W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 => Original Railway => Topic started by: Mike Fox on December 03, 2008, 08:50:09 AM

Title: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike Fox on December 03, 2008, 08:50:09 AM
Quote
I also believe the WW&Fs roundhouse fire contributed to the RRs eventual colapse.

Vincent, I never looked at it that way but you may be correct. The loss of 3 locomotives and no funds to replace them created a big burden on the railroad, which deepend with the failing economy.
Title: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Wayne Laepple on December 03, 2008, 09:06:56 AM
However, both no. 6 and no. 7 were stored out of service in the roundhouse. Both were in need of major repairs, if I recall correctly, and as they were the largest engines the railroad owned, were the most expensive to operate and repair. I suspect they had been parked at least partly because they were so costly to use and there wasn't enough traffic to justify the cost of repairs. Correct me if I'm misinformed.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Vincent "Lightning" LeRow on December 03, 2008, 11:11:32 AM
Event still, the locomotives and the building were assets that could have shouldered some leans.  And I am pretty sure at that point the railroad had little or no insurance.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Ken Fleming on December 03, 2008, 05:44:45 PM
Another good reason to build the roundhouse and car barn from steel.  I would bet that if the W.W. & F. Ry had had that choice, they would have chose it.  I know we want everything to look as the original, but we could keep the color scheme and go for safety.  By the way, a quote for an all steel 25' x 100' car barn was around $39,000.  Even with super insurance, we could never replace the equipment that we could loose in a fire.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Eric Bolton on December 03, 2008, 07:04:42 PM
Steel car barn yes but the roundhouse? The car barn is going to be more out of sight. The roundhouse is going to be one of the first things people see when they get to the museum. Unless there is some way to completely hide the steel structure under a wooden skin I would have to say no to a steel roundhouse. Not that I have any real say in it. One way to prevent a fire is to never put a hot engine in the house. Dump the fire first. A banked engine is much easier to get going in the morning but with the small size of the WWF's motive power starting from scratch is no big deal.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Vincent "Lightning" LeRow on December 03, 2008, 07:29:41 PM
At the MNG we can't put banked engines in our little engine hut, but what we do is water wedging.  We fill the boiler until the ingectors begin to knock, and then dump the fire.  we usualy get the engine put away at 115-120 psi on the needle (max pressure 125).  then the next morning even though the needle is down the boiler is still warm, and it only takes a small wood fire to start the pressure climbing.  We do however put a cover on top of the stack for any residiual parts of the fire that may have escaped the dump and to help keep the heat in, preventing the draft.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike the Choochoo Nix on December 03, 2008, 10:03:33 PM
Steel car barn yes but the roundhouse? The car barn is going to be more out of sight. The roundhouse is going to be one of the first things people see when they get to the museum.

What about wooden walls and a steel roof? Steel framing inside, less to catch fire and it would still look authentic.
Mike Nix
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Eric Bolton on December 04, 2008, 03:59:17 PM
That could work I'm just saying if your going for the "authentic" look then a metal roundhouse just wont work. That building along with the turntable will become one of the centers of attention. What about the installation of a fire suppression system installed in the building? Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 04, 2008, 05:16:04 PM
There are (vintage looking) fire resistant building materials available so we can build the roundhouse to resemble the one that was in the upper yard at Wiscasset.  I agree that the structure will be the center piece for the Sheepscot Yard.  Like the EBT, early arriving visitors will be able to watch as an engine is steamed up, backed on to the turntable, turned and readied for the days work.  One reason to have a real roundhouse is to be able to fire up inside.   The smoke jacks can be modern pull-down insulated pipes that make steaming up safe.   Many round house fires started in the roof timbers or roof surface so we can protect this area with modern fire resistant material.  It isn't seen by visitors so we have more flexibility in construction. 

The fire suppression system is a good idea but will be hard to do.  There are choices of a "wet" sprinkler system which is charged with water all the time or a dry system which is charged with air with water ready in the main reservoir.  I doubt that our roundhouse will have heat so the dry system would have to be installed.  The sprinkler heads would have to be well spaced and set with high threshold links to not be set off by a locomotive.  The water source is the other issue, with no town water we would need a holding tank rated for the size and flow rate of the system.  The system is charged by a fire pump that would have to kick in automatically.  I have seen electric and diesel powered fire pumps, diesel would be better if the power is out for some reason.  Of course the system has to be tested and maintained on a regular basis.   There was a suggestion on the old Forum of using the water tank for the resevoir but it gets drained for the Winter.  The fire tank would have to be underground with the discharge feed going directly to the pump which would also be underground.  All this stuff takes alot of $$.  Build with fire resistant materials and add a suppression system if the time and funds are available. 

The roundhouse will be the most expensive building we will have, containing some of our best assets so it's worth doing it right the first time. 
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike Fox on December 04, 2008, 07:24:14 PM
Very nice size-up Stewart. I think we got into the details on the old forum. Firing up a steam engine in the building would be better than leaving one banked overnight. And to keep things on the outside looking authentic, we can sheath a metal frame with board & batten.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Vincent "Lightning" LeRow on December 04, 2008, 07:38:35 PM
excelent!  doing the board and batten on the metal frame would work just the same as the short term walls in office buildings.  for those who aren't familiar, they instal metal runners in the floor and cieling and have metal snap-in 2x4's.  then the drywall is screwed directly into the metal studs with special screws

perhaps for a banked engine you could hook it up to the ventalation system and just leave the blowers on low or something....
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 04, 2008, 07:49:09 PM
Thanks Mike,  I went through fire protection specs when we designed the social hall addition on our town firehouse a few years ago.  The station is on a well and has three sprinkler zones.  One zone is in an unheated area so the set up would be the same for the roundhouse.  Our system was $65,000.  The underground cistern was already there so we had to build a new vault for the fire pump and it's control system right next to it.  We drilled through the concrete and ran the cistern feed right into the pumps impeller.  That way you get water as soon as the system starts up.  The roundhouse would probably have an  underground cistern if we built such a system.  That's the best way to keep it from freezing.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 04, 2008, 07:55:42 PM
Vincent,  Our fire station was built with steel studs, rafters and floor stringers.  It is sheathed with plastic wood siding so it matches the 100 year old buildings around it.  Yes the roundhouse could be built that way.  Regarding the smoke jacks, there are double lined chimney pipes that can be adapted for use as an adjustable flu.  That what I was referring to, it would allow for safe firing up inside the building.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Vincent "Lightning" LeRow on December 07, 2008, 02:12:02 PM
and out of the weather.  I love firing steam engines, it is such an exhilerating experience.  However the freezing wind and rain are not so exhilerating.....
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike Fox on December 07, 2008, 02:23:48 PM
I'm sure that the fabrication department could make a smokejack that is retractable that would sit down over the stack and keep all smoke headed out of the building. There are enough talented people there that if someone can come up with a reasonable idea, it can be built.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Josh Botting on December 08, 2008, 09:07:32 PM
Anyone ever considered an inert gas system?  Certainly more effective than a water based system, but a bit more hazardous to personal?

Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Steve Klare on December 17, 2008, 05:59:32 PM
Should it be that hot engines don't stay in the roundhouse?

These days with #52 you can pull a cold engine out of the stall and fire it up, and then later on when the fire is completely dead shove it back in. No fire in the firebox, no sparks, no roundhouse fires...

It's a choice that the original lines never had.

The downside is of course at the end of the day somebody has to hang around until the engine is cool.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike Fox on December 17, 2008, 06:10:02 PM
Actually they have been dumping the fire at the end of the day already and I think that would still be the plan with the roundhouse. That way, no one needs to baby sit the engine.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Stephen Hussar on December 17, 2008, 06:43:39 PM
Part of the museum's mission is, "to preserve and restore the operation of narrow gauge railroads and equipment in the Sheepscot Valley..."

If it is at all possible to build a roundhouse in such a way that steam locomotives can safely be brought up to steam indoors, and someday even be kept hot overnight, then that is what should be attempted. Why build a roundhouse with limitations? Every nuance of early 20th century railroad operation that can be experienced first hand helps tell the story better.
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Steve Klare on December 17, 2008, 06:59:51 PM
True,

-but if I ever went out on a replica Viking warship, I'd still want a modern Personal Flotation Device under the seat!

(I'd definitely go with the helmet, though!)
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Vincent "Lightning" LeRow on December 17, 2008, 07:57:39 PM
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If it is at all possible to build a roundhouse in such a way that steam locomotives can safely be brought up to steam indoors, and someday even be kept hot overnight, then that is what should be attempted. Why build a roundhouse with limitations? Every nuance of early 20th century railroad operation that can be experienced first hand helps tell the story better.

Which is why we need a steel framed roundhouse with built in sprinkler systems AND retractable flues.  Of course we don't want to risk loosing our locomotives like the Origional RR did, that's why we take precautions to protect them.  Remember that the Origional RR couldn't instal a sprinkler system or build an all steel roundhouse with Board and batten siding or have retractable flues that come down right over the stack.  We have all of these options now that will make steaming up indoors a minimal risk. 

Besides, who wants to start a fire in the freezing rain and then wait for enough pressure to turn on the blowers to clear the cab?

I wouldn't, Especially when there's a nice roundhouse a few hundred feet from the parking lot!
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Stephen Hussar on December 17, 2008, 08:25:59 PM
Vincent, believe it or not all of this (including steel frame, fire supression, etc, etc), has all been thought out and discussed by the board. So no worries!
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Mike Fox on December 17, 2008, 10:10:33 PM
I do think we have a great bunch of "thinkers", on here and on the board. A lot of the fire retarding things we have now was not available 100 years ago. The real trick will be making it look like it belonged back in the day. Stewart is going to have to get creative with his paint can. (Waterbased paint of course)
Title: Re: WW&F Roundhouse Fire
Post by: Joe Fox on June 14, 2013, 07:18:34 PM
I know this is a late post, but here goes nothing.

Even though having a wooden roundhouse would pose difficultys, but there are many operating wooden roundhouses with operating steam. Things that could be done could include metal spark deflectors on the cielings. This would include the stall where the 52 would be. At Conway Scenic they have a spark deflector on the cieling for the diesels, and a sprinkler system. I believe that doing this would eliminate much risk of fires.

Looking into history, you will find that 90% of roundhouse fires occured at night. With the way the museum stores it's engines by dumping the fire before going in the building, and a stack cover on the stack, there is no fire in the engine during the night.