It seems like releasing a handbrake from the ground would be safer than climbing the ladder. Do I really need to climb the ladder?

Thanks for the question Randy!

Chuck answered, “Yes you do. Releasing a rail car brake (airbrake or handbrake) can allow the car to move, either from gravity or from compressive forces within the draft mechanism. Standing foul of the equipment (which is most often the case when releasing cars equipped with handbrakes that are located on the car end from the ground) places the operator in danger of being crushed should the car move. Either board the car or use a brake stick to release hand brakes that are located on car ends.”