Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by DonPevsner
The "TRIUMPH" book on Altoona-Pittsburgh mentions that PRR T-1's
were "killers of firemen." The engineer often could not see what
the fireman was doing when he went back onto the tender coal pile.
Any fireman who got caught in the stoker screw was ground into
small, dripping pieces, which were burned-up in the firebox as they were spat into it. What a ghastly way to die! (Hope it was quick.) The PRR covered it all up until over 50 years later, when Barnard Roberts
beyond the brief "Triumph" paragraph?

  by feltonhill
Just when I thought I heard every silly unsupported tale about the T1, along comes this one. Can anyone confirm this is actually printed in one of the Triumph books?
  by DonPevsner
There are some "flakes" posting from time to time, but I don't
happen to be in the habit of posting "silly, unsupported tales."
How do you think I learned about it other than by reading the
"TRIUMPH" book?

  by BaltOhio
DonPevsner may not post "silly, unsupported tales," but that doesn't mean Charly Roberts & Co. doesn't print them in the Triumph books.

  by feltonhill
Is the Altoona book No.6 in the Triumph series? There are something like seven volumes now. I read through the first two and decided to spend my $$ elsewhere. Maybe I should have kept reading. Apparently the entertainment value has been increasing.

Doesn't it strike you as a bit peculiar that in all the recent articles on the T1 since about 1990, this was never mentioned? None of the researchers have ever found this, and none of the engineers or firemen interviewed (with results printed in PRRT&HS magazine The Keystone) have ever mentioned it. Further, no one could hide this from the ICC back in the 40s & 50s. Sounds like somebody in the Triumph series is messing with all of us on this one. Do the authors indicate what their source was?

  by BaltOhio
Having worked closely with Charly Roberts in years past, I can say that he often doesn't let rationality get in the way of a good drama or a strong opinion. He also tends to work fast and not bother with careful fact-checking or letting others vet his manuscripts. Dave Messer, his co-author and researcher in this series, is more levelheaded and careful, but Roberts always rules.

The plus side is that he gets the stuff out whereas too many other authors twaddle around forever and then never produce anything. And while I'm not much of a Pennsy fan, I do think the Triumph series has generally made a good contribution to PRR lore, and has a a lot of material that otherwise would never would have gotten into print. But the rule in any Roberts book (except mine, of course) is caveat lector.

  by Franklin Gowen
Complete bul...uh, I mean balderdash. :P

If only one could have a Barnard, Roberts House opus without Roberts. The combination of scattered nuggets of pomposity, innuendo, hearsay, and an overall tone of "nobody knows better than I DO!", get old rather quickly. I can't imagine how Messer tolerates it. He must have the patience of a saint. For example... The "Editor's Postlude" at the end of each TRIUMPH volume reads like a Victorian penny-dreadful. The journalistic tone and topic of each would be more appropriate in a then-contemporary front page feature on Jack the Ripper. Such writing exemplifies the worst aspects of the "vanity press" phenomenon. It's Roberts' pulpit; so he can give any sermon he wants.

Thank goodness for Mr. Messer's dilution of this excess. I only wish that more such dilution was possible. Messer truly is a diligent researcher, and has shone the light of day upon much material that otherwise would likely never have been known. There are many, many hidden aspects to the PRR's engineering & operational greatness. But to hear Mr. Roberts tell it, all seven volumes to date are a disjointed rant about how the B&O was really the pinnacle of all that was sober, modest & holy, and how that road's place at the apex of the universe was stolen by those heartless tuscan-red technocrats from Philadelphia. It's both funny and sad. One pays $65 or more for a book, and the overpowering impression of Roberts is akin to one of those lame villains from Scooby Doo snarling, "...and I would've gotten away with it -- if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Roberts aside, they really are good books. Honestly. I own copies of all but one. What pains me to no end is how they could have been great books without all the extra BS. The TRIUMPH series is great in spite of Roberts, not because of him.

Remember: "fan" is short for "fanatic"! :wink:

  by feltonhill

You're more generous with the one author of Triumph series than I could ever be. If the author (s) are printing this kind of misinformation (T1 and firemen), what else are they publishing that is incorrect, poorly researched or just plain baloney? Someone told me a good way to check out writing or internet posts is to watch a person's use of its and it's. If they don't know how to use those two words, what else don't they know? Same idea. One ridiculous comment may mean there are others elsewhere in the text.

If this is the case, I don't believe the Triumph series does us any favors as far as good information is concerned.

If one is fortunate to get published, I believe the author has a responsibility to the reader to get it as right as possible. If he/she expresses an opinion or includes lore, say so. In articles I write, I very laborously include a list of references so those interested can check out the subject for themselves. If someone disagrees, so much the better. That way we can all learn something.

  by pennsy
Hi All,

This one really sounds doubtful. I would imagine that there were safeties involved to prevent such a thing. However, it would be reasonable to assume that an entire man could not be swallowed up by the Iron Man Stoker, due to his size and the aperture that allowed coal to enter, or be sucked in. Closest I ever heard in that regard was with the UP Big Boys. It seems that often coal was loaded into the tender unwashed and right from the mines. In this case, shortly after leaving the area, the stoker jammed and the pressure started to fall. The fireman quickly stopped the stoker, and reversed it to see what fell out. Soon, lo and behold, a several inches long lagging bolt from the mine fell onto the floor. He then re-engaged the stoker and all was well once again.
  by jaygee
Of all the PRR T1 B.S. stories I've ever heard, this one absolutely takes first prize! It's amazing how much
garbage has been spewed over the great Broad Way in the last sixty years regarding these machines. At
least now there is a glimmer of light as the PRRT&HS moves into getting the lesser known aspects of T1
operation to the fore.