the brackets were bolted to the pilots, and they could have been unbolted, or just cut-off at the bottom of the pilot, with a torch. depends how fast you wanted them off, and who was doing the work. some roads kept the handrail across the top of the pilot as well, some removed them. once the footboards were gone, there wasn't a need for that handhold any longer. once the footboards came off, the cut-lever extensions were added, to pull the pin from the bottom step of the loco.