operating beyond continuous amperage limits do not exceed the time limits specified for the
locomotive being operated.
a. Starting a Train. The method used in starting trains shall take into consideration
makeup of the train and the grade conditions. Judicious planning by the conductor is essential.
Grades and train loads may force the use of mutiple units, reduction of train size, multiple moves,
or selected service brake air reduction.
Release the automatic and independent brakes. After all brakes have been fully released, open the
throttle to position (notch) 1 and note from the ammeter that the amperage is increasing. After 2
to 3 seconds, the throttle may be advanced to position 2 if additional power is needed to start the
With some locomotives it may be necessary to regulate starting speed by use of the
independent brake and sanders to keep the locomotive moving at a slow, uniform speed of about
1 mph until the entire train is moving.
It may be necessary to stretch or bunch the train in a direction opposite to the intended movement
to permit starting one car at a time.
If a train does not start when following these procedures, check for sticking brakes.
Do not advance the throttle while amperage is increasing as indicated by the ammeter. Wait until
the train has absorbed the power from the present throttle position.
Reduce the throttle if there is an indication of wheel slip. Apply sand as required to prevent wheel
Care shall be taken whenever a train is started in a curve. When power must be used to start a
train, use only sufficient throttle to start the train. Any advance of the throttle shall be made one
notch at a time since abrupt increases of draft or buff forces in a curve may generate excessive
inward lateral forces and result in "string-lining" of the curve. This effect can be severe enough to
shift the track, turn a rail over, or result in a derailment. See Figure 3-16 which illustrates how
draft and buff forces affect train movement.
When the locomotive has moved a distance equal to the length of the train and the entire train is
moving at a speed of 1 mph, it can be considered started.
b. Service (Automatic or Train Line) Braking.
(1) Level Terrain. Make an initial brake pipe reduction of 5 to 8 psi while maintaining
power. Keep the locomotive brakes released.
After the automatic brake becomes effective throughout the train, gradually reduce the throttle
but maintain sufficient throttle to keep the train stretched. Properly reducing the throttle also
ensures that draft and buff forces are kept to a minimum. Observe ammeter carefully during
speed reduction or stopping. If there is excessive amperage draw, reduce throttle one position at
a time to prevent excessive traction motor amperage.
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