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  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by blippo
that 50 30 20 10 5 you hear could be the amount of feet to the coupling.

  by N221UA
Thanks....what about "Three steps APPLIED"?

  by CSX Conductor
N221UA wrote:Also, when conductors give how much the engineer should move back to couple/uncouple cars, sometimes they say how many cars, sometimes they just give numbers. what do the numbers (ie. 50 30 20 10 5) mean?
The standard car count is supposed to be 60 feet, ie 4 car lenghts should be abouth 240 feet. Most guys give a car count down to one or 1/2 a car, then go to feet. I have done the one car, 1/2 car, 1/4. 1/8 of a car, stop routine before but only a couple times. lol :P

  by txbritt
I usually count off in even halfs ( 8 cars, 4 cars, etc.. then drop to half, 20 feet, 10, 5, that'll do )

I do both jobs ( both engineer and conductor ) and I hate when conductors transmit without pausing. Comes out like, eh.. cars, eh..cars, eh..cars, that'll do!!!!!

I worked with an engineer last week that I had to lead 1 1/2 car when making a joint. His stopping ability, even while running light or with two or three cars, was that bad.

Working with econorail, I get bounced from job to job day to day, so I never get to hang around with someone and really get to know them, and how they operate.


  by Aji-tater
I try to adjust my speed at about the 1 car length mark so we can couple at that speed. Maybe not quite as slow as a "gentle" coupling but down slow enough that if the conductor drops his radio or has a bad sense of length, it won't knock me out of the seat.

What fun it was one day when they took the guy who had been working with me, to do some mechanical work, and put another guy in his place, halfway through the day. The first guy, when he said "5 feet" I knew it was really about a carlength to the hitch. The second guy was the complete opposite, when he said "10 feet", it really meant "stop".

I worked the ground a few times with an engineer who, in good fun, was busting my chops, he had figured out my rhythm. I was saying "stop" a few feet before the hitch and he was timing it so he'd put on the independent at "5 feet". So I'd no sooner say "stop" than the cars would stop, leaving a 1-foot gap. "Well, you TOLD ME to stop" he'd say. So I fixed him, he'd be coming in real easy, I'd give him "ten feet" and keep the mike open. When they coupled up he got the full earfull and he'd feel it, after which I'd innocently say "Far enough!"

  by TB Diamond
Was on a work train one night at Orin Jct. in the old CNW yard. Had a brand new brakeperson. We were making a joint on some loaded ballast cars and she gave me:"three cars, stop"! Needless to say I hit the control stand with a thud. All a part of railroading, but it took me a while to fully trust her car counts again. In time she went through the engineer training program and became one of the better engineers in our terminal.

  by Rockin' Roller
N221UA wrote:Thanks....what about "Three steps APPLIED"?
Three step applied.
Brakes set, reverser in neutral, generator field open.
On the UP you ask to enter the red zone, they reply with set and centered.
I guess that would be two step protection.