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 Post subject: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1291
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I came across this video today on YouTube of something that I had never heard of before, but I'm guessing a few of our more worldly members were aware of. The British practice of the "Slip Coach", cutting off an occupied coach from a moving express train at an intermediate station to save station stop time. Apparently this practice existed on UK railways for about 100 years, only ending in 1960!. Fascinating bit of video history.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq0aA9RZ1ls


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:15 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1525
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
How well does this work for the return trip?


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:52 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1062
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Pretty easy if the scheduler plans it right-stopping train picks it up and returns it to the starting station.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:40 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Ontario, Canada.
They did that a couple of times on a Chessie Steam Special from Detroit to Grand Ledge, Michigan we were on in the late 70s. They were using Reading No. 2101.
At a rough diamond crossing near Ann Arbor, the train split. It split again at another location.
I guess you would probably call that a "Slip Up" procedure!
It was rather shocking to us who were regularly involved with CN No. 6060, including timetabled trips from Toronto to Niagara Falls at speeds in the 80 mph range. A slip coach occurrence at 80+ on the Oakville Sub. could have been rather disturbing. Much more interesting than our regular hot box detector stop near Burlington.
Not meaning to disparage the Chessie trips, which were, I believe, handled by the deft hands of a hogger who contributes to this site. The 2101 performed very well with a heavy train. A memorable trip.


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9599
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
More on the subject:

https://www.railwaywondersoftheworld.co ... aches.html


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 400
Location: Philadelphia, PA
The slip coaches strangely (or maybe not strangely) remind me of the scene in the movie The Longest Day where British paratroopers attacked two key bridges in Normandie using Horsa gliders. After they were detached from the tow aircraft, the gliders were slip coaches.

Incidentally the Horsa glider is large and the tow aircraft were four-engine Halifax bombers.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:38 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 12:20 pm
Posts: 181
While not a “slip coach” with passengers, we used to make a “flying switch” with freight cars all the time. When you had to set out a car at a facing point switch, it was the only way to set out the car. You REALLY had to hope the car didn’t stop fouling the switch! This was on the Lehigh Valley RR.....on Conrail this was frowned upon.

Keith


Last edited by LVRR2095 on Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:01 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:54 am
Posts: 38
Great Western wrote:
They did that a couple of times on a Chessie Steam Special from Detroit to Grand Ledge, Michigan we were on in the late 70s. They were using Reading No. 2101.
At a rough diamond crossing near Ann Arbor, the train split. It split again at another location.


Interesting that it apparently happened on more than one occasion!

I was on a trip in 1978; Cincinnati to Chicago ferry move. Lucky "Tour 13" of the 1978 Steam Special schedule. The train broke in two coming into Richmond, Indiana at a very slow speed; the rear part of the train stopped on the proverbial dime but when the train split twice more at speed in rural Indiana, it was decided to set out the offending coach at a rural elevator track and continue on without it. We used to joke that maybe that car sat there until they ripped out the track and put in the bike path that is there now!


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:53 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1291
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Since this thread has become a recounting of excursion pull-a-parts, one of the significant parts of the 1977 "Great Horseshoe Curve Debacle" with GTW 4070 throwing an eccentric rod on the climb up to the curve was that when 4070's engineer, Joe Seaman, the regular engineer on the Cuyahoga Valley train, saw what was happening he threw the brakes down, and the train broke knuckles in two places. I remember one of the Midwest Chapter guys who was on the trip telling me later that he was in a forward-facing vestibule talking to a woman when he heard the air go down and grabbed her and pushed her against the inside part of the vestibule as the train separated right between the cars where they were, or they might have fallen between the cars. That incident is probably one of the reasons that just about every major excursion in this country anymore doesn't let passengers stand at open vestibules. One of the reasons the train didn't get back to the Pittsburgh area until after Midnight was having to scrounge-up replacement knuckles to put it back together.


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1062
Location: Tucson, Arizona
The actual reason that standing in the vestibule has been prohibited is that the vestibule is the weakest part of the car. After the advent of the all steel car, the vestibules were designed to crush to absorb the impact of collisions. They are also quite dangerous to stand in as there are numerous uncushioned items to strike one's head on if you lose your balance. In my time on the railroad, most of the injuries to passengers occurred in the vestibules.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1291
Location: Back in NE Ohio
While it is true that vestibules are crush zones and have been for a long time, up until around the time of the NS 611 Great Dismal Swamp Wreck (1986?), standing at the Dutch doors on most excursions was a time-honored tradition on just about every mainline excursion (and even on many Amtrak trains where the crew was sympathetic). This was true to the point that the cars used on the Cuyahoga Valley Line in the 1970's that didn't have Dutch doors were equipped with homemade removable plywood half-doors across the exit doorways so passengers could stand at them while the train was in motion. I know that is hard to believe in this day and age, but absolutely true.


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1062
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Getting back to the original topic, apparently slipping coaches was not generally unsafe. I have not personally seen any accident reports concerning slip coaches and while accidents may have occurred, they were probably very infrequent by comparison to other causes. Incidentally, entire sections with multiple coaches were frequently slipped and on some services, wood stoves were required for heating until the 1960s-specifically the Continental cross Channel train service as the ferry had no steam heating plant. Before each departure, each sleeping car would be provided an allotment of kindling wood to fire the onboard furnace provided for that purpose.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 128
I think this is the Carriage Survey listing for the Slip Coach mentioned in the film:

http://www.cs.rhrp.org.uk/se/CarriageInfo.asp?Ref=2655

Here is a 2013 article that talks about some more recent considerations of this idea:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/this-high-speed-train-picks-up-passengers-without-having-to-stop-180948281


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:57 pm
Posts: 26
I was told of a small Coal Hauling line in eastern pa that did something similar.

The coach was pulled up to where it was cut off from the coal cars and returned to the beginning station via gravity braking being done by the conductor. I was told it worked quite well.


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 Post subject: Re: And you thought poling cars was dangerous...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2542
Location: Northern Illinois
Faller? wrote:
I was told of a small Coal Hauling line in eastern pa that did something similar.

The coach was pulled up to where it was cut off from the coal cars and returned to the beginning station via gravity braking being done by the conductor. I was told it worked quite well.


That would be the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railroad in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) PA. It was more than just passenger cars, EVERYTHING in the downhill direction, loaded coal cars, moved via gravity power. The line operated for more than one hundred years, closing in 1932. My wife's aunt lived about a block from the ROW in Mauch Chunk, and it was still very visible last time I was there, maybe twenty five years ago. More information here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauch_Chunk_Switchback_Railway

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