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  1. #1

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    What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    We were at DLR yesterday and it was not a good day for the trains. First, in the late morning, we had just boarded at Tomorrowland when the conductor announced that the train ahead of us was having 'mechanical difficulties' and we would have to hold for at least 10 minutes. That got me to thinking, what happens if an engine breaks down on the mainline? Do they bring another engine out to tow it in? I know that's what amtrak sometimes does, having been on a train that was limping along with two working engines dragging along two dead engines and the passenger cars....that was not a fun trip.

    Then, in the afternoon, we'd just gotten on at New Orleans when they announced that all the trains were being taken out of service. The conductor told us that someone's kid got their knee? leg? stuck in the Main Street Station platform's wrought iron bars and the paramedics had just gotten them out. Sigh.
    Last edited by Young at Heart; 09-20-2010 at 07:58 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    You get on this.


  3. #3

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Young at Heart View Post
    The conductor told us that someone's kid got their knee? leg? stuck in the Main Street Station platform's wrought iron bars and the paramedics had just gotten them out. Sigh.
    I'm always surprised what parents let their children do. I've seen other body parts get stuck at other theme parks as well.

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Young at Heart View Post
    Do they bring another engine out to tow it in?
    That is precisely what is done.

  5. #5

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    late morning, afternoon, and evening too. I was there in the eve and it was problems through a whole round trip. our conductor said "the train in front cant drive". so we were slugish throughout with loud anouncments.

    around 9:30 the rail was closed period. idk if it was 4 fireworks or not.

    so I geuss not a great day for DLRR.

  6. #6

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    That is precisely what is done.
    Steve, any insight as to how this is handled, especially with the block system?

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    The technology used to operate steam locomotives was developed in the 1820s.

    The typical lifespan of a steam locomotive was probably in the 20 - 30 year range--probably less. Some on-line calculators show that a steam engine has a lifespan of only 6 years, working 6 hours a day.

    The railroad's newest engines are 55 years old. The oldest one is 116, and has operated in three different centuries.

    And yet, the Disney engines still soldier on, and are still among the most reliable attractions in the Park.

  8. #8

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    When you tow a steam engine, do the drivers still turn?
    Is there like a neutral gear?


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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Druggas View Post
    When you tow a steam engine, do the drivers still turn?
    Is there like a neutral gear?
    Yep, there actually is a "neutral" gear, but you could still push or pull the engine if it was "in gear"--as long as the throttle wasn't opened against the direction you were pulling/pushing.

    Steam locomotives are actually pretty free-wheeling. Believe it or not, you could manually push one of the engines fairly easily on level ground. The locomotives don't have "parking brakes," and because they can move so easily, chains are often thrown under the drivers. So yes, the wheels will definitely roll on a stalled engine.

    All the engines have operating couplers on their pilots (The C.K. Holliday has a tow bar that would fit into a slot on the "knuckle" of the pulling coupler), and would be pulled around the track, until they pass the roundhouse lead swith, whereupon they would be backed in. All operating trains would be stopped at stations to unload, and once the stranded train is unloaded, it would be pushed back into the Roundhouse for servicing.

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Yep, there actually is a "neutral" gear, but you could still push or pull the engine if it was "in gear"--as long as the throttle wasn't opened against the direction you were pulling/pushing.

    Steam locomotives are actually pretty free-wheeling. Believe it or not, you could manually push one of the engines fairly easily on level ground. The locomotives don't have "parking brakes," and because they can move so easily, chains are often thrown under the drivers. So yes, the wheels will definitely roll on a stalled engine.

    All the engines have operating couplers on their pilots (The C.K. Holliday has a tow bar that would fit into a slot on the "knuckle" of the pulling coupler), and would be pulled around the track, until they pass the roundhouse lead swith, whereupon they would be backed in. All operating trains would be stopped at stations to unload, and once the stranded train is unloaded, it would be pushed back into the Roundhouse for servicing.
    Now that's a great post!


    This has been a Filmways presentation dahling.

  11. #11

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    You get on this.


    And Steve, great information, thanks.
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  12. #12

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    It's also worth noting that in the 3 years I worked at Disneyland I never once saw a train need to be towed back to the roundhouse.

    Monorails being towed on the other hand were a normal sight.

  13. #13

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Steve's answer was more informative but I liked Bob Weaver's answer.

  14. #14

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    The technology used to operate steam locomotives was developed in the 1820s.
    I used to work for a local tourist railroad here in Colorado--the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge. I was just in ticket reservations, but the manager was the wife of the head maintenance man. I vividly remember her saying that when a train breaks down, its not like the shop can run down to Autozone and pick up spare parts.

    The railroad had to fabricate every part that went on those steam engines (a total of five) in house. I would assume Disney has to do the same, but most likely outsources the fabrication of extra parts.

    It is simply an amazing feat that steam engines still operate today. I know the shop crew at the Durango & Silverton had many sleepless nights in the summer-time because they had to get those babies ready to be fired up in the morning. I bet Disney probably runs a little more well oiled machine than the place I worked though.

  15. #15

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    Re: What happens if a train breaks down on the mainline?

    So Steve, if the Main Street train broke down, they would unload all trains...
    Then what? Would they back the TL train until it was west of the roundhouse switch before sending out the engine to pull the MS train back to the roundhouse? What is the actual process? Because they would have to get the other trains out of the way.

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