Author Topic: Safety Stand Down  (Read 1145 times)

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wmcbride

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Safety Stand Down
« on: July 20, 2014, 01:08:24 PM »
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I was breaking in a Kato SD70ACe with a newly installed decoder last night. I had it pulling some Kato 5-car Maxis and Red Caboose auto carriers and BLMA reefers. The train had made several circuits with no incident (no cat on the mainline, etc.).

I broke out the shop vac to get some stuff off the floor. There I was sitting on the floor and vacuuming - loudly - when all of sudden a 5-unit maxi crashed into the floor right in front of me. Trucks, containers, wheels, car bodies, and small parts bouncing everywhere. Was I ever surprised and dismayed. Nothing else derailed but of course the derailment occurred on a temporary track near the layout edge (which has seen a lot of traffic over the past two weeks or so) . Thankfully, I have those half-inch thick foam floor panels from Sam's Club covering the cement. It could have been worse.

Now comes the accident investigation. My preliminary review came up blank but it's N scale so the cause can be ever so slight.

Ugh.
Bill McBride

Jeff AKA St0rm

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 01:20:28 PM »
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This is why you need to put up strips of cardboard untill the scenery is in place. If a rail car can't fall on it side safely and not fall to the ground then i always use the cardboard as a guard. if you dont want it standing up beside the track then you can staple 2 inch wide strips under the plywood bench that can catch the falling cars. I have had locos fall off the layout before and it is never good.

ednadolski

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 01:32:03 PM »
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Ouch!   No fun!!   :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:

As for the cause, Be sure to check the wheel gauge on everything. The Kato Maxis have those doggone truck-mounted couplers, and they could have derailed way before the actual crash site, even on a previous circuit.  With a shop vac going, you would never hear the chatter of the derailed wheelset being dragged around.

Ed

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 01:45:36 PM »
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Sorry to hear that.  Speaking from experience, I'd investigate the trip pins on the auto racks, and maybe the reefers...

up1950s

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 01:47:39 PM »
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Ok , here is an idea . 2 inch high however long and in as many sections as needed clear plastic border protectors . Hinge them ..... , down for viewing and photos , up for running . Only areas where a derailment could cause train to mimic a pack of Lemmings .

ednadolski

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 01:48:28 PM »
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I'd investigate the trip pins

This is probably the real reason why they are called "trip" pins...  :facepalm:

(insert other adjectives as appropriate)

Ed

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 03:42:04 PM »
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This is probably the real reason why they are called "trip" pins...  :facepalm:

(insert other adjectives as appropriate)

Ed

Yep.  I've run all my cars over my layout... literally hundreds of times over the course of hundreds of hours AND still every once in a while a trip pin will catch and cause a derailment– While I stand there with a stupefied look on my face thinking "Gosh almighty shouldn't that trip pin have been become a problem much sooner than this?"

Baronjutter

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 06:11:02 PM »
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I think over time and vibrations they sometimes shake their way down.

wmcbride

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2014, 07:02:21 PM »
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This was a lesson in operator negligence.

I have some plexiglass up at a couple of areas near the edge but didn't put up foam-core here because I was being complacent and lazy - the kind of things that cause accidents in the real world.

The first thing I thought was trip pin. I routinely send them to the guillotine. I checked and all were gone or really bent up out of the way.

The most likely cause is a derailment in the Maxi cars which finally became serious enough to launch them. I was sure surprised as the hit like lawn darts right in front of me. Thank goodness for the padded floor...

Bill McBride

up1950s

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 07:06:07 PM »
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What tests ok on a free roll might not be the same under tension as a pulled cut of cars are .

robert3985

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 08:07:08 PM »
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Since I started cutting off all the "dongles" on all my couplers (way back in the late '80's), I simply don't have "dongle related" uncouplings any more. 

Every now and then, a car will mysteriously drop a wheelset.  Doesn't happen much...like every couple of years or less...but, it DOES happen, and who knows why.

I take great pride in laying and installing my track as well as I can, and I rarely have derailments that are caused by track problems.  I can see potential problem areas when I'm in the process of laying my track, so they get fixed while my module/section is under construction.  However, sometimes there's a problem just waiting for the right set of circumstances to "happen", which is what happened to me three years ago at the Evanston Roundhouse Festival on the first weekend of August.

My son was running a train pulled by double-headed GS-4's and there were two 6' sections that I'd built that had no scenery base installed yet, but were just bare benchwork, and track, with fascias and skyboards. When I lay my track, I construct laminated Masonite (splined) subroadbed, with Midwest Cork roadbed on top, which gets meticulously sanded smooth before laying ME code 55 and code 40 flex.  On my Taggarts LDE, which will eventually include the dual bore tunnels and twin Warren Truss bridges over the Weber River, I was spanning the "river" with my splined Masonite subroadbed, which had not yet been cut because I hadn't kit-bashed the two bridges for this LDE yet.  For some reason, I had decided to not glue the track on the "bridge sections" down, but just let them float on the cork, which worked fine at home in my basement.  BUT, it got hot in the former restored U.P. Evanston Engine House where we were set up because there is no air conditioning there.  The temps weren't unbearable for the humans attending and running their displays, but it was in the middle 80's I'm sure.

One of my son's trains, pulled by double-headed GS-4's derailed on the westbound track on that unfinished Taggarts LDE, spilling three WOT heavyweight baggage cars and two Fine N-SCALE resin 50' PFE Express Reefers onto (luckily) one of the operator's XXXL wadded up hoody on top of his box-O-cars which happened to be positioned directly under the open benchwork at that point.  The only damage was some wheelsets went skittering off into oblivion, a broken coupler and some chipped paint on one of the Fine N-SCALE reefer's etched brass running board.  I can only imagine the damage that would have occurred if they'd nose-dived 52" into the polished concrete engine house floor!

The problem was easily located...a vertical "kink" in the middle of what will be a bridge spanning the Weber River.  I still am not sure why I chose to not glue the track down where the bridges will eventually be.  So, I pushed the kink back down and glued it in place with runny CA and Accelerator...problem fixed.  I also glued down the east bound track in that area, which had not formed a ski jump yet, and inspected ALL the track on the other unfinished section to make sure this wasn't going to happen again.

The lesson learned was that I don't run trains without a scenery base, or something temporarily attached to my benchwork to catch trains if they fall off the track.  I now use brown craft paper (wrapping paper) which I tape and staple underneath my subroadbed which can be easily removed when I start installing my Styrofoam scenery base.

It wasn't that I was "lazy", but that this particular problem had not presented itself before...along with the environmental circumstances causing it. 

But, it is just good practice to project circumstances to a particular piece of layout and do a series of "what-ifs" to find solutions to problems that haven't happened yet...or may never happen.

In my case, just gluing every piece of track down would have totally prevented this incident, which could have been a lot worse.  Needless to say, since my layout is portable and designed to be taken to shows, the track is now always glued down everywhere on unfinished sections...and they don't go to the shows unless there's at least a scenery base or stapled/taped brown craft paper there to catch the trains.

nkalanaga

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Re: Safety Stand Down
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2014, 02:11:12 AM »
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Yes, even model track can "sun kink", although I think it's usually humidity changes rather than excess heat.  The wood benchwork and/or roadbed shrinks or expands with humidity changes, the rail doesn't, kinks appear.   
N Kalanaga
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