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Railroaders' Nostalgia > "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)


Date: 08/07/20 11:21
"I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: cewherry

A photo posted on the Nostalgia & History forum today: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,5080176
brings back a memory or two. Thanks Bill Rettberg, for the visual.

I was a young (read: inexperienced) hoghead on the SP at Los Angeles and was working on a daylight local at Anaheim, in the
shadow of Disneyland. One of the shippers served by this local received covered hoppers of a product that was unloaded by
gravity from the bottom of the car over openings between the rails. The shipper could unload at least two cars simultaneously over
these openings but to do so required the cars to be precisely positioned over the openings; a task easily done by a competent railroad crew.

We shoved two loads into the track and the 'old-head' rear brakeman spotted the farthest car over the proper openings. After tying a 
hand brake on the car, the brakeman walked toward the engine to check the alignment over the openings for the car coupled to the engine.
Satisfied that both cars were placed exactly where they could be unloaded, the brakeman tried to pull the uncoupling lever between the engine
and the first car but finding the slack 'stretched', could not uncouple the engine. He gave me a "pin" signal, arm extended with thumb-up,
to have me give him some 'slack'.

I released the engine brake but before I could stop the engine, it nuzzled back into the cars, moving both. Without a word or glance
at me the brakeman walked back to the rear car; gave me an 'easy ahead' hand signal and re-spotted both cars. Back at  the engine, he
looked upward at me, made eye contact and in a low, calm, measured voice said: "I - want - the - pin". What he didn't say spoke volumes.

Yes, switching especially in industrial settings could be like watching a well executed double-play in baseball; an amazing experience.

Charlie


 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/20 13:09 by cewherry.



Date: 08/08/20 06:51
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: retcsxcfm

I was thinking two fists bumping  together
meant slack.

Uncle Joe



Date: 08/08/20 06:58
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: hoggerdoug

Reminds me of an incident years ago while working the day yard in Williams Lake, BC. The north end of the yard had a bit of a descending grade into the yard, almost a natural hump yard. Anyhow, we pulled back about 25 loaded woodchip cars with no air. Once we cleared a switch, stopped and then the Foreman asked me to "come ahead for a pin". So I bumped ahead and the Foreman said " that's good, that'll do". So I stopped and was looking around at the scenery when a rather frantic voice came over the radio " That'll do, that'll do!!!!" I replied on the radio that "I am stopped". Well a knuckle broke on a car about five ahead of the engine, and 20 or so loads were free wheeling down the grade and into the yard. Fortunately the yard track was clear although the cars rolled out the other end and ran through a couple of switches. The quick thinking ground crew jumped in the yard office truck and drove down to the other end of the yard and was able to apply some hand brakes to stop the cars before they rolled back and through the damaged switches. 
As for the broken knuckle, it had a very long, old and rusted fracture and was bound to fail anytime anywhere.



Date: 08/08/20 09:11
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: cewherry

retcsxcfm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was thinking two fists bumping  together
> meant slack.

Two fists, bumping together, top to bottom means “Bad Order” in reference to a switch, car, ladder etc.

If the fists were bumping knuckle to knuckle that would mean a coupling had failed to make; another attempt would have to be made.

At least that’s what was meant where I worked. Your experience may vary.

Charlie



Date: 08/09/20 10:34
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: Drknow

Fists bumped means dubed knuckles OR make a joint, depending if it’s CRIP, CNW, M&STL, CGW, Milwaukee. By the early 90 everybody pretty much got put in the blender so to speak in the Midwest....🤷‍♂️ Got to learn good Railroading too from some damn good Old Heads.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/09/20 12:22
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: Txhighballer

Where I worked, bumping your knuckles together meant you wanted to butt the knuckles together, making a "bald joint." WE did it to seperate the cuts so that all you had to do was tie a hand brake on the top of each cut, then pull 'em out a spot them where you needed them.



Date: 08/09/20 20:34
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: Drknow

Yep. I understand that if you wanna make a standing cut on cars in the bowl. Just from the Old Heads I learned from it meant different, God knows there were a hell of a lot different signs on different roads, especially in the Midwest. Like I said I learned a lot from the best Old Heads out there, many RIP.👍
PS and I know there were hundreds if not thousands I never worked with that were outstanding Rails, God bless them one and all. Respect.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/10/20 09:01
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: engineerinvirginia

To this day when spotting...I do so with air if the brakie will put it in....if not I will use as much independent brake as will still allow some movement...and I move VERY slow...if the crew wants a quit they are not going to get it, but they learn to appreciate that the cars can be right where they belong without constant shuffling. 



Date: 08/11/20 07:49
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: RRTom

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To this day when spotting...I do so with air if
> the brakie will put it in....if not I will use as
> much independent brake as will still allow some
> movement...and I move VERY slow...if the crew
> wants a quit they are not going to get it, but
> they learn to appreciate that the cars can be
> right where they belong without constant
> shuffling. 

In the 1990s I went to look at the derailment of an SP GP40 (or the like) on a very tight curve (over 10 degrees, maybe 12 or more)  on a private industrial spur in the LA area.   It was minor; the lead wheels of the front truck rode over the rails. They were apparently shoving a single covered hopper which did not derail. I was told they were only using the independent brake instead of air with the car, which caused the derailment.  So could the engine have stopped but the heavy, free-rolling car's momentum pulled the front of the locomotive off?  Is that why you go slow?



Date: 08/13/20 15:21
Re: "I want the pin....." (and only the pin)
Author: engineerinvirginia

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> engineerinvirginia Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > To this day when spotting...I do so with air if
> > the brakie will put it in....if not I will use
> as
> > much independent brake as will still allow some
> > movement...and I move VERY slow...if the crew
> > wants a quit they are not going to get it, but
> > they learn to appreciate that the cars can be
> > right where they belong without constant
> > shuffling. 
>
> In the 1990s I went to look at the derailment of
> an SP GP40 (or the like) on a very tight curve
> (over 10 degrees, maybe 12 or more)  on a private
> industrial spur in the LA area.   It was minor;
> the lead wheels of the front truck rode over the
> rails. They were apparently shoving a single
> covered hopper which did not derail. I was told
> they were only using the independent brake instead
> of air with the car, which caused the
> derailment.  So could the engine have stopped but
> the heavy, free-rolling car's momentum pulled the
> front of the locomotive off?  Is that why you go
> slow?

Anything could happen in these scenrarios, but I go slow primarily so that I can stop ON SPOT without wiggling back and forth. In a tight curve you should be able to feel if there are any limitations on what you are doing and how you do it.....flanges scream when they are forced into the highside rail against their will. On the other hand if they stop screaming...you stop....becuase you might be off the rail....



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