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 Post subject: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:38 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:31 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Elizabethtown,PA
The recent posting of the Medina, Ohio traction engine incident prompts this reposting of the Gettysburg incident. Let it serve as a reminder for the experienced and an education for those who don't know about it. http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/safetystudies/sir9605.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:14 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:05 am
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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:40 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Mr. Austin's posts are always very educational.

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:54 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
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Location: Pacific, MO
I haven't read this for years, but reading it again gives me the chills thinking of how they escaped disaster as long as they did with their operating and safety procedures.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
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The NTSB report makes reference to the pattern of crownsheet stays used on CPR locos and how that feature apparently prevented 1278's boiler from becoming a rocket. Has this feature become regulatory in any way, and is it being used for any current or recent firebox replacements?


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I also have always wondered why the Canadian design (not familiar with the specifics) wasn't adopted widely. The Gettysburg event could of course have been a major disaster (blown apart locomotive, several injured or killed passengers, crew blown into small chunks, etc) with a normal US pattern firebox and corwn sheet...

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:41 pm
Posts: 814
Location: Bowling Green, KY
I have been in about 6 U.S. road fireboxes (that I can swear to) which are equipped with ALL button head bolts save the first 6 rows. This would make for an interesting survey. Who all has a locomotive in their collection with either a pattern of buttonheads or an entire crownsheet? Or, a locomotive you've "inspected" at another museum or park..... either way.

Cheers, Jason


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 6:27 am
Posts: 139
Button head crown bolts are not magic. They have a bigger head that effectively delays the dropping of an overheated crown sheet. Most locomotives probably had bare crown sheets at one time or another. Read anything on the narrow gage lines in Colorado and all sorts of tales come to light. Add some salt and divide by two and you still get some hairy occurrences. Button heads can be very useful in these situations.

In the situation where the water departs from the crown for an extended period of time and the crew is unaware of the situation, it is my opinion that button heads may make the situation worse simply by holding on longer and allowing a greater area of crown sheet to overheat. When it does let go - it goes for good. Unlike Gettysburg, where it appears that the sheet dropped earlier than it would have in a firebox in good condition. This early failure effectively contained the release to less-than-catastrophic. Evidenced by the tear noted in the photo, it was awfully close to complete failure.

Bottom line on this in my opinion is - watch your water. There is no substitute. If you watch your water carefully, there is almost no situation that you cannot diagnose and correct before an incident occurs. All the safety devices in the world are worthless if the crew is not vigilant and familiar with the locomotive they are on.

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:26 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:14 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Essex, Connecticut, USA
Greetings:
To the best of my knowledge, Jeff, Robbie's footage hasn't shown up on YouTube, etc.
To Linn's opinion, I disagree: anything that delays or mitigates a failure (crownsheet or otherwise), is a benefit.
A case can be made that the alternating straight thread/button head arrangement of crownstays on CPR power is not unlike a fusible plug (admittedly not as easily replaced).
At a meeting of the Steam Locomotive Engineering Standards Committee meeting, I recall that a staff member of the NBIC when told about the CPR design and it's intent was appalled: "you can't design for a failure in MY world", as I recall, was his comment.
What is a fusible plug but a design in anticipation of a failure of the compententcy of the crew/other boiler safety devise?
Be well, be safe,
J.David
PS: Keep your water glass and gage cock passages clean! JDC
PPS: I had a chunk of No.1278's crown sheet (removed with the permission of Sloan) during the investigation. It went missing c.fall 2003. I sure would like to have it back for "show & tell", no questions asked... JDC


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:02 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
"PPS: I had a chunk of No.1278's crown sheet (removed with the permission of Sloan) during the investigation."

JDC: It was such a pretty shade of blue, wasn't it?

That report of the incident should be required reading for all steam crews.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:16 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:05 am
Posts: 400
The photo above is of J. David's piece. I have a piece of 844's crown sheet in my living room. I promise I didn't take yours, Dave...


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:02 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
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Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Wes Camp and I were commissioned to do a complete inspection of the property immediately following this incident by a prospective buyer and the conditions we found were way beyond scary. Suffice it to say that the equipment maintenance was virtually nonexistent, the mandatory paperwork was rife with misinformation and the property in general was in deplorable condition.

We strongly recommended not getting involved but our advice was ignored much to the buyers later regret.

What confounds me to this day is how no none was sent to prison including the Federal officer(s) supposedly charged with over seeing compliance with the rules!!

Perhaps the silver lining is that it caused a greater effort throughout the rest of the industry to operate safely!!

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 688
Location: Warren, PA
A couple observations....

I think it was a year - maybe two - after, but Russ Quimby from the NTSB made a presentation at the annual TRAIN convention, and included some amateur video that showed the feedwater heater on the brow throwing out a stream of water that day. It was leaking heavily enough to get the photographer wet in the car behind the locomotive as it was running tender-first. I'm not sure what other video may have been taken, but I sure remember that one, and I think that's the one that is mentioned in the article. I'll also say that that investigation gave me a lasting respect for the NTSB.

While nobody ended up in prison, it was anything but a non-penalty situation. The engineer - Sloan's son - was severely burned, and disfigured, as a result, and has since died. Sloan also passed about four years ago now. There was a fairly dear price paid for that incident, just not necessarily through the legal system. The railroad ridership never really recovered from it either.

A couple years after that I had a situation where a spot-check of a locomotive 'in service' had numerous defects noted - some of the same type - and we had the locomotive immediately removed from service by the owner. Before Gettysburg we might have not been quite so insistent. Not anymore.

Looking back, I think the 'industry' culture of 'it's their train and their problem' changed that moment. I see it all over now, where steam and equipment operators and contractors look carefully and speak up if they see something that doesn't look right, where maybe they wouldn't have before.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:47 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 428
Location: Illinois
I rode an excursion during the summer of 1994 behind 1278 that was made without a fireman - just the engineer and a 10-year-old girl in the cab. How's that for not watching your water level? After that trip I wanted to write the FRA and note how unsafe this practice was, but I never did. Taught me a lesson on when to report unsafe operating practices.

Chris J.


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 Post subject: Re: Gettysburg Railroad Partial Crownsheet failure 1995
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:37 pm
Posts: 94
I was there at the time of the water spraying situation. The dynamo as bad order so there was no light for the water gauge! Steam leak on front of firebox an FRA defect. The engineer did not have a watch!! We sat in the shade talking and he finally asked me the time and we were already late leaving! The conductor was looking around for the engineer. One of the very few times I turned down a cab ride. I rode the train and had to stand way back in first car ((auto carrier) to get away from the water spray.


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