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4555 Damage at South Devon?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Jimc, May 4, 2022.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That feels to me like just adding another in-cab distraction - i.e. yet another place to look, and not really an especially useful one.

    My experience of driving a run-round on a large loco in a scenario somewhat akin to Whitby, e.g. driving forwards over a set of points towards a buffer stop some yards in front (albeit not with the additional Network Rail complexities) is that once you have made your initial movement to get rolling, you tend not to be looking at where the front of the loco is; you are looking at the back, i.e. your stopping point is "as soon as the tender is clear of the points". You aren't driving to e.g. "keep going until I am 20 feet (or whatever) short of the buffers". So a front-facing camera isn't actually useful in that scenario. That tends to apply to most movements where you are aiming to clear a set of points. Once you are clear that you have sufficient space beyond the points for your loco, the aim is to judge your stopping point as soon as you are clear; not to run right up to the end of the buffers in front of you. So you are looking forward while you start the move, but once you are approaching the stopping point, you are looking back to see when you are clear.

    Similarly, I was shown (by an ex-BR driver of long experience) that when buffering up, the place to look is at the ground below the cab steps, because it gives you a better judgement of speed, and your objective is to get that speed (*) down to a sufficiently slow crawl that you just wait until you feel the buffers touch, then drop the brake. Looking forward trying to judge where yours and the carriage's buffers are is a recipe for making a hash of it.

    (*) "Walking pace": A typical walk, say 3mph, is equivalent to 4.4 feet per second. If you hit the carriages that hard, it would be a pretty big bang. So the speed you want is considerably slower than walking pace.

    Tom
     
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  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Nice idea but perhaps he should have given them better brakes first. :)
     
  3. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Shouldn't be using a phone in the cab. Big no no. Sackable offence on the Big Railway.
    Pat
     
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  4. maddog

    maddog New Member

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    reverse cameras and sensors are clearly possible, works for cars. :D although doesn't solve the issue of lack of manoeuvring finesse available, as mentioned by those knowledgeable in this thread, two seperate issues but with some crossover.

    I can see the need to report the 'incident' (Whitby buffers). as shown in the aircraft industry, it is better to report minor incidents and look to see if it's something that can be improved on rather than comment on with hindsight following a report into something much worse, even at the expense of significant inconvenience for something that seems so trivial.
     
  5. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    There used to be a confidential incident reporting scheme called CIRAS.
    https://www.ciras.org.uk/en
    Would it be suitable for this type of incident?


    This is getting away from the original topic.
    Should this be split off into a new relevant topic?
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    CIRAS still exists. However, its primary purpose is for people to report things anonymously and not appropriate for this situation. The driver reported the incident as required and didn't attempt to cover things up.
    A lot of posters on here are making mountains out of molehills, I'm afraid.
     
  7. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    There’s two separate but related issues being talked about here.

    How do you avoid hitting stock too hard and how do you know where you are in relation to point blades, fouling point, buffers stops etc?

    The answer to the first one, is training, practise and assessment. Sometimes you can see your buffers on an engine, sometimes you can’t. Likewise the buffers on the stock you are going onto. You have a kind of mental braking curve in your head as you commence the move towards the stock. It will be different for each engine and may vary for the stock involved. I might be more cautious with 847 coupling to the GN Saloon than the Gronk to a Grampus. As Tom says, at several engine lengths out, you want to be going just fast enough to get there, but if you did nothing it wouldn’t be a disaster. I had this emphatically explained in Glaswegian but it doesn’t bear repeating here. Ideally you need to fully apply the brake just before contact. This makes a nice squeeze on the buffers an a smooth stop. If you can manage a light rub of the brakes as you roll in, even better, especially with the Westinghouse brake. Oh, you’ve warmed up the steam brake and done a full brake test before going off shed haven’t you? You are also aware of differences in brake operation and behaviour, especially if the engine is unfamiliar to you, aren’t you?

    The second answer is route knowledge and knowing where the ends of your engine is.

    Route knowledge accumulates with footplate turns. By the time you are a Driver, you will know all the fouling points or their makers, point clearances etc. If you can’t see your buffers, look for a fixed point on the engine that lines up with them. For example, when I’m standing at the brake of a SR U the expansion link luby pot is in line with the buffers on the ground. It’s the same as lining up a windscreen wiper with the edge of the road in a lorry.

    Have a look round next time you at a preserved railway. You might start to see fouling point markers etc. It might be a small post or even a large one. It could be opposite a signal. There might a white painted sleeper end and so on.

    All the talk of off the wall solutions is as Steve said, making mountains out of molehills.

    This is a comment on general loco operation and nothing at all about operation at other railways.
     
  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Just reflecting for a moment on the number of run rounds that have taken place since heritage trains started to operate through to Whitby and the number of times when a locomotive has touched the buffers. Mountain and molehill does come to mind.

    As for reporting I distinctly recall an occasion when a manoeuvre at a rural terminus involving a big engine resulted in more than a gentle touch that turned a few heads. Given that everything continued as normal I guess that the alternative action may sometimes be taken.
     
  9. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Why all the emphasis on visual warnings? Surely in these days of GPS (and W3W accurate to 3mtr anywhere on the planet), surely a graduated, audible alert would be a better bet?

    Before anyone chucks around charges of overcomplicated solutions, consider the problems an inopportune overrun can and unfortunately previously have caused.
     
  10. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    3 metres? Are you serious?
    That's SPAD or carriage door off the platform territory. Think about the squeeze on coach buffers. There's only a few inches between a gap or a bang.
    If a load of unnecessary electronic gubbins gets put in the cab, include me out.
    What's wrong with the MKI eyeball anyway?
     
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  11. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    I surpect its too early but is there any news on potential repairs on 4555 or still being discussed
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Am I serious? Kindly reread my post .... it wasn't a specific design! Clearly, the MKI eyeball is to be preferred, though the issue under discussion is precisely about when everything doesn't work as it should.

    I admit to increasing concern that some feel it possible to ignore the evermore regulated (and litigious) times in which we live. If there's one thing which above all else runs an unacceptable risk of killing heritage operations stone dead, that thing is complacency.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Clearly people are overcomplicating this.

    Surely the simple solution for a run-round is, when the train has come to rest, for the guard to lay detonators at 5, 2 and 1 foot intervals behind the train. A standard table could be included in the general appendix such that for any combination of rolling stock and loco (and taking due account of which way round the said loco was facing), the actual position of the detonators would be calculated such that the buffer-to-buffer distance was at the required distances when the leading wheel set ran over the detonator.

    Guards could carry laser-range finders, of the type commonly used by builders, so as to enable the detonators to be rapidly and precisely laid behind the train after arrival, while the locomotive was running round. For stations (such as Whitby, Swanage or East Grinstead) where an arriving train approaches actual buffers on a run round, station staff could similarly lay detonators before arrival of the train, in preparation for its initial move forwards towards the buffers. Obviously in that situation, it would be incumbent on the signalman at the previous station to telegraph through to the terminus the class and orientation of the loco operating the service, such that the relevant table could be consulted in the General Appendix and the detonator protection laid accordingly before arrival of the train

    In order to ensure that the detonators could be heard even in a potentially noisy station environment, each one would have an adjacent photo-voltaic detector to detect the instaneous flash as each detonated, with the signal being amplified and then transmitted via bluetooth to a receiver in the cab which would illuminate a warning display to indicate that a detonator had gone off and the loco was therefore 5/ 2 / 1 feet from its stopping point.

    What could be simpler?

    Tom
     
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  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Or a modification of Tom's idea for the financially challenged line: get out an angle grinder and cut a big notch - or series of notches getting closer together like those annoying rumble strips approaching some junctions - in the rail head at an appropriate distance from the stop block.
    "When you hear it knock its time to stop!"
     
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    The short bay at the London end of Temple Meads (1?) had rumble strips welded on it in the late 1970's
     
  16. bristolian

    bristolian Member

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    <snip>The short bay at the London end of Temple Meads (1?) had rumble strips welded on it in the late 1970's</snip>

    That was to improve detection by the track circuits in that bay.
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    What could be simpler, Tom? A painted mark opposite the driver to tell him where to stop. Oh, there already is one.

    What all these wonderful gubbins proposed by everyone fail to address is better control of admission of steam to the cylinders so that when the driver opens the regulator the loco only moves the exact distance he wants it to and not some random movement dictated by the pressure, crank angle, length of time the regulator is open and amount of steam in steam pipes, superheater elements and header, tightness of curve and gradient and automatically and instantaneously apply the brakes at exactly the right moment to ensure that the loco comes to a stand at exactly the right position. When you’ve got all that it’s problem solved and anyone could do the job.
     
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  18. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    TL;DR
    Driving choo choos is tricky.
    Who knew?
     
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  19. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Well-Known Member

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    Just to put something to bed, the modern rules about stopping short then moving up relate to the adoption of automatic centre couplings, which usually include air connections and electrical junctions as well. Coupling these misaligned is a recipe for damaging an expensive and inconvenient part. Coupling on a curve is always tricky too. It is a different scenario with sprung buffers on each side, so it isn't worth reading across from the modern rules.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
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  20. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Mods: How difficult would it be to split this thread into two; one with the few posts relevant to the thread title, the other about the minor incident at Whitby and all the serious and non-serious ideas about how much that mattered and what might or might not be worth doing to prevent a recurrence?

    On the latter subject, I would like to reiterate the subject of finding an appropriate compromise between the need to register and investigate even a minor incident and maintaining a service for the paying public.
     
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