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Maurice Lewman

Air Test

March 22, 2005
Charles Malinowski wrote:
I just now read Bob's account of "The Beginning". Thank you for sharing it with us.
The article raises some questions:
Today, do train crews set and release the train brakes prior to departure and walk the whole train?
Was this practice used on diesel powered trains also?
Would it have been a practice of the Central Indiana Railway or other "shorter" length trains?
Again, thanks for the stories.

Roger Hensley wrote:
Short answer, yes and it depends, yes and yes. I asked Maurice for his comments, and Maurice replied:

In Bob's story he said a set up and release. Also notice he referred to the yard air. If you are in a yard with yard air the car inspectors can make a check of the brakes by setting the brakes and releasing them with the yard plant. This way the train brakes are kept charged, (the air stays in the train), until the engine is tied on. Then all that the engineer has to do is to see if the engine will set and release the brakes with a car inspector at the caboose or rear of the train.

At Jeffersonville Indiana they did not have yard air. We would come out with the engine, couple onto the train and pump the air to within 10 lbs. of whatever the trainline pressure might be set at, checked by a car inspector at the rear of the train. On his signal we would reduce trainline pressure 15 lbs., lap or cut out the brake valve. The car inspector would walk to the front of the train checking each car to see if the brakes applied on each car. On arrival at the head end he would ask the engineer if the leakage was ok and if it was to release the brakes. He then walked back to the rear end checking to see if the brakes released on each car. If the release was ok he would give the headend a high ball and we would leave town.

Yes, it applied on all railroads if they used the main track to make a move other then making a switching move with cars in your train. If you only had the caboose and was going to use the main you had to have an air test.

Also if you picked up cars those cars had to have an air test in most cases.

Steam or Diesel it was the same.

Maurice Lewman

Maurice worked the Michigan Division from 1947-1981. He then worked on the Bee Line from 1981-1992. From 1947 until august 1950, he worked on the section at Shirley and Markleville. In 1950 he started firing on steam and then on through the diesels. Maurice said, "I had the pleasure of working with C. C. Staley and Ron Buser many times."

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