Trailing Point Spurs and the Crew

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Gary S., Nov 9, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Teach me something….

    Okay, this is pretty simple, but I want to know if I am thinking correctly about the jobs of the crew members. I’ll give commentary on what I think should happen. Someone please chime in if I am missing anything. Again, what I am interested in is the jobs of the crew members.

    There is a train traveling west that needs to set out a car on the trailing point spur. We have an engineer and a brakeman in the loco, and a conductor in the caboose.

    The locomotive is the gray rectangle. The caboose is the green rectangle. The blue car is to be set out on the spur. The brown cars will remain traveling west with the train.

    In the first diagram, the train has traveled west and stopped in the position as shown. The brakeman exits the loco, walks the track to the east end of the blue car, disconnects the air hoses and uncouples the car from those to the east. The conductor remains comfortably in the caboose, shuffling papers.

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    In the second diagram, the engineer pulls forward to clear the switch. The brakeman walks to the switch and aligns it for the spur. The conductor remains comfortably in the caboose, shuffling papers.

    Attached Files:

  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    In the third diagram, the engineer backs into the spur. The brakeman gives hand signals or perhaps uses a walkie-talkie to guide the engineer back. Once the blue car is in position, the brakeman disconnects the air hoses and uncouples the car. The conductor remains comfortably in the caboose, shuffling papers.

    Attached Files:

  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    In the fourth diagram, the engineer pulls the train out of the siding, leaving the blue car. The brakeman either walks or rides the last car out of the spur. He jumps off at the switch and then aligns it back for the “main”. The conductor remains comfortably in the caboose, shuffling papers.

    Attached Files:

  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    In the fifth diagram, the brakeman walks to the east while signaling the engineer as he backs up to the rest of the train. The brakeman then reconnects the air hoses and recouples the cars. He then walks back to the loco, climbs on, and the engineer gives ‘er the juice as they head out back west. The conductor remains comfortably in the caboose, shuffling papers.

    Attached Files:

  6. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Excellent Diagram! I really loved how you approached it. The Answer to your question is "YES!" you're correct. (At least that's how I do this when I work around equipment like this.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    1.Brakeman closes the air valve makes the uncoupling.
    2.Brakeman rides thew side of the car to the switch and swings off and gives the engineer a stop signal.
    3.Brakeman unlocks and lines the switch and walks ahead to unlock the derail..
    4.Brakeman gives the engineer the backup signal.
    5.Brakeman gives the engineer a stop signal.
    6.Brakeman sets the handbrake and makes the uncoupling.
    7.Brakeman give the engineer the go forward signal and swings on the car.
    8.Brakeman swings off the car and close and locks the derail and walks ahead to the switch.
    9.Brakeman gives the engineer a stop signal as the last cat clears the switch.
    10.Brakeman relines the switch for the main and then locks it.
    11.Brakeman gives the engineer a backup signal and swings on the car.
    12.Brakeman swings off the car and makes the coupling and reconnects the air hoses and open up the air valves.
    13.Brakeman returns to engine.
    14.Work complete....Highball!
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Now I have to start feeling sorry for that overworked conductor having to shuffle all that paperwork cooped up in a stuffy old caboose, while the brakeman simply goes outside and walks or rides around in the fresh air.:rolleyes: :rolleyes: Can't we give that poor conductor some relief?:twisted: :twisted: :cry:
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks Brakie. That's the kind of info I am looking for so I'll have a better understanding of how to operate my layout.

    On your #6, you mention the handbrake. We are talking about the brake wheel?

    Are the air brakes "fail-safe" in that if they lose pressure, they activate? Pressurizing the system releases the brakes?

    Next question... when the brakeman has to get between two cars to operate the valves and disconnect the air lines, are there any kind of safety measures he must take? Does he just rely on the engineer not to move the train?
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Ezdays, I agree. That poor conductors fingers must get really tired.:rolleyes:

  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    off-topic question - is teh text in my first post larger than normal? It is strange, from my other computer today, they were normal, but on this computer, they are oversized.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Gary: I see the text in the first post as maybe 2 points larger than the rest.

    To undo the air hoses, the brakeman will turn the angle cocks (like a faucet) at right angles to the hose. He has to step between the cars to do this and trusts the engineer will wait. He then steps out, lifts the coupler bar, and signals the engineer to move. The hand brake has been applied before this starts, we hope. The air hoses part when they are pulled apart.
    When they couple, he has to make sure one coupling is open and they are aligned. This may mean a bit of pushing (with the foot when I've seen it). He signals the engineer to gently couple and stop. He then ducks down and joins the air hoses, then opens the angle cocks. He'll release the brakes on the standing car and make sure that the air is pumped into the system.
    Some short moves may be made without joining the air hoses; there's a way to let the air brakes off on a car.
    Larry: do any of your fellows call them air bags instead of hoses? GO train crews use this term, usually in the phrase "busted air bag".
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    David,No we just called 'em air hoses..
  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    i don't envy the conductor at all. If the weather was bad, maybe. but I HATE shuffling papers!

  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Another idea to save some of the brakeman's shoe leather is to pre-block the train before it leaves the yard, arranging the cars in the best order to suit the switching required during the run. This is not always possible, and, of course, there could be picks-ups along the run that mess up the order of things, but I'd have tried to leave the yard with that blue car right behind the loco. That's one of the reasons that the conductor is back there "shuffling papers". ;) Back in the days when there was a rear-end brakeman, trains could be more easily "worked" from either end, too. Also, don't forget that the conductor is the "boss" of the train. :rolleyes:

  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey DocW, on a little shortline like mine, where each train consists of approximately 8 cars picked up at the interchange with these cars being shuffled to the industries, would the crew take the time at the interchange to rearrange cars for optimal switching, or would they just go with what they had? I'm thinking they wouldn't rearrange anything off the interchange considering the distance to the industries isn't that far, there is no other traffic to get in the way while switching the industries, and there is a run-around near the industries.
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I doubt that they would bother in your circumstances. When you're the only train on the line, you have some leeway, although as Larry pointed out, you don't want to be blocking any crossings for too long. While my operating scheme will involve train movements in both directions, and also the possibility of through trains overtaking the locals, I'll be doing sequential operations, where one train will do all or part of its work before another train is run. I do have passing sidings, so I could have the local switch a town, then get in the hole for a through train, then go back to work, or move to the next town. With me as the lone operator, though, only one train will be moving at a time, another reason why DCC is not something that I need. ;) I may do some pre-blocking of cars, though, as train lengths could occasionally exceed passing siding lengths, and, of course, in my era, 5 or 6 man crews were the norm.


Share This Page