When were poling pockets discontinued? Was it due to regulation? Did having a pole hung under the side of a tender ever become an actionable penalty?
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@Tom Tee posted:
When were poling pockets discontinued?
Well into the diesel era. I'm thinking the 1970s?
Was it due to regulation?
Yes, when polling freight cars became "illegal", diesel units no longer required polling pockets on the endplates.
Did having a pole hung under the side of a tender ever become an actionable penalty?
A very dangerous practice, though apparently when carefully executed, no more so than the rest of railroading.
At one point in time, some RR's actually had specific cars that were used for poling.
Here's a PRR poling car (forgot the car class) lettered for the Cumberland Valley
Pole was on that pivot in the middle of the car...
The pole car even had it's own headlight!
Those running boards must have been very helpful, I just saw RR brakeman/conductor?? guys on a B&W video running along holding on to steady the pole between a locomotive and car on adjacent track, trip & fall down trying to steady the pole in both pockets.
There is no actionable penalty for carrying a pole on a locomotive. To this day NKP 765 still carries hers on the tender.
Here is the full image, shot by Rick Ahern. It is from a photo freight we did up in Owosso years ago. This shot, along with about 200 more, appear in my book about the 765.
Using poles to move cars on a parallel track was likely bad enough safety-wise, when freight cars had a had 30-50 ton capacity and rolled on solid bearings. Poling is definitely not a good way to move today's freight cars weighing 100 tons or so each, even with roller bearings on their axles. S. Islander
I worked was working in a tannery in 1971 when our "switcher" (basically a big farm tractor with a coupler) was unavailable so two of us moved a boxcar loaded with hides by poling. It was surprisingly easy, though slow. It was so slow I can't see how it could be considered unsafe.
I to have used a pole to move cars. The thing that I did not like is if for any reason either the loco backed off or the car got ahead, the pole could fall out of the pocket. Then when power, or resistance, was reestablished, the engine would close the gap with the car. That was a place where you did not want to be.
I have read this post from beginning to end (here), and have no idea what you guys are talking about.
I live in Australia and have never seen anything that would resemble this "poling" thing. Does it involve a female dancer????
In the words of one of our famous (infamous) Australian red-headed female politician (Paulene Hanson).......PLEASE EXPLAIN!!!
Peter (Buco Australia)
A wooden pole about 8 feet long and 10” in diameter that is put between a loco and car on parallel tracks. This way a car can be pushed on a adjacent track. Poling was usually used when there was no run around and the loco was on the wrong end of a string of cars or the crew managed to get the loco trapped with a car stopped on a switch.
"Different" can sometimes seem "strange", but it's ALL GOOD! :-)
Poling was also used when a crew had to get a car off a siding at a facing point switch, but they needed the car behind the locomotive. If there was no place to run around the car, poling was the only option. Today, the car would be picked up by a crew working the opposite direction so the switch was a trailing point switch. The car would then be taken to the next yard down the line, and switched into a train going the opposite direction. Not as efficient, but a lot safer.
Poling was a very dangerous process if not done skillfully. I have done it, both on the ground and as the engineer. One time when I was working the ground, the engineer shoved too hard on the pole and it literally exploded into hundreds of pieces. Thankfully I was standing well out of shrapnel range.
I'm also thankful that this operation is no longer legal.
This website has the specs for the design of one version at 11’-8” x 4.5”
@Rich Melvin posted:
Poling was a very dangerous process if not done skillfully.
And that's the problem. The crew, and especially the Engineer, had to have the feel and the touch, as this was strictly based on the skill of everyone involved.
Usually this is not mentioned, but, from steam days right through today, there are some enginemen and trainmen who are good enough to get by, but who never had, nor will they ever have, abundant finesse, the fine feel for how quick, how fast, how hard, to move, how the individual locomotive is going to react, will the car try to run away from the pole at that location, etc. Some Engineers have that fine feel for things, and could pole cars without any problem at all. Others, who would shove a little too hard, could break the pole. Those who were too light on the throttle, allowed the pole to fall out of the pockets.
And the ground crew has to know their business as well . . . will the car stay against the pole or will it pick up speed faster than the engine? Roller bearings or friction bearings? Is the auxiliary track going to dip down or hump up before the car gets to the switch?
That's why it's dangerous. It's entirely done with learned skills.
Nice refresher on this past bit of railroading. Answered a few questions I'd had about the practice.
There was another hazardous bit of this profession that cost many a hand, arm, .....life: The link & pin coupling. Once I saw this method of coupling cars, predominant in the 19th century, it was easy to project how manual dexterity was no more of a saving technique than sheer luck! Then, too, there apparently was no standardization, meaning there was a wide variety of links and pins, not all of which were compatible. Thankfully Mr. Eli Janney had a better idea....which became the standard early in the 20th century, refined to this day.
Yepper....surely took some 'cojones' to do this...
Study this picture. Think about what's happening...what's in motion, what's stationary. Left hand, right hand, footwork, footing, 'targets', timing, weather,.... Bad aim, bad grip, trip and/or stumble, speed/steadiness of the approaching engine/car, last second sneeze, cough, itchy nose, etc., etc.,??
Glamour job, indeed.