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"Brakeman Question"
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Tomsusmc
TRAINing
Posts: 4
"Brakeman Question"
 
« on: Mar 5th, 2016, 9:55pm »
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A question for the Brakemen/Conductors out there.....
 
As a kid, I often walked the CNJ tracks near my home, and I found a square device with a soft metal strap. Naturally, not knowing any better at the time, I took it home where my Dad promptly confiscated it from me. He said they were very dangerous to handle.
 
He said it was a railroad torpedo, and it was strapped to the rail to warn an approaching train of danger ahead. He said the locomotive wheels going over it would make it explode loudly, letting the engineer know there was a problem ahead.....
 
Since then, I did hear a few explosions along that ROW..... is there any truth in this, and are they still in use today as a signal device?
 
I listed this question in the Signal Forum, because of what it supposedly is, a signal device....
 
Just curious.....


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Marty_Feldner
Historian
Posts: 477
Re: "Brakeman Question"
 
« Reply #1 on: Mar 5th, 2016, 10:19pm »
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Yes, a railroad torpedo, and that's what they were used for.
 
Might I suggest asking Wikipedia?:
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detonator_(railway)


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lehighboy
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Posts: 68
Re: "Brakeman Question"
  LV_torpedo.jpg - 69954 Bytes
« Reply #2 on: Mar 6th, 2016, 12:08pm »
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http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Signals/LV_torpedo.jpg
Click Image to Resize

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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3824
Re: "Brakeman Question"
 
« Reply #3 on: Mar 6th, 2016, 11:42pm »
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It has been quite a few years since these devices (railroad torpedoes) were used.  I do not know exactly when.  Sometime  1960's probably.  They got to be recognized as legal problems.  That is, if a kid picked one up and hit it with a hammer and it exploded and blew his hand off, blinded him etc., it was the railroad company's fault.
 
The rule in the old employee timetables concerning these things was that two should be applied, but it the engineer heard only one explode he should consider it the same as hearing two.  Whether that was due to their potential malfunction or potential theft, who knows?


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TJ_1867
Chaser
Posts: 86
Re: "Brakeman Question"
 
« Reply #4 on: Mar 9th, 2016, 10:47am »
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  Used these in the middle to late 90's, maybe not exactly what they where intended for, but I last used them while making a set off in 2 different tracks in Mohawk yard in NY. We stopped our train at the south end of the yard and put 2 torpedoes 5 car lengths north of the clearance point on the east rail (that was so I as the engineer could hear them), when we shoved the track and hit the torpedoes, I knew to stop and the conductor could make his cut and set over the remaining cars on another track.    
   Back when I started, the flagman when checking the caboose would make sure he had a supply of these.
 
        TJ


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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3824
Re: "Brakeman Question"
 
« Reply #5 on: Mar 9th, 2016, 11:26am »
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on Mar 9th, 2016, 10:47am, TJ_1867 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
  Used these in the middle to late 90's, maybe not exactly what they where intended for, but I last used them while making a set off in 2 different tracks in Mohawk yard in NY. We stopped our train at the south end of the yard and put 2 torpedoes 5 car lengths north of the clearance point on the east rail (that was so I as the engineer could hear them), when we shoved the track and hit the torpedoes, I knew to stop and the conductor could make his cut and set over the remaining cars on another track.    
   Back when I started, the flagman when checking the caboose would make sure he had a supply of these.
 
                                           TJ
                                      

Looks like these things were around far longer than I thought they were.


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: "Brakeman Question"
 
« Reply #6 on: Mar 10th, 2016, 6:56am »
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I had a few in my collection until they started to "sweat". I decided then I did not need another explosive device laying around the house. I got mine in the late 1980s, so I know they were used that late. BTW, mine was given to me, not taken off the ROW.
CHESSIEMIKE


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