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Received: by (5.61/LS3.04)
id AA13626; Tue, 21 Apr 92 02:58:44 -0400
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 92 02:58:44 -0400
From: netnews admin
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
To: nobody
Subject: Part 1 of rec.railroad, Apr 21, 1992
Precedence: bulk

rec.railroad, Apr 21, 1992

Re: Re: Diesel-Electric vs. Diesel-hydraulic
Re: Crossing Gate Rules and Laws
Re: SPV (Was Re: RDC's and SPV's?)
Re: Crossing Accidents
Re: NYC entusiasts.
Re: Crossing Accidents and Train Crews
Re: rdc
Re: Electromagnetic Fields (was RE: Playing Chicken)
Re: Washington DC question
Re: Crossing Gate Rules and Laws
Re: Diesel-Electric vs. Diesel-hydraulic
Re: Playing Chicken!!!
Re: Playing Chicken!!!


From: [email protected] (George Robbins)
Subject: Re: Re: Diesel-Electric vs. Diesel-hydraulic
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 14:31:02 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (George Robbins)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA

In article <[email protected]> [email protected] (Roger Mitchell
) writes:
> The transmission that George Robbins describes here is the type used in the
> Budd RDC's but in locomotives like the German built Kraus-Maffi, the prime
> mover operates a hydraulic pump which powers hydraulic motors on each axel.
> The D&RGW had 2 of these units but they over heated on the mountain grades
> at elevations over 9,000 feet. They were later sold to the Southern Pacific
> who ran them unitl they wore them out and scrapped them.

Roger, that's what I claimed the last time that this subject came up, but a
little research showed that the vast majority of European D-H locomotives
were of the torque converter design. "Voith" transmission is one particular
clue. Now the exact nature of the K-M units is still up in the air, the
little bit in the Diesel Spotter's guide not being very specific.

Several roads bought relatively small numbers of K-M or Alco units for trial
use, it's not clear that they were considered un-satisfactory or simply didn't
have enough of an advantage over the standard diesel-electric design to
overcome the disadvantages of small numbers and foreign vendors/spare parts.

George Robbins - now working for, uucp: {uunet|pyramid|rutgers}!cbmvax!gr
but no way officially representing: domain: [email protected]
Commodore, Engineering Department phone: 215-431-9349 (only by moonlite)


From: [email protected] (George Robbins)
Subject: Re: Crossing Gate Rules and Laws
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 14:53:15 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (George Robbins)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA

In article <[email protected]> [email protected] (Warren Brill)
> ... ince then, a Vickers station on Prospect
> Street next to the BN tracks has been converted to a 24-hour "Convenience
> Store" [read: high priced shoplifting magnet :-)] and last week I saw a
> train headed by two SD-40-2s and a similar (though not alike) EMD six-axle
> unit stopped about fifteen feet short of the street, while the brakeman
> was in the store, and the engineer (driver?-around here sometimes the term

> "engineer" is not used as a complement 🙂 ) was having a smoke in his cab.

This reminds me of the setup in Wilmington. The Reading Beech Street yard/
roundhouse was about a half-mile from where my dad worked. There was an
industrial track leading to a couple sidings that got within easy walking
distance of the local all-night diner. Despite the fact that you never
saw cars spotted on the sidings, night movements on the industrial track
weren't all that un-common. I wonder what things were like in the steam

George Robbins - now working for, uucp: {uunet|pyramid|rutgers}!cbmvax!gr
but no way officially representing: domain: [email protected]
Commodore, Engineering Department phone: 215-431-9349 (only by moonlite)


From: [email protected] (James B. VanBokkelen)
Subject: Re: SPV (Was Re: RDC's and SPV's?)
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 15:17:37 GMT
Article-I.D.: cream.920417111737
Sender: [email protected] ( root account)
Reply-To: [email protected]
Organization: FTP Software, Inc., Wakefield, MA
Nntp-Software: PC/TCP NNTP

Fastest I've ever seen an RDC run (on the B&M) was 82 MPH, when an RRE
excursion was making time south from Lowell, trying to get onto the
Stoneham branch without delaying a regular passenger train behind it.
I've seen 75 MPH many times, across the marshes from Rowley to Newburyport
West (Wilbur Rogers had a party boat business on the side, and he'd do
the best time he could when he had a boatload to take out at 1830; the
train was due in Newburyport at 1820 or so). Offhand, I'd guess that
the B&M's cars couldn't go much faster; the highest speed limit anywhere
on the road was 70 MPH, and the RDCs all did their share of commuter
work (some stops less than a mile apart).

James B. VanBokkelen 26 Princess St., Wakefield, MA 01880
FTP Software Inc. voice: (617) 246-0900 fax: (617) 246-0901


From: [email protected] (Jim Muller)
Subject: Re: Crossing Accidents
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Organization: Alliant Computer Systems Corp.
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1992 15:42:28 GMT

In <[email protected]> [email protected] (Dave Murphy) reports on a
piece on crossing accidents from the Washington Post. Very interesting!

> ... "For some reason, people don't have the respect or fear for
>trains that they do for other things," said David Cobb, Norfolk
>Southern assistant superintendent in Chicago...

I would suggest the "average motorist" has little knowledge or respect
for much of what happens on the roads. The mechanics or trains, or just
the common sense of trying to beat a train at a crossing, is not within
the realm of the "average motorist".

When I was a child (which goes back some years now), back in the early
days of television, there used to be public-service spots on the local
TV stations (oops, I mean station) that focused on good driving practice.
I remember seeing explanations of how to make a right turn from the
right lane and a left turn from the left, calls to make turn signals
(back when you had to stick your hand out of the window), warnings about
following too close behind another vehicle, etc. A likely spot back then
(though I can't remember ever seeing any) would have been something on
the stopping behavior of trains (i.e. little to none compared to a car).
I have often wondered why similar public service spots aren't more common
today. The public certainly could use some education, on trains and cars
and other things mobile. Oh well, just a thought...
Jim Muller
[email protected]


From: [email protected] (Joseph Brennan)
Subject: Re: NYC entusiasts.
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 16:29:41 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Joseph Brennan)
Organization: Columbia University

In article <[email protected]> [email protected]
.edu (Poster Child Against Meal Plan) writes:
>Being from NYC, i was wondering if anyone out there was a NYC buff or a
>NYC railbuff --- go to school here and buffalo and miss the discourse about
>that sort of stuff. Anyone know any newsgroups for this specifically?

You get some NYC stuff here, and you get more on the Transit mailing
list on BITNET. Send mail to [email protected] (or however you
write a BITNET address at your site), with the message "sub transit
Poster Child" or whatever name you really want to be called (!).

Joe Brennan


Organisation: Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet, Muenster, Germany
Date: Friday, 17 Apr 1992 17:44:05 MES
From: Ruediger Gaensfuss
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Crossing Accidents and Train Crews

In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Dave Murphy) says:
>From the Washington Post, Monday 13 April 1992, page A6.
>(w/out permission)
>by Don Phillips, Washington Post Staff Writer
> "The problem was a lot of the time, if the train wasn't
>damaged, the engineer continued on his trip after killing a fam-
>ily of four," said D.B. Ditzel, Montana state legislative direc-
>tor for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
Hard to believe what has happened in Germany about 20 years ago:
There was an engineer of a passenger train who hit a car at a
crossing: car damaged, but only two or so light injuries. The
engineer was asked whether he will continue the trip or not and
he answered "yes" although there was another stand-by engineer
available. Some little two hours later his train hit another car,
this time causing three or four deaths. Poor man!

Ruediger Gaensfuss ([email protected]) University of Muenster, Germany


From: [email protected] (Steve Hooper)
Subject: Re: rdc
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 18:27:22 GMT
Organization: MIND LINK! - British Columbia, Canada

> Dave Pierson writes:
> (marginally related: reportedly, somewhere in Western Canada, the "school
> bus"
> was actually a railroad car, altho reseved for the kiddies. The held a
> name_the_car contest & the kids picked:
> Budd Wiser.

Yep, that's a car on BC Rail. It is a standard coach, not a Budd car. I'll
check for more details and post 'em later.


[email protected] [] Riding the "High Iron" of
OR [email protected] [] CP Rail
The Great White North in []
Vancouver, BC CANADA [] Opinions are mine, NOT CP's


From: [email protected] (Steve Hooper)
Subject: Re: Electromagnetic Fields (was RE: Playing Chicken)
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 18:37:35 GMT
Organization: MIND LINK! - British Columbia, Canada

> Eddie Oliver writes:
> Why not? Surely there are still many sections of track on CP which are not
> track-circuited? Can't they still use it on branch lines, sidings etc.?

I guess they could...never crossed my mind. I guess there is other things
wrong with it too. I dunno, not my field 🙂

> Which raises a broader question. What is current Canadian practice for
> operating
> trains on unsignalled lines? There has been some intermittent discussion here
> and in the signalling mailing list re the demise of train orders, and their
> replacement by other systems which seem to many of us just to be train orders
> under another name, or with extra restrictions; but I don't recall much
> debate
> about the current practices on CN, CP, BCR etc.

The old system of M.B.S. (Manual Block System) was upgraded with the recent
rules change (from U.C.O.R. to C.R.O.R) and is now called O.C.S. (Occupancy
Control System).

Did you G.E.T. all T.H.A.T.? Sheesh...!

Anyway, OCS is basically the same as MBS in that train movement is controlled
by a Clearance that you copy down on paper.

"To: Extra 5879 West

Proceed from Point A. to Point B.

(if you take the siding it says, "Clear Main Track")

These forms also allow for the operation of cabooseless trains as they have a
section on the form for, "Leave blank switch in reversed position" where blank
would be North Siding Switch Windermere.

It's a simple system, but when there is a lot of trains or maintenance
happening, the radio never shuts up and there is a LOT of paperwork. I recall
one trip about 3 years ago from Ft. Steele to Golden. The dispatcher (now
called the RTC) called and asked if we were on the move. I replied Yes. He
then asked where we were stopping next. I rattled off 6 restriction point (2
Foremen on Y2's, 2 work trains we were protecting against by clearance, one
foreman we were protecting against by clearance, and our actual train's
clearance point!) In total, I took 14 clearances that trip!


[email protected] [] Riding the "High Iron" of
OR [email protected] [] CP Rail
The Great White North in []
Vancouver, BC CANADA [] Opinions are mine, NOT CP's


From: [email protected] (Joseph Brennan)
Subject: Re: Washington DC question
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 17:07:56 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Joseph Brennan)
Organization: Columbia University

Potomac Yard was an interchange between the Pennsylvania at the north
end and the Southern and the Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac at the
south end. The RF&P was jointly owned by the the Pennsylvania and the
roads at its southern end at Richmond, the Atlantic Coast Line and
Seaboard Air Line*. Pennsylvania owned the bridge over the Potomac in
Washington DC. This meant all trains between SOU, ACL and SAL and the
north via Washington had to travel over the Pennsy at least to cross
the river.

Note how the Baltimore and Ohio was cut out of direct interchange with
the southern roads by two means: (1) The RF&P did not own the line to
Union Station, where it would have met the B&O, and (2) even if it
did, the tunnel to Union was too small for most freight-- the freight
line ran around the east side of the District to the Pennsy main line.
Only the Pennsy ran through passenger cars to SOU, ACL and SAL, even
though the B&O-Reading-Jersey Central line to New York (well, Jersey
City) was as fast as the Pennsylvania's before electrification. You
could argue that cheap land for a large interchange yard was more
easily found in Alexandria-- true-- but capturing the market for the
Pennsylvania had to be a consideration.

*There was a time when the phrase "air line" meant a very straight
line, like "as the crow flies", so a few railroad routes were known as
"air lines". No one expected to literally fly to get somewhere! In
many cases "air line" also meant the route failed to run through
intermediate places of importance.

Joe Brennan


From: [email protected] (Steve Hooper)
Subject: Re: Crossing Gate Rules and Laws
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 18:47:03 GMT
Article-I.D.: mindlink.11486
Organization: MIND LINK! - British Columbia, Canada

> Warren Brill writes:
> Interestingly, the flashers/bell were shut off, so traffic continued across
> the rails during the ~ ten minutes I watched the train sitting there. The
> headlight was on half bright, then came on full, along with two strobes,
> in the position normally occupied by ditch lights. The crossing lights
> came on simultaneously, although both employees appeared to be in the cab.
> Does anybody know how they could control the crossing without getting into
> the battery box by the crossing? Do they have some kind of [radio? infra-
> red? ??] remote control for these things?

Some crossings (such as crossing just outside a main yard where a train might
be delayed) are equipped with special wiring. One such thing is called a Grade
Crossing Predictor. Instead of having the wig-wags come on when you are X feet
away from it, the GCP's detect how FAST you are approaching and will not go on
early. So if I'm on 50 mph track and for some reason I am at restricted speed,
the bells will not be on for 5 minutes prior to my arrival at the crossing.

Another type is one that is hooked into the signal system. An example of this
is found outside Coquitlam yard, our main classification yard. If the tower
wants to to hold outside the yard (congestion, no room, whatever), we pull up
to the crossing just outside the yard. We shut the head and ditch lights down
so people know we are stopped. Then, after a minute, the lights will stop
ringing. Then, when the tower says it's OK to enter the yard, the CTC Operator
will give us a signal to enter the yard. When the signal changes, the gates
automatically start up, we turn on the headlights, start blowing the whistle,
and occupy the crossing.


[email protected] [] Riding the "High Iron" of
OR [email protected] [] CP Rail
The Great White North in []
Vancouver, BC CANADA [] Opinions are mine, NOT CP's


From: [email protected] (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,319338287
Subject: Re: Diesel-Electric vs. Diesel-hydraulic
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 17 Apr 92 18:48:47 GMT
Sender: [email protected]

Least people forget, other diesel transmission schemes have been tried.

The Germans tried a diesel compressed air engine; this was mounted on a
Pacific frame, I think (4-6-2 wheel count), and the Diesel engine ran a
compressor, with the compressor output being additionally heated by the
diesel exhaust to five it a bit more pressure before it was expanded in
the conventional steam-engine cylinders.

The British tried a dual-diesel direct-geared-drive engine that was
the only moderately successful engine of that type in mainline service.

For years, Plymouth made a line of tiny direct-drive diesels for
shunting and industrial service, but they could only move a car or two.

Doug Jones
[email protected]


From: [email protected] (Rick DeMattia)
Subject: Re: Playing Chicken!!!
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 92 22:39:15 EDT
Organization: Railnet BBS (phone # changing April 1992)

[email protected] (Richard T. Pierce) writes:

> Yesterday, near Brantford, Ontario, there was a VIA train car accident...

A shame, regardless of the fault.

I read an unattributed statistic some time ago, to the effect
that around 1910, 50,000 people were killed in rail/vehicle/pedestrian
accidents in the United States. I find that to be an incredibly
high number, considering the size of the population at that time,
but note that this is about the time that the great grade separation
projects were under way, and I suppose that the railroads wouldn't
have spent the money on safety if there had not been a compelling

Does anyone know if that number is nearly accurate?

Does anyone else suspect, as I do, that with the reduced importance
of railroads as transportation, the public has become less aware
of the hazards involved at rail crossings and rights-of-way?

UUCP: {uunet|backbone}!nshore!railnet!rad [email protected]
CompuServe: [email protected]


From: [email protected] (Rick DeMattia)
Subject: Re: Playing Chicken!!!
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 92 22:46:21 EDT
Organization: Railnet BBS (phone # changing April 1992)

[email protected] (Mark E Fischer) writes:

> Some people have some very strange reasoning why grade crossing accidents
> happen...
> Sigh... How can you argue with logic like that?
Reminds me of the logic of a B&O brakeman - who could and would
spend hours explaining to anyone who listened that the manned
moon landing had been faked, and that he could show you the spot
in North Carolina where it was done.

UUCP: {uunet|backbone}!nshore!railnet!rad [email protected]
CompuServe: [email protected]


*** End of part 1, more to come...

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