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Please could someone tell me how/when/why these were used in 1920-40 period ? Were they used instead of a brake van ?

Were they used on all trains ? Was there one per so many wagons? Or were they just to stop shunters freezing to death in yards ?

Any links gratefully received but my German is somewhat limited.

Thanks Billericaybill
 

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Hi Billy,

Their usage depended very much on the train. This is rather any in-depth topic but there are some simple rules (well kind of).

When looking at a wagon in isolation some had brakes, and some didn't. Those with brakes had either manual or automatic. By the 1920's all wagons had break lines, this was identified by the single white square on each corner. So if a wagon had brakes that were automatic it could still have had the brakemans hut but would have had two white boxes instead of the one.

Has to how many "braked" wagons in a train was dependant on the route, anywhere from 1 in 10 on the flat and 1 in five in steeper sections. But they could be interspersed throughout the train. So it wasn't a case of 1 braked, 4 un-braked.

One interesting fact was that when it was formed, the DRG was the single largest employer in the world at that time. Labour was cheap, and there are instances of brakemen freezing to death in the winter in the cabins, there was no insulation. Given that a train was limited to 128 axels, there is a possibility that up to 25 brakemen could have been on one train.

Trust this is of assistance.

John
 

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QUOTE (simonj @ 24 Sep 2008, 06:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>How come the British railways never had these, just a guards van. Did we always have automatic brakes?

***Heavens no - exactly the opposite really, but not so many hilly areas as europe I think.

Pre BR totally unfitted wagons (manual brakes only) were by far the majority.
This remained the case until after the formation of BR, and even then it took a long, long time to replace the hundreds of thousands of unfitted wagons with those having continuous brakes....

Train speed is always more about braking than horsepower of loco's, and freight trains would stop at the top and bottom of hills so the wagon brakes could be set on for control on the way down, and released once the flat was reached - average freight train speed point to point, especially for minerals, was not much better than walking pace (<<20mph when moving, and stopped often)

Richard
 
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