Posted by agedrooster24 on May 7, 2020 
I notice that these tank car trains are never directly couplet to the loco, at least I think this might be the case, and wonder if you more informed RR can elaborate.
Posted by SPBayAreaFan on May 8, 2020 
The car that is separating the locomotives from the tank cars is known as a buffer car. They are used to separate hazardous material from the locomotives as required by the FRA. They are supposed to help protect the crews in the event of a derailment by separating flammable materials from sources of ignition on the locomotives and give distance in the event of an explosions of the hazardous material cars. Oftentimes, railroads use older covered hoppers that have reached the end of their freight life but still have some useful years left and are loaded with sand and used as a buffer car.
Posted by Lucas MR on May 8, 2020 
Here in Brazil, this car between tank cars and the locomotive is called "Fireguard".
Posted by SES on May 8, 2020 
As a safety precaution, an empty 54ft covered hopper is always coupled between a tank car train loaded with flammables. This gives some measure of a safe distance and shielding between the power and crew should the unthinkable occur in an accident and the tank cars were to catch fire.
Posted by Bullet69 on May 8, 2020 
Depending on the volatility/hazard of the substance in the rail car, you must have a certain number of buffer cars between the locomotive and the rail car. Sometimes you need as many as 5 buffer cars between depending on the chemical being transported.
Posted by Tim Stevens on May 9, 2020 
Again I'll ask... where are you linking your photos to? 10,300+ views? Seems odd.
Posted by agedrooster24 on May 9, 2020 
I would like to thank the railfans for their post, I from time to time have questions of this type and appreciate your input.
Posted by agedrooster24 on May 9, 2020 
Tim, I have a Windows 10 Folder where I keep my Photos. I have several sub folders for special interests, like SP (my dad was a PFE employee for over 30 years), Conjon Pass, Tehachapi Pass, Seam and the like.
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