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Stopped The Train - Burning Train Bridge at Sharon Springs

Summary:
Message claims that attached photographs show coal train cars and a wooden train bridge burning after the train was stopped on the bridge due to a melted wheel bearing (Full commentary below).



Status:
True

Example:(Submitted, November 2009)
Subject: Stopped the train

The Good news:


It was a normal day in Sharon Springs , KS. When a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina ..

The Bad news:

Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail.

The Good news:

A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the rules.

The Bad news:

The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses

...........................................Scroll down:

Burning Train Bridge 1

Burning Train Bridge 2

Burning Train Bridge 3

Burning Train Bridge 4

Burning Train Bridge 5

BUGGAR!

RULES ARE RULES!
But, don't let common sense get in the way of a good disaster!


Photo Credit:
Julie Samuelson and The Western Times





Commentary:
This email forward describes a real incident and the photographs are genuine. According to the message, an overheated bearing on a loaded coal car melted, detaching a support rod to grind on the railway line beneath, releasing hot molten metal as it went. The crew stopped the train after noticing smoke coming from a car about midway along the train's length. Unfortunately, the car with the melted bearing came to rest on a wooden bridge that quickly caught on fire. A series of photographs attached to the message show the fiery and destructive results of the mishap.

Reports about the incident note that it took place on April 12, 2002, at 3:55 PM, near Wallace Station which is close to Sharon Springs, in the American state of Kansas. The problem car was number 57 of a fully loaded 100 car coal train. Six coal cars were destroyed, along with the Turkey Creek rail bridge.

An article published on the Arizona Rails website records the following brief comment about the incident from the FRA (Federal Railway Agency):
CREW STOPPED TRAIN TO INVESTIGATE CAUSE OF SMOKE AND BEARING FAILURE ON LOADED COAL CAR, WHICH HAD STOPPED ON TOP OF A WOODED BRIDGE, CAUSED HEAT TO IGNITE BRIDGE AND LADING AND SURROUNDING GRASS, COMPLETELY DESTROYING BRIDGE.
While the damage bill for the accident was in the millions of dollars, there were no deaths or injuries.

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References:
Bad day for a good train crew
Julie Samuelson, The Western Times
And the bridge came tumbling down! Union Pacific loses bridge to fire
18th April 2002

Last updated: 7th November 2009
First published: 7th November 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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