Prototypical Question- Brake Wheels

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Cannonball, May 21, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Is there a prototypical standard for which end the break wheels should be on rolling stock? Should they be on the front of the boxcar (towards the engine) or the back (towards the caboose)? I would think there is a standard of some sort to keep the brakes all pulling the same way but I could be wrong? Is there a specific direction they should go? I've never actually looked before since I've always been more interested in the engines and cabeese than the rest of the rolling stock. :oops:
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I don't think so. Otherwise they would always be turning cars on turntables.:-D And the brake wheel is only used when the car is parked, that I know of.

  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Ah. Makes sense considering they're hooked up to air brakes the rest of the time.

    Thanks! :)
  4. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    If memory serves me right, the brake wheel is always on the "B" end of the car which is supposed to be the rear end. I also agree that it would be almost impossible to consistantly follow this procedure.

    Texas Chief
  5. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    In certain circumstances, a car needs to be unloaded from a specific side. That's when the B End is important. But it may or may not be to the rear.

    A hopper that is being unloaded by rotation requires the B End to be in a specific direction (to the rear) but that is about it.
  6. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    If it were a hopper then it wouldn't need to be rotary dumped; though there are hoppers capable of such action, they are not common. A coal gondola on the other hand would need to be rotary dumped to be emptied.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It doesn't matter which way the brake wheel end of the car is oriented in the train. As noted, normally the handbrake is used only when the car is parked, and the brakewheel's action is transmitted, via rods, to apply the brakeshoes on all wheels. These same rods also transmit the forces of the airbrakes in a similar manner.
    Cars that are used in conjunction with a rotary dumper have the brake wheel ("B") ends all facing the same way, as only one coupler on each car swivels about the axis of the underframe - when they're all facing the same way, the effect is the same as having a swivelling coupler on both ends of the car, but at a lower cost.

  8. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Duh! You're quite correct. My bad.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Yes, only gondolas need to be rotary dumped, but hoppers are/have been rotary dumped in some situations.
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Do I know how to open a can of worms or what?

  11. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    The B end of the car (as in a cab with 2 brake wheels) is the end the brake piston points to.
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Usually, but I've seen passenger equipment with the Westinghouse UC brake system where underbody equipment precluded such an arrangement. This was compensated for with a different system of underbody levers and rods.

  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Guys,It doesn't matter which way the brake wheel is pointing..Cars get turn on wye interchange tracks,wye interdivision tracks(where a sub division joins the main division on a wye so trains can head both ways) etc..I have seen thousands of cars "brake wheel to brake wheel fom autoracks to hopper cars from flat cars to covered hoppers.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Unless it is a drop bottom gondola... ;) Or has sides that open... like some gondolas used in MOW activity.

  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Or it was an earlier era, when there were lots of strong backs and shovels available. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Back in the old days of logging railroads and slow trains, without airbrakes, the brake wheels were put on the same side because the brakemen walked beside the log cars and set up the brakes on whistle signals from the engineer. Definitely not mainline practice. Kinda related to your question. Then there were the old freight cars with the brake wheels on the roof.
  17. Chaparral

    Chaparral Member

    Yeah, it's kinda like the one about running trains in the opposite direction to evenly wear the motors.

    Then there's the one one about the freight wagon with a load cap of 500 lbs carrying 1000 lbs of pigeons. The skinner kept reaching back to beat on the side of the wagon. He figured by startling the pigeons he kept at least half of them flying, reducing the load.
  18. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Sounds like the right answer from the guy who would know! :thumb:

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