I'm not sure where the "do not hump" rule was written. But yes, any
official could have nailed the yardmaster and switchcrew for humping
a DNH car. Especially if freight was damaged or nearby schools
evacuated due to ammonia fumes. Bad PR, very bad.
BUT, it was the terminal trainmasters who (nudge nudge wink wink)
urged expediency and smiled on high car counts.
Indeed we did some stupid, dangerous things.
Two cars per minute for flat switching sounds about right, but that
includes reaching in for the occasional car that stops short,
stopping to clear up a misprint or to ask the YM a question, etc.
When things were going smoothly with an "in sync" crew, you'd see
four cars or rolling down the lead & into their tracks at the same
time. Everyone had to be on the same page as it required thinking
ahead about where the field men needed to be in order to catch cars
down the tracks. If they had to cross-over cuts, etc. No one wanted
to line a car into an empty track without someone on the brake (first
car into an empty track got a handbrake test before being cut off).
The engineer would also be synced with the foreman/pinpuller's hand
signals, almost to the point of anticipating his signals. Hand
signals would be prefered over radio, limiting the length of the cut
to due to visibility. A good switchman / engineer combo working
together was almost like the switchman having his hand on a no-lag
throttle & brake.
There were fixed tension retarders at the far end of the bowl, not
skates. They kept cars in the bowl unless you pushed or pulled them
out. More or less. Squealed badly.
I don't know why the East Yard retarders had so many problems, but
crossed drawbars, broken knuckles, and thunderous joints were common.
I meant 3 or 4 man switch crews, not including engineer. Just
switchmen. And by men I mean mean person, as there were a few women
switchpersons & engineers by the late '70s. But switchperson sounds
--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Malcolm Laughlin <mlaughlinnyc@...>
means do not let car roll
free.actually in the book of operating rules, or was it the procedures for
particular yards ?
Kenefick came from the NYC, as VPO, where I believe he was one of the
officials who would have gone up in smoke if yard crews had given
those cars special handling.
or otherwise not working properly. Not uncommon for cars to hit
standing cuts way too hard or to leave cars fouling other tracks.
putting the skates on the far end of the bowl tracks ? I've been in
enough hump towers on different railroads to think that what you
describe is not usual.
designed new yard, is two cars per minute, unless there are a lot ofA good crew could flat switch a cut almost as fast as the hump,The best I've ever heard of for a flat yard, and that a well-
multiple car cuts. A hump can get up to four cars a minute when
operation is going well and shouldn't fall below three. Of course
they couldn't do that all day because the constraint in a hump yard
is the building of outbound trains.
all five man crews.