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Passenger Trains > A european freight car in Amtrak service


Date: 01/08/19 17:49
A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: inCHI

This caught my eye riding on the NEC today. I know some MOW equipment is made in Europe, but this piece of equipment is the kind of flat car that would be in revenue service in Europe, complete with buffers and no knuckle coupler. Just strange to see that on US rails, even if it is only ever pulled around within whatever equipment it is paired with. This was north of Baltimore. A bit farther down, there was a caternary maintenance vehicle with a pretty unique staircase. Sorry for the poor photo, it caught me by surprise. The day before, with the sun out, there was some other MOW equipment spotted near Newark.








Date: 01/08/19 17:57
Re: A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: Duna

Not an European freight car. Nothing like that in revenue service, anywhere. These are M.O.W. equipment.



Date: 01/08/19 18:02
Re: A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: inCHI

I mean... not exactly, but aren't there 2 axle flat cars like that, without the specific equipment of that car, in service? In any case I thought it was interesting to see a car that looks like that on US rails.



Date: 01/08/19 19:53
Re: A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: abyler

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Not an European freight car. Nothing like that in
> revenue service, anywhere. These are M.O.W.
> equipment.

Its a European-style cable reel car for the Catenary Maintenance vehicle.  It has the buffers on the side of the car because the Cat car also uses those buffers.

There certainly are similar style European flat cars used to haul different commodities.




Date: 01/08/19 23:10
Re: A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: dan

plasser is big importer



Date: 01/09/19 10:36
Re: A european freight car in Amtrak service
Author: NebraskaZephyr

As previously mentioned, Plasser is a European manufacterer of MofW equipment, used widely across North America.

There IS a method to this supposed madness of leaving the European hook/link couplings and buffers on maintenance equipment: It allows a "train" of such equipment to be operated on Main Track by Engineering or MofW employees instead of an Engineer and Conductor, same as a stand-alone track machine.

Because it normally cannot be coupled to or moved by "conventional" railroad equipment, that undermines any argument by the T&E unions that operating this equipment is "their" work, although a work crew on some roads may still have a Conductor assigned to copy authorities and to act as a flagman.

NZ

EDIT: That last photo of the self-propelled undercutter (DC-5) does show it's equipped with standard knuckle couplers, but I'd be willing to bet it's operated by remote-control beltpack. The BLET has sworn off of RC work, so depending on the contract it may be operated by an RCL-qualified Conductor or by the MofW employees. This is why railroads like KCS and CP have modified locomotives to blank off the cabs, install RC equipment and assign it a MofW number for use on ballast trains and the like.
I dont agree with this policy, but it is what's going on. Please don't shoot the messenger...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/19 10:46 by NebraskaZephyr.



Date: 01/09/19 14:22
Re: A European freight car in Amtrak service
Author: MW4man

The issue of the coupler and the T&E unions used to be true, but not anymore, the new contracts have mostly weeded that out.  Some MofW equipment now has conventional couplers, can be coupled into a "train", but is still operated by MW employees without any T&E presence.   For example a Brandt truck towing ballast cars, or even being used to pull and unload rail trains, a GREX Slot train, etc.  Plasser puts the hook and buffer couplers on much of their equipment because that is their design from Europe.  However they are building equipment with convention couplers on them, for example what they call an MFS-40 which is a self loading or unloading ballast car.  An MFS-40 can be operated in a freight train or towed by a large ballast regulator.  Amtrak has Surfacing gangs called MDZ gangs which operate like a train under signal indication.  The equipment is coupled together and the units are MU'd and operated by a single qualified MW employee.  Typical MDZ train will consist of a 09-32 Cat Tamper, a PTS-62 stabilizer, a BMS-200 regulator, usually two MFS-40 ballast cars and a BMS-100 regulator.  Pretty impressive to see it charging down the railroad when travelling to a work site. 

As info Plasser builds almost 100% of their equipment in the US at their facility in Chesapeake, VA.



NebraskaZephyr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As previously mentioned, Plasser is a European
> manufacterer of MofW equipment, used widely across
> North America.
>
> There IS a method to this supposed madness of
> leaving the European hook/link couplings and
> buffers on maintenance equipment: It allows a
> "train" of such equipment to be operated on Main
> Track by Engineering or MofW employees instead of
> an Engineer and Conductor, same as a stand-alone
> track machine.
>
> Because it normally cannot be coupled to or moved
> by "conventional" railroad equipment, that
> undermines any argument by the T&E unions that
> operating this equipment is "their" work, although
> a work crew on some roads may still have a
> Conductor assigned to copy authorities and to act
> as a flagman.
>
> NZ
>
> EDIT: That last photo of the self-propelled
> undercutter (DC-5) does show it's equipped with
> standard knuckle couplers, but I'd be willing to
> bet it's operated by remote-control beltpack. The
> BLET has sworn off of RC work, so depending on the
> contract it may be operated by an RCL-qualified
> Conductor or by the MofW employees. This is why
> railroads like KCS and CP have modified
> locomotives to blank off the cabs, install RC
> equipment and assign it a MofW number for use on
> ballast trains and the like.
> I dont agree with this policy, but it is what's
> going on. Please don't shoot the messenger...



Date: 01/10/19 06:01
Re: A European freight car in Amtrak service
Author: engineerinvirginia

The only problem with hook and buffer setups is the loss of flexibility in haulage. To the extent that CSX equipment has any couplers, its the regular kind and in a pinch can be pulled by anything. ....the kind that doesn't have couplers rides on a flat car specially provided with tracks to carry MOW equipment. In fact the Brandt truck rides on those flat cars even though it has couplers! For us it's a matter of scale. Our track teams travel all over the system, and they take their stuff with them. It's efficient to put it all on a train. I suspect that other roads are making their choices based on what's efficient for them. 



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