Re: Retainers-How id they work?

O Fenton Wells

Bill, I don't know the answer to your question and in fact I am trying to
learn the same thing because it was a standard procedure for all trains at
the top of Saluda grade to have the retainers set, in fact some were set in
the Ashville yard prior to the train departing. When the train was safely
down the mountain the retainers were set back to their normal position. I
am preparing a clinic on the Southerns operations up and down Saluda and
would like to know more about this subject for the presentation.
I have read several accident reports in which the retainers were not all
set on the train before decent and in other cases where cars were added
after Ashville and those retainers not being set. The train itself was
supposed to sit short of the down grade and an air test performed that was
not always done either.
Fenton Wells
On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM, Bill Welch <fgexbill@...>wrote:


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 Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622

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Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332

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