I don't think you'll get many takers for your definition brake van caboose, as a caboose never had the equipment to turn train brakes on and
off while a brake van did per your own explanation.
There is no argument that the caboose and brake van both supplied office
space and creature comforts for the train crew other than the locomotive
"The liberties of the people never were nor ever will be secure when the
I didn't actually say that a brake van had means of turning train
brakes on and off, that was someone else. The brake van had a brake
acting on the brake van wheels that could be applied by the guard,
same goes for the caboose.
With trains that had no continuous brakes, then when more brake effort
was needed than could be supplied by the engine and brake van the crew
had to apply brakes on the other wagons/cars in the train. In UK
proctice this had to be done from trackside with a stationary train,
the activity known as stop and pin down brakes. In US practice as I
mentioned this activity was done on the move using the roof walks. But
same job, same purpose.
Once the air/vacuum brake came into use brake control was transferred
to the loco driver and the brake van/caboose crew no longer had to do
it. The brake van had a valve and pressure gauge but these were not
used to control the train brakes but primarily to check that the
brakes were connected through to the engine and working. I would be
very surprised if cabooses were not equipped with a similar device.
With the demise of both caboose and brake van the brake test has to be
carried out remotely by the end of train device or by a crewmember
using the aircock on the last vehicle.
You are incorrect, at least with respect to the Rio Grande in the 1960s,
because all cabooses on that railroad had "the equipment to turn train
brakes on and off." It was in the form of a brake valve located within reach
of a brakeman sitting in the cupola. Originally, the brakemen could make
reductions just like the engineer until a runaway was caused by a brakeman
pissing away the air in the rear cars without the engineer's knowledge.
After that, the valve was modified so only an emergency application was
possible. The British caboose sounds like an American caboose to me.
On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:55:03 GMT, Froggy @ thepond..com wrote:
Well, a couple of days have passed and there seems to be a general similarity
brake vans and cabooses; enough to determine from the available information that
were, in fact, directly comparable with each other in a very large measure.
so that it would appear that they are the same things with minor differences not
amounting to much.
There may not be any living memory of cabooses as portable dormitories in the
My railroad memories go back to the first half of the 20th Century and I spent
years in the railway service in the second half. I have never used a caboose,
known of one being used, as anything but a place for a crewman to ride at the
the train. Bunks and such for laying-over out on line of road disappeared long
before I was born. I have never cooked, nor eaten, a meal cooked on a caboose. I
don't know anyone who ever has. I knew men who had worked on the railroad
during WW I and later, and none of them ever used a caboose as a rolling
As far as being the conductor's office; yes and no. Railway Conductors at one
may have conducted business for the Railway Company, but that was an extremely
time ago. In the east, maybe more than a hundred years. On through trains
nothing to do except ride to the end terminal. Waybills were once carried in a
pouch, but that went away in the '70s. Waybills were automated and no longer
to travel with the train. Working a local did involve a little bit of
nothing that could not be done on your lap while sitting in the locomotive.
was no real need for a conductor's office. Most of the time the conductor rode
the locomotive and the flagman rode in the caboose.
There was nothing "homey" or particularly enjoyable about riding in the caboose.
were hot as Hell in the summer and cold as Bimidji Minnesota in the winter, even
you weren't in Minnesota. If you were, it was even colder. They rattled and
pitched and rolled, and jerked and buffed with the slack-action. They were noisy
uncomfortable most of the time.
Still, I rode 'em and didn't complain. But the image of the caboose in North
(at least in the southeast quadrant) as the crew's home-away-from-home is a
myth perhaps inspired by images from the era of our grandfathers and
great-grandfathers. Certainly not in my life's experience.
Speaking of which, long before I heard Utah Phillips do "Moose Turd Pie",
Pop told me a story about the rule they had on the caboose that he who
complained about the food automatically volunteered to do the cooking; with
the punch line being the brakeman who said "This soup's too damned salty,
but that's just the way I like it." I recognized the old tale immediately
hte first time I heard Utah tell it, and "'s good, though." (following on
the exclamation "My Gawd, this's Moose Turd Pie . . . ") has long been a
catch phrase in our house.
Daddy, what's a train, is it something I can ride?
Does it carry lots of grownups and little kids inside?
Is it bigger than our house? Oh, how can I explain,
If my little boy should ask me, Daddy, what's a train?
(By the way, the title of that album is "Good Though".)
Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
of use of the word "fuck" is incapable of writing a good summary
On Fri, 09 Jun 2006 23:14:09 -0700, David Nebenzahl wrote:
"The captions also strengthen the impression of an efficient response. "A
U.S. Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crewman assists in search and rescue
efforts," says one, but look at the picture again. He's not assisting; he's
just staring out the window."
Well, yeah, dipshit. That's what you DO on SAR flights, at least when
you're not runnign the hoist of firing the M-60. I make no case for the
response of any government agency, and especially not for the judgment of
commercial "news" agencies, but having spent a lot of hours "looking out
the window", or more often the "back door", or cargo door of an H-3 over
the Tonkin Gulf, looking for people like the A-4 pilot who went in off the
cats from the USS Hancock on the very last launch of their Yankee Station
deployment. Since we had started two hours before, right over the fireball
his plane made on the second bounce, there wasn't much chance we'd find
him, but we kept looking. I found a helmet and a LOX bottle and some maps,
along with a lot of scraps of insulation, but the pilot was probably still
strapped into what was left of his Scooter.
Why, with a zero-zero rocket ejection seat, he never punched out in the 15
seconds or so he had from the time he lost power on the cat (I saw his
wingtip lights go out halfway down the track) I'll never know. But I DO
know your source for slamming Wiki is no more, and very probably far less,
than a reliable one.
During my Navy years I made 2 deployments to WesPac, on a DE
escorting a carrier both times. In each case the carrier lost a plane
and crew during flight ops. We had to search around the crash sites
trying to locate whatever bits and pieces were salvageable. In one case
I recall that the pilot's helmet was found but with nothing inside it,
and some other bits of flotsam were pulled in with sort of green organic
bits of material stuck to it.
Based on those two cruises it makes me wonder if losing a plane and
crew is something that occurs regularly on a deployment. We never hear
about it in the news. Each of those Navy fighters costs us taxpayers a
good chunk of change whenever one is lost like that.
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 21:16:44 -0500, Rick Jones wrote:
I wondered if he at least had got the canopy open and the impact threw the
helmet off, or if it just flew out in the general breakup of the plane.
After his tip and tail lights went out there was a little spark on the
water a couple hundred yards ahead of the ship (Hancock was an old Essex
class 27C angle-deck conversion CVA), which was already going into the
S-turn maneuver initially away from and then immediately toward the crashed
aircraft that throws the screws away from a possible pilot in the water
(not only an S turn, but has a name - Polish? - that starts with S; anyone
recall the name for that maneuver?), followed by a huge flash and fireball
another 50 yards past that.
By the way, the A-4 (officially called the Skyhawk, originally the A4D for
Douglas's fourth attack design, and intially intended to be a basically
one-way atomic bomb carrier, and more commonly called the Scooter because
it was so small, was NOT a fighter; I've always bridled at the ignoramuses
who called the S-3 that that sleazoid sniveler Bush rode in while a carrier
qualified pilot landed it on the Abraham Lincoln a "jet fighter" - it's
an antisubmarine aircraft.
(many more at http://www.folkmusic.com/t_mp3.htm )
Maybe they hit a sea snake? <g> They were our greatest fear in ditching,
and flying at our altitude and speed on the way up to North SAR station we
saw a lot of them swimming in groups, some of them seemed to be over 6 feet
long. Also, there are probably a lot of flakes of zinc chromate primer
flying around in any aircraft crash - most of the interior surfaces are
covered with it.
Rick, it has been a week and to my surprise, no one has responded. So
I will reach back almost thirty years to my time at sea. The answer
in my experience is "Yes." Even under normal conditions, Naval
Aviation is a damned difficult and dangerous way to make a living. My
first tour was on an oiler operating out of Subic, servicing the line
from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Gulf of Thailand. Aside from combat
casualties, it was not uncommon for an air wing to loose a flight
One trip back to Subic to load liquid cargo, we were moving deadstick
from the ammo anchorages off Kalakalan Point to the POL pier when a
Marine F-8 doing touch and goes at Cubi went in just off our stern as
we lined up to go along side the pier. Our MWB crew fished the helmet
with what remained of the pilot out of the drink. If I recall
correctly we later heard it was some sort of power failure, not pilot
error. What that man did was to ride his blowtorch into the drink and
guie it away from a floating bomb, sacrificing hmself and sparing 150
of us and I don't know how many Filipinos and Americans ashore, had he
hit the feul facility.
Later I served in both USS Constellation and USS America and we lost
aircraft in those peacetime deployments. In 1979, my wife's cousin's
husband died when the F-4 he was RIO in hit the round-down on the
Independence during carrier workups in the Carib.
As a civilian working for the Navy for twenty-five years, I saw far
too many young men (and now a few women) die in very spectacular ways
that did not garner much press coverage. Seems our mainstream media
doesn't think it worthy of coverage. Unless you live in a community
with a large military base, like as not you will never hear of how our
sons and daughters risk their lives every day, and not just in the war
So, in memory of Butch Franklin, and too many others who have died in
our service, I have to stop my initial reaction of complaining
whenever the "sound of freedom" (jet noise) interrupts my solitude,
and remind myself to say "Thanks."
And yes, it's a whole hell of a lot of tax dollars. But those bucks
are better spent than the money we spent to pay for liposuction and
other crap after Katrina.
On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 18:45:24 -0600, Rich Sullivan wrote:
Yes, a ramp strike WILL ruin your whole day even more than a collision at
sea. I was glad that the only traps I ever made were riding in the back of
a COD, and that our normal mode of landing involved a gentle flare into a
hover and settling onto the deck. But a squadron mate of mine was killed
in a takeoff, when a squadron commander newly transitioned from fixed wings
took a bird overloaded with mechs and cruise boxes destined for a
detachment on one of the CVAs off the port elevator, moved over the
catwalks to port before the bird rose up out of ground effect; the sudden
loss of ground effect as he moved out over 90 feet of air dropped them
right into the sea with rotors clipping the catwalks in the way.
Miraculously no-one was killed on deck and everybody in the bird got out
except Tom (he was standing, wearing a gunners belt; no seats left for him,
not even the flimsy Mac seats along the port side of the cargo cmpartment.
Maybe in a civilian outfit somebody would have told the three striper he
wasn't really ready to be A/C in such a situation, but the military ethos
added onto the normal corporate reluctance to piss off the guy who signs
your efficiency report made that a never happen situation. One H-3, one
senior E-6, several cruise boxes full of tools and spares, and several
seabags full of clothes gone.
Or the lives and money the NeoCon chickenhawks in the White House invested
in turning a bastardly dictator's country into the breeding ground for a
new branch of Al Qaeda that wasn't there before. Oh yeah - I forgot:
it's part of the War On Terror. Yep, the REAL one we were fighting in
Afghanistan before we put it on the back burner so we could open a new
front in Iraq. That makes it OK - it makes anything OK, even
declassifying the identity of a covert intelligence agent when it suits
your political advisor's purposes.
I've heard this suggestion before that the U.S. is the cause of all the
hardships and terrorism in Iraq. The troops who are actually there as
well as may Iraqis closely involved with the troops don't seem to agree
with the sentiment but for the sake of discussion; the U.S. has troops
stationed literally all over the world. I even talked to a soldier on
leave last spring who was stationed in Egypt which came as a surprise to
me. Why then is there so much terrorist activity mostly in Iraq? We were
told by the more liberal minded side of the issue that Al Qaeda was
never there and had no interest in the country, yet, there they are. Are
they upset that we took out Saddam? Why would that be? We were also told
they had no connections to him either, yet they seem to want him
restored to power.
Steve, I'm not claiming to know where your opinion comes from, but there
are questions such as those above that the national news media won't
touch yet are only fair to take into consideration when talking about
whether this war was justified or not. As for me, as long as majority of
troops give it a thumbs up, I'll stand with, in support, and completion
of the effort.
On Sun, 18 Jun 2006 09:33:53 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I don't believe that's what I wrote or implied. The nardships and
terrorism find their engines in the long suppressed Shiia majority, with
its strong element of fundamentalist fanaticism; the newly dispossessed
Sunni minority, with a lesser but equally fanatical fundamentalist element
(Wahabist, like bin Laden); both want to impose their particular theocratic
views on everybody else and implement Sharia law with the main difference
being whose mullahs or ayatollahs sit on those kangaroo courts. There are
also a fair number of just plain crooks and thugs, both those who were
suppressed by Saddam's police state, and those who ran it; these want to
grab, or grab back, as much as they can, and revel in and require
lawlessness and instability. The Kurds want the return of their land and
homes that were stolen in the ethnic cleansing "Arabization" efforts of
Saddam that resulted in mainly Sunnis dispossessing them; this on top of
the long history of suppression of Kurds by every government in the area.
The war was unnecessary at the time, and certainly distracted us from
completing a TRUE "war on terror" (gawd - Rove's Orwellian Newspeak makes
me gag!) in Afghanistan that had at least some chance of damaging a large
part of bin Laden's organization and their Taliban sympathizers. Instead
we divided our forces (more like a 90/10 "division") and went off on
shirker Georgie's snipe hunt for WMDs that most of us were pretty sure were
not there, and then proceeced to totally screw the pooch.
Bush's coterie of armchair generals and Christian Reconstructionists (look
up Rushdoonie - a real freak show, a Christian Ayatollah) and NeoCons and
wealthy tax-break hogs insisted on doing it on the cheap, and drove Eric
Shinseki to retire, and other generals to keep their mouths shut. So we
went in without anything more than NeoCon chickenhawk fantasies that out
troops would be welcomed with flowers, not enough troops to impose order
and provide safety so people could queue up for food and gasoline without
getting shot or blown up, not enough actual workers (as opposed to top tier
contractors like KBR/Halliburton/et al.) to restore telephones and
electricity and clean water and oil production. All of which did nothing
to win the hearts and minds of any secular or at least non-fundamentalist
Iraqis who might have been on the fence, and we certainly don't have the
manpower to, in Lyndon Johnson's terms, grab Iraq by the portion of the
male anatomy that would ensure their hearts and minds will follow.
I don't know if you've ever been in the military, but I can testify that
"the troops" get enough indoctrination that coupled with natural needs for
unit cohesion and justification of personal risk, they are not necessarily
the best source of a balanced view of what's going on. And whatever their
sacrifice, how honorable their service, the stains of Abu Ghreib (when will
the military AND CIVILIAN architects of that horror show be brought to
justice, instead of just a few "enlisted pukes" as we used to be called?)
or the apparent other horrors and the many minor stupidities of ordinary
scared and stressed troops inadequately acculturated and sorely lacking in
translators, and often (especially the Guard) poorly supplied, do our
nation's best wishes more harm not only with Iraqis but with a large part
of the Islamic world and a fair part of the rest.
Quite an accomplishment for a party boy, draft dodger (jumping queue into a
country club NG slot and THEN not even completing THAT minimal servce,
counts as draft dodging in my book), multiple times failed business
figurehead and only by grace of family influence UNconvicted inside trader.
The man's a coward and a liar, and no amount of pseudo good old boy
folksiness and born again blather will change it. Anyone who declassifies
the identity of a serving intelligence agent for petty political revenge
deserves to be court martialed for treason. Impeachment, not court
martial, you may say? Then tell the sneaky little creep to stay the hell
out of flight suits and not let his PR goons imply he "landed" on hte
braham Lincoln, rather than riding along in the front seat.
Of the two lost planes I previously mentioned during cruises in my
Navy years, one was a plane that missed the cables on landing, failed to
get full thrust back on, and bounced off the flight deck and into the
water. The other loss was on takeoff. Allegedly the plane rolled over
and the pilot ejected straight down into the water in front of the carrier.
As I mentioned before, I saw neither of these occur and these are
just stories that went around during the search for survivors and
pieces, so take them with a healthy dose of NaCl.
I have two kids who are in the Navy.
Oldest is a 'nuke, now on George Washington (CVN 73). Previously he served
as a nuke on Stennis amd TRoosevelt. Has about 16 years in. He's 34.
He hasn't been on a cruise (short duration, 2 months or so doing workups) or
a deployment, (6 months or more) where the air wing hasn't lostr planes and
aircrew to weather / maintence / mechanical failure / pilot error.
His little brother (age 27) is a very very junior super bug driver.
I worry a lot.
Naval aviation is very, very, very dangerous, even is nobody is actively
shooting at the aircraft.
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