N&W in 1910--Explosion

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Nov 16 13:37:57 EST 2009

This raises a number of thoughts and questions for me.
Negligence of watching the water gauge glass seems more the cause rather that a tender full or empty of water.
If the tender was empty, seems that the crew should droped the fires?
Could the tender have been leaking in excess, unbe known to the crew, even so, back to the guage glass negligence.
It would have been very unlikely that both glasses ( Fireman side and engineer side) would have been clogged with sediment?
Was there not a periodically required blow down for these glasses?
The engineer must have had a fore warning to escape a crown sheet failure.
Gene Arnold
Gloucester, Va.

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Subject: N&W in 1910--Explosion

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 24, 1910

Brakeman Smith Seriously Scalded in Disaster Near Oakvale Early This Morning
Engine No. 484 blew up this morning shortly after 2 o'clock, killing Fireman H. H. Carver and seriously scalding Brakeman Smith, whose initials could not be learned. Engineer McGhee, who was driving the engine was not injured.
The crown sheet of the engine blew out while the train was coming west about a mile east of Oakvale. No details could be learned here, as the wreck occurred on the Radford division, the headquarters for which are Roanoke.
Dr. St. Clair and a number of men were sent to the scene of the accident at 3:15 on a special train. The dead man will be brought to this city and the burns of the injured brakeman will be tended to.
It is not known what caused the accident, as the engine must have taken water at Blake, a tank nearby.
The engineer and fireman, as well as the brakeman, are not known here and the only person who could give any information on the subject was the secretary of the railroad Y. M. C. A., who was not sure of the brakeman's initials.
[It is difficult to understand how the engineer escaped injury in a boiler explosion. Also, Blake is west of Oakvale so a westbound train likely would not have taken water at Blake before the explosion. An article in the newspaper the next day gave the location of the explosion as east of Ada, which is west of Blake, so the westbound train could have taken water at Blake before the explosion.]

Gordon Hamilton


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