Rolling stock - is there a front and rear end?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by skipgear, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. skipgear

    skipgear Member

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    I searched all over the forum for an answer to this with no luck so I thought I would ask. It is just an odd question that I haven't really seen any good images that support the answer.

    When trains are assembled in a yard, are the cars considered to have a front and back? Is the brake wheel considered to be on the head end or back end of the car and is there and attempt to have the brake wheels all at the same end of the cars in a consist. Example: All brake wheels on the head end of a car so that the brakeman knows which end of the car to go to when setting the brake.
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    cars have a A&B end but as far back as i can remember there has been no effort to align them.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    That's an interesting question, maybe you haven't seen it here before because no one has given it any thought. I would think it would be a horrendous expense to the railroad to align each car in a consist so the brake wheels are all at the "front" (or rear) of the train. I would think that the brakeman would find the brake wheels wherever they are, hey, if it isn't on the end you're looking at, then it must be on the other.:D
  4. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

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    There is the A end and the B end. The B end is where the brake wheel is. No, railroads do not align them. 'Neatness and originally' do not count when moving the freight. :)

    However, that said, there are time when a car must be spotted with a particular side toward the dock or unloading ramp. In that case, it is turned if necessary before delivery.

    Interesting question.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Passenger cars often have a front end and back end. Entire consists may have to be "wyed" or run around a balloon track to get thing facing the right way.

    The only other cars that I can think of where it might matter is coal hopper that are equipped for rotary dump. I believe that they have one rotating and one stationary coupler. It would therefore be necessary to have the couplers done in the right order so they can be tipped properly. However, this type of train would almost never be uncoupled once it was set...

    Andrew
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Locomotives are designated with a Front end -- there is a little F painted low on the frame.This usually matches the front end of how the cab is laid out (but may not always) and is arbitrary on cabless units or bidirectional switchers.
    Most coaches don't have a front end, but specialty cars (domes, sleepers, diners) often do. VIA rebuilt their dome cars about 25 years ago and changed their direction -- the dome seats were turned around and the stairs now come up the front end instead of the rear. Diners don't have passenger doors, so for safety reasons the cars either side of them are usually set with the door end next to the diner.
  7. zedob

    zedob Member

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    Speaking of "which side", has anyone painted/decaled one side of a car with one RR's herald and on the other from another railroad? Reason? To simulate two different trains. Basically through frieghts.

    It would be plausable with a layout with return loops, or a double main (dogbone style),in-which trains essencially go around in circles and really never get broken down.

    I know it can be done and I'm sure it has been done, but I was just wondering.