Re: Retainers-How did they work?


Jack Burgess <jack@...>
 

<My lunchtime reading today included Andy Sperandeo's article about
<his railroad in the 2012 edition of "Model Railroad Planning." In his
<very well written narrative about the decisions he has made for his
<Cajon Pass layout, he refers to instances where serious grades were
<involved that trains would stop to set the retainers. Although I
<understand what Andy says that this action "kept the air pressure in
<the cylinders when the brakes were released," I find myself wanting
<to know more about this practice. For example, about how long would
<it take a crew to do this as I assume each car required this. How was
<the retainer valve set? How many people were involved? How was the
<train's breaking effected when the retainers were set? The Andy notes
<another situation where the retainers were turned up. What did this
<mean--were the retainers off?

Bill...check out:

http://www.railway-technical.com/brake2.shtml

and scroll down to retainers. I'll let others comment on the details you ask
about.

A YV brakeman who worked on the log trains told me that the crew set
retainers on the loaded log cars before they departed Incline for the lumber
mill. I'm sure that they didn't set them on all of the cars, just some of
them. (I wonder if it was more effective to set every other car, only some
on the end of the train, etc.)

When I was building a Proto48 model of one of the log cars, I noticed that
the retainer was mounted to the end sill of the cars (B end) in the photos
of the cars at the factory. However, in service photos showed that it was no
longer there and apparently moved...my guess was that the end sill position
proved too prone to damage. However, when I asked my brakeman friend about
it, he couldn't remember where the valve was located! Okay, it was 60 years
earlier but I had to give up and mount it to one of the stringers under the
end of the car...seemed logical.

Jack Burgess

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