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Railroaders' Nostalgia > UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979


Date: 10/08/18 10:35
UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: bradleymckay

As mentioned in the discussion of the current (possible) Sherman Hill runaway I thought this would be a good read ...

NTSB report (it's a PDF file so it might load slowly):

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RAR7912.pdf


Allen



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/08/18 10:39 by bradleymckay.



Date: 10/08/18 15:39
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: Copy19

Very interesting reading.  A wreck situation waiting to happen.



Date: 10/09/18 14:32
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: ExSPCondr

Here's a little bit of trivia:

The rear brakeman (1979) who didn't pull the air when the train reached 75 MPH couldn't pass the conductors test. (That would have stopped the train.)

The brakeman on the 1989 Duffy St. runaway didn't pass his conductors test either. (He couldn't tell whether or not the dynamic was working on the engine he was riding on.)
G
 



Date: 10/09/18 15:50
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: bradleymckay

One thing not known is if UP ever had any other issues with turned angle cocks in Rawlins or Laramie in 1979 or in 1980.  We'll probably never know...

At the time one of my cousins was a hoghead on the North Platte - Cheyenne extra board and his brother was a brakeman.  I was in NP in June of 1980 and I don't remember either of them talking about the runaway.


Allen



Date: 10/10/18 04:19
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: dcfbalcoS1

           Just an observation but I see a lot of companies hiring people who know absolutely nothing and it appears boths sides seem to be happy with the situation.



Date: 10/10/18 09:23
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: bradleymckay

dcfbalcoS1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>            Just an observation but I see a
> lot of companies hiring people who know absolutely
> nothing and it appears boths sides seem to be
> happy with the situation.

Some empoyees care, some are only there for the paycheck.


Allen



Date: 10/11/18 21:01
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: eminence_grise

CP had a similar incident going downgrade into Medicine Hat , Alberta.

It involved an eastbound lumber train 942 and an airhose on a cushion drawbar crimped closed when the slack ran in. The engineer first used dynamic brake to control the train down a 2% grade from Redcliff and Medicine Hat.

When the automatic brake failed to control the speed, the engineer assumed the trailing units in the power consist had been set up wrong. He was an the walkway between units when the train collided with a switch engine in Medicine Hat yard. The engineer was thrown from the walkway and killed, and an engineer on the switch engine was seriously injured and permanently disabled.

This was a short but steep downgrade, so the runaway happened very quickly. There was a caboose on the tail end, occupied by a conductor and tail end trainman. The caboose had air guages in the cupola and at the conductors desk, likewise emergency brake valves. The train achieved speeds of over 65 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. Also, the train was approaching a crew change location so under normal conditions should have been slowing to a stop while approaching Medicine Hat eastward.

The tail end crew failed to communicate with the head end and later to activate the emergency brake from the caboose.

I knew the engineer involved in this wreck. He was a steam era engineer who had issues with new hires, and so he took it on himself to go back and check the locomotive consist rather than have the brakeman go back. He also didn't ask  the tail end crew what was happening with the air brakes.

It turned out that the design of a series of centre beam lumber cars was defective in that it allowed the long flexible air hose connected to cushioned drawbar to get crimped shut when the slack was in. Quickly, the defect was repaired on all cars of that series.

The runaway would not have occurred had the engineer made the required brake application at the start of the descent of the grade as required by the rules. Air first, and then dynamic to control train speed. The tail end crew failed to monitor the air brake guages at the beginning of the descent and communicate by radio with the head end the pressure after application.

The tail end crew were dismissed, the head end trainman was criticized for not communicating with the tail end after the engineer exited the cab. 

Transport Canada placed most of the blame on the deceased engineer. 



Date: 10/11/18 21:40
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: Pinlifter

Very thorough and interesting analysis.  Never realized going East over Sherman, the grade doubles going downhill.  So while you have enough power to make the hill, you don't have enough to control the speed going down.  It does create a dangerous situation.  But the RR's leave that up to the crew to figure out.  

Other day I had this exact situation except the angle cock was partially open.  I was called early at 0330.  I was tired but had enough experience to realize that the brake pipe pressure was really slow to rise for such a short train (and the ambient temp wouldn't mess with the airflow).  We got going and after a minimum set I knew something was wrong.  The train wasn't slowing and the set was taking forever to reach the rear.  After a track curve I see smoke and dust coming from the train.  I immediately stop and walk with the conductor to see what's wrong.  We find the partially opened angle cock 20 cars deep.  Thankfully it was a relaxed grade that I could easily control the train with dynamics.   That angle cock reduced the set and release of the air from that point.  It significantly impacted the train.  I'm just glad my experience knew what to look for before a significant grade.  Sadly this still exists in today's railroading, and it takes a decent amount of experience to spot.   

bradleymckay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As mentioned in the discussion of the current
> (possible) Sherman Hill runaway I thought this
> would be a good read ...
>
> NTSB report (it's a PDF file so it might load
> slowly):
>
> https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReport
> s/Reports/RAR7912.pdf
>
>
> Allen



Date: 10/12/18 11:26
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: Trainhand

The suits that make policy would never have caught this. They would say it doesn't happen and experience doesn't matter. But most of them have only experienced a table top model.



Date: 10/12/18 14:14
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: Bad_Iron

Trainhand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> . . . But most of them have
> only experienced a table top model.

Are you kidding?  The only "table top model" experienced by any of the suits that come around our terminal are the type that dance by your table and you stuff $20 bills in their ________ :-)
 



Date: 11/11/18 20:12
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: the_expediter

Granny Panties??



Date: 11/12/18 16:10
Re: UP Sherman Hill runaway, July 1979
Author: wabash2800

20? That must be inflation. I recall it was "tuck a buck".

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com



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