Whistle / Horn signals

Ironhorseman Apr 21, 2000

  1. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    After steam went away, I noticed that diesels have a 'F' painted on one end of the unit. I have been told the 'F' stands for 'front'. There is a running debate at the YWRR about what whistle/horn signals should be given before moving the train. My younger, but more experienced counterpart says that you should always signal your direction of movement according to the 'F' : Hence, if the 'F' is against the first car with the back of the locomotive at the lead, you signal with three toots.
    I say that if the train is in a dark switching yard and someone not working on your train has no idea which direction the loco is facing, that person would expect the train to start to move backward. I don't understand the thinking about the 'F' on a diesel, but it seems to me the front of a train is that end that has the motive power, and if you are going to move the train one direction or another it should be in reference to where the loco is ... not how it is facing!
    Any feedback on this to help me understand? [​IMG]

    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     
  2. NSBrakeman

    NSBrakeman E-Mail Bounces

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    Ironhorseman-
    I know for a fact that the "F" means nothing when doing switching moves. There are no special toots used when the loco is facing forward or backwards. I personally do not use horn signals that much because we prefer lanterns and the 2-way radios. Try to get an operations book from your head office and it should say there, or go to any of the class 1's website and I'm sure you'll find some info there. Hope that helped.

    Southern
    Gives a green light to innovations

    -NSBrakeman
     
  3. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Thanks NSB .. I appreciate your response.

    Our little railroad is so underequiped, we only just recently received radios. I might add the radio carried by the man on the ground has no lapel mic, so it's really difficult to hang onto the side of a car and tell the engineer what to do without dropping the dang thing! So, I just use hand signals whenever I'm working the ground.

    As for 'toots' before moving the train, I'll give them when engineering the steam loco that pulls the excursion train. I give them for two reasons:

    1. There are always a whole bunch of people wandering around the train, so I want to warn them that the train is going to move;
    2. The vast majority of people who ride our excursion train are railroad (Steam) buffs and they want and expect to hear that whistle.

    My point in the original question is: my senior, but younger engineer tries to tell me that because we are hooked up nose first with the steam locomotive to the train getting ready to pull the train back to Yreka, the signal should be three short toots to start the train in motion. I say that's wrong. It's the direction of the train movement that should be signaled, not the orientation of the locomotive. [​IMG]

    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     
  4. davek

    davek TrainBoard Member

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    On our railroad the F is the front of the locomotive and all signals given must refer to the F because it is a fixed point.
     
  5. throttlejock

    throttlejock TrainBoard Member

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    Bill,
    In our area which ever end the engine is on is forward, most of the time. Preobably really depends on you guys unleass there is a rule on your railroad. I usally only blow the whistle on starting a movement(not switching) most the time I just use the bell to warn people unless there are people around.
     
  6. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    davek - that's the way it is at my railroad, but sometimes it's hard to remember which way the locomotive is pointing when I'm working the ground and have to tell the engineer which way to move to put the train together, or to break it up.

    I agree with the way TJ works it. Never a doubt in the brakeman's mind then which way to move it. *grin*

    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     
  7. Pullin4u

    Pullin4u Resigned

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    As I have been taught on three different railroads I have worked for, the "F" designates the front of the locomotive, all hand signals and radio communications concerning train movement must use the "F" as a reference point. Eliminates confusion as to what the man on the ground actually wants you to do. Whistle signals are rarely used anymore but three shorts would be a "back up", and two shorts would be "ahead". When I worked on the BRC we used to couple up 50+ car cuts in the classification yard using nothing but lantern and whistle signals. Yes, we had radios, but it was more advantageous to us to not have the yardmaster know where we were at in our work....lol.

    Pullin4u
     
  8. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    *LOL* @ Pullin4u

    I guess we all have our own ways of handling things .. I have decided just to tell the engineer to 'come to me' or 'go back from me' ... it ends all of the confusion for me. And when I'm engineering, I tell the man on the ground to refer to the movements he wants by where the locomotive is on the train (always on the front end). *g*

    Thanks for your response too.

    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     

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