Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

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Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby chnhrr » Tue May 26, 2015 5:46 pm

What were these cupped details or indentations shown on the pictured New Haven locomotives and freight cars used for? I’ve also seen them on the locos of other railroads, including the NYC. Where these details used for shop maintenance purposes?
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby NorthWest » Tue May 26, 2015 8:40 pm

They are poling pockets. Poles were used to push cars on adjacent tracks, which made switching more efficient. Unfortunately, these poles had a tendency to break spectacularly and injure the crew member manning the pole. They were therefore banned.
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby chnhrr » Wed May 27, 2015 8:47 pm

Thanks for your insight NorthWest

Does anyone have a picture of these poles and possibly a photo of these poles in use?

Chuck
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby Statkowski » Wed May 27, 2015 9:42 pm

When in doubt, try searching "poling cars" or "poling railroad cars" and see what images pop up. Some railroads even had dedicated poling cars for yard usage.
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby chnhrr » Thu May 28, 2015 9:32 pm

Thanks again for the info. In which NH yards was this pushing method used extensively?
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Image courtesy TrainWeb
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby Statkowski » Fri May 29, 2015 7:28 am

Extensively? We're talking turn of last century stuff here. The switch from 36-foot wooden cars to 40-foot steel cars made the practice all that much more hazardous, and it was probably used only as a last resort. The use of such went the way of the dinosaurs, not unlike Flying Switches and Dutch Drops. The last locomotives built with poling pockets were circa 1965.
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Re: Front End Detail for Locos and Freight Cars

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:12 pm

My impression is that the practice was more widely used in switching industries rather than in yards. It's on the customer sidings & team tracks where you'd be more likely to encounter situations where it was difficult to run the locomotive around the consist.
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