Author Topic: Brakemen Training  (Read 3517 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Brakemen Training
« on: December 13, 2008, 03:41:41 PM »
Brakemen Training has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Joe Fox wrote:
James, and others,

I think it would be great if we could include the flagman gaurding a stopped train in the brakemen training classes, just in case if we ever decide to run two trains at once. For example, the train could be heading south, and brake down somewheres along the line. Then you could have the brakemen go either North or South with a red flag, which ever way the next train is supposed to be coming from, and wait for the engineer to call him back to the train with the whistle. What do you think of that idea?


James Patten replied:
It would certainly be a good inclusion for the "hands-on" aspect of the class.  Although you don't really want to interrupt passenger service if you can help it.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Joe, Good suggestion. What can be done is to train brakemen on the restricted vision places on the railroad, where a flagman should walk farther to protect his train.  Davis curve and the North end of Cockeye curve are two places.  Another is the Alna summit where small equipment fouling the main is not visible until you are near the top of the ladder.  Knowing the section of track, the train that is due and it's timetable speed determines how far the flagman needs to be from his train.

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
I agree with placing additional emphasis on this, as understanding how to protect your train is vital to safety, but we have to do it so little, it is easy to lose the understanding, both of how and of the importance.  It's in our rulebook somewhere...


Joe Fox replied:
The training session for this could be on a work train or something along that sort, that isn't bothering the passenger schedule.


Bruce Wilson replied:
I agree with the importance of flagmen and protecting against on-coming traffic. I can remember one trip at Edaville where I had a nine car passenger train fully loaded in the winter and was bringing it "down" the Mt. Urann grade, approaching the curve at the base of the grade (MP-3).

Standing on the ground and just before the curve was another trains' brakeman. Unbeknownst to me, his train (another fully loaded passenger train) was stopped, with a broken master link in the chain drive of Whitcomb engine no. 3.

As I looked beyond the brakeman, I could just see the top of the other trains caboose cupola rising above the trees at the beginning of the right hand curve that led to the long tangent known as (Ellis D. Atwoods') "Race Track".

At this point most of my train was cresting the top of Mt. Urann and the slack was running in on the locomotive's coupler. Just ahead at the base of the grade was a flange oiler...and greasy rails.

It was obvious to me that I needed to get the train slowed quickly before getting into that grease. Luckily I had brought the engine over the top of Mt. Urann at a very slow speed, relying on momentum built up during the grind up the 1% until just before the summit.  The G.E. diesel's brakes kept our speed in check, but with each car coming over the hill, I could feel the weight against me. And the oiler was just ahead...

Still, no motion from the brakeman. I wondered why wasn't he flagging me to a stop. Why hadn't he gone back to the top of the hill and stopped me before I went over...? Why didn't he even have a flag in his hand...?

Before I had another moment to wonder, I ran over the first of his torpedos. And then another blast before we came to a stop.

I'd been stopped by an ex-New Haven Railroad freight conductor and before I could get down to give him my thoughts about his torpedos, he was hand-signaling me in to his train to couple on and push them on to Edaville station, 2 1/2 miles in the distance.

So yes, train with flagmen and stand where you can be seen by approaching traffic. Consider all things, including slippery rail and grades.

I'd also suggest carrying a backup means of signaling incase you drop your flag, or if your lantern goes out suddenly. Have a powerful flashlight tucked in your overalls...

Joe Fox replied:
Exactly, I have seen many railroads, running two trains, need a flagman to get off, and flag an approaching train. Weather conditions, speed limits or restrictions, and rail conditions all need to be taken into requirement when you must flag down an on coming train.

Ed Lecuyer
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