Greenhorn questions

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Greenhorn questions

Postby Gone2long » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:55 am

So just getting into this and leaning more on videography opportunities so I have a few questions hope this is in the right spot:

I already have notice that oil trains have a box car on both the head end and rear is this some sort of safety precaution, seems kinda weak?

What determines which way a loco is facing when behind the head end, is it to help condition the traction motors kinda like brushes in a motor?

How is everybody finding schedules? do they even exist? last Saturday winging it I captured 3 in a 2 hour period and only 1 today in 4 hours?

Well that's all for now thanks for any input!
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby JayBee » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:39 pm

Gone2long wrote:So just getting into this and leaning more on videography opportunities so I have a few questions hope this is in the right spot:

I already have notice that oil trains have a box car on both the head end and rear is this some sort of safety precaution, seems kinda weak?


The cars are typically older Airslide Covered Hoppers. The Airslide system was used for products like Flour and Sugar that could be made to flow, it is now obsolete. The cars are filled with sand and are there to provide some protection to traincrews.


What determines which way a loco is facing when behind the head end, is it to help condition the traction motors kinda like brushes in a motor?


The lead locomotive forward, otherwise any additional locomotives can and do face in whatever direction they happened to be facing.


How is everybody finding schedules? do they even exist? last Saturday winging it I captured 3 in a 2 hour period and only 1 today in 4 hours?


Most freights have a schedule, but only Intermodal freights typically operate at close to their scheduled time. Manifest freights (mixed carload) are normally only close to their schedule upon leaving their originating terminal.
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby Gone2long » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:18 am

Ok thanks good guess on my part with the safety thing sand makes a whole lotta sense. For the life of me I can't find anything that resembles a schedule, the Trenton sub has quite a long single track so trains seem to run on the hour. Went downtown and found a 4 track setup, not sure what Sub it is prolly the Philly Sub and had a little action but it cost me $14 to park :( Work in progress on my part. Funny little bit came from it, the train I was filming stopped and the cars that were in front of me happened to be non odorized liquefied gas, guy walks passed me and backtracked to ask if I was filming gas tankers I laughed it off but afterwards I realized he was prolly thinking I was up to no good :-D Thanks a bunch for the reply!
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:34 pm

The boxcar between the locomotives and the tankers in a crude unit train is for Hazmat handling purposes for protection of the head end. The one on the rear is in case the train stalls out and needs an assist from the rear. You can't shove a train from the rear if it is a loaded hazmat car.

For locomotives, it typically doesn't matter which way the middle units are facing. You want your leader facing the proper direction, of course, and the rear unit is typically facing the opposite direction in case you need to run around an start pulling from the other end or any similar scenario.
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby Gone2long » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:47 pm

Alright now I see what I was missing makes sense that if they were working both directions making up a train that it would be prudent to be facing the direction of travel. I figured as much about the box car/hopper being a safety thing good stuff thanks guys for sharing!
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby BR&P » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:18 pm

Gone2long wrote:
I already have notice that oil trains have a box car on both the head end and rear is this some sort of safety precaution, seems kinda weak?



The requirement for the idler, buffer, or whatever term a given railroad uses, is set forth in government regulations. Hazmat cars are supposed to be no closer than the 6th car from the locomotives, except where train length or makeup does not allow. In that case at least one non-hazardous car must be in between. So as others have said above, some obsolete covered hopper or boxcar will be assigned to permanent duty to fulfill that requirement.
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Re: Greenhorn questions

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:12 am

The buffer car is loaded with sand or rubble for weight, not so much for protection. An empty car would cause train handling problems, due to the extreme weight of a unit train. While pulling, an empty would be likely to be pulled off the inside of a curve. If the train was slowed using dynamic brakes, it might buckle off the track.

A diesel locomotive runs equally well in either direction. Where I work, the second unit is usually facing backwards. This is because the nearest wye is 30 miles away. There have been times where both units were facing south. Unless one unit has rear ditch lights, the movement must slow to 20 mph over public crossings.
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