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Damage to the ship's engines?

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by The_One_And_Only, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Hello, since the start of urgency after spotting the iceberg was very high, the engine room staff were called to put the engine in reverse, could the reverse procedure of been carried out so fast that damage occurred to the engines?

    For instance, before reversing, the valves for the Turbine must be closed so that all exhaust steam goes directly to the condensers, the valves were large and steam driven, it can take upwards of 20 minutes to an hour (depending on size) to close or open a large water valve according to my dad who used to work with large valves.

    Could the turbine of actually ran in reverse? I don't know much about Reaction Turbines but if the turbine was running in reverse and damaging itself, that could explain why the steering was so slow.

    According to the article on "Cold Starting Titanic" the ship is perfectly capable of running in reverse albeit with a slight vibration from unbalanced screws, could this of been the vibration felt by the passengers? I think the iceberg would of glided along the side of the ship and not caused any vibration.

    I also think the pistons in the main engines started getting off-balanced and contacting the top of the cylinder while it was spinning down, causing similar effects to the Judder you feel in an automobile when you stop the engine by turning the key.

    Word's on this theory will be appreciated.
  2. From Dillon and Scott who were down in the engine room (Dillon in the reciprocating engine room and Scott in the turbine engine room) we know that the order they received was stop. This is confirmed by Barrett in BR 6 as well by Hichens at the wheel.

    The engines did went into reserve but only for a very short time and only slow astern.
  3. Kas01

    Kas01 Member

    I forget who exactly posted this, but one of the members here said something to the effect that there are always vibrations aboard a ship, regardless of the powerplant. It wasn't the vibrations that caused most passengers to notice that something was off, it was the absence of such vibrations.

    Second, with regards to the turbine, I believe that Halpern's site shows that the centerline screw had no reversing capability, seeing as Titanic was a compound-expansion ship and the centerline screw was using steam from the second/third expansion.

    Third, it's damn hard to steer a Sunfish without water flowing over the rudder. To say nothing of steering an Olympic-class liner.

    I'd go with the berg itself causing the vibrations.
  4. Yes the turbine was only able to go forward and was stopped when the ship was going in reserve.
  5. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    The turbine was not designed to run in reverse and only used when the triple expansion engines reach 50rpm. I would of thought it be wise to close the change over valves if should the triple engines reach 50rpm in reverse as the turbine will only driven again.
  6. coal eater

    coal eater Member

    this brings question,did olympic turbine was not reversable aswell?

    titanic engines had to go slow down then stop then go reverse,going from full ahead straight to ful astern could eventually cause damage to crankshafts but not engine itself.at olympic career in later time there as some crankshaft cracks because of its age and time of use,evrything has its own "lifetime" ....

    another interessing is that on titanic wreck one of engine cylinders is ripped apart,was it caused by break up and list to port/starboard? would engine during breakup give sush thing? where are other engine cylinders that broke off from sinking ship? an last question, do we have any photograph of crankshaft wreck located o wreck? it should show what engine configuration was,if the cylinder got blown apart there had to be trapped air in it?
  7. Kas01

    Kas01 Member

    Could have been totally intact from the breakup but trust me, that thing was on the inside of 26,000 tons of metal and hit the ocean floor at over 25 miles per hour. The fact that even one of them is still in the wreckage is a Goddamn miracle.
  8. coal eater

    coal eater Member

    but tthere was photo of one or two broken off cylinders and piece of crankshaft just cant find photo of both
  9. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Here are a number of accounts that indicate what may have happened.

    Harold Bride
    "The Captain told us we had been struck amidships, or just aft of amidships." (damage to engine room?)

    Mr. Woolner
    "We felt it under the smoking room." (damage to engine room?)

    Fred Scott
    "I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong." (damage to engine room?)

    Mr. C. Andrews
    "I thought something might have gone wrong with the engines."

    Mr. Ray
    "I thought something had gone wrong in the engine room."

    Mr. Beesley
    "There came what seemed to me nothing more than an extra heave of the engines"

    Mrs. Collyer
    "We saw a stoker come climbing up from below. He stopped a few feet away from us. All the fingers of one hand had been cut off. Blood was running from the stumps and blood was splattering over his face and over his clothes. The red marks showed very clearly against the coal dust with which he was covered. I went over and spoke to him. I asked him if there was any danger. ‘Danger’, he screamed at the top of his voice. ‘I should just say so. It’s hell down below, look at me. The boat will sink like a stone in ten minutes.’ He staggered away and lay down fainting on a coil of rope. At this moment I got my first grip of fear, awful sickening fear. That poor man with his bleeding hand and his speckled face brought up a picture of smashed engines and mangled human bodies. (damage to engine room?)

    Here is a low pressure engine cylinder that possibly fell out when she listed heavily to port and everything not bolted down would crash through her side.

    Mr. Keene
    "It appeared to us that when the ship had listed heavily to port the engines fell out and crashed through the side. The second funnel broke off, and killed a number of people in its fall.....One of the engineers got horribly jammed when the doors in the bullkheads were closed. His injuries were terrible, and, as there was no chance of releasing him, he implored that he might be shot to be put out of his misery. This I have been told was done."


  10. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    I can assure you reverse the engine was no problem in the design. How long it took from 75rpm is another question? I see figure of 30 second been quoted before going into reverse! As the quote figure from seeing the iceberg before contact is 37 second!
    As on the SS Shieldhall with triple expansion engines running at 100rpm on a much smaller scale in size than Titanic had. It only took seconds to reverse the engines!
  11. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    The Collyer tale is an interesting one but is there any indication where they were standing when this wounded stoker came up? Were they on the boat deck? In the second class accom areas? Also, where had this stoker been working? Which boiler room? Are there any other reports about this man? It seems pretty strange that a man with such a terrrible wound to his hand would not have been placed in a boat?
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  12. The reversing gear rods seem to be bent downwards. I think that they speak for themselves in which direction LP cylinders fell out.
  13. This is all very interesting, I think that stoker may of got his fingers trapped in a watertight or maybe one of the dampers or something.

    The smoking room is above the turbine engine room (The Turbine engine casing runs through it, that's why the room is "H" shaped).

    In all, I think the W.T.D's were the main cause of injuries to people below decks.
  14. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Charlotte was in second class near the stern and left the ship in lifeboat 14. Before she met the wounded man she said:

    "When we reached the second-cabin promenade deck, we found a great many people there. Some officers were walking up and down, and shouting: “There is no danger, no danger whatever!” It was a clear starlight night, but very cold. There was not a ripple on the sea. A few of the passengers were standing by the rail, and looking down; but I want to say that, at that time, no one was frightened. Suddenly there was a commotion near one of the gangways, and we saw a stoker come climbing up from below. He stopped a few feet away from us. All the fingers of one hand had been cut off. Blood was running from the stumps, and blood was spattered over his face and over his clothes. The red marks showed very clearly against the coal dust with which he was covered"....He then fainted on a coil of rope. She continued...."Those in charge must have herded us toward the nearest boat deck; for that is where I presently found myself". She then got into lifeboat 14 and survived.

    Charlotte Collyer


  15. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    Ok, so she was aft on B deck by the sounds of it then and it sounds like the stoker came up the ladder from the aft well deck. It doesn't give us any clues as to where the stoker came from and I take it there is no indication as to what became of him? Given that it's such a strong image you would have thought that Titanic folklore would have more about the stoker with the cut off fingers?
  16. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Perhaps the majority who witnessed this man had perished in the disaster as only 13 men in second class survived.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    Tim Aldrich likes this.
  17. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member


    It's quite a memorable image though.

    I've always wondered why Shepard wasn't brought up to the boat deck with his broken leg when it was absolutely clear he would need to be saved?

    I've also always wondered why one of the two ships doctors weren't ordered into a boat to look after the survivors given that they'd no real idea how long they were going to be in the boats and having someone with medical knowledge on hand would help.

    Anyhow, back to topic. I see no real evidence of ice impact damage to the main engine room area. Dillon mentions nothing about damage or flooding, Oliver visited the engine room area to carry a message from the Captain and says nothing about damage and we also know the engiines were run for a while which suggests they were in working order when she sank.

    Furthermore, there were a number of the black gang that transitted through the engine spaces on various duties and those who survive also mention no damage.

    Finally, there was some extremely minor flooding in Boiler room 4 which is as close to midships as possible and may have been the last point of contact with the berg. Just aft of Midships as Bride put it would be boiler room 2 which is still quite some distance forward of the engine room.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  18. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Charlotte said - "We noticed that the engines had ceased running. They tried to start the engines a few minutes later, but after some coughing and rumbling there was silence once more. Our cabin was so situated that we could follow this clearly."

    Yet Olliver witnessed the captain order "half speed ahead" and the two survivors from the engine room only remember the engines going "slow ahead". Boxhall claimed that he looked at the telegraph and it indicated "full speed astern" but yet again the engine room survivors only saw "slow astern". Is it possible that there was a serious fault with the engines? e.g. Did the collision or the emergency stop (described as a series of forward jolts and backward jolts) dislodge something in the engine room or fracture part of her machinery? She also heeled over to port and survivors in the smoking room felt the room twist over and they believed she had lost a propeller blade as the same sensation happened on the Olympic.

    Charlotte said about "10 and 15 minutes" after she witnessed the wounded man - "I saw First officer Murdoch place guards by the gangways to prevent others like the wounded stoker from coming on deck. How many unhappy men were shut off in that way from their one chance of safety I do not know, but Mr. Murdoch was probably right. He was a masterful man, astoundingly brave and cool. I had met him the day before when he was inspecting the second cabin quarters, and thought him a bulldog of a man who would not be afraid of anything. This proved to be true. He kept order to the last and died at his post. They say he shot himself. I do not know."

    My understand is, she was referring to the aft gangway door on the starboard side (the one that Boxhall was instructed to row towards.) and the coil of rope may have been a rope ladder that was about to be thrown over the side for the passengers to climb down once Boxhall had got into position.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  19. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    I think she's talking about the stairs from the aft well deck (C deck 3rd class promenade) leading on to the 2nd class promenade. It can't be the side gangway doors because men couldn't 'come up' through those.

    Also, the stbd side second class gangway door was on e-deck and I don't see Murdoch being all the way down there at any stage of the sinking.
  20. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Perhaps. My trusty thesaurus says a gangway can also mean a passageway, a stairway, or a doorway leading from one place to another. So when she says "guards by the gangways to prevent others...." She could mean 'guards by the doorways/stairways/passageways to prevent others...'? She may have assumed the guards were there to "prevent others" when in fact they might have been there to 'help and direct others' towards the lifeboats and were not in any way hostile to the stokers. She may have been confused by their presence and jumped to the wrong conclusion?

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018