coal cars colored ends

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storminorman

New Member
I'm certain someone in short time will be able to explain why coal cars have one end colored. It's often yellow, though I think I've seen orange at times as well. It would seem to me it's a quick visual indicator that lets you know that end has......controls, or mechanism of some sorts....
 

storminorman

New Member
So, tomorrow when I'm at work, and see another coal unit rolling down the line. When I grab my field glasses, and look down towards the coupler end, I should see something different from one end of the car to the other? I'm assuming when you say rotary this would imply a rotation occurs here? Aggghhh....beginning to dawn on me. This coupler, while connected to the one ahead of it, is the rotating part of it all. The entire car can be dumped by rotating it.... Someone send me to a video link if possible, I wanna see this in action.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
another trivia point: all of the colored ends must be heading the same direction for it to work. You'll never see 2 colored ends facing each other, nor 2 not-colored ends facing. Unless something is really wrong, or perhaps the cars are out of service and heading to a shop.
 

Jon Bentz

New Member
Some cars are equipped with rotary couplers on both ends in order to join cuts of cars facing different directions.
 

setxrailfan

John 3:16
another trivia point: all of the colored ends must be heading the same direction for it to work. You'll never see 2 colored ends facing each other, nor 2 not-colored ends facing. Unless something is really wrong, or perhaps the cars are out of service and heading to a shop.
After the EGSX and BNBX cars have had their annual inspection, many times we have had to "stripe" empty coal trains before they are ready to head back to the coal fields. We turn those cars that are out of sequence on the wye.
 

Rader Sidetrack

New Member
another trivia point: all of the colored ends must be heading the same direction for it to work. You'll never see 2 colored ends facing each other, nor 2 not-colored ends facing. Unless something is really wrong, or perhaps the cars are out of service and heading to a shop.
Some cars with rotary couplers also have bottom dump capability. This allows them to serve power plants that have bottom dump facilities or other plants that only have rotary facilities. So if a train of these is currently cycling to a bottom dump facility, the rotary ends do not necessarily face the same direction, and likely won't get reoriented until that set gets repurposed to a facility that only has a rotary dumper.

Here's a link with more info:
http://www.matts-place.com/trains/coal/car_types-dualpurpose.htm
 

storminorman

New Member
Thanks everyone for enlightening me on this matter. Those You Tube links were neat! I'd love to see the turner in real life sometime.Pretty cool...
 

CSXT700

CSXT 700 Lover now 4500
You'll never see 2 colored ends facing each other, nor 2 not-colored ends facing.
Not ture, see it all the time, especally now with train sets getting bigger over 125 cars. Some mines dont have the capacity to load more then that, and in the process of switching them out to load they get mixed up. Same holdes true for power plants that dont have extra track capacty to un load. All it means is that when the company goes to dump, they have to pay attention and seperate the cars before dumping.
 

nwkrailfan

New Member
Not ture, see it all the time, especally now with train sets getting bigger over 125 cars. Some mines dont have the capacity to load more then that, and in the process of switching them out to load they get mixed up. Same holdes true for power plants that dont have extra track capacty to un load. All it means is that when the company goes to dump, they have to pay attention and seperate the cars before dumping.
While that's true out in the east, you will rarely ever see two rotary (colored) ends facing each other. In the coal yard at North Platte on the UP they have a baloon track built specificly for this purpose. As they switch empty cars together into empty trainsets cars facing the wrong direction are gathered up and then ran around the baloon track, so they are facing the right direction.
 

HenryT

New Member
That video was quite cool. For those of us who don't work around trains, we never get to see that stuff. How long does it take to move a car into position, rotate it, and get another one into position?
 

kskcsfan

kskcsfan
Oh I love this subject! Back in 2008 I saw a UP coal train with a mix of cars with rotary couplers and hoppers, and cars with just rotary couplers, there was no hope for the people that had to dump them, there were so many non rotary ends coupled together it was sad. It would be yellow to yellow to non yellow to non yellow basically. 3 cars would have the ends facing east, then 5 facing west, then 2 east, 1 west and so on in no true pattern.
 




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