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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)


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Date: 02/27/20 07:06
Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: i64west

A post in another thread about pushing a stalled car through a switch *by hand* got me down a Google rabbit hole of how common something like this is.   How many have actually done this in the course of your duties? How much can a single person manage to actually move on level track? How about with multiple people pushing?

I came across this car mover tool, something that a single person can use to inch a car along by themselves:

https://www.aldonco.com/store/p/198-Manual-Car-Mover-with-guard.aspx

I was curious however how often the truly "manual" car or even locomotive movement has actually happened in practice.



Date: 02/27/20 07:23
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: 4451Puff

Hanging out as a bored teenager in a small, billiard table flat yard (o.o% according to company charts) I backed myself up against an empty boxcar, dug my feet into the ground & creeped the car a few feet. This car was roller bearing & not a traditional (i.e.”friction”) bearing equipped car.

Desmond Praetzel, “ 4451 Puff”



Date: 02/27/20 07:33
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: Railbaron

WAY back when I was a younger trainman I did it by hand (with help) to get a car completely in the clear after a failed drop. The hard part is just getting it to move; once moving it isn't bad. 



Date: 02/27/20 07:46
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: dcfbalcoS1

      I have used the car mover pictured in the ad many times. Not for long distances but they do work and it was NOT uncommon to get one rolling on level track by using the car mover handle.



Date: 02/27/20 07:47
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: trainjunkie

Same here. Moved many cars by hand. Depends on the car and the track it's on. Sometimes you can get them moving, sometimes not.



Date: 02/27/20 08:50
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: LarryDoyle

Rural grain elevators did it every day.  'Course if his siding wasn't level it could help.  Somewhere I've seen a video of elevator operations showing this.

By the way, ever notice such sidings are always a few inches lower than the adjacent main - in case one gets away from him.

-LD



Date: 02/27/20 08:55
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: tomstp

Higher main is also for drainage.



Date: 02/27/20 09:00
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: BigSkyBlue

My conductor and I pushed a roller bearing caboose into the clear once.  But it has to be level or downhill.  BSB 



Date: 02/27/20 09:01
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: LarryDoyle

LarryDoyle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Rural grain elevators did it every day.  'Course
> if his siding wasn't level it could help. 
> Somewhere I've seen a video of elevator operations
> showing this.

Found it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGqZn5s_q_Y

Check at 8 Min 30 sec, and again at 14 min

-LD



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/20 09:07 by LarryDoyle.



Date: 02/27/20 09:21
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: LarryDoyle

Also, many times when I was working as field man in Q's Daytons Bluff Yard the foreman would "double cut" and I'd get behind the second car and shove if there was doubt about it making it into the clear.

BTW, double cutting is when kicking cars in a flat yard the foreman (yard conductor) throws a kick sign to the engineer to get the pull moving, he lifts the pin on the first cut and gives a stop signal, the engineer applies the independent, and the first cut keeps rolling down the lead to its destination track.  When the slack runs out due to the engine slowing there's a "jerk" - sort of like cracking a whip - at which point the foreman can then pull the pin on the next cut and it will continue down the lead.  Two cuts of cars rolling down the lead from one shove with the engine.  Charlie Schindel was a master at this, and with a good engineer and feildmen he could outswitch anyone.  He'd even triple cut on occasion.

-LD



Date: 02/27/20 09:29
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: wmry202

did it many times, even carried a car mover on our locomotive just in case



Date: 02/27/20 09:43
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: LarryDoyle

i64west Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I came across this car mover tool, something that
> a single person can use to inch a car along by
> themselves:
>
> https://www.aldonco.com/store/p/198-Manual-Car-Mov
> er-with-guard.aspx

I notice he's shown standing in the gauge to operate it.  He should be standing outside for safety.

-LD



Date: 02/27/20 15:31
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: SPMW5771

I have respotted ethanol cars for off load with the tool. Yes they do inch along. Am I now qualified to post on the Railroader Nostalgia board? ;)



Date: 02/27/20 15:41
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: Railbaron

SPMW5771 wrote:> I have respotted ethanol cars for off load with the tool. Yes they do inch along. Am I now qualified to post on the Railroader Nostalgia board? ;)

  Nope, not until you can "kick" cars using it.  ;-) 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/20 16:52 by Railbaron.



Date: 02/27/20 16:15
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: tomstp

Naw, that would hurt your toes!



Date: 02/27/20 20:59
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: ironmtn

LarryDoyle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> LarryDoyle Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Rural grain elevators did it every day. 'Course
> > if his siding wasn't level it could help. 
> > Somewhere I've seen a video of elevator
> > operations showing this.
>
> Found it.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGqZn5s_q_Y
>
> Check at 8 Min 30 sec, and again at 14 min
>
> -LD

Thank you for this link. That is an excellent film, not only for showing the operation of the car mover device, but the overall operation of a typical Canadian grain elevator. Beautifully photographed, you get a real feel for the overall operation with a lot of detail. Good railroad detail, too, showing the elevator manager moving a standard 40-foot boxcar by himself with the car mover device and a good, hard push by hand; then hand-braking the car to a spot; putting a grain door (removable bulkhead) in place over a door opening; and finally loading grain into the car. The man worked hard! Yes, it's a wooden Canadian elevator (like so many that have disappeared from the Canadian countryside), but the operation is not materially different from American elevators, particularly the railroad elements, so no concern that it is "not where it belongs" (on the Canadian board). Another great film from the National Film Board of Canada, which produced so many fine films over the years. Well worth a view...on either side of the border!

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/20 21:02 by ironmtn.



Date: 02/27/20 21:16
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: PHall

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> LarryDoyle Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > LarryDoyle Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Rural grain elevators did it every day.
> 'Course
> > > if his siding wasn't level it could help. 
> > > Somewhere I've seen a video of elevator
> > > operations showing this.
> >
> > Found it.
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGqZn5s_q_Y
> >
> > Check at 8 Min 30 sec, and again at 14 min
> >
> > -LD
>
> Thank you for this link. That is an excellent
> film, not only for showing the operation of the
> car mover device, but the overall operation of a
> typical Canadian grain elevator. Beautifully
> photographed, you get a real feel for the overall
> operation with a lot of detail. Good railroad
> detail, too, showing the elevator manager moving a
> standard 40-foot boxcar by himself with the car
> mover device and a good, hard push by hand; then
> hand-braking the car to a spot; putting a grain
> door (removable bulkhead) in place over a door
> opening; and finally loading grain into the car.
> The man worked hard! Yes, it's a wooden Canadian
> elevator (like so many that have disappeared from
> the Canadian countryside), but the operation is
> not materially different from American elevators,
> particularly the railroad elements, so no concern
> that it is "not where it belongs" (on the Canadian
> board). Another great film from the National Film
> Board of Canada, which produced so many fine films
> over the years. Well worth a view...on either side
> of the border!
>
> MC
> Muskegon, Michigan

And a quick education on why the covered hopper replaced the 40 foot boxcar for hauling grain.
A whole lot less work to load and secure the car!



Date: 02/27/20 23:04
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: ORNHOO

About forty years ago the Mt. Hood Railroad (then owned by U.P.) would deliver mechanical reefers to a cold storage plant I worked at. The plant had only one loading spot (not next to the building, about forty feet of arrow wheel conveyor was used), so if two or three cars needed to be loaded we used two of the devices illustrated in the link (one on each side) to move the cars. We used to call them "car jacks" probably because of the repetetive jacking motion on the handle to get and keep a car moving.



Date: 02/28/20 14:59
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: Drknow

The Cooper cars mostly disappeared by the late 70's for hauling corn or soybeans in the Midwest. My dad had plenty of experience coopering cars in the early 70's at a grain elevator. The car jacks were used quite a bit to move cars when most Midwest elevators only loaded 10-25 cars before unit trains were forced on the local grain dealers and they built facilities to load 75-100 cars, that PSR now sez we won't give you but we can have a train dump off 17 cars sometime next week. But I digress... Car jacks are still used to move single cars on spot for unloading fertilizers etc. Done it. Got the T-shirt.



Date: 02/28/20 15:36
Re: Moving equipment by hand (without locomotives)
Author: TAW

i64west Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I came across this car mover tool, something that
> a single person can use to inch a car along by
> themselves:
>
> https://www.aldonco.com/store/p/198-Manual-Car-Mov
> er-with-guard.aspx

I've seen it done with just a pinch bar too.

TAW



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