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 Post subject: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapolis
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:42 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 448
Accident at the Minnesota Streetcar Museum July 25.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/s3861196.shtml

All I can find is various retelling of the original report.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
Unfortunate that the accident occurred, but very fortunate that the volunteer survived. As I recall, there was a coupling accident on one of the UK preserved railways where a volunteer guard was crushed to death. It is important to remember that coupling/uncoupling vehicles is one of most dangerous things to do on the railway.

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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:48 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2183
My father visited there years ago, got to guest motorman one of the cars.

reminiscent of all the link and pin accidents and why the knuckle coupler became. They will need to review their safety practices perhaps modify some things, but I hope the fellow recovers fully and not be scorned because of the accident and be back as spirited as before...and more careful...


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:41 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 1932
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
The standard solid drawbar is inherently difficult to connect. You need alignment within inches, and you are maneuvering the car with a fixed point controller.

Time for a new design with adjustment while cars are stationary?

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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Location: Back in NE Ohio
I'm not going to pretend to be a motorman, but having done switching in tight places with a D/E locomotive, would it be possible for movements of a few inches to work the controller against the brake, cutting the power and slamming on the brake as soon as someone signals the motorman to do so?


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
All it takes is proper training and a modicum of skill, Paul. Of course there are always those engineering types who want to design a new solution. Whatever happened to historical preservation?

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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 1932
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Yes, and that is the problem. Very few of us work with this equipment often enough to develop the necessary skills for fine control. I was actually a motorman on this line for three years. The training and enthusiasm of Como-Harriet staff is top grade, but they are volunteers, and will count their experience in tens of hours per year.

Even after my three years of experience, I would have been nervous trying to move the car a few inches, with a fellow carman between the cars.

It is the same old story. Processes that seem perfectly fine for staff that have thousands of hours of experience per year do not work for staff with less than a hundred hours of experience.

In my opinion, the safe option would be something where the coupling is adjusted, not the position of the cars.

A quick, crude adaptation would be to bring the cars close, then close the gap with a come-along, instead of trying to power the cars into position. Now that I think about it, I like that process a lot.

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Steven Harrod
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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 750
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Dennis Storzek wrote:
All it takes is proper training and a modicum of skill, Paul. Of course there are always those engineering types who want to design a new solution. Whatever happened to historical preservation?


Perhaps, but that won't save the organization in a tort lawsuit. In fact, the knowledge of the dangers of the old style couplers could be used to argue negligence on the part of management. If an organization intends to operate equipment, safety must take priority over historical accuracy.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:15 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1247
What do the couplers look like? Why does somebody need to be between the cars when the couplers are brought together? If it is just a matter of aligning drawbars and dropping in a pin, why couldn't that be done with a long handled tool of some sort.


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:20 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2168
Location: Northern Illinois
I don't think they are couplers per se. These are streetcars, not railroad cars. I do not believe they have any MU cars, nor do they run motor-trailer sets. I just did a bit of searching for images on the web, and could not find a single image of two cars entrained. The couplers are more like drawbar pockets for a separate drawbar, which most streetcars have to allow a disabled car to be moved. Beyond that I can't say, and I doubt anyone from the organization can comment before the investigation and other fallout is done.

I do hope the gentleman who was injured makes a speedy recovery.

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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8516
Location: Baltimore, MD
I can't speak for Minnesota or the specific incident/cars.

But an AWFUL lot of the trolley "couplers" with which I've worked with and seen are simply "link and pin" couplers with a long bar as the "link".


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:29 pm
Posts: 88
Location: San Francisco, CA.
Good Morning,

Typically older streetcars do not have (as mentioned previous) automatic couplers, although many cities did have these as well.

Attached are a couple photos showing the art of coupling (in this case, uncoupling) with a tow bar. This was taken in ideal conditions, the cars were indoors, good lighting, ect.. Imagine doing this in the rain, it's dark out, there is just you and the operator, maybe there is a grade involved. Also, note the modern Light Rail Car does have an automatic coupler as well, but the older one does not.

Not knowing any of what happened at the museum in Minneapolis, these photos may not be of any value, but does show how it works for those unfamiliar with the procedure.

And as mentioned, I do hope the injured party recovers fully.

Karl Johnson


Attachments:
21-Removing towbar.jpg
21-Removing towbar.jpg [ 38 KiB | Viewed 2688 times ]
22-Removing towbar.jpg
22-Removing towbar.jpg [ 35.75 KiB | Viewed 2688 times ]
24-Removing adapter from 1471B.jpg
24-Removing adapter from 1471B.jpg [ 26.34 KiB | Viewed 2688 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 750
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I can't speak for Minnesota or the specific incident/cars.

But an AWFUL lot of the trolley "couplers" with which I've worked with and seen are simply "link and pin" couplers with a long bar as the "link".


And usually the drawbar has a handle on either side to permit the crewman to carry or support it. Part of the problem with the older links/tow bars is that they were made of heavy metal. With modern materials, it may be possible to make a much lighter tow bar that has the necessary strength to allow it to be guided into the coupler pocket from the side.


Probably one of the most dangerous coupler designs that I have encountered is the self centering knuckle coupler that was commonly used on postwar passenger cars. They work great if the cars are on tangent track. Trying to couple on curves is tricky and requires knowledge of how to block the coupler so that it is aligned.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:47 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 448
photo of TCRT 1300


Attachments:
1300.jpg
1300.jpg [ 165.66 KiB | Viewed 2632 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Trolley Operator Pinned Between 2 Streetcars in Minneapo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:51 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Connecticut
I suspect this will ultimately come down to a laps of judgement either by the gentleman pinned or the person operating the car. I have coupled trolleys hundreds of times with link and pin and trained many others to do so in a safe fashion regardless of weather or conditions. I have also seen people actually step in front of rolling cars thinking they could stop them with the own body weight and have physically pulled them out of the way. lapses in judgement should not automatically invoke a change in procedure or design. If we are going to be chicken littles then we should just park the equipment. I am sorry the gentleman was hurt, but maybe people need to again take some responsibility for their decisions

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