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Concept for a Safe Oil Train

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Concept for a Safe Oil Train
Posted by Euclid on Saturday, January 18, 2014 11:15 AM

Concept for a Safe Oil Train

---Preventing a Derailment from Becoming a Train Wreck---

What I am proposing here is a bold and robust concept for a stronger and smarter derailment-resistant train that uses the power of the locomotive and smart braking of the train to control derailments if they do happen.

This concept relies mostly on functional redesign, monitoring the train for trouble to prevent derailments, and mitigating the effects of derailments; as opposed to making tank cars more crashworthy.  While both approaches cost money, making cars more crashworthy leaves less capacity for cargo, and thus drives up the cost of shipping. 

While it is true that trains have been hauling hazardous materials since the beginning, I don’t think that justifies complacency in believing that nothing is new about the hazard.  What is new is crude oil that is as explosive and flammable as gasoline, and that crude is being handled in long unit trains as the preferred method of transport in lieu of pipelines.  That is all new.  Also new is the domestic boom in this new type of crude that will lead to unprecedented oil traffic levels on railroads.  And the final thing that is new is a reduction of sympathy for oil over the last fifty years.  That last item does not make oil shipping more dangerous, but it leads to a more strident call to action to reduce the danger.  Fifty years ago when we all used oil without questioning its value in making our lives easier, we would tolerate the risk of fire and explosions, and the smell of refineries.  One other thing that is new since fifty years ago is Lac Megantic actually demonstrating what has been largely theoretical in the mind of the public.

While this rising controversy may be overhyped and agenda driven, its effect on the rail boom in oil traffic is very real.  The newfound prosperity of the oil traffic is the railroad industry’s to lose if they don’t push back against the problem with some passion.  Since there are agendas working against the oil industry, this is a marketing challenge as much as a safety challenge.  So the real hazard is not the danger train wrecks pose to the public.  The real hazard is the danger of the railroads losing the oil transport business. 

In the wake of Lac Megantic, the regulators were able to mitigate future runaways by changing the securement rules, but the oil volatility issue has got all the players stumped.  The most plausible solution seems to be the strengthening of tank cars so they don’t burst open and spill the oil during a derailment.  But how much strengthening is really enough?  Is it good enough to simply reduce the odds of spilling the oil in a wreck?  Or is something more certain needed? 

The problem with strengthening the tank cars is that train derailments have the potential to rupture tank cars almost no matter how strong they are.  It depends on the dynamics of the derailment.  If the cars pile up into an interlocking heap, they become a massive stationary obstacle lying in the path of the trailing cars which continue to roll forward on the rails with great force of momentum that is sufficient to crush the strongest tank car. 

There is no way to prevent derailments.  A broken wheel, axle, flange, truck side frame, truck bolster; a broken rail, a sun kink, or a pulled drawbar landing on the track; hard slack action, a dropped brake beam, an undesired emergency brake application, grade crossing collisions—these are some of the are many things that can cause a train to suddenly derail.  When the first car hits the ground, it tears into the track and becomes much more resistant to rolling. Following cars derail as they enter the damaged track and add rolling resistance.  Couplers break, cars separate, air hoses part, and the train brakes go into emergency.  The derailing and uncoupled cars become able to turn sideways, which they do as the trailing cars continue to push into them.  Often as the cars turn sideways, they do so sequentially, forming a zigzag pattern known as “accordion.”  One car turns to the left, the next one turns to the right, and so forth until they end up like a stack of cordwood across the line of the track.

While the zigzagging or jackknifing that leads to an accordion pileup is frequently seen, there are many variations that are more chaotic in form.  The process of a derailment pileup is very complex and depends on track alignment, roadbed features, type of cars, etc.  Sometimes the cars spread out in several directions with a lot of separation that prevents them from jamming together forming a collective obstacle. 

But when the cars do pile up into a heap, they are jammed in tight, so they cannot deflect to escape the force of the oncoming string of trailing cars that are running on the track and have not yet reached the point of the pileup.  So the pile of cars becomes more massive and unmovable as more cars are added to it.  It is like the famous reference to an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

Basic Components of a Safe Oil Train:

1)    Cars semi-permanently coupled with extra strength solid drawbars and continuous extra heavy car center sills.

2)    Revised tank car design for puncture resistance, stronger center sill elements, stronger drawbar connections, and limited pivot trucks with safety chains.

3)    Car buffer system integrated with the drawbars that resist car jackknifing leading to an accordion pileup.

4)    Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brakes (ECP) with a “smart emergency” feature that can detect a derailment and react to the derailment in a way that mitigates the risk of an accordion or similar pileup of cars. 

5)    Cars equipped with sensors to monitor temperature of running components, vibration, sound, motion, etc., and connected permanently by continuous electrical cabling to transmit the data to a control center in the locomotive.  

 

A derailment begins with the first car going on the ground and tearing into the trackwork.  If that car and the subsequent derailing cars could remain coupled and be kept running more or less straight along the track line until the train could be stopped, the puncturing of cars would be a lot less likely than it would be when cars pile into a heap while being continuously rammed by the oncoming trailing cars.  

Items #1-3 are intended to help control the cars in a derailment in a way that keeps them running on the ground in line with the track until the train stops.  That would be a “derailment without a train wreck,” so to speak.

This concept uses dedicated unit train sets which are not broken up.  The cars are semi-permanently coupled with solid drawbars.  There is no slack in the couplings, and therefore no slack action in the train.  The lack of slack action and the extra strong drawbars and center sill structural elements keep the train from uncoupling during a derailment when the cars are running on the ground, tearing up track, and subjected to extraordinary coupler stresses.

“Unbreakable” drawbars also can aid in preventing the car jackknifing that begins a pileup which is most likely to puncture tank cars.  In the normal jackknifing process, cars turn 180 degrees to each other. 

The drawbars of this concept resist car jackknifing.  However, resisting this bending of the cars at the coupling connection is not a matter of the drawbars being stiff enough to resist their bending.   Instead, they resist the jackknifing of the cars in a different manner as follows:  Since the cars are ten feet wide, after bending 180 degrees at the couplings, the two drawbar connections are ten feet further apart.  So to remain coupled, they would have to either part lengthwise or stretch ten feet in their length.  Resisting that stretch tensile load is where the drawbar strength lies, and that is how they resist the jackknifing of the cars.

But for the drawbars to play that role, the outer edges of the car ends must be reinforced to withstand the extreme compression that is the reaction force to the drawbar tensile load as the cars try to jackknife.  This is the buffer system referred to in item #3.  It would consist of extra strong corner block structures that would be spaced from one car to the next only far enough apart to allow the cars to traverse curves. 

Item #4 controls braking and power during a derailment for the objective of keeping the train stretched to help it run in line with the track as the cars run on the ground. 

With the typical train of today, at some point near the beginning of a derailment process, air hoses will begin to part as the cars uncouple.  The first parting of air hoses will cause the air brakes throughout the train to go into emergency.  This automatic failsafe response is beneficial in stopping the train quickly which shortens the derailment process and limits the damage.  However, it can also exacerbate the damage.  If the cars ahead of the derailment brake too hard, it will contribute to the jackknifing tendency of the derailing cars.  This will all depend on how long the train is, where the loads and empties are, and where the derailment occurs in the train.  Sometimes it pays to continue pulling on the train after the brakes go into emergency because any cars that can be pulled ahead might escape being caught by a developing pileup. 

Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) brakes, however, offer more sophisticated control than conventional airbrakes used today, but they may be too complex and costly for a universal rolling stock conversion, which has been the general intent.  However, if oil trains are conceptualized to be specialized with dedicated non-standardized equipment, ECP brakes could be justified for use with this concept without the burden of a universal conversion of the entire rail rolling stock fleet.  Furthermore, the control advantages inherent with ECP brakes would particularly benefit this new oil train concept in the quest to control derailments.

Overall, the extra monitoring, intelligence, and communication built into this new oil train concept would detect a derailment the instant it begins.  Then it would override the normally automatic response of going into emergency braking when the first air hose connection breaks.  The system would also know where the train is located, so it could account for track and roadbed configurations.  It would also know where the derailment is located within the train.  Then with all of this information, it would apply the brakes in a way that is most beneficial in preventing the cars from jackknifing and piling up.  Instead of forcing the whole train to go into emergency braking, the system would apply heavy braking behind the derailment and withhold most braking ahead of it.  The system would also control power added to pull the cars ahead of the derailment. 

Since the cars in this train have extra strong drawbars and connections, they can withstand more pulling force applied during a derailment for the purpose of mitigating a pileup.  The cars will tend to remain coupled even after derailing, so this added pulling force will not only pull cars on the rails forward ahead of the derailment; but it will also continue this pulling force right into the derailed cars as they run on the ground.  The system will then concentrate braking on the cars behind the derailment, and apply power to the cars ahead of the derailment.  The effect will be to keep the whole train stretched out in order to reduce the ability of the cars to pile up into a heap when they derail. 

One thing to consider about trains versus pipelines is that, unlike pipelines, trains provide an unlimited supply of ignition during a derailment.  Molten steel flies and splashes in all directions. Strengthening tank cars according to the current plan being put forth by the regulators will make them more puncture resistant, but not entirely so.  The good news is that if they pile up in a heap, fewer will puncture.  The bad news is that any that are punctured will be ignited, and it only takes one burning tank to ignite all of the un-punctured cars in the heap.   

~

 

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Saturday, January 18, 2014 4:53 PM

I don't know where to start..

 

First since I don't know you can you describe your experience with train wrecks. It sounds like you might have some background or at least your well read.

 

Here's the killer to your plan, The "unbreakable" drawbar means that you must also have an unbreakable car. While I'm sure this is possible what you will end up with is a car that weighs 80-90 tons EMPTY. Drawbars and knuckles are designed to break before the car does.

Most tank cars don't have center sills anymore, they have stub sills welded to the tank body.

 

Randy

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:40 PM

Randy's points seem valid to me, but there is one other:  Your  concept would work for fixed unit-trains but not for single-car railroading, and some crude and other petroleum products do move in single and short consist moves.  Possiblly tankcar construction with center sills and tanks that disengage from the sills miight make   for addtional safety or perhaps actually reduce safety.  But such heavy equipment would exceed axle loadings of the existing track structure and bridges.   New track and bridges would be required.  Probably cheaper to construct pipelines!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:54 PM

Randy's points are well articulated and thought out.  I'm not a professional railroader so can't speak from experience, just an outsider looking in.

Here's the thing:  the stuff HAS to be moved, one way or another.  It's GOING to be moved, one way or another.  The railroads have a choice, they can take the bull by the horns and come up with as safe a way to move crude as possible and hang the expense, or they can wait for the heavy hand of government bureaucracy to come up with who-knows-what at even more expense, or they can lose the business to pipelines. They're going to have to do SOMETHING.

A dedicated unit train built to Randy's specifications makes perfect sense to me.  Actually, Randy's couplers sound a lot like the "tite-lock" couplers passenger cars have been equipped with for years.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, January 18, 2014 10:34 PM

OP's proposal sounds like 100 tons of car to move a ton of oil 'safely'.

 

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Posted by schlimm on Saturday, January 18, 2014 11:49 PM

Sounds heavy, too slow to bring online as a replacement and expensive.  

My guess (absolutely no inside knowledge) is that until the newer tank cars come online (they will be kept in dedicated unit trains, not mixed with the 111's) the existing cars will be run with some/many of the special precautions mentioned by Dave K and others.  And the filling of the cars with Bakken will be more carefully monitored.  The additional costs will be allowed to be passed on to the shippers.  No one will be fully satisfied, but the railroads will come out of it best.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 19, 2014 10:18 AM

Part of this is little different in principle from the old Miller arrangement: combination of inseparable couplers with some positive means of providing anticlimbing in multiple axes.

A much more 'sensible' method of doing this than with drawbars might be a combination of a modified type F coupler (as already mandatory on tank cars) with a rotary mechanism adapted from hoppers (provided with some sort of progressive limitation on rotation).  The modification to the F coupler would be to provide some sort of positive locking if the mutual vertical displacement of the couplers exceeded a certain number of inches.  The purpose of this change would be to keep the couplers from separating, and perhaps removing any out-of-axis loads from the knuckle mechanism during an incident (or relieving stress from the knuckles or ins themselves, and thereby keep car ends from contacting past the tank-end shields, or telescoping.

The idea of positive, and perhaps locking, buffer arrangements might be useful here, especially if the buffer 'faces' constitute arcs of a circle around the rotary drawhead axis.

Once that is done, you can start providing armor, leak suppression, internal full-height baffling, etc. to prevent the liquid from spilling to the greatest possible extent, managing potentially explosive vapor expulsion, etc. -- none of which I see addressed in the original proposal.

As Randy noted, the integrity of the cars becomes a critical factor -- one which is not particularly likely to be assurable without making them so heavy that their own mass becomes a more destructive aspect than the fact of a derailment. 

More to the point, however: the principal issue of current concern does not appear to be oil-train derailments so much as it is other trains derailing INTO oil-train movements.  No amount of fancy antiseparation arrangement helps when the cars are buckled or punctured from the side, or shock force on the order of that produced by mutual collision of two vehicles proceeding in opposite directions is abruptly applied to part of the car structure. 

My own quiet little opinion is that oil trains are going to be increasingly scheduled in the way equipment that does not meet FRA buff standards would be currently operated:  completely separated from potential contact with trains operating in normal service.  That might not have to be enforced with demoniac severity or draconian consequences -- but it calls for more than just thinking that if you stop oil trains whenever something else is passing, you're assuring safety.

Now, something I'd like to see discussed here is what elements comprixe a next-generation tank car... as we're clearly entering an age when a large number of cars will, and can, be built for this special service.  Bakken crude in particular has 'special' characteristics, particularly a low effective flash point, that make some thoughtfulness in design advisable.  Seems to me that there is nothing about the optimization that would make the cars ill-suited for use with other grades or qualities of railborne crude...

... and what more logical time to implement special systems, such as proportional EC braking, than when large unit fleets (comparable to coal gon buildout, perhaps?) is undertaken...

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Sunday, January 19, 2014 11:08 AM

My idea was to put a CO2 or Nitrogen blanket in the cars after loading to purge the oxygen from the explosive mixture in the tops of the cars. It seems that at least some of the cars blew up from the inside out when sparks entered the tank body.

I actually mentioned this to some pretty important folks in the government.. we'll see, I sincerely wish I had an answer. I enjoy low gas and heating oil prices (not low enough for sure) as I'm sure everyone does, I fear the impact on the economy could be devastating if this is not resolved and soon. High gas adn heating oil prices would certainly affect me , my family and my friends adversely.

The heavier inert gasses displace oxygen and is heavier than air. There should still be a layer of inert gas between the combustible and the oxygen at least for a while. I'm not talking about eliminating fires or explosions, I'm talking about delaying them at least so people have a few precious seconds to run away.

 

Think about it .. how long does an inert gas blanket really have to last providing there are no external sources of ignition ? Till the cars come to a rest right?

 

In Megantic , death was immediate or nearly so.. if they had 1 to 5 minutes before an explosion to get away many lives would have been preserved.

I'm actually not sold on F couplers on tank cars other than TIH cars. In my experience a minor derailment can be turned into a major derailment because of one car dragging the next one off the track and so forth.

 

I copied some of this from a previous thread that got lost in a dick measuring contest.

Randy

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Posted by Norm48327 on Sunday, January 19, 2014 11:43 AM

Randy Stahl

 

 

I copied some of this from a previous thread that got lost in a dick measuring contest.

Randy

LMAO! BowBow

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Posted by DwightBranch on Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:28 PM

Some interesting ideas. If I were to critique it  would say that you are looking for a technical solution whereas the problems may be organizational in nature. Your solutions likely wouldn't have changed the outcome much in the Quebec derailment I think (it was going too fast around a curve), or a runaway on a mountain pass like Cajon, but may make a difference in a relatively low speed derailment like the one on BNSF. It WOULD have worked in the ethanol crash on CN in Illinois I think. The problems in the Quebec crash were mostly organizational in nature, with MM&A trying to get by as cheaply as possible on things like crew costs, track maintenance, locomotive maintenance, field supervision (didn't even check a unit that was on fire!), facilities/ yards to tie the trains down, etc.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:30 PM

Randy Stahl
Here's the killer to your plan, The "unbreakable" drawbar means that you must also have an unbreakable car. While I'm sure this is possible what you will end up with is a car that weighs 80-90 tons EMPTY.

Randy,

I don’t expect this proposal to require excessively heavy tank cars.  The point of the solid drawbars is to keep the cars coupled during a derailment as they are placed under tension by selective braking and power application to prevent them from jackknifing and piling up.  That is a two-part objective.  The larger part of that objective is accomplished by eliminating the knuckles and related features that can break and disengage from twisting and bending as well as pure pulling stress.   There will be a lot of that twisting and bending coupler stress because the cars will be running on the ground, tearing up track and plowing ballast, so what is needed is coupler integrity that goes beyond the abilities of tightlock or shelf couplers.

The second part of the objective is the capability of the drawbars to handle the tensile pull of the selective braking and power application from the moment the derailment begins to when the train stops moving.  I don’t know whether that would subject couplers to a higher than usual tensile pull.  If it does, it would require heavier drawbars and possibly more weight added to reinforce the tank.  When I mentioned center sills, I am not necessarily suggesting full, independent center sills with the tank sitting on top of them.  I am only referring to the structural features integrated with the tank that reinforces the pulling line of the car.  It may only be a thickening of steel along the bottom.  They simply replicate the purpose of a center sill.   

But, as I say, this may or may not be necessary, and in any case, I don’t expect it to add so much weight that it makes the car too heavy to be practical.  The strengthening that the regulators are planning will also add weight to the cars, so heavier cars are inevitable.  Somewhere I read that they are planning to increase the capacity to offset the weight penalty.  It would be interesting to hear how they will accomplish that. 

But these extra strong drawbars are just one feature of a system of features that are intended to work together.  Probably the least important feature is item #3 in my opening description.  If the selective braking and power application do their job of keeping the derailing cars stretched, there would be no need for drawbars and buffers working together to resist jackknifing.  And the buffer structure would also add considerable weight.  So, I would say that item #3 might be omitted from the list of features.

Overmod,

Thanks for your comments.  Like you, I am interested in learning exactly how the new tank cars will be made safer, and how safe they will be.  Seat belts made cars safer, but air bags make them even safer.  Is this proposed tank car improvement intended to solve the problem or just be an incremental improvement?

Maybe somebody can post a link to a reference showing exactly what it planned to be improved with the new tank car safety standards.  I would like to know how much safer they will be.  For instance, I would like to know it this:  In the case of the Casselton wreck, if that train was made up of the new and safer generation of tank cars, would there have been a fire?  This is an engineering question, and reinforcing the tank cars is an engineering project, so the answer to my question about how the improved tank cars would have performed in the Casselton wreck ought to have a specific answer.  It is an obvious question in the context of the Casselton wreck and the proposal to prevent such an occurrence in the future. 

Regarding the other proposal to prevent fouling collisions between passing trains:  Certainly that type of collision has the greatest potential for violence because of the combined speed of the two trains, so it would help.  However, the potential for it only exists during the passing phase, and that will be a very small percentage of the entire route traveled.  So stopping one train during a passing meet will add safety during that time, but the entire rest of the route will provide constant opportunity for derailments.  And any derailment, although being perhaps less violent than a fouling collision, will nevertheless provide plenty of opportunity for tank breaching and a resulting fire. 

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Posted by ndbprr on Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:36 PM
Ah yes, utopia where no accidents happen and all can be prevented. All it takes is ever increasing costs and liability claims for the "victims".
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Posted by Randy Stahl on Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:42 PM

Since the findings by the TSB from Megantic haven't been released yet we cannot speculate, that would make us no better than the press.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:47 PM

What's interesting in this whole thing are the parallels to arguments about passenger trains.  We all know the  schools of thoughts regarding safe operations of passenger trains: 

1.  Make the cars lighter so they can go faster and implement track and signal engineering to avoid crashes

-or-

2. Make the cars heavier, tougher (and therefore slower) so that if they crash, the occupants survive.

I think the "best" solution (because face it, there are no perfect solutions in life  - esp. since I believe in the idea of equivalent exchange) will be a combination of both. 

No real information in this post, but i think the similarity in passenger trains vs oil trains is interesting.  Especially since there are safeguards when operating pax trains in freight territory (absolute blocks in some places, for example).

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Mookie on Sunday, January 19, 2014 1:15 PM

I am hesitant to post this:

I watch Dutch trains a lot.  You don't see or hear of problems being addressed here.

Anyone care to tell me why they can and we can't?

Just forum conversation not an argument.  I am curious.

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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, January 19, 2014 1:49 PM

zugmann
since I believe in the idea of equivalent exchange

Alchemy and Minecraft?  How about a conceptual framework from D&D?

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 19, 2014 1:58 PM

Coolwhen u believe in majic it just become real here in Walt Disney's World!!

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Posted by rockymidlandrr on Sunday, January 19, 2014 2:09 PM

One thing to consider in these 90 or so permanently connected drawbared trains, what happens of you have a hotbox enroute, a defect on one car that will prevent the entire train from moving.  Normally if you get a hotbox, its 4mph car until it is set out.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, January 19, 2014 2:13 PM

Many of the suggestions by the Original Poster, Randy, and others echo those of John G. Kneiling (Trains's "Professional Iconoclast") as set forth in his 1969 Kalmbach Publishing Co. book Integral Train Systems, and several columns and articles in the 1965 - 1975 time frame about the railroads should attempt to compete to get the oil move itself, instead of just "How Do We Route The Pipe?" (the title of one such column).

- Paul North. 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, January 19, 2014 2:16 PM

     Welcome back bycyrus.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by cx500 on Sunday, January 19, 2014 2:23 PM

Developing a stronger connection to stop jack-knifing and the accordion pileup sounds good in theory, and perhaps might be useful in at least some derailments.  But like many proposed safety improvements, all factors must be considered before jumping blindly.

The jack-knifing that produces sensational pictures is actually a very effective energy absorption mechanism, in some respects rather like the crumple zones on a modern car.  10,000 tons moving at 60mph are brought to a stop with the cars frequently remaining within or very close to the railroad right-of-way in a compact mass.  Unfortunately when fire and explosions result, of course, the flames can go much further.

If that same 10,000 tons of train derails but has the full weight continuing to push hard, expect an equally spectacular result as the missile heads for the hills, or business district at speed.

In fact tight-lock couplers, and shelf couplers, are designed to reduce the risk of tanks being punctured in derailments.  They have been quite successful in this regard, but the energies involved are sometimes overwhelming.  And they will overwhelm anything that can reasonably be designed and built.

Wandering off topic, last week in Nova Scotia a highway tanker loaded with diesel fuel crashed and burned on a rural highway, with very little left of the truck or pavement.  But the press happily reported that very little fuel was spilled because it all burnt up!  No sensational fear mongering; just another mundane traffic accident which probably only got mentioned because of a slow news day.

John

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, January 19, 2014 2:38 PM

rockymidlandrr

One thing to consider in these 90 or so permanently connected drawbared trains, what happens of you have a hotbox enroute, a defect on one car that will prevent the entire train from moving.  Normally if you get a hotbox, its 4mph car until it is set out.

The car department personnel so love rewheeling a car on the main track at o'dark 30.  Train Dispatchers love having a Main (or the only Main) tied up for 6 to 8 hours while the car gets rewheeled and the recrew gets to the train as well as having all mains in the area shut down while the car department actually performs the wheel set replacement..

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Posted by Norm48327 on Sunday, January 19, 2014 3:45 PM

Murphy Siding

     Welcome back bycyrus.

I was thinking the same. Super Angry

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Posted by Uncle Jake on Sunday, January 19, 2014 7:28 PM
Why not build semi-permanantly coupled sets of 3 or 5 like intermodal well cars?
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 19, 2014 9:02 PM

zugmann
What's interesting in this whole thing are the parallels to arguments about passenger trains.

... very effective parallels.  Handle the pax improperly and they will complain.  So will the Bakken crude -- just in a different language with considerably more heat release.  Where there is less of a parallel is, perhaps interestingly, concerning speed.  I don't see a particular need for high-speed lightweight oil trains, even if equipment utilization is improved, tare-weight benefits are observed, [insert Kneiling advantage(s) here].  Conversely i see little point in armoring everything -- engineering is the art of PROPORTIONAL design for maximal system strength, not the art of economical compromise (regardless of what might have been taught in freshman engineering!)  it's going to be interesting to see the theoretical design of euclid's system 'fleshed out' with numbers, and some measure of risk reduction (whether or not measured in a politically-charged metric like 'lives' as well as dollars).

But not at all the typical 'freight' thinking -- ramp up the HAL to the max, desuperelevate to minimize wear, call the insurance company if something is damaged on the road.  i actually see some openings for six-sigma-style quality methodologies here... let's hope they are applied sensibly, rather than pedantically.

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  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,783 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, January 19, 2014 9:39 PM

Uncle Jake
Why not build semi-permanantly coupled sets of 3 or 5 like intermodal well cars?

Does not do you much good unless the defective or derailed wheel is on the coupler end.....and where are all the 125-250T cranes magically going to appear from? Rerailing wheels under a derailed railtrain was always a nightmare. I'm not sure the mechanical bubbas would be so willing to rerail using frogs and cribbing blocks/ drag 'em back on and the hope you can roll over the same damaged track and a higher center of gravity. Wheel maintenance just got a lot more difficult and creates potentially new unsound issues..

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,849 posts
Posted by tree68 on Sunday, January 19, 2014 9:46 PM

Mookie

I am hesitant to post this:

I watch Dutch trains a lot.  You don't see or hear of problems being addressed here.

Anyone care to tell me why they can and we can't?

Just forum conversation not an argument.  I am curious.

We don't know that they don't have problems.  I don't believe their track structure is all that different from ours, and equipment failures happen.

Then, again, in the numerous times I've watched that railcam, I don't recall seeing an equivalent to our unit tank trains.  That doesn't mean they don't run them, just that I don't recall seeing any.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: US
  • 13,488 posts
Posted by Mookie on Sunday, January 19, 2014 11:07 PM

tree68

Mookie

I am hesitant to post this:

I watch Dutch trains a lot.  You don't see or hear of problems being addressed here.

Anyone care to tell me why they can and we can't?

Just forum conversation not an argument.  I am curious.

We don't know that they don't have problems.  I don't believe their track structure is all that different from ours, and equipment failures happen.

Then, again, in the numerous times I've watched that railcam, I don't recall seeing an equivalent to our unit tank trains.  That doesn't mean they don't run them, just that I don't recall seeing any.

They usually run unit trains with tanks that look like propane tanks all bundled up.  But every so often I have seen an actual unit train with tanks similar to ours. 

I am always intrigued that they run fast, granted, short trains.  But passenger and freight on 2 mains.  The pedestrians always obey the lights and gates ( no going around there) and the traffic on the rails is only down for the times that they either rail grind or repair the road bed.  Just seems to me a very efficient way to do business while ours seems to be almost cumbersome and slow. 

Appreciate your response. 

She who has no signature! cinscocom-tmw

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,512 posts
Posted by zugmann on Sunday, January 19, 2014 11:20 PM

schlimm

zugmann
since I believe in the idea of equivalent exchange

Alchemy and Minecraft?  How about a conceptual framework from D&D?

Never played minecraft.  Have watched plenty of Fullmetal Alchemist. 

But seriously professor, if that was some lame attempt at an insult, it needs work.  I actually feel sorry for your lack of insulting skills.  You will never be as cool as us without more work.

PS. since your insults were a failure, any response to what I said in my earlier post?  You know, something on topic for a change?

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Sunday, January 19, 2014 11:44 PM

It wasn't an insult. It was sarcasm.  i guess I should have labeled it as such to avoid confusion. Bow

C&NW, CA&E, MILW, CGW and IC fan

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