Power and Brake Controllers

Status
Not open for further replies.

PudseyBearHST

Member
Joined
28 Sep 2015
Messages
833
Location
South West
Hello

1. Do you prefer combined power brake controllers or separate power and brake controllers?
2. Do you prefer 3 step, 6 step or variable brake? If variable brake, do you prefer it fully variable or where minimum application is 20-30% brake?
3. Is there a particular style of controller you prefer or styles that you don’t like? So I’m talking about things like the type of handle. E.g. The golf ball style on the HSTs, handle on Voyager or the style of an 800, etc... Do you prefer it where the controller slopes like on a HST/800s/turbos or flat like a Voyager? Do you prefer where you push forwards and backwards like on a HST/turbo/800/Voyager or where it’s an angle like the brake controllers on sprinters?

I understand not everyone will have had much experience of different type of traction but I appreciate all responses.


Thanks
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

rd749249

Member
Joined
15 Sep 2015
Messages
123
I prefer a single TBC (traction brake controller) to the step/notch 1,2,3 etc as I like the ease of change when applying the brake. I get more of a feel and less inclined to look at the speedo in the platform. I find myself fanning the brake too often when using the Westinghouse brake controller (probably because I’m rubbish at braking). I’m sure other drivers will see it round the other way to me.
 

43066

On Moderation
Joined
24 Nov 2019
Messages
2,790
Location
London
Hello

1. Do you prefer combined power brake controllers or separate power and brake controllers?
2. Do you prefer 3 step, 6 step or variable brake? If variable brake, do you prefer it fully variable or where minimum application is 20-30% brake?
3. Is there a particular style of controller you prefer or styles that you don’t like? So I’m talking about things like the type of handle. E.g. The golf ball style on the HSTs, handle on Voyager or the style of an 800, etc... Do you prefer it where the controller slopes like on a HST/800s/turbos or flat like a Voyager? Do you prefer where you push forwards and backwards like on a HST/turbo/800/Voyager or where it’s an angle like the brake controllers on sprinters?

I understand not everyone will have had much experience of different type of traction but I appreciate all responses.


Thanks

1. Separate! Somehow makes me feel more like a driver than an operator.
2. Definitely prefer variable to stepped - more control.
3. Golf balls all the way :).

I find myself fanning the brake too often when using the Westinghouse brake controller (probably because I’m rubbish at braking).

Some stock with a three step brake also has a single controller (Networkers, for example). Which stock has a Westinghouse brake controller?
 
Last edited:

ComUtoR

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2013
Messages
7,508
Location
UK

1. Do you prefer combined power brake controllers or separate power and brake controllers?

Combined. However, I think this is more to do with overall comfort than actual preference between the two. 319s were one of the most uncomfortable trains I've driven but the handles were good. 508s were good to drive but having to constantly hold the handle wasn't pleasant.

2. Do you prefer 3 step, 6 step or variable brake? If variable brake, do you prefer it fully variable or where minimum application is 20-30% brake?

Never driven a 6 step brake but variable all the way. Ive only driven 2x units with variable brake and both fully variable. I love it !

3. Is there a particular style of controller you prefer or styles that you don’t like? So I’m talking about things like the type of handle. E.g. The golf ball style on the HSTs, handle on Voyager or the style of an 800, etc... Do you prefer it where the controller slopes like on a HST/800s/turbos or flat like a Voyager? Do you prefer where you push forwards and backwards like on a HST/turbo/800/Voyager or where it’s an angle like the brake controllers on sprinters?

Again, for me this is linked to the overall cab design. I prefer Electrostar to Networker but the cab design of an Electrostar sucks and tbh you get your finger caught in their handles. It's flat and has a smaller handle but gives better action between the steps.

The Desiro City handles are pretty damn good. Great cab design. I felt comfortable in the cab and the variable brake is spot on. Only a minor issue but otherwise its been my favorite so far of everything Ive driven.

I understand not everyone will have had much experience of different type of traction but I appreciate all responses.


Thanks

No worries, happy to help
 

craigybagel

Established Member
Joined
25 Oct 2012
Messages
3,566
Hello

1. Do you prefer combined power brake controllers or separate power and brake controllers?
Combined is more comfortable - but as 43066 alluded to there's just something more satisfying about needing to use two hands! Also, using the hold over button on the combined handle can be pretty uncomfortable, some of them are very stiff. Plus our TOC wants us to use it at every station and not just on hill starts so it can become an issue!

Our two handled stock does have a separate issue though that I'll get to below

2. Do you prefer 3 step, 6 step or variable brake? If variable brake, do you prefer it fully variable or where minimum application is 20-30% brake?
The only stock I sign with a combined controller is also the only stock I sign with a variable brake (everything else is 3 step) - and it is infinitely better than a 3 step break. I find it needs much less adjusting - there are places I can make an initial application from 90mph and not need to adjust the brake again until I'm on the platform, because I can set it with the exact amount of brake pressure needed. You can't do that with a 3 step.

I've also driven under supervision class 67 locos and DVTs. The former also has an infinitely variable brake, but with a completely different type of controller that I found much more difficult to get used to. DVTs have a 6 step brake which was nice, especially as I found I rarely needed more than step 2 but I had so much more steps in reserve if required.

3. Is there a particular style of controller you prefer or styles that you don’t like? So I’m talking about things like the type of handle. E.g. The golf ball style on the HSTs, handle on Voyager or the style of an 800, etc... Do you prefer it where the controller slopes like on a HST/800s/turbos or flat like a Voyager? Do you prefer where you push forwards and backwards like on a HST/turbo/800/Voyager or where it’s an angle like the brake controllers on sprinters?
I'll be honest and say I've not thought too much about any of these so can't really give a great answer. I do though like on our trains with combined controllers setting up the arm rest in such a way that my hand drops down naturally on to the controller - and that is in general more comfortable then the higher level it's necessary to put your hands on to use the controls on Sprinters.
 

Kneedown

Established Member
Joined
29 Dec 2007
Messages
1,645
Location
Nottinghamshire
Combined PBC anyday. Leaves a hand free for holding one's coffee, cancelling the AWS etc. I like the variable brake, but much prefer the positivity of the one on a 180, to the slightly vague one on a 222. I can put a 180's brake on and "feel" the deceleration. With a 222 i've always got one eye on the speedo.
 

TRAX

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2015
Messages
1,447
Location
France
I do though like on our trains with combined controllers setting up the arm rest in such a way that my hand drops down naturally on to the controller - and that is in general more comfortable then the higher level it's necessary to put your hands on to use the controls on Sprinters.

This looks like it would be perfect for you (and me), then !

203CB0A2-04BA-4EC2-BB8B-93FE7939A483.jpeg
 

class ep-09

Member
Joined
5 Sep 2013
Messages
246
Looks easy enough , innit?
 

Attachments

  • 07707E70-1498-4864-A41D-25E0C521022D.jpeg
    07707E70-1498-4864-A41D-25E0C521022D.jpeg
    539.1 KB · Views: 84

adc82140

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2008
Messages
2,180
As a complete industry outsider...

Does all modern traction have a combined controller and infinitely variable braking?

If so, when did it become standard?
 

Shunter_69

Member
Joined
10 Dec 2014
Messages
452
I prefer a combined PBC too. So much easier to use.

I prefer the variable brake too. 3 step is useful but the ability to vary the brake pressure slightly for a smoother stop is much nicer.
 

craigybagel

Established Member
Joined
25 Oct 2012
Messages
3,566
This looks like it would be perfect for you (and me), then !

View attachment 92328
That does look nice. Anyways wanted to have a go in a tram!
As a complete industry outsider...

Does all modern traction have a combined controller and infinitely variable braking?

If so, when did it become standard?
Pretty much all multiple units in the UK since the early 90s have come with combined controllers (I believe it was the Networker/Turbo families and 323s that were the first). Those earlier units came with 3 step brakea however. Most post privitisation stock came with variable braking - with the most notable exception being the Turbostar/Electrostar families that persisted with 3 step right until they were replaced with Aventra.

Of course, on London Underground they've been using combined controllers since the 1967 Victoria Line stock, so much earlier for them.
 

driver9000

Established Member
Joined
13 Jan 2008
Messages
3,978
I prefer a notched traction power range but I love the fully variable brake to stepped braking. I don't really have a preference to combined or separate handles, the cab ergonomics make it break Driver comfort and a well placed handle or handles makes all the difference.
 

43066

On Moderation
Joined
24 Nov 2019
Messages
2,790
Location
London
319s were one of the most uncomfortable trains I've driven but the handles were good.

Agreed re. 319s - just who were those cabs designed for?! The saving grace was that it was possible to drive standing up. Those and Metcam Networkers are the worst units I’ve driven in terms of cab comfort.
 

TheEdge

Established Member
Joined
29 Nov 2012
Messages
3,851
Location
Norwich
Variable brake, I learned to drive on 156, 153 and 170s with their 3 step brakes and I was really bad for feathering the brakes. Then I got the 755s and never realised how much I needed and would love a variable brake.
 

Ashley Hill

Established Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
1,281
Location
The West Country
I assume the combined brake/power controller is always on the left,how does it affect right handed drivers. Is it awkward to use? When I'm driving (preserved line) I occasionally find I'm reaching for the proportional brake with my right hand.
 

craigybagel

Established Member
Joined
25 Oct 2012
Messages
3,566
I assume the combined brake/power controller is always on the left,how does it affect right handed drivers. Is it awkward to use? When I'm driving (preserved line) I occasionally find I'm reaching for the proportional brake with my right hand.
I've never given it a second thought. Plus if anything it's an advantage as it leaves my right hand free to use a whole multitude of different buttons and switches, whilst my left hand doesn't really need to move away from the controller
 

Poppysdad

Member
Joined
18 Oct 2018
Messages
13
I have read the comments with interest having been involved in almost all of the fleets mentioned albeit not from a drivers perspective. Some of the comments relating to feel of the brake system could be more associated with the brake system design and components rather than the controller itself
 

greyman42

Established Member
Joined
14 Aug 2017
Messages
3,061
I remember sitting at the front of first generation DMUs and watching the driver operate a large heavy looking control, i think it was the break, which often had cloth wrapped around the handle. Was it the break and what was the purpose of the cloth?
 

Ashley Hill

Established Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
1,281
Location
The West Country
The big removable handle on the right was the vacuum brake. That on the left was the power controller. This had to be held down when in motion to maintain power and brake. If released power would be lost and the brakes would apply after few seconds,hence the term "dead mans handle" or DSD (drivers safety device). Having to continuously hold it down when in motion plus moving the handle between the four power notches caused soreness and blisters on the palm of the left hand,having the cloth in your hand prevented this.
 

TRAX

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2015
Messages
1,447
Location
France
The big removable handle on the right was the vacuum brake. That on the left was the power controller. This had to be held down when in motion to maintain power and brake. If released power would be lost and the brakes would apply after few seconds,hence the term "dead mans handle" or DSD (drivers safety device). Having to continuously hold it down when in motion plus moving the handle between the four power notches caused soreness and blisters on the palm of the left hand,having the cloth in your hand prevented this.
Your hand would get sweaty after a while too.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,239
Location
Cambridge, UK
The big removable handle on the right was the vacuum brake. That on the left was the power controller. This had to be held down when in motion to maintain power and brake. If released power would be lost and the brakes would apply after few seconds,hence the term "dead mans handle" or DSD (drivers safety device). Having to continuously hold it down when in motion plus moving the handle between the four power notches caused soreness and blisters on the palm of the left hand,having the cloth in your hand prevented this.
There was also a gear selector handle on the right (to the left of the brake handle), so changing gear when accelerating involved both hands i.e. power off, change gear, power on.
 

Ashley Hill

Established Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
1,281
Location
The West Country
There was also a gear selector handle on the right (to the left of the brake handle), so changing gear when accelerating involved both hands i.e. power off, change gear, power on.
Yes but at least a driver didn't need to keep his hand on it all the time. Let's not forget the direction lever with its large brass key (aka the spoon) off ,forward and reverse.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,239
Location
Cambridge, UK
Yes but at least a driver didn't need to keep his hand on it all the time. Let's not forget the direction lever with its large brass key (aka the spoon) off ,forward and reverse.
Yes, and the 'spoon' (inserted into the gear selector) and brake handle were removable.

A class 108 cab showing (from the left) the AWS cancel button, the gear selector (with 'spoon'), the brake valve, the emergency brake valve (painted red) and the handbrake wheel. The power controller is out of shot to the left.


(Photo from Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Class_108_driver's_cab.JPG )

There is a class 101 cab interior photo here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart166axe/27663652446 - with both the 'spoon' and the brake handle removed.
 

greyman42

Established Member
Joined
14 Aug 2017
Messages
3,061
The big removable handle on the right was the vacuum brake. That on the left was the power controller. This had to be held down when in motion to maintain power and brake. If released power would be lost and the brakes would apply after few seconds,hence the term "dead mans handle" or DSD (drivers safety device). Having to continuously hold it down when in motion plus moving the handle between the four power notches caused soreness and blisters on the palm of the left hand,having the cloth in your hand prevented this.
It all sounds a bit physical. I would of thought that trainees that were new to it, would of found it a physical challenge.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,239
Location
Cambridge, UK
It all sounds a bit physical. I would of thought that trainees that were new to it, would of found it a physical challenge.
Given that the Mk1 DMU's are 1950's era (in design terms), compared to the hard, physical, work involved in driving and firing steam locos, I suspect most drivers of the era quite liked them as a much easier & cleaner work environment.

Have you ever pulled & pushed the regulator or the reverser on a steam loco (when in steam)? I have a few times on steam driving experience days - it's hard work...even more so if you're the fireman doing the shoveling :).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top