Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flag Man Protection

I have been thinking about timetable and train order operations more lately.  One common aspect is Rule 99.  It basically states:

Rule 99 requires the rear brakeman and head end brakeman to proceed from the train and carry lighted fusees at night, flags by day, and two torpedoes for placement on the track. This protects the train for other trains in either direction. Also, if another train can overtake the train, lighted fusees must be dropped off of the rear of the train at appropriate intervals to protect the rear of the train from collision.

We have had discussions about this when operating at my friend Larry's Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad.  Also, this past session, I was operating an extra freight into Chicago.  I had clearance into Chicago and knew that Larry was working in Blue Island, but didn't know which track.  I stopped at Joliet and contacted the Blue Island operator to find out his location (track one or two).  With Rule 99, he would have been protected by my advancing train.

I have been thinking about how to incorporate this into the operating sessions.  I've only come up with simply requiring crews to place red push pins (crewman with red flags) at either end of the train for protection.  It's not much, but offers a sense of realism when operating.  Especially, if the crews take into account the time for crewman to walk the required distance to set the fusees (push pins).