W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

Other Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => Kennebec Central => Topic started by: Allan Fisher on August 13, 2008, 04:00:06 AM

Title: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Allan Fisher on August 13, 2008, 04:00:06 AM
Did you know that at least seven train crew employees on the Kennebec Central had crushed hands or amputated fingers due to link and pin mishaps?  Considering that there were less than 20 train crew employees in the the entire history of the KC, this leaves little doubt of the danger of these couplings.

2 of the 7 employees had two accidents of this sort. 

Source: former Life Member Fourtin Powell newspaper research.
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Stephen Hussar on August 14, 2008, 01:06:15 AM
That is amazing. I remember having a nightmare when I was a kid, caused by an image in an old railroading book my father had. The picture was an illustration that showed a brakeman trying to hold the link and simultaneously drop the pin. Sort of like this image, but even more scary looking -- if that's possible!

(http://www.americanheritage.com/assets/images/articles/magazine/it/2006/3/2006_3_52.jpg)
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on August 14, 2008, 04:11:47 AM
Aaaahhh yes,
I remember that verry image you posted quite well.
It apeared in several publications over the years!

Incidentally, CERM down in Willamantic, CT has a display of items unearthed during thier various excavations at the Columbia Jct roundhouse and yard, amongst which are several old links, pins and various whatnots from a century ago.
Worth a look! ;)
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Steve Klare on August 15, 2008, 01:07:43 PM
Standing between the cars is scary enough, but you'd think they's at least use some sort of a stick to hold the link up. Just to keep their hands out of the line of fire

(Well, I don't think I'll be complaining about my job today....)
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Dave Lamson on August 17, 2008, 01:59:22 AM
During the link and pin era, a few railroads issued a sort of paddle to aid brakemen in coupling cars.....Most were considered to be more of a hinderance than a help to brakies and switchmen that wanted to do the job as fast as management expected them to..........and they made a poor brake club.......In those days, it was a proof of proficiancy to new hires to be missing a few fingers.......
I saw a u-tube flick recently of a man in Briton working a fan trip I think, standing between the rails between a loco and a car with either the loco or the car without buffers. He was trying to hook them together. He told a man outside the guage to tell the loco driver to ease it back while he held the hook......he got squashed, not seriously because when the loco pulled away he managed to walk away........a bad piece of railroading all around........But maybe the Brits do it differently........
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Keith Taylor on August 17, 2008, 03:22:22 PM
Early issues of "Railroad Magazine" had some great advertisements for rubber hands and limbs. Riding "up top" to apply hand brakes was another good way to lose your life or various appendages. And passing signals in a snow storm with a fusee was another way that many men were injured. In a way....I am surprised that with 20 employees, more didn't have crush injuries.
Keith
Title: Re: Link and Pin Injuries
Post by: Stephen Hussar on August 18, 2008, 11:33:03 PM
For those interested here is a link to an excellent story written by John H. White, Jr. on the evolution of the modern coupler. This story appeared in Invention & Technology Magazine not too long ago and is also where I found that familar photo.
http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/2006/3/2006_3_51.shtml