Information/Explanation Request

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mountain Man, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I just finished watching a presentation that features the Trans-Canadian Railway from Banff (/) to Vancouver. According to the narrative, moving a freight train from one side of Canada to the other requires 11 crews, each working twen-hour shifts, to cover the distance in three days.

    11 x 10 = 110 hours = approx 4.5 days. (4 days 12 hours) Where does the other 1.5 days of crew time figure in? :confused:
  2. Dadbert

    Dadbert New Member

    Coffee at tims?
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    They work a 10 hour shift, but if a train has to sit in a siding waiting for another train to pass, that time is included in the 10 hour shift but doesn't move the train. Every crew would need to stop for at least one meal per shift. Time zone changes will affect how fast the train gets across the country. West to East is a quicker run than East to West. Does the train run non stop from coast to coast, or does it stop to pick up and drop off cars enroute? "Off the top of my head," these are factors that come to mind that would eat up time but not move the train. Others will probably have additional ideas that I have overlooked.
  4. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    That should say "each working up to ten hour shifts." It's not a matter of working ten hours and having another crew take over. You get ten hours to get to the next crew change point. Sometimes it takes all that, sometimes you don't make it, and sometimes you get there in half the time.
  5. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member


    Since when did trains stop for the crew to eat? Is this a Canadian thing? I know I never got to stop to eat.

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Me either..We ate as we could.

    Now urban locals and mine runs we usually took a short lunch break.

    I recall there was a mom & pop grocery store located on a urban industrial branch where we would stop and buy pop and sandwiches or we would stop at a BBF(a fast food chain) and buy 'burgers and fries.The fireman stayed with the engine and we would bring back is order..
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Ahhh...Mom & Pop grocery stores.....Now we got BigBro chains....That's progress for you....:sad:
  8. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The narrator specifically said "to move one of these trains from Banf (sp?) to Vancouver requires eleven crews, each working ten hour shifts, to complete the three day trip. After shaking my head to shift the cobwebs and detritus around, I concluded that he simply got his facts wrong or perhaps he meant to say "three days of actual travelling", minus waiting, etc, which would be in line with what railohio has said.

    Still confuses me, though, because it still wouldn't be a three day trip if it takes an extra 50% to compensate for routine delays. :confused:

    There is a regular delay point on the mainline along the route to our home, just prior to crossing Monument Pass at Palmer Lake. We see the wife and family of crewmen regularly wait for their husband's train to halt while the block ahead clears, and deliver the lunch or supper basket and chat while they wait.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Thanks! :thumb:
  11. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Isn't there a rule somewhere that reads.. if your 10 hour shift ends - even if you're just sitting somewhere - You have to wait for another crew to come get the train???

    Or are the meds making me remember things that never happened??? (again) sign1 sign1 sign1 sign1
  12. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    At the very least you have to wait for somebody to get you, be it a crew van or another train. You can leave a train unattended as long as you secure the cabs before departing.
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    You can leave a train unattended..!!!???? :eek:

    Like, I'm sitting on the main waiting for the block ahead to clear, I can just lock'er up and walk away when my shift ends..?? Who thought that one up..?? :cry:
  14. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    Yes. You tie down sufficient handbrakes, and in some cases lock the cab.

    You aren't going to "just sit on the main waiting for the block to clear" and lock up and go home. You're going to alert the dispatcher 2 hours before the expiration of your hours-of-service so that they can arrange a new crew for your train.

    Once your hours of service are up, you can stay and hang out on the engine if you like -- and often will if the weather is nasty -- but you don't do one dang thing beyond that. In the US, its not legal to work past 12 hours.

    Would you rather that a crew with 12+ hours of service under their belt just keep going until they got to someplace where another crew is waiting? Speaking as someone who knows what it's like to die on the law (run out of hours of service,) the answer for me is a resounding NO.

    And thank heaven hours of service isn't 16 hours like in the bad old days!
  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Some of the extra crew time could be for helper crews through the mountains. Also, unless I misunderstood the original post, I don't think that there are very many trains that move right across Canada without being switched en route, :rolleyes: unless we assume Canada to include only the area from Vancouver to Toronto. ;):p

  16. train1

    train1 Member

    Not to be overly critical here for only your second post Dadbert. But your signature is HUGE and overshadowed your great response to this thread.
    Just my simple opinion..

    (PS It's nice to see another Canuck on the forum )
  17. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The program introduced the new Canadain diesels, said to be the most powerful anywhere. The entire train - 1.5 miles long - requires only three of these units, two lead and one in the middle, and a crew of two. The units are powerful enough to haul that consist up an 8 mile 4.5% grade to Whitehorse (?) Pass, the highest point on the route. That would rule out helper engines or additional crew hours.
  18. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Mountain Man, I'm curious as to where all this is supposed to be taking place. The old Kicking Horse pass, on the CPR, had grades up to 4.5%, but that line was replaced by the Spiral Tunnels. As far as I know, there are no mainline grades in Canada that are anywhere near 4.5%.
    Mid-train helpers, controlled from the lead locomotive, are quite common through the mountains of western Canada, but I don't think that they're much used elsewhere in the country. I've seen trains around here, in southern Ontario, well over a mile long behind a single loco - admittedly it seemed to be mostly empty auto racks :rolleyes::-D - although I couldn't tell you what model the diesel was.

  19. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Thanks for the correction - Kicking Horse Pass it was, and the program also showed the new spirals. The information about the grades, routes, locomotives and so forth was furnished to the program producers by the Canadaian Railway system. I cannot answer for it; however, they specifically mentioned the 8 miles of 4.5% grade and showed a stretch of it, with the new diesels allegedly running it up to and down from the pass. I'm no expert on the Canadian system, so it is quite possible that the entire presentation was a load of garbage from beginning to end.

    My confusion was over the statement that it requires 110 hours of 2-man crew time to make a 72 hour run, confusion that still continues the more I read. It sounds like the sort of man-hour claims only a goverment could make and expect to get away with.
  20. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Sounds to me as if someone did a limited amount of historical background research, then muddled that in with the current day information, ending up with a real mish-mash of inaccuracies. I think that a lot of the "tour trains" are more for the well-heeled traveller than for railfans, so historical and factual accuracy play a minor role for most riders.


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