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Boilers & Accidents

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by johnofwessex, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    There's a similar story in 'Stratford, A Loco Man Remembers' where the inspector Walter lee looped a rope around the water glass, So the fireman Knew that He would have to deal with a broken glass, He just didn't know When!
     
  2. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Unfortunately, my German isn't good enough to follow it, but:

     
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  3. Footbridge

    Footbridge Member

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    Basic translation:

    Ze boiler gon bang und is kaput
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The short version is that the loco was a late replacement, it wasn't watered fully. The tender was empty, as the train braked the water surged forward exposing the top of the firebox, when the train stopped, the water surged back over the exposed firebox, the very rapid heating of the water blew the boiler.

    Luckily, the boiler went forwards and not sideways had it done so it might have killed about 150 people rather than 5.

    Driver to blame, but some other questions raised about why on a loco which was only just out of the shops the fusible plug didn't go as it should have done.
     
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  5. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Bitterfeld, November 1977. Mentioned in 'The German Pacific Locomotive' by David Maidment. He just says that the Leipzig crew failed their 03 class and were unfamiliar with the 01.5. Engine condemned as a result.
    Pat
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'd be surprised if this was an official conclusion.
     
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  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Quite. One of these days I’m going to do a calculation to work out how much heat is stored in a piece of overheated copper, how much water that could evaporate and therefore what pressure rise might result. But I’m pretty certain that even with some fairly liberal assumptions, the “water flashes to steam when it surges back onto an overheated crown” doesn’t make any scientific sense. Overheating of the crown caused by long-term exposure until it has reached a point of plastic deformation sufficient to be torn off the stays by the regular boiler pressure, on the other hand ...

    Tom
     
  8. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    You and me both, Steve! I struggled to follow the narration, but the diagram was quite explicit. The eyebrows rose a long way!
     
  9. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    Bad do that, the Driver and Fireman's bodies were found on the station canopy, the boiler had somersaulted once out of the frames, and welded itself to the track.
    If I recall correctly, their rostered locomotive had been failed en-route as the boiler water level had been allowed to drop too far, then the driver braked harshly coming down the gradient to Bitterfeld Station with the replacement locomotive, with the boiler water level not too high, resulting in a forward surge of water.... He didn't get away with it the second time, with catastrophic consequences.

    Richard.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I am happy to defer to your German translation skills as my German is far from perfect. Bloke in the video was the official investigator.

    Die Untersuchungskommission fand heraus, dass der Wasservorrat im Tender vollständig aufgebraucht war. Die Materialuntersuchung der Feuerbüchse ergab, dass sie auf ca. 740 °C erhitzt worden war. Um diese Temperaturen im Material zu erreichen, musste die Feuerbüchsendecke mindestens vier Minuten lang nicht mit Wasser bedeckt gewesen sein. Bei einer solchen Temperatur sank die Festigkeit der Feuerbüchse von 510 N/mm² auf weniger als 88 N/mm².

    Der Wasserstand im Kessel war so tief gesunken, dass das restliche Wasser beim Bremsen für den planmäßigen Halt im Bahnhof Bitterfeld zunächst nach vorne lief und beim Stehenbleiben der Lokomotive nach hinten gegen freiliegende überhitzte Teile der Heizfläche schwappte. Das Wasser verdampfte explosionsartig. Die Decke der Feuerbüchse riss ein, der Kessel der Maschine zerknallte und schleuderte das Führerhaus fort. Gleichzeitig drehte er sich, und die Glut aus dem Kessel traf einen auf dem Nachbargleis einfahrenden Reisezug, von dem zwei Personenwagen in Brand gerieten. Der Kessel schlug etwa 40 Meter von der Lok entfernt auf.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesselzerknall_in_Bitterfeld

    Zwischen Jüterbog und Lutherstadt Wittenberg wurde dann für Bitterfeld ein Wasserhalt verlangt, nachdem ein Wasserhalt in Lutherstadt Wittenberg abgelehnt worden war. Bei der Einfahrt in den Bitterfelder Bahnhof war der Wasserstand dann jedoch schon soweit gesunken, das bedingt durch den Übergang von der geneigten zur ebenen Strecke und die gleichzeitige Bremsung des Zuges das noch im Kessel verbliebene Wasser nach vorn über die sowieso schon stark überhitzte Strahlungsheizfläche schwappte. Dadurch riß die Feuerbuchsdecke ein und das Führerhaus der Lok wurde zerstört. Der Kessel der Lok, immer noch vom Zylinderblock gehalten, machte eine Drehung im 180 Grad und schleuderte dabei Glut in einen auf dem Nachbargleis einfahrenden Reisezug, von dem sofort zwei Wagen brannten. Dann riß sich der Kessel vom Zylinderblock los und landete zirka 40 Meter vor der Lok, wobei der Kessel sich kalt mit den Fahrschienen verschweißt haben soll. Dabei wurde auf einer Länge von ebenfalls zirka 40 Metern das Bahnsteigdach und auf einer Länge von zirka 60 Metern die Fahrleitung beschädigt. Das Lokpersonal soll bei diesem Unglück den Tod gefunden haben und bei den Aufräumungsarbeiten auf dem zerstörten Bahnsteigdach gefunden worden sein. Sieben weitere Personen kamen durch umherfliegende Splitter und Trümmer ums Leben, mehr als 50 weitere Personen wurden verletzt.

    https://www.gerdboehmer-berlinereisenbahnarchiv.de/Statistiken/BBU-DR-DB.html

    There are more links to discussions about the accident. As it was the DDR there wasn't a public report but I suppose there may well have been an official internal report but I can't find it.

    More than happy to be corrected by a better German speaker than me.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    My German is worse than my French. My comment was about the old wives tale that water surging over an overheated crown will flash off into steam sufficiently to cause a boiler rexplosion. I was suggesting that it wouldn't be in any official report or, if it was, it wasn't a well investigated event.
     
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  12. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The bloke in the video was the investigator and as far as I can tell that is what he is saying happened. I'll let you have the argument with him about the investigation.

    Everything I've read says the same story and people questioning it.

    The only other thing I can find in the wiki entry is this:

    Der Sicherungsbolzen der Lokomotive war jedoch so stark mit Kalk versintert, dass, obwohl er schmolz, kein Wasser in den Feuerungsraum einströmte. Es blieb rätselhaft, wie das passieren konnte, obwohl die Lokomotive erst wenige Tage zuvor aus dem Ausbesserungswerk Meiningen von einer Hauptuntersuchung zurückgekehrt war.

    Which I am translating as saying that the fusible plug had melted but it was so full of scale that no water had passed through it. This is strange as it was only recently out of the shops.

    It is worth noting that the loco was a replacement loco because on the previous leg to Berlin the loco had run short of water and been damaged. (Same driver I think). They (unclear who) thought the new loco had been fully serviced but it hadn't, coaled but not watered and there were no opportunities for water on the journey.

    It is the DDR so it is entirely possible that it was decided that it was easier to blame the driver rather than anyone/thing else.
     
  13. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    He might have been the lead investigator and that might be the official finding, but I personally am very sceptical. It reminds me of very early investigations. Slightly different, but they stated that the uncovered crown became red hot, the feed put on and the sudden generation of steam was more than the safety valves could cope with, so the boiler exploded. C.H. Hewison Locomotive Boiler Explosions (1983) David & Charles ISBN 10: 0715383051 gives the full run down.
     
  14. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    In some accounts the safety valves not coping with the steam created is also mentioned (but that is in forum discussions). Some say that they surge back produced an increase in steam which 'broke through the crack' (I am unsure whether this is the fusible plug or the crown) and explains the catapult effect on the boiler rather than the boiler just exploding. I am just the messenger here and I am sure there are people on here with better german skills and more knowledge of german railways who can translate better than I can.

    Others point out that the driver is totally to blame, the crown was uncovered for 4 minutes, they did not throw out the fire knowing they had no water, this was twice on the same shift he had run out of water and clearly there were issues with the quality of maintenance being done, and the loco had not been serviced properly before the trip. There is also a discussion about driver culture in the GDR where it was considered to be a bad thing to throw out the fire because of low water and instead to try and power on. They had been refused an earlier water stop.

    ####

    Looking at German forums there is a lot of debate about this particular accident.
     
  15. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    There is no question at all that the crown sheet collapsed, and that provided a down force within the firebox which, in this case, propelled the boiler out of the frames, back end first, to land ahead of the loco. It's the cause which is under debate, and from what you say, not just here.
     
  16. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES!
     
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  17. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Weren't german inner fireboxes steel?
    Pat
     
  18. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Which gets me wondering if copper and steel fireboxes react differently to prolonged crown sheet exposure and thus distruct in different ways. Certainly the cartwheeling departure of the boiler from the frames of the loco at Bitterfeld is similar to some of the crown sheet failures in the US in the '40s and '50, where as in the UK boilers tended to stay attached to the loco in such instances.

    I'm probably talking rubbish but I'd be interested in other's thoughts on this as it is something I had never considered until the posts above.

    Peter
     
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  19. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    It happened. There is a photo in the book I mentioned earlier at Westerfield on25/9/00, GER. Engine 522 was drawing out of the station. The boiler finished up quite a way ahead the other side of the level crossing.
     
  20. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    Simply as an observation, at this time GER boilers were not built with fusible plugs.
     

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