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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson


Date: 08/16/13 04:28
Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: tehachapi-dave

Hi all back on 7\26\13 we made a trip out to the altoona area and the second train we caught cut his helpers at Cresson, so here is the video. Enjoy

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Date: 08/16/13 05:42
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: train1275

I am not sure I understand how this works on the fly. I saw it many times in the days of cabooses but now how do the angle cocks get turned and what about the marker ?



Date: 08/16/13 06:16
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: amanwtf

That's what you call the Helper Link system in action. No angle cocks need to be cut in or out, when cutting off on the fly and the helper stops the conductor walks outside on the front platform as you saw in the video and resets the Helper Link system. Brand new technology.



Date: 08/16/13 06:20
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: train1275

Interesting ... so then how does the rear marker work or hook into ?



Date: 08/16/13 06:23
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: NSDash9

train1275 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am not sure I understand how this works on the
> fly. I saw it many times in the days of cabooses
> but now how do the angle cocks get turned and what
> about the marker ?

NS SD40E units 6300-6329 are equipped with Helper Link. Notice the Helper Link box mounted on the front of NS 6304 in this Mike Luebbe photo:

http://www.nsdash9.com/images/NS6304ml1.jpg

For detailed info on how Helper Link works, see this page by Al Krug:

http://krugtales.50megs.com/rrpictale/helperlink/helperlink.htm


Chris Toth
NSDash9.com



Date: 08/16/13 06:28
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: mkostecky

train1275 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting ... so then how does the rear marker
> work or hook into ?


The marker is attached to the side of the coupler clear of the knuckle so the helper can couple and uncouple without interfering with the marker.



Date: 08/16/13 06:36
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: train1275

Thanks for all the info !!



Date: 08/16/13 07:01
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: contactpatch

HelperLink is not "new" technology, it's been around for over 15 years. The trains brake pipe pressure is "linked" by radio to the helper, since operating rules require that BP be controlled by the leading units brake valve. The trains rearmost angle cock stays closed, as does the front angle cock on the helper.

When the helper is ready to cut-off, the crew toggles a command, the helpers front coupler is uncoupled by a small air cylinder, the helper throttle is reduced to idle and the independent brake is automatically applied forcing the helper to cut-off, "drop back" and stop. The brake/throttle/uncoupling sequence is automatic in effect forcing the helper to "fall back and stop" (preventing either a "dragging on" or a run-in). What the conductor did is reset the system (on the HelperLink box on the front walkway) so that the engineer can recover control of the helper brakes and throttle.

BNSF was using HelperLink between Denver and Palmer Lake on the Colorado Joint Line before its coal trains were DP'd, using pairs of SD40-2s.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/13 07:03 by contactpatch.



Date: 08/16/13 07:30
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: bluesboyst

I thought they stopped cutting off on the fly like that on the west slope.....nice....

Alex, Jon, Mike any thoughts on this?

Steve



Date: 08/16/13 08:00
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: PRR1361

Does anyone know NS's policy/plans for the Helperlink units? Some of the 6300's have them (as in this video), and some don't. There was an article about their operation in CTC Board some years ago when CR was using them extensively on the Mountain, then NS removed them, and now they are either re-installing them, or re-removing them. Anyone?



Date: 08/16/13 08:04
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: PRR1361

Krugtales below is absolutely accurate. However, it is not new technology; been around for 20+ years, just refined a bit.



Date: 08/16/13 09:41
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: Spoony81

I just watched "Along the Pocahontas District" from Pentrex last night. It was shot in the early to mid 90's and they featured a helper cutting off in Bluefield using the Helper Link system



Date: 08/16/13 11:28
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: PRR1361

Not "computer controlled" at all; I have ridden them. The engineer always has full control of throttle and independent brake, as well as the uncoupling cylinder, none of that is "automatic". The only function controlled by radio link is the automatic air. That's why the conductor must "de-link" as quickly as possible to prevent an unintentional brake application on the helper by the head end. In addition, the helper engineer must immediately reduce speed to 15 mph or less, because he is now traveling in an occupied block and must be by rule at "restricted" speed.



Date: 08/16/13 14:46
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: dwi189

bluesboyst Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought they stopped cutting off on the fly like
> that on the west slope.....nice....
>
> Alex, Jon, Mike any thoughts on this?
>
> Steve


Conrail used helperlink on the mountain for awhile in the mid to late 90's prior to the NS/CSX takeover.....Conrail was using 1 man helper crews at that point in time.

With the NS SD40E rebuild program, helperlink technology made a comeback to helper operations on the Pittsburgh Line....Headend and helper crews can be heard on the scanner discussing whether the helpers are using 'the link' or are 'conventional'.....I assume that the helper crew can choose whether to use the helperlink on the fly or to cut off at a standstill as both methods are used to cut away....Dave W.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/13 14:48 by dwi189.



Date: 08/18/13 15:12
Re: Cutting helpers on the fly at Cresson
Author: mukinduri

I noticed that in the middle of the train there is one empty well car. I would have thought this would have adverse train handling consequences. Could there be a reason or is that is just how the loading of the containers happened to work out?



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