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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Feed valve vs regular brake


Date: 02/25/19 13:23
Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: exopr

I have a question for engineers.  I used to work for the Erie Lackawanna and learned that our engineers liked to use the feed valve instead of the "regular" brake to avoid getting a kicker.   My question is: what is the feed valve and how does using it avoid causing a kicker.   Thanks.



Date: 02/25/19 13:55
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: LarryDoyle

The Feed Valve is a pressure regulator in the pipe between Main Reservoir No. 2 and the "Regular" brake valve.  It assures that a consistent pressure is fed into the "Regular" egineeers brake valve, because main reservoir pressure can fluctuate due to cycling of the air pump(s).

A  "Kicker" is a car with a misbehaving control valve which will give a false emergency application of the brake on that car, which is then propogated to the rest of the train.

Feed valving was used illegally to  maintain a sustained brake application before "Maintaining" engineers' valves were developed to compensate for brake pipe leakage, or to attempt making an initial application of less than the required minimum reduction of 6 psi.

I don't see why feed valving would prevent a kicker, unless engineers may have thought that they could reduce brake pipe more slowly.

-LD



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/19 18:56 by LarryDoyle.



Date: 02/25/19 13:57
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: UPNW2-1083

exopr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have a question for engineers.  I used to work
> for the Erie Lackawanna and learned that our
> engineers liked to use the feed valve instead of
> the "regular" brake to avoid getting a kicker. 
>  My question is: what is the feed valve and how
> does using it avoid causing a kicker.   Thanks.

The feed valve does just what it says, it feeds the air supply to the brake valve. It used to be a regular valve handle that would let you turn up the brake pressure or in cold weather some railroads use a lower psi for the brake pipe. Some people would use it to reduce the brake pipe pressure a pound or two at a time to try and reduce "kickers" or "dynamiters" as we called them on the UP. I don't know if it ever worked as I never used that method.-BMT 



Date: 02/25/19 18:57
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: Trainhand

I have used it. Sometimes it was successful. The way I had the most success was to crank it UP 3 or 4 psi. Then before the brake pipe charged, make a minimum reduction. When that set, complete about a 10# reduction from the first setting using the feed valve. What this did was eliminate the preliminary Quick service in the brake valve. The UDE was caused by this feature dropping too much when a minimum reduction was made. After CSX stopped rumming long cars in freight trains this about stopped. The articulated car helped eliminate this also.

I can say this now I've been retired 6 years and the statue of limititations has run out.  Also this can't be done with electric brakes. you can't change the brake pipe with the train moving.

Sam



Date: 02/25/19 19:08
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: cctgm

The feed valve worked if you still had a train with the old AB brake valves on the cars as you could a light brake reduction of 1 or 2 pounds but once the ABW and ABW-D and newer control valves came out and most trains had the new brake control valves on the cars once there was a reduction in the brake pipe you would get a minimum application of the brakes.  Even using the feed or regulating valve with the newer brake control valves gives you a minimum brake application.

Back when I hired out the engineers still used the feed valve on some of the old cars.  They also used a wood plug in the independent brake to keep the brakes released  on the locomotive when making a set on the automatic. Many of the older engines has 6bl and 24RL brake valves. The company used to give the wood plugs out but after the 26RL brake came out it was illegal to plug the independent,  of course back then each engineer had his own set of brake handles and reverser.  



Date: 02/25/19 21:55
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: roustabout

cctgm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Back when I hired out the engineers still used the
> feed valve on some of the old cars.  They also
> used a wood plug in the independent brake to keep
> the brakes released  on the locomotive when
> making a set on the automatic. Many of the older
> engines has 6bl and 24RL brake valves. The company
> used to give the wood plugs out but after the 26RL
> brake came out it was illegal to plug the
> independent,  of course back then each engineer
> had his own set of brake handles and reverser.  

I used to put a dime in the bale on one locomotive in our fleet that had a 24RL valve.  That worked well until I got in a hurry tying it down and forgot to remove it.  The engineer who followed me couldn't figure out why the brake wouldn't set up when doing his required locomotive air test.  It took him more than an hour fussing with it and a roundhouse mechanic almost two hours to finally find that dime.  That was the most expensive dime I ever lost as it cost me five days time off  as discipline but that was the only disciplinary time off I had in my time there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/19 21:56 by roustabout.



Date: 02/26/19 07:26
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: hogheaded

The most egregious use of the feed valve that I experienced was when a self-described "outlaw" engineer (a.k.a., idiot) decided to teach me how to pick up cars on a downhill grade without having to tie down the train. After we cut away from the train, he cranked up the feed valve by 10 pounds, and then we latched onto the pickup. After we tied back onto the train and before the brakeman cut-in the air, he turned the feed valve back down to 90 lbs. This caused the pickup (being in an overcharged condition) to set up and the rest of the train to release. Combined with the jam, the overcharged cars held the train during the "radio air test".

The head cars' brakes still had not released when we turned the train over to another crew about an hour later. If I recall correctly, each set and release reduces an overcharge by about two pounds, and my engineer likely had released the brakes only once coming down the hill. Leaving town, the relief engineer must have thought that he had a great set of dynamics.

Otherwise, I suspect that many engineers in that district resorted to feed valve braking when the pressure maintaining was not working, but they were smart enough to keep it to themselves.

EO



Date: 02/26/19 07:52
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: LarryDoyle

The feed valve is the shiny brass valve handle to the extreme left of the red handled automatic brake valve.

-LD




Date: 03/01/19 16:35
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: WP-M2051

LarryDoyle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The feed valve is the shiny brass valve handle to
> the extreme left of the red handled automatic
> brake valve.
>
> -LD

Which on the 26L (pictured) is really a regulating valve.  Never had to use this system as the only times I worked on mountain grades were in passenger service but the guys that worked between Roseville and Sparks swore by it.  They ran 100+ car trains over the "hill"; they knew what they were talking about.



Date: 03/01/19 17:07
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: NP2626

Back when I hired out on the BN, I was fortunate to have some "Old Heads" who had worked out of Auburn teach me about train handling.  Out West, we were running a lot of older GP-7s and 9s that had the 6BLC automatic brake valves that were not self maintaining.  The feed valve was knee height on the air brake stand.  If you had a kicker, it was speculated that the control valve on a car in your train was dirty and the slide valve would stick.  Taking an inital service reduction, the valve wouldn't move until the unequal pressure was enough to un-stick it and the sudden action caused the emergency service portion to activate.  You could try raising or lowering the brake pipe pressue by regulating the feed valve to get it past the "rough spot"  Another method (totaly illegal) would be to crack open the front brake pipe angle cock and use the feed valve to gradually reduce the brake pipe pressure to the desired reduction (all while leaving the brake valve handle in release) as it would maintain the desired set.  To release, just screw the feed valve back up to the normal pressure.  The Feed valve could also be used on those old H-6, 6BLC, and 14ET non maintaing brake valves by taking a set, then screwing the feed valve out (lowering the pressure) a few turns. Then returning the brake valve handle to release and watching the EQ Res gauge while screwing the feed valve in very slowly.  When you see the EQ Res gauge bump a little bit, then stop.  Your Feed valve will maintain the set.  To release, just screw the feed valve up so the Eq Res pressure is back to 90 PSI. 



Date: 03/02/19 19:09
Re: Feed valve vs regular brake
Author: Trainhand

I have used the open angle cock trick also. I would just let the leakage apply the brakes.



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