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Western Railroad Discussion > A & B end of a freight car?


Date: 09/29/03 21:58
A & B end of a freight car?
Author: webmaster

I had an interesting question posed to me via email. How do you determine the A and B end of a rail car?

Todd



Date: 09/29/03 22:03
Re: A & B end of a freight car?
Author: NSDash9

The "B" end is always the end where the hand brake is located.

CRT



Date: 09/29/03 22:07
Re: A & B end of a freight car?
Author: KingCoal

On standard cars the B end is the one that has hand brake. Usually the brake piston points in the direction of the B end. Other end is the A end.

On articulated cars such a 5 well or platform cars, A end is one end and B end is the distant platform. Then in order from B, is C, D, and E is next to A.



Date: 09/29/03 22:15
Re: A & B end of a freight car?
Author: px320

As further clarification.

The B end of the car is the reference end. Wheel #1 is the 1st wheel on the left side when looking at the B end of the car. wheel #2 is the first wheel on the right side. Wheel #3 is the 2nd wheel on the left side and so on.

For passenger cars the same rule applies except when there are brake wheels/levers on both ends. In this case the end with the retaining valve is designated as the B end. (passenger cars generally had the retaining valve located in a vestibule where the conductor or brakeman could easily reach it.)

Because of the lack of knowledge about old systems in todays' railroading, retaining valves are generally unknown on passenger cars. Likewise, cars with two brake wheels have been modified so that there is only one brake wheel. The Pony Express is such a car.

The B end on the Pony is the Bathroom end because that's where the brake wheel is.



Date: 09/30/03 02:55
Re: A & B end of a freight car?
Author: Gabbyh1

One additional piece of knowledge. Most articulated five
section cars (well or spine) do have two hand brakes.
It depends on who orders them that way. When cars
today have more than one hand brake, the body and wheel
of the hand brake are painted orange.




Date: 09/30/03 03:58
Re: A & B end of a freight car?
Author: SSW41

When I worked for Amtrak, an electrican told me the way to tell the A end of a superliner car was downstairs, on the toilet end. That is where you put your "A"ss.



Date: 09/30/03 05:56
Re: A & B reference?
Author: waybill

px320 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As further clarification.
>
> The B end of the car is the reference end. Wheel
> #1 is the 1st wheel on the left side when looking
> at the B end of the car. wheel #2 is the first
> wheel on the right side. Wheel #3 is the 2nd wheel
> on the left side and so on.
>
>

Are you sure?

Old heads taught me that you determined journal position from the "B" end.

As one looked at the "B" end, the journals to your left were L1, L2, L3 and L4 as you moved to the "A" end of the car.

The journals to your right were R1, R2, R3 & R4 as you moved to the "A" end of the car.

We filled out many bad order cards using that approach.




Date: 09/30/03 06:14
Re: A & B reference?
Author: gladhand

Casting aside my nauseousness, I must agree with waybill. Facing the handbrake (B) end, L-1 thru L-4 left side. R-1 thru R-4 right side.



Date: 09/30/03 07:14
Re: A & B reference?
Author: OHRY

Yep, I'll third that. Brake wheels on cars with two brakes painted orange eh? I guess I gotta check that out next time I go to work.
Chris S.

-------------------------------------------------------
> Casting aside my nauseousness, I must agree with
> waybill. Facing the handbrake (B) end, L-1 thru
> L-4 left side. R-1 thru R-4 right side.






Date: 09/30/03 10:18
Re: OK, How about a caboose?
Author: spnudge

Has hand brakes on both ends?



Date: 09/30/03 15:21
Re: OK, How about a caboose?
Author: fbe

Yes, a caboose has a brake wheel on both ends. However, the pointy end of the brake cylinder only points one direction. On a normal freight car it points toward the brake wheel or towards the B end of the car. On a caboose the direction it points to is determined to be the B end of the caboose to match most all of the rest of the freight car fleet.

Some freight cars have a small B inside a cirle painted low and centered on the end of the car to designate the B end. The other end of the car will have a small A inside a circle. On a boxcar there may also be an L half way up the carside ahead of the door and an R on the opposite side to designate the left and right side.

Most articulated cars have a small letter and number stencilled above each journal, L1-L12 and R1-R12 to identify them. So if you stand behind an articulated car, facing the end with the L axles on your left then you are at the B end of the car even if there is a brakewheel on the other end of the car as well.



Date: 09/30/03 23:13
Re: OK, How about a caboose?
Author: px320

Re wheel position.

I was taught many years ago that the wheels are numbered 1 - 8, 1 -12, etc. depending on the number of axles. This may pertain primarily to passenger cars, but I believe it is part of the AAR rules for all cars. If you look at the trucks on older passenger cars you can still find cast number badges near the top of each pedestal. They numbered as above.

I know that this is the way they are numbered every time I have a PC-1 performed on the Pony.



Date: 10/01/03 21:51
Re: Wheel numbering?
Author: poultrycar

It is true that you can still find a lot of old passenger cars with the wheel (journal) numbering cast right into the truck frames as Waybill says, that is, L1, L2, Rl, R2, etc. However, that is not how Amtrak does it.

They do it as px320 explained, specifically, if you are standing as to look into the car from the "B" end, you start numbering from the left side which is #1, the first one on the right is #2 and so on.



Date: 10/03/03 06:46
ATSF caboose
Author: railscenes

The B end was the end with the cupola or more specific the retaining valve.
Inspector Gadget



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