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Railroaders' Nostalgia > UDE/UDEA

Date: 07/03/22 12:43
Author: 90mac

Happy Independence Day!
Do Undesired Emergency Applications occur more or less often in 2022 with longer train length etc?
I remember they were quite common in the 70's and 80's.
Thanks in advance.

Tom Helliwell

Posted from Android

Date: 07/04/22 18:14
Author: Notch7

That's an interesting question.  From 1972 to this year I ran freight trains of differing types.  I think you have to look at the causes of UDE's.  I think we have fewer gummed up car brake control valves (triple valves, as we used to call them) today.  I feel we have fewer slack action related UDE's caused by bad end of car cushioning units on long cars.  A lot of those cars were retired n favor of more slack free cars or because of age.  HOT/EOT with dump valve setups cause UDE's that didn't exist years ago.  Issued train handling guidelines changed over the years.  Early on, I was told to not use air on long trains.  In recent times the road foreman said "Use the air - it's free".   Today poor reckoning by the PTC computer and the computer automated running programs can cause the engineer to make brake applications unneeded if he or she were fully running the trains as I did for much of my career.  PTC can make inaccurate predictive judgments that you will be in an overspeed condition.  Nope.  I knew the road better than PTC did, but it was going to enforce me with a penalty brake application.  So I made a brake application to pacify the PTC.  That's a brake application and potential UDE that didn't need to to be made.  And PTC will enforce you for many unknown reasons.  As for computer controlled automated running, my Brothers and Sisters reported many trips to me where the computer run trains were running away on hills - long hills or short hills.  The engineers have to take control and make air brake application to avoid PTC enforcement.  A road foreman said once "in time the computers will learn the road better".  Nope, not believing that.  The very long DPU  equipped trains can lose communications and air more frequently.  Maintaining radio/GPS links between lead engine, DPU's, and EOT are vital.  The nature of the UDE's changed over the span of my career, and some of the UDE's faced today didn't exist back then.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/22 23:15 by Notch7.

Date: 07/04/22 21:40
Author: Drknow

Very well put, Notch7.

Posted from iPhone

Date: 07/05/22 00:35
Author: 90mac

Great explanation sir.
That's what I needed.
And yes,the air is free but brake shoes are NOT!
But you use what you need.
Thank you.

Posted from Android

Date: 07/07/22 05:39
Author: WM1977

Can't let this one go by without a story. Had a multi level car carrier train of about 50 cars, multiple UDEs. At that time the rule was you had to walk the train everytime the train went into emergency. Thats what we did, walked the train every time. And everytime found nothing. The last time we had a UDE was when we went over multiple road crossings in about a 1/4 mile. This time I was at a location where there was a place to walk alonside the train not on the ballast. Looked at every set of hose couplings and found that the hoses between two cars were hanging right at top of rail and there was a slight leak. Grabbed them and raised the hoses slightly and BAM! emergency brake application. Separated the hoses and found not one but two defective gaskets. Replaced both and had no more problems.

Can't make this crap up.

Date: 07/07/22 17:33
Author: halfmoonharold

Some random thoughts. When I was dispatching in the 2000's, there was a period of time when every time a train called and said they were in emergency, the car number when they found the separated air hoses started with "GTW".  There must have been a particular series of cars that were prone to this.  As mentioned above, the retirement of many autopart highcubes and older autoracks has helped tremendously. With the downturn in automotive business, I've noticed far fewer UDE's recently in my area.

Wasn't there a new type of gasket that was supposed to reduce leakage? I seem to recall reading about it somewhere. 


Date: 07/07/22 17:43
Author: Notch7

halfmoonharold Wrote:
> Wasn't there a new type of gasket that was
> supposed to reduce leakage? I seem to recall
> reading about it somewhere. 
Yes, the newer air hose gaskets have an outer mating lip matching the traditional inner lip that you pressed into the gladhand. 

Date: 07/31/22 20:45
Author: trainjunkie

IMHO another contributing factor to the frequency of UDEs we are seeing now is the lack of mechanical attention cars get these days after all the cuts to mechanical forces, and the new 24-hour air test rule. Before PSR freight cars simply had more frequent and more thorough inspections, and mechanical personnel would catch defects that get overlooked now. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Date: 09/21/22 16:50
Author: NSDTK

It also helps that the railroads or at least who i work for started keeping a data base of every train that had a UDE, they would cross check the cars on the train , Car that starts showing up on multiple trains with UDE gets sent for a inspection to find out if its the cause

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