All modern trains have one source of power, and four braking systems. Engine brake that can be operated independently, the automatic air brakes that apply and release on cars, dynamic brake and finally the handbrake. Overall, if the retarding effort available could be turned into power, there would be enough to put the train in orbit.
Here is what the carriers want to do: “Reducing the frequency of safety-sensitive air brake inspections would degrade safety and would place the lives of our members and the public at risk.” BLET Journal, September 2016.
The ARR petitioned the FRA for a waiver that would allow freight trains to travel up to 2,600 miles beyond current requirements of inspection every 1,500 miles.
The AAR intends to use a technology that surmises brake application causes the wheels to heat. They want to employ heat detectors the same as we use for finding overheated journals on specific cars, only detecting wheels that are too cool indicating inoperative brakes. ON A SPECIFIC CAR.
The purpose of the air brake tests they want to curtail will tell WHETHER THE BRAKES CAN BE APPLIED AT ALL!
Write your representatives and protest these proposed changes. WE have to be our own LOBBYISTS! We can't afford professionals like the carriers can. Otherwise, when a train scatters all over hell and back in your town, remember I tried to tell you.