• Rolling a car downhill

  • 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 gp9rm4108
We ride joints on locomotives all the time. Riding a car to a joint is stupid and it hurts if you are going faster than you think you are.
gp9rm4108 wrote:We ride joints on locomotives all the time. Riding a car to a joint is stupid and it hurts if you are going faster than you think you are.
If it's going that fast, something is wrong. If you think you are going to be hurt, in the impending "controlled collision", just drop off, and turn away. Maybe you gotta stop him sooner, dismount, then finish the hook. That's a rule now, on most properties, for the very reason you mentioned.

  by Robert Gift
Nice Logo, ARM.

Wish we could read the details.

Could some supply interpretation:

...lots of crazy moves, rolling the releases out, run around some of the cars to spot, cars on both ends of the goats as you head up the hill to spot and finish pulling, once ya get ready theres no more "on ahead, or bring um back" its "up the hill, or down the hill."
...the weight on the grade, trying to get the goats on the other end of the cars so you can head back down the branch, and alot of 8th run starts.


You can't ride a car to a joint, as far as UP goes, that much I am sure of, the rule for riding an engine to a joint is concerned, that rule seems a little less clear.

Riding a car to a stop, like setting a buffer is legal, ...

  by Aji-tater
Robert, I'll give you credit, you're really trying to learn the lingo. Here are a few answers to your questions, not all but a few

When you put a freight at a certain place so it can be loaded, unloaded, repaired, you "spot" the car. If you have a siding ahead of you (a "facing point" switch), like coming to a fork in the road, you can't pull the car in or your engine would be blocked in. So you go to a double ended siding, leave the car on one track, and "run around" the car on the other track. NOW you can push that car into the siding to spot it, then go on your way.

When doing a brake test, the brakes must be applied. I will point out there are several different types of brake tests in the government regulations, and each one is done a bit differently. But after the brakes are found to be OK, they must be released. Rolling the release means instead of walking past each car to observe the brakes are released, the crewman or inspector stands in one place while the train rolls past him (or her), watching and listening for any car which did not properly release.

Goat is another name for switch engine. This means the engine being USED to switch cars - not a physical type. You could have a mainline engine and if it's being used to switch and spot cars, it's the goat.

Most locomotive throttles have 8 notches for power, so when a loco is in the 8th notch it's wide open - like flooring it in your car. (Any of those old GE's with 16 notches still around?)

A joint is a coupling or a hitch - that discussion pertains to whether or not it is safe or allowed by rules to be riding on the car or power when it couples on to something else.

And while I'm confident in what I've told you here, remember in the future different places use different terms. In most yards you switch cars, but in the east around the former Reading, CNJ, and a few other lines, you "drill" them. Maybe other places, too. It's part of what makes this stuff interesting, every place is different, you learn new things every day.

  by Robert Gift
Thankso much Tater.
I like to know every detail/nuance.

Would you place a throttle directly in 8, as indicated in a previous post?

Or do you start in 1, and work up, as I do (so to speak) with fire apparatus and my own vehicles. --Most efficient, least polluting, and gentle on drive train.

Wow! Ride ON the coupler!
Or does that mean ride on the railcar's ladder nexto the coupler?
Sounds like lots of fun.
We can no longeride on the back of apparatus.

Thank you,

  by UPRR engineer
Robert, when i said "rolling the releases out" i meant getting the switch engines out of the way and kicking the brakes of the cars the customer wanted us to take. "Rolling the cars down hill"

  by UPRR engineer
Robert Gift wrote: Would you place a throttle directly in 8, as indicated in a previous post?
Sometimes theres now way around it Robert.

  by Aji-tater
I did not reference UPRR's original post so I metioned the air brake test instead, he is talking about something entirely different.

Generally speaking, when you start a long train you do so gradually so you advance the throttle one or two notches at a time. Switching, if you're trying to give some cars a "kick" to get them rolling, you can go right to 8, or as close to it as you can without getting wheelslip. Different locomotives react differently, and the layout of where you are working can dictate what you do so there are exceptions.

Riding on the coupler itself is not smart, there are steps, ladders and crossover boards which are for that purpose.

Robert, you're fairly new to railroading - in the "old days" trainmen were not only permitted but in some cases REQUIRED to ride on the tops of the boxcars, and they thought nothing of jumping from car to car as the train rolled along. Now they have removed the roofwalks from the cars, and ladders don't go all the way to the top on boxcars. I can't imagine the coronary today's 90-day wonder supervisors would have if they looked out the window and saw some guy riding deck!

  by Robert Gift
As a top-hat and tailed chimney sweep and tree guy, I am quite acrobatic
and would love riding on cars as long as there were secure grab rails.

Thank you both for the explanations.
I try to figure them out without bothering you with questions.

I learned about car placement where we practiced with my HO layout to get cars in the proper order withe least moves and not getting engine trapped.

Why I like the rubber-tired car movers which can get out of the way
and drive to the next move.
Must go hsopital called.

For Robert: Here is the cover, of my map book, from 1904 :-D


  by CSX Conductor
Power Pro is correct, riding a car to a stop is fine, but not into a hitch, as most rr's don't want you riding a car into a hitch whether attached to an engine or not.

SteelWheels's move actually sounds like they are "flying cars by", which is illegal on CSXT.

SteamTrayn, Riding the end of a car is illegal per S.O.F.A. (Switching Operation Fatalaties Analysis) Rules for that reason. However, riding the end while pulling is legal.

MBTA F40: You should see how fast they can go either at Foxboro Terminal behind Gillette or over @ Barrett in West Mansfield, oh yeah!! LOL :P

  by thebigc
wis bang wrote:I used to watch Hercules Cement from the truck yard. There would e strings of empty cement hopper cars spotted by one end of the plant. Guy used to walk up w/ a crowbar and make them roll, one at a time into the loading silo and after loading roll on to join the loaded cars at the other end of the plant. one man walking w/ one crowbar.
Poor man's pinch bar. Used to be standard equipment along with a brake club on a local. Dutchman, too!

Wow, another person who knows what a "Dutchman" is. I'm impressed "C". :wink:

  by keotaman
GOLDEN-ARM wrote:Wow, another person who knows what a "Dutchman" is.
A 2 foot long brake hose extension. Couple up & the air hoses don't reach, use the dutchman. Mainly on loco to car hitches? Don't know how the name came about, tho.

Doesn't have to be two feet, just a short length of hose, with a couple of gladhands. (have seen them short enough where the two gladhands were just butted, end to end, with the hose clamped on them) Named for the Pennsylvania Dutch carmen, from the Reading railroad, and PRR, in the Penn. Dutch Region, of Pa., who originally fabricated them. Hard to find today, some even believe they are outlawed, due to not being physically connected, to the equipment they are used on. Still made by carmen, in shops all over the country. (dont have my CFR equipment books with me, or I would verify the legality)