Pushing operation on mine runs

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jul 25 00:30:39 EDT 2005

I grew up in Kopperston in the eighties, and pushing caboose-first was the
normal procedure. It was done every day until cabooses were canned for
Sometimes, I would run up the hill, by the tunnel (long concrete VGN culvert
under a fill), up the path to trackside to see the conductor leaning by the
brakewheel and controlling the movement.
This is mentioned in Kurt Reisweber's "VGN Rails 1953-1993" as the move from
Plunkett to Kopperston.
Kopperston does have a siding plenty long enough to run around a train, but
this is where some of the loads were "dropped" to for storage.
Now, since cabooses are gone, there are units on each end.
Dave Estep
Manassas VA

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>Can anyone comment on the extent to which N&W & VGN used pushing movements

>to get empties to mines that lacked run-arounds?


>1. What was about the maximum distance that pushing would be used before a

>major effort would be made to find a place to build a run-around?


>2. Would a caboose usually lead the train?


>3. Were there any special operating techniques used to communicate between

>the loco and the head-end of the train before radios?


>4. Are "long-distance" pushing movements more common today than in steam



>Pete Groom



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