End of the year quiz #3

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Dec 26 10:13:22 EST 2014

Thanks Ed and Jeff, the magnitude of what I don't know never ceases to
amaze me.  Let me run a basic hump yard operations scenario by you and if
you would, correct my mistakes and fill in additional details.  A freight
arrives at the recieveing yard and its consist is broken up into cuts.  A
hump engine grabs a cut and under the control of the hump signal, pushes it
to the top of the hump where a man on the ground uncouples the lead car to
allow it to roll over the crest and start down the other side.
Concurrently, a man in the hump tower sets the switches and retarders to
take the free rolling car into the proper track (based on subsequent
destination) and slow it to coupling speed.  After a number of cuts have
been humped, the hump signal is set to red (was this a stoplight type
signal, red over yellow over green?) and a trimmer engine went into the
sorting tracks at the bottom of the hump to pull out cuts and take them to
an assembly yard to be incorporated into larger cuts that would be made up
into trains.  Did the trimmer signals have the same appearance as the hump
signals?  So the humping and trimming would be interlocked by signals.  How
about the initial breakup of incoming trains and the final assembly of
outgoing movements?  How were these actions coordinated with the humping
and trimming, or did this switching never go on at the same time as humping
and trimming was happening?
Jim Cochran

On Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM, NW Mailing List via NW-Mailing-List <
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

> Jimmy,
> Thanks for your confidence. The signal in the photo was so different from
> Roanoke's that I didn't want to confuse things. I have also found that
> different locations may have different nomenclature for similar things.
> Roanoke had what we called "Hump/Trim signals" in the receiving yard.
> These were used to signal engines that were ready to hump a track. If I
> remember correctly, there was Green for "Shove" (to the hump), Yellow for
> "Hump" (speed), Red for "Stop" and Blinking Red for "Back-up". With the
> newer hump system, some of the engines could be "hooked-up" to the computer
> control machine which was operated by the Conductor. Once hook-up was
> established, the Conductor could stop the movement by touching "Stop" on
> the touch screen. After the Conductor reset the computer and went to Green,
> the Engineer had to open the throttle and reset the "Hump Control" on the
> engine.
> There were two, or three, signals for cuts being humped out of tracks
> 1-10, which signals were on the south side of track #1. Cuts being
> humped out of tracks 11-20 were controlled by signals located between
> tracks 10 & 11.
> Before any "Trimming" could be done (shoving over into the class yard),
> the Hump Signals had to be set at Red. The computer had to be placed in
> "Trim" mode. All switches were lined by the Conductor, after which the
> Engineer was told he was lined up for #(whatever) track, retarders were
> open (or down). At this point the Brakeman on the crew would direct the
> movement, by radio, until the movement was complete. The Conductor would
> then reset the computer and prepare to hump again.
> Several other places in the Terminal had "Switching Signals" where the
> engineer couldn't see hand signals. As best as I remember, the signals
> operated somewhat similarly to the hump signals, as far as their aspects
> were concerned (i.e.; Green-shove fast; Blinking Green-Shove slow; Blinking
> Red Back-up; Red-stop). I don't remember there being a Yellow on the
> Switching Signals, but I could be wrong about that. There were signals on
> the West End of the yard, on both the Empty Side Yard and the Pull-in
> tracks. There was also signals on the east end of the Empty Side Yard (24th
> Street and East), and on both ends of South Yard. The controls were
> operated by the Conductor.
> These were still in use when I went to the yard in '81. But, as radios
> became more prevalent, they slowly stopped using the Switching Signals.
> Don't know about the Switching Signals, but the Hump Signals (on the hump
> apex) were physically removed in October 2008.
> Hope this helps a little.
> Jeff Sanders
>  ------------------------------
>  *From:* NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
> *To:* NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:29 AM
> *Subject:* Re: End of the year quiz #3
> I was hoping that Jeff Sanders would chime in on this one. I know that
> he could explain their use. There were trimmer signals here in Roanoke
> in several places. I know that they were on the hump and east end of the
> empty side yard.
> Jimmy Lisle
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