Why put clumps of dry brush on the ends of covered hoppers?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Ralph, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    My wife and I spent the weekend in Red Wing, MN; a scenic town along the Mississippi with terrific Fall color but also a great place for train watching as several freights and the Empire Builder run through daily. There are grain mills along the river walk and we watched as crews were moving covered hoppers around. We noticed that a number of them had clumps of dried out bushes like tumbleweeds placed in the platforms at one or both ends (?) This seemed to be intentional as the locomotive setting them out had a pile of brush at the back end as well, contained by the safety railings. I saw one crew member pull some from the loco and throw a bush onto the end of a covered hopper. He was pretty busy and a bit too far into the elevator property for me to go up and ask...any one have any ideas what that was about?
  2. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    Two thoughts,

    Could be the conductor using the bush as markers for cars to be spotted or pulled. Other possiblility to discourage hobos?

  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I think you're probably right about the bushes being used as markers. Some were, some weren't given the decorations. Makes sense to me!

    Thanks for the thoughts Cory!
  4. KATY

    KATY Member

    Nope, they're just rolling dumpsters, believe me. The hoppers with platforms in the back take all kinds of refuse, tires, cans, lumber, all kinds of junk. The "newer" style covered hoppers are open on the end to prevent such stuff from taking a ride.

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