Re: Do Not Hump Signs

Robert <riverob@...>

I believe the rulebook says "do not hump" means do not let car roll
free. Regardless of the retarder quality. (At least when I worked
the UP's East Yard hump 18 years in the future, '78-'84) Cars
placarded "do not hump" were to be shoved to a joint with a yard
brakeman on the point. Nevertheless, in the name of expediency the
yardmasters would sometimes let DNH cars roll free. I saw loaded
ammonia cars(!), unknown DOT placarded tank cars, and an NW2 let roll
free. The endplate of the NW2 caught on the mechanism of the first
retarder, coming to an instant stop. I think it put the retarder out
of service, but I can't remember. It should not have went over the
hump...too low.

The hump retarders were more often than not out of calibration or
otherwise not working properly. Not uncommon for cars to hit
standing cuts way too hard or to leave cars fouling other tracks.

A good crew could flat switch a cut almost as fast as the hump, but
that usually meant a four-person crew vs. three on the hump. (Steam
era cars with high mounted brakes afforded a great view of the yard.)

Rob Simpson

--- In, Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>

Note that "do not hump" signs don't necessarily mean a car didn't
go over the hump. With the advent of "electronic yards" in the late
50's when computer control of retarders was introduced, hump yards
had much better control of car speeds. On the NYC we ignored those
placards at the new yards because it was thought that there was less
risk of unacceptable coupling speed than in a flat yard.

Malcolm Laughlin, Editor 617-489-4383
New England Rail Shipper Directories
19 Holden Road, Belmont, MA 02478

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