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 Post subject: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 426
Location: Floyd, AR
I know several museums and tourist lines throughout the country have handcars. I know the one we have attracts more attention then the rail speeder, as it's just quite novel to be able to pump your way down the rails like an old western or cartoon.

How many of you have formal operating rules, and can you share them here?

I've got several rules in mind, that I will detail out, but nothing has been formalized and I think it may be time to do so. But it's always nice to compare notes to those whom have already been there.

1) Handcar must be operated on a track currently exclusively for the purpose. (to prevent interfering traffic and the resultant injuries)

2) a responsible, trained, able volunteer/museum person/official must be on the handcar, manning the brakes

3) handcar will be boarded and disembarked only while stationary.

4) handcar will be operated at a reasonable speed.

5) everyone is to stay off the tracks while the handcar is in use

6) while on handcar, riders will maintain a grip on the handle at all times, including the pump handle (IE, if you get on as a 'pump' rider, you will keep your hands on the pump handle even while the car may be freewheeling or coming to a stop, or if on as a brakeman or passenger, keep hands on the stationary handles provided at those stations)

Please feel free to paste your own rules to this thread.

As we have used the handcar, even tho it may be the smallest piece of rail equipment commonly used, it's occurred to me that it sometimes has been treated carelessly, like a toy, but it's quite capable of causing some severe injury anyway.

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Robert Longhofer,
Board Member, Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Arkansas Railroad Museum, steam engine SSW819.
Any information or opinions I express are my own, and are not the views of the CBRHS or anyone else, unless explicitly stated otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2094
Location: Northern Illinois
Not sure this is a rule per se, but someplace it needs to be impressed upon people that you cannot stop the handcar by pushing down on the handle; you must stop it with the brake. I've seen people lifted from the deck and thrown from a pump car when they went stiff armed trying to top it.

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Dennis Storzek


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 555
Your operating rules seem quite sensible to me. The pump handle can beat the hell out of you if you let go. With a load of people the car has considerable weight and does not stop on a dime so it could really mess up anyone who got ran over.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:40 am
Posts: 320
Location: UT
Tuka Gafari operates the site Handcar.net and has a page on Handcar Safety:

http://www.handcar.net/safety/

He also uses/used a release for riders which can be seen here:

http://www.handcar.net/release.html

He has contact information on the website and you might contact him regarding his success in operating his 'handcar excursions':

http://www.handcar.net/intro/

sc 'doc' lewis

BTW: a dozen years ago, when I was involved at Heber Valley, we had the opportunity to have the racing handcar (IIRC built by machinists at Hill Air Force Base and at the museum in Ogden). The rule we used was that everybody is to ride facing the direction of travel...this often, if not always, precludes having room for riders holding on to 'stationary' handles.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: Henderson Nevada
From Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources.... aka SPCRR or the Railroad at Ardenwood... note that we have two... one narrow gauge one standard gauge... we have portable track for off site events...

The rules look ugly without the formating from the original document... Sorry...

Rules for Pump Cars
1. The handcars are not toys. They are only to be used for official or sanctioned museum purposes.
2. You must be certified to operate the pump car
3. Car(s) shall be kept chained and locked when not in use.
4. When the car is in use the primary operator shall be in a position to use the brake.
5. Brakes shall be applied whenever a passenger is boarding or alighting.
6. Maximum speed of the handcar shall be carefully regulated; maximum speed should not exceed the normal speed of the train when the horse is at a walk.
7. Specific rules for the narrow gauge pump car
a. Standing Passengers must keep their hands on the pump handles at all times. Sitting passengers must sit on the side of the car and hold onto the A-frame.
b. No more than five persons shall be allowed to pump the handcar at one time. The operator may have one pumping passenger next to him/her. There may be up to three pumping passengers on the opposite end. Four additional passengers may sit back-to-back on the deck with their heads centered on the A-frame.
8. Track Rights
a. During operating hours, you must have permission from the Trainmaster, Operations Supervisor, or the conductor of the regularly scheduled train if no trainmaster is on duty to use any non-yard tracks.
b. Under no circumstances shall the handcar or any other non-scheduled movement of equipment interfere with the regularly scheduled train.
c. When there are no scheduled trains the operator of the hand car is expected to make sure that the track is clear and available.
d. In case of trackage right conflicts the handcar shall always lose and must be returned to the nearest siding or removed from the track.

Hand-Car Usage with Panel Track
1. Panel-track (also called “snap-track”) must be assembled using no less then 3 cross ties or cross bolts per rail section. Rails must be bolted together with tie plates with at least one bolt through each rail.
2. Rail ends will be secured with either a crossed-tie or buffer or other device to prevent a car from rolling off the rail ends.
3. Track must be laid such as to minimize cross traffic by pedestrians and vehicles.

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Randy Hees
Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, Nevada
http://museums.nevadaculture.org/nsrmbc
http://www.nevadasouthern.com/
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfNevadaSouthernRailway


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:26 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
Posts: 728
Quote:
Not sure this is a rule per se, but someplace it needs to be impressed upon people that you cannot stop the handcar by pushing down on the handle; you must stop it with the brake. I've seen people lifted from the deck and thrown from a pump car when they went stiff armed trying to top it.
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Dennis Storzek


This can't be repeated often enough. Locking your elbows when operating a handcar WILL get you hurt, possibly very badly.

I once watched a man get ejected from a handcar at speed. He wasn't very big, but no matter. No man, no matter how big and burly, can win against the machine's mechanical advantage.

He sailed in a very graceful arc and landed, not so gracefully, on a railhead and was limping for weeks afterward. He was lucky his injuries weren't more serious.

At RMEO, the members or employees who take visitors on handcar rides warn them very clearly about this and other hazards, and watch closely in case anybody needs a reminder. Needless to say, they ensure people don't get carried away and get rolling too fast.

The cars used to give rides to visitors have Plexiglas shields installed to make it impossible for visitors or their clothing to get tangled up in the gears, but allow them to see.

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:42 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 130
I am glad to see this discussion at this time as we are in the process of reviewing our rules. The following is what we have on file. I am going to take some suggestions from what has been discussed above.

Only qualified operators are to offer handcar rides to the public.
Visitors are to be instructed in the correct use of the handcar by the operator before the car is put into motion.
Operators and visitors are to always face the direction of travel.
The operator is to position himself, herself or themselves convenient to the brake and hold on to the fixed handle on the tower during operation.
Both hands of the visitors are to be on the handles at all times when in motion.
Children must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.
Loose clothing, cameras, purses, and anything around the neck is be secured prior to operation.
The handcar is not to operated into or out of the building when the public is on board
The hand car is not to cross onto the turn table when the public is on board
The car is to be secured when not attended by a volunteer
The operator is to watch the track in the direction of travel and brake to avoid hitting any object that may be in the way.
The operator is to brake to avoid running onto the turntable and brake to avoid running into the building and brake to avoid persons on or near the tracks..
If the operator believes the brakes do not appear adequate to the requirements then the operator is to operate the car at a slower speed.
The hand car is to be operated at slower speeds as the load increases.
When not in use the car is to be appropriately secured.

CCdW


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2094
Location: Northern Illinois
Scariest thing with letting visitors ride on a hand car is 1) the daisy pickers ALWAYS wear open toed footwear, and 2) they will always use the rail head for a step, which is a recipe for disaster if the car moves at all.

Years ago we had a junior member pushing a four wheel "speeder flat" track cart with his feet... sitting on the rear of the cart and propelling it along by kicking at the rail head. He swung his leg forward and managed to get his heel pinched between the wheel and rail. The result required surgery.

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:48 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Maine
Always face the direction of movement. This way the people at the "front" are behind the pump arm. If the people on the back fall off, they won't get run over.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 663
Location: MA
At the Shelburne Falls Trolley museume we also have a rule about being a certin hight to pump as the handle could come up and hit you under the chin, otherwise we have to move very slowely. I also mention that I have seen the handcar crush stones and then mention what do you think is stronger stones or the bones in your foot? That drives the point home. Also all members must be faceing the direction of travle. On another note I remember seeing a disclamer-saftey sighn at Strausburg and wish I could remember how it was worded. Also defentelly lock it up even if it is in the workshop like in this joy ride video https://youtu.be/LRaVomJhQSg


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 426
Location: Floyd, AR
I am still watching, the comments are so good I don't have much to add. The only thing is that it is important to keep the rules concise, so that it doesn't require large investments in time and brain power to understand the rules.

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Robert Longhofer,
Board Member, Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Arkansas Railroad Museum, steam engine SSW819.
Any information or opinions I express are my own, and are not the views of the CBRHS or anyone else, unless explicitly stated otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:53 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2080
Quote:
1) Handcar must be operated on a track currently exclusively for the purpose. (to prevent interfering traffic and the resultant injuries)


The design of the hand car is its supposed to be light enough for a person or 2 to lift off the track in case of an approaching train.

Not that your museum would be doing this, but there's purpose for the design.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:08 am
Posts: 90
Location: Johnstown, PA
Keep legs and feet out from under the handles. The descending handle can break your leg if it catches your leg or knee just right by virtue of the momentum noted in other posts. Keep small passengers out from underneath the handles. Have one person be the designated brake operator.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:08 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:00 am
Posts: 524
Location: Dallas ,Texas. USA
Has anyone else thought about putting a sprag clutch onto these to allow the pump handle to stop while the car continues to freewheel? That would remove the option of stopping it by resisting the pump motion, and probably require the brakes to be upgraded a bit. A motorcycle disc brake and lever assembly could be added and hidden as a backup "just in case" brake system. That might stop the pump handle injuries.

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad handcar operation rules
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:03 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 426
Location: Floyd, AR
generally, a sprag (one way) clutch would ruin the bi-directional nature of these cars.

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Robert Longhofer,
Board Member, Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Arkansas Railroad Museum, steam engine SSW819.
Any information or opinions I express are my own, and are not the views of the CBRHS or anyone else, unless explicitly stated otherwise.


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