Date   

Re: Retainers-How id they work?this

Tom Vanwormer
 

Ed Workman wrote:

Here's what I remember from a conversation I had with an ex- Cajon
swing brakeman.
Deadhead to Victorville and wait.
Carry a club- a stick with a big washer jammed over one end
Get on the WB and ride to Summit, where x number of retainers were
turned up by reaching down from the running board and catching the
retainer handle with that washer on the club.
As the train proceeds downhill, watch and sniff for hot wheels on
retained cars.
Run the tops to turn down retainers on hot-wheel cars, turn up
retainers to replace those- [perhaps/probly in the opposite order].
Do this on beautiful sunny days, or dark nites, or in the rain, or
even a little snow.
How many folks? well let's guess. Thru head and rear brakemen, say two
swing. On a 60 car train- and I didn't check any siding lengths or
special instructions, that would be say 15 cars per man, not all
retained at once. Now then , this man is at least 10 years older than
I, so he probly worked when FTs ruled the pass, and up to the deadline
for AB replacement of K valves: 1953. It is my impression that with
DBs and retainers wheel-cooling stops could be avoided. 10 min at
Cajon? 10 at Devore? ETT work required here.
Upon arrival at San Bernardino, go back to Victorville for another ,
maybe on a good day two more trips and make a bunch of money [ at what
today, when money is "worth" so little, seems appallingly low per hour
rates].
All subject to correction[s] by somebody who really did it.
Now in November 61 I did hop a freight [at a non-Cajon place] at nite
and ran the tops to get off the boxcars before the next tunnel- God
protects the senseless, sometimes.

olderail wrote:

The retainers for the AB brakes system had four positions:

Handle down: meant retainer was set for normal operation

Handle raised aprox 100 degrees: "HP"(high pressure),when
an automatic brake application released 20 lbs
brake cylinder pressure retained.

Handle 90 degrees: "LP" (low pressure) 10 lbs brake cyl
pressure retained after brake release.

Handle 45 degrees: "SD" (slow direct release), retained 20
lbs brk cyl pressure which released over a 86
second (IIRC) period.

When retainers required HP was the setting for loaded cars,
LP used for empties. Retainers allowed a trains brake pipe
to be restored to the feed valve setting while holding any
harmful speed increase in check. Depending on the length and
severity of the grade one or more wheel cooling stops might have to
be made before reaching the bottom.

To apply and release retainers required the brakemen walk back
and move the retainer handle on each car at the top and bottom of
grades. I believe some of the mountain railroads had a pole made
up to alliviate having to climb up and down most every car.

What about the "SD" position? Some roads prohibited using that
position. To give an example of where it was used lets go
to the CBQ Deadwood line. Going north toward Lead/Deadwood there
were several 3% descending grades, the first one was one mile
long a few miles south of Custer, the crew used this as a test
spot. If the brake pipe leakage was minimal, and a normal brake
application had the desired effect and (diesel days) you had
working dynamic brake (one SD9 could control seven 220,000lb loads
at 15 mph) the crew would then set their "SD" retainers while
stopped at Custer. Basically the formula they used was something
like this total loads minus 7 X #of SD9 + 1 car. So if you had
four units with 42 loads they'd set 15 SD retainers on the head
end. If they had an engineer the train crew didn't trust they
used "HP" with the loads.

Dick Haave


Retainers

Guy Wilber
 

The four position retainer valve used on "AB" brake systems was adopted as "recommended" practice via letter ballot in 1941, and advanced to "standard" practice in 1946. Along with the adoption of the newly designed valve the AAR also submitted for approval an alternate which entailed converting the (then) standard three position retainers to a four.

As of January 1, 1948, the four position (standard) or converted three position (alternate standard) retainer was required on all cars built new, or rebuilt.

Dick Haave's description of the four position retainer is spot on with the AAR's 1940 and 1941 reports.

Guy Wilber
Sparks, Nevada


Re: Retainers-How id they work?

Andy Sperandeo
 

Hello Bill,

Thanks for reading my article, and I'm glad it stirred some interest.

On some parts of the Santa Fe's Los Angeles Division the use of retainers was at the conductor's discretion, but their use on westward freight trains departing Summit was spelled out by special rule in the employee timetable. The number of retainers used was dependent on the train tonnage. Special Rule 16 in Time Table 131 (effective Aug. 31 1947) requires one retainer for each 40 or more tons in trains with steam power or diesels lacking dynamic brakes. Trains with dynamic-equipped diesels (and all dynamics working) could take 70 tons per operative brake, and that was also the maximum tonnage allowed west from Summit. At times cuts of empty reefers were left at Summit to be picked up by heavy westward trains that needed improve their ratio of tons per brake.

On diesel-operated trains with working dynamics, retainers were "manipulated" from the engine back; on other trains from the caboose forward, to the required number of cars. On trains handling all empties, the retainers could be applied on alternate cars.

The handles on the retainer valves were turned up for the "on" position and down for "off." (In 1947, two-position retainers were not yet in use.) In addition to the two train brakemen working through from Barstow to San Bernardino, three or four swing brakemen rode all freights from Victorville to San Bernardino, so at Summit there were five or six men available to operate the retainer valves. Fred Carlson's article, "Air brakes for model railroaders," in the November 1994 "Model Railroader," includes a photo of a brakemen using his brake club to reach down from the running board of a car and turn up a retainer valve at Summit. (Fred also went into more detail on how retainers worked on each car and in a train.)

Train sheets show that except when waiting for other trains, most freights stopped for only 15 to 20 minutes, so they got this done expeditiously. In that time the crew also inspected the train and performed a standing set-and-release air test.

With retainers applied, the engineer could apply the brakes to control the train's speed and then release the brakes to recharge the cars' reservoirs. While in release, the retainers would maintain some pressure on the brake shoes to keep the train from gaining speed too quickly. Still, trains descending under retainer control would alternately speed up and slow down as the engineer operated his brake valve. With dynamic brakes the descent would be smoother and speed could be more easily controlled, but the dynamic brakes of the 1940s were relatively primitive compared to later developments.

Running downgrade with some brakes always applied heated the wheels more than normal and could lead to other kinds of trouble, so the trains stopped for wheel cooling and inspections for ten minutes each at Cajon and Devore, and the brakemen rode the tops of the cars looking for problems all the way to San Bernardino (day and night, in all kinds of weather think what that says about those railroaders).

Trains stopped too at Highland Junction, 1.9 miles out of San Bernardino, to turn down the retainers. I think that covers all the questions you raised, at least as far as 1940s practice on the Santa Fe is concerned, but let me know if there's anything else I can add.

So long,

Andy


Re: FS NEW HO Decal Set from Mount Vernon Shops!

jerryglow2
 

Probably a "factory painted" model. Most back then were contract painted by various custom painters. When contacted, I told them I was not interested as they generally used available decals (mostly Champ) which in many cases were not correct or complete.

Probably the first complete decal set I ever made was for an Overland SLSF covered hopper. I had decaled it with the "appropriate" Champ set to find it totally missing the lettering of the prototype, so traded it even for another undec one which I did with my own ALPS printed set.

Jerry Glow
http://home.comcast.net/~jerryglow/decals/

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Scott Pitzer <scottp459@...> wrote:

I remember the Overland ad, in which the decorated model had a size mismatch between the 3 and the 4 in "N-34"!


Re: FS NEW HO Decal Set from Mount Vernon Shops!

Scott Pitzer
 

I remember the Overland ad, in which the decorated model had a size mismatch between the 3 and the 4 in "N-34"!

On Feb 17, 2012, at 1:55 PM, John Frantz <prropcrew@yahoo.com> wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:

Mount Vernon Shops is happy to announce the introduction of a
new HO Decal Set this week to its line.

HO Scale B&O N34 2-bay wagon-top covered hopper decals.

Two different sets have been done Which cover the early as-built schemes
(pre-1953), and the later billboard schemes (post-1953). These are great for those that have an unpainted Overland car to do, or would like to
use these as an alternative to the decals provided in the F&C kit.


For more information, follow this link: http://www.mountvernonshops.com/N34.html

If anyone has any questions regarding the above product or
any others listed on my website please contact me at the following email: jfrantz@mountvernonshops.com

Thank You and Best Regards,
John Frantz

Owner,
Mount Vernon Shops
York, PA

York, PA
Crossroads of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Maryland & Pennsylvania and Western Maryland Railroads.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Retainers-How id they work?this

richard haave
 

The retainers for the AB brakes system had four positions:

Handle down: meant retainer was set for normal operation

Handle raised aprox 100 degrees: "HP"(high pressure),when
an automatic brake application released 20 lbs
brake cylinder pressure retained.

Handle 90 degrees: "LP" (low pressure) 10 lbs brake cyl
pressure retained after brake release.

Handle 45 degrees: "SD" (slow direct release), retained 20
lbs brk cyl pressure which released over a 86
second (IIRC) period.

When retainers required HP was the setting for loaded cars,
LP used for empties. Retainers allowed a trains brake pipe
to be restored to the feed valve setting while holding any
harmful speed increase in check. Depending on the length and
severity of the grade one or more wheel cooling stops might have to
be made before reaching the bottom.

To apply and release retainers required the brakemen walk back
and move the retainer handle on each car at the top and bottom of
grades. I believe some of the mountain railroads had a pole made
up to alliviate having to climb up and down most every car.

What about the "SD" position? Some roads prohibited using that
position. To give an example of where it was used lets go
to the CBQ Deadwood line. Going north toward Lead/Deadwood there
were several 3% descending grades, the first one was one mile
long a few miles south of Custer, the crew used this as a test
spot. If the brake pipe leakage was minimal, and a normal brake
application had the desired effect and (diesel days) you had
working dynamic brake (one SD9 could control seven 220,000lb loads
at 15 mph) the crew would then set their "SD" retainers while
stopped at Custer. Basically the formula they used was something
like this total loads minus 7 X #of SD9 + 1 car. So if you had
four units with 42 loads they'd set 15 SD retainers on the head
end. If they had an engineer the train crew didn't trust they
used "HP" with the loads.

Dick Haave
*****************

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, 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?

Thanks!
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@...



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: B&O five and six panel Superior replacement doors

pennsylvania1954
 

Speedwitch had very good decals for the M26 series, D117, if you can get them.

Steve Hoxie
Pensacola FL

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, cepropst@... wrote:


Red Caboose still lists undec kits. Most important. Are there any decals available for B&O cars that those doors were used on?Clark Propst

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "jim_mischke" <jmischke@> wrote:



The old Red Caboose X29/ARA boxcar kits had a choice of doors on the sprues, Youngstown and ARA doors. Some call the latter Creco door, similar but this may not be correct. Anyway, both doors choices are entirely appropriate for B&O M-26 boxcars.

In 1942, B&O issued drawings for replacement Superior doors for their M-26 boxcars. These were very common as well, in both five and six panel variations.


Re: Retainers-How did they work?

John King
 

The B&O Cumberland Div. timetable dated 9/27/37 refers to high and low pressure positions on the retaining valves. The high pressure position to be used on loaded coal trains and the low pressure position to be used on empty coal trains.

Is someone familiar with this? My guess is the position determined the amount of braking when the retainers were holding during the recharge.

John King

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "jdziedzic08802" <jerdz@...> wrote:



Good article from Jack and other well-informed responses. I'll add that employee timetable special instructions often specified where crews stopped trains to turn up retainers, how many retainers to turn up given tonnage handled, where running brake tests were required, where stops were required to cool wheels, etc.

Air braking is a sublime art. The difference in engineers: any engineer can always make 'em go like hell; good engineers can always make 'em stop like heaven.


Jerry Dziedzic
Pattenburg, NJ

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, 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?

Thanks!
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Cincinnati Ohio B&O c. 1937 Freight Car Questions

Miles C
 

I'm modeling Cincinnati Ohio in the late 1930's, specifically the Baltimore & Ohio. I'd like to know what major types of traffic were found in and around there and which foreign road cars were most prevalent on the B&O at the time.

If anybody could point me in the right direction as to some accurate HO scale late 1930's coal hoppers for the B&O, that would be great.

Also, how many foreign road coal hoppers would the B&O have allowed to operate among its fleet, and from what roads?

Does anybody know what secondary trains operated through Norwood, OH in that time, or where I could find that information?

Where can I find information about this region in this era? I typically model the Espee in the 1950's and have done a lot of research there, but this is an entirely new direction and I definitely need some guidance.

Cheers!
-Miles


Re: Retainers-How id they work?

Jerry Dziedzic
 

Good article from Jack and other well-informed responses. I'll add that employee timetable special instructions often specified where crews stopped trains to turn up retainers, how many retainers to turn up given tonnage handled, where running brake tests were required, where stops were required to cool wheels, etc.

Air braking is a sublime art. The difference in engineers: any engineer can always make 'em go like hell; good engineers can always make 'em stop like heaven.


Jerry Dziedzic
Pattenburg, NJ

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, 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?

Thanks!
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@...



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


GN 66074

Chad Boas
 

All, I have added a couple pictures of the straight sill flat to the flat car photos section.
Chad Boas


Re: Retainers-How id they work?

O Fenton Wells
 

Bill, I am so glad you took the time to ask this questin as I said I wanted
an answer as well and it looks like, thanks to you we have some excellent
ones.
Fenton Wells
On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM, lnbill <fgexbill@tampabay.rr.com> wrote:

**


I was thinking about Saluda as I wrote my question Fenton. I am counting
on one of our more technically informed members for a good answer when they
have time.

Bill Welch


--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:

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?

Thanks!
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@...

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




--
Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332
919-499-5545
srrfan1401@...






--
Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332
919-499-5545
srrfan1401@gmail.com


Re: Retainers - how did they work?

Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Castle" <sp1930s@...> wrote:

Dear list

Sticking my fat neck out...

In a discussion I had with a retired SP brakeman friend, he said that how many cars needed their retainers set was dictated by the dispatcher.
Pre 1960?

Dennis


Retainers - how did they work?

sp1930s
 

Dear list

Sticking my fat neck out...

In a discussion I had with a retired SP brakeman friend, he said that how many cars needed their retainers set was dictated by the dispatcher. This brakeman occasionally worked on the SP's Natron Cutoff, or Cascade Line, in Oregon and between Cascade Summit and Oakridge it is 44 miles of continuous 1.8 percent grade. The ETT could not know what the tonnage of the train was, it could be all empty flats or mostly loads. All trains stopped about half way down at Wicopee to cool the wheels. They did not change which cars had retainers set as all of the train's wheels had been cooled. He also told of not stopping a train at the bottom of the grade to release the retainers. A few miles from Oakridge the brakemen went out on the cars and "knocked down the retainers on the fly". Down grade speed seldom approached even as much as 20 mph.


Larry Castle - Seattle


Re: Retainers-How id they work?

Mike Brock
 

In the book, Union Pacific Steam Big Boy Portraits, pg 78, the caption states that all east bound frt trains were required to stop at Granite Canon to cool wheels and make a walking inspection. Two photos show this. To the west of Granite was 12 miles to the summit at Sherman of which about 7 miles had a 1.55% max grade with one mile of 1%. To the east was about 9 more miles of 1.55% downgrade eastbound. Op session folks might want to add some of these rules to their sessions.

Speaking of that, since I model Buford and other parts of this grade, I think I'll add a requirement for eastbound frt trains to cool their heel...uh...wheels during my Prototype Rails op session. Some say...why bother adding the rule?

Incidentally, since the Saluda grade was mentioned by Fenton Wells, I'll note that way into the future...sometime during 1988-9 [?] [ I used my time machine I guess ] I video taped ex N&W 1218 on an excursion stopping at Ridge Crest, NC, just east of Asheville, at which time the train stopped for a short time and set its brakes for an air test before heading down the tortuous 11 miles to Old Fort at the bottom of the grade. This test only lasted for about a minute but the braking apparently was enough to cause 1218 to lose its footing on the remaining 1.4% upgrade went it started. BTW, the line between Old Fort and Ridge Crest...to me...offers much more than the more famous Saluda grade...from a photographic perpective.

Mike Brock


Re: FS NEW HO Decal Set from Mount Vernon Shops!

Andy Harman
 

At 01:55 PM 2/17/2012 -0800, you wrote:

Two different sets have been done Which cover the early as-built schemes
(pre-1953), and the later billboard schemes (post-1953). These are great for those that have an unpainted Overland car to do, or would like to
use these as an alternative to the decals provided in the F&C kit.
Anybody ever try to build the Red Ball kit of this car? Comes with flat die cast panels you get to form into the wagon top. I bought the kit in 79 I think. I get it out and look at it once in a while, then put it away again. Kinda makes me appreciate the simplicity of an F&C kit..... :-)

Andy


Re: Retainers-How did they work?

Bill Welch
 

Jack, thank you, this is very informative and I cannot wait to go back and read the entire article about braking and brakes.

Bill Welch

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Burgess" <jack@...> 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...check out:

http://www.railway-technical.com/brake2.shtml

and scroll down to retainers. I'll let others comment on the details you ask
about.

A YV brakeman who worked on the log trains told me that the crew set
retainers on the loaded log cars before they departed Incline for the lumber
mill. I'm sure that they didn't set them on all of the cars, just some of
them. (I wonder if it was more effective to set every other car, only some
on the end of the train, etc.)

When I was building a Proto48 model of one of the log cars, I noticed that
the retainer was mounted to the end sill of the cars (B end) in the photos
of the cars at the factory. However, in service photos showed that it was no
longer there and apparently moved...my guess was that the end sill position
proved too prone to damage. However, when I asked my brakeman friend about
it, he couldn't remember where the valve was located! Okay, it was 60 years
earlier but I had to give up and mount it to one of the stringers under the
end of the car...seemed logical.

Jack Burgess


FS NEW HO Decal Set from Mount Vernon Shops!

John S. Frantz
 

To Whom It May Concern:
 
Mount Vernon Shops is happy to announce the introduction of a
new HO Decal Set this week to its line.
 
HO Scale B&O N34 2-bay wagon-top covered hopper decals.

Two different sets have been done  Which cover the early as-built schemes
(pre-1953), and the later billboard schemes (post-1953). These are great for those that have an unpainted Overland car to do, or would like to
use these as an alternative to the decals provided in the F&C kit.

 
For more information, follow this link: http://www.mountvernonshops.com/N34.html
 
If anyone has any questions regarding the above product or
any others listed on my website please contact me at the following email: jfrantz@mountvernonshops.com
 
Thank You and Best Regards,
John Frantz
 
Owner,
Mount Vernon Shops
York, PA
 
York, PA
Crossroads of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Maryland & Pennsylvania and Western Maryland Railroads.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: Retainers-How did they work?

Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Burgess" <jack@...> wrote:

Bill...check out:

http://www.railway-technical.com/brake2.shtml

and scroll down to retainers. I'll let others comment on the details you ask
about.
A couple comments in addition to Mr. Krug's text:

IIRC, in our era retainers only had two positions... ON and OFF.

There was a danger beyond making multiple brake applications on a long grade (otherwise known as "pissing away your air"). Brake cylinders leak. As long as the brakes are applied via a reduction of the train pipe pressure, the car reservoirs are not being recharged. So, as long as the brakes are applied, the cylinders leak, and are replenished from the reservoirs, until the reservoirs are empty, and then guess what? No air :(

The solution in the days before dynamic brakes, was to "cycle" the air: taking an application, holding it for so many minuets, then releasing it and allowing the reservoirs to recharge for so many minutes. It's during this recharge period that the cars with retainers set are expected to keep train speed in check.

The special instructions of the employee timetable would dictate how many cars, or what percentage of cars, needed retainers set. The train would stop, and the two brakemen would start, one from each end, and set the required number. In our era, the retainer valves were mounted up near the roof, so they were easier to set by walking the car tops. I suspect that where there were a lot of low cars interspersed with the house cars, that whole blocks got skipped, and retainers were set on whichever cars were most convenient... after all, the slack is going to be bunched by the retainers on the head end anyway.

The cars with retainers set never had their brakes released, so those wheels got HOT... there are more than enough stories of trains coming down hills with rings of fire around the wheels. This is a recipe for developing thermal cracks in cast iron wheels, so most roads limited the amount of time retainers could be set, and required a mandatory wheel cooling period. During the cooling period at the bottom of the grade, the brakemen again walked the train to "turn down" all the retainers, and inspect the wheels and brakes.

This was by no means a high speed operation.

Dennis


Re: Retainers-How id they work?

Bill Welch
 

I was thinking about Saluda as I wrote my question Fenton. I am counting on one of our more technically informed members for a good answer when they have time.

Bill Welch

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:

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?

Thanks!
Bill Welch
2225 Nursery Road; #20-104
Clearwater, FL 33764-7622
727.470.9930
fgexbill@...

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--
Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332
919-499-5545
srrfan1401@...



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