looking for Pocahontas passenger line info
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Mon Feb 2 18:28:43 EST 2009
"Steam locomotives typically had no brake handle so only the hostler or engine men could release the brakes and move an engine."
I question this statement because I don't think that enginemen and especially hostlers carried around a heavy set of brake handles everywhere they went. It used to be that when the brake handles were removeable, on trailing units or units left alone, the independent and automatic brakes were applied and the handles were removed from the brake valves and left somewhere on the engine. I am speaking of diesels here. However, knowing enginemen as I do, I doubt that things changed much from the steam days.
I used to run across brass brake handles from time to time. On the N&W they weren't very common, most being made out of steel. Some men may have taken a brass one home with them, but, I can assure you that brake handles weren't assigned to engineers and they didn't carry them around with them in their grips. That is unless someone was playing a practical joke on another and loading his grip down with heavy metal, the likes of knuckle pins and such.
Today all handles are pinned in and it is very rare to find an engine where they still can be removed.
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