Recently I overheard a crew ask what I considered to be a very good question. They were on a southbound train from the A&S to Dexter. They had to make a set out at Dupo and also again at Chester. The question was whether or not this would’ve required a Class 1 brake test on the entire train at Chester due to setting out two solid blocks. The short answer is no.

A careful reading of Air Brake and Train Handling Rule 30.3.1 Part B reveals why the answer is no. Just reading the bullet points could lead you to believe that a Class 1 is required, because it does say when setting out more than one solid block. However, the title of Part B contains the phrase, “At A Location”. In the case with this train, they set out one solid block at a location, Dupo. Later on, they set out one solid block at another location. After making the set out at Chester, only a Class 3 Application and Release would be required per ABTH Rule 30.7.1.

There is one important part about the work at Chester worth pointing that would have required a Class 1 on the entire train. Their set out was separated by one car that was supposed to stay with the train. So in reality they would have set out two solid blocks at Chester had they set the car over to pick back up. The dispatcher instructed them to leave the car at Chester with the set out. Because of this, they only set out one solid block. Now only an application and release would have been required.

Understanding when, what type, and the procedures for proper brake tests is crucial. Failure to perform a proper brake test or even perform one incorrectly can result in an incident and a possible decertification. A good source for knowing what type of test is required, and what is required for the various tests, such as a leakage test, air slip, etc. is the chart in ABTH Rule 30.10.1.

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