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Author Topic: Saw something cool tonite  (Read 12973 times)

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Offline DanG

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Saw something cool tonite
« on: March 26, 2010, 11:24:36 PM »
I had to scoot up to the store at the last minute and got stopped at a rail crossing.  It was a really long CSX train pulling mostly empty flatcars and it was hauling butt.  I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that the last car was a caboose!!  I haven't seen one of those on the tracks in years!
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Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 11:27:08 PM »
That is cool.  I can't recall the last time I saw a working caboose.  Any Train Engineer types out there?
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Offline pigman

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 11:32:03 PM »
I thought you were looking at an ice cube. ;)

I don't live far from a mainline and it has been over 20 years since I have seen a caboose.
The union must have required the caboose to be put back on with a crew of ten. ;D
Things turn out best for people who make the best of how things turn out.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2010, 12:18:53 AM »
DOn't strings of over a certain number of cars still require a caboose? You mentioned that it was an extremely long train.
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Offline CLL

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2010, 12:35:35 AM »
I seen a 137 car coal train today and all it had was two engines in front and one in back.
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Offline CHARLIE

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2010, 12:55:53 AM »
Fishpharmer, I started off as a trainman on the mainline of Florida East Coast Railway and ended up as a freight conductor.  The engineer is only in charge of running the engine and its safety. The conductor is in charge of the train and its crew. The conductor determines the movement of the train and the engineer can only refuse if he feels it endangers the engine.

Back when I worked on the railroad, the conductor had to handwrite the switch lists and the Wheel Reports showing movement of the different cas within the train. I spent many an hour at the desk in a caboose filling out reports. At night it would be by the light of a kerosene lamp and in the winter with the warmth of a coal burning pot bellied stove.  I would also sit up in the cupola to check the wheels of the cars when we went around curves and also to wave at people.
Charlie
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Offline Don_Papenburg

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2010, 04:37:00 AM »
I was talking to a guy that works on the U.P.   He told me that with the longer trains that the slack was beating the crap out of the guys in the caboose.  He said that they had several with broken arms and a few with rib damage . One of the guys from the Burlington told my brother that they started putting the pushers on their long trains because the couplers would break  from the load.
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Offline ellmoe

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2010, 07:19:36 AM »
  Dan, looking at the title I thought you were sawing blocks of ice or something. ;D No wonder "furneners" say English is a confusing language.

Mark
Thirty plus years in the sawmill/millwork business. A sore back and arthritic fingers to prove it!

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2010, 07:44:08 AM »
Most times now-a-days when we see a caboose, it's sitting on a
short section of track in some rich guys back yard.

Now that you remind me, it's been a while since I've seen one,
except for the one in the rich guys back yard.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2010, 09:18:49 AM »
Hey Charlie, how long did you have to stoke the coal box before you got moved up to that spot? :D :D
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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2010, 10:35:20 AM »
It was the beginning of the end when they took our river valley trains out. Only one line through the province I think now and that is under review. Irving has a southern line into the US that I just paid out $18M to service. I mean the Billionaire family wouldn't have $18M? Anyway, I think cabooses are gone here to and all you'll see is a rear engine aside from one or two on front of freight trains. Trucking has taken over, but they struggle to make them profitable. I always said freight should move by train and delivery trucks should be short haul. They did it all ash backwards and is costing a lot of dough to keep highways in shape.

Europe uses trains a lot more than here, even for travel. Here we've gotten too independent with autos and it's costing us a lot more in my opinion to get things done. We have too much wide open space between destinations.
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Offline stonebroke

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2010, 10:40:15 AM »
Cabooses were originally put on trains so the brakeman would have a place to go to. How long has it been since George Westinghouse invented the air brake? The air brake put all those brakeman out of work but the caboose hung on for almost 100 years.

Stonebroke

Offline Coon

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2010, 03:33:32 PM »
Many of our trains around here still have cabooses.  We have a main line going right through the north end of town.  Also here in Wynyard, Sask. we also have a rail yard where they switch cars around.  I can here the trains doing their thing around the clock during the busy season.  This rail line ships mainly to the west with the majority of it being grain.  We do not even have an elevator here in town since they went away from the wooden ones and have gone to the concrete grain terminals.  The closest elevator to here is actually on another mainline about 25 miles from here.  Man 'o' man have I seen some of the strangest things go past on rail cars along with some very weird pieces of art painted on em too.  ;)  I think I might have to go for a lil gander later and see if I can get some pics. 

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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2010, 04:55:54 PM »
The train hasn't come thru my town for 20 years until last summer when they brought a huge transformer totalling 550,000 pounds. Part of it was on  schnabbell car and the crew that works the car lived in the caboose.
 




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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2010, 06:20:10 PM »
Coon, when I lived in Rupert, there was steady hauling of coal as well to Port Edward. Big grain terminal there also.



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Bib :D you musta been posting my train. Nice WM CBN sharpener. :D
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Offline Slabs

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2010, 07:40:49 PM »
That caboose musta been headed for it's last rest.  Kinda like the one we have in downtown DeFuniak Springs.  They make nice museum pieces.

Ya ain't supposed'ta git low enough on Natty Lite to have to wait for a freight train to cross the tracks to git to the store DanG.
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2010, 07:47:03 PM »
Trains often have a caboose when they have a lot of backing up to do. Or, it may have just been in transport to one of those rich person's lawn ;). Old logging railroads were fascinating. I recall seeing a photo of a train cross a stream.. the tracks were IN the stream.
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Offline Coon

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2010, 09:30:46 PM »
Went out for a gander but the railroad crews must be off for the weekend.  I never bothered to get any pics as there was not many cars there and they were too far away. 

Swamp those terminals are alot different than the ones we have around here... they load ships and we load rail cars.  ;)  The ones we have are designed for storing grain for longer periods of times.   

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Offline CHARLIE

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2010, 01:06:06 AM »
On one end of the Caboose is usually a bed or two. The mattresses are hard as a rock and covered in heavy vinyl. Not comfortable at all.  On the other end, there is usually a stove, a desk with one or two kerosene lanterns mounted on the wall and a commode.  The commode just dumps onto the track.  In the middle is the cupola, where you climb the ladder and sit up high so you can view the train. Today, all the cars have wheel bearings but back when I was working most of the car's trucks had journal boxes. You flipped up the journal box door and there were two mops against the bushing and we would keep oil in the journal box. We would walk the trains and siphon out oil with water in it, blow it on the tracks and refill with fresh oil. Anyway, if a journal box ran out of oil you'd get a "hot box" and smoke would come pouring out. If you didn't catch it, the bearing would break and you'd have a helluva messy derailment. So, the reason you sit in the cupola is to inspect the train as it goes around the curves. You look for smoke.

For a regular boxcar, 100 cars equal one car length of slack.  So if you were in a caboose of a 250 car train and you had a lousy engineer, your caboos is going to travel 2 boxcar lengths before slamming into a stopped box car. This would cause anyone in the caboose to go flying from one end to the other, plus it will tear up the caboose.  I had a lousy engineer like that once. He DanG near killed me everytime he was stopping the train. He would literally trash the caboose. The toilet would rip from the floor and the windows would start falling out. All the other engineers were good and knew how to stop a train.  The engine has a brake lever that has a "release" valve under it. When the engineer wants to stop the train, he first increases the throttle a notch, then he starts setting the brakes on the train. He does that by drawing the air off the train brakes while pushing down on the "release" valve with the brake handle. The release valve keeps the engine's brakes released.  As the train's brakes start dragging the train down, the engineer increases the throttle another notch or two. The object is for the engine to be pulling while the train was dragging, which causes it to stretch out. When the train is almost stopped, the engineer will back down on he throttle and start using the engine brake too.  With the train stretched out, there is no slack and the caboose will just come to a stop.  The problem is when an idiot engineer applies the engine brake at the same time as the train brake and doesn't increase the throttle.  Without the train brakes set and dragging and the engine brake set, the train starts running into the engine and the people in the caboose are in for a bad time of it.
Charlie
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Offline DanG

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Re: Saw something cool tonite
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2010, 02:06:38 AM »
I didn't think this topic would even get a reply, but it did and I'm glad.  I love trains and it's a DanG good thing because a track runs less than 200 feet behind my house.  Now I live exactly on top of the only hill in Florida, at least on top of the ridgeline that runs across the whole Panhandle, and I never knew until I moved here that those engines shift gears.  I guess they must use my barn to indicate their shift point, but they shift right here everytime they come by.  When there's about six engines duct taped together, it is an awesome sound.  In fact, it's pretty cool if there isn't but one!  There is just something about the sound of those big diesels combined with the whiney buzz(or is it a buzzy whine?) of the motors that I will never grow tired of hearing. :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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