Expeditiously moving a passenger car

rattler21 posted:

Would it be possible (only using machinery, equipment and supplies normally in an MOW or wreck/work train) to jury rig the necessary lines to pull a business car behind a flat car?  John in Lansing, ILL

Don't maintenance of way rolling stock have the same couplers as whats on a "business car"? 

 

 

The couplers and service air would be the easy part.  I was thinking about the reservoir air, the electrical lines, and I think passenger car brakes either apply or release differently than freight car brakes to minimize the jerking when leaving a station.  Not sure of any of this.  John in Lansing, Ill

rattler21 posted:

The couplers and service air would be the easy part.  I was thinking about the reservoir air,

When in a train consist, the "reservoir air" is maintained by the brake pipe, normally set at 110psi for passenger service.

the electrical lines, 

No "electrical lines" would be needed for a "business car", as most are all self contained. Any other normal passenger car would need 480volt 3 phase HEP for lights, heat, or air condition, which might not be required for a "dead move". All the air brake functions would still work.

and I think passenger car brakes either apply or release differently than freight car brakes

No. Passenger cars work the same as any/all freight cars.

to minimize the jerking when leaving a station. 

THAT would be up to the skill of the Engineer.

Not sure of any of this. 

Glad you clarified that.

John in Lansing, Ill

 

From the information in your question, it's difficult to determine what sort of a movement you are contemplating and for what distance, but the word expeditious is somewhat concerning to me, so I hope the following information will aid you in your quest:

  • First the good news:  All air brake control valves applied to some freight and all passenger cars since the 1930's have been capable of being set for Direct Release or for Graduated Release.  
    • Direct Release is used in freight service.  When brakes have been applied and the control valve senses a brake pipe air pressure increase of as little as 1.5 PSI, the control valve completely releases all brake cylinder pressure (and thus releases the brakes completely).  Direct Release is required on long passenger trains (typically those exceeding 18 cars, but there is some discretion that varies among railroads) because of the length of the brake pipe and the corresponding volume of air affecting the brake pipe gradient surge, making Graduated Release unreliable.
    • Graduated release is used to make smooth releases and smooth stops in passenger service.  When there is a brake application in effect, and the control valve detects an increase in brake pipe pressure, it partially releases the brake cylinder pressure in proportion to how much the brake pipe pressure is increased.  This allows passenger comfort when a brake application for a speed reduction is released, as well as when coming to a stop.  You do the same thing when stopping your automobile.  When Graduated Release is in use, brakes may be partially released, and then reapplied and graduated off again.  Up to three steps of graduated release can be reliably made within each braking cycle.
  • Control Valves are set for the desired method of release by a simple process.  There is a plate, accessible from the outside, called the Graduated Release Cap. which is inserted into the control valve body and secured by 2 bolts.  It has the letters DIR cast into one side and GRA cast into the other.  It contains other features that change the internal porting affecting the method the control valve will use in releasing brake cylinder pressure.  To change from one type of release to the other, simply bleed all air out of the control valve, remove the bolts, flip the Graduated Release Cap, and reapply the bolts.
  • All control valves in the train must be set the same - all Graduated or all Direct.

 

Now, as to moving a passenger car in a freight train (which includes all trains consisting of freight equipment) there is no physical or mechanical incompatibility as long as the passenger car has its own source of electrical power if it is to be occupied.  This ends the good news.  Now comes the reality check.  Your car will have to pass professional inspections before being accepted for movement in a train -- any train -- and at intervals en route.

Common carrier railroads may or may not choose to accept your car for movement.  However, they may move it from one location to another entirely within their yard; that's not a "movement".  For movement, shippers or experienced car owners with a good record will find the railroad more likely to be receptive.  If that's not you, be prepared for a difficult and uphill struggle.  If you are charging anyone to ride, you are out of luck if the railroad joined Amtrak back in the 1970's.  Railroads are very liability-conscious, and do not like to have any passenger equipment entrained on freight trains where there could be slack action.  They may not allow the car to be occupied.  Your car will be given an initial inspection to be sure that any required testing has been done and that nothing is out of date, and that it is equipped as required by FRA regulations.  To avoid surprises, you should measure (using an AAR wheel gauge) and inspect all wheels, and perform a stationary air brake test with portable equipment, before ever contacting the railroad.  There is a lot of extra piping in a passenger car, and that means more places to leak air.  If you are not intending to occupy the car en route you can cut out the main valve to the water rising system.  The car must be able to pass a leakage test in order to move in a train.  If it develops any defects en route, it will be set out at the nearest location and the railroad will work with you (and charge you plenty) to repair the defects.

Also any passenger car accepted for movement from one railroad onto another will be subject to an interchange inspection, and you may be assured that a privately-owned passenger car will get the most critical inspection that the railroad's inspector can give.  Be prepared for your car to be rejected for mechanical defects, even small ones, and this can go on for a long time, and be very expensive to repair, before the railroad finally accepts your car in interchange.  Do not choose a remote location for interchange, because you may need to spend days while you wait for things like new wheel sets with discs mounted on the axles to arrive from some distant location where they are available, to get your car qualified for further movement.  And an interchange point where there is a railroad mechanical facility can be very handy.

That is the negative side.  However, if your car has had good maintenance and has been used recently, you may have an easier time of it.

I wish you the best of luck.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

John, I re-read your question

Would it be possible (only using machinery, equipment and supplies normally in an MOW or wreck/work train) to jury rig the necessary lines to pull a business car behind a flat car? 

Your mention of jury-rigging makes me think that there is something wrong with the passenger car, and the first thing that comes to mind is inoperative brakes.  

In a real railroad situation, when a car has been in a wreck and has inoperative brakes that cannot be repaired on-site, and must be moved to a repair location, a long hose is coupled to the brake pipe hoses of the cars ahead of and behind the defective car.  The hose is attached on the outside, along the length of the defective car.  It is imperative that cars with operative air brakes be coupled ahead of and behind the car with defective brakes.  Normally there is a speed restriction.  Such a car would almost never be accepted from a shipper for movement.  If accepted, it would not be moved farther than the nearest repair facility.  Except for cars having been badly wrecked, brake equipment should be able to be repaired in the field and no jury-rigging should be allowed.  On my Home Road (Santa Fe) wrecked passenger cars were sometimes moved this way to Topeka, Kansas, where the System Passenger Car Shop was located, but done at great expense in special trains, with constant Mechanical and Operating Department supervision.

If there is a draft gear problem, it will have to be repaired before movement.  Railroads will chain up a car that suffers broken draft gear en route, to move it to the nearest setout track, but not for through movement.  In order to use a chain there has to be something there to which you can attach the chain. 

If this is about moving an old passenger car with defects for a museum association, the railroad might work with you.  If you have bought a passenger car with defects to move off-site for other use, you'll probably need to have it moved all the way on a lowboy truck.

Special movements such as I have described tie up a lot of Mechanical Department people and Operating Department officials whose normal jobs are somewhere else and are not being done while the special movement is in progress.  You can understand how this will make a railroad reluctant to have anything to to with such movements.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

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