Driving a train with minor irritations

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Paul Jones 88

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When driving a train and you have to use both hands on the controls, what do you do if you have an itch on your back or lower leg?
 
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Intermodal

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Firstly, you don't have to have both hands on the controls most of the time. Often you don't need any hands.

Secondly, the same as you'd do when you have an itch anywhere - scratch it.

There are some silly questions asked on this forum but this one is really up there I have to say!
 

Saj8

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Well, I imagine it's not such a silly question to someone who has no idea of the mechanics of driving a train. I would think that a lot of people from outside the industry would imagine that a driver has to constantly use both hands when driving a train.

The train is controlled by a power and brake control handle. On older trains, these are separate handles, and on newer trains, they are combined into one handle. (Push it forward to apply the brake, pull it back to apply power, middle position is coasting.) The controls are not sprung, so once they are in the desired setting, you don't have to keep hold of them. So for the vast majority of the time, a driver is hands free, and only needs to use the hands to adjust the power/brake, operate the doors, radio, PA etc. The only thing the driver has to maintain constant control with is the DSD pedal, operated with the feet. That involves keeping the pedal pressed down all the time until the vigilance device beeps, at which point the driver releases the pedal and then presses it down again to cancel the beeps. If that's not done, the train's emergency brake applies.
 

Gloster

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Not so silly a question. All of us have areas we don’t know much about and we can only find out by asking.
 

Bletchleyite

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Not so silly a question. All of us have areas we don’t know much about and we can only find out by asking.

I suppose there's also that the idea of the "dead man's handle" is fairly ingrained into the layman's understanding, but not that these days it's actually the DSD pedal.
 

40129

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AIUI that's only on National Rail. ISTR LT still have the dead mans handle incorporated in the traction brake controller which is the opposite way around to National Rail. i.e. push forwards to apply power and pull back to brake. And if you accidentally let go, it springs back and applies the emergemcy brake. To disengage the dead mans handle when stationary, you turn the handle through 90 degrees. IIRC this dates from the D78 stock onward Unless I'm mistaken. Tyne & Wear Metro and possibly other more recent light rail systems have a similar arrangement
 

philthetube

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AIUI that's only on National Rail. ISTR LT still have the dead mans handle incorporated in the traction brake controller which is the opposite way around to National Rail. i.e. push forwards to apply power and pull back to brake. And if you accidentally let go, it springs back and applies the emergemcy brake. To disengage the dead mans handle when stationary, you turn the handle through 90 degrees. IIRC this dates from the D78 stock onward Unless I'm mistaken. Tyne & Wear Metro and possibly other more recent light rail systems have a similar arrangement
Going back further, it has always been a dead mans handle and not a pedal, certainly back to 38 stock, and others may be able to provide more info.
 

TheSeeker

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i.e. push forwards to apply power and pull back to brake.
This seems to make more sense and reminds me of 3D computer games where you pull the mouse back to look up and push the mouse forward to look down. The old pilots saying "Pull the stick back and the houses get smaller, push it forward and they get bigger".
 

Crossover

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AIUI that's only on National Rail. ISTR LT still have the dead mans handle incorporated in the traction brake controller which is the opposite way around to National Rail. i.e. push forwards to apply power and pull back to brake. And if you accidentally let go, it springs back and applies the emergemcy brake. To disengage the dead mans handle when stationary, you turn the handle through 90 degrees. IIRC this dates from the D78 stock onward Unless I'm mistaken. Tyne & Wear Metro and possibly other more recent light rail systems have a similar arrangement
I'm sure Manchester Metrolink stock may incorporate the deadmans into the traction brake controller as well. If memory serves correct, the T68's may have also had the whistle on there as well
 

SteveyBee131

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On the Sheffield Supertram Duewags the one hand operated traction/brake controller also acts as a 'deadmans' handle. Besides being forward for power, back for brake, it must always be depressed or the brakes will be applied. I couldn't say about the 399/tram-trains though.
 

BeijingDave

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Surely the same question could be asked to a motorist, who is 'supposed' to keep his hands at 10 to 2 on the steering wheel except when reaching for the gearstick?
 
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I'm sure that Richard Branson would say that the train driver has to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times...
 

lespaul

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Well, I imagine it's not such a silly question to someone who has no idea of the mechanics of driving a train. I would think that a lot of people from outside the industry would imagine that a driver has to constantly use both hands when driving a train.

The train is controlled by a power and brake control handle. On older trains, these are separate handles, and on newer trains, they are combined into one handle. (Push it forward to apply the brake, pull it back to apply power, middle position is coasting.) The controls are not sprung, so once they are in the desired setting, you don't have to keep hold of them. So for the vast majority of the time, a driver is hands free, and only needs to use the hands to adjust the power/brake, operate the doors, radio, PA etc. The only thing the driver has to maintain constant control with is the DSD pedal, operated with the feet. That involves keeping the pedal pressed down all the time until the vigilance device beeps, at which point the driver releases the pedal and then presses it down again to cancel the beeps. If that's not done, the train's emergency brake applies.
I scratched myself in .... well let's just say it was near Swansea.
 

trebor79

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Push it forward to apply the brake, pull it back to apply power, middle position is coasting.

This seems counter intuitive. Why is it that way round?
 
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SteveyBee131

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This seems counter intuitive. Why is it that way round?
I believe the idea of pushing forward for brake is that if the driver takes ill and collapses onto the controls, in theory they should knock the brakes on rather than the power, just in case their weight is still on the DSD.
 
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Egg Centric

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I believe the idea of pushing forward for brake is that if the driver takes ill and collapses onto the controls, in theory they should knock the brakes on rather than the power, just in case their weight is still on the DSD.

Seems a bit dubious, what if they collapse backwards while holding onto the handles :lol:
 
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philthetube

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going by the thread title the minor irritations which get to me are wattles and whistling wind.
 

hexagon789

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Seems a bit dubious, what if they collapse backwards while holding onto the handles :lol:
Then the train will accelerate to whatever speed it can attain in the 30 to 60 seconds before the vigilance goes off on the trains so equipped. I'd say while potentially possible it's go to next one of those 1 in so many million or billion chances though
 

507 001

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I'm sure Manchester Metrolink stock may incorporate the deadmans into the traction brake controller as well. If memory serves correct, the T68's may have also had the whistle on there as well

Correct. M5000s have a pair of pedals, one for whistle, one for horn. T68s had a button that looked like the hill start button on other CTBC handles. In street/street without steps pressing it would sound the whistle. In segregated it would sound the horn. Later mods made it for whistle only and a separate buttton on the desk was fitted for horn.
 

Crossover

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Correct. M5000s have a pair of pedals, one for whistle, one for horn. T68s had a button that looked like the hill start button on other CTBC handles. In street/street without steps pressing it would sound the whistle. In segregated it would sound the horn. Later mods made it for whistle only and a separate buttton on the desk was fitted for horn.

Thanks :)

Yeah - I recall seeing the seg horn button when on the tour (and some people blasting it at Bury Interchange :lol:)
 

slidingdoors

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This seems counter intuitive. Why is it that way round?

It is and it isn’t.. if you think of the momentum forces involved (you’re pushed back when accelerating and vice versa) it makes sense. It’s the same with modern car gearbox’s. Pull back to change up a gear and push forward to change down.
 

choochoochoo

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That's something I've always thought as well.
me too

boats and planes, push forward to go forward, pull back to slow down. (The last bit even applies to horses)

do trains all over the world obey this convention ? or is it a uk/european trait ?
 

Egg Centric

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Then the train will accelerate to whatever speed it can attain in the 30 to 60 seconds before the vigilance goes off on the trains so equipped. I'd say while potentially possible it's go to next one of those 1 in so many million or billion chances though
It was not a serious suggestion! I was just using it to illustrate how daft the "fall on the controls" scenario was.
 

hexagon789

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me too

boats and planes, push forward to go forward, pull back to slow down. (The last bit even applies to horses)

do trains all over the world obey this convention ? or is it a uk/european trait ?
It's more a UK thing, Europe is normally power forward/brake backwards.

It was not a serious suggestion! I was just using it to illustrate how daft the "fall on the controls" scenario was.
I know ;)

It is very unlikely to occur and that was my way of further illustrating that point
 

eman_resu

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me too

boats and planes, push forward to go forward, pull back to slow down. (The last bit even applies to horses)

do trains all over the world obey this convention ? or is it a uk/european trait ?

Some of the European trains and locos have a brake / throttle control that looks to all intents and purposes like a steering wheel....
 
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