What Are Fall Plates? Definition, Meaning and Concept
Drop plates are large, hinged pieces of metal that are made to cover the gaps between rail locomotives and the tender, which is the next unit directly behind it. These two pieces are connected by large hooks or bolts. Numerous wires and cables will also connect between the two, leaving two different types of hazards that railway crews have to deal with. The fall arrest plate effectively covers these risks, as well as allowing railway crew members to walk from one part of the train to another through them.
The way the drop plate works is that because they are hinged, they can be lifted out of the way when units are hooked up. Before the locomotive starts to back up along the tracks, the plate will be raised so that it is out of the way of the crew which ensures the connection is solid and secure. Once the cars are connected to the main engine, or engines, the cables will be connected to each other and tested to make sure they are working properly. Having the drop plate in its upright position allows easy access for people working on the links, allowing them to complete their tasks while standing, rather than having to crawl under the large metal plate. The drop plates will lower and lock into place,
Since the drop plates could become a walking hazard for crew members, they have been designed so that all edges are eliminated. This is usually done by beveling so that when closed they form more of a ramp than a step. This makes walking on them easy and safe because even if the person is in a hurry, there are no large pieces of metal to cause a fall. Edge liners can also be placed over the ends to help cover produced lips, as well as protruding hinges if they have been installed on the top edge rather than below. These plates add security and comfort between the locomotive and the tender. The more engines are placed on the train,