Facing Point Spurs and the Crew

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Gary S., Nov 10, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Teach me!

    This time we have a train heading west and needing to switch the facing point spur. Gray rectangle is the loco. Blue is the car to be left at the spur. Brown is other cars. Green is caboose. I assume the engineer and brakeman are in the locomotive. The conductor is in the caboose (comfortably shuffling papers).

    The train pulls into the siding and stops with the blue car just short of the switch to the spur. That brings us to Diagram 1. Now, because I am not sure exactly which crew member would do what, I am going to post the diagrams and then you can describe what each crew member would be doing.

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  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    next 3

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  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    last 3

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  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Gary, I have been led to believe the caboose would never be used like that. The caboose is not built for it. The caboose would be dropped at some place so as not to block the main, and then the engineer would proceed to switch the cars.

  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I had heard that too, and did not take it into consideration in the diagrams. I'm thinking that the old wooden cabooses may have not been strong enough, but maybe the modern ones are?

    Hopefully Brakie or Kutler will chime in and help us with this one.

    If we didn't want to involve the caboose, only thing I see to do with it is between diagram 4 and 5, the caboose could be uncoupled, dragged to the east, then pushed onto the main, then the loco could proceed with the following diagrams.
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    One other option would be to cut off the caboose while it is still on the main, leaving enough room east of the east switch for the locomotive to do the runaround.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think some cabeese, especially the wooden ones, had signs on them saying "Do not Push" or equivalent. The steel ones should be as strong as most freight cars.
    For a set of moves like this, the conductor would probably be involved as well. I don't know how it would work with a 2-man crew.
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    A wooden caboose could be shoved if it had a steel underframe.


    Guys,A caboose can be shoved against when making such a switching move after all pushers would shove against the caboose.We done that many times..No big deal..
    I don't know where the false information came from that says you can't shove against a caboose.
    I suspect a " operation expert wanna be" started it.

    Charlie,If there is a long reverse move a caboose would be use with a 2 man crew..After all the shove will need to be protected and a man hanging on the side of a car would soon tire..Of course a the conductor could ride inside of a empty gon,stand on the platform of a coil car or tank car as well but,I suspect they would use a caboose.
  9. kutler

    kutler Member

    Nice Diagrams


    First up, you have to tell me how you made your diagrams, they would be great to illustrate points with. They don't look too hard.....

    Second. In this scenario:

    I think that in a typical situation the crew would leave their train on the main east of the siding, taking the blue box and the engine into the siding from the West End. Then the engine would run around the car without involving the balance of the train in the movement. After the car is spotted the Engine would come out the West End again, line back all switches and derails and return to the train.

    This of course blocks the main for a period, but unless you are required to clear for another train, most crews would prefer to handle it this way.

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Kutler,I don't recall ever seeing a train left on the main while we made a simple run around switch move..Another thing most DS and tower operators I knew would frown on a "mere" local crew fouling his "main"*.Also if there was a road/street crossings nearby we would take our train rather then block the crossing.Also why add the extra work when one simple run around move would suffice? Of course today's railroaders seem to do some things differently..Things I know old line conductors would not allow.

    * Even today on my scanner I still hear the NS or CSX DS asking a local to clear up in some industry siding if there is enough room..Nothing changes I guess.A lowly local is still a pain in the dispatcher's neck.
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    They were made with MicroSoft PhotoDraw using the drawing tools. The same could be done with the Paint Program which comes with windows. It is very simple.

    That is an interesting thought that never occurred to me. And something like this would be a necessity if the train was longer than the run-around.
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Gary,That is true..But,remember the crew would need to cut the train for street crossings if necessary or they could even leave the train clear of any crossings by leaving it well below the first crossing in town.
    Of course a local crew is always press for time from the DS and must do their work in a efficient manner.Think of a local as a "hurry up and wait" type of train.
    I could rattle on how a local really works but,that would be another topic all together.
  13. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Brakie, given the diagrams as above, would you mind giving a quick run-down of what each crew member would be doing in each diagram?
  14. kutler

    kutler Member


    I won't disagree with you that things are certainly done differently these days. I can't defend why. Believe me dispatchers truly wish that it was the natural inclination for train crews to clear the main track in this circumstance instead of blocking it, ususally without notice; which seriously buggers up our plan for the day.

    I fairness to modern day train crews, local freights seem to be of the longer variety necessitating leaving the tail end outside of city limits where the crossings are a mile apart, rather than a city block.
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Kutler,I have seen CSX local crews leave their train outside of town rather then having to cut crossings.
    Of course we have blocked crossings for a simple setout but,most old line conductors would frown on doing it.
    It seems to me that those old line conductors knew how to get the work done in a most efficient manner including "bending" some rules as long as it did not endanger the crew or train...
  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Gary,Here we go!

    Let's start by entering the siding and go from there.
    The train would stop short of the switch and the head brakeman would unlock and open the switch and give the engineer the come ahead signal..He would swing on the engine as it rolls by as the caboose enters the switch the rear brakeman will swing off and close the switch when the caboose clears.
    D-1.The head brakeman would swing off the engine and would close the air hose valves and make the uncoupling.Then give the engineer the pull ahead signal after swinging on to the engine.The engine will stop short of the switch and the HB will unlock and open the switch and give the engineer the come ahead sign.

    D-2 The brakeman will give the engineer a stop signal, close the switch for the run around move and give the backup signal..After the engines passes the HB will walk over to the siding and unlock the derail and unlock and open siding switch.
    D-3 The rear brakeman will stop the engine and will open the (East) switch and give the engineer the pull ahead signal and swing on the engine and will proceed to make the coupling including connecting the air hoses and opening the air valves..

    D-4The HB will give the signal to come ahead which is relied by the RB to the engineer.The HB will walk ahead looking for anything laying on the track or sitting to close to the track..

    D-5 He will then spot the car,sit the handbrake and make the uncoupling after closing the air valves.
    D-6 He will give the engineer the back up signal and will close and lock the derail and switch once the train clears and will then proceed to the (West) switch.
    D-6 RB will stop the train and make the uncoupling after closing the air valves and then give the engineer the backup signal and swing onto the engine.
    D-7 The RB will signal the engineer to stop after clearing the switch and will proceed to close and lock the switch and then give the engineer the go ahead signal and after the engine passes the RB will return to the caboose for a cup of coffee.
    D-8 The HB will stop the engine when it clears the switch.He will open the switch and give the backup signal and will make the coupling.He will connect the air hoses and open the valves.
    The HB will call the DS or Tower operator by using a line side phone and to inform him that the train has completed its work and would like to proceed..At this time the HB is informed they will need to wait on two Westbounds.The HB will inform the engineer and conductor..He will walk ahead and close the West switch and place the lock in the switch lock holder and will stand by to give both Westbounds a roll by inspection..The RB will leave the caboose and get the West bounds a roll by inspection opposite of the HB.

    Radios would be used starting in the mid 60s for switching moves.Of course radios in the locomotive cabs replace the old line side phones.
    I thought I would add the line side phone use for those that model the steam era.
  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thank you Brakie! Those are exactly the answers I was looking for. I'm learning alot about the jobs of the train crews. I'm sure I'll have more questions. Hmmm... already have some....

    Would every industry siding have a derail?
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Your welcome..Yes,every industrial siding has a derail ..This is to protect the main line in the event the cars spoted at the industries start rolling toward the main line.
  19. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    So what happens if you have a facing point right off the main, but no siding.

    For example, Gary's other thread: http://forum.zealot.com/t153887/

    But the train is traveling the opposite direction. Will the train perform a runaround at the closest siding, and just push the train down to the industry to make the drop-off?
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    What we usually did was switch the car out on the return trip..After all no need for a brakeman to hang on the side of a car for a long distance.
    Now if it was close then we would shove the car ahead unless there was a pick then we would go with plan #2..Leave our train on the passing siding and proceed to switch the cars out and return to our train.

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