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 Post subject: Re: Coupler Question
PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:20 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:05 pm
Posts: 76
A couple of short answers weekender -

Link and pin couplers are banned under 49 USC 20302. Type D and 5x7 type E couplers are banned from freight cars under 49CFR 215.203(a). See 215 Appendix A for the list of restricted equipment. I don't recall seeing any restrictions on slotted knuckles anywhere. It's too early in the morning to look up all the locomotive stuff, but 229 still references standards for D couplers on locomotives. If you handle revenue freight and are connected to an interchange, you're general system, even if you only handle a few cars of freight a year.

215 does not care about full FRA or 'FRA lite' or interchange status - it applies to standard gage railroads, with a select few exemptions (industrial installations and dedicated service), and tourist RRs are covered by 215. There is no exemption for non-general system or insular in 215. Trolleys/streetcars would likely fall under rapid transit rules, which are different - you need to qualify the installation type to know. The RR definition in 215 states 'rapid transit operations within an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system' as the transit exemption. Someone who operates a museum of different equipment types and deals with FRA on that would need to answer, or FRA itself.

If you're getting into operations as part of a museum/tourist operation, you should get familiar with 49 CFR ( ... 4_02.tpl#0) and 49 USC ( ... 2015&go=Go). If you have a hodge-podge of different stuff and aren't sure, call FRA and ask them to send someone out to look and talk it through. They don't (usually) bite.

FRA has apparently indicated they will be reviewing equipment rules pertaining to historic/tourist operations starting in 2018, so it stands to change/relax some in a couple of years.

Radio crackles - "What the #^(& did we just hit, over?"

 Post subject: Re: Coupler Question
PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:36 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:32 pm
Posts: 249
A large percentage of the IRM’s stock still in use for storage movements with link and pin, tow bars etc. I’m not an operator but when it has to be done we seem to do it very slowly, methodically and safely. Car I’m doing some work on now has no couplers. My favorite story from the old timers is the IRM’s move to Union. I’m not giving up any secrets as it was written up in Rail and Wire Aug. 1964. If you're interested in what could still be moved by rail back then see the link below. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

 Post subject: Re: Coupler Question
PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:57 am
Posts: 155
weekendrailroader wrote:
Trolley/streetcar/interurban lines often use solid towbars/drawbars (not quite as delicate a process as link and pin) but not all trolley lines are under FRA if I understand correctly.

Definitely correct. McKinney Avenue Transit Authority in Dallas, TX, is not under FRA jurisdiction even though it is an active transit agency. As a matter of fact, just a little more than two years ago I used a solid towbar held in place with pins to tow a streetcar with a truck. That was a regular practice for years. I haven't been there in a while so I don't know what they're doing now.

 Post subject: Re: Coupler Question
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:48 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:56 am
Posts: 345
Location: Northern California
The design of a railroad car draft system starts with the knuckle as the weakest link. It gets progressive stronger until getting to the center sill, which is the strongest member in the system. This is done to limit the damage to the items most easiest replaced if the draft system gets overloaded. The tall knuckle is useful to keep car coupled on iregular track. The slot in the center of the knuckle has all kinds of uses. But I wonder if the slot in the middle of the knuckle is really there to keep the tall knuckles from being any stronger that the standard 11 inch tall knuckle. Since it is not, or is no longer, an AAR standard I have no data on it.

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