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View Diary: Small fire was responded to on train that later destroyed town (24 comments)

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  •  several things wrong, first I was a brakeman for (2+ / 0-)

    Canadian Pacific Rlwy years ago but some things have not changed.

    First of all, all engines also have a brake on the outside of the engine's cab and even tho I was a brakeman it was the engineer that would usually tie those on while I went to tie on as many brakes as we needed based on the number of cars, the loads and the grade.
    So those engines should also have had the hand brakes on and even if that was overlooked (which was a violation of rules) it is the job of the brakeman to secure that train which means tying on enuf brakes to hold it. I got criticism many times when another crew got a train from the crew I was on because I was always putting on more brakes than they liked, but I was trained in the mindset of 'better safe than sorry'.

    I also worked in British Columbia around some of the steepest grades in North America like one coming from the Cominco smelter at Trail BC back to Nelson BC (not the steepest in that area).
     We would have to take our train up a grade in two separate pulls, taking half up into a siding then coming back down the main line for the other half to piece together with  the other half. Even tho we were going to be right back to snatch the other half (possibly within 20 minutes) I tied down plenty of brakes and because these were loads we'd dynamite the brakes (leave the air hose open on the cars we're leaving which caused all the brakes to lock).

    Yes it means we couldn't just tack back onto those cars and start pulling because the engineers would have to sit there and pump up the pressure to release the brakes (the longer the train the longer it took).

    Still it sounds like some brakes were applied and when those things are being dragged they kick out a lot of sparks. So it looks like engine (hand) brakes were not set, or maybe just on one or two, but there obviously weren't enuf brakes tied down on the train.

    We also never left engines attached to loads and it was standard procedure everywhere I worked in the Province that the engineers would pump up the brakes before giving me the signal to pull the pin on the train and that was because we also always left the pet cock (air valve for the braking system) OPEN (on cars we are leaving, not the engines of course), which threw on all the brakes on all the attached cars, emergency style.
    Then you go and tie down hand brakes and that will be so solid that sometimes you will have to bleed the air off of some cars just to get the hand brake to turn loose. So it takes more time and we got paid by the mile not by the hour so some people do cut corners.

    One more thing before this morphs into too long of a comment, how many people know what a 'derailer' is? They are probably on a train track near you and they are common on sidings in areas with a steep grade, or even in flat areas where they are before the switch (coming out of the siding) in order to keep cars from rolling out onto the main line. They are always (afaik) where hazardous materials cars are spotted to be filled. They are fixed to the track, unlocked they flip up over the rail and have a groove on top to guide the wheel of a car onto the ground before it even gets to the switch.
    If there isn't one there there should be, same thing for other areas with similar possibilities and it will ground cars instead of letting them stay on the rails.

    This obviously isn't the first time a train has been left there and those others didn't roll out and it is either the fault of the train crew or some the result of some criminal act like bleeding enough cars and/or releasing enuf brakes. Still releasing those brakes by bleeding the cars is one noisy event.

     Before I forget it if the valve was closed on the lead car that left the siding it is negligence on the part of the crew, or a criminal act. It won't matter (open or closed) if enuf brakes were bled, or enuf hand brakes released but I doubt anyone doing a criminal act like this would go and close the cock. What that would do is show that the crew didn't dynamite the brakes and why would anyone (doing the crime) think about that (shutting the valve) ?

    (My apologies for the length of the comment)

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:01:05 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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