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Boilers & Accidents

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by johnofwessex, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Indeed, but you are trained to manage such situations as best you can. I am always reluctant to run with a lower water level as you never know other issues (dodgy injectors, foaming etc) will not occur and with a reasonably full boiler you at least have some reserve. But as you say this is theory and practice is ofter somewhat different.

    Water in SA is rubbish in many areas and I believe that many locos have "priming discs" on their outer cylinder walls which will "blow" before the end covers get damaged. This does rather suggest that it was a serious problem out there.

    Peter
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The Perception on the Gettysberg Railroad was that, if you had less water in the boiler, it would produce steam at a higher rate (less water to boil). I lump these two ideas in the same category of ignorance.
     
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  3. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    In David Wardale's trials with Red Devil, he describes foaming and priming as being a "curse".
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Then the poor old driver has no excuse. The buck stops there.
     
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  5. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'm guilty of that. It does depend on what the fireman is saying, though. Coming into Pickering, light engine from New Bridge with 3/4 hr to train time, the fireman was letting the cleaner fire. "You need to be able to reach the front", the fireman said to the cleaner "as it won't steam if you don't." I immediately said, "if you put coal there now it will make black smoke and don't do it. " We then attached to the train and the cleaner coupled up whilst I spoke to the guard. I could hear the fireman using the shovel and I turned round to see thick black smoke coming from the chimney. I went to the cab and said to the fireman, , "What did I say about putting coal at the front?" " I don't know my own strength" was his response. I was not a happy chappy.
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I can think of one occasion as a fireman while driving that I really wish I had stepped in earlier with the driver (who was firing). But it's not the easiest thing to do because you are upsetting the natural hierarchy, and you tend to think the driver should be more skilled than you are. By contrast, I find advising when I am driving and a cleaner is firing somewhat easier. Quite often if I am driving and the cleaner is firing, it's likely that you have discussed in advance with the driver whether he is going to closely supervise the cleaner or not, and then adjust accordingly.

    I remember one day that was a formal training turn, in which I was driving all day, and the cleaner was firing all day, with an inspector observing. It was a Santa service, which aren't the easiest to fire, because you had a complete variety of running: light engine to Horsted; normal speed ECS back; then a low speed crawl to Horsted; long wait; run back; another low speed run and back; then a normal speed ECS and back light engine in the dark. The boiler control there is a bit out of the ordinary, so not the easiest in the world, with lots of stops and starts. Anyway, the cleaner was making a decent job of it; pressure on the mark when it was needed; no blowing off; water space when we arrived at stations and had to sit around for long periods - there was very little you could say. So I said very little, and then got lightly criticised in the debrief for not supervising my fireman enough!

    Every trip is different ...

    Tom
     
  7. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    There is another classic misconception about firing - if you are doing the job properly strength does not come into it, especially on a heritage railway. You might need a bit of stamina at times but there are plenty of feek and weable firemen like me who manage just fine. You soon learn that skill not strength is what is required - although some people never grasp that fact.

    Peter
     
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  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    It is sometimes beneficial for things to go wrong on a training turn purely so your trainer can see you do it! Although in my case in guard training having to stop the train using 4 different methods all in the same day because something or other had gone wrong each time (none my fault) was perhaps a little over the top...
     
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  9. peckett

    peckett Member

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    Don't know the water quality in SA but the engines were blown down several times a day. Please see photo , 19D 2683 being blown down on a special at Groot River Bank.09/10/1996.Garratt 4122 behind. L M S 8 F S allocated to the Toton to Brent coal trains were also fitted with a hand operated blow down valves. ,they had a large X underneath the cab number. It was banned from being used at Wellingboro shed. Nearby residents complained of the noise. Ether this was all day or just at night I cannot remember. This was in conjunction with water softening plants which were installed at Toton, Wellingboro,' Cricklewood and Kettering sheds ,and water troughs en route.
     

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  10. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor New Member

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    I don't often pick up the shovel, I had 19 years as a Fireman and I've done enough to satisfy me quite frankly. When you are firing, you are mentally driving as well so you never really relax. A couple of times I have fired to another Driver, that was just like old times, I relaxed, lobbed the coal in and enjoyed the run. It was nice not thinking about what was going on over the other side of the cab at all.
    My preference is to get the Fireman to drive and instruct the Cleaner. It means your mate isn't just getting a go, but learning the wider responsibillties of the job and learning to see it from your point of view, It also means you are better placed to intervene in either case if things start going off piste. I just stand out of the way shut up and let them get on with it. Also it's a bit unfair for the Cleaner if the Driver uses one of his goes. Lastly driving and firing under instruction are a privelege and shoud be be earnt.

    I had an Inspector covering a firing turn with me and I had to refer to the water level, no matter that he outranked me, I was still in charge as the booked man. Slightly embarrassing for me though. Oh and I drove all day too.

    One of my little pep talks to Cleaners is that they will hear differing ways of doing the job and to make their own mind up. Ultimately the Driver is right even if he is wrong as he is responsible. The crews must also do as the Inspectors say even if you mght disagree with it.

    I used the time before passing for driving to work out what sort of Driver I wanted to be.
    I am not a particularly assertive person but the grade and rule book takes care of that.
    I remembered that the Drivers I liked firing to were the ones that sat in the corner, shut up and operated the controls, so I do that. The Fireman is qualified and doesn't need to be micromanaged. If I need to say something I will.

    Lots to this trains malarkey.
     
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  11. Romsey

    Romsey Member

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    In some areas the water quality was abysmal.
    It was regular practice for locos to stop and "blow down" when departing shed to work a train. It was not unknown for boilers to be blown down at fire cleaning stops. ( They were frequent due to the high ash content coal.)

    A quick look at the book about class 25 and 25NC locos by Phil Girdlestone (Camels and Cadillacs) recorded that the 25NC class had a boiler washout every two weeks, but the condensers had a boiler washout every four weeks. I don't know what water treatment was used on SAR, if any.

    Cheers, Neil
     
  12. guycarr360

    guycarr360 Member

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    Don't know if this has been posted before, but worth a look

     
  13. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Indeed it has - see #155. Very interesting viewing.

    Peter
     
  14. 240P15

    240P15 Well-Known Member

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  15. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There's a little bit here:

    https://archive.org/stream/locomotiveengine10hill/locomotiveengine10hill#page/409/mode/1up

    I like the text (my emphasis):

    The curious accident illustrated herewith, where one locomotive was thrown down upon the top of another one, was caused by a boiler explosion. The engine was standing in the same position as engine "36", i.e., end to end, when the boiler exploded and it was turned completely over and landed in the position shown in the photograph.

    It was afterwards transported twenty miles back to the shop in the position shown. At the time of the explosion there were two men on each engine, and all escaped without injury. The accident happened four years ago near Christiania, Norway. We are indebted to Mr. W. J. McCarrol, of Philadelphia, Pa., for photograph and account of the accident.
    Tom
     
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  17. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    I knew it went back to the shed like that, but twenty miles? Obviously, I have been misinformed and they don't have many overbridges or tunnels in Norway!
     
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  18. 240P15

    240P15 Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know one of the drivers broke his leg when he was thrown out of engine no.11 (laying on top of engine no.36 ). Engine no.11 (build by Stephenson by the way) was withdrawn after this accident in 1888 ,probably as the first locomotive in Norway.

    Knut:)
     
  19. guycarr360

    guycarr360 Member

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    Would also recommend this book, think it is out of print at moment, covers many boiler explosions in the USA, based on the experieinces of a Road Foreman, and his escapades with the recovery team.
     

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  20. Tim L

    Tim L New Member

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    Back to the original question as to how boilers behave in accidents...

    There was an unfortunate incident in Victoria, Australia in 2002, when locomotive K183 collided with a loaded B-double semi-trailer at a level crossing. The collision caused the tender to be carried forward into the rear of the cab roof, pushing the cab roof forward so that it impacted the safety valve assembly over the firebox. This resulted in failure of the bolts attaching the safety valve and a high pressure steam leak into the cab. The driver, fireman and footplate visitor were killed. The loco came to rest on its side, and the fusible plugs partially fused due to being uncovered.

    Full investigative report here: https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2002/rair/rair2002003/
     

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