Topics

Banned from Interchange - was Re: Real or no?


Jim Betz
 

Hi,
  We often hear of equipment that was "banned from interchange".  I get that and it
doesn't surprise me.  So here's the thing ... if something like the Allied trucks are
banned from interchange it is probably the result of a failure (probably repeated)
that caused an accident/derailment/something important.  And I get it that the RR
doesn't want to get rid of "serviceable equipment".  So why was (is?) it acceptable
to put your RR employees at risk by using them in stuff like MOW service?
  Yes, you get some extra miles "for very little cost" ... but wouldn't a single 
employee injury make that savings not worth it?  Why wouldn't just one lawsuit
for "negligence" void all of those savings?
  The same would be true of truss rods, brake equipment, lighting changes, ladders
and ladder placements, etc. etc. etc.  It doesn't seem to make "solid" economic
sense in the long run.  Why wouldn't the unions have objected? 
  What am I missing? 
                                                                                                           - Jim 


mel perry
 

the true nature of railroad ownership,
in other words basic capitalism
;-(
mel perry


On Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 10:28 AM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
Hi,
  We often hear of equipment that was "banned from interchange".  I get that and it
doesn't surprise me.  So here's the thing ... if something like the Allied trucks are
banned from interchange it is probably the result of a failure (probably repeated)
that caused an accident/derailment/something important.  And I get it that the RR
doesn't want to get rid of "serviceable equipment".  So why was (is?) it acceptable
to put your RR employees at risk by using them in stuff like MOW service?
  Yes, you get some extra miles "for very little cost" ... but wouldn't a single 
employee injury make that savings not worth it?  Why wouldn't just one lawsuit
for "negligence" void all of those savings?
  The same would be true of truss rods, brake equipment, lighting changes, ladders
and ladder placements, etc. etc. etc.  It doesn't seem to make "solid" economic
sense in the long run.  Why wouldn't the unions have objected? 
  What am I missing? 
                                                                                                           - Jim 


lrkdbn
 

There's a big difference between cars used in high speed mail and express service and cars which spend most of their time sitting on a siding near a construction site, and when they ARE moved,are moved in a way freight
at the rear of the train where they are being watched by the rear end crew. Also there were rules against employees riding in such cars when they were being moved.Safety was and is important.
Larry King


Charles Peck
 

As I see it, railroad are, to some extent, self-insured.  Meaning, very large deductibles. 
To put it in personal terms, I can choose to take a risk if I can afford the result.
At the same time, I can not require my neighbor to assume the same risk I accepted.
Railroad X can say we'll take a chance on this.  Railroad Y says they do not want to share 
that risk.  No interchange of questionable equipment.  
That no interchange business is not absolute.  It only means Y is not required to accept 
that equipment.  Railroad Y can choose to accept solid bearings on a one-time special
move.  Or other exceptions can be made, like for moving equipment to a museum. 
Always by pre-arrangement and agreement.
Chuck Peck

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 1:31 PM mel perry <clipper841@...> wrote:
the true nature of railroad ownership,
in other words basic capitalism
;-(
mel perry

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 10:28 AM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
Hi,
  We often hear of equipment that was "banned from interchange".  I get that and it
doesn't surprise me.  So here's the thing ... if something like the Allied trucks are
banned from interchange it is probably the result of a failure (probably repeated)
that caused an accident/derailment/something important.  And I get it that the RR
doesn't want to get rid of "serviceable equipment".  So why was (is?) it acceptable
to put your RR employees at risk by using them in stuff like MOW service?
  Yes, you get some extra miles "for very little cost" ... but wouldn't a single 
employee injury make that savings not worth it?  Why wouldn't just one lawsuit
for "negligence" void all of those savings?
  The same would be true of truss rods, brake equipment, lighting changes, ladders
and ladder placements, etc. etc. etc.  It doesn't seem to make "solid" economic
sense in the long run.  Why wouldn't the unions have objected? 
  What am I missing? 
                                                                                                           - Jim 


steve_wintner
 

I guess I'd take a bit of the other view. Truss rods worked just fine for decades, so I don't see a well maintained truss rod car as putting workers at risk, especially in limited service as Larry pointed out. Same thing for solid bearings (if well maintained).

I think a lot of these changes were about requiring less maintenance and choosing better practices going forward - which is not to say the old way was unsafe. 

(I grant, I'm not so sure MOW cars always had their solid bearings looked after properly)

Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

I work on aircraft as an engineer, that certainly is how we approach things. Even flight test aircraft have to meet a high standard of safety. I assume the railroads did too.


Kenneth Montero
 

Mel,

Not necessarily so. Equipment could be banned from interchange because (1)  its use away from home roads could be such that its use could exceed what the equipment could be expected to handle (truss rod cars without center sills) or (2) such equipment needed more monitoring than could be expected in interchange (arch bar trucks). Home road usage, especially in MOW service, could deal with such concerns, or at least that was the perception.

Jim's point about risk of injury and its cost to the railroad is a lot different now than it was in the past, mostly because the risk and cost  of injury and death were perceived many years ago by railroad management as less than the resulting savings.

Steve's point about standards of safety is well-taken, but not always observed. Not many years ago in Richmond, Virginia, a railroad employee died while moving an interchanged freight car (not a home road car) because he was unable to operate the brakes with the brake wheel and the boxcar crashed into a flood wall gate being closed for its test. It was discovered that a brake rod had dropped from the brake linkage. However, the employee's railroad had accepted it in interchange (supposedly after checking it for compliance with rules for interchange acceptability). I don't recall which railroad had to assume responsibility, but there was a lot of finger-pointing.

Ken Montero

On 11/05/2020 1:31 PM mel perry <clipper841@...> wrote:


the true nature of railroad ownership,
in other words basic capitalism
;-(
mel perry

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 10:28 AM Jim Betz < jimbetz@...> wrote:
Hi,
  We often hear of equipment that was "banned from interchange".  I get that and it
doesn't surprise me.  So here's the thing ... if something like the Allied trucks are
banned from interchange it is probably the result of a failure (probably repeated)
that caused an accident/derailment/something important.  And I get it that the RR
doesn't want to get rid of "serviceable equipment".  So why was (is?) it acceptable
to put your RR employees at risk by using them in stuff like MOW service?
  Yes, you get some extra miles "for very little cost" ... but wouldn't a single 
employee injury make that savings not worth it?  Why wouldn't just one lawsuit
for "negligence" void all of those savings?
  The same would be true of truss rods, brake equipment, lighting changes, ladders
and ladder placements, etc. etc. etc.  It doesn't seem to make "solid" economic
sense in the long run.  Why wouldn't the unions have objected? 
  What am I missing? 
                                                                                                           - Jim 




Charles Peck
 

Granted, truss rod cars survived in their own era.  Times change. 
Mix even a good truss rod car into a string of 100 ton hoppers,
let the slack run out, and you have a lot of toothpicks. 
What worked yesterday does not always stand up to current usage.
Chuck Peck

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 2:13 PM steve_wintner via groups.io <steve_wintner=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I guess I'd take a bit of the other view. Truss rods worked just fine for decades, so I don't see a well maintained truss rod car as putting workers at risk, especially in limited service as Larry pointed out. Same thing for solid bearings (if well maintained).

I think a lot of these changes were about requiring less maintenance and choosing better practices going forward - which is not to say the old way was unsafe. 

(I grant, I'm not so sure MOW cars always had their solid bearings looked after properly)

Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

I work on aircraft as an engineer, that certainly is how we approach things. Even flight test aircraft have to meet a high standard of safety. I assume the railroads did too.


Tony Thompson
 

steve wintner wrote:

Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

     The word "known" in the second sentence is open to debate. Santa Fe had a couple of destructive high-speed derailments that they blamed on the Allied truck. Seaboard also had problems and would not accept cars in interchange if they had that truck. SP had the trucks on some express cars and had no problems, but withdrew them because of the risk they might go somewhere and not be accepted (I have seen the memos). This was in the early 1950s, long before the interchange ban.

Tony Thompson




Brent Greer
 

How would that process work when a road like Seaboard would reject an incoming car?  Would the road crew at the point of interchange be expected to inspect each car that had been dropped off for pickup and look for any non-compliant/unacceptable equipment before adding them to their train? What would happen to a rejected car and its contents?

Brent

Dr. J. Brent Greer


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Tony Thompson <tony@...>
Sent: Thursday, November 5, 2020 3:41 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Banned from Interchange - was Re: Real or no?
 
steve wintner wrote:

Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

     The word "known" in the second sentence is open to debate. Santa Fe had a couple of destructive high-speed derailments that they blamed on the Allied truck. Seaboard also had problems and would not accept cars in interchange if they had that truck. SP had the trucks on some express cars and had no problems, but withdrew them because of the risk they might go somewhere and not be accepted (I have seen the memos). This was in the early 1950s, long before the interchange ban.

Tony Thompson




steve_wintner
 

Fair point Tony. We are likely straying off topic, so I'll be brief - there are shades of grey. Known was perhaps not fair for that particular case, "suspect" perhaps. We aero guts usually view it as "not known" to be sound, and wouldn't accept the risk. Granted, times change too. In earlier days the view on "acceptable" risk wax different, and it always is about judgement. Nothing is absolute (not even sitting on your couch at home)


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Brent;

 

I used to hang out at several interchange yards around Pittsburgh while growing up, and if there was no car inspector assigned to the location, the crews had to.  They might do a cursory job of it, but someone had to.  Generally, a junior member of the crew walked the length of the cut looking over each car, and sometimes looking underneath.  Sometimes they looked inside.

 

One location I hung out at got lots of particularly horrible cars, mostly gons, which they had to set out if it made it through the interchange.  There was a siding on which many unacceptable or bad order cars, got parked until someone figured out what they needed to do with them.

 

The cars I mostly saw were empties, but loaded cars were a problem both because loads are sometimes perishable, and if a car required heavy repair, it needed to be unloaded.

 

Cars that were obvious rejects just got back on an interchange track for the originating road to figure out.

 

Elden Gatwood

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brent Greer
Sent: Thursday, November 5, 2020 3:58 PM
To: Tony Thompson <tony@...>; main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Banned from Interchange - was Re: Real or no?

 

How would that process work when a road like Seaboard would reject an incoming car?  Would the road crew at the point of interchange be expected to inspect each car that had been dropped off for pickup and look for any non-compliant/unacceptable equipment before adding them to their train? What would happen to a rejected car and its contents?

 

Brent


Dr. J. Brent Greer


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Tony Thompson <tony@...>
Sent: Thursday, November 5, 2020 3:41 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Banned from Interchange - was Re: Real or no?

 

steve wintner wrote:



Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

 

     The word "known" in the second sentence is open to debate. Santa Fe had a couple of destructive high-speed derailments that they blamed on the Allied truck. Seaboard also had problems and would not accept cars in interchange if they had that truck. SP had the trucks on some express cars and had no problems, but withdrew them because of the risk they might go somewhere and not be accepted (I have seen the memos). This was in the early 1950s, long before the interchange ban.

 

Tony Thompson

 

 

 


Eric Hansmann
 

Lots of cars with truss rods also had steel center sills. The Southern had 20,000+ boxcars in the early 1920s with steel center sills and truss rods. Cars with wood draft sills were banned from interchange in 1928. Wood sills fell out of favor in the Teens but took awhile for those cars to be updated or retired. Cars with truss rods and steel center sills were not banned.

 

It wasn’t until a point in the future (1970) when a time limit regulation on underframes came into use. Freight cars with underframes over 50 years old needed to be removed from service. It’s that regulation, and a few others made shortly afterwards, that push whatever remaining 1920s built wood-sheathed cars out of service.

 

 

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Charles Peck
Sent: Thursday, November 5, 2020 2:10 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Banned from Interchange - was Re: Real or no?

 

Granted, truss rod cars survived in their own era.  Times change. 

Mix even a good truss rod car into a string of 100 ton hoppers,

let the slack run out, and you have a lot of toothpicks. 

What worked yesterday does not always stand up to current usage.

Chuck Peck

 

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 2:13 PM steve_wintner via groups.io <steve_wintner=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

I guess I'd take a bit of the other view. Truss rods worked just fine for decades, so I don't see a well maintained truss rod car as putting workers at risk, especially in limited service as Larry pointed out. Same thing for solid bearings (if well maintained).

I think a lot of these changes were about requiring less maintenance and choosing better practices going forward - which is not to say the old way was unsafe. 

(I grant, I'm not so sure MOW cars always had their solid bearings looked after properly)

Now an AFC truck, that is another matter. A truck that is known to derail certainly is putting the crew and any public near the right of way at risk. Unacceptable. Even if s you know for certain that the flaw is at speed, and set a much lower speed limit, I'd have issues.

I work on aircraft as an engineer, that certainly is how we approach things. Even flight test aircraft have to meet a high standard of safety. I assume the railroads did too.


mel perry
 

ken:
that's my point exactly, rsilroads aren't
going to spend a dime, unless, they are
forced too (for whatever reason) or it
has an effect on the bottom line (profit)
;-)
mel perry


On Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 12:00 PM Kenneth Montero <va661midlo@...> wrote:
Mel,

Not necessarily so. Equipment could be banned from interchange because (1)  its use away from home roads could be such that its use could exceed what the equipment could be expected to handle (truss rod cars without center sills) or (2) such equipment needed more monitoring than could be expected in interchange (arch bar trucks). Home road usage, especially in MOW service, could deal with such concerns, or at least that was the perception.

Jim's point about risk of injury and its cost to the railroad is a lot different now than it was in the past, mostly because the risk and cost  of injury and death were perceived many years ago by railroad management as less than the resulting savings.

Steve's point about standards of safety is well-taken, but not always observed. Not many years ago in Richmond, Virginia, a railroad employee died while moving an interchanged freight car (not a home road car) because he was unable to operate the brakes with the brake wheel and the boxcar crashed into a flood wall gate being closed for its test. It was discovered that a brake rod had dropped from the brake linkage. However, the employee's railroad had accepted it in interchange (supposedly after checking it for compliance with rules for interchange acceptability). I don't recall which railroad had to assume responsibility, but there was a lot of finger-pointing.

Ken Montero
On 11/05/2020 1:31 PM mel perry <clipper841@...> wrote:


the true nature of railroad ownership,
in other words basic capitalism
;-(
mel perry

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 10:28 AM Jim Betz < jimbetz@...> wrote:
Hi,
  We often hear of equipment that was "banned from interchange".  I get that and it
doesn't surprise me.  So here's the thing ... if something like the Allied trucks are
banned from interchange it is probably the result of a failure (probably repeated)
that caused an accident/derailment/something important.  And I get it that the RR
doesn't want to get rid of "serviceable equipment".  So why was (is?) it acceptable
to put your RR employees at risk by using them in stuff like MOW service?
  Yes, you get some extra miles "for very little cost" ... but wouldn't a single 
employee injury make that savings not worth it?  Why wouldn't just one lawsuit
for "negligence" void all of those savings?
  The same would be true of truss rods, brake equipment, lighting changes, ladders
and ladder placements, etc. etc. etc.  It doesn't seem to make "solid" economic
sense in the long run.  Why wouldn't the unions have objected? 
  What am I missing? 
                                                                                                           - Jim 




Dave Parker
 

Just a reminder that, while the WUF ban may have been initiated in 1928, the final, drop-dead effective date was 1/1/35 (as per Guy Wilber).

I can correctly run WUF cars in the summer of 1934, but just barely.

But Eric is quite right; plenty of truss-rod cars soldiered on for years.  Like a major slice of the Armour meat-reefer fleet for example.
--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA


Dennis Storzek
 

Someone should mention, so I will, that most items "banned" from interchange service were about parts inventory rather than safety. The AAR interchange agreement anticipated that most defects were to be repaired where found, with the cost of the repair charged back to the owner road through a system of fixed charges set by the AAR. Antiquated equipment might be fine for a small road that stocked all the parts at their few repair locations, but the majors would grow tired of stocking parts and material that only saw occasional, and dwindling, use. I suspect the ban on K brakes was of this nature. as was the ban on non-standard couplers, which occurred  sometime in the seventies, after our cut-off date.

Dennis Storzek


Tony Thompson
 

Dave Parker wrote:

Just a reminder that, while the WUF ban may have been initiated in 1928, the final, drop-dead effective date was 1/1/35 (as per Guy Wilber).

I can correctly run WUF cars in the summer of 1934, but just barely.

But Eric is quite right; plenty of truss-rod cars soldiered on for years.  Like a major slice of the Armour meat-reefer fleet for example.

   It's important to remember that an owner could install steel draft sills and center sills on a truss-rod car. It would be all but invisible in a photograph, but allowed the car to remain in service. 

Tony Thompson




Jerry Michels
 

"Mix even a good truss rod car into a string of 100 ton hoppers,
let the slack run out, and you have a lot of toothpicks."  

Would a railroad do this even when truss-rod cars were allowed?  Jerry Michels


mopacfirst
 

To the point about 50 year old underframes being removed service after 1970 or so, in 1970 or 71 I clearly remember, watching switching at the MP yard in Wichita, an IC steel drop-bottom gon that I noticed had a built date of 1919.  I would have had no way of knowing at the time if that was right, so I suppose I should throw the question out,  were there actually any IC drop-bottom gons built in that year?

Ron Merrick


Eric Hansmann
 

The USRA had quite a few cars built in 1919. The IC was assigned 1,650 drop-bottom USRA gondolas. 


Eric Hansmann
Murfreesboro, TN

On Nov 5, 2020, at 7:28 PM, mopacfirst <ron.merrick@...> wrote:

To the point about 50 year old underframes being removed service after 1970 or so, in 1970 or 71 I clearly remember, watching switching at the MP yard in Wichita, an IC steel drop-bottom gon that I noticed had a built date of 1919.  I would have had no way of knowing at the time if that was right, so I suppose I should throw the question out,  were there actually any IC drop-bottom gons built in that year?

Ron Merrick


Dennis Storzek
 

On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 05:28 PM, mopacfirst wrote:
To the point about 50 year old underframes being removed service after 1970 or so
I recall it was a few years later than that... I married in 1975, went to work for the transit authority later that year, and it was in my early years with the CTA that the age limit on UF's was instituted.

Dennis Storzek