Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

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SOO2719
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Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby SOO2719 » Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:07 pm

25 years ago, former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1278, then being operated by the Gettysburg Railroad, suffered a boiler explosion. I just watched this good video made to commemorate this unfortunate, but operations-changing, event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TJPmkcPer8

On a side note, kudos to Mark and the other 261 volunteers for your skillful handling of steam locomotives. You all could have taught this bunch how to run steam.
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

Mark D
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby Mark D » Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:58 pm

It's Steve Sandberg who gets ALL the credits that help 261 stay in shape. Yes, we help him out, but he calls all the shots, and he really doesn't want that steam engine to blow up. That's why right now we're doing the FRA required stay bolt check and replace on the boiler.
Those who neglect maintenance on these machines are doomed to failure.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Kevin Gilliam
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby Kevin Gilliam » Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:11 pm

technically, it was a partial crown sheet failure. Not a boiler explosion. With a boiler explosion, you end up with far more destruction and the death of the engine crew. They got lucky on this one because of the design of the crown sheet, where it was designed to fail progressively instead of instantaneously and catastrophically.

SOO2719
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby SOO2719 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:02 pm

Thanks, Kevin, for the clarification re: what kind of incident this was. Good thing CP 1278 had a different kind of boiler setup, otherwise she could have blown sky high with who knows what consequences for steam operations.
By the way, here is the full NTSB report on this incident, which the maker of the video referenced:

https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SIR9605.pdf
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

John Bohon
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby John Bohon » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:12 am

I have been staying out of this but I suppose I should say something. I have both run and fired 1278 at Gettysburg with Jim Cornell on a few occasions. The Cornell's were well known for their lack of maintaince and that knowledge goes for the FRA as well. When I was on the engine I always took the time to test the injector and water pump, gauge cocks, and water glass. Yes, I assure you I know how to test each properly and conducted proper tests and they worked at the time. The Cornell's were excellent hosts and I did my testing when nobody was around for me to risk insulting. Sometimes it pays to be treat your hosts with respect.

As to a couple of things in the report. The water glass on 1278 had a tendency to bounce water from out of the top or the glass to out of the bottom the entire time you were on the road. A lot of that was due to the rough track conditions but really you never knew exactly where the water was in 1278 and had to make an educated guess. It did not take long to get a handle on that but in the report the crew stated the water was very stable in the glass before the incident and for me that would have been a big red flag. I would have been using the gauge cocks to test the water and if they did not operate properly I would have shook the fire out or joined the birds if the engineer objected. The second note in the report is that the injector was missing a part that made it nearly impossible to operate. I do not know when the part went missing but I can tell you that it operated very well when I used it.

The problems with the water pump gauge and then it missing was ongoing the last couple of times I was on the engine. The same is true with the lack of cab lighting. At least the last couple of years I was there the lights were run by a Honda generator from the top of the tender deck.

My point in all of this is that in my estimation the FRA is as responsible for what happened as the railroad. If I were an inspector in that situation there is no way I would have not had the railroad remove the glass spindles and gauge cocks for inspection. The water pump gauge is another thing that should have been found in a test firing of the engine after a hydro. That should have been standard for the FRA inspector as should have been a test of the light and safety appliances on the 1278. I think that is a big reason the FRA relented and allowed the development of new rules for steam engines along with the fact they should not be in the business of shutting down businesses across the country.

One last thing. As worn out as 1278 was it is still the finest locomotive I have had the pleasure to work on. It ran like a dream and is easy to fire especially when the stoker is working. The only problem hand firing it was the cab was not designed for a guy with a long frame like mine to back up and get a good shot at the right front corner. 1278 is also one of the first locomotives used by individuals or groups to run private excursions on the mainline. It deserves a better fate than sitting around being a parts engine on display for her sister. Hopefully someday the decision will be made to bring it back into service.

John Bohon

SOO2719
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby SOO2719 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:24 pm

That is the first I heard of 1278 being a parts source for a sister engine, since the Age of Steam Roundhouse only runs its engines occasionally.
1278 was F. Nelson Blount's pride and joy back when he was alive, and he even renumbered her to "127" and sought to "Americanize" her looks.
I also hope she returns to steam.
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

Kevin Gilliam
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby Kevin Gilliam » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:59 am

John Bohon wrote:I have been staying out of this but I suppose I should say something. I have both run and fired 1278 at Gettysburg with Jim Cornell on a few occasions. The Cornell's were well known for their lack of maintaince and that knowledge goes for the FRA as well.

My point in all of this is that in my estimation the FRA is as responsible for what happened as the railroad. If I were an inspector in that situation there is no way I would have not had the railroad remove the glass spindles and gauge cocks for inspection. The water pump gauge is another thing that should have been found in a test firing of the engine after a hydro. That should have been standard for the FRA inspector as should have been a test of the light and safety appliances on the 1278. I think that is a big reason the FRA relented and allowed the development of new rules for steam engines along with the fact they should not be in the business of shutting down businesses across the country.


John,
You've hit directly on the elephant in the room. There's no way the FRA Inspector shouldn't have known the general condition of that engine, and there's no way it should have been allowed to be operating at the time with what was known to the FRA. Those problems didn't happen overnight. Sad situation all around, and we're lucky it happened to that particular engine. There's times though that I wonder if we're much better off today. Too many people have forgotten the lessons from 1995.
Kevin

John Bohon
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Re: Good Video About Gettysburg RR Boiler Explosion

Postby John Bohon » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:12 am

I do hope you are wrong about people forgetting. Lives are depending on those in the cab and shop.

John Bohon


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