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Western Railroad Discussion > Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?


Date: 01/14/22 09:45
Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: bmarti7

The BNSF 4012 East arrived at New Salem, ND with the X-KALNWS empty grain train destined for the CHS grain terminal. The conductor proceeded to check the switches, first in the grain terminal, then back to the mainline switch and derail. The mainline switch was jammed with ice. That switch was equipped with a heater. Unfortunately the heater was down. The conductor chipped away for some time and didn't get far. The DS needed the 4012 to remain between the switches and the conductor in the clear so another train could run-around.

Maintenance was called and the track foreman showed up just as the other train passed. The the foreman and conductor chipped away and finally got the switch to move and lock. The arrival delay was about 2 hours. Should that switch and switch heater been checked earlier, knowing that an empty shuttle train would be arriving? Just asking........

Bismarck Bill

1. The sun had just risen on the CHS Grain Terminal in New Salem. Staff is standing by, ready to load the grain shuttle tain.
2. The conductor works away at chipping ice with the spiked-end of the broom handle
3. After another train has passed, the track foreman arrives to help clean the switch

2 more...








Date: 01/14/22 09:49
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: mojaveflyer

Bill... There's a lot of switches out there and I believe the DS has a light on his board to show if the heater is on. "On" may not mean the same as operating....

James Nelson
Thornton, CO



Date: 01/14/22 09:50
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: bmarti7

4. With the mainline switch and derail thrown, the 4012 proceeds east through New Salem's crossings. Note the electric switch can't be thrown until the train is inside the block
5. The 4012 heads into the terminal



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/22 09:55 by bmarti7.






Date: 01/14/22 10:20
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: bmarti7

mojaveflyer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bill... There's a lot of switches out there and I
> believe the DS has a light on his board to show if
> the heater is on. "On" may not mean the same as
> operating....

That is correct Jim. DS did indicate heater was on. Only a physical inspection would show otherwise. BTW track foreman had to call another person to fix the heater- apparently another craft.

BB



Date: 01/14/22 11:37
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: texchief1

Nice pictorial!

RC Lundgren
Elgin, TX



Date: 01/14/22 12:05
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: Ritzville

Interesting series Bill! It sure looks COLD in your area!

Larry



Date: 01/14/22 13:17
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: funnelfan

That is what the chisel end of the broom is for!

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 01/14/22 17:58
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: SCKP187

Interesting set and nice photos to go along with the info.  Tough RRing in the winter.
Brian Stevens



Date: 01/14/22 21:06
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: PHall

Empty gas tanks on the switch heater?



Date: 01/14/22 22:09
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: bmarti7

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Empty gas tanks on the switch heater?

Nope-road foreman checked that



Date: 01/15/22 12:17
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: Interlocker

Yes, conductor training does indeed include "ice chipping." And sweeping. And shoveling. And, out here in the Dakotas and eastern Montana, I have done plenty of each.

But I do so sparingly, as it is not my job.

Not too long ago, and for well over a century prior, maintenance-of-way forces took care of switches badly (here, "badly" is the key word) clogged with snow and ice. Then, the companies attempted to deftly move these switch-cleaning duties to conductors -- expecting them to perform this task with a combination broom/chisel, and a shovel -- while consistently reducing the ranks of MoW employees. After a few hour-plus attempts to clear switches that could barely be seen for ice and drifting snow (and a couple of brushes with frostbite), I told myself that I would never again spend more than 15 minutes to clean a switch. And I haven't. I work hard at it for 15 minutes, then I return to the cab, call the DS, explain the situation, and tell him/her they need to call the section. I don't care how long it takes, I don't care how much overtime is being paid to the MoW folks, I don't care how many trains I hold up, and I don't care if my engineer and I die right there on the spot and need to be dog caught. And, again, I'm not talking a little bit of snow to brush off, or a few pieces of ice to knock down. I'm talking about when MoW needs to come out with blow torches and leaf blowers -- and two or three people trained in track maintenance -- to solve the problem.

As for switch heaters, only about half of the mainline switches on my territory are so equipped, despite the fact that this is old technology. When so equipped, these switches are usually no problem, though even then switch heaters can melt snow, which then goes deeper into the switch and freezes into solid ice, presenting a new problem.



Date: 01/15/22 13:41
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: ERAD

Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?

Had a Conductor that said this broom don't fit my hand's and we watched the Trainmaster clear the switch!



Date: 01/16/22 08:29
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: engineerinvirginia

ERAD Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
>
> Had a Conductor that said this broom don't fit my
> hand's and we watched the Trainmaster clear the
> switch!

Once when power was out and we had to have switches spiked to get out, a trainmaster asked if I would do it....I said "not my job" and being all the signal maintainers had died on the law....he had to spike the switches. 



Date: 01/16/22 17:06
Re: Does Conductor Training Include Ice Chipping?
Author: Drknow

Interlocker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, conductor training does indeed include "ice
> chipping." And sweeping. And shoveling. And, out
> here in the Dakotas and eastern Montana, I have
> done plenty of each.
>
> But I do so sparingly, as it is not my job.
>
> Not too long ago, and for well over a century
> prior, maintenance-of-way forces took care of
> switches badly (here, "badly" is the key word)
> clogged with snow and ice. Then, the companies
> attempted to deftly move these switch-cleaning
> duties to conductors -- expecting them to perform
> this task with a combination broom/chisel, and a
> shovel -- while consistently reducing the ranks of
> MoW employees. After a few hour-plus attempts to
> clear switches that could barely be seen for ice
> and drifting snow (and a couple of brushes with
> frostbite), I told myself that I would never again
> spend more than 15 minutes to clean a switch. And
> I haven't. I work hard at it for 15 minutes, then
> I return to the cab, call the DS, explain the
> situation, and tell him/her they need to call the
> section. I don't care how long it takes, I don't
> care how much overtime is being paid to the MoW
> folks, I don't care how many trains I hold up, and
> I don't care if my engineer and I die right there
> on the spot and need to be dog caught. And, again,
> I'm not talking a little bit of snow to brush off,
> or a few pieces of ice to knock down. I'm talking
> about when MoW needs to come out with blow torches
> and leaf blowers -- and two or three people
> trained in track maintenance -- to solve the
> problem.
>
> As for switch heaters, only about half of the
> mainline switches on my territory are so equipped,
> despite the fact that this is old technology. When
> so equipped, these switches are usually no
> problem, though even then switch heaters can melt
> snow, which then goes deeper into the switch and
> freezes into solid ice, presenting a new problem.

This. 100%.

Posted from iPhone



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