Titanic: What happened in the Engine and Boiler rooms

benjidog
10th August 2009, 23:42
I usually steer well clear of anything to do with Titanic as it tends to attract the attention of shall we say the more "conspiratorial" of those interested in ships.

I am breaking my own rule on this occasion as some information has come into my hands by way of an attempted reconstruction of events in the Engine Room and Boiler Room and I have put this into the Directory as a new entry for those who may be interested.

If you are interested you can find it HERE (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/Titanic_-_What_happened_in_the_Engine_and_Bolier_rooms).

David Campbell
10th August 2009, 23:48
Brian. Got an error message. URL Not Found. can you check the site. Regards.

benjidog
10th August 2009, 23:51
Brian. Got an error message. URL Not Found. can you check the site. Regards.

Sorry David - somehow the link seems to have got corrupted but I have reset it - please try again now.

K urgess
10th August 2009, 23:52
Worked alright for me, David.
Fallen between two posts again. (Sad)
Kris

nick olass
11th August 2009, 01:35
Brian,

Thanks for breaking your own rules, because anything 'Titanic', surely, if it's new, has got to be interesting. I had no problem with your link and I enjoyed the contents, thanks again Lancashire Laddie.

Regards Nick.

rickles23
11th August 2009, 07:59
Hi,
You might be able to clear up something for me about the Titanic?
When the engines were put astern, was that all three?
Which way did each prop rotate?
Regards

Stewart J.
11th August 2009, 08:22
Thanks Benjidog an interesting read.

Stewart

JimC
11th August 2009, 13:11
Thanks Benjidog..as a student of the event, I found it very interesting.

I understand the turbine was not working at the time of impact. Additionally; there is conflicting evidence as to the exact engine orders. It was claimed by one witness that the first two engine orders were Stop and then Full astern.
The only actual surviving witness who was in the main engine room at time of impact and who saw the sequence of orders was a man named Dillon. he was a Trimmer who was not required in the bunkers and who subsequently was doing cleaning jobs at the time. That was his first trip in the engine room. Previlusly, he had been an AB on deck.

The starboard screw was right handed and the port one left handed.

Subsequent invetigative works points to Titanic's speed as 22.3 knots at time of impact and the berg being about a ship's length (882 feet) ahead when first seen by the lookouts. It folows that there was little more than 30 odd seconds past between first sighting- helm and engine orders and wt door activation- and impact. Scary stuff indeed!

Jim S
11th August 2009, 20:58
An interesting article - Additional names of Titanic's Engineering Staff who were also lost are:-
Thomas Kemp, Extra Assistant 4th Eng (Refrigeration) - Age 43
George Chisnall, Senior Boilermaker - Age 35
Hugh Fitzpatrick, Assistant Boilermaker - Age 27
Arthur Rous, Plumber -Age 26
William Duffy, Chief Engineer's Clerk (Writer) - Age 29

William McReynolds, Junior Sixth Engineer,
William Kelly, Assistant Electrician
William Duffy, Chief Engineer's Clerk were on their first trip to sea.
In adition to Thomas Andrews the 39 year old managing director of H&W a further seven H&W engineering staff lost their life.

This from an Institute of Marine Engineers 80th anniversary tribute brochure of 1992

benjidog
11th August 2009, 22:10
As I said, this was an attempt at a reconstruction - as I understand it based on knowledge of the workings of the ship, responsibilities of the people and some limited knowledge about the train of events.

Sadly all those poor folk were lost with nobody to tell the tale - and let's be honest, even if there had been survivors from the engine room, there is no guarantee that their recollections would be correct. This is the problem with any eye-witness accounts of crimes for example.

I have no further information about this I am afraid but please make of it what you can. No-one will ever know what really happened down there. I can only say that it must have been hell as they were dragged to the bottom of the ocean with no hope of escape. And we have no idea how long they would have survived as the ship sank into darkness which in many ways makes it even worse. Hopefully not long poor buggers.

Santos
11th August 2009, 22:52
I can only say that it must have been hell as they were dragged to the bottom of the ocean with no hope of escape. And we have no idea how long they would have survived as the ship sank into darkness which in many ways makes it even worse. Hopefully not long poor buggers.

They were very brave men and the fact that none survived out of so many bears testimony to this and the fact that they stayed at their posts till the end. I too hope that their end was swift and they did not suffer.

Chris.

David Campbell
12th August 2009, 00:02
Brian. Your'e link now works for me, looks like I had the only problem. Sorry about that. I have a photo on file of the Titanic Engineers, I think it came from Dr. Denis Griffiths, has it been shown here? Regards David.

Tmac1720
12th August 2009, 18:03
My understanding is that this was produced by Harland and Wolff for James Cameron who had asked for our best assumption of what would have happened in the engine room at that time. It has not been published before but H&W did make reference to it for a short while on their now defunct Technical Services company web site.

benjidog
12th August 2009, 22:38
Brian. Your'e link now works for me, looks like I had the only problem. Sorry about that. I have a photo on file of the Titanic Engineers, I think it came from Dr. Denis Griffiths, has it been shown here? Regards David.

Not sure David as there are a lot of photos around. It would do no harm to post it in the Gallery anyway and we can check.

Shipbuilder
23rd August 2009, 08:19
I have often wondered why, after having struck the iceberg a glancing blow, it was necessary to remain stopped. If the CALIFORNIAN was actually in sight at the time, surely half-an-hour's steaming would have taken them to it or at least well within sight after 15 minutes. I am not an engineer, so have no hard opinions on the matter, but would it have been feasible to make a dash for the CALIFORNIAN or would it have risked explosion if the fires were not pulled immediately?
Bob

Lancastrian
23rd August 2009, 09:30
If you have a large hole in the forward part of your ship, attempting to move it will increase the influx of water and hasten its sinking.

Shipbuilder
24th August 2009, 07:37
I appreciate that, but they must have know that it was not a large hole but a lot of smaller ones along a very great length, Even so, if half an hour's steaming took an hour off the flotability, they could probabliy still have reached the CALIFORNIAN (or whoever it was that was sighted about ten miles off)!
Bob

Tmac1720
24th August 2009, 16:05
Alas yet another question we sadly will never know the answer to. The Chief Designer Thomas Andrews was on board and accurately assessed the damage and how long Titanic would stay afloat. I can only assume Captain Smith may have thought he was wrong and Titanic was, as the publicity said, practically unsinkable and so thought she would survive until help arrived.

Shipbuilder
24th August 2009, 16:26
What I was really wondering was what would have happened if the fires had not been pulled and steam kept up? When the boiler rooms flooded, would this be likely to cause a disastrous explosion? I don't know, but common sense tells me that a sudden rush of water into the fires would quickly put them out so steam pressure would immediately start to drop and there were always the safety valves anyway! Even 15 minutes at 20 knots could have made all the difference if they really could see the lights of another vessel about ten miles away.
Bob

steamer659
24th August 2009, 17:12
Well, let's see- as a Modern steam engineer used to oil fired boilers...22 knots, that's 37.1 feet per second- the gash was some 210 feet long- that's 5.66 seconds worth of jarring, grinding and plates screeching and separating.
Water rushing in close by your feet- flooding with VERY cold water- the steam and fog created by it. The engine order telegraphs ringing on Full Astern. The watertight doors closing, the vessel lurching to port as the hard left rudder rate of turn finally took hold. The shouting, the screaming, the Assistant Engineers barking out orders to bank the grates and forced draft blowers coming up...Safety Valves lifting.

All this and more as the the first two fire rooms on the starboard side start to take on water. Engineers, Watertenders, Firemen, Trimmers, Greasers, Passers, all trying to get the pumps to keep up. The worst becoming evident by the passing of each and every second, the trim by the head, the stark realization.

No wonder that the UK Merchant Marine Engineer's Cap Insignia were changed to purple by order of HM the King. I would be proud to wear such...

K urgess
24th August 2009, 18:10
No wonder that the UK Merchant Marine Engineer's Cap Insignia were changed to purple by order of HM the King. I would be proud to wear such...

Another urban myth
http://www.nmm.ac.uk/explore/sea-and-ships/facts/faqs/general/did-engineer-officers-in-the-royal-and-merchant-navy-wear-purple-cloth-between-the-rank-stripes-on-their-uniform-as-a-sign-of-mourning-for-the-engineers-who-died-in-the-titanic

surfaceblow
24th August 2009, 18:17
What I was really wondering was what would have happened if the fires had not been pulled and steam kept up? When the boiler rooms flooded, would this be likely to cause a disastrous explosion? I don't know, but common sense tells me that a sudden rush of water into the fires would quickly put them out so steam pressure would immediately start to drop and there were always the safety valves anyway! Even 15 minutes at 20 knots could have made all the difference if they really could see the lights of another vessel about ten miles away.
Bob

The torpedoing of the Lusitania 7 May 1915 resulted in cold water rushing into the Number One Boiler Room from the coal bunker doors and the longitudinal bulkhead. The second explosion caused the air in the boiler room and around the forward funnel to be saturated with steam so dense that it was difficult to breathe. This second explosion is theorize to be from the "steam condensation induced transient fluid water hammer and flashing". One theory is the torpedo caused the steam piping to be damaged and the movement of the boilers cased water to enter the piping. The other theory is that the flood of cold water created a sudden condensation of the steam in the boilers and the exposed piping. When the saturated water entered the pipes to the operating machinery causing water hammer the liquid slug could produce a overpressure 23 times the normal pressure. The end result was steam and coal dust rushed out of the funnel.

What ever the cause of the second explosion the end result was the sinking of the vessel in 18 minutes with 1,198 causalities.

From the Titanic and Lusitatania a Final Forensic Analysis SNAME 1995

Shipbuilder
24th August 2009, 19:09
Steamer,
I would not offer any argument or objection to anything in your reply, but my question was answered more fully by Surface Below in showing that cold water ingress caused a catastrophic explosion in the case of the LUSITANIA.

But the circumstances were a lot different. The torpedo attack on LUSITANIA must have blown a huge hole in the ship. TITANIC apparently suffered hundreds of medium to maybe relatively large holes over a very long area, spanning quite a number of W/T doors. TITANIC still look a relatively long time to sink and I still wonder if an extra 15 minutes of steaming at 20 + knots might have got her within good "visual" range of the lights that lay an alleged 10 miles distant!

Bob

Santos
24th August 2009, 20:33
Steamer,
I would not offer any argument or objection to anything in your reply, but my question was answered more fully by Surface Below in showing that cold water ingress caused a catastrophic explosion in the case of the LUSITANIA.

But the circumstances were a lot different. The torpedo attack on LUSITANIA must have blown a huge hole in the ship. TITANIC apparently suffered hundreds of medium to maybe relatively large holes over a very long area, spanning quite a number of W/T doors. TITANIC still look a relatively long time to sink and I still wonder if an extra 15 minutes of steaming at 20 + knots might have got her within good "visual" range of the lights that lay an alleged 10 miles distant!

Bob


Bob,

I too have often wondered if perhaps the fires were drawn too soon and as you suggested an extra period of steaming until the waters gained to a dangerous level in the boiler rooms, may well have brought her to the attention of those owners of the lights seen.

Of course modern steam engineers may know better and look down with humour upon us poor ignorants but nobody now knows if that could have been achieved, only those engineers present would have known that but we will never know.

Chris (Thumb)

Shipbuilder
24th August 2009, 20:47
Thanks Chris,
Whether the engineers knew or not, maybe the decision to stop & pull the fires came from the bridge anyway, but as you say, we will never know now!

I sailed with a man who was on one of the aircraft carriers sunk in the Med during the war. He was one of the survivors who managed to run round the capsizing hull and ended up standing on the bottom as she went down. He said that one of his most enduring memories was that as the hull tilted for the final pluge, the great screws were still thrashing round as she went below the water, so it didn't appear that the boilers expoloded in that case and fires or not, there was still steam pressure to the end!

Bob

surfaceblow
24th August 2009, 22:18
On the Lusitania it is believe that the torpedo made a hole 20 feet long 10 feet high and penetrated 10 feet into the hull. This is based on similar torpedo attacks. It was also noted by survivors that the passenger lower deck was damaged and a large plume of water on the Stbd side. It was also noted that 74 portholes were left open at a 3 foot depth each 18 inch porthole would have allowed 3.75 tons of water per minute.

Some of the survivors stated that they were pushed into the funnels when the ship was sinking then they were pushed back out of the funnels by warm water when the boilers failed.

On the banking of the fires would have been done soon after the stop bell was rang and no further telegraph orders were given. The main reason was to prevent the safeties from lifting and maintain steam for the auxiliaries. If more telegraph orders were given the coals would have spread out and more coal has needed would be added. Management of the boilers would have been by orders of the Engineers below.

Joe

benjidog
24th August 2009, 22:37
"If only ........". As my old granny used to say "If your aunt had nuts she would be your uncle!".

The ill-fated ship had a fully professional complement who knew the ship better than anyone on earth. Who are we to assume that we know better what should have been done than they did? They will have done their best to save the ship and her passengers but it was not possible. Sad but true; some battles cannot be won.

David Campbell
24th August 2009, 23:54
Brian. I will post the photo of Titanic Engineers, now.

I also have another file, either from D. Griffiths or St. Fath Church, Liverpool Titanic records, but it is in MHTML format and 689KB and I do not know how to upload it to Ships Nostalgia. This file gives a boigraphy of each Titanic Engineer with their photo. Have you come across this? David.

benjidog
25th August 2009, 21:55
Brian. I will post the photo of Titanic Engineers, now.

I also have another file, either from D. Griffiths or St. Fath Church, Liverpool Titanic records, but it is in MHTML format and 689KB and I do not know how to upload it to Ships Nostalgia. This file gives a boigraphy of each Titanic Engineer with their photo. Have you come across this? David.

David,

I will send you a PM about this.

Shipbuilder
26th August 2009, 09:20
I don't think anyone has said or implied they would have done better in a similar situation, but it is only natural to wonder what mighjt have hapenned if.. I have never studied the affair in any great depth, but just chanced on the post with my thoughts (and wonderings).

The ship was so new that none of the officers or crew would be all that familar with things. When I joined my first big passenger liner (TRANSVAAL CASTLE), I was overwhelemed by it all and I had been at sea four years by then and that was very much smaller than TITANIC.

I suppose it is best to say nothing on the subject.

Bob

Santos
26th August 2009, 09:33
Bob,

We are all entitled to our thoughts and views - you keep giving them - defeats the object of the site if you stop.

We, me included, did just wonder as you said, and what you say is very valid about it being the new ship etc. Not everyone is perfect and alot of mistakes were made that night, not least travelling at a speed not condusive to an iceberg field and its just possible that this was also one of them.

Nobody is setting themselves up as an expert or saying they could have done better, just merely surmising on possibilities that could have been open to those in charge at the time, I think this is legal.

Chris.

Shipbuilder
26th August 2009, 10:20
Chris,

That's what I thought. Why open a discussion and then when a few opinions are given, just close it by a simple statement that they were all professionals and did their best?

On the subject of familiarity with big ships, I recall the REINA DEL MAR. I sailed in that ship for three summer seasons in the Mediterranean and although I was OK in the upper sections, if I ever needed to go below into the depths of the passenger accommodation, I usually got hopelessly lost. At anchorage ports, I always had the greatest difficulty finding my way to the gunport doors and out onto the pontoon. It must have been much worse of the TITANIC.

Bob

benjidog
26th August 2009, 22:18
Gentlemen,

Nobody closed the discussion down; I was simply stating my own opinion like everyone else. We can all wonder these things, but I admit getting impatient with the complete rot that is written about Titanic - one example being a book discussed on another recent thread hear referring to "psychopaths" being in charge.

Regarding the newness of the ship, I am not sure that the engine and controls on Titanic would have been that different to what had gone before in terms of behaviour. I know we have people on SN who can probably tell us the answer to that one.

Also, in terms of what would happen if you did or did not stop engines, if there is a bloody great hole in the ship, I would not expect the outcome to depend on what sort of engine you have.

surfaceblow
27th August 2009, 00:02
The builders trials would have included a crash astern test, so at least some of the engineers would have been onboard the vessel for the Builders Trials and were familiar with the actions required.

Also many of the Officers and Crew did time on the sister ship Olympic that was launched the previous year 1911 and would have more than a causal intimacy with the handling of the vessel and its machinery.

Joe

Shipbuilder
27th August 2009, 07:40
If the TITANIC had "a bloody big hole in it," it would have sunk extremely quickly like BRITTANIC or LUSITANIA!

But anyway, time for me, at least, to "abandon ship" on this thread, the whole affair has been investigated and discussed in great detail for 97 years or so, and will probably continue - without any conclusive outcome!

Bob

Lancastrian
27th August 2009, 09:13
Not wishing to prolong the agony, but if you havnt already, have a read of this MAIB report of 1992 - http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/popular_reports/rms__titanic___reappraisal_of_evidence_relation_to _ss__californian_.cfm
Amongst much else it shows that at the time of the collision, Titanic had no other vessels in sight and whatever ship it was, was not seen until some unrecorded time later, which might explain decisions about boilers.