Gathering slack?

Discussion in 'General' started by TLeeBlanq, Jul 22, 2022.

  1. TLeeBlanq

    TLeeBlanq Member

    I discovered the "air over spring tension" braking system was 1st patented by Westinghouse in the late 1860's and subsequently put into service in the rail system. However, I recall watching (as a youngster) with great enjoyment some of the Steamers trying to "stretch" a string of cars from standstill to extended length with accumulation of gathered slack causing much commotion noise. Or did I just dream this up? This would have been late 1940's or early 50's. Were some of the freights still not on "air brakes", or just poor handling?
    (Would park myself on bench outside depot and watch the steamer try to get it rolling without spinning the wheels.)
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    This is taken from the Frisco’s "Train Handling Instructions for Enginemen and Trainmen”, June 1, 1938. Rule 17 is applicable.

    There is an oft quoted adage that a steam engine can pull more than it can start.

    Ozarktraveler and qaprr like this.
  3. TLeeBlanq

    TLeeBlanq Member

    Thank you very much. This explains quite well how to stretch the cars out.
  4. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    My good friend worked on the narrow gauge DRGW, when it was DRGW. He has told me that you had to be real careful with the slack. He said on a couple occasions their were cars pulled apart, didn't break knuckles so much but literally pulled the cars in two. I can certainly understand not taking any more than a few feet of slack. Those big mainline steam engines, I am sure, could tear stuff up right quick like.
    modeltruckshop likes this.
  5. john

    john Supporter

    I remember hearing my grandfather, on more than one occasion, laughing about some of the problems the old steam engineers had faced when the railroad (in his case MoPac in Fort Smith) first starting switching over to diesels. As I understood it, they would take the new diesel, back the train up to create slack, and then slam forward, breaking the train apart, sometimes over and over again. Old habits can be hard to break.
    gjslsffan likes this.

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