This page is just to explain the rules that I use for the safe operation
of a railroad handcar.

First, people can only ride on the rear (of the direction of travel)
and middle only. I don't like running people backwards as people like
to look backwards and they lose their balance.

Rule #1 - keep your hands on the pumper arm at all times & NEVER LET GO!

If I was to use some braking, I do it slowly. Another
reason is that if we hit a rock or bump, you are stable
and have a less of a chance of falling and/or losing your
balance. If you lose your balance, you can fall into the
rocking pump arm.

Rule #2 - Place your feet away from the motion of the rocker arm, but not to fall off the platform!

The pumper arm, when down on either side is lower than the
knee to the foot. This can and will crush your leg! The
equipment is unforgiving. It will crush you. Also, if someone
starts moving their feet, then they also may take one step too far back.
I modified a handcar at work used for a tourist railroad to
prevent this. I added a 2x4 that was 'lipped' above the platform
like an 'L' on it's back so a person would NOT keep 'sliding'
their feet backwards...mistakingly off the platform.

Rule #3 - If you want to stop, let me know. Do not move your feet or let go!

People become 'tired' and want to let go for a second. It is my
duty to keep an eye on all people to work as a group and if
someone wants to stop or is uncomfortable, to stop (or control
the speed). If someone let's go, I slowing bring it to a stop.

I'll hold the brake firm before allowing anyone on/off the handcar.
Once everyone is on the handcar, I will move it slowly to show them
the strokes and how the bar travels. Depending on the group, depends
what speed I allow. Most people enjoy the motion rather than the speed.

I control the speed with the brake to make sure people are able to keep
their hands on the pump arm. People are good about communicating about
the speed, especially after I point out the dangers.

I hope this helps. Since Fall 2001, the safe operation of my handcar
has taught me these rules I have made up. I hope everyone else can benefit.