Dennis Storzek writes:
“Few people have trouble identifying the front end of a steam locomotive,”
I agree, but I had my mind expanded a little last night while watching a presentation on the Welsh Highland Railway, which uses a number of Beyer-Garrat locomotives. At one point, one of these engines is moved out onto the main line, and backs down to couple up to a passenger train . . . with the boiler OBVIOUSLY oriented the “wrong way.”
On a B-G, the cab leads the boiler, somewhat in the manner of an SP Cab Forward, and likely for much the same reason. The smoke and gasses are exhausted well behind the cab as the train moves forward.
Exceptions make the rule . . .
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dennis Storzek
Sent: Friday, December 04, 2020 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Frisco “Sawtooth” boxcar photo - North/south, east/west longitude/latitude
On Thu, Dec 3, 2020 at 01:59 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:
You see this usage also in car service records, such as "replaced AR sideframe" (truck).
And I'm sure that's where it came from, an unambiguous way to describe a defect in need of repair. The MCB system for freight cars is one of three the railroads used, all from different origins but for the same purpose - defect reporting.
Railroad self propelled MU cars are much like freight cars in that they are intended to be bi-directional, and don't usually have distinctive front and rear ends. There is still the need, however, to be able to define where the defect in need of repair is located on the car. Since the early electric MU cars came from the same builders that built streetcars, the system already in use was adopted, and each car had a No.1 and No.2 end, the No.1 end being defined as the end with the electrical cabinet in the cab, or if no cabinet, the end with the main circuit breaker.
Few people have trouble identifying the front end of a steam locomotive, and the right and left side naturally follow, but when diesel road switchers were introduced their bi-directional nature lead to confusion. This lead the ICC to require that locomotives have the front clearly designated with the letter F stenciled on the frame, again for the purpose of defect reporting, and this requirement eventually applied to the MU fleets also.