In the BR era, were there any restrictions on how gunpowder vans were
worked, in terms of where in a train they were marshalled, did they have to
have barrier wagons, was loose shunting permitted etc. Just wondered due to
the cargo they carried. Were they permitted to run under overhead?
Thanks in advance
In the 1950 Rule Book the only ref to explosives I can find is that
vehicles containing explosives must not be loose shunted. Strange,
because a ex-Army Officer who worked middle-east railways told me that two
empty wagons had to isolate a vehicle with explosives from the brake van,
which I believe was true for petrol tanks too.
It occurs to me that I remember reading somewhere that gunpowder explodes
upwards (dont sit on the powder keg) rather than outwards. Thought it
sounded silly, but if true the van would simply loose its roof.
"Ken Parkes" skrev i meddelandet
I asked my instructor back in the 70´s about this and he said that they had
strenghtened sides and bottoms and extremlemy weak rooves in order to direct
the eplosion UP, this ws about 79 and as far as I know by then they were
history, I looked through my guards handbook (handwritten under dictation!!)
and there is no mention of gunpowder vans only about vehicles with toxic
gases where the instructions were that driver and guard were totally
forbidden to walk towards each other but were to protect the for and aft of
the train, except in cases of extremnely minor leaks...what a minor leak was
, wasnt dictated to us!
I shouldn't think so, since the stronger you make the container, the
bigger the "bomb" it would make. That's the whole principal behind
gunpowder fuelled explosions. If you light gunpowder in the open it
just goes "whoosh!", but then if you pack gunpowder into an inclosed
space and seal it, _then_ light it, it goes "booom!"
As far as I know the only use gunpowder wagons had was to convey
gunpowder from a to b, they had no (visible) re-inforcing to speak of.
FWIW military explosives tend to be far more powerful that the stuff
available on the civilian market. It's also quite amazing what you can do
with it - having been present when quarrying explosives were opened up and
ignited in order to be used as firelighters.
The truly dangerous items are the detonators usually filled with some form
of fulminate - in essence they provide the "little bang" that starts of the
whole explosive cycle. Interesting experiment - if you ever get the
opportunity, take a .22 round, pull out the bullet and then tip the
propellant onto a dish. ignite the propellant with a match and it will burn
very rapidly like a miniature volcano. Now take the casing, stretch out a
large paper clip, hold it at arms length with the "hole" pointing backwards,
make sure no one is stood in front of you and apply heat. The damned thing
explodes and shoots forward PDQ - that's the fulminate igniting.
... where's all this leading? well explosives aren't usually all that
dangerous and particularly in the case of civilian explosives you have to
work hard to make them go bang - instead of simply burning - albeit
fiercely. IOW it's a much safer material to transport than say many of the
chemical compounds transported via rail so whilst I admit to know very
little about the various rules imposed by the rail companies over the years
hearing that gunpowder vans were coupled to other freight in the middle of
(say) a mixed goods doesn't strike me as being either especially unusual or