Violence in railroading: track torpedoes, fusees and derails

Read all about it: http://www.trains.com/trn/default.aspx?c=a&id !3
(seen on another newsgroup)

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On Sat, 23 Jan 2010 14:43:34 -0800, David Nebenzahl

torpedoes are no longer used by any of the major carriers that I know of.
and for sure, I can tell you that NS stopped using them about 8 or 9 years ago.
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On 1/24/2010 2:44 PM bladeslinger spake thus:

Well, yeah; I think that was covered in the article.
And they seem to have gotten at least one thing wrong: they probably never used actual dynamite in them. (As someone on that other newsgroup said, they were probably using the term dynamite in the sense of "something that makes a really big bang when ignited".)
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I can vouch for the "big bang". I worked for Uncle Pete in the wheel shop at Omaha. We had a 10 or 20 ton bridge crane operated by a man in the open cab for moving the traction motors and setting in the wheelsets during assembly. Horseplay was the norm back then (70s -80s), and someone decided to place a torpedo on the rail of the crane while the operator was on the floor for lunch. They went to the trouble of placing it strategically right outside the second floor wall of the foreman's office, so when the operator climbed up into the cab and made his first pass to the far end, just as he passed the office, the torpedo blew! I would swear the bridge of the crane rose a foot in the air on that side, and of course the foreman and office staff came running out. The operator's cab was on the opposite side of the bridge from the office, and two stories off the floor, but you could see his face go white nonetheless. Ahhh, for the good old days!
By the way, the torpedoes were about 2" square and 1" thick, somewhat pillow shaped with spring metal straps on the bottom for securing to the rails. Normally, you would place several in a row. There may have been a code too it seems, with regard to how many you placed. They were not "ignited", but rather were set off by the compression of being run over. They were pretty stable otherwise, judging by the way they were handled/stored. I am also fairly certain they were not flammable, as they were always kept on the loco, usually in the cab or toilet room, in the same portable holder as the fusees.
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Beachbum wrote:

These (although usually round rather than square, and less than 1" thick) are still in common use around the world, known as detonators or audible warning devices.
for instance http://railsafe.org.au/xmlBasedDocument.jsp?id '14
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Beachbum wrote:

I big bang indeed! I too can vouch for that!
I was doing volunteer work at the IRM perhaps 30 years ago. After a hard day's work, a bunch of us were trying to sleep in one of several old cabooses they used as crew cars. It was late at night.
A bunch of guys from the trolley group apparently went into town and got drunk. They came back and got one of the trolley cars out of the barn, and were running it around the "trolley loop", which ran very near our caboose. They were yelling and hollering, ringing the bell, flanges sqealing, and generally making quite a din. We couldn't sleep.
A couple of our guys went outside and tried to get them to stop, with little effect. If anything, they just got louder and ruder.
Eventually somebody got several track torpedos and clipped 'em on the track while the car was on the far side of the loop. The car came around, hit the torpedos, and produced an amazing series of "bangs". Some of the trolley bunch said they thought he car was gonn'a be blown off the track!
That was the end of all the noise for that night.
Dan Mitchell ==========--- ---
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was fun to watch the St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans turning onto St. Charles and hitting one back in the 70's / 80's.
Just saying
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On 1/24/2010 8:25 PM Beachbum spake thus:

>

I'm crossposting this back to the NG where I first saw this. I think they might appreciate your little story there (I know I did).
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wrote:

AFAIK they still use them in the UK (we call then 'detonators') - There was a rather good vid of a train operating in a track relaying areas on u-tube but couldn't find it. The link below works okay but doesnt really give a sense of how loud they are.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orbMtM6IIp8

Regards
Mike
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wrote:

Listening to that, they could have almost set them to indicate Morse code symbols. Either a one or a two/three for dot dash.
Steve
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I recall reading somewhere that in some cases there *were* complex torpedo signals, but my old S.P. rulebook says only:
"15. The explosion of one torpedo is a signal to stop. When an unattended torpedo is exploded, the train, after stopping, may then proceed to a point not less than three-fourths of a mile from point where torpedo was exploded.
The explosion of two torpedos is a signal to proceed with caution for not less than one mile.
Torpedos must not be placed on public crossings, and must not be placed near station buildings, nor on yard tracks, except in an emergency. (6-26-45)"
~Pete
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Well, they *do* need to be clearly heard over the sounds of a steam locomotive and it's train operating at full tilt...
~Pete
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wrote:

Well, they *do* need to be clearly heard over the sounds of a steam locomotive and it's train operating at full tilt...
~Pete
To be heard INSIDE the locomotive, they must have been very loud.
Steve
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Thanks for the cool story. I did a search on youtube for train torpedos and found this excellent play list of videos of explosions. I particularly like the one where they dynamited that whale. The Oregon shakey bridge video is in there, too. Good stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E0DB4964DD46211F

Mike
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wrote:

Thanks for the cool story. I did a search on youtube for train torpedos and found this excellent play list of videos of explosions. I particularly like the one where they dynamited that whale. The Oregon shakey bridge video is in there, too. Good stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p
DB4964DD46211F
Mike
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Perhaps you are referring to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge which, not surprisingly was in Tacoma, Washington - and as is the new crossing.
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Well, the dead whale was in Oregon. Close.
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wrote:

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Well, the dead whale was in Oregon. Close.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, it was. I knew some fools who rushed down there for the event ...
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