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Steam & Excursion > SP 5037 boiler explosion, Bosque, AZ, 1946.


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Date: 12/26/18 13:08
SP 5037 boiler explosion, Bosque, AZ, 1946.
Author: jbwest

I ran across some small prints I acquired somewhere of the exposion of SP 5037 at Bosque, AR on November 11, 1946.  I don't think the images are rare, but they got me googling for more info about the accident and at least on Google there was not a whole lot.  There was a reference to more info in Jim Boynton' book "4-10-2 Three Barrels of Steam" which I don't have.  I'm curious as to the circumstances.  It was an intereting consist with an Alco diesel switcher on the point (1033), the 5037, and the 4433 behind the 5037, all on a passenger train.  I wonder what the diesel was doing.  Can anyone point me to more info about the accident that is on the web.  I scanned and attached some of the more interesting pix. (typos corrected).  

JBWX



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/18 14:15 by jbwest.








Date: 12/26/18 13:16
Re: SP 5037 boiler explosion, Bosque, AZ, 1946.
Author: HotWater

A few points:

1) The 5037 should have been an SP Class 4-10-2 three cylinder steam locomotive.

2) The book you referenced, I believe is about the Southern Pacific 4-10-2 (NOT 2-10-4) three cylinder locomotives, thus the title "Three Barrels of Steam".

3) The first photo showing a locomotive on its side, is a semi-streamlined SP GS Class 4-8-4, which may have been the second/road engine of the doubleheader.



Date: 12/26/18 14:11
Re: SP 5037 boiler explosion, Bosque, AZ, 1946.
Author: CPRR

Interesting. Was the diesel switcher involved some how? Looks damaged to me. Anyone know what cause the boiler to go boom?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/26/18 14:13
Bunch of typos
Author: jbwest

The 4033 was meant to be 4430, and the 2-10-4 should have been 4-10-2.  Some subsequent discussions have also found that the two engines were in seperate incidents.  The pix were all unlabeled and mixed up, and one showed the 4433 behind a tender that looked like it might have been the 5037's tender, but apparently not.  The 5037 was being helped by the 1033, an odd arrangement!

JBWX



Date: 12/26/18 14:33
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: Frisco1522

If you look at the back of the diesel cab, you can see where the smokebox front was blown into it.   The force to cause all of that heavy steel to rip apart is unimaginable and underscores the reason for all of the safety measures, water glass blowdown and check procedures and the importance of keeping water over the crown sheet.



Date: 12/26/18 15:28
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: nycman

And the other things like the cab separated and landing somewhere away from the boiler, and the tubes and flues left bare by the departure of the boiler shell show what happens when the water is let to go low below the crown sheet.  Boiler explosions were deadly for the crews and sometimes to bystanders.  Let us hope we never see one in the future of our restored and operating steam.



Date: 12/26/18 15:36
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: RL_Cabin

If you google "arizona daily star 12 Nov 1946 bosque" you should get a link to a newspaper report on the incident.  The train involved was freight, not passenger.  SP 5037 was being helped by Alco switcher 1333, a common practice in this territory then.  5037 was given a new boiler from Alco in 1947, and lasted until scrapped in April 1954.

RL Cabin



Date: 12/26/18 16:28
And the 4430?
Author: jbwest

What happend to it.  Another picture.

JBWX

 




Date: 12/26/18 18:29
Re: And the 4430?
Author: tomstp

The two cars you can see say it was a passenger train.



Date: 12/26/18 18:46
Re: And the 4430?
Author: jbwest

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The two cars you can see say it was a passenger
> train.

One could also deduce it was Tucumcari route passenger train since the car in the picture appears to be Rock Island.



Date: 12/26/18 18:51
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: jbwest

Thanks Rich.  It is interesting perhaps even surprising that the 5037 was repaired at that late date in the age of steam, especially given the reputation of three cylinder engines for high maintenance cost.  I read the little 1033 also survived, I worked on many of her sisters but not the 1033 itself when SF was a big base for Alco switchers in the early 60's.

JBWX

RL_Cabin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you google "arizona daily star 12 Nov 1946
> bosque" you should get a link to a newspaper
> report on the incident.  The train involved was
> freight, not passenger.  SP 5037 was being helped
> by Alco switcher 1333, a common practice in this
> territory then.  5037 was given a new boiler from
> Alco in 1947, and lasted until scrapped in April
> 1954.
>
> RL Cabin



Date: 12/26/18 19:30
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: MaryMcPherson

RL_Cabin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you google "arizona daily star 12 Nov 1946
> bosque" you should get a link to a newspaper
> report on the incident.  The train involved was
> freight, not passenger.  SP 5037 was being helped
> by Alco switcher 1333, a common practice in this
> territory then.  5037 was given a new boiler from
> Alco in 1947, and lasted until scrapped in April
> 1954.
>
> RL Cabin

Four of five head-end crew were killed in the explosion; the engineers and firemen on both 5037 and the diesel.  The diesel's engineer and fireman died the day after the accident.  The only survivor was the head-end brakeman who was aboard the diesel, though he was also severely burned.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/18 19:35 by MaryMcPherson.



Date: 12/26/18 19:30
Re: And the 4430?
Author: BDrotarIII

According to "Three Barrels of Steam", 5037 had left Gila Bend, AZ with a 3175 freight and an almost full tender, as well as a 16000 gallon aux tank. They passed another 4-10-2, number 5008, at the siding at Bosque. The crew of the 5008 noticed that all 3 men on the 4-10-2 were in their usual positions, and all appeared normal. After the rear end had cleared, as Extra 5008 pulled onto the main, conductor C. W. Birk looked back, and saw 5037 explode. The explosion blew into the cab of the diesel, critically injured fireman Frank Bogulas, and blasted engineer John Rhodes out onto the ground. Brakeman T. B. Holloway was found near the site, seriously injured. Both crew members in the 5037 were killed instantly. After the boiler left the frame, it crashed down 265 feet father up the track, breaking out a 5 foot length of rail and depressing the roadbed 30 inches. The boiler bounced, and was found 17 feet away from the right side of the tracks, 390 feet ahead of the initial explosion. The front drawbar shank of the 5037 was broken off due to the force of the blast, allowing 1333 to run away until it lodged in the crater caused by the boiler.

The locomotive had been serviced in Yuma only 2 and a half hours before the explosion, and no faults were found with the injector, feedwater heater, or water glasses. The ICC report found that the engine had just had a boiler wash just 4 days before the incident, and that the four fusible plugs were renewed 12 days prior. It was later found that the water level had fallen to 6 and 3/4 inches below the bottom of the water glasses, allowing the top 3 inches of the crown sheet to soften. The "burning" of the crown sheet was found to reach almost 19 row of staybolts back, almost half of the full length of the firebox. Only the engineer's side water glass was found intact. Analysis of the feedwater heater and injector showed no defects after being put on a sister 4-10-2. The water glass, a reflex type, was found to have the reflective surface on the inside of the glass worn dark, providing the only clue as to what may have happened. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/18 20:37 by BDrotarIII.



Date: 12/26/18 19:31
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: BDrotarIII

MaryMcPherson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> RL_Cabin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > If you google "arizona daily star 12 Nov 1946
> > bosque" you should get a link to a newspaper
> > report on the incident.  The train involved
> was
> > freight, not passenger.  SP 5037 was being
> helped
> > by Alco switcher 1333, a common practice in
> this
> > territory then.  5037 was given a new boiler
> from
> > Alco in 1947, and lasted until scrapped in
> April
> > 1954.
> >
> > RL Cabin
>
> Four of five head-end crew were killed in the
> explosion; the engineers and firemen on both 5037
> and the diesel.  The only survivor was the
> head-end brakeman who was aboard the diesel,
> though he was also severely burned.

The head brakeman passed away the next day.



Date: 12/26/18 21:24
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: TonyJ

Back in 1990 my wife and I drove to the spot where the 4-10-2 blew up. It was easy to find as Boynton's book was very precise as to the location. The explosion happend over a small culvert/trestle where photos shpwed where the ballast was compressed. We wandered around wondering if we might find a piece of firebrick or something, but we never did, nor did we really expect to after so many decades. After about twenty minutes a e/b stack train came. We left after talking photos and videos.



Date: 12/26/18 21:34
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: Earlk

I've got some fire bricks from the 5037 that I picked up in the 1970's.  Most off of them were on the north side of the mainline.  A buddy of mine found an Espee galvanized water can with one side caved in a couple of hundred feet out in the desert to the north.  As of when I was there last (in the early 1980's) you could still see where the boiler landed on the south side of the main track.  There was an impression in the ground that was full of asbestos boiler lagging.



Date: 12/27/18 00:49
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: KMiddlebrook

Chapter 19 of Bob Church's Southern Pacific Ten-coupled Locomotives covers the "Incident at Bosque."  

Included in the chapter is a follow-up three page Espee crew notice entitled "Boiler Explosions" dated February 15, 1947. The notice explains the four boiler drop plugs had functioned properly and that the draft of the hard working locomotive may have drowned out the noise of steam escaping through the melted drop plugs.  The notice includes drawings and explanations on the functionality of boiler drop plugs.

The notice ends with "Boilers are designed and built with the upmost care, but the very best and safest boiler must be properly operated."



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/18 01:20 by KMiddlebrook.



Date: 12/27/18 03:47
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: goduckies

Its.amazing truly how.dangerous these beasts are and why I am.nervous about Dickens and his carelessness luckily mud in the 844 didn't kill anyone.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/27/18 07:06
Re: Bunch of typos
Author: BAB

Really guy?  Not about him or 844 so move on please.



Date: 12/27/18 10:14
Three Barrels of Steam
Author: zephyrus

Jim devoted a whole chapter in his book to the 5037 incident.  Horrible accident.

Three Barrels is long out of print, but a great look at these interesting engines.  Focuses mainly on the SP set but also covers the UP versions and Baldwin 60000.

Z



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