atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6742: That's a bad day, right there

So, having a spin through YouTube after work.

I've seen, periodically, a livecam that's aimed at the great big horseshoe in Altoona, PA. It's a big loop of railroad track, a place where trains change elevation in a pretty tight curve, because going straight down- (or up-) hill would be beyond the mechanical limits of the locomotive's ability to control speed. They make a big loop around so that they can lengthen the run, so that the grade is less steep. It's still pretty steep for trains, mind you, but it's usually within the ability of the locomotives. It's a vital corridor, too. It's four tracks wide and a lot of trains run through there. There are not many other places nearby where trains can go.

So, this evening, a train derailed on it. About 8:40 PM. I was perusing YouTube and came across a video showing the aftermath, but then I found the livecam and was able to look at the streaming record and go to the time when the actual derailment occurred. It's not on camera, but you can hear it as the three locomotives in the lead casually saunter through the camera's field of vision, heading uphill without the load it was just pulling.

Looking at the wreck, we see that there was a string of empty lumber cars near the front. It looks to me as if , and they derailed, falling on their sides. What happened, I think, is that the weight of the cars was insufficient to keep them on the track with the engine pulling an entire train's weight through them. They tried to make a straighter line between the locomotives and the load, and fell off the track in the process.

* * *

Can't remember what type of derailment it's called, so I was trying to do a search for it. The Wikipedia entry on derailments says this:
Boiler explosions had been noted in locomotive-type fire tube boilers when the top of the firebox (called the crown sheet) failed. This had to be covered with a significant layer of water at all times or the heat of the fire would weaken it to the point of failure, even at normal working pressures. Low water levels in the boiler when traversing a significant grade could expose parts of the crown sheet. Even a well-maintained firebox could fail explosively if the water level in the boiler was allowed to fall far enough to leave the top plate of the firebox uncovered.
Now, I'm not an expert at this kind of thing, so I must defer to all those 9/11 truthers out there who insist that fire cannot melt steel. That being the case, this kind of boiler explosion was flat-out impossible. Right?

Okay, sarcasm off.

* * *

Last Christmas Mrs. Fungus got me a mask and snorkel, because I'd mentioned wanting to be able to float face-down in the pool and still breathe. I got it out Thursday afternoon and used it to inspect the bottom of the pool, to make sure that the drain was closed properly.

Strange: the 10' diameter pool had two drains in it. The 15' diameter pool has one.

I had noticed, early in the week, that the ground near the pool was staying soggy too long. I found that the drain cap was not tight, nor had the plug been inserted. That's on me. Anyway, I put the plug in and tightened the cap, but of course then it rained quite a bit Tuesday night, so the ground was still swampy. Argh etc. We'll see how it is tomorrow.

But I'd wanted to go around the perimeter and make sure everything was tight, and it is.

Anyway--the 15' pool is significantly larger than the 10'. The 10' pool is about 79 square feet; the 15' pool is about 177 square feet. The 10' was about 1,000 gallons; the 15' is about 2,500.

It's more than big enough for me, that's for sure.

* * *

Oh--it looks like I'm wrong. There used to be four tracks through that area, but one was removed in 1981 and it's now down to three. Even so.

* * *

I'm hoping I can get a little motorcycle tinkering in tomorrow. Couldn't do it Thursday because the battery was dead. Couldn't do it today because of work. Dang it!

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