Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by n2xjk
 
I saw the instruction car at the PRR Museum. Fascinating. I guess it caused some debate whether it was worth the $$ they put into restoring it, but it is a very interesting piece of engineering. Did other railroads have similar air instruction cars, or is this unique?

Pic

  by n2xjk
 
Here's a picture of the interior. It tests schedules 6, 22, 24 and 26.
Image

  by Tom_E_Reynolds
 
what does it do?

  by n2xjk
 
The rrmuseumpa.org web site just says "Pennsylvania Railroad No. 492445
Altoona Car Shops. Air-Brake Instruction Car. 1910. Rebuilt from class M70 RPO No. 6517 in 1928. Purchased 12/1977 from Red Clay Valley Equipment & Leasing Corp. Under restoration."

The car is finished and on display in the hall. It was sent around the system to instruct engineers and brakemen on the use of schedule 6, 22, 24 or 26 air equipment. When I was there for ARM 2005, they had the car open and aired up for people to try the different equipment. If I had known anything about train air brakes, I could have had an hand on the controls.
  by ChiefTroll
 
Air brake instruction cars were fairly common on larger railroads, especially during steam days. If a railroad assigned a different class of locomotives to a division, or if they modified the brake system on a class or group, they would commonly sent an air brake instructor with the air car to the engine terminals on the affected divisions to hold school. They also had recurrent training for engine crews, and some for train service folks as well.

It is very instructive to be able to handle a brake valve and watch all the parts of the system, down to a brake cylinder on a car, plus gauges at various locations, all do their things in response.
  by rnetzlof
 
[quote="ChiefTroll"]Air brake instruction cars were fairly common on larger railroads, especially during steam days.[/quote]

Back around 1973 - 74 I found a booklet in the Pattee Library at Penn State. It was about two air brake instruction cars built by Westinghouse AIr Brake for their own use. As I recall, one was a box car, the other a passenger coach. Don't recall a date on the booklet, but it runs in my mind that it was pre-WW2.

I suuppose they would lend the cars to smaller railroads which couldn't afford their own instruction cars. In addition to training train crews, I'd guess they might also have been used to train maintenance people in the care and feeding of the equipment.
  by ChiefTroll
 
>I suuppose they would lend the cars to smaller railroads which couldn't afford their own instruction cars. In addition to training train crews, I'd guess they might also have been used to train maintenance people in the care and feeding of the equipment.
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Bob -

I suspect that Westinghouse also used those cars for road testing. They could insert gauges into various pipes and put the car into a train. The test crew could watch the action of the brake equipment as the train brakes were applied and released in service.

Westinghouse and New York Air Brake Co. both had large test racks of brake pipes, mounting brackets and valves lined up crossways in one building. Westinghouse at Wilmerding could simulate a 150 car train. The pipes were 50 feet long, I think, with angle cocks and air hose connections at each end, and the valves and cylinders in the center aisle.

You could charge the "train" and handle the air with any one of several different types of locomotive brake equipment. As the brakes were operated, metal flags on the brake cylinders would move in and out, and you could see the progress of the application and release.

They also had pressure gauges at various points in the train, for brake pipe, brake cylinder and reservoir pressures. I used the Westinghouse rack several times to validate computer models of train operation for accident investigations, and I found that I could get very close to reality. The Westinghouse engineers (and New York, as well, when I worked with them earlier) were true gentlemen and experts in the arcane art and science of air brakes. "Fiddling with the air" on their test rack was a blast in more ways than one.
  by boomerjdpeters
 
The PRR had a stationary Air Brake School next to the steam heat plant at 30th Street Philadelphia. In was ran by Sydney S. Back, air brake instructor, a gentleman and scholar. Even though it was a PRR facility, all railroaders were welcome, including RDG P-RSL and B & O. during the recession in early 60s it was closed never to reopen. I was still going to high school and Mr Back let me attend. I hired later on the P-RSL as fireman in 1959. Professional and educational. Memories from the past

John D. Peters
P-RSL fireman 1959-1964