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When the rod fails on a "Big-un"! "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
When a "Gremlin" hits a Locomotive

Shortly before this picture was taken, whilst working under load, 2699 experienced what is known in the trade as a catastrophic uncontained engine failure. The train was passing the town of Independence, La at the time.

 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
The first picture below shows that one of the 16 cylinder packs that form the engine was ejected through the engine bay body side and thrown clear of the locomotive.
In addition to this the piston from that cylinder was thrown free by the force of the failure. It was ejected so violently that it traveled through the air and crashed through the roof of a nearby home where it imbedded itself in an interior wall.

 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Vice President
Pitfalls Moderator
IHC Life Member
Picture of Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
posted
As a mechanical engineer and a former diesel engine designer, I find this type of spectacular engine failure interesting.

The ejection of the entire cylinder package as well as the piston itself in addition to breaking the connecting rod, involves a huge release of energy. This indicates to me that the engine must have been running for some time in a "failed" condition, a seized rod bearing or something of the like, before the final explosion.

These kinds of failures are normally very noisy, but this one was apparently not noticed until the final catastrophic phase.


Best Regards,

Ed
 
Posts: 6696 | Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: April 19, 2004
IHC Member 1110
posted
Being a Diesel mechanic myself, I've seen acouple of engines "grenade" like that, but it's hard to believe it wasn't rapping real bad before this happened...The block and crankshaft must be in good shape after that!I once worked on a Caterpillar 3508 generator set engine that threw a rod with no warning, it destroyed the $27,000 cyl. block.This will cost the Railroad big money! Take care, Ted.
 
Posts: 1286 | Location: Lebanon, Connecticut USA | Registered: March 28, 2008
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
I was told it was a rod failure, but is it possible that it "swallowed a valve"?
 
Posts: 6492 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Member 1110
posted
Hi Dave, that motor could have swallowed a valve,that would happen with no warning.In a big diesel like that, probably running at around 1800 RPM, and a valve hung open or broke off, that would bend or break the rod for sure.There's NO room in the combustion chamber for anything!Imagine the force it took to throw that cylinder assembly thru the steel hoodside, and far enough to hit the house.I would'nt want to have been standing in that engine compartment!Great story and pictures, Thanks for sharing It!...Ted.
 
Posts: 1286 | Location: Lebanon, Connecticut USA | Registered: March 28, 2008
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
I guess another question would be, what are two Canadian National locomotives even DOING in Louisiana? Wink

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3813 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Life Member
Picture of William D. White
posted
Dave,

I think that what really happened is this: The engineer spotted some of his pals walking nearby and decided to try to impress them by doing a "burn out" thus over-revving the engine and causing this not-so-small failure. By the way, what's the bore & stroke on one of those?

William
 
Posts: 1564 | Location: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: September 01, 2008
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
Mark

This is a current map of the Canadian National Railway from their web site. They have lines into New Orleans & Mobile amongst others.

01
 
Posts: 5107 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Really? Eek

That's a new one on ME!!

Learn something new everyday!!
 
Posts: 3813 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Life Member
posted
William-
Bore is 9", stroke is 10.5", just under 10,700 cubic inches. Wowser!

Bob
 
Posts: 217 | Location: Oak Harbor, Washington in the USA | Registered: May 21, 2009
IHC Life Member
Picture of William D. White
posted
Geez Louise!!
 
Posts: 1564 | Location: San Francisco, California USA | Registered: September 01, 2008
posted
As some one pointed out it is rather interesting to see where "CN" has lines....Living close to a railway we often see "CHEESIE" engines...the railways must be sharing equipment which must make for some interesting book keeping?? Wonder who gets the call to fix that mess?

Regards ,John
 
Posts: 299 | Location: Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada | Registered: November 10, 2005
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Today there is a lot of "interchange" between complete trains including locomotives. Used to be whoever's line it was traveling on, it had to have that companies locomotives pulling it.

As to the cylinder, piston and rod failure and ejection, I have seen this a few times. You have to remember that on a train their may be 3-4-5-6 or more units that are linked together and are all putting out whatever rpm's or braking power that the lead unit and the engineer are calling for from his position on that lead locomotive. There is no way to know , a lot of the time, what that 3-4-5-6 unit is doing or experiencing until something happens and in this case it was catastrophic !!

When and if an engine failure occurs on another railroads line and the engine belongs to another RR, that engine is returned to the owning RR in a trains consist [called deadheading] and tagged as a "non-compliance" item. However sometimes there are contracts between two or more RR's to maintain and repair other lines locomotives when there is a long term "long haul connecting line" contract in effect.

That should help to confuse you more and you are quite welcome Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

regards,
bb
 
Posts: 6360 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Member 1110
posted
I'm always amazed how they can get a string of different make and model locomotives to pull together like that.I've heard of "Locotrol", which as I understand it allows the lead unit to run the others.Like Buster said, if something happens on one of the unmanned engines , how would the train crew know it?Imagine sitting in your house and have a hot piston come flying in!I have no experience with railroad diesels, but I would think these engines would have a safety shutdown system that would be tied in to oil pressure, temp, and over-speed.This engine must have blown with no warning symptoms. I'd love to see whats left of it...Ted.
 
Posts: 1286 | Location: Lebanon, Connecticut USA | Registered: March 28, 2008
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
This is all accomplished with what is called a "MU" [make-up]cable that connects between each and every locomotive in the consist[s]. Then whatever the engineer asks the lead unit to do, the others that are trailing behind and unmanned, will follow his command[s].

These diesels do have safeguard shutdown systems in place, usually this scenario as viewed here will be the result of it swallowing a valve and it has to go/do something which is immediate!!

Now days we even have trains that have units[locomotives] at both ends and sometimes even in the middle of the train consist !! These are "hooked up" to operate and respond from the engineers lead unit position by telemetry signal which operates the same way as a MU cable allows the trailing units to respond to the engineers commands. All from the confines of the "command module" [lead locomotive] as we rails like to call it !!

Still confused?? OK I'm out of help for you !!

regards,
bb
 
Posts: 6360 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
This is one of the most interesting video's I've run across regarding a 'locomotive' failure:

http://www.rail-videos.net/video/view.php?id=1808

Read the note below the image regarding them having to call the dispatcher to let them know about this situation. You mean the engineer wasn't aware? He was running light! Confused

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3813 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Looking at the video and reading a lot of posted comments on the video let me say this;

I doubt that the "power move" which is what we are looking at where you move needed power[locomotives] from point A to point B, I doubt that the viewed scenario had been happening more than a mile or two when the video was taken. The last detector the units went thru was 3 miles back, the detector would definitely of picked up the problem which was a "locked traction motor" as it will create very high temperatures. AND a locked traction motor in this scenario definitely would not go more than a few miles before a journal would of burnt off from the high temps and the approx. speed which appears to be 50+ mph, which would of caused a wheel/axle to drop/fall off, in turn causing a catastrophic derailment and tearing up rails and crossties as it all unfolded or "came unwound" if you will !!!

Now for a little unknown secret that civies aren't aware of; When problems arise in an engineers consist[s], there is an alarm bell that goes off in the lead command module Big Grin, that alerts the engineer that there is a problem somewhere in the consist. He is required to stop or shut it down and inspect all units by going thru them and an on-ground inspection of wheels and braking equipment. I would suspect that there had already been an alarm go off earlier and a stop and inspection was made earlier AND perhaps more than once, AND apparantly no problems were found at that/those inspection[s] !! Now I suspect what happened,[as will be reviewed], was that the alarm bell went off[again,] AND the engineer countered by pushing what is called an "alarm silencer button", from the comfort of his lead unit command module Big Grin and continuing [without breaking stride] on his merry journey !!! IMHO of course as always but armed with 40+ years of experience on actual running the nations rails here in Texas Smile

Next question?? [I probably know a humongous amount of RR stuff and very little about watches] Big Grin

regards,
bb
 
Posts: 6360 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Life Member
Picture of Richard M. Jones
posted
Buster that was fascinating info and I have to say that I have known since childhood that when a naughty boy put a washer on the track it would at the very least destroy an engine like that. Beginning to wonder if Grandpa lied to me. Regards


Deacon
 
Posts: 1004 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska in the USA | Registered: February 14, 2009
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Well I don't know 'bout Grandpa, Deacon, but I have ran over everything [ and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g ], from 1c pieces to 18 wheelers with no adverse effects and continuing onward !! Well except for stopping afterwards to fill out the required forms and documents for the DMV, police,and coroner Frown Non significant items such as coins, rocks, washers, debris, etc. are only shrapnel to wound whoever put it there in the first place, AND if they stick around and are expecting to view carnage or a great train wreck, it ain't gonna happen Eek

regards,
bb
 
Posts: 6360 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
I was friends with the N&W Scioto Division road foreman of engines of my hometown years ago, and even interviewed for a job in his shop (was offered the job, but decided to stay where I was at. Never regretted it, as the folks they hired were laid off within 6 months and never recalled, but that's another story).

He once told me back then that his biggest gripe was when units would show up at his engine house in absolute awful condition. The road foreman of another division would patch up a unit enough that it would limp out of his area and become the problem of the next division.

I asked him what he did about it. He smiled and said,"I just patched 'em up and sent them on up the line to the NEXT division. Let THEM worry about it!" Big Grin

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3813 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
Railway Historian
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator
Picture of Larry Buchan
posted
Hello Buster:

I've run across a lot of things on the track during my career, but one of the most bizarre ones happenel one evening west of Gelichen, Alberta on the First Nations reserve when coming around a curve at 60 mph on the middle of a level crossing up ahead was a refrigerator standing up right. Being on the reserve and not knowing what was in it, whether it was full of groceries, or a human body we soon found out on contact, it turned out to be empty just another prank from the kids on the res having a little fun. Further east one trip they laid a brand-new hardwood railway tie across the track, I was not sure what going to happen if it wedged under the engines pilot, but fortunately vaporized into kindling wood.

Deacon:

Talking about placing washers and coins on the track, one afternoon working an industrial assignment in downtown Calgary, Alberta we were returning light engine from spotting some boxcars at a warehouse, we had a General Motors 1200SW CPR 8100 that had good visibility from windows on the rear of the locomotive, traveling in reverse direction at a speed of about 15 miles an hour we observed a father with his two young sons standing along the track side, seeing our approach the father placed two shiny quarters on each rail. It was a nice sunny afternoon, and the yard helper who was sitting outside of the cab on the battery box enjoying the fresh air looked up at me pointed and winked then gave me a slowdown sign, he climbed down the ladder and got onto the trailing footboard approaching the coins I made a grandstand stop a foot away from the quarters, or literally pardon my pun stopping on a dime, Marty the helper proceeded to jump off the engine retrieve the two shiny quarters put them in his pocket jumped back onto the locomotive and give me a highball sign. I opened the throttle and I'll never forget the look of bewilderment on the fathers and the kids faces as we raced away into the sunset. We all had a good laugh when Marty entered the cab and threw me a quarter.

Larry

 
Posts: 3370 | Location: Okotoks Alberta Canada | Registered: November 22, 2002
Railway Historian
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator
Picture of Larry Buchan
posted
Rearview of a 8100 showing the Windows, battery box, ladders, and leading footboard.

 
Posts: 3370 | Location: Okotoks Alberta Canada | Registered: November 22, 2002
Railway Historian
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator
Picture of Larry Buchan
posted
The Scene of the Crime, Left track "B" alley west of eighth Street Southwest Calgary, Alberta.

 
Posts: 3370 | Location: Okotoks Alberta Canada | Registered: November 22, 2002
IHC Member 1291
Picture of Buster Beck
posted
Yo North Rail,

Guess my most unusual thing to hit was a 18 wheeler at grade and it was pulling a loaded cattle hauler!! Eek

Rounding the bend and starting through a small rural town with 9 RR crossings, I saw the tractor/trailer stopped at a crossing protected with crossbucks. But suddenly to my horror, I saw the tractor/trailer lurch and the tractor jump up and down with the heavy weight of its load behind him !! We were going 50mph and pulling 6000 ft of train and 6500 tons, there's nothing to do but apply full emergency position of the air brakes, sit down on the horn and hit the floor and pray for the best!! Frown

Impact was horrific and the sheet metal of the cattle hauler trailer warped and wrapped around the locomotive and immediately shut it down from daylight to darkness as it blocked off all sunlight. Then there was the broken glass from all the locomotivs windows flying everywhere and the big glass water cooler jug shattering and adding to the danger and all the sounds of metal being shaped into nothingness and the misshaped metal going everywhere and being twisted and contorted. Eek

Finally we came to a stop after going approx. 3/4 of a mile from the initial point of impact. Getting up off the floor I was happy to be alive and miraculously unscathed! But there was a very pungent odor and burning sensation in my eyes. Confused

After regaining my senses and managing to free myself from the cab of the locomotive, I was truly amazed and thankful that we were alive and hadn't been found later under the mangled dead carcasses of 40-50 thousand pounds of beef !! But my eyes were still burning and my visual was still blurred. Finally after getting back away from the locomotive my vision started to return was I able to see the real carnage!! Eek

There was the trailer wrapped around the locomotive like a piece of aluminum foil, yet instead of all the beef and gory, there falling off the engine were the loaded tractors contents. The driver apparently trying to pick up extra money on the return trip home instead of an empty haul, had found a load of fresh valley onions that needed to be delivered to market !! Those onions didn't mind one bit being hauled in a smelly ole cattle hauler and neither did I, brother, neither did I !! Smile

There were no fatalities that day and the RR gave us the rest of the trip off to get all the glass out of our clothes, amongst a few other things !!!!! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

regards,
bb
 
Posts: 6360 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: July 27, 2009
IHC Member 1357
posted
Simply amazing.Could only happen in Texas!
 
Posts: 4067 | Location: Carbon, Texas in the USA | Registered: January 24, 2010
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