• Uniq. Eqpmt Sightings: Private Varnish (PV's), Charters, etc

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by TheOneKEA
 
I have not observed any private cars attached to any Northeast Regional weekend services on the NEC in Maryland this year. Have there been any private cars running at all on the NEC in MD this year?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
On the LDs, yes they run in Maryland, but I'm unaware of any Regional with private cars lately.
  by Railjunkie
 
jhdeasy wrote: Sun Jun 16, 2024 10:46 am
Railjunkie wrote: Sun Jun 16, 2024 9:57 am
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Jun 15, 2024 1:39 pm Nice to see PROMONTORY POINT (nee LOBLOLLY PINE IIRC) Running again.
Had a chance to chat with who I think was the owner last week while we were running around the car and spotting it. Complimented him on how well things were working. Being an engineer I like when things stop, some of the varnish fleet can be questionable at times. Conductor liked that the pins dropped on either end of the car and the hand brake held. Again in dealing with private varnish you just never know.
You may be aware that Amtrak certified private cars are subject to an annual inspection. The inspection covers many things, and braking/stopping functions (single car air test, and hand brake apply/release test) are part of the annual inspection. I have always believed that many PV's have had their braking pressure adjusted to use a lighter force (for example --- a J16 relay valve on 26C or 26CDW air brake system) when braking. That seems to reduce problems (such as shelling and spalling) with wheel sets.

When I operated 800708 MOUNT VERNON (now renamed PACIFIC ISLAND by the new owner), I never had a problem with handbrake application, but at times I had problems getting a full release on my handbrake. I learned that it released properly after it had been fully applied. However, a partial setting of the handbrake would hold the car in position, but it might not allow a full release. Thus I would reapply it fully, cranking down all the way, then I would pull the release handle and get a complete release.
Thank goodness I did not have a mouthful of coffee while reading this, I may have launched across the room. While yes I am fully aware of the inspection process, Rensselaer will do and has done the inspection on many cars. They have also rebuilt trucks and completely re piped air brake systems. The shop just finished Blue Ridge Club and she handles like a dream.
However in handling in what has to be somewhere close to 50 pieces of varnish in my career, some of those multiple times. While doing a running brake tests there are times I begin to think, are they or are they not going to slow down. Or perhaps placing them in the storage yard and my conductor tells me handbrakes applied give them a test. I release my independent and away we go. This normally followed by a bit of foul language and the getting of the chalks to hold the car or cars in place before I cut away.
So while you may never have had any issues. Trust me when I say in typing this up, I can think of five cars off the top of my head when we see them we know there will be issues. As you know varnish is an expensive hobby and upkeep even more so.
  by Tadman
 
Railjunkie wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2024 9:46 am
...my conductor tells me handbrakes applied give them a test. I release my independent and away we go. This normally followed by a bit of foul language and the getting of the chalks to hold the car or cars in place before I cut away.
So while you may never have had any issues. Trust me when I say in typing this up, I can think of five cars off the top of my head when we see them we know there will be issues. As you know varnish is an expensive hobby and upkeep even more so.
This jibes with the information I have from a family member that works for a big railroad and has experience handling such private cars. This is why I was totally not surprised when Amtrak put heavy restrictions on private varnish a few years ago. According to my source, they did quit a bit of unbilled work on PV's just to get them over the road. That info must've trickled upstairs after enough regional folks got impatient with PV's. Senior management must've looked at the big picture and said "No more of this".
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