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(2) Couplers and Knuckles. Couplers and knuckles shall be checked for cracks and it
shall be confirmed that a pin is in place to hold the knuckle when it is opened.
(3) Overheated wheel or journal (hot box). Hot friction journal bearings can usually
be identified during the day by smoke as they heat up. At night they may not be discovered until
they catch on fire. Crews shall observe their train at every opportunity (curves are especially
useful for this purpose) and stop the train immediately if a hot journal is suspected. If the journal
is on fire, it should be extinguished quickly to avoid the possibility of a car catching fire.
Hot roller bearing journals are more difficult to detect. After extended operation, the heat may be
felt as one walks by them and they can be felt to determine if their temperature is abnormally high.
Also, as a roller bearing heats up it will start to drip hot oil. Look for discoloration and lubricant
(4) Broken or extensively cracked wheel. See Figures 3-6 and 3-7 for examples.
(5) Brakes that fail to release.
(6) Any other apparent safety hazard likely to cause an accident or incident
before the train arrives at its destination.
(7) Air brake hoses. Air brake hoses shall be checked for damage prior to use and the
presence of a gasket should be confirmed. Look for date of hose manufacture and report if shelf
life has been exceeded. Refer to Figure 3-5.
(8) Brake beams, shoes, and linkages. The mechanical components of the brake
system shall be checked to see that all linkages are connected securely and that rods are not
rubbing or binding on any car parts. The brake shoes shall be checked for an adequate wear
surface for safe operation.
(9) Hand brakes. Hand brakes shall be checked for proper operation.
(10) Safety Appliances(ladder, hand holds, and fire extinquishers). All the safety
appliances on the car shall be checked to see that they are safe and do not present a hazard to
anyone using them during switching operations. See Figure 3-8 for examples of railcar safety
appliance defects.
(12) Axles, and other truck components. Axles shall be checked to see that no rods
or chains are rubbing against them. The rest of the truck shall be scanned for any obvious defects
such as missing springs, cracked frame, or loose or dragging components.
(13) Load Condition. The method and condition of securing loads shall be checked
for flatcars. For other type of railcars, inspect for leaning bodies. Where possible, inspect for
security of the loads.
c. Initial Terminal Air Test. Anytime a locomotive is coupled into a railcar or cut of
cars, an initial terminal air test shall be conducted. The procedure is outlined in Section 3.4.c.
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