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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:00 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:05 am
Posts: 399
k5ahudson wrote:
Too bad the photo he posted is mine. I took the photo at the Ohio Central shop in 2001 only a few days before 9/11.


Well... aahhhh......nooooo...... J David can pretty much use my photo as a "WANTED" poster for his missing piece. It looks like JD got the middle piece with the knuckle crack slit open which helped mitigate the kerboomability factor of the failure.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:15 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1225
Location: Strasburg, PA
M Austin wrote:

helped mitigate the kerboomability factor of the failure.

Got a formula to share for calculating “the kerboomability factor” in worn out, low watered boilers? I imagine "minimum safe distance" would be a variable in that equation.

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:11 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:00 pm
Posts: 37
While an interesting story, I doubt the veracity of the stories that ADMIV related in his post. Having spent my fare time switching 'em out around the coffee pot (or 5th), the exaggeration and romance of dangerous exploits will occur. Of course, there is always a modicum of truth in a story, but speaking from my personal experiences, I doubt that the lines mentioned were as seat of the pants as indicated.

If this was a one off comment I would not feel that, "...we all know that a coat of paint and high personnel morale can still mask internal flaws." was flip, however, taken in the context of previous posts, I feel that it is a disservice to most of the railroad professionals past and present in the industry. The "...military-style regimentality..." is followed by shortlines as well as the major railroads alluded to.

Having worked for two shoestring operations and a class one railroad, there were times when something had to be wired up, chained up and/or patched to get to the end of the run, but never at the expense of passengers, or the safety of the staff.

As for 1278, F. Nelson Blount's favorite boomer locomotive (where didn't it go?), I expect that if it does become a parts source for 1293 (first steam loco I rode), it won't end up like its past stablemate CNR 3377.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8302
Location: Baltimore, MD
For the record, I, too, witnessed firsthand some of the events described, including a 50-mile round-trip to Mt. Holly Springs behind 3254 spontaneously turned into a mixed train, taking freight on the back end, and THEN meeting the regular run at Biglerville, letting the 76 and its two cars couple to the back of the "mixed," and the whole she-bang running back to Gettysburg as a "Pushmi-Pullyu" train with a steamer at each end. And we haven't mentioned the homebuilt bilevel "open car," made from a bilevel auto carrier. Had we given them long enough, I wouldn't have put it past them to home-build a locomotive or "doodlebug".

And I saw the bad days of the Penn Central, including one local derailing THREE times in one trip on my local branch line.

And the closest I've ever been to a real serious crash--a collision averted by emergency braking and a mere six feet--was on one of the most professionally run excursion lines out there.

I'll fully concede that at least some of the tales of yore of old short lines and their slipshod, hackneyed operations probably suffer from a degree of embellishment akin to the fisherman describing the one that got away. Beebe, Clegg, Reid, and even Morgan were more storytellers than they were historians. But I would also suggest that some memories of the "well-run" short lines meticulously maintaining old equipment are equally embellished with "rose-colored glasses."

Whether we like it or not, there were railroads throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries run pretty much like the Gettysburg was run--haphazardly, ineffectively, and unsafely, whether because of wanton disregard or simple poverty. They perished, for good reason. But a lot of what we revere today exists because they couldn't or didn't scrap the old lokie, coach or combine for more modern gear. No modern excursion or freight operation should be run in that fashion in the 21st century, but it's not beneath us to acknowledge, and maybe wax a little nostalgically upon, the "Slow Train to Yesterday" or "Toonerville Trolley" in our history and exhibits. I'm glad I got to experience that last gasp of "old-time railroading" for myself with no harm save for cinders in my eyes, but at the same time I'm somewhat glad that to replicate it again today I'd have to charter a railroad and pay them to do things like a "flying switch," picking up freight, etc.--if they were even willing.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1597
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
There was nothing to applaud or be grateful for in what I witnessed when Wes Camp and I inspected the property immediately after this incident.

To even hint at glorifying any aspect is a complete disconnect from reality.

The falsified Federal paperwork alone should have resulted in jail time, never mind the shameful physical condition of the equipment and the totally under trained crews.

We're just very fortunate that this incident wasn't far worse as it was certainly VERY close to being that, and that hopefully it did cause an improvement industry wide there after.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:12 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:00 pm
Posts: 37
Like Ricky Gates at Gunpow, sometimes it takes a tragedy or near tragedy to awaken the rest in an industry. A dangerous industry at times yes, even in the safest environments. The real accident that ended my operating career was on perfect track with a brand new locomotive, and was caused by the competition ignoring grade crossing protection.

The two shoestring operations I worked for did maintain their equipment to exacting standards, over 10 years prior to the sad event on the Gettysburg Railroad. I've been on locals that have derailed more than once, and I was fortunate enough to have started railroading when it was the norm to do a flying switch, or dropping cars by instead of using a passing track a mile or so away.

In that light, I take personal umbrage to the accusation that I wear "rose colored glasses" when reflecting on the formative years of my railroading career. It is this kind of smarmy know-it-all attitude from individual Monday Morning Football Players (covers both sides of the pond) in the rail-enthusiast field that has made the word "railfan" a pariah in the eyes of many professionals working in the real railroad industry.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:08 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 944
As the former general manager of the successor company of the Gettysburg Railroad for several years, I can attest to the fact that the GRR did a lot of things the quick and dirty and cheapest way possible. For example, they purchased "post" ties, the ones suitable only as fence posts, and put them in track. We found pressure-treated 6 x 6's in used as switch timber. They used completely worn out track bolts in scrap-quality joint bars when building new track. They used shale as ballast, which turned to dirt quickly. They never saw a compromise joint bar, instead just used the smaller size joint bars and shims. I spent an awful lot of time and money and energy correcting a multitude of shoddy repairs. The original company was offered state funding on several occasions to upgrade track and facilities, all of which was turned down because the owners did not want to open its books to state scrutiny.

During the first winter I was there, we shopped the infamous double-deck open car. When we rolled the first truck out, we instantly discovered why the car rode so poorly. Several coil springs were broken, and the snubbers were completely worn out to the point that the truck bolster was striking the side frames. Replacing the springs and snubbers on both trucks, which took very little time and expense, took care of it. We spent an awful lot of time, on the other hand, repairing or rebuilding rotten window sash and sills, cutting out rotted side sheets and welding in new steel and making vestibules and steps safe for use. How the previous owners could allow passengers to ride in this equipment is beyond me even today!


Last edited by G. W. Laepple on Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 387
Location: Bowie, MD
That double decker car was the roughest, loudest ride I've ever had the pleasure to experience. Shoot, I think it was louder than the helicopters I flew in during my Navy days.

I rode on that car sometime after 1992 and before 1995. I put my wife in the first coach and walked back to stand in front of 1298 as it pushed the train. I knew nothing of steam locomotive operation, but was struck by how exhaust from each stroke escaped out the edges of the smoke box cover. I believe I shot photos; now I need to dig through a large box of prints to see if I can find them.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:58 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 11:22 am
Posts: 77
Location: Northeast Pa.
I thought that double deck car rode so poorly because they were freight car trucks and there wasn't really any load on the car. Rode like a fork truck - no suspension.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:37 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:30 am
Posts: 542
M Austin wrote:
k5ahudson wrote:
Too bad the photo he posted is mine. I took the photo at the Ohio Central shop in 2001 only a few days before 9/11.


Well... aahhhh......nooooo...... J David can pretty much use my photo as a "WANTED" poster for his missing piece. It looks like JD got the middle piece with the knuckle crack slit open which helped mitigate the kerboomability factor of the failure.

"Well... aahhhh......nooooo"??? Sorry, but I did take that picture in the upper storage loft of the Ohio Central shop at Morgan Run in early September of 2001. You can see steam locomotive parts, including a safety valve, in the background.
I originally posted the photo on another site in 2004, which is where I assume the poster in this thread got it from. http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?n ... nsheet.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:19 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:05 am
Posts: 399
k5ahudson wrote:
Sorry, but I did take that picture in the upper storage loft of the Ohio Central shop at Morgan Run in early September of 2001. You can see steam locomotive parts, including a safety valve, in the background.


Sincerest apologies.... After digging through albums I found photos I took of JDC's piece. His was a corner piece, not the center. This was probably taken in the late 1990's. I don't remember when or how your photo migrated into my "badboiler" directory, most of which were taken personally, the remainder provided directly from the photographer.
Attachment:
1278crownJDC.jpg
1278crownJDC.jpg [ 56.52 KiB | Viewed 1979 times ]


Last edited by M Austin on Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Warren, PA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Had we given them long enough, I wouldn't have put it past them to home-build a locomotive or "doodlebug".


Too late. You didn't see what was built at the Knox & Kane that never really saw the light of day. A converted school bus, with what looked to be a tie cart for the front truck (and no brakes) and the rear wheel rims either running as wheels or with some kind of flange welded onto them.... so again, the only brakes were on the rear axle. It was painted boxcar red and was 'supposed' to be a weekday train substitute or early/late season alternative to the full train.

Photo: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=1395861

I was told by an employee in the know that they told Sloan it would never pass FRA inspection, and it did not, and it sat there in the Marienville yard for years. I took several pictures of it because frankly, I just couldn't believe what I was looking at - and trying to decide it if really was running on a WHEEL on the back axle, or actually the truck rims, which were sort-of flanged and rolled over.

There's another thread here on RYPN from AM that says Sloan actually ran it before the bridge inspection closed the viaduct in 2002 (pre-tornado), I don't know about that, and there's another posting I've run across that says it was for sale in 2010 for $5000. Not sure what ever became of it, but I can't believe the FRA would ever consider it as 'grandfathered' anything and pretty much throw the CFR at it. If anybody ever actually saw it run I'd love to hear the story. I simply can't imagine what the ride would have been like in the back of it with an all-day ride on low joints.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
So, what would it take to make that modern day Galloping Goose thing FRA legal? Would it even be possible?


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:29 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:51 pm
Posts: 132
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
The front wheels for the bus came from Kovalchick's in Indiana... I happened to be there the day Sloan bought them, and ran into him in the office.

I heard from a source that should know that it did make a Marienville-Kane test run once (site of the closest wye... would [i]you[/i] want to back that up any distance?). But, I've also heard that it was, in the end, parted out or scrapped, so the world will never see it run again.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:09 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1429
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Bobharbison wrote:
So, what would it take to make that modern day Galloping Goose thing FRA legal? Would it even be possible?
Apply for and receive a Waiver or make it Exempt by classifying it as MW {Maintenance of Way). Allegedly, the Virginia & Trukee did that with a questionable steam locomotive by turning it into a self propelled snow plow. The National Transportation Safety Board has taken notice of a runaway Speno rail grinder out West and has urged the Federal Railroad Administration to do something about MW equipment that has too many characteristics of regulated locomotives, cars, and trains.


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