Old 06-12-2016, 02:18 PM   #1
mark woody
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Default Interactive railfaning

It does not get much more interactive than this shot from today at Molong NSW Australia, even if you are not into trains much they have a way of catching up on you. LOL.
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:50 PM   #2
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Sorry, Mark, I don't see what you mean by "interactive." Looks like a nice event to have attended. Hope you had some better vantage points at other times during the day.
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Old 06-12-2016, 07:38 PM   #3
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Looks like 6029 might've 'found' a few people while blowing down.
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:24 PM   #4
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What would be a safe (no scalding) distance from a steam source?
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Sorry, Mark, I don't see what you mean by "interactive." Looks like a nice event to have attended. Hope you had some better vantage points at other times during the day.
Sorry J, the crowd were there passively watching/photographing, then the train through them a curve ball an they had to react, many ran or walked some distance away.

I have uploaded 2 shots so far,
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:16 AM   #6
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What would be a safe (no scalding) distance from a steam source?
I was very close for this shot as the train passed at speed, approx 60kph, I don't recommend being this close to whirling rods, the steam was barely noticeable.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:21 AM   #7
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The steam didn't seem to faze the guy in hi-vis. As the train will leave the station and immediately enter a 1in40 upgrade, I think the crew did the blowdown to get the cylinders as hot and water free as possible for the climb.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:27 AM   #8
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Looks like 6029 might've 'found' a few people while blowing down.
FWIW, the photo looks more like a spectacular start, with the cylinder cocks open for an extended period of time vs. a blow-down. Unless the blow-down valve is aimed straight down (which some of them are), a blow-down usually features a well-defined and extended horizontal plume of super-heated water flashing to steam.

This is a blow-down:
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With respect to how far away you'd need to be to avoid being scalded, it depends on a number of factors. There is so much evaporative cooling going on in that plume that you don't have to be all that far away before you just get soaking wet (vs. scalded). In the case of the small locomotive pictured above, it is very likely that if you were at the extreme left edge of the frame, you would probably not be harmed. Higher boiler pressure and/or a larger blow-down valve would probably increase the danger zone.

Most locomotive crews are pretty good about clearing the areas around the blow-down valves, and yelling "CLEAR!" before opening the valves. While out on the line, blow-downs are often done on bridges, where there is no danger to pedestrians.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:33 AM   #9
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The steam didn't seem to faze the guy in hi-vis. As the train will leave the station and immediately enter a 1in40 upgrade, I think the crew did the blowdown to get the cylinders as hot and water free as possible for the climb.
Opening the cylinder cocks is not the same as a blow-down. Cylinder cocks are typically opened on starting to clear the cylinders of any condensation. Water is incompressible, so if there is any appreciable water inside the cylinders, there is a chance that the piston could blow the head right off the cylinder.

On the other hand, a blow-down involves opening a valve that is typically located at the bottom of the water legs around the firebox. When that is opened, superheated water is expelled at boiler pressure. It is much more spectacular (and loud) than the cylinder cocks. The goal is to remove accumulated mineral deposits and sediment from the boiler's mudring area.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:15 PM   #10
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There is so much evaporative cooling going on in that plume that you don't have to be all that far away before you just get soaking wet (vs. scalded).
I agree that it is a relatively short distance from where the steam is emitted to a safe zone, and I believe that old-time crews were well aware of the distance.

Years ago, a Conrail engineer who had started his career on the L&NE in the 1940's told me a story about an inspection trip that he was assigned to as a fireman. There was one particular official who was a hard-ass, and not at all liked by the crews. The official was wearing a freshly pressed light-colored linen suit, and walked past the engine on the way to the business car. Acting as if he didn't see the official, the engineer performed a blow-down just as the official got to the right place, soaking the linen suit. Of course the official tried to chew out the engineer, but the engineer told him he should know better than walking that close to the engine. The engineer was never disciplined, and the official spent the day in a damp suit.
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