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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Sirs (why are letters to me marked Cur!)
Do we have a real railroad/railway section that covers Tall Stories?
In our area that is the North Eastern Region of British Railways as it was in the 50s and 60s we had lots of gradient workings and all our mineral trains were loose coupled
infact some of the gradients were so steep that the guard had to pin down two wagon brakes for every wagon on the train?!? and once when I was driving and going over Durham Viaduct with a loose coupled coal train the guard said when we reached Newcastle that it was the first time he had gone over the viaduct with the trailing three link coupling on his Van/Caboose sticking straight out behind.
Jim Brodie with a nose nearly as long as Pinnochio!
 

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Ahem. Let's see...
trains were loose coupled

British rail cars use 2 'buffers' (sprung circular bumpers mounted on each side of the end frame) and a central coupling, consisting of 3 chain links and a hook which allowed the car buffers to be slightly separated when in motion. Hence the 'loose coupled' train.
The coupling had a spring, so if you set off too smartly there would be a slight cushioning, but when backing up the buffers took the pain of bumping.
Carriages and other through-train-braked stock had a screw coupling that kept the buffers in contact, so they weren't loose.
had to pin down two wagon brakes

In the absence of train brakes, the guard was responsible for hand-braking (brake lever down, insert pin = 'pin down') a few wagons to ensure the loco got some braking assist when heading downhill. (UK wagon brakes use a long lever on the side, not a wheel on top.)
the trailing three link coupling

I assume that's the coupling behind the brake van (= caboose.)
on his Van/Caboose sticking straight out behind.

I suspect James is suggesting the coupling is hanging straight out behind because the hill is steep - although I know Durham Viaduct I am not familiar with the slope on it!
a nose nearly as long as Pinnochio

Hmmm... well, I leave that to your imagination.
 

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My dad was a conductor on the CNR. During my teens his freight run would take him from Ottawa to the division point Brent on Cedar Lake in Algonquin Park. During the spring and fall he would take me in the van to go trout fishing. On one trip he decided top take a 5 gallon can of mixed gasoline for his boat because he didn’t like the price of it at the General Store in Brent.

He placed the can on the rear porch of the van in Ottawa.



Unfortunately when we got to Brent, the can was gone.

Later the next day we heard rumours of a forest fire at Radiant Lake which we had passed on the way up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
trailing coupling sticking straight out behind the van I meant instead of it hanging downwards because of gravity it was horizontal sticking out backwards because of the speed of the train.(One day I must get educated in the English language and be able to express myself clearly not be iggerant. There used to be a song "where ignorance is bliss ,it is folly to be wise. It's better to be ignorant like me> I like a blissful life even if I have been married for 53 years!
When we started a loose coupled train away we used to open the regulator just enough to open the couplings out one by one between the wagons. That is a space of about eight inches between buffer heads
more later as modom has called.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you started away too quick then there was the danger of snapping a coupling linl ! also the guard could get a jerk or the jerk in the van could get Sorry only joking The guard if not holding on could get hurt by being thrown about the van or against a hot stove or even hurting his pingies if the door shut on him.AND when slowing down you had to close the couplings together gently or again the guard could have a few hectic moments.Usually if you give the guard a "click" he would come to the choo choo and say I was just having a drink of tea when you started or stopped. Talking about Durhan Viaduct Iwas once riding with the driver and fireman on a passenger job when we were stopped out of course in Durham station.being a passenger train we couldn't restart unless we got a signal from the guard. The fireman said to the driver shall I make a can of tea and so saying opened the platform side cab door (it was a diesel loco) and threw the dregs of his teacan out the door!!! Who should be standing the other side of the door was the guard now complete with tea leaves and remains of the tea slops all down the front of his uniform Sacra Bleur The driver buried his head in a timetable and I looked out the far side cab window as neither of us could stop laughing.The fireman was having a chuckle as well afterwards. The poor guard had come to the engine to tell us why we had been stopped in the station.Also when I rode a passenger train the crew used to say to me "have you plenty of paper hankies? we go faster than your 25MPH trains and you might get a nose bleed as we go over 30.
Potential engine cleaner Jim Brodie
 

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I found out about coupler lash on a trip with my dad. His trains were usually 3 GP-9s hauling about 110 cars and the van. His usual engineer, Harry the Horse Neilson, was sick and a new engineer was at the throttle.

I was standing in the middle of the van when I heard a rumble getting increasing louder. My dad yelled at me to “hang on!” Just as I grabbed a post on either side, the van jumped knocking the tea kettle off the pot bellied stove and spilling water all over the floor. Before I had time to realize what had happened, my dad was on the radio ripping the skin off that poor rookie hogger

The rest of the ride was a smooth as #1.
 

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My Mother told a story on herself a few times about when she was about 9 or 10 years old, in 1919/1920. Her Mother and she were taking a trip via train from Kansas. The train was a freight train but paying passengers could ride in the caboose.

She said when they got on the caboose she occupied herself by swatting flys. She said the Conductor got on and told her that she had better sit down. She said that she thought: "Who does that ol' man think he is, telling me what to do." and that she continued to run around chasing flys, trying to stomp on them.

Then suddenly she found herself sitting on the floor. The train had started up and in taking out the slack had jerked the caboose right out from under her feet! She said that she was not only embarrassed, but her bottom hurt! So she got up and sat quietly in the seat next to her Mother.

She said that if the Conductor had told her anything else she would have paid attention to him!
 

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Talking about Durham Viaduct... and this isn't a tall story..

While I'm sure there are many stories about this impressive bridge, it's name went down in infamy as the place where a BR loco driver destroyed the motion of 4-6-2 "Blue Peter" a few years back. This graphic video shows it all - note the sparks from the wheels:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_Y4Wkc1nIM

The driver hadn't driven a steam engine for 10+ years and forgot to close the throttle when the slipping started. "Blue Peter" is being rebuilt at last, 10 years later.

I felt positively sick to my stomach watching that again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It was sad that the driver couldn't handle an A2 and I'm not sure who the loco inspector was, I retired in 1985 so you can't blame me.
back to Tall Stories but yet again a true story this time on the branch from Battersby to Whitby on a Sunday with a steam special worked by a Newport Driver and I won't mention George's name )the loco inspector( but in times of stress he got his pipe out and really puffed at it.
Well,I examined the K1 during the week and said to the fitting staff that the Ash Pans needed trueing up as there were large gaps which would allow cinders to drop out onto the track bed. When the other inspector found out it would be a Sunday special he said to me "I am the senior inspector so I will work the first Sunday" On the Monday morning when we all reported to our office at Newcastle we found out the world had been set on fire owing to the driver being heavy handed and showing off how he could handle a train so with the large valve opened the engine decided to have a slip and dance causing a bit of shaking and resulting in cinders and fire dropping onto the track bed and into the surrounding forrestry!!!Naturally the fire brigade was called out while the train made it's way to the end of the line and then set off back. Mr W******** was driving again a bit sharpish and the crew on sighting the firemen (that is fire putter outers as against fire putter onners) but couldn't stop so sailed right past the fire site and also over their hosepipes which they had laid over the top of the rails Sacra Bleur . There were seven of us as inspectors and when George walked into the office I said in a stage whisper " I hear the Teesside Fire Brigades have new hosepipes now all 4'-8" long ! Poor George bit on his pipe so hard he snapped it along the stem. Honest.
My go on the branch at setting the world on fire was in 1975 when I was working steam engines from the NYMR at Grosmont to Shildon for the Rail 150 celebrations and we had an LMS Black 5 (a ten wheeler) and on Monday when I got to the office I was informed we had destroyed a Plate Layers hut which had burnt down to the ground!
Jim Brodie.
If a driver hadn't been over a section of road or been on an engine of a certain type inside six months then we had to ride with them to keep an eye on things.hence my grey hair when I was only a bairn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Doing some research on the wheelslip on the A2 loco at Durham, when the wheelslip occurred the engine had a full head of steam and a boiler too full of water "that is it was well up in the top of the gauge glass" Normal running was 7/8th of a glass full"the engine being HURRIED away had picked it's water up (a sort of hydraulicing effect and water and steam was going to the cylinders)so even with the regulator (throttle) being closed there was still power being put to the cylinders the rest is history.Remember there were superheaters on this engine and their contents had to be dissipated as well.
When I was a young Cleaner we used to move engines around the shed for the drivers and firemen and sometimes on some of the superheat engines if they had been left by the incoming crew with the boiler topped right up as sometimes the engines stood a while then there was the danger of them picking their water up to continue....Jim.
 

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I have a hard time believing there could be enough water in the superheaters to run the engine that long. Doubly so since it appears the engine slipped and then kind of recovered and then slipped more and for a longer time. Is there a full "official" (something other than hearsay, speculation and rummor) report someplace on the net?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry but yes You believe it.
Continue;_ when I was a young cleaner if we opened the regulator too far on the Q6s (NER 0-8-0 tender loco superheated and piston valves.) The engine would be away even though you had closed the regulator and opened the cylinder taps and had the steam brake on and screwed the tender handbrake hard on.You went a distance of over a 1/4 of a mile uncontrollable.On 180psi and if something was in the way you used the steam reverser to change directions and be off the other way. There wasn't always time to set the engine in mid gear because of that thing called 'panic'!That is just light engine on shed. SO starting a heavy passenger train and giving it some "welly"
having 250psi and as noted a full boiler and full head of steam remember these superheaters were about 680 square feet the Q6 361sq feet and the engine tractive effort which was the largest T E for a pacific was 2.240lbs. (Q6 28'800)That I think is equal to an english ton as agaist an American ton of 2'204lbs.if it was weight. The regulators any engine driver will tell you because of twist in the length of rodding sometimes wouldn't close the valve properly so you had to open the regulator fully open then slam it shut this could explain the steam being applied again.
As I am now retired as a Traction and Train Crew inspector (loco inspector) I think the American term is Foreman of the road or words similar
I can ask for a accident report although my colleagues are now getting thin on the ground but I have had plenty of practicle experience and for my sins one of my grades when I was on the footplate was A1 RED.RE/RCT.
I also cleaned steam engines so there.
Jim Brodie Potential steam engine cleaner.





:- Divisional Inspector James Brodie
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sorry 40,340lbs I had to take my shoes of to count my toes while adding up.
back to tall stories you know you are getting old when someone admires your crockodile skin shoes and you are walking around in your bare feet!
Jim Brodie
 

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Sounds like one of the good reasons to have a headend (smokebox mounted) throttle AFTER the superheater! I can see the inability to close the throttle all the way and so opening it again to slam it shut could just supply another slug of water to the superheater and repeat the run-away engine.

Of course, even an "Official" report does not guarantee the truth, nor remove speculation.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dear Mr McCullough, Thank you for your thanks. may I put my big guns away now and carry on with my lilliput world? I like iron horses but my wife seems to think they are ladies as she refers to my railway room as a mares nest! I enjoy hearing railway/railroad tales and have quite a few magazines from the 80s***that is the 18180s***The descriptions of train workings are similar to what we were still working in the 1950s and 60s and I still chuckle at the "tall stories" printed in them.
If you want authentic reports then talk to some of the retired inspectors as they will show you their logs before they hand the altered versions in to control. I don't know whether I dare show some of my escapades unless there is an expired period of time when I wouldn't get into trouble for example when a driver took a passenger train at 90mph over a 20mph slack. The only true version of that is in my black book I must write my memoirs which are completely true.There is no reason to stretch things when what really happens is so interesting.
I'm off to bed now 21-13hrs as I have to get up to work the 02-45 milk and post train on my layout.JB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The shadow of the old station clock pendelum going back and forth has worn a hole in the wall behind it, can it be repaired and by whom?
JB.
 

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Not a tall story, but interesting. It was the summer of 1976, and I was the rookie engineer on the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern Railroad, a small tourist line in southeastern Pennsylvania. My fireman that day was Jimmy Reeber, a 17-year-old who had more common sense than some people twice his age. Our dumb-ox conductor will remain nameless. The locomotive that day was an H. K. Porter product with the number 2, that I affectionally called Pauline. We had just gotten a new batch of coal, that our treasurer had purchased from a Reading Railroad derailment salvage sale. He thought that coal was coal, Right? WRONG!!



What the treasurer did not understand was that he had purchased metallurgical coking coal instead of steam coal. Since he had no warning, the engine crew was in the dark as well. Try as he might, Jimmy could only raise 75psi of steam in a locomotive that normally carried 155psi before the safety valve lifted. The conductor was getting antsy to leave with the first train, so he asked me to try anyway. I had switched with Pauline at about that pressure, so I thought we just might be able to pull the train. Jimmy said no way would we top the grade at Twin County Cut.



We set off with high hopes anyway. Things were going slowly and the pressure was dropping steadily, but I hoped we could finish the grade before we lost too much pressure. It was not to be. By the time we were in Twin County Cut, the pressure was dropping below 50psi. I had the Johnson bar in the reverse corner, and I had tugged the throttle open wide. Just as we crested the grade, Pauline let out a moan like an old milk cow with the bloat and the train brakes locked up. (The air compressor quit at 45psi, and air was automatically applied by the triple valves once the brake pipe pressure dropped that low.)



We were stuck with half the train on one side of the crest, and half on the other. So what does our bright conductor do? He leans off a set of coach steps and gives us the highball! I gave him the hunched shoulders and shook my head. Finally he came up to the cab. Jimmy looked at him and said, "I told you so!"



We spent another 10 minutes running the blower hard, and then were able to limp to Wanamakers. The whole trip took twice the normal time - 2 hours instead of 1 hour. We called back to Kempton from the Wanamakers station and asked any available volunteers to get the wheelbarrow filled with steam coal to toss into Pauline's cab. Once we got back to Kempton, we stocked up the tender with enough steam coal for the rest of the day, but a lot of us learned a hard lesson about coal that day.



Yours,
David Meashey
 

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I have been properly thankful for my freedoms today, especially for the paid holiday, but for some reason I keep remembering railroading misadventures to add to this thread.


Perhaps it is because I am nearing completion of the latest tip bucket ore car I purchased. Or it could have been that nice B&W steam era calender photo that I framed today to donate to the silent auction at my 45 year high school class reunion later this month. Anyway, this story is also true, but I would not believe it if I had not been there to witness it.


In the summer of 1978, the Brotherhood of Railroad and Airline Clerks (BRAC) called a strike against the Norfolk & Western Railway. As with all the other non-contract railroad employees, I was sent out from Roanoke to help run the railroad. After a short assignment in Shennandoah Yard (VA), I was sent to the hump yard in Bellevue, Ohio. I did a number of jobs at that yard, but most of the time I was a pin puller on the hump. The pin puller uncouples the cars just before they crest the hump. The pin puller also gets his orders and relays signals to the hump conductor. My shift was from 6:30pm to 6:30am.


One evening we managed to send all the arrived trains over the hump before 2:00am. The yardmaster decided that we had time to run the "rehumps." Rehumps are cars that arrived without waybills. They are kept on a special siding and sent over the hump again as their paperwork arrives, and their destinations can be determined. Sometimes a car can be rehumped several times before its paperwork catches up with it.


This evening the rehumps had a brand new tank car in the train. It had never had a load, but it had already gone over the hump about a dozen times, as its waybills had fallen into some kind of clerical black hole. Now real railroaders do not couple and uncouple cars. They "cut" (uncouple) and "tie" (couple) cars. It saves time on the radio transmissions.


I had just cut the new tank car loose when I saw a shower of sparks coming from the east (rear) truck. I gave the hump conductor the "washout" (apply brakes signal with both hands), but he did not see me in time to keep the pin puller working behind me from cutting the tri-level autorack that had been tied to the tank car.


The tank car derailed in the master retarder, and the tri-level autorack bore down on it like a battering ram. The tank car was knocked completely off its trucks. When we went down to the derailment to survey the damage, we found the autorack in an even more dangerous position. The center sill of the autorack was balanced on the flange of one of the rear tank car truck's wheels. The entire west truck of the autorack was about 15 inches off the railheads, and the west end of the autorack was swaying gently in the breeze.


The carmen were called to access the situation. They decided that we had to get the autorack on the ground before we could attempt to rerail it. The engineer for the hump train was called on the radio and told to shove (push) west very carefully to make a tie with the autorack. The engineer managed to just "kiss" the autorack and make a good tie. He was told to stretch (pull) his train east easy.


Everyone got well out of the way of the autorack. Then the most unlikely thing happened. The center sill of the autorack slid smoothly from the tank car wheel's flange and all four of the wheels on the west truck came neatly back down onto the railheads. The whole crew looked at each other like they had just had an improbable dream. Like I said, if I had not been there, I would not have believed it.


Have fun,
David Meashey
 
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