switch list so that they may proceed without verbal instructions from
With the use of lists of this type, cars must be
counted in the original cut as well as the cars of each cut that go
in on a particular track. If a crew completes a switching list and
has a car left over, or the last entry on a switch list reads "3 to
4," and only two cars remain, every cut must be picked up off its
track in the reverse order of the switch list until the mistake is
discovered and corrected.
c. Good judgment must be exercised by the conductor in signaling
the engineer. He must estimate the speed of the draft and regulate,
by his signals, the speed at which the cars enter their respective
A slight grade on the lead means that cars need not be
kicked as hard as if the lead were level. About six kilometers per
hour is the maximum safe speed for moving cars to couple on to
stationary ones. If space on a track is limited, the conductor must
see that cars enter at a slower speed than if the track had plenty of
room or was clear. Conversely, if a switch list allots 15 or 20 cars
to a clear track, the conductor should see that they are driven down
the track as far as possible to leave room for additional entries.
Fast-moving cars striking stationary ones can cause serious and
costly damage, including: damage to couplers and draft gear; shifting
of the load, requiring a car to go to the shop track for readjustment
of the lading, damage to the contents of a closed car, resulting in
freight claims; knocking an empty car offcenter, requiring labor to
recenter it; breaking the door latches on a hopper or gondola car
loaded with a bulk commodity and dropping the load to the ground.
d. Insufficient speed of cars is also a problem. Cars that are
not kicked hard enough to clear the lead can cause lost time in
switching operations if they must be pushed a second time into the
clear under power instead of momentum.
The only known rule and an
exceedingly difficult one to follow is: "Kick cars hard enough but
not too hard; or kick them easy but not too easy."
When a stop
signal to the engineer is being relayed through two or three
brakemen, the signal should be given soon enough to allow for the
delay in the engineer's seeing and executing it.
3.6. ANTICIPATING DELAYS
In addition to careful planning and prompt execution of duties
by yard workers, successful yard operations also depend on a third
and much less tangible factor: the skill and experience of yard
workers in the prompt detection, correction, or elimination of
A minor incident may, if it escapes detection, lead to