Gulf Curve, Little Falls Accident
April 19, 1940 – Little Falls, New York, United States: The westbound New York Central Lake Shore Limited, running fifteen minutes late in rainy conditions, fails to reduce speed to 45 miles per hour at Gulf Curve near Little Falls, sharpest on the NYC System, and at 59 mph the locomotive derails, crosses two tracks and strikes a rock wall whereupon it explodes and nine cars pile up behind it. At least 30 known dead, including the engineer, and 100 injured in the this accident.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR BUREAU OF SAFETY
ACCIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD
LITTLE FALLS, N. Y.
APRIL 19, 1940
INVESTIGATION NO. 2423
Railroad: New York Central
Date: April 19, 1940
Location: Little Falls, N. Y.
Kind of accident: Derailment
Train involved: Passenger
Train number: 19
Engine number: 5315
Consist: 15 cars
Speed: 59 m.p.h.
Operation: Automatic block-signal and automatic train-stop system
Track: Four; 7 degree 24’curve; ascending grade westward
Time: 11:33 p.m.
Casualties: 31 killed; 51 injured
Cause: Excessive speed on sharp curve combined with a run-in of slack resulting from throttle being closed suddenly
June 5, 1940
To the Commission:
On April 19, 1940, there was a derailment of a passenger train on the New York Central Railroad at Little Falls, N.Y., which resulted in the death of 26 passengers, 2 Pullman porters, 1 train porter, and 2 train-service employees, and the injury of 47 passengers, 1 Pullman porter, 2 dining-car employees, and 1 employee on duty. This accident was investigated in conjunction with the New York State Public Service Commission.
Location and Method of Operation
This accident occurred on the Mohawk Division which extends between Albany and Kirkville, N.Y., a distance of 136.76 miles. In the vicinity of the point of accident this is a four-track line over which trains are operated with the current of traffic by an automatic block-signal and automatic train-stop system; signal indications supersede time-table superiority. The main tracks from south to north are: No. 2, east-ward passenger; No. 1, westward passenger; No. 3, westward freight; No. 4, eastward freight. The accident occurred on track No. 1 at a point 2,875 feet east of the station at Little Falls. Approaching this point from the east on track No. 1 there is a series of curves and tangents followed, in succession, by a compound curve to the right 1,932 feet in length having a maximum curvature of l degree 52’35”, a tangent 1,193 feet in length and a 7 degree 24’curve to the left 856 feet in length. The derailment occurred on this latter curve, known as Gulf Curve, at a point 458 feet from its eastern end. The grade varies between 0.26 and 0.50 percent ascending westward a distance of 8,600 feet, and following this gradient there is a vertical curve a distance of 200 feet to the point of accident and 200 feet beyond.
In the vicinity of the point of accident the tracks are laid on a side-hill cut and parallel generally the north shore of the Mohawk River; the rails of track No. 1 are approximately 48 feet above the river. At the north a rock cliff parallels the tracks a considerable distance, and at the east end of Gulf Curve the cliff is broken by a valley extending northward. Bridge No. 456, on which are laid the four main tracks, is located about 550 feet west of the east end of Gulf Curve, is 37 feet 9 inches in length, of girder construction, and provides an underpass for Mohawk Turnpike. Mohawk Turnpike extends under the tracks at a depth of 16 feet and at an angle of about 30 degrees; immediately north of the tracks it turns westward, parallels the tracks, and is designated as East Main Street. At a point 304 feet west of the point of accident the grade of East Main Street rises to a level with the rails in track No. 1. A rock pinnacle rises abruptly to a height of 14.57 feet between track No. 4 and East Main Street at a point about 396 feet west of the point of accident.
Inv. No. 2423 New York Central R.R. Little Falls, N. Y. April 19, 1940
The track, structure consists of 127-pound rail, 39 feet in length, laid on an average of 24 treated oak ties to the rail length; it is fully tie-plated with double-shoulder canted tie-plates spiked with two rail spikes and two lag spikes per plate, and is provided with eight rail anchors and five gage rods per rail length; it is equipped with 6-hole toeless angle bars 36 inches in length, is laid on 20 inches of crushed rock ballast, and is well maintained. The rail was laid new in June 1939, and was spaced in August 1939. The superelevation of track No. 1 at the point of accident was 8 inches. The north rail of the spiral at the east end of the curve rose from level to a superelevation of 8 inches in a distance of about 200 feet. The gage varied between 4 feet 8-7/16 inches and 4 feet 8-9/16 inches.
Automatic signals 21421 and 21531, which govern westward movements on track No. 1, are located 9,046 and 3,086 feet, respectively, east of the point of accident. Signal 21421 is a 2-unit, color-light, searchlight signal; signal 21531 is a 2-unit, upper-quadrant, semaphore signal; both signals are approach lighted. The most favorable indication displayed by these signals is in accordance with Rule 281A, which provides:
Night Aspect Indication
Green-over-yellow Proceed Approaching Second
(Staggered) Signal At Medium Speed
Because of this indication, an engineman must operate the forestalling device in order to prevent automatic train-stop brake applications at these signal locations.
Medium speed is defined as: A speed not exceeding thirty miles per hour.
The automatic train-stop system is of the intermittent-inductive type and engines are equipped with forestalling devices. When a brake application is forestalled by an engineman, the train may proceed under his control in accordance with operating rules.
Rules for enginemen and firemen for the operation of intermittent-inductive automatic train-stop read in whole or in part as follows:
Rule 6. Enginemen must not forestall until after signal indication has been observed and is being obeyed.
Rule 7. Enginemen, after complying with Rule 6 may forestall at an inductor, to avoid the automatic stop brake application–
(a) When running forward with current of traffic at signal which displays indication other than “Proceed” or “Proceed at Medium Speed.”
* * *
Rule D-251, of the operating rules, reads as follows:
D-251. On portions of the road so specified on the timetable, trains will run with the current of traffic by block signals whose indications will supersede timetable superiority.
Time-table special instruction D-251 reads in part as follows:
D-251. MOVEMENT OF TRAINS WITH THE CURRENT OF TRAFFIC ON TWO OR MORE TRACKS BY BLOCK SIGNALS.
Between Croton-on-Hudson and Kirkville.
The maximum authorized speed on track No. 1 in the vicinity of the point of accident is 45 miles per hour. A speed board bearing the words, “SPEED LIMIT, GULF CURVE, 45 MILES, TRACK NO. 1,” is installed on the south bent of the signal bridge located 3,086 feet east of the point of accident; it is attached to the bridge 10.38 feet higher than the rails and is lettered in black on a yellow background.
A flange lubricator is located on the north rail of track No. 1 at a point 134 feet east of the east end of Gulf Curve.
Mile Post 216 is located 396 feet west of the point of accident.
The weather was cloudy at the time of the accident, which occurred about 11:33 p.m.
No. 19, a first-class west-bound passenger train, with Conductor Grattan and Engineman Earl in charge, and with Road Foreman of Engines Bayreuther also on the engine, consisted of engine 5315, of the 4-6-4 type, one express car, one baggage car, two coaches, four Pullman sleeping cars, one dining car, five Pullman sleeping cars, and one coach, in the order named; all cars were of steel construction. This train departed from Albany, 73.49 miles east of Little Falls, at 10:09 p.m., according to the train sheet, 21 minutes late, passed Fonda, the last place where time is shown 30.17 miles east of Little Falls, at 11:07 p.m., 23 minutes late, passed St. Johnsville, 9.73 miles east of Little Falls, at 11:25 p.m., and while moving at a speed of 59 miles per hour, as indicated by the speed-recorder tape with which engine 5315 was equipped, be-came derailed on Gulf Curve.
After becoming derailed, engine 5315 continued a distance of 396 feet diagonally across tracks Nos. 3 and 4 and stopped on its right side against the pinnacle of rock which rises between track No. 4 and East Main Street. The engine stopped with the front end of the smokebox on track No. 4 and the rear end of the boiler suspended on top of the rock pinnacle; the boiler lay at an angle of about 30 degrees to the line of track and the rear end was about 15 feet above the rails. Rock penetrated the firebox wrapper sheet just in front of the backhead, and the crown sheet and the right side-sheet were torn loose and the grate-bars were blown out as a result of an explosion which followed. The right injector, the right boiler-check, and the safety valves were knocked off. The engine truck was torn loose from the engine and stopped on track No. 3 about 5 feet ahead of the engine. The engine frame was broken on the right and left sides through the top and bottom rails between driving boxes Nos. 1 and 2; the frame, wit h the Nos. 2 and 3 pairs of driving wheels in place, jack-knifed, and the No. 3 pair of driving wheels stopped ahead of the No. 1 pair of driving wheels. The main and the parallel rods on both sides were badly twisted. The throttle lever and its quadrant were distorted badly; the throttle extension-rod to the front-end throttle-box was broken off. The tender, remaining coupled, stopped on its right side, at an angle of 105 degrees from upright, on top of the rock pinnacle; both trucks were torn loose; the rear coupler was broken off. The first car, N. Y. C express car 8476, became derailed, stopped upside down and parallel to the engine, and fouled tracks Nos. 3 and 4; the superstructure was demolished, the front coupler broken off, the rear coupler shank bent, and both pairs of wheels from the rear truck were detached and lying 15 feet southeast of the rear end of the car; the truck frame was lodged on the roof of the third car. The second car, N. Y. C. baggage car 8120, became uncoupled at both ends and stopped, upright, on track No. 1 at a point 285 feet west of the front end of the engine; the front truck was derailed; the front and the rear coupler shanks were bent; the right side-sheet and the left front corner-post were damaged. The third car, N. Y. C. coach 2419, became derailed and stopped on its right side diagonally across tracks Nos. 3 and 4; the roof was bent and torn, and the frame distorted; the end frames and vestibules were demolished, and all side sheets bent and twisted; both couplers were torn out. The fourth car, N. Y. C. coach 2337, became derailed and stopped, in East Main Street, on its right side with its front end against the tender; it was badly damaged; both trucks were torn loose, and the rear coupler was missing. The fifth car, Pullman Red Ash, became derailed and stopped upright in line with track No. 1 and about 80 feet ahead of the engine; the roof was torn off almost its entire length, the right side-sheets were torn away about two-thirds its length, and the interior was destroyed; both trucks were badly damaged and the front coupler-head was broken. The sixth car, Pullman Poplar Arch, became derailed and stopped on its right side diagonally across tracks Nos. 1, 3, and 4; half of the roof was sheared off, the steel center-sill were broken at the front body end-sill, the front end-frame and sheets were bent and torn, and both sides were badly bent and buckled; both couplers were missing; both trucks were torn loose and stopped between tracks Nos. 1 and 3. The seventh car, Pullman Elkhart Valley, was derailed and stopped on its right side diagonally across track No. 4, parallel to the body of the fourth car and on top of the trucks of the fourth car; the front end of the seventh car crushed into the side of the first car; both trucks were in place but the wheels of the front truck were about 15 feet distant from the front end of the car; the superstructure at the front end was demolished and the front coupler-head was broken; the superstructure at the rear end was twisted and bent, the body end-sill and the left side-sill were broken, and the side sheets on the right side were torn, bent, and buckled the entire length of the car. The eighth car, Pullman Poplar Dome, was derailed, stopped diagonally across tracks Nos. 1, 3, and 4, and leaned at an angle of 45 degrees to the north; the front truck was torn loose and stopped, badly damaged, against the rear truck, both vestibule frames were badly distorted, the roof at the rear end was bent and torn, and the ]right side-sill was distorted; the right side sheets were bent, several of them were torn, and all bore raking marks; the front coupler-pocket was broken and the coupler was missing. The ninth car, N. Y. C. dining car 560, was derailed and stopped across tracks Nos. 1, 3, and 4 and leaned at an angle of 45 degrees to the right; the rear end was about 27 feet distant from track No. 1; the roof sheets and the end frames were bent and broken, the side sheets were bent, and most of the interior was destroyed; the front coupler-head was broken and the rear coupler was missing. The tenth car, Pullman Lake Bruin, was derailed and stopped diagonally across tracks Nos. 2, 1, 3, and 4 and leaned to the right at an angle of about 45 degrees; both trucks remained in place but were badly damaged; the front end-frame, the front sheets, and the roof sheets were bent and broken inward; the front coupler-head was cracked and the rear coupler-head was broken. The front end of the eleventh car, Pullman East Bernard, was derailed; this car stopped with the front end fouling track No. 2 and leaning to the left at an angle of 25 degrees; the side sheets on both sides, the front end roof-sheet, and the front, end-sheet were bent. The remaining cars in the train were not derailed and sustained but slight damage.
Inv. No. 2423 New York Central R.R. Little Falls, N.Y. April 19, 1940
The employees killed were the engineman and the fireman, and the employee injured was the road foreman of engines.
Summary of Evidence
Road Foreman of Engines Bayreuther stated that he inspected engine 5315 before No. 19 departed from Albany; the engine was in good condition. The air brakes were tested at Albany, a running test was made soon after leaving that point, a stop was made at Schenectady, the brakes were used to control, the speed of the train at several points where there were speed restrictions, and in each instance the brakes functioned properly. Approaching the point of accident there was nothing unusual in the action of the engine, and the speed was 74 miles per hour. He said that he and the fireman called the indications of signals 21421 and 21531, which were displaying green-over-yellow aspects, and the engineman responded. Soon after the engine passed signal 21421 the engineman left his seat and examined the depth of water in the tender by opening a gauge cock in the left wing of the cistern and then resumed his usual position on the right seat-box. Between signals 21421 and 21531 the speed of the train seemed to be reduced as a result of the ascending grade. The engineman forestalled at both signals and the whistle in the cab sounded. After forestalling for signal 21531 the engineman made a brake-pipe reduction which did not seem long enough to indicate a proper brake-pipe reduction for the speed of the train and the distance to the point of speed restriction on Gulf Curve. The road foreman of engines said that usually a 14 or 15-pound, reduction is made to control the speed of a train approaching speed restriction points; becoming alarmed about the speed, he crossed to the right side of the cab and observed that the equalizing reservoir gauge indicated a brake-pipe reduction of only 11 or 12 pounds and the speed-recorder indicated a speed of 61 miles per hour. He warned the engineman that the speed was too great for Gulf Curve and instructed him to make a further brake-pipe reduction. The engineman did not answer but closed the throttle suddenly just as the engine entered the critical point of the curve; he did not seem to be ill, but rather in despair and mumbled something as though he realized something was wrong. The engine did not seem to hear heavily against the high rail; however, after the throttle was closed he thought the rear end of the engine started to leave the rail first and there was a jack-knife action at the connection between the engine and tender as though some added force caused the engine to become derailed and overturn. He thought that a speed of 52 miles per hour was the highest speed at which an engine could safely round Gulf Curve, but it was his opinion that if the engineman had continued to work steam in this instance the train could have rounded the curve. He thought that closing the throttle caused a change in force which resulted in the derailment. He said that it was the custom of the engineman involved to apply the air brakes near a point where a reduction in speed was required. The road foreman of engines thought that if a heavy brake-pipe reduction were made at signal 21531 or near it, a train of 15 cars could be controlled properly around Gulf Curve.
Conductor Grattan stated that the air brakes were tested at Albany and were reported as being operative, and they functioned properly en route. He told the road foreman of engines and the engineman that the train consisted of 15 cars. The engineman, who was in his usual position in the engine cab, acknowledged the information by a wave of his hand. Conductor Grattan said that his train departed from Albany 21-1/2 minutes late. There was no unusual incident between Albany and the point of accident; the train was handled as smoothly as usual, the speed was not excessive, and there was no time made up. When the train was approaching the point of accident he was in the fifth car and was not alarmed about the speed., as it was about the same as on other trips. He thought that the brakes were applied about 3 or 4 seconds before the accident occurred. He estimated that the accident occurred at 11:33 or 11:34 p.m. The weather was cloudy, but it was neither raining nor snowing.
Flagman Doran stated that the air brakes were tested before departure from Albany. From the rear platform he inspected the train as it rounded curves and last inspected it on a curve about 2 miles east of the point of derailment; he did not observe any dragging or defective equipment. As the train approached the point of accident he was in the rear car. He thought the brakes were applied about 1/2 mile east of the point of accident but he did not observe any appreciable reduction in the speed of the train. As his train was approaching Gulf Curve he went out on the rear platform. He said that because of a run-in of slack he was thrown through the end door into the coach. He arose and was thrown down a second-time. He did not feel a release of the brakes or an emergency application of the brakes.
Front Brakeman Sewak stated that when the train was approaching the point of accident he was in the fifth car. He felt a severe brake application about 1,500 feet east of the curve involved and thought that the speed of his train we about 45 miles per hour at the time of derailment.
Baggageman Hill stated that he was in the second car as his train was approaching the point of accident. He felt the brakes being applied about 1,000 or 1,500 feet east of the curve involved. He did not think that the brakes were applied in emergency.
Division Engineer Jones stated that he arrived at the scene of the accident about 4 a.m., April 20, and examined the track thoroughly. The first indication of damage was outside the high rail of track No. 1, between the first and the second joints east of the east abutment of bridge 456, and 37 feet west of the middle of the curve. Starting at the east end of the second joint which was the beginning of ‘the disturbed track and proceeding westward, the conditions were as follows: The inside spikes on the low rail were raised increasingly 1/2 inch to 5 inches from the first to the ninth tie, inclusive, and were pulled out of the tenth, eleventh, and fifteenth ties the base of the low rail was raised 1-1/2 inches at the ninth tie; the inside spikes on the high rail were raised increasingly 1/2 inch to 2-1/2 inches from the sixth to the fourteenth ties, inclusive, and on the fifteenth tie the spike was raised 1-1/2 inches; the rail anchor was marked on the gage side and the gage rod dropped off the low rail but was in place on the high rail; the sixteenth tie was shifted 1-1/2 inches northward. The first indication of derailment was on the seventeenth tie; the top of this tie was gouged and splintered outside the high rail and the spike on the inside of the high rail was bent backward 90 degrees; the inside spike of the low rail was pulled out. At the north end of the eighteenth tie there was a mark 2-1/4 inches wide and 1 inch deep the full width of the tie, and the rail anchor was bent. On the nineteenth tie there was a flange mark 3/8 inch deep and 1-1/2 inches wide the full width of the tie at a point 11.3/4 inches outside the base of the high rail; the tie was chamfered at its extreme north end 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep the fun width of the tie. The gage rod between the nineteenth and the twentieth ties was off both rails. On the twentieth tie there was a flange mark 3/16 Inch deep and 1-1/2 inches wide the full width of the tie at a point 12 inches outside the base of the high rail; the tie was cut at its extreme north end and a piece was broken off the west top edge extending from a point 8 inches outside the high rail to the end of the tie; the inside spike of the high rail was bent. On the twenty-first tie there was a flange mark 1/8 inch deep and 3/4 inch wide the full width of the tie at a point 12-1/2 inches outside the base of the high rail, and a piece was broken out of the west edge of the tie 5 inches outside the base of the high rail; there was a bruise 2 inches wide on the west edge of the tie at a point 2 inches inside the base of the low rail. The surface of the north end of the twenty-second tie was splintered and there was a mark on the east edge of the tie; there was a bruise on the east edge of the tie 28 inches inside the base of the low rail but the fiber of the wood was not broken. The surface of the north end of the twenty-third tie was splintered and there was a mark 3 inches deep on the west side; there was a flange mark 31 inches inside the base of the low rail. Between the twenty-third and the twenty-fourth ties the rail anchor and the gage rod were disconnected. The twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth ties were splintered over the surface on the outside of the high rail. The twenty-seventh tie was splintered over the surface and under the tieplate outside the high rail. Beyond the twenty-seventh tie the track was torn up and it was necessary to renew 75 ties. He said it was his opinion that the spikes were pulled by some force which rolled the rails sufficiently to draw the spikes partially; the spikes were drawn by force and not by vibration. The marks on the ties indicated a gradual tapering toward the outside of the track; he did not observe any condition that could cause a change of direction. Marks on the head of the high rail west of joint No. 1 were too faint to establish their cause conclusively. The last authorized work on track No. 1 was performed during August 1939. He said that on April 16, 1940, he observed the condition of the track at the point involved from a train which passed over Gulf Curve at normal speed; at that time the track was in excellent condition. He said that based on an 84-inch center of gravity, the equilibrium speed on track No. 1 was 39-1/2 miles per hour, the safe speed was 45 miles per hour, and the maximum safe speed was about 48 miles per hour; he did not know the theoretical overturning speed. He thought the reason for an absence of flange marks between the rails at the location of the first marks of derailment was that the left wheels were suspended. in the air. On April 20 and 21, he gaged the track eastward from the second joint in the high rail east of bridge 456; the gage and superelevation were as follows:
The middle ordinate at joint No. 1 reflects shifting of track during repair work after the accident. He said that there was no evidence of tampering with the track. Inspecting Engineer Bronson stated that he examined the damaged rails, both at the scene of the accident and again at vest Albany when they were realined in their relative positions. On track No. 1 there were 6 rails on the outside of the curve and 4 rails on the inside of the curve that were damaged; these rails were unbroken and they remained coupled to the adjacent rails. Starting with the first rail east of the initial mark of derailment and proceeding westward on the outside of the curve, the result of the inspection was as follows: The first rail was unmarked and undamaged; as a result of a twisting motion imparted by the third rail, the second rail was twisted outward throughout a distance of 12 feet at the leaving end; there were marks on the head of the second rail which were caused, undoubtedly, by dragging of derailed equipment. There were numerous marks on the gage side under the corner of the head of the third rail which could not be identified with the path of any derailed wheels. Starting about 6 feet from the receiving end of the third rail, on the gage face there was an irregular upward score followed by a downward mark which then extended sharply upward; there was a distinct score on the head of this rail which started at a point 12 feet west of the receiving end and extended diagonally westward across the head of the rail a distance of 13 feet; another mark almost paralleled this diagonal mark; it could not be determined definitely that these marks were caused by wheel flanges; there were marks in the web of the third rail but their cause could not be determined; the spikes on the gage side of the second and the third outside rails were bent outward and the amount of bending and withdrawal of spikes increased progressively westward; undoubtedly these conditions were a result of the equipment following the derailed engine; there were numerous marks on the fourth, fifth, and sixth outside rails and on the first, second, third., and fourth inside rails; however, these marks were of less intensity than those on the second and third outside rails; a line, starting at the third outside rail on track No. 1, extending across a gap in track No. 3, where there was a fractured rail on the inside and a twisted rail on the outside of the curve, and extending to the rock against which the engine stopped, indicated in a general way the path of the engine after it became derailed. The outside rails of track No. 1 were beaded over on the gage side with a lip between 1/32 and 3/64 inch wide; the inside rail was beaded over similarly on the gage side. Inspection of the track throughout a distance of 1 mile immediately east of the point of accident did not disclose any condition that might have contributed to the cause of the accident. The ties were spaced regularly and were in good condition. The gage, line and surface were uniform. There was no indication of dragging equipment.
Section Foreman Quinto stated that he had been in charge of the section involved for 29 years. On. April 18 he inspected track No. 1 on Gulf Curve for surface and alinement, and also gaged the cross-levels; the condition of the track was satisfactory at that time. One of his men who inspected the track on April 19 did not report any unsatisfactory condition. He had experienced no difficulty in maintaining the desired superelevation on the curve involved. He said that on April 18 he observed trains as they rounded the curve; at that time there was nothing unusual- in their movement. He had never observed trains exceeding the speed limit on Gulf Curve. The last work performed on this curve was in August, 1939. Master Mechanic Fahey stated that be arrived at the scene of the accident about 4:05 a.m., April 20, and examined engine 5315. The throttle was unlatched and open 10 notches but the lever and the quadrant were bent and the throttle extension rod was broken at the location of the front-end throttle. Immediately ahead of the door sheet there was a jagged tear in the wrapper sheets the metal of which appeared to be of full thickness and bore no evidence of having been overheated. The crown-sheet metal was of full thickness and disclosed no evidence of having been overheated. He thought the explosion was a result of a rock puncturing the wrapper sheet, as the hole was the shape of the rock that had pierced it. The engine frame on both sides back of the first pair of driving wheels and at the tailpiece was broken. He thought the frame was broken as a result of either the explosion or the impact of the engine against the rock. The engine frame swung around until the third pair of driving wheels was ahead of the first pair and against the back cylinder-heads. After the engine was moved to West Albany Shops he gaged the wheels; the results were as follows:
Spacing back-to-back in four positions:
Note:- The 4-wheel trailer truck was not found and it is supposed that it fell in the river. Diameters of engine-truck wheels and driving-wheel tires were as follows:
He said that the No. 1 pair of driving wheels was placed in a wheel lathe and the axle and the wheel hubs ran true; however, the right wheel-center vas dished inward 1/4 inch at the counter-balance location; in his opinion this wheel became dished as a result of striking the rock against which the engine stopped. He said that the lateral of all driving wheels-was 3/8 inch. The engine-truck axles were equipped with roller-bearing boxes; 1/8 inch play was maintained in the pedestal jaws. The capacity of the tender of engine 5315 was 28 tons of coal and 14,000 gallons of water. He estimated that 21-1/2 tons of coal and about 11,000 gallons of water were in the tender at the time of derailment. Assistant Master Mechanic Pease stated that on April 22 he removed the speed recorder from engine 5315. The independent brake-valve handle was broken, the rotary valve was in quick-application position, the automatic brake-valve handle was in emergency position, and the double-heading cock was closed. He said that he attached no significance to the position of the brake valve or of the double-heading cock as they were so located that they might have been disturbed by debris or by persons removing bodies of employees. He examined the radial buffer between the engine and the tender and found that it was in good condition. The coupler and the angle cock at the rear of the tender were broken off. A section of the ashpan, weighing 66-1/2 pounds, and several grate units were found on the south bank of the river 620 feet distant from the engine. Assistant Superintendent of Equipment Parsons stated that he examined the engine-truck springs, hangers and equalizers, and the driving-box springs, hangers and equalizers, and there were no defects. General Foreman of Car Department Ruxton stated that he arrived at the point of derailment about 12:55 a.m., April 20. He found nothing wrong with any of the equipment which might have been a contributing cause to the accident. He examined all couplers, four of which were of the tight-lock type, and found no detects that appeared to have existed prior to the derailment. There were slight brake burns and skid marks on the treads and flanges of all wheels. These brake burns and skid marks were progressively heavier from the front to the rear of the train. He Stated that there was no evidence of buckling or telescoping on any of the cars. Supervisor of Boilers Usherwood stated that he arrived at the scene of the accident at 11:40 a.m., April 20, and examined engine 5315. There was no indication of overheating of the firebox sheets, nor any defect which might have contributed to the failure of the firebox. Portions of the crown sheet and of the right side-sheet were folded downward over the flue sheet; the remainder of the crown sheet and of the right side-sheet were folded downward over the door sheet. There was discoloration of the crown-sheet metal between the seventh and ninth longitudinal rows of staybolts to the right of the center-line and from the third to the ninth transverse rows of staybolts back of the flue sheet; however, this discoloration was caused by arch brick being wedged between the flue sheet and the crown sheet when the latter was forced downward against the flue sheet. After ]the engine was removed to West Albany Shops he examined the firebox in detail; the results were as follows: The wrapper sheet was punctured inward, the area of the puncture being 672 square inches; one side of this hole, which was to the right of the center-line of the firebox and triangular in shape, extended along the sixth longitudinal row of staybolts from the back-head to the ninth transverse row of staybolts, the second edge extended along the back-head between the sixth and ninth longitudinal rows of staybolts, and the third edge followed a diagonal course)
Gulf Curve in Little Falls gets straighter
The yawning chasm, top photo, of the new channel for the Mohawk River at Little Falls is shown shortly before a section of the east coffer—dam was removed and water allowed to enter. The west dyke, in foreground, was then blasted away to permit the river to flow through the new channel. Lower photo, an overall view of the project is shown. A total of 135 men are working to complete the project by this coming Fall.
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
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