Railroad Thread

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ZilogMan
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby ZilogMan » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:29 pm

I don't know how long this link will hold...
http://rs3.sympatico.ca/Images/Slider_F ... f9d8a7.jpg

5 bodies found, about 40 missing. This is far from being over yet, what a mess...
Don, Say Hi to Amelia Earhart for us...

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ZilogMan
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby ZilogMan » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:40 am

13 bodies found, 50 missing now.

J, do you know anything about tankers with the now obsolete "DOT-111" certification? They are still in use, and it looks like many (if not all) tankers in this disaster were DOT-111...

Edit to add: We've been told that, beside their age (metal fatigue), they were made of thinner steel, frame and tank, compared to current technologies.
Don, Say Hi to Amelia Earhart for us...

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sindeewell
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby sindeewell » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:44 pm

Here is an incredible video of Lac-Megantic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Rb3JHsiqfA

J...your thoughts? BTW...I will be in DC this weekend if you're around. Hooking up with Giles & Half Bottle if you're interested. PM me for details if you can make it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ~ WOW, what a ride~!!!

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J
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:34 pm

There remains a lot of speculation about the event including assertions of tampering with the train and the presence of Liquefied Petroleum Gas cars present at the location of the derailment. It is certainly a tragedy for the town, its inhabitants and visitors.

Regarding the 111A cars, this design has been used for decades. Even before the dramatic increase in oil shipments out of Canada and North Dakota the industry (railroads, shippers, car owners) reached consensus on a new design standard that included stronger tank shells and other safety features. A major trade association petitioned the federal government in 2011 to adopt the new standards for shipments of products such as ethanol and crude oil; I won't speculate on why the government has not yet acted. While awaiting action all new rail cars for more than a year have been voluntarily manufactured to this new standard. Some have suggested retrofitting older cars but new car orders have been backlogged for several years consuming any manufacturing capacity that could be devoted to the existing fleet.

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ocelot
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby ocelot » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:02 am

Many articles in the popular press have been reporting that the locomotive involved had been shut downand that this would have rendered the air brakes ineffective.

now, perhaps I'm out of date, but i thought ever since George Westinghouse the whole point was that loss of pressurization in the brake lines would cause the brakes to deploy, not to be released.

Is this just the popular press being dumb?

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J
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:12 pm

In basic terms the compressed air from the locomotive is used to fill the reservoirs (storage tanks) on each rail car. When the air reaches the proper pressure throughout the train (each car's reservoir is filled up) the engineer / driver applies the brakes by reducing the pressure in the train line (the hoses and pipes that connect each locomotive and car). Control valves on each car sense this reduction in pressure and direct the air from the individual reservoirs to the brake cylinders on each car. When the engineer / driver left the train he shut down 4 of the 5 locomotives to save fuel. The remaining locomotive's compressor would keep the train line pressure constant. A "fire" was reported to the local fire department and when they responded they shut down the locomotive that was still running. I won't go into the specifics but this condition could, over time allow the pressure in the train line to change and cause the brakes to release. The fact that it happened quickly is puzzling and we should know more later. Bottom line, it appears the driver / engineer did not set enough hand brakes - enough meaning the train would have not moved even if the air brakes were not functioning. Here is a recent Canadian government website report:

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/enquetes-investigations/rail/2013/R13D0054/R13D0054.asp

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monchavo
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby monchavo » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:56 pm

Nasty times in Spain. Santiago de Compostela filling the airwaves. 80 dead and possibly to rise. Some remarkable CCTV footage. J, any thoughts?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... ng-so-fast

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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:59 am

I've been on the road and only able to briefly monitor the accident. A colleague sent me the following video link that shows the train derailing on a curve. It appears the coaches behind the locomotive derail first and then pull the locomotive off suggesting overspeed. Spain's network includes advanced train control but this route supposedly has a less comprehensive version. For example, this route may include protections against passing a red signal but perhaps not govern maximum speed through a curve.
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2013/07/25/espana/1374740051.html

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Rabbi O'Genius
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby Rabbi O'Genius » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:52 pm

I wouldn't like to anticipate the "final report", but this is beginning to look like the rail equivalent of "let's 41 it" with a full load of passengers.
......never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. – John Donne

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reubee
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby reubee » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:42 am

How long till this happens to a planespotter...


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=11121720


A Greymouth train buff killed when he was struck by steam train may have thought the engine was further up the tracks because his perception had been skewed through his camera, a friend says.

Gregory John Duncraft, 50, a freezing worker of Kaiata, died near Kokiri on Saturday of head and leg injuries suffered when he was thrown through the air after being struck by the train. The steam engine was travelling at 45km/h at the time of the accident.

...

Mr Duncraft had been standing on, or close beside, the line taking photographs when he was struck, apparently ignoring two long blasts on the whistle as the desperate engineers tried to warn him of the approaching danger.

One witness was reported yesterday as saying he appeared to be busy looking at the screen on his camera.

Greymouth photographer Stewart Nimmo said he knew Mr Duncraft well and suspected that his view through the camera may have given him a perception that the train was further up the track.

"It's really hard to know what happened, but sometimes things do look further away than they actually are,'' Mr Nimmo said.

Mr Duncraft may also have been confused by the double set of tracks at Kokiri, and may have been expecting the train to be on the other line when it came around the bend.
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Ancient Mariner
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby Ancient Mariner » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:51 am

a freezing worker

Maybe he was numb and unable to move, or maybe just dumb.
Per

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monchavo
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby monchavo » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:53 pm

Rabbi O'Genius wrote:I wouldn't like to anticipate the "final report", but this is beginning to look like the rail equivalent of "let's 41 it" with a full load of passengers.



Given the catastrophic nature of the event, I am amazed at the speed at which it was dropped from the international news - the Graun and the BBC stopped mentioning it a couple of days afterwards. I imagine Spain will open something akin to a public enquiry. The driver was alleged to have been on the phone (?) to the train company upon exiting the tunnel, which I find odd, be interesting to read a synopsis of events and then a full report.

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J
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:49 pm

My understanding is the operator was indeed on the phone - conducting company business. Adding to the complexity the accident occurred on a segment of track where the underlying traffic control system changed from one that "enforced" speed restrictions (would have slowed the train for the curve) to one that didn't.

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3WE
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby 3WE » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:22 am

I rode Amtrak recently and had an interesting near-disaster experience.

The engine would suddenly give off relatively dark smoke, and then, a few seconds later, all the electrical lights would go off in the coaches...about 10 to 20 seconds later, the power would be restored.

This happened roughly every 20 minutes or so.

I'm trying to figure out what the deal was...something causing the engine to shut down, and then they engineer had to kill all power to restart the locomotive?

I'm thinking this engine (whatever the standard Amtrak diesel-electric locomotive is these days) does not have a separate engine and generator to power the cars....correct? In fact, don't they operate at constant RPM to generate something akin to 120V 60 hz power for cars with another mechanism being used to control the power to the traction motors (I conceed there could two generators in this set up)

However, there was never any feeling of acceleration change when the engine was smoking and the power was dying/being restored.
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J
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:20 pm

Aside from roasted iPods (if plugged in) you were in no more danger than if flying on an Airbus. The typical Amtrak diesel-electric locomotives were built by General Electric starting in 1993 and has 4000 or 4200 horsepower depending on the model. (Some are getting a little tired.) The 480-volt "head end" power that supplies lights, heat and cooling in the coaches is supplied by an alternator rotated by the main diesel engine. (Some locomotives such as many commuter locomotives have a separate engine-generator set for head end power.) In the following photograph the train has two locomotives, only one of which will be supplying head end power. If there is a single locomotive it will supply both traction power to propel the train and head-end power - I believe this reduces the traction power by something like 400 or 500 horsepower. The power is transmitted by heavy cables - in the photograph you can see them tucked around the pilot plow on both sides of the locomotive.
Your locomotive probably was experiencing some problem with the auxiliary alternator (while the main alternator continued to pull the train.) The smoke may have occurred when the engine suddenly lost its load and before the governor could cut back on the fuel.

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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:43 pm

This guy has been harping on a commuter railroad's safety record and gaining a lot of press coverage. (What's to lose; a railroad won't be voting for his opponent!)

Watch Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal narrowly avoid a train during a railway safety press conference

The Connecticut Democrat was standing behind Milford Mayor Ben Blake on the town's Metro-North station platform as the two held a press conference on railway safety. Complete with easels and charts, Blake was laying out the MTA's safety violations, which total 139 over the last 10 years, worth $552,000 in fines.

"Safety, as you know, is paramount," Blake said — and then . . . . .


http://theweek.com/article/index/260202/speedreads-watch-connecticut-senator-richard-blumenthal-narrowly-avoid-a-train-during-a-railway-safety-press-conference

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monchavo
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby monchavo » Thu May 01, 2014 11:42 pm

I enjoy the railroad thread so much that I may consider a subforum to discuss matters relating to railways. Thoughts?

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ZilogMan
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby ZilogMan » Fri May 02, 2014 2:22 am

My father (RIP) and my brother both worked for the CN in one form or another of this company. My bro retired a while ago. This is to say that RR was/is a big thing at home and I'm all for the idea.
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3WE
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby 3WE » Fri May 02, 2014 2:35 am

monchavo wrote:I enjoy the railroad thread so much that I may consider a subforum to discuss matters relating to railways. Thoughts?


Let's see...
-Railroad safety
-Railroad general topics
-Military railroading
-Engineer's Q & A
-Brakeman's Q& A
-Dispatcher Q & A

Do we need a Livery forum and a Photography forum?

Ok, jokes aside, some sort of organized railroad forum might be nice.
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reubee
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby reubee » Fri May 02, 2014 8:35 am

monchavo wrote:I enjoy the railroad thread so much that I may consider a subforum to discuss matters relating to railways. Thoughts?



... would that lead to a shipping forum...
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Ancient Mariner
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby Ancient Mariner » Fri May 02, 2014 9:11 am

reubee wrote:
monchavo wrote:I enjoy the railroad thread so much that I may consider a subforum to discuss matters relating to railways. Thoughts?



... would that lead to a shipping forum...


Not shipping, but maritime....yes. Then we can discuss ferry and cruise liner crashes. Seems to be more of those than the aviation variety these days. I blame the Americans.
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Fri May 02, 2014 3:06 pm

I'll leave it to others to comment on the Railroad Thread / Forum.

In other news, our former colleague Chris Kilroy captured the Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive number 4014 at a stop in Las Vegas as it moves from Los Angeles to Cheyenne, Wyoming for restoration.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=479859&nseq=3

If you have time, here is additional information:
This locomotive was manufactured during WWII as part of the group of the largest steam locomotives ever built. It spent most of its service time handling trains through the Wasatch mountains east of Salt Lake City, Utah, before being donated to a museum in 1961. Many railroads named their steam locomotives and this series was to be named Wasatch . However during manufacturing a workman chalked "Big Boy" on the smokebox door and the name stuck. You can see this was reproduced on the 4014.
Image

The following website from the railroad provides some additional information including a comparison between it and a 747.
http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/locomotives/4014.shtml

The locomotive stood at a county fairground some distance from a railroad track. The following website has a number of interesting videos showing various repairs to the locomotive to make it roadworthy and the installation of a temporary track across a parking lot to move to the nearest railroad line.

http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/photos_videos/bigboy/index.shtml

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3WE
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Pusher engines

Postby 3WE » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:16 pm

More and more trains (and not just coal trains) are getting pusher engines.

An engineer-family-member says they improve the train handling of very long trains.

What I'm not getting is that pushing should cause some slight lateral "distortion" in the train and cause more flange friction, etc... (just like pulling a chain vs. pushing a chain).

I'd think it would be a lot better to put the extra engine "in the middle" or "2/3 of the way back".

I know that trains operating in the mountains will sometimes have multiple sets of engines throughout the train- but I'm not getting why, out in 'the lowlands' they're always on the end.

AND- Pushing to help a train over a hill- sure- but the wear and tear and fuel efficiency for 'enroute' trains, again- sticking it more in the middle seems better- and there's no reason that wouldn't work.

PLUS!- that was a sure fire way to derail my toy train as a kid!
'
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J
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby J » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:48 pm

Helper / Pusher Locomotives

You're correct - ideally extra locomotives would be located in a portion of the train where they would "push" about half of the load afforded to them and pull the remaining 2/3. I used to dispatch a 14,000-ton ore train of 100 cars; we would have 2 locomotives at the front, 4 locomotives 60 cars deep and three more at the rear. Because of the weight and grade, putting all 10 locomotives at the front would simply have broken the loaded train in two. (On the return trip 10 locomotives at the front and 100 empty cars got over the road pretty quickly!) With conventional trains the extra effort to cut the train and add the locomotive(s) takes considerably more effort than simply coupling them to the rear. When the power is properly matched to the weight and type of train, power on the rear works just fine.

The purpose of "distributed power" is more than to provide power and / or braking; the remote locomotives also provide quicker application and release of the air brakes greatly smoothing out operation. In level territory the engineer will probably handle the locomotives as if they were all together with simultaneous power and braking. In mountainous territory when cresting a hill the lead locomotives may be providing light braking (as the front end begins to descend) while the rear units may still be shoving hard to lift the train to the summit.
Here is a video showing four locomotives split 2X2 handling a long "stack train" (containers on flatcars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5vHshmRezo

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reubee
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Re: Railroad Thread

Postby reubee » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:34 pm

A recent derailment ...

http://i.imgur.com/EJVBCzL.jpg
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