Third rail idler car

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Third rail idler car

Postby nyandw » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:44 pm

Anyone have any other pictures of this car type, perhaps color and the lettering scheme? Or is this termed a reacher car?
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lirr416_reacher-car_LI-City_viewW_1976.jpg
lirr-dd1s-and-idler.jpg
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby FrankAndCindy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:58 pm

Hi everyone, Worked the lic float jobs. We called them Float flats. Thanks Frank and Cindy
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby Head-end View » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:43 pm

And I've always wondered what was their purpose? Weren't gondolas also used for this?
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby scopelliti » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:16 pm

Reacher-Car-W27_Gondola-W5_Rail-Flats-R3-R34_LI-City_1-1973_Huneke.jpg
Here is a an Art Huneke photo of a reach car (with a shack) that I found somewhere on the net

They were used to allow the switching engines to reach the cars on the float without actually going out on the float (switchers being rather heavy).

Somewhere I also found: Float Bridge Reach-In Cars 434903, 497?83, 497993, 497999
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Third rail idler car

Postby nyandw » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:06 am

Pat S. Thanks, as you point out the problem I'm having: LIRR MOW roster material: http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/lirrmow.htm
Reacher Car- W-27 with Gondola W-5, Welded Rail Flats R-3, R-34 in background at LI City 1/1973Photo/Archive: Art Huneke as you posted.

Previously received:
W-23, W-27, W-29, W-39, W-70

Note: I would rather think that that was NOT a reacher car for the floats. The float flats, as we called them, had a little shanty on them that had a pot belly stove and benches for the crew to get out of the cold.

This one without the shanty would have been used on the east end ladder job as a car to improve vision for the engine crew while rolling the hump. That job continued for some time after the floats stopped operating. Freight came in from Fremont that needed classifying.

The car in question, however, WAS referred to as a float flat. JJ Earl

That particular flat car was a "hump visibility" car, but was listed on the MOW roster as a float reach. UN Blocker



We have conflicting information as to idler cars, float flats, reacher cars, float bridge reach in cars: 434903, 497983, 497993, 497999 on my page, as you indicated, also.


1. The cars used for the floats: Shack or no shack? The shack purpose, besides weather protection. Seems it blocks visibility at the floats, but with the signaling at the Yard A hump, no problem? This is conjecture on my part.
2. Idler cars used in the yard AND with DD1s in electrified territory for non float ops?
3. Cars used for switching the Yard A hump, which ones?
4. Other uses?
5. The information and nomenclature is confusing/conflicting as it appears.
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby nyandw » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:10 am

Head-end View wrote:And I've always wondered what was their purpose? Weren't gondolas also used for this?

I would not rule this out, but photo evidence would be of value. Opinion: LIRR had these reacher cars on the MOW roster. Why waste a MOW load useful gondola in this capacity? Never seen one... but.
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:14 am

Third rail idler cars were used in freight service with the DD-1to bridge long third rail gaps at slow freight switching speeds. They were equipped with third rail shoes and a buss jumper to the DD-1.

Float "reacher" cars were something different.
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Re: Third rail idler car

Postby ConstanceR46 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:28 pm

Float Reachers are used either due to a switchers weight or (on the Alaska/UP barge ops) due to the locomotive's traction being unable to work that well on a apron.

Most reachers are cars that can't be used in revenue service and take quite the beating.
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