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Railroaders' Nostalgia > That Old Rusty Knuckle


Date: 04/29/20 16:09
That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: Ivar

As a new Conductor trainee, I learned a wealth of information from the old heads. Sure there was all of the rule stuff that mattered, but then there was “the tricks” that couldn’t be found in the GCOR. Things like where to find food, where to find pry bars to repair run through switches, where to keep the windows closed on the road, etc....really useful stuff. One of the other things we learned was that if your Engineer broke a knuckle (and you liked him or her), the first thing you did when you got back to the separation is “relieve” yourself (aka go #1) on the shiny steel where the break occurred. Supposedly it would rust up pretty quick and save your Engineer a lot of questions.
I never had the opportunity to try this, but a buddy of mine was going up Cajon Pass one night and the train broke in two. This was not long after a couple of those tragic runaways on the hill, so when anything happened and I mean ANYTHING, the whole world came out to see what was going on. So he gets back to where the break in two was, changes out the old partial knuckle and tosses it. Remembering the old “water the daisys” trick he starts looking around for the other half of the broken knuckle and out of sheer luck happens to find a different one that had probably been sitting out there for 30 years. So he drags it over near the gauge and waits for the inquisition. A couple of road foreman show up (probably new) and were astonished that the train got as far as it did with that old rusty knuckle.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/20 07:56 by Ivar.



Date: 04/29/20 17:43
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: dcfbalcoS1

        And the officials never thought to compare the knuckle with the coupler to see the break didn't even fit. Thats why THEY were in mis management.



Date: 04/29/20 19:00
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: cewherry

On the SP, around the Los Angeles area, the most challenging train in terms of break-in-twos was the
Kaiser iron ore train. Multiple separations at one time were not unusual with the 'record', to my knowledge,
held by one Jeremiah F. Shea with 8 drawbars in one fell swoop! He was a legend in his own time.

One day "Smokey" Snyder,  one of my pre-1970's RFE's told a bunch of us Espee wanna-be hoggers:
   "Don't ever let em' pin a drawbar failure on the Ore train on you", then added, "Think about it, if the
knuckle holds but the drawbar fails, there must have been somethin' wrong with the drawbar."
He was right, the 'weak-link' in the coupling system is, after all, the knuckle and  it  is the "sacrifical iron".

After that, I didn't have quite the same dread about 'catching' the nuggets and although I tried my best to avoid
it, I too shared in the experience of:  "Dispatcher, we're in emergency.....

Charlie 



Date: 04/29/20 20:11
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: Trainhand

Charlie, we were told the same thing about the knuckles on SCL. Also, that many drawheads at on time has got to be a US record. We had an engineer the rear end crews called "bone crusher" and he never got that many at one time.



Date: 04/30/20 05:49
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: hoggerdoug

I had a knuckle fail once upon a time.  The dispatcher wanted to know how badly flawed it was, my reply that it is 100 percent flawed. End of conversation.
Doug



Date: 04/30/20 09:09
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: acl67-2

How many engineers had the nickname "Scrap Iron"?

Phosphate car dumpers on CSX at Rockport would get knuckles every so oftern.
A 65 car spot would have considerable tonnage behind the first few cars. 
On two different occasions a dumper pulled rotary couplers out of the car. 
Fell in between the rails but no derailment.  Sometimes a car would derail 
on the dumper.  If it was bad enough Hulcher had to be called, take part of 
the roof off and lower cables through the opening to hook on to the car.
Lids would sometimes fall off and had to be lifted back on the car.

John





 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/20 09:10 by acl67-2.



Date: 04/30/20 10:01
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: cewherry

acl67-2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How many engineers had the nickname "Scrap Iron"?

Had one in my time on the SP in L.A. but I don't recall any specific event that would have
earned him the 'title'. Must have happened before my arrival on the scene.

Charlie


 



Date: 04/30/20 11:49
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: tehachcond

cewherry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> acl67-2 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > How many engineers had the nickname "Scrap
> Iron"?
>
> Had one in my time on the SP in L.A. but I don't
> recall any specific event that would have
> earned him the 'title'. Must have happened before
> my arrival on the scene.
>
> Charlie

Charlie, a common failure point on those ore car drawbars was right at the main pin.  We got three of them one morning at Beaumont while cresting over the grade, all at the aforementioned pin.  We were told to secure with handbrakes on what needed to be secured and wait.
After a bit, a Car Dept. crew showed up from Kaiser, headed up by John Rohrbach.  They had three fresh drawbars in their truck, and seemingly in no time, they had the broken ones changes out, we coupled back up, and went on to Kaiser with out further incident.  I forget who the hogineers were.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO
>
>
>  



Date: 04/30/20 13:54
Re: That Old Rusty Knuckle
Author: cewherry

tehachcond Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> cewherry Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > acl67-2 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > How many engineers had the nickname "Scrap
> > Iron"?
> >
> > Had one in my time on the SP in L.A. but I
> don't
> > recall any specific event that would have
> > earned him the 'title'. Must have happened
> before
> > my arrival on the scene.
> >
> > Charlie
>
> Charlie, a common failure point on those ore car
> drawbars was right at the main pin.  We got three
> of them one morning at Beaumont while cresting
> over the grade, all at the aforementioned pin. 

I hadn't heard of this problem before. Maybe that had
something to do with Jerry's woes down at Colton. 

As to my "Scrap Iron" comments; the individual I have
in mind was not Jerry Shea.

Thanks, Brian.

Charlie 



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