Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

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Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:26 am

Here is a video of retired engineer John O'Connor relating his experiences running over the Poughkeepsie Bridge. He is a fantastic person and an excellent railroader. Nice stuff!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1-k-gjM1C8

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Re: Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:22 pm

I probably watched him cross when I studied at Marist College in the 60's.
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Re: Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

Postby Statkowski » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:00 am

The ride on a freight train was indeed something to remember. The bridge groaned and swayed (just enough to feel it) as you crept across it at 12 m.p.h.

From Time Table No. 20 (effective April 21, 1965) we get Rule 1860, which reads in part:

Trains must be handled so as to avoid stopping and starting on bridge; brakes must not be applied unless absolutely necessary and then in the most careful manner.

Multiple diesel operation of more than five units coupled is prohibited.

Emergency application of the air brakes must not be made on the bridge.


The 12 m.p.h. speed limit applied to the entire train and there were markers along the line to let the engineer know when the caboose was clear of the bridge. Only when the head end reached such markers could the engineer then increase speed above 12 m.p.h.
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Re: Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:19 pm

Statkowski wrote:The ride on a freight train was indeed something to remember. The bridge groaned and swayed (just enough to feel it) as you crept across it at 12 m.p.h.

From Time Table No. 20 (effective April 21, 1965) we get Rule 1860, which reads in part:

Trains must be handled so as to avoid stopping and starting on bridge; brakes must not be applied unless absolutely necessary and then in the most careful manner.

Multiple diesel operation of more than five units coupled is prohibited.

Emergency application of the air brakes must not be made on the bridge.


The 12 m.p.h. speed limit applied to the entire train and there were markers along the line to let the engineer know when the caboose was clear of the bridge. Only when the head end reached such markers could the engineer then increase speed above 12 m.p.h.


There were also boxes with tapes in them at both ends of the bridge. They timed every train over that brildge. The folks working those trains were very aware of the bridge as it was their "bread and butter".
I worked Maybrook jobs quite a few times and I always considered the bridge the high point of the trip. Some of the Shore Line firemen did not like going to Maybrook as they were afraid of the bridge.
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Re: Poughkeepsie Bridge comments from a retired engineer

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed May 03, 2017 3:01 pm

My uncle told me a story about getting called as the head brakeman to Maybrook. The guy who was called as the flagman said that he wanted to switch, since he wanted to review the road. My uncle said that that was just an excuse, since it was raining, and the flagman had to walk the train back to the hack.

Uncle agreed to switch. He said that he never told the other guy why. The real reason was that he didn't trust the bridge. He figured that if the units, and 125 cars made it, most likely the hack would too.

One other reason he didn't like it was the weight ratings. He said that a 4 unit consist had been the limit. A bulletin came out, which increased that limit to 5 units. No evidence of strengthening had been noticed. I wonder if the factor of safety had been just overly been conservative.
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