NEWS | Feb. 25, 2020

Rail Cars: Set the Hand Brakes to Stay Safe

Ft Hood rail head
Ft Hood rail head

Rollover accidents that involve rail cars get the attention of rail and unit personnel and possibly the local media—not something any unit wants. A rollover will damage cars and loaded military equipment, not to mention bring harm or death to personnel.
So avoid these accidents by keeping these pointers in mind before heading down the track:
  • While loading, Army rail personnel need to make sure the rail car’s hand brake is set.  This procedure is in the Air Brake and Train Handling (ABTH) Handbook, TC 55-88-1 (Mar 08). Eyeball Rule 3-3 on Pages 3-2 through 3-6. This training circular (TC) is available through the Army Publishing Directorate:   

    On pages 3-5 and 3-6 of the TC, there's a chart that determines the number of hand brakes to apply before a car is uncoupled from the locomotive and left unattended.
  • Secure the rail cars with wheel chocks if the hand brakes won’t hold the rail car in place.  You’ll find this guidance in Para 7.6 of the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR).   
Want more info on rail safety equipment?  Then go to this website:

Next, click on the catalog section and select the desired product category, such as Basic Spur Track Safety and Rail Yard Safety.