By Christian H. Hewison
A historical past of locomotive boiler explosions, which spans the years 1850 to 1962. regrettably, within the early days of the railway they happened all too usually. the writer was once an twist of fate investigator with the Ministry of delivery, focusing on boiler mess ups.
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Extra resources for Locomotive Boiler Explosions
The engine was attached to a ballast train that permanent way men were unloading near Sough, to the north of Bolton. Five square feet of iron plate above the uppermost row Of the ﬁrebox rear stays was torn away from the curved boiler tOp by the steam pressure, which was only 65 lb/sq in; the piece then broke off at the Stay holes and was hurled back across the footplate, where the driver and another man called a conductor who was with him were both killed. The ﬁreman who was underneath the locomotive raking ashes from the grate escaped injury, although the entire train of six wagons and a van passed over him when the force of the explosion drove it forward along the line.
Galton could not, he said, detect any unsoundness in the boiler plates and 36 1851 TO 1860 THE EXPLOSION NUISANCE went to great trouble to prove that the safety-valves were of adequate Size. The driver having told him that they were ‘blowing Off very strongly’ at the time of the explosion, he supposed somewhat impulsively that the enginemen had not applied the pumps during the journey from Bristol, although he did not describe the pumps or their condition in his report; he assumed that a deﬁciency of water had occurred as a result and that ‘the top of the ﬁrebox became heated and caused a too rapid generation of steam’.
The investigation, by Capt. D. Galton, was a little more detailed than those made previously into boiler explosions; his report, which omits the engine’s number, was rather wide of the mark in its ﬁndings. 10pm with a goods train of 20 wagons for Gloucester. About two miles along the line the train stuck on an incline of 1 in 75 and had been standing about two minutes while the enginemen set about scorching the rearmost wagons, intending to work half the vehicles at a time to the next station, when the boiler burst.
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