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Engine spotting

Discussion in 'Metal Heads' started by u c p, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. u c p

    u c p New Jack

    Joined: Oct 20, 2003 Messages: 30 Likes Received: 0
    Curious if anyone can tell me about parked lines with engines fronting them.

    Do conductors sleep in the engines between stops and what not or do rail workers pick them up and take them somewhere to catch some Z's for the time being?

    I'm curious because I have a great spot for taking shots/painting freights but often times the lines parked for two or three days have an engine on one end. I've never known if this could be a bad idea or if they just left the engine there until they came back for the line.

    Let me know.
  2. ODS-1

    ODS-1 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 21, 2003 Messages: 3,575 Likes Received: 0
    Yeah they generally do sleep in there.
  3. 2ten

    2ten Member

    Joined: Apr 9, 2003 Messages: 385 Likes Received: 0
    this is probably a dumb question, but i have seen lines with engines at the front and the end of the line, and i have seen engines just at the fton of the line...

    what is the purpost of having them at both ends of the line, and do they have conductors at both ends of the line?
  4. type R

    type R Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 23, 2001 Messages: 2,456 Likes Received: 1
    UCP-usually they do sleep in there. the engine usually has quarters built into it for a driver to sleep while the other one is driving. if it is parked for a few days though with the engine still attatched, the drivers are usually picked up in a white or brown van and taken somewhere to stay. where they stay and for how long is determined by their union policy.

    2ten-amtrak uses this technique alot. the primary purpose for having an engine at both ends is if the train is going somewhere that doesnt have any loops or places for the train to turn around, it can reverse directions. sometimes the engine in the rear will be pushing the train, and both engines (if there is one in front) will have to display specific lights and/or flags to notify workers.
  5. 1HalfOfMe

    1HalfOfMe Member

    Joined: Mar 25, 2002 Messages: 837 Likes Received: 0
    iv kinda been wondering about this same topic. id imagine it depends on the time they are there. you could watch when a train stops and see what the workers do, but that could be very time consuming. im coining the new phrase, "ask kabar"
  6. Kirby p

    Kirby p Senior Member

    Joined: Feb 11, 2004 Messages: 1,034 Likes Received: 0
    buy a railroad frequency scanner and if you're lucky you'll hear something about the 12 hour rule---

    also the cars could be being fumigated for a couple of days look for notices that say shit like "placarded for 'such and such' a time"

    if in doubt, knock on the doors of the cab and say some shit like "hey can you pull the train up like 6 inches? you ran over my cat.
  7. 2ten

    2ten Member

    Joined: Apr 9, 2003 Messages: 385 Likes Received: 0
    so would the conducter be in the front or back of the line??? Im thinking both because one would have to control the lights/flags and one to run the engine that is pushing the line...

    thanks for the info

    FR8HOUND Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Mar 21, 2001 Messages: 6,795 Likes Received: 38
    :lol: ''the cat thing''...haha ingenious..never saw engines at both ends, but leaving engines at the head of a line, and running is common practice. most engineers are always shuttled off to hotels, for showers sleep, etc..by a van support, common from the particular rr carrier..the best thing is to learn your spot, after some time, you'll learn the patterns, and eventually know whats going on.
  9. porque

    porque Senior Member

    Joined: May 5, 2002 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 0
    ...i know of a few cases where engines are utilized at both ends of the line but these are always short term routes...one case is when a line is leaving and say the initial two mile stretch is uphill...it takes more powr to move the line from rest up a hill than it does if it's already moving...so the yard will have a couple of engines push the line to a point while the leads are pulling in their normal fashion...after a mile or two they stop, split up an dhead back to the yard...

    ...also if a line is short, twenty cars or so, and it's only going on a local route it may be more efficent time wise to keep the power on the back of the line so once they get to the destination they can quickly do their work and leave...

    ...there's probably more instances as well...
  10. krowteN

    krowteN Member

    Joined: Jan 26, 2002 Messages: 480 Likes Received: 0
    I've never known engineers to sleep in an engine, especially if its overnight. one may doze off as they wait for clearance if its a long time. but if their shift is over they will more often than not be picked up. smaller railroads may have their crew catch a cab to a hotel if they are to pick up a line the next day. there are a lot of variables though.

    engines are ususally left running to make the writers think there is someone aboard.
    there is a crew change location at my bench. i usually know when the crew is going to leave because the brakeman will set the brake on about the first 5 or 10 cars as a saftey measure.

    i only see rear power on coal drags, for obvious reasons. to my knowledge there is noone in the rear power. I know a couple of kids who ride hardcore, and they say rear power is the place to ride in style. that or inside a car in an autorack.

    i still think its worth it, but a scanner wont be much help unless your really familiar with local rr vernacular and the rr names for junctions yards and sidings.
  11. type R

    type R Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 23, 2001 Messages: 2,456 Likes Received: 1
    no offense, but they sure as hell dont leave the engine running to scare off writers. if you are painting 20 cars down and someone is sitting in the engine at night, does it matter? i dont think it would stop me. workers sleep in the engine mainly when it is a 2 or more person crew, one sleeps while the others navigate, then they rotate in shifts.
  12. krowteN

    krowteN Member

    Joined: Jan 26, 2002 Messages: 480 Likes Received: 0
    thanks for clearing that up.;)
  13. chrleschapln

    chrleschapln Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 5, 2004 Messages: 141 Likes Received: 0
    The engines are left on because the main reason its cheaper than using the fuel to restart them yes even if their left on for more than a day or two most likely crews dont sleep in the engine except when the train is in route, or its a couple of hour lay over or what not. Look for a white or brown van Most likely Cimmaron Coach espcially on the east coast, sure sign there headed to the hotel and the line is there for the night. The main way to tell if there is someone or something in the engine on front or back is pay attention to the lights on front 1light layed up 2 lights layed ready to leave all three lights on chances are its leaving with in the hour all these info is just my experiences as little as they maybe any questions knock on the engine see whats happen the cat is a great way to start conversation!!!!
  14. bear

    bear Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2001 Messages: 2,930 Likes Received: 0

    almost every question in this forum could best be answered by saying just that: it's all about spending time at your spot without paint at the beginning and seeing what happens.
    and i'm no expert, but it doesn't take long to feel out the schedules/routes and learn enough to be safe and still crush.