Thread: Bad order cars
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 532

Cars are inspected in a variety of ways. In a major yard they'll be inspected on the arrival tracks - generally the train line is not charged so brakes are checked later - see below. Minor repairs (such as a bent grab iron or thin brake shoe) might be repaired on the spot. If something is more significant, (wheel defect, shifted load) the car will be switched to a shop track for repairs. Cars are also inspected in the departure yard where the brake system is charged and checked. Occasionally, repairs are too significant to be handled without delaying the train so the car would be thrown out.

Cars are also inspected by crews when picked up at a shipper's location or when a cut of cars is received in interchange.

A roll-by inspection is generally intended to capture critical issues such as sticking brakes, flat wheels, loose banding, etc. Defect detectors are designed to identify things such as wheel bearing failure, dragging equipment, shifted loads, worn trucks or high-impact wheels. Depending on the extent of a problem, the car may be able to continue to destination or must be set out immediately. The industry has set up a network to track the progression of a particular car's problems. For example, as truck components wear, a car will begin to generate increased lateral forces on the rail. These forces can increase over time to the extent that the car could pose a hazard and will need to be shopped.

Some repairs must be done immediately; others can allow the car to be sent to a location, specified by the owner for repairs. Perhaps you've seen tags on cars saying, "Home Shop."

Another complex aspect of this is, "who pays for the repairs?" Say New Haven car located on the Wabash is found to need a new air hose. The industry has a comprehensive car repair billing system that publishes condemning conditions chargeable rates for a whole host of repairs from worn couplers to the simple air hose. In the case of the New Haven car, the Wabash would supply a new hose, look up the price in the published index and send the bill to the New Haven. Perhaps the New Haven had also replaced an air hose on a Wabash car that same month so in this case no money would change hands. Imagine keeping track of all these records for 1.5 million freight cars owned by hundreds of railroads, shippers and leasing companies.

Last edited by J; 05-11-2007 at 12:30 PM.
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