Poling? Was it ever used in SA?

  xdford Chief Train Controller

The 720 class in particular were notably fitted with poling sockets, effectively dimples. on the pilot beam where poles could be used to shunt wagons and cars in parallel sidings in push mode. It was probably not the safest of practices but was it used say in the 30's and 40's?  

What piqued my interest was finding out that the passing siding at Pt Elliot (?) was removed leaving a siding either leading or trailing siding so I am interested to know how was it worked?  Probably there was relatively little traffic anyway from this station but I think some interesting movements might have been necessary.

Info would be worthwhile!



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  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Trevor I have never seen any photos of it being done here and as the 720's were the only locomotives with poling pockets I doubt it was ever done at all here. I think what happened with the 720's was that the front buffer beam was a standard American off the shelf purchase and the frame or maybe just the pilot beam was ordered straight out of a catalogue or something. In all the photos I have seen recently in the NRM old photos I have never seen it attempted, but that does not mean that it was not tried though.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner


Regarding Pt Elliot: The siding was a loop with a facing switch at the up end. The level crossing was protected by hydraulic (Buda) boom barriers.

The up direction facing switch got removed when the level crossing was "improved" with train actuated lights.

I recall the booms and the switch but the home signals had long gone.

On the SAR there was a lot of horse shunting with pictures of the practice still occurring in the 60s; think Kapunda and Burra.

Tractors (rubber tyred)  took over and I have seen that done.

The poling sockets were probably a hang over from the "standard" pattern used for the castings since they came for the USA.

  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
There was an article in AMRM of a 500 DE class shunting a siding and using a model pole to spot a car. The layout's name is escaping me right now but there was another article recently referring to it in the past tense.

That's a long shot, but I had always worked on the assumption that ex-SAR now-modellers were simply recreating what had been done in (almost certainly prohibited) practice.

Although the lack of poling pockets on basically all SAR locos brings that a bit into doubt now.
  hosk1956 Deputy Commissioner

Location: no where near gunzels
Trevor, I have had a look thru the 1910, 1938, 1948 and 1973 SAR General Appendix to the Rule Book's that I have and none make any mention of "poling" or "pole shunting" or the use of "poles", the American "poles" I believe were something like 12' long x 4" diameter Oak with steel bands at the ends, I certainly have never seen any laying around the yards or Islington, and as you well know, Islington was a treasure trove of old stuff before the great ANR(C) clean out. Funny enough though Trevor, when I googled "pole" and "shunting" all manner of electrical gobble de gook came up about "poles" and "shunts" that would have related to your Electrical era, but no "pole shunting".
It would not have been a form of shunting that I would have liked to participate in, the thought of holding some heavy beam up and in place in one poling socket and aim it towards an approaching socket like some medieval knight in a jousting contest sounds a lot to scary for me,.
I believe the 720's were the only engines so fitted (500 class diesels certainly weren't), for it to be used for shunting a similar "socket" would have to be fitted to wagons being shunted and that certainly wasn't the case.
I thought that the bible's may have mentioned which stations had horses to see if Pt Elliot was allocated one but I couldn't find any reference.
Catch you soon.


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