previous / next
return to index
Courtesy Bruce C. Cooper Collection.
Copyright © 2000-2004, CPRR.org. [Last updated 5/11/2004] Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement; Click any image or link to accept.
A Runaway Turn-Table.
(The above turntable is hand operated, but here is
a story about
a steam operated railroad turntable incident published in Railroad Gazette, 28 July 1882.)
A singular occurrence took place recently at the Pittsburg round-house,
on the Pennsylvania Railroad. A laborer was engaged in whitewashing the pit,
when it became necessary to have the turn-table moved. Although there is an
engineer in charge of the little engine which runs the table, the laborer thought
to save time and
trouble by starting it himself. He turned on the steam and the table
started around, but when he attempted to stop he made a mistake and
turned on all the steam in the boiler. The table went faster and
faster until it made about 40 revolutions a minute, the whitewasher
vainly attempting to stop it. Workmen stood on the edge of the pit
and tried to shout to the laborer to turn the little wheel in the
other direction, but for a time the experimenter failed to catch the
idea. In the meantime an old man who had been upon the table when it
started had thrown himself down and was holding on to the railroad
track for dear life, thinking every minute that he would be hurled
off and ground up. Fortunately nothing like that occurred. The
whitewasher finally got the right idea. He began to reverse the
wheel and soon the table was brought to standstill with no
Courtesy Wendell Huffman, from the R&LHS Newsgroup.