Poling Pockets


Bob Chaparro <thecitrusbelt@...>
 

Looking back at past message posts it appears that there was no specific date or year that poling pockets disappeared from newly-built freight cars. But over time they did cease to appear.

So was the practice of poling outlawed and, if so, when did this happen?

Thanks.

Bob Chaparro
Hemet, CA


Gene <bierglaeser@...>
 

Poling, as a practice, would not have been "outlawed" - meaning banned by AAR interchange rules - because no part of the practice nor the presence or absence of poling pockets would affect interchange in any way.

Individual railroads would have forbidden the practice without regard to what other railroads were or were not doing. From my reading of various first person accounts of railroading it appears that the practice of poling continued on a few roads even after it was forbidden by management. Of course, the same could be said for any number of other railroader habits or practices.

I think we can safely say the practice just faded away. The foregoing in no way answers your question "when?"

Gene Green


midrly <midrly@...>
 

The TH&B carried poles on some of their switching loco's into the late 1970's. Scroll down to find one of their loco's fitted with one in 1973--

http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/thb/two.htm

Yet other roads prohibited "poling" or "staking" cars.

I've done it informally a couple of times at the carrier that I work for, and never been comfortable with it...

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., "Gene" <bierglaeser@...> wrote:

Poling, as a practice, would not have been "outlawed" - meaning banned by AAR interchange rules - because no part of the practice nor the presence or absence of poling pockets would affect interchange in any way.

Individual railroads would have forbidden the practice without regard to what other railroads were or were not doing. From my reading of various first person accounts of railroading it appears that the practice of poling continued on a few roads even after it was forbidden by management. Of course, the same could be said for any number of other railroader habits or practices.

I think we can safely say the practice just faded away. The foregoing in no way answers your question "when?"

Gene Green


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Aug 31, 2012, at 2:28 PM, midrly wrote:
The TH&B carried poles on some of their switching loco's into the
late 1970's. Scroll down to find one of their loco's fitted with
one in 1973--

http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/thb/two.htm

Yet other roads prohibited "poling" or "staking" cars.

I've done it informally a couple of times at the carrier that I
work for, and never been comfortable with it...
You were justified in not being comfortable with it. It was a
hazardous procedure - I'm sure that doing it today would give any
OSHA representative a major coronary attack. It wasn't all that
unusual for the poles to split or even explode into fragments, to the
possible detriment of anyone who happened to be in the immediate
vicinity, and even having a pole slip could be serious hazard. The
Santa Fe stopped putting poling pockets on its new freight cars ca.
1944 and began removing any poles that remained on its switchers and
branch line locos at about the same time (road engines were never
equipped with poles). Santa Fe crews were strongly discouraged from
poling, though some did it anyway when the alternatives would have
taken a lot of time and effort. Poling gradually died out elsewhere
as well, even on railroads that were less safety oriented, but I know
it was done occasionally through the 1950s and into the '60s (and
even, as the TH&B example shows, into the '70s).

Richard Hendrickson


Ted Schnepf
 

Hi Richard and List,

I think you meant to say the ICC in the time period of this list. OSHA has never had any authority on class one and shortline railroad property. ICC and currently FRA govern railroad safety.

I observed a car being poled in the 1980's, with a railroad tie as a pole.

Ted


You were justified in not being comfortable with it. It was a
hazardous procedure - I'm sure that doing it today would give any
OSHA representative a major coronary attack.

Richard Hendrickson
Rails Unlimited
Ted Schnepf
railsunl@...
847-697-5353 or 5366
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, Ill. 60120
http://RailsUnlimited.ribbonrail.com/

Model Railroad Sales and Service with
a personal touch.
Books new and used. HO and O scales.
DCC supplies. O scale urethane cars.
Photos and darkroom services.
Checks, cash (0%) or credit (secure server at web site 5% added).


Bob Chaparro <thecitrusbelt@...>
 

I give my thanks to Gene Green and Richard Hendrickson for their help on this question. Just about all that I have found since posting the question is consistent with their comments.

I did find that TRAINS Magazine did an article ("The Perilous Push Pole") from March 1993 on this subject. The article noted at one time there was an AAR standard for the pockets themselves. The TRAINS article also quotes an ICC official who states, "If the push pole was officially outlawed I have no record of that fact…"

That said, the August 1993 issue of TRAINS reported that in October 1992 a Grand Trunk Western brakeman was killed while allegedly poling a car in the railroad's Detroit Rouge Yard. The GTW had banned the practice before this incident but sometimes employees take shortcuts. The TRAINS March 1993 article on the push pole has a photo of a GM&O GP-38AC with poling pockets and a GP-18 with poling pockets. The GP-18 belonged to…GTW!

Bob Chaparro
Hemet. CA


Gene <bierglaeser@...>
 

Ted,
An OSHA rep could still have a heart attack even in the absence of jurisdiction. No representative of any federal agency should be denied his or her opportunity to have a heart attack if he or she feels so motivated. :)

Just kidding, of course. I can say from first-hand experience that heart attacks are not much fun.
Gene Green

--- In STMFC@..., Ted Schnepf <railsunl@...> wrote:

Hi Richard and List,

I think you meant to say the ICC in the time period of this
list. OSHA has never had any authority on class one and shortline
railroad property. ICC and currently FRA govern railroad safety.

I observed a car being poled in the 1980's, with a railroad tie as a pole.

Ted


You were justified in not being comfortable with it. It was a
hazardous procedure - I'm sure that doing it today would give any
OSHA representative a major coronary attack.

Richard Hendrickson
Rails Unlimited
Ted Schnepf
railsunl@...
847-697-5353 or 5366
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, Ill. 60120
http://RailsUnlimited.ribbonrail.com/

Model Railroad Sales and Service with
a personal touch.
Books new and used. HO and O scales.
DCC supplies. O scale urethane cars.
Photos and darkroom services.
Checks, cash (0%) or credit (secure server at web site 5% added).


Bruce Smith
 

Poling was inherently dangerous for several reasons, among them the splintering of the pole and the opportunity for the pole to fall out of one end and hit other trackside objects. In an effort to deal with at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car sideframe. These were typically based at a major yard, and not available to crews out on the line who needed to pole a car out of a facing point siding, for example. At least some of the poles were sheathed in metal or of metal construction as well.

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


Scott H. Haycock
 

I seem to recall another dangerous practice where cars on adjacent tracks were 'towed' using chains. Can anyone comment on this?
Scott Haycock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce F. Smith" <smithbf@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 7:29:48 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets






Poling was inherently dangerous for several reasons, among them the splintering of the pole and the opportunity for the pole to fall out of one end and hit other trackside objects. In an effort to deal with at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car sideframe. These were typically based at a major yard, and not available to crews out on the line who needed to pole a car out of a facing point siding, for example. At least some of the poles were sheathed in metal or of metal construction as well.

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

From: "Bruce F. Smith" <smithbf@...>

In an effort to deal with at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car sideframe.

--- In STMFC@..., "Scott H. Haycock " <shhaycock@...> wrote:

I seem to recall another dangerous practice where cars on adjacent tracks were 'towed' using chains. Can anyone comment on this?
Scott Haycock

The poling cars Bruce speaks of were built for use in specially designed yards that had a second track parallel to the ladder on which to run them. In the days of link and pin couplers, there was no good way to cut a car off on the fly... kicking cars as we know it couldn't be easily done. The poling yard was an attempt to increase yard throughput by allowing the switchman to make the cuts in a standing string of cars, the switch engine would with the poling car would run along next to them and deliver the cuts to the proper tracks. When the use of knuckle couplers became universal, there was really no advantage to the poling yard, and they were phased out.

The chains and push poles carried on the local freight locomotives had a different purpose. The were occasionally used to pull a car out of a facing point spur to save the time of a run-around move, but most often used to clear up the mess left when a drop went bad and the car failed to roll clear, thus trapping the locomotive. Even after push poles were no longer provided the need remained, which is why one occasionally sees a crew poling with a makeshift pole.

Most railroads had in their safety rules a prohibition against using anything but an "approved" pole for poling. These were straight grained hardwood, fitted with a steel band around each end to prevent splitting. W@hen the railroad removed the approved poles from the locomotives, there was no longer any way to pole a car without violating the carriers rules.

If the cable on a car puller can be considered a chain, the the practice of chaining cars continues to this day.

Dennis


mark
 

Poling and towing were quite dangerous.With towing there was a great risk of the chains breaking,which did happen to my grandfathers cousin.They were towing a box car when the chains snap wrapping around the cousin at least twice,luckily he only suffered multiple broken bones and several weeks in the hospital.I say he was lucky considering,by all accounts he should have been fatal Mark McCoy tavwot@...


________________________________
From: Scott H. Haycock <shhaycock@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets


 
I seem to recall another dangerous practice where cars on adjacent tracks were 'towed' using chains. Can anyone comment on this?
Scott Haycock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce F. Smith" <smithbf@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 7:29:48 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets

Poling was inherently dangerous for several reasons, among them the splintering of the pole and the opportunity for the pole to fall out of one end and hit other trackside objects. In an effort to deal with at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car sideframe. These were typically based at a major yard, and not available to crews out on the line who needed to pole a car out of a facing point siding, for example. At least some of the poles were sheathed in metal or of metal construction as well.

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL






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


Jack Burgess <jack@...>
 

This discussion on poling pockets and poling poles is timely since last week
I noticed that, although Yosemite Valley Railroad locomotives were all
equipped with poling poles their entire service lives, most of them didn't
have poling pockets on the end beams. It appears that only one engine (out
of the 7 owned by the railroad) came from the factory with poling pockets
(the only Alco 2-6-0) and poling pockets were added sometime in the late
1930s to another engine. But the rest of the group never had them.

Jack Burgess
Newark, CA


Scott H. Haycock
 

Hello, Jack
If all the engines carried poles, how did the ones without poling pockets manage; Idler cars with pockets?
Scott

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jack Burgess" <jack@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 8:52:44 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets






This discussion on poling pockets and poling poles is timely since last week
I noticed that, although Yosemite Valley Railroad locomotives were all
equipped with poling poles their entire service lives, most of them didn't
have poling pockets on the end beams. It appears that only one engine (out
of the 7 owned by the railroad) came from the factory with poling pockets
(the only Alco 2-6-0) and poling pockets were added sometime in the late
1930s to another engine. But the rest of the group never had them.

Jack Burgess
Newark, CA

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




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


Tom Vanwormer
 

I understood that the PRR Poling Cars were used in yards only and not
for main line switching.
Tom VanWormer
Monument CO

Bruce F. Smith wrote:



Poling was inherently dangerous for several reasons, among them the
splintering of the pole and the opportunity for the pole to fall out
of one end and hit other trackside objects. In an effort to deal with
at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the
Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car
sideframe. These were typically based at a major yard, and not
available to crews out on the line who needed to pole a car out of a
facing point siding, for example. At least some of the poles were
sheathed in metal or of metal construction as well.

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL



Jack Burgess <jack@...>
 

<Hello, Jack
<If all the engines carried poles, how did the ones without poling
<pockets manage; Idler cars with pockets?
<Scott

No, I've never seen idler cars in any photos. I do have a couple of photos which show dents in the tender end beam of a locomotive (I'm guessing that the end beams were wood with a metal covering.)

Most likely, the railroad (and crews) just didn't find a need for poling freight cars. The YV was not a through line...instead, it ran east from connections with the SP and ATSF at one end and "dead-ended" at Yosemite National Park on the other end. Thus, inbound loads ran eastbound and all empties ran westbound. Locations which received a lot of loads had run-arounds. At other locations where a load needed to be dropped on a facing point switch, it was actually taken to the next town or location up the line and picked up the next day by a Local running the other direction and set out.

Jack Burgess
Newark, CA


Scott H. Haycock
 

How curious! I'm somewhat familiar with the railroad due to your modeling and published articles, but I can't help wondering (as I imagine you do,as well) why they would carry poles they never used?
Scott

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jack Burgess" <jack@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 9:57:32 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets






No, I've never seen idler cars in any photos. I do have a couple of photos which show dents in the tender end beam of a locomotive (I'm guessing that the end beams were wood with a metal covering.)

Most likely, the railroad (and crews) just didn't find a need for poling freight cars. The YV was not a through line...instead, it ran east from connections with the SP and ATSF at one end and "dead-ended" at Yosemite National Park on the other end. Thus, inbound loads ran eastbound and all empties ran westbound. Locations which received a lot of loads had run-arounds. At other locations where a load needed to be dropped on a facing point switch, it was actually taken to the next town or location up the line and picked up the next day by a Local running the other direction and set out.

Jack Burgess
Newark, CA




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


Jon Miller <atsf@...>
 

I have to comment on this. When I worked at the steel mill RR in
the middle 60s (Union City, CA) we would occasionally pole a car. The
curves on some of the track going into the rebar loading area were too
tight and if you couldn't get the mill gons to couple the only other way
was was to use a pole. These would be empty gons and the pole was
usually a 4x4. I would stand way back when we did this. This didn't
happen very often.

--
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax--Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:
The chains and push poles carried on the local freight locomotives had a different purpose.
The chains carried on both locomotives and cabooses were also used when a freight car's drawbar pulled out on "the silly end," meaning the inconvenient end, and the car had to chained to be set out on a nearby siding.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


water.kresse@...
 

Hi Ted,



Hope life is treating you well.  Is the Fox River all dried out these days?  Is Al Capone's Steak House still in business out that way?



Al Kresse . . . Romeo, Michigan formally Downers Grove, Illinois

----- Original Message -----


From: "Ted Schnepf" <railsunl@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2012 11:26:46 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets

 




Hi Richard and List,

I think you meant to say the ICC in the time period of this
list. OSHA has never had any authority on class one and shortline
railroad property. ICC and currently FRA govern railroad safety.

I observed a car being poled in the 1980's, with a railroad tie as a pole.

Ted

You were justified in not being comfortable with it. It was a
hazardous procedure - I'm sure that doing it today would give any
OSHA representative a major coronary attack.

Richard Hendrickson
Rails Unlimited
Ted Schnepf
railsunl@...
847-697-5353 or 5366
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, Ill. 60120
http://RailsUnlimited.ribbonrail.com/

Model Railroad Sales and Service with
a personal touch.
Books new and used. HO and O scales.
DCC supplies. O scale urethane cars.
Photos and darkroom services.
Checks, cash (0%) or credit (secure server at web site 5% added).




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


Bruce Smith
 

I had always assumed that the poling cars were gone from the PRR by WWII only to find photos of them in use, in yards such as Enola, well into the 1950s!

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL
________________________________________
From: STMFC@... [STMFC@...] on behalf of soolinehistory [destorzek@...]
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2012 9:27 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Poling Pockets

From: "Bruce F. Smith" <smithbf@...>

In an effort to deal with at least one of these, the PRR as well as several others including the Reading, actually created "poling cars", with poles hinged to the car sideframe.

--- In STMFC@..., "Scott H. Haycock " <shhaycock@...> wrote:

I seem to recall another dangerous practice where cars on adjacent tracks were 'towed' using chains. Can anyone comment on this?
Scott Haycock

The poling cars Bruce speaks of were built for use in specially designed yards that had a second track parallel to the ladder on which to run them. In the days of link and pin couplers, there was no good way to cut a car off on the fly... kicking cars as we know it couldn't be easily done. The poling yard was an attempt to increase yard throughput by allowing the switchman to make the cuts in a standing string of cars, the switch engine would with the poling car would run along next to them and deliver the cuts to the proper tracks. When the use of knuckle couplers became universal, there was really no advantage to the poling yard, and they were phased out.

The chains and push poles carried on the local freight locomotives had a different purpose. The were occasionally used to pull a car out of a facing point spur to save the time of a run-around move, but most often used to clear up the mess left when a drop went bad and the car failed to roll clear, thus trapping the locomotive. Even after push poles were no longer provided the need remained, which is why one occasionally sees a crew poling with a makeshift pole.

Most railroads had in their safety rules a prohibition against using anything but an "approved" pole for poling. These were straight grained hardwood, fitted with a steel band around each end to prevent splitting. W@hen the railroad removed the approved poles from the locomotives, there was no longer any way to pole a car without violating the carriers rules.

If the cable on a car puller can be considered a chain, the the practice of chaining cars continues to this day.

Dennis



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