Old 04-12-2007, 07:56 PM   #1
John Fladung
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Question No Buffer?

I see there is some at the front of the train behind the lead units but I don't see one ahead of the DPU unit. Should there be one back there?

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Old 04-13-2007, 01:46 AM   #2
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i wouldn't think the DPU would need a buffer car as it is not maned. i was told in class that the buffer car was to protect the crew. on some trains you will see one on the end to protect the train from rear end collision but in this case the DPU power serves as a buffer.
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Old 04-13-2007, 03:43 AM   #3
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Jaypee,

Well you answered John's question and mine at the same time, thanks. Earlier this year I had photographed a CSX train in NY on the Riverline and couldn't understand why there was a buffer on the tail end as well as on the front. I do have another question though, what number of cars are in compliance on the head end? I have usually seen more than one but seeing one on several recent shots makes me think that one is ok, true?

Below is the ethanol train I shot with the coil cars as buffers.


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Old 04-13-2007, 04:31 AM   #4
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well rich i could be wrong but i dont think there is a requirement for a certain number of buffer cars on the front or rear. ide have to look it up in my haz-mat book which im too lazy to do right now. i think they just use what they have available.
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Old 04-13-2007, 12:32 PM   #5
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Any loaded hazmat car must not be nearer than the 6th car from the engine consist. If its an empty hazmat it must not be nearer than the 2nd car. It is okay to have loaded hazmat cars less than 6 back from the engine if you dont have enough buffer cars available, like in the case with the ethanol train. There are no requirements for rear-end buffer cars unless you have a manned caboose or engine on the rear.
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Old 04-13-2007, 12:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mute
Any loaded hazmat car must not be nearer than the 6th car from the engine consist. If its an empty hazmat it must not be nearer than the 2nd car. It is okay to have loaded hazmat cars less than 6 back from the engine if you dont have enough buffer cars available, like in the case with the ethanol train. There are no requirements for rear-end buffer cars unless you have a manned caboose or engine on the rear.

Mute, thanks for the response but it seems to contradict itself . With all the DOT exact requirements at times it seems odd that in your first sentence you state "any loaded hazmat car must not be nearer than the 6th car from the engine consist." and then you go on to say " it's ok to have loaded hazmat cars less than 6 back from the engine if you don't have enough buffer cars available, like in the case with the ethanol train." Hmmm, what gives seeing guidlines on hazmats would tend to be more strict IMO?

Let me take this one step further seeing the crews safety is part of the equation here, if there are not enough buffers due to convenience can the crew refuse to run the train requesting the additional buffers? I realize the boss might not like that but being in a union I just wonder what options they (crew) have here.

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Thanks anyone for any input, Rich Clark
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:31 AM   #7
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On CN here in Canada, its only one car needed for a buffer no matter whats in the cars and if all cars are dangerous pile em up behind the units.

I find it amazing the different regulations between the different railroads. We also don't have to carry a hazmat book.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:50 AM   #8
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That 6-car buffer rule only applies when there is 6 cars in the train that can be used as buffers.If you have less than six, you use however many you have but you need at least one.
In reality, a car of ethanol isn't really all that dangerous. It's not like ammonia, it won't blow up into a huge fireball. If a car of ammonia (or something similar) blows, 6 cars isn't going to make a difference.
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Old 04-14-2007, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mute
Any loaded hazmat car must not be nearer than the 6th car from the engine consist. If its an empty hazmat it must not be nearer than the 2nd car. It is okay to have loaded hazmat cars less than 6 back from the engine if you dont have enough buffer cars available, like in the case with the ethanol train. There are no requirements for rear-end buffer cars unless you have a manned caboose or engine on the rear.

this is basically exactly what it says in the haz-mat book. looks like mute did what i was too lazy to do. up here in the northwest we dont see buffer cars on the end at least on the BNSF. ive seen pics of NS and CSX trains that have buffers on the end. now i dont know if that is a railroad preference or if they have different haz-mat rules. it makes sense to do. say a train overruns its authority(it happens more than you think) and smashes in to the back of another train. with the new locomotive designs and safety devises the crew would fare better hitting a couple box cars or a-frames rather than a loaded car of gasoline or chlorine gas. i know this sounds far fetched but it happens more than you think.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigiron
Mute, thanks for the response but it seems to contradict itself .
Aha! Now you're understanding what it means to work for a railroad. Safety is the railroads #1 concern... just as long as it doesnt interfere with running trains. if you have 5 or more buffer cars in your train, at least 5 need to be up front, if you have less then 5 you must put them all up front. They wont postpone a train just because there isnt enough buffer cars. If you refuse to take a train with less than 5 buffer cars youre being insubordinate... kind of a big no-no when it comes to railroading.

PS: this is BNSF rules
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mute
Aha! Now you're understanding what it means to work for a railroad. Safety is the railroads #1 concern... just as long as it doesnt interfere with running trains. if you have 5 or more buffer cars in your train, at least 5 need to be up front, if you have less then 5 you must put them all up front. They wont postpone a train just because there isnt enough buffer cars. If you refuse to take a train with less than 5 buffer cars youre being insubordinate... kind of a big no-no when it comes to railroading.

PS: this is BNSF rules
Willingly accepting a train that is improperly marshaled is an even bigger no-no. If you get the OK from superior to take it, and you still refuse, that could be considered insubordination. However, that isn't likely to happen. It's all about placing the blame elsewhere and CYA.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:41 AM   #12
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UP's rules are that you must use at least 5 buffer cars. If 5 buffer cars are not available, use all available buffer cars. This is for road movements, Switching is a different story alltogether
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