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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think that every caboose I have seen has had long curved handrails - even the wood-sided ones like the LGB 4065.

I cannot figure out why they have them because they are curved so far away from the stairs that they would seem to have little to do with actually getting onto the caboose.

Surely someone knows why they are as long and curved as they are?





Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Hi,

Because the ICC (I think) said that they had to have them! They are part of the always increasing 'safety measures' that were certainly needed because the railroads werer a very dangerous place to start with, and to an extent still are.

Originally there were handrails on the ends, these increased in length and gained a horizontal portion, and then some appeared on the sides, these changed to the curved style to give a better area to get hold of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Posted By peter bunce on 12/24/2008 11:59 AM
Hi,

Because the ICC (I think) said that they had to have them! They are part of the always increasing 'safety measures' that were certainly needed because the railroads were a very dangerous place to start with, and to an extent still are.

Originally there were handrails on the ends, these increased in length and gained a horizontal portion, and then some appeared on the sides, these changed to the curved style to give a better area to get hold of.


Hi Peter,

I guess that makes some sort of sense but I don't see how the curved rails would help safety. Perhaps if I had worked on a railroad it would make more sense to me.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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I have heard that the curved handrails were to allow crew to grab onto when they were getting onto a caboose that was moving. This allowed them to much more easily get onto the caboose than a regular straight handrail. As an example, you are standing next to the tracks as the caboose is moving towards you. You do not aim to get onto the forward end, but you aim for the back end of the caboose. As the back end of the caboose is near you, you slide you hand onto the lower portion of the curve. The caboose's forward motion will move your hand up the curve of the rail. Once your hand has reached the horizontal portion, you can easily "swing" onto the steps of the caboose.
 

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When the train is moving and the conductor or trainman is getting on, you always get on the end of the caboose after it has passed you, not the front as it approaching you. If you fell getting on the front you might go under the wheels. The long horizontal part of the curved handle gave you a place to start grabbing the railing before the steps reached you, so that you could slide your hand along it and pay more attention where the steps were and not where to be putting your hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Posted By Dwight Ennis on 12/24/2008 2:52 PM
Uhhhh... to grab onto?

Merry Christmas folks!


Merry Christmas Dwight and everyone.

Jerry
 

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Yes the curved rails on the caboose helped the trainmen get on a moving caboose. The curve helped lift a peron up and on to the steps. You would grab than curved rail and plant your foot in the bottom step. If the train was going fast enough you would find yourself at the back door in a flash. Today I do not think crew members are allowed to get on or off moving trains.
Tom Thornton
 

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You're right Tom. Trainmen get time off if they are caught getting on or off of a moving train. But a lot of them still do it when they think they won't get caught.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I can see why it would be dangerous to get on or off a moving train but I can also see how it would really slow down operations if the trains have to make a full stop every time a switch needs to be thrown etc.

Jerry
 
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