locked Re: Speeder setouts

Bill Schafer

When I came along, David, the Southern was no longer using A-cars, at least on my part of the railroad. When we changed rail (such as behind the Sperry car) we used a “rail changer” (RCM), which was an old ballast regulator minus the wings that served as a tractor that pulled two push cars behind it that held stick rail. The RCM was equipped with a fixed boom that could swing from side to side that had a cable with rail dogs on the end of it. The cable could be raised or lowered with a winch built into the RCM. This is how the rail was lifted on or off the push cars. Also, the push cars were modified with hydraulic brakes controlled from the RCM. Obviously, such an outfit couldn’t be lifted off the track when a train was due, so when the RCM got out on the railroad, it was preceded by an M-19 with two guys in it (typically the supervisor and a crank hand). About six guys rode on the RCM sideboards, and another M-19 brought up the rear, again with two guys on it. The two M-19s provided the flagging fore and aft (if we were in dark or train order territory; otherwise we’d have 23-A protection in CTC territory), but the flag protection was imperfect, and I was in a situation once where our rail changeout gang barely escaped getting hit by a train. I’m sure RCMs are history now, replaced by Brandt trucks or somesuch, which nowadays are protected by track warrants (or whatever they're called) when out on the main line.


On Jul 11, 2019, at 2:06 PM, David Payne via Groups.Io <davidcofga@...> wrote:

I appreciate Bill validating what I was thinking; the photos that I remember seeing of speeder setoffs, and not necessarily on Southern, were in remote places and perhaps outside tunnel portals.  As Bill pointed out, it is easy enough to “clear up” at the numerous grade crossings, especially for any of the M-type cars.  The A-cars would have been more of an issue, but I understand that many had “turntables” in the frame which could be lowered so that the car could be rotated, then raised, and rolled off the track.  Perhaps Bill can verify that a section crew would normally seek “clearance” for the “A” car and the trailers, which may have been loaded with rail and/or ties, in a convenient spur or siding.

On Jul 11, 2019, at 12:16 PM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

I never saw a list of where the setoffs were, at least on the Southern. When I started in MofW in 1971 (which was before the hi-rail era), I don’t recall ever setting off at a purpose-made location (or even seeing one on our territory) - there were too many grade crossings, which came in handy. My sense is that setoffs were common in areas where grade crossings were few and far between. 


On Jul 11, 2019, at 11:59 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:


I checked a number of ETTs thinking there may have been some kind of code showing MPs where they located…no luck there.

Might the issue be that because a speeder could be moved off the track many places to clear up for trains, the local Track Supervisors and Signal Maintainers did not need a formal list?


On Jul 11, 2019, at 11:47 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

For what it’s worth, I don’t remember seeing any standards for a set-off track other than, maybe, at a track shed. I’m not sure such a specific standard existed, so I too would be interested in seeing a standard if someone finds one.


On Jul 10, 2019, at 8:51 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

I notice no one has responded to this post yet. Although I cannot locate my copies of the Southern Railway standards books, if someone can look there, they may (!!) include plans for a track speeder set-out track with recommendations as to where they should be located. I am heading to the archives on Friday, I'll look at the different versions we have there.


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