Limeville to Russell.
  2. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Good Morning Larry.
    Forgot a roll of Duct tape on this run did ya :D :D
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Just a little spike shim will do ya! :thumb: Good thinking! Brakie, could you say a little about signal systems in the cab? Are you saying there is some sort of indicator in the cab in addition to the signal lights along the line?
  4. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Another great slice of RR life story Brakie! Another question for you. What happens when the train goes into emergency -- warning lights/bells, or does it shut down?

    Thanks for the great story. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

  5. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I know on the NE Corridor, they have "Cab Signals" . It (They) show Your block, and the 2 blocks in front of you. There are always 3 signals present inside the cab. :) Usually on the Post along side of the enginneer's window, in a line from bottom (Your block) to top (Block 3). I used to ride in the rear of the MU cars standing up & watch the signals. I could always tell if we had to stop for an Amtrak train, or we had a clear (Highball). :D :D :D

    A Clear would get me to my home station in 25 minutes, a "Stop" would mean an extra 8 - 12 minute wait. This was very important information on a Friday night :D :D :) :) :D :D
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    In the cab of locomotives you will find a cab signal indicator that picks up the line side signals so the engineer will know what the next signal indication will be before he can see the signal and if he will need to slow down or stop in some cases..That B&O GP40 had the B&O 5 position light indicator in the cab.The C&O use the standard 3 light signal except near and at junctions or passing sidings..If you will closely check pictures of the Chessie railroad you will see A B&O unit leading the unit consist on the B&O and a C&O unit lead while on C&O.This was due to the railroads 1.Using different type of signals and having different cab indicators.2 None of the Chessie roads was merged during the Chessie era.The mergers would not happen till AFTER the formation of CSX...The Chessie System was a parent company for the C&O,B&O and WM.
    Val,When a train goes into emergency brake application the engine and train brakes apply stopping the train..You will hear the air escaping though through the brake valve in the cab..Also the air pressure gauge will drop.
    Ralph,That conductor had 44 years of experience and knew just about every trick of the trade.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Larry, I've wonderd for a while--
    Who is allowed to make up and break up consists? Is it the engine crew? Are there any union jurisdiction problems?
    I was having the same problems with a caboose. I had changed the trucks after I got it assembled and the coupling was only half coupled. Put the original trucks back and everything lined up.
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    David asks:
    Who is allowed to make up and break up consists? Is it the engine crew?
    Normally that would be the job of a engine hostler and not the train crew..However there are exceptions.The train crew can add a unit or remove a unit en-route,at a out laying yard,a branch line yard and in the event of road failure.The engineer(or fireman when diesels had them) must connect the MU hoses unless that work rule changed over the years..I will not even pretend to know todays work rules as much as change since 1984 when I last worked on the railroad..Now a engineer can make emergency repairs to get the unit running again if he/she can..If not the unit will be DIT(dead-in-tow) and if it is the lead unit it will be switch out to the rear of the unit consist if possible.I have,at times ,rode the lead unit sounding the horns for grade crossings while the engineer operated the units from the second unit in the consists.We would switch the units out at the first trailing point switch we would come to.

    About your caboose..Sounds like the wheels was not the correct size..If your caboose had 33" wheels and the other trucks had 30" wheels the coupler will end up to low and when you changed the trucks back that ended the problem.:D
  9. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Great story Larry. Thanks for sharing.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I said: We would switch the units out at the first trailing point switch we would come to Oops! That should have been the first run around track we come to...:oops: I guess I was to :sleeping: and wasn't thinking straight.
  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I was wondering about how you switched out the lead loco at a trailing point switch, thought you might have three units, and bring two of them past the switch, pull back on the other track, move the 3rd unit up to be in front, and reassemble. Wasn't sure how you'd do it with just two units!

  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Larry, actually the difference was the height of the bolster. One set of trucks was MDC and the others were Bachmann.
    Can I watch you do a drop with a dead loco?
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    David asks:Can I watch you do a drop with a dead loco?

    HUH?? That would be kind of hard to do seeing the locomotive is dead and I got that funny feeling the crew is not about to get out and push..:eek: :D Would you like to restate the question?

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