Braking

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callum112233

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I have been wondering for some time about when a train is stopping for a station. How much brake does the driver put on when he/she comes to the braking point for a station? Do they put on the brakes fairly strongly then ease off them as they come to the station? or do they do the opposite and start off lightly on the brakes and gradually put more brake on as they come closer to the station?

I ask this because I was watching an instructional video of a train with Westinghouse 3 step brakes and the man on the video said 'put it straight into step 3 as soon as you reach your braking point, then put it into step 2 as you get nearer the station, then step one just before the train comes to a halt'.

Thanks.;)
Callum.
 
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Cherry_Picker

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Depends entirely on the traction and condition of the railhead. I tend to break light and early, especially during poor weather.
I sign 168s, 165s and 67 & DVTs. I can use step one almost exclusively on a 168, whereas I will use more of a mixture of step one and step two. A quirk of the 165 is that the cylinder will hold some of the excess air if you go into step two then drop it back to step one, essentially giving you a step 1.5., which is very handy. Steps three (full service) & four (emergency) are there to be used if needed, but you will get pulled up about your driving style if you are using them all the time.
On the 67 rakes, which are air braked I tend to use "initial" until I feel the brakes bite then let the cylinder drop to about four bar, that seems to provide about the same amount of force as step's one and two on the DMUs I sign.
 

O L Leigh

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I probably stop more often than Cherry Picker, so I tend to use Step 2 as an initial brake application and then adjust things from there. If I'm going 8 cars down the platform I aim to be doing about 30mph at the ramp or 25mph if I'm going just 4 cars down. Cl379s tend to be pretty good on braking, so I either brake a bit earlier in Step 1 or a bit later in Step 2.

Generally we're taught to do the majority of the braking good and early and then ease off rather than be easy on the brake and have to increase the brake the closer to the stop point you get. It gives you a bit of breathing space if you hit a greasy spot or the brake isn't quite as good as you expect.

O L Leigh
 

Cherry_Picker

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Yep, I tend to get quite a lot of what you would probably now call intercity work with long gaps between stops. If I am on a suburban run, which will usually be in a 165 then step 2 does get used more often. It is still always light and early though, which was just the philosophy of the guy who taught me to drive. After a while I found I stopped thinking about it too much as it became a lot easy just to "feel" the train. Sometimes it feels strange when travelling passenger on a service that goes over a route I sign, I am often very concious of the fact that the guy driving is braking differently than I do. :lol:


So really it's just personal taste? I just thought that if a driver put it straight into step 3 it would be quite uncomfortable for the passengers?

Here is the video if you are interested by the way:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_UFNB2Ujec&feature=relmfu


Yes and no. It is personal preference, but within well defined boundaries. I watched the video, and while I think that may have been the guideline for a brief period of time it certainly hasnt been like that for at least 15 years. I would imagine that depots up and down the country would have been complaining that using step three so liberally was costing them a bloody fortune in brake discs! Step three tends to apply the sander these days too (not on all traction, but on a lot) and that has really only been a modification which has been widespread since the turn of the century.
 
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callum112233

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I find it quite an interesting subject really :D. Maybe more drivers will come along and reveal their technique :P
When I travel on a DMU, especially on a 156, I find that I can here the driver put it into different steps because of that 'rubbing' sound getting louder or quieter. Most of the time it's barely noticeable so I'm guessing that's probably step one?
 

O L Leigh

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Overuse of Step 3 is frowned on as a risky technique. After all, if you came steaming in and threw it into Step 3 and then encountered iffy track conditions, what do you do next? If a download showed a reliance on this sort of braking technique a driver could expect a chat over tea and biscuits with a manager.

However, yes there is a degree of variation between drivers. My instructor gave me a set of braking points when I was a trainee, some of which I have kept and some I have discarded. However, they all still suit my own personal approach to braking. I tend not to be the last of the late brakers, although at some locations I do brake later than some of my colleagues. Provided you don't use a risky braking technique, use Step 3 more than is necessary and always stop on the mark irrespective of the track conditions you will generally be left alone.

**EDIT**

I'm given to believe that there is a different technique between disc-braked and tread-braked stock because of the different characteristics of each system. Likewise not all traction has auto-sanders and WSP, so a lack of these systems will see a different braking technique applied, especially when poor railhead conditions are expected.

I have particular respect for anyone who has to stop a single Pacer or Cl153 on a lightly used rural branch in the autumn, as these units have just four braked axles and no braking assistance whatsoever. The guys and gals that drive these units have to be able to drive the unit out of a slide and just a single locked axle while braking represents a 25% reduction in brakeforce at the rail.

O L Leigh
 

callum112233

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How would management know if you used step 3 too often? Passenger complaints of discomfort? or do they check the black boxes every now and again?
 

Cherry_Picker

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I have to admit there is something immensely satisfying about putting the brake in step one outside of the station and stopping perfectly at the stop board without having to adjust it again. Doesnt happen all the time because of differences between individual units and railhead conditions, but it is pretty sweet when it does happen.


How would management know if you used step 3 too often? Passenger complaints of discomfort? or do they check the black boxes every now and again?

All of the above. Drivers are routinely monitored via OTMR (aka black box) downloads and of course, there tend to be plenty of managers who travel on trains as passengers, and they are only too quick to raise an issue if they feel they need to!
 

O L Leigh

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Yup, the "hole in one" is a great feeling. If I can get a stop with a unit using Step 2 and only going back to Step 1 just as the train comes to a stop then I can feel it's a job well done.

I believe that some instructors teach trainees using the "Par 4" technique, where every station is a Par 4. The instructor counts how many times the brake is adjusted per stop and applies a penalty if the trainee is over par at the end of the trip. However, if the trainee is under par then the penalty applies to the instructor instead. I'm just glad my instructor never used this system as he'd have emptied my wallet pretty quick. He was always complaining that I made too many adjustments to the brake. My reply was that surely it didn't matter so long as I stopped on the mark.

BTW, excessive use of Step 3 would be shown on an OTMR download. These form part of the regular driver assessment programme.

O L Leigh
 

Cherry_Picker

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I believe that some instructors teach trainees using the "Par 4" technique, where every station is a Par 4. The instructor counts how many times the brake is adjusted per stop and applies a penalty if the trainee is over par at the end of the trip. However, if the trainee is under par then the penalty applies to the instructor instead. I'm just glad my instructor never used this system as he'd have emptied my wallet pretty quick. He was always complaining that I made too many adjustments to the brake. My reply was that surely it didn't matter so long as I stopped on the mark.


Loser gets the coffees in! It would make a change from the usual system where the trainee gets the coffees in though. :p
 

ChristopherJ

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As stated already, it is considered professional to make your initial brake application hard and gradually release it as the train slows to a stop, rather than constantly applying and releasing in quick succession - known as "fanning" the brake.

This is what I've been taught is a "perfect" stop using the Westcode brake.

1) initial application is step 2. Keeping step 3 as a reserve incase of misjudgment or poor braking performance.

2) on approach to the station, usually around the vicinity of the platform ramp, release to step 1. Keeping step 2 and step 3 as reserves to adjust the position of the train in relation to the stopping point. As previously mentioned it's an hole-in-one if you can stop on just one step without having to reapply the brake.

3) select Off and Release when the speed drops to 2-3mph, in the time it takes for the brakes to electrically and mechanically bleed off the train should stop naturally without any noticeable jolt or shudder.

4) return to Step 1 to hold the train.

Even on notchless braking systems, like the 67s which have the PBL system that is fully variable between 5 bar (release) and 3.35 bar (full service), I've been taught it's still a good driving technique to have fixed pressures as found on a notched train, example; 10% = HOLD, 30% = STEP 1, 60% = STEP 2, 90% = STEP 3, 100% = EMERGENCY.

A factor I know that affects braking performance is blended brakes - in many cases the brake force supplied between the rheo brake and the air brake is not in sync. If a train is slowing on an adequate brake force supplied by the rheo brake but the brake force provided by the air brake is weaker than that previous supplied by the rheo brake then more air brake pressure is required to compensate for the lost brake force during the transition. Example: a step 3 application of the air brake may be required to achieve the same amount of brake force provided by that in step 2 when the rheo was activated. It can also vary vice-versa by also having crap rheo brakes but powerful air brakes.

To O L Leigh, I know 315s have rheo brakes but I don't know if BR/fGE/NXEA/Ganglia has ever disabled it? Do 317s also have rheo brakes? I believe they don't.
 

Zerothebrake!

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''Brakes are like knickers..they work better when they're coming off''..oooh,hello matron..whack and whack!
 

driver9000

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I sign Westcode tread braked stock and our braking instructions are to use step 1 as an initial brake with step 2 as necessary. I was taught to keep Full service 'up my sleeve' and none of the trains I sign are fitted with WSP. I have braking areas on approach to stations that I use as my initial braking which I apply based on how the brake is performing, no two trains brake the same - there can even be a difference when driving from opposite ends. Just before coming to a stand I release the brake and come to a stand with the brake released, I then hold the train in step 1. Disc braked instructions for us are a step 2 initial and there are different instructions for trains formed of mixed tread and disc depending on the actual make up of the train the instructions differ.

The video in the original post is based on the original braking instructions for Westcode disc braked stock that I have a copy of somewhere. Tread brakes were originally step 2 initial braking.

Yes, Pacers are....well....interesting to stop on a slippy rail :)
 
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O L Leigh

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To O L Leigh, I know 315s have rheo brakes but I don't know if BR/fGE/NXEA/Ganglia has ever disabled it? Do 317s also have rheo brakes? I believe they don't.

Ah, neither of these units have a rheo brake and I don't believe they ever did. I think you may be getting mixed up with Cl313s.

However, we do have the regen brake on Cl379s which works in the same way. With these units at least the friction brake is stronger than the regen, probably because it works on all axles and not just the six with motors on them. There is a momentary hesitation at around 8mph when the regen cuts out and the friction brake takes over, but it's actually pretty smooth and doesn't affect braking much if at all. Problems only come if you make an adjustment at or near the brake changeover point as it can take longer than expected for the brake cylinder pressures to rise. So you just try not to have to make such an adjustment.

O L Leigh
 

Dieseldriver

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I used to drive pure air braked 'freight' on the underground. Usually I'd give the brake a quick burst until I could feel the brakes bite then adjust it if I needed a bit more brake or even flick it to release and back to lap if I needed to ease off. Generally I could bring the speed down without having to release it or without needing to apply too much brake. When coming to a stand I'd always aim to have 70pound (release) on the guage to give a smooth stop although sometimes wasn't practical due to gradients etc. Going to be learning 3 step disc braked units soon so will be a different style!
 

matchmaker

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Different techniques now from the days of vacuum braked stock? If that is, there are any drivers on the forum who can remember that far back. IIRC there was a "lap" position on the brake valve which held them on at the level they'd been applied to.
 

34D

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Different techniques now from the days of vacuum braked stock? If that is, there are any drivers on the forum who can remember that far back. IIRC there was a "lap" position on the brake valve which held them on at the level they'd been applied to.

Go down from 21 inch to 15 or 16 for gentle-ish braking?

Anyone on here done triple braking? Understand from others that it was very strange.
 

Harbon 1

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Another question to add to the thread:

At what break force are speed warnings based on? I've tried different settings on railworks, but can't figure out how much breaking to use
 

Legzr1

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They're not.

The warning boards are placed precisely within 12cm of the nearest road access point.

If that falls within Minimum Service Brake Application then the 'job's a good un' ;)




m*(a)*S + ½*m*(U2) + m*g*(h1-h2) = 0
 

boing_uk

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Yes, Pacers are....well....interesting to stop on a slippy rail :)

Aren't they just. I've been on a number of Blackpool to Colne services where the train has come in at around its usual speed and then just carried on. One morning at St Annes it was like the Simpsons starting credits where the bus doesnt stop and the passengers take off after it. About 40-odd people crammed on to the platform near to the overbridge trying to get in the rear door.

The departure wasn't that brisk either, strangely enough. :lol:

Had similar at Pleasington as well... but hardly anyone gets on or off there so not nearly as noticable.

St Annes, Lytham and Pleasington are always comparatively bad, even in summer with just a mildly damp railhead, which makes me wonder why nothing more permanent hasnt been done to try and resolve the issues.
 

TDK

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Sometimes it feels strange when travelling passenger on a service that goes over a route I sign, I am often very concious of the fact that the guy driving is braking differently than I do. :lol:

I usually fall asleep
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have to admit there is something immensely satisfying about putting the brake in step one outside of the station and stopping perfectly at the stop board without having to adjust it again. Doesnt happen all the time because of differences between individual units and railhead conditions, but it is pretty sweet when it does happen.




All of the above. Drivers are routinely monitored via OTMR (aka black box) downloads and of course, there tend to be plenty of managers who travel on trains as passengers, and they are only too quick to raise an issue if they feel they need to!

Did Bicester from 100mph on the up, step one to the mirror 3 days on the trot and also parkway on the up as well, now that is a hard one to do, never been abale to master it since, just luck more than judgement I recon
 

142094

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Was on an EC HST that had the the brakes applied due to a problem with the passcom, and although we slowed down quite quickly, it didn't seem to be as severe as I thought it would have been.
 

Safety365

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Our instructions on 455s is initial brake application is step 2 and adjust as necessary. Reason being is that the WSP/Auto-sand doesn't operate in step one.
 
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