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Item No. 6, lock worked open, is one to which attention may properly be called, as it is surmised that defective uncoupling mechanism may possibly be one of the main factors in this defect. Item No. 8,
knuckle defective, is one of great importance. The investigation by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy did not give the exact location of breakage of knuckles, but in the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis inspection this information is noted and the 206 knuckle failures are distributed as follows: two broken in top lug, 2 in bottom lug, 51 in tail, 7 in hub, 1 in both lugs, 14 not stated, and 129 in the pin hole. The last item would seem to indicate that knuckles are allowed to wear until they become weakened at this point. The solid knuckle, the use of which is now becoming common, will, to a great extent, obviate this cause.
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy shows 69 worn knuckles. The Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis shows none. In the case of the latter road it is assumed that this particular defect is included in item No. 8, knuckle defective. Item 14 may explain this apparent discrepancy:
Items Nos. 12, 13, and 14 show failures of coupler bodies. Of the 68 cases on the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis reported as drawbar lugs broken 64 occurred in the top lug. This is no doubt due principally to knuckle pins breaking and the whole strain being thrown on the upper lug.
No. 13 shows the breakage in places other than the lugs; and of the 142 cases reported 102 are shown to have broken in the shank. This probably indicates in the cases examined a large number of couplers of bad design or workmanship.
Item No. 6, already alluded to, might be considered as belonging with Nos. 15, 16, 18, and 19. Much uncertainty as to the true cause of these defects is the predominant feature.
It is very evident that many of the railroads could, with advantage devote more time and care to the proper investigation of defects of couplers. The necessity for this is brought out in a striking way. In Table F in Accident Bulletin No. 4, issued by the Commission, it is shown that of the accidents caused by trains parting during the year ending June 30, 1902, a large share were reported as due to item No. 17, couplers parting, cause unknown. This item included 11 trainmen killed and 225 trainmen and 55 Passengers injured, with an accompanying loss of $336,000.
The remaining cases reported on the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway number 281, and are due to failures of coupler attachments; and a table is presented herewith showing the percentage of failures in the various parts.
Table II.—Trains PARTED ON NASHVILLE, CHATTANOOGA AND St. Louis RAILWAY
YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1901, ACCOUNT OF DEFECTIVE COUPLER ATTACHMENTS.
It will be noted that item No. 12, draft timbers pulled out, is one of the greatest importance. These failures are due principally, it is believed, to the use of the old, weak cars in connection with very much heavier and stronger ones, now so generally used. The next important item is No. 6, slip pin broken. This should be more properly described as tail pin broken. The large percentage of failures enforces the demand for the abandonment of this design.
The Master Car Builders' Association has sent out a notice through its committee on couplers, recommending the use of the solid knuckle. An investigation is to be made showing the results following the use of this knuckle, and it is anticipated that the decrease in the number of knuckles broken will prove that the use of this type of knuckle will effect a marked improvement.
In a review of the proceedings of the Master Car Builders' Association made by Mr. J. W. Taylor, secretary of that association, before the Western Railway Club in October of this year, the method of reporting defects adopted by the Commission is recommended for general use throughout the country.
There is need of a worn-coupler gauge of simple and suitable design to be used by the railroad inspectors and also by the Government inspectors. The worn-coupler gauge now approved by the Master Car Builders' Association is not very largely used owing, it is believed, to the probability of its condemning many couplers at interchange points where it would be difficult to make renewals. If this is so, a simple gauge which would show the limits of wear in a general way might be gotten up to be used at interchange points, while the present standard could be used to advantage at repair points. The adoption by the Master Car Builders' Association of such a gauge would enable the Government inspectors to work in unison with the railroad companies. It would no doubt result in much benefit to the railroads, as the inspectors for the Commission would become expert in detecting couplers worn near to the danger line.
Defective uncoupling mechanism still remains one of the most serious problems in connection with the efficient operation of the Master Car Builders' type of couplers. A comparison of conditions as shown by the table discloses decided improvements in some features, and, I think, a general improvement as a whole in this class of defects.
Item No. 21 is the same as before.
Item No. 25, bent uncoupling lever, also shows quite an increase, which may be due to many causes; but the forin of rod now in general use is very susceptible to disarrangement, and some more suitable device is urgently needed.
Item No. 26, chain too short, shows an increase. This defect is an important one by reason of its relation to the causes of trains parting. Attention was called to this feature last year.
Item No. 27, chain too long, also shows a decided increase, which emphasizes the remarks made in relation to item No. 25.
The two following defects, items Nos. 28 and 29, each show improvement. Item No. 30 shows a slight increase. It is gratifying to note the improvement shown in item No. 32, uncoupling lever incorrectly applied. This is a defect to which inspectors of the Commission have paid special attention. No case is reported unless the rod is extremely difficult to operate. A few smaller parts, such as clevis pins, and clevis-pin split keys, show decided increases, which, I think, are due to the more thorough and effective examination of these smaller parts.
Taking the bare figures as they are given in the table, an improvement of 25 per cent in uncoupling mechanism is indicated. While this is not a precise percentage, owing to the very large increase in the number of defective air brakes and parts reported it is safe to say that better attention has been given to these important features than was given a year ago.
Inspector Martin observes that uncoupling chains are not promptly repaired and that uncoupling chains are broken by excessive slack in draft rigging; he also notes that many lag screws, which are used to secure the castings or brackets, become loose by reason of their being driven in.
Inspector Smith is of the opinion that the general condition of uncoupling devices is very much improved.
Inspector Hawley says: “I find little complaint from the yard men that uncoupling devices are not cared for, and there is generally a good word said for the way in which they are looked after.”
Inspector Wright notes that proper care is not given to the uncoupling mechanism, and if the different parts are there, no matter how applied, the car is not considered defective by the railway companies' inspectors.
Inspector Swasey observes that in his opinion the uncoupling levers should be applied so that they could be operated from either side of the car.
Inspector Sears makes comment that the broken chains are the most common defect in regard to the uncoupling mechanism.
The foregoing quotations from the reports of the various inspectors are but brief extracts and their reports in full follow below.
In conclusion it should be said that the noneffectiveness of the uncoupling mechanism in relation to the general question of good coupler performance is one of extreme importance; for a coupler, good in itself, will suffer in its reputation if the uncoupling mechanism that goes with it is in any respect faulty.
Taking uncoupling mechanism as a whole, in which the number of defects found was 22,601, there is some improvement, the proportion of defectsfound to the number of cars examined being 1 in 7.1, as compared with 1 in 6.1 last year.
It will perhaps be pertinent to call attention to the fact that our inspectors report the great difficulty repairmen have in securing proper material for repairs to these devices. This accounts for the great diversity in methods and materials. The remedy is apparent.
În the matter of defects of visible parts of air brakes, very little comment is needed, as the principal items shown in this class speak for themselves. Eighty per cent of the defects are found in items 55, 56, and 56–1. It is probable that if the figures for the previous year had been on a similar scale as in this report improvement would be apparent. The obvious fact remains that an unlimited field for further improvement exists.
The use of the air-brake defect card has not yet become satisfactorily uniform. Attention may be called to defect No. 53, defect in retaining valve pipe. With a more common use of air brakes, it is extremely desirable that the retaining valve and its connections be maintained in pefect condition.
Inspector Watson makes special mention of a car leaving Chicago consigned to Portland, Me., which had a defective triple valve. This car made this trip and was part way home again before repairs were made. He also notes that too few air cars are used in trains, and that few yards have complete air-brake testing plants.
Inspector Martin is of the opinion that the situation in regard to air brakes is very much improved, but he notes that there are many men employed in cleaning air-brake apparatus who have not been sufficiently instructed. He also calls attention to the fact that the regulation of piston travel is generally neglected.
Inspector Smith calls attention to the fact that on many roads the brakemen have to test the trains just before their departure, and this necessarily means that the work is done hurriedly, and in many cases carelessly.
Inspector Hawley draws attention to the fact that many yardmen and trainmen continue to pull cars apart without first separating the hose. Comment was made on this feature in our last annual report. Inspector Hawley has paid especial attention to air-brake practice on the roads in the territory to which he has been assigned, and he reaches the conclusion that roads that have adopted the practice of using all-air trains are in a position to give better service than roads where the officers beliere in the operation of partial air-braked trains only.
The general condition regarding cleaning of triples and cylinders he believes is much improved, but he suggests that the use of the air brake defect card should be more rigidly observed.
Inspector Cullinane notes that air brakes generally are in much better condition, but the air brake defect card is not used; that more testing plants are needed at terminals, and that release rods are given practically no attention whatever.
Inspector Wright draws attention to the numerous cases where cylinders are allowed to work loose, principally on account of the block on which they are secured drying out. This is followed by leaky air pipes.
Inspector Swasey also draws attention to the fact that the air brake defect card is not generally used. He also draws attention to an important feature, namely, the continued use of very dry and very old hose.
Inspector Jones notes that triple valves cleaned in the yards and replaced on cars immediately go into service without proper tests being made. This loose practice suggests that all triple valves should be taken into the shops, where efficient tests should be made.
While the situation in regard to the use of air brakes is greatly improved and it is noted that some railroads have issued orders that all air-brake cars must always be placed in the head of the train and operated, there remains a greater number of railroads who have not taken this progressive action. The requirements for the successful operation of air brakes are well known; effective cleaning and testing of triple. valves, cleaning and oiling cylinders, tight train line, and ample storage capacity. With these requirements observed and the use of the 94-inch pump (which will, under all reasonable conditions, supply all the air required) there is no reason why solid air-braked trains should not be operated in nearly all cases.
The inspectors have noted during the past year the number of air-brake cars in use per train on many railroads, and an examination of these reports indicates that perhaps one-third of the air-brake apparatus is not used. These conditions are more pronounced east of the Mississippi River. As the number of air-brake cars increases it may be expected that these conditions will improve, for with more air-brake cars the probability of having to make additional switching movements to get them together will be reduced. The enormous amount of traffic handled during the past year and the overcrowding of yard facilities may, perhaps, explain, though it would not be right to say they excuse, the nonuse of air-brake cars.
It will be understood that the quotations which have been made from the reports of the inspectors both on the subject of air brakes and other topics touch only upon features which it was deemed desirable to mention in connection with particular recommendations. On the main features of their work, those which constitute the pr cipal topics brought out by the analysis of the large table, the testimony of the inspectors is all alike. They are unanimous in their reports of conditions and in their recommendations, and it is on these reports that the foregoing general mention is based.
In closing it may be remarked that the railroads which have made the most progress with the power brake have demonstrated that it will do what is required of it if it is maintained in good condition. Occasionally it is stated that in some emergency the air brake has failed, but after investigation it is invariably found that the neglect of some one to do what he should have done is the true cause of the trouble.
Handholds.—Handholds as a whole show an improvement. The only increase noted in the defect record is in the item handholds missing. It is hoped that this increase is due to more efficient and complete inspection on the part of the inspectors for the Commission rather than to increased neglect. Mention may be made of the action of the Master Car Builders' Association through its committee on standards and recommended practices, who at the last convention of that association suggested a change in the location of handholds, and it is expected that material improvement will follow.
In the height of couplers the defect record shows a slight increase; the variations reported in heights are slight.
The defect loose carrier iron is one to which more attention has been given by inspectors during the past year, with the result that a large increase is noted.
Side sill steps.—In the first two items increases are noted, and it is believed that side sill steps are to quite a marked extent neglected by the ordinary car inspector and repairman. Their poor condition is not a bar to safe train movement, but their being secure and in proper condition is of the greatest importance to the trainman.
I alluded in my last report to the fact that we proposed to separate home and foreign cars. It was not practicable to get this system into operation before the 1st of last July, and that feature therefore will not appear until our next report.
“Local agreements” at railroad centers constitute a prolific cause of trouble. One company having a car consigned to an industry on some neighboring line will hand over the car to the company that is to make the delivery with the understanding that the receiving company is not responsible in any way for its condition. When our inspectors find cars under these conditions defective in regard to safety appliances, and report them, they are met with the explanation that this car is merely handled as an accommodation and that the receiving road is not responsible for its condition. This practice is having a bad effect and some radical action will be needed if it continues.
Much was said in the last annual report, and there were also many references in the letters of various railroad officials which were published in that report, regarding the rough handling of cars. While there is undoubtedly much of this, the past year's experience tends to confirm the belief that with many couplers the cars must be brought together very violently before coupling can be effected. This and the poor condition of the uncoupling mechanism is no doubt responsible for much of the difficulty complained of. Respectfully,
REPORT OF INSPECTOR J. W. WATSON.
BUFFALO, N. Y., September 18, 1902. Mr. EDWARD A. MOSELEY,
Secretary Interstate Commerce Commission, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: In reply to yours of recent date in regard to existing conditions in reference to safety appliances, some of my personal observations are as follows:
I find that while very great improvements have been and are being made by the different railroad companies in keeping safety appliances in much better condition than formerly, many cars in actual service are very far from being in fair condition, leaving a vast amount of room for further improvements. At many points where inspection and repairs are supposed to be made, the railroad companies do not keep a sufficient number of repair men and a sufficient quantity of material on hand to make the necessary repairs. Cars are hurried through, inadequate time being given for thorough inspection and repairs. Inspectors are given time barely sufficient to look over the running gear.
TABLE SHOWING DEFECTS OF PARTS OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT AS. REPORTED BY THE INSPECTORS OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, FOR THE
YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1902.
NUMBER OF DEFECTS REPORTED FOR THE YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1902.
Rules for inspec
tion under which defects
3.80 2.37 9.97 8.61
2.53 2.53 8.55 3.79 1.14 .46
Broken coupler body.
1.18 1.69 . 46
.01 4.49 . 10
Broken uncoupling lever..
VISIBLE PARTS OF AIR BRAKES.
Broken release rod
No brakes of any kind
Dateof cleaning cylinder and triple valve not shown.
.05 .18 .44
.39 1.25 3.17
e Cars cut out with no card attached showing cause. cleaned in the twelve months preceding inspection.
Includes only cars having no stencil marks showing date of cleaning, or having marks showing that they were not
a Cars that have been reported defective on account of split key missing from knuckle pin are omitted from this table. o Inoperative for cause unknown.
Includes only those where proper operation is interfered with.
a Includes uncoupling-rod handles to close to car body, to end sill, or to truss-rod nut, and uncoupling rod binding on brake staff, or on retaining-valve pipe, and uncoupling rod not adjusted to locking pin.
2,729 4, 426
H. Doc. 181. (To face page 280.)