Re: Modeling A Hot Box


Oh boy, now we can get into varieties of "hotboxes". While the word "hotbox" has entered the general language and is somewhat understood by most lay people as a burning bearing, the glowing wheel in the modeling article is really indicative of another common problem... sticking brakes, or a car in the consist with it's handbrake on. And... there was a distinctive hand signal to indicate this when seen during a roll-by inspection in the days before radio; both hands held out in front of the body, the palm of one rubbing the back of the other, to indicate the brake shoe rubbing on the wheel.

Modern day "talking hotbox detectors" will respond to both, since all they are is a heat sensor placed close to the rail. They also respond quite often to the heat of an excursion engine's firebox going by.

In keeping with the era this list is supposed to be discussing, I might point out that the engineer would have a rather hard time seeing the agent doing the roll-by, since the engineer was already past him. The agent would typically start signaling the problem as soon as he saw it, but was most likely to be seen by the crew in the caboose. In the days before radio, if the engineer wasn't looking back for a 'highball' from the caboose, the crew would have to start 'pulling the air' to get his attention.

Dennis Storzek

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