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Steam & Excursion > You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Steam!


Date: 08/03/20 03:22
You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Steam!
Author: LoggerHogger

The incredible shattered remains of the this Southern Pacific steam locomotive along with the destruction of the roundhouse that it was inside of at the time her boiler blew is ample testimony to just how much power is contained in a single steam locomotives boiler.  The sudden release of that power can have devastating results.

While the origin of this blast seems to be centered at the firebox of the locomotive, give the rear driver that was literally blown off it's axle with such force as to bend the connecting rod, the rest of the boiler was likely involved as it is completely off the frame and the destruction to the roundhouse roof is extensive.

One cannot look at this scene and not be amazed at the power of steam.

Martin



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/20 03:37 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 08/03/20 05:58
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: dmaffei

Looks like the tire was partially blown off as well on that drive wheel. Any location given on this photo?



Date: 08/03/20 06:04
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: LoggerHogger

dmaffei Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>l. Any location given on
> this photo?

Sorry- no locations.  Just marked SP.

Martin



Date: 08/03/20 07:02
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: Frisco1522

Wonder where the boiler ended up?  Staybolts ripped out of the side of the firebox and it looks like the #2 driver moved outward also.  I've always marveled that a boiler explosion could unleash such power in a flash of a second.



Date: 08/03/20 07:10
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: Evan_Werkema

LoggerHogger Wrote:

> The incredible shattered remains of the this
> Southern Pacific steam locomotive along with the
> destruction of the roundhouse that it was inside
> of at the time

Looks like it was standing outside next to a long, straight brick building with a clerestory rather than inside a roundhouse.



Date: 08/03/20 07:12
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: RailRat

Frisco1522 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wonder where the boiler ended up? 

Maybe removed by time photo was taken?

Quite a picture to ponder there!

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA



Date: 08/03/20 07:24
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: BAB

Boiler was well remvoed from the picture by forces from its failure.  Years back when going to aircraft mechanics school in Seattle our instructor was talking about steam for some reason and the forces it could produce. There was at that time a steam plant that supplied a large portion of down town there. His statement was that if there was an explosion of it much of the down town area would be destroyed. It may have been a little over the top but that stuck with me to this day that was over 55yrs ago.



Date: 08/03/20 07:44
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: ATSF132

Working from memory on this. See San Antonio, Texas, March 1912. SP ten-wheeler had safety valves tied down for boiler testing, then forgotten. As the loco was fired up pressure rose steadily and so on. I believe this was summarized in an ICC boiler inspection report for the year 1912.
ATSF132
Vern Glover, Rio Rancho NM



Date: 08/03/20 07:48
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: LoggerHogger

Thanks Vern.  That makes sense.

I think I have one more photo of this incident.  I will look for it and may post it tomorrow.

Martin



Date: 08/03/20 08:00
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: miniempire

Here's a link with picture about a 3rd of the way down the web page looking back at what's left of the engine: http://www.sanantoniopolicehistoryarchive.org/the-great-locomotive-explosion/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/20 08:01 by miniempire.



Date: 08/03/20 08:07
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: ATSF132

Here is more. The photo is from the First Annual Report of the ICC Chief Boiler Inspector. Published in1913 for previous years findings. Here is 
Google link:
https://www.google.com/books/edition/Annual_Report_of_the_Director_Bureau_of/wk8BAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Interstate+Commerce+Commission+Boiler+Inspector+Report&printsec=frontcover

Start with page 28 and then page back to the Plates (photographs). The photo was in the report.

ATSF132
Vern Glover, Rio Rancho, NM



Date: 08/03/20 08:32
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: PlyWoody

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company was one of the main corporations that repaired and insured boilers. Today, since the company moved to a new headquarter building, they have no historical data.  The only remaining history of boiler explosions is found in their one publication:  The Locomotive printed after 1890 and recorded each month the finding from newspapers any incident.  I went through many of their issued and typed up 5 pages of railroad and few saw mill of interest.  I attach page two of my records.

It did not capture every accidental explosion, and missed the Aug 7 1912 date at Alamosa.  The closest to that date was 6 7 1912 of a boiler of a steam shovel working on the Catskill dam and reservoir west of Kingston, NY.
Some might find other dated of interest.

Search out Google for the company name, and some issues are available to read on line.  Too bad some issues have never been found or scanned. 

 




Date: 08/03/20 08:56
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: RailRat

miniempire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here's a link with picture about a 3rd of the way
> down the web page looking back at what's left of
> the
> engine: http://www.sanantoniopolicehistoryarchive
> .org/the-great-locomotive-explosion/

Wow, quite a good, detailed report with everything that occured that day and after.
Thanks for that link.

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA



Date: 08/03/20 09:56
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: jtbrandt

miniempire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here's a link with picture about a 3rd of the way
> down the web page looking back at what's left of
> the
> engine: http://www.sanantoniopolicehistoryarchive
> .org/the-great-locomotive-explosion/

Actually, it looks to be the exact photo as the OP in the slide show at the bottom of the page.



Date: 08/03/20 10:18
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: miniempire

You are most welcome Jim.

Stay safe and be well,
Brook



Date: 08/04/20 00:28
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: Odyssey

Thanks to all of you TO members for sharing the images, links, and comments
surrounding this unique piece of railroad, industrial, and societal history from 1912 ...
an amazing sampling of reality from back then ...

Odyssey
Evergreen, CO



Date: 08/04/20 07:50
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: WP-M2051

ATSF132 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Working from memory on this. See San Antonio,
> Texas, March 1912. SP ten-wheeler had safety
> valves tied down for boiler testing, then
> forgotten. As the loco was fired up pressure rose
> steadily and so on. I believe this was summarized
> in an ICC boiler inspection report for the year
> 1912.
> ATSF132
> Vern Glover, Rio Rancho NM

So much for the last big steam-up for this engine anyway.  Seems as if tying down the safeties on a hot boiler would not be a good idea, particularly if "someone forgot about it".



Date: 08/04/20 08:00
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: HotWater

WP-M2051 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ATSF132 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Working from memory on this. See San Antonio,
> > Texas, March 1912. SP ten-wheeler had safety
> > valves tied down for boiler testing, then
> > forgotten. As the loco was fired up pressure
> rose
> > steadily and so on. I believe this was
> summarized
> > in an ICC boiler inspection report for the year
> > 1912.
> > ATSF132
> > Vern Glover, Rio Rancho NM
>
> So much for the last big steam-up for this engine
> anyway.  Seems as if tying down the safeties on a
> hot boiler would not be a good idea, particularly
> if "someone forgot about it".


To be correct, they did NOT "tie down the safeties on a hot boiler"!!!!  The safeties were most likely "tied down" for dydrostatic testing, i.e. NOT a hot boiler.  After the "testing" was completed, obviously someone forgot to remove the gags from the safety valves, prior to firing up the boiler.



Date: 08/04/20 09:57
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: Earlk

One has to wonder how high the pressure got before the boiler came apart, considering boilers were built with a factor of safety of at least 3.5 back then.



Date: 08/04/20 23:43
Re: You Should Never Turn Your Back On The Enormous Power Of Stea
Author: Evan_Werkema

It's also amazing that the railroad was able to "rebuild" what was left.  Diebert & Strapac's Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Compendium indicates that 4-6-0 #704 was rebuilt with a new boiler and lasted until 1954 before being cut up at Houston as T&NO 692.



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