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Western Railroad Discussion > Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz


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Date: 11/18/12 07:16
Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: funnelfan

This is about the 1985 movie that was filmed on the Alaskan Railroad. A while ago my mom saw the movie on television and then had to call me to ask it it really could happen. I had to explain it was Hollywood and wouldn't have played out like that in real life. It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but I still remember most of it. Like Unstoppable, it's actually a good action/drama flick if you can get by the Hollywood fiction. Aside from the alerter (or did they show a deadman's pedal?)there are numerous ways that train could have been stopped. If you were the brakeman on board the train, name the various ways you could have brought the train to a safe stop. Remember you can't enter the cab of the lead unit since it was smashed in with the collision of the other train. I think I could come up with at least 30 ways to have brought the train to a stop, but I won't spoil the fun for now.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 11/18/12 07:22
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: funnelfan

Ok, I'll give away one of the funnier ways to accomplish the task, though by no means the quickest. Open the water drain plugs on all the units and let the low water sensors shut down the engines.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 11/18/12 07:28
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: kk5ol

Wul, turn off the 'key'! <G>

Err, just pull the cut-lever as most power is so equipped that the drama of crawling over/under/around/thru the cars is no longer required. Wait for the slack!

RailNet802, owevaaaah



Date: 11/18/12 07:29
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: miralomarail

Push in the Emergancy Shutdown Button



Date: 11/18/12 07:36
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: LarryDoyle

There are many ways to shut down the engine (layshaft, overspeed trip, governor, emergency fuel cutoff), but as a BN crew found out in the Cascade Tunnel some years ago, if you loose Main Reservoir Air you can't stop on a downgrade. Especially, in your scenario if the handbrake is also cut off from you by the smashed cab. Handbrake is not terribly effective on a moving locomotive, anyway. And, in the tunnel, the crew couldn't jump!

-LD



Date: 11/18/12 08:14
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: funnelfan

LarryDoyle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
but as a BN crew found out in the
> Cascade Tunnel some years ago, if you loose Main
> Reservoir Air you can't stop on a downgrade.

That doesn't make sense because the MR feeds the brake pipe. Any loss of pressure in the MR under 90 lbs will setup the brakes on the train. I've had it happen to me trying to charge a auxiliary airline on a long string of coal cars. Are you talking about lite engines, like a helper set? That wouldn't apply to the movie.

I also didn't consider handbrakes because I was not sure enough of them could be applied to the speeding train to bring it to a halt.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/12 08:17 by funnelfan.



Date: 11/18/12 08:20
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: Narniaman

Does anyone remember the TV movie from the early 70's that showed a runaway ski train? I think it was set in Colorado. Supposedly the brakes froze up from the cold. I recall they had some light power chase the train, and managed to couple on to it on the second bump and stopped it -- conveniently, perfectly in the stadium! I recall in the movie there were a group of passengers watching the light engine out of the back of the train and cheering the engine on in it's attempt to couple with the passenger train.

I wouldn't mind seeing it again.



Date: 11/18/12 08:36
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: SilvertonRR100

Narniaman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone remember the TV movie from the early
> 70's that showed a runaway ski train? I think it
> was set in Colorado. Supposedly the brakes froze
> up from the cold. I recall they had some light
> power chase the train, and managed to couple on to
> it on the second bump and stopped it --
> conveniently, perfectly in the stadium! I recall
> in the movie there were a group of passengers
> watching the light engine out of the back of the
> train and cheering the engine on in it's attempt
> to couple with the passenger train.
>
> I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

Runaway on NBC IIRC. Also out as Frozen Passage in Europe. Filmed West of Denver using D&RGW power and cars lettered Sierra Pacific.

Rob



Date: 11/18/12 08:38
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: fbe

As a last resort when everything else has gone toes up, place the reversor into the reverse position and open the throttle. This will blow breakers and likely lock up some locomotive axles on the older power. I am not sure how the newer computer controlled units will handle it. All the bucking and extreme buff forces are likely to derail a car or two.

The drained water idea is a good one though there are so many other ways to shut the power down.

Posted from Windows Phone OS 7



Date: 11/18/12 09:03
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: WrongWayMurphy

Empty the contents of the portable fire extinguisher in the engine air intake.



Date: 11/18/12 09:13
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: funnelfan

ArgyleEagle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Empty the contents of the portable fire
> extinguisher in the engine air intake.

Good one, didn't think about that!

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 11/18/12 10:14
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: neilgross

Walk back to either of the trailing Geeps to pull the MU cable and the uncoupling lever rather than climbing through the window of the F-unit to do the same thing between the lead GP40 and the F.



Date: 11/18/12 11:22
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>That doesn't make sense because the MR feeds the brake pipe. Any loss of pressure in the MR under 90 lbs will setup the brakes on the train.

If the loss of MR pressure is slow enough, all that happens is that the BP pressure drops without applying the brakes. I've seen this happen several times.

>As a last resort when everything else has gone toes up, place the reversor into the reverse position and open the throttle. This will blow breakers and likely lock up some locomotive axles on the older power.

What breakers? More likely it will flash (and destroy) the [DC] traction motors. With 3 ph AC traction motors, it's a different story.

All those posts which talk about pushing the kill button on the locomotive(s) or pulling the jumper cables are off base if they are trying to imply this will "stop the train". All these will do is kill the diesel engines or put them back to idle, with little to no effects on the train's runaway motion. If the train is "running away" uphill, it will finally stop on its own accord (gravity as friend) and begin to runaway in the other direction (i.e. backwards, downhill -- gravity as enemy).

The best way to stop the train would be to go to the cab of the second unit and pull the dump valve (which also puts the engines back to idle). Uncoupling the train somewhere would have the same effect. However, neither of these actions will accomplish anything if the air hasn't been made throughout the train /and/ the train fully charged for the required amount of time beforehand. And, tieing handbrakes would be a joke at the speeds these runaways are allegedly going. Besides, you can't get from freight car to freight car anymore, without getting down on the ground. There is a point, a speed, above which the handbrakes will have no effect. For example, they didn't stop the runaway grinder train on Donner several years ago.

All of these runaway train movies play fast and loose with the realities of railroading. For example, when that light engine is chasing the runaway ski train, the front knuckle is closed, as is the rear knuckle on the [runaway] train. But since the joint is eventually made, how did either one get opened? Then, after this engine makes the coupling, who made the air hoses and opened both angle cocks, particularly the one on the rear of the passenger car, at 60+ mph? When you see the brake shoes making sparks on the wheels, why is it bare brake heads without shoes? Why didn't the engineer use the extended range dynamics brakes he had at his disposal?

There a all kinds of irregularities in all these movies. The most recent one where the camera keeps circling the cab is just as bad. And when you're on a runaway, you're not going to indulge in encounter-group discussions. BTDT this, only once, with a switch engine and some tank cars (we got stopped without going through the industry's gate).



Date: 11/18/12 11:38
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: ddg

My brother is a NetJets Captain. This thread reminds me of all the things about Denzel Washington's movie "Flight" that made him laugh out loud.

Posted from Android



Date: 11/18/12 11:57
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: UPNW2-1083

All you have to do is pull the throttle handle out about a quarter inch (it's spring loaded) and push it forward past the stop bumper. This will shut down the entire consist.-BMT



Date: 11/18/12 12:36
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: alco539

UPNW2-1083 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All you have to do is pull the throttle handle out
> about a quarter inch (it's spring loaded) and push
> it forward past the stop bumper. This will shut
> down the entire consist.-BMT

That's what I was gonna say.

But, in the movie it's left up to the train dispacher and random railroad offcial to "figue out" how to stop the train. So with that senerio added into the equation it would probobly take them two hours to get it stopped.



Date: 11/18/12 14:30
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>But, in the movie it's left up to the train dispacher and random railroad offcial to "figue out" how to stop the train. So with that senerio added into the equation it would probobly take them two hours to get it stopped.

Ain't that the truth, which is being charitable enough to assume the officials know anything at all about the subject.

About 20 years ago, the UP had a M/W train of ties run away somewhere in the Las Vegas-LA area. What happened was that the engineer accidentally bumped the consist kill switch because it was on the side of the control stand, facing the back wall of the cab. In a post-mortem, the failure analysis people figured he (or the crew) then had 30 seconds to put the train in emergency or they wouldn't stop, and it took longer than that for them to figure out what had happened.

About 5-8 years ago, the UP had another runaway in the West Colton area which was caused by a cut of cars getting away on the ML and the DS taking too long to give the engines permission to pass the stop signal ("I'll call you back"). By then it was too late, and the result was pix in the media of houses demolished by loads of lumber.



Date: 11/18/12 14:32
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: funnelfan

Most all units have a conductors or auxiliary dump valve in the cab somewhere. And if anything, you can always just cut in the air on a trailing unit and make a controlled application or even dump the air that way. And anything you do that can dump the air trips the pcs and will idle all the locomotives.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 11/18/12 15:05
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: LarryDoyle

funnelfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> LarryDoyle Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> but as a BN crew found out in the
> > Cascade Tunnel some years ago, if you loose
> Main
> > Reservoir Air you can't stop on a downgrade.
>
> That doesn't make sense because the MR feeds the
> brake pipe. Any loss of pressure in the MR under
> 90 lbs will setup the brakes on the train. I've
> had it happen to me trying to charge a auxiliary
> airline on a long string of coal cars. Are you
> talking about lite engines, like a helper set?
> That wouldn't apply to the movie.
>
> I also didn't consider handbrakes because I was
> not sure enough of them could be applied to the
> speeding train to bring it to a halt.


It's been awhile since I'vd seen the movie. I thought he wound up standing on top of a light engine. You are correct, of course, that if coupled to a cut of cars, zero main reservoir does set the train air.

-LD



Date: 11/18/12 15:15
Re: Runaway Train Movie; The Quiz
Author: Notch16

Haven't seen it in a long time. It was very elevated drama (taken as I recall from an original Japanese story) and the realities of train handling took third seat to production design and story metaphor. In other words, it was about character, not trains. The train even had an 'evil' quality about its looks.

That said, I recall the speeding light engines throwing crazy sparks from the wheels, and the audience was thus led to believe that the train "had no brakes." That, and the inability to get to the "controls" of the lead unit, took care of 99 percent of the audience's concern about the details.

But it's a great movie if you're a fan of watching actors chew the scenery. :-)

~ BZ



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