Friday, March 31, 2006

Water troughs and locomotive scoops

Don said...

I had heard that to reduce the service time for the locomotives, water troughs were laid between the rails and scoops allowed the loading of water on the fly. Is this true, or just an old myth?


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"
Subject: Water scoops and track pans

Did any railroad other than the [New York Central] use water scoops under their tenders to pick up water on the fly from track pans?

How long a distance did the track pans extend?

What was the minimum speed at which water could be lifted?

Did they impose a speed limt for a top speed?

[From Adrian:] I know [Pennsylvania Railroad] did, at least. The track pans were still in place in the early 50's somewhere between New York and Trenton.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

4/15/2006 7:51 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The best story I ever heard about track pans and water scoops concerned the Michigan Central.

A locomotive picked up water at one of the pans yet a short time later they could not get water up into the engine.

A boxcar that had passed the pans before them was loaded with potatoes. There was a hole in the floor. The potatoes fell into the water pan.

The scoop picked up the potatoes with the water and blocked the pipe to the engine.

—Frank Corley

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

4/16/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The [Pennsylvania Railroad] and the [Central Railroad of New Jersey] are two other roads that I know used track pans.

—Ron Muldowney

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

4/16/2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Subject: Track Tanks

William C. Willard's Maintenance of Way and Structures (McGraw Hill, 1915) seems to be a good source of much information. It lists New York Central & Hudson River and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern as users, as well as the Pennsylvania. The length is stated to be between 1,200 and 2,600 feet, with 2,000 feet as an average. Twenty-five mph seems to be the minimum speed of use, and Winter L. Wilson, in Elements of Railroad Track and Construction (Wiley & Sons, 1908), refers to the need to slacken speed a little (obviously from a rather higher speed) to avoid damage to the tender.

Willard also discusses siting, dimensions, heating, and drainage requirements – apparently 20 to 50 per cent of the water was splashed out and wasted. He does not say that the wasted water was collected and returned to the softening plant. ...

—Andrew Dow

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

4/16/2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Alden Dreyer

The Maine Central RR had two or three track pans in the 1880's that worked very well. ... A number of roads used track pans in North America besides the MEC and NYC and PRR. ...

Pans were normally about a kilometer long, or longer in high speed service areas, and keeping them from freezing in winter was the major maintenance problem. More of an expense than a problem however, as it was easily solved.

Not so easily solved was the failure of enginemen to slow down to the required 80 km/h or whatever to take on water. It was usually a case of simply forgetting. And then the scoop would be ripped right off the tender. Which caused much annoyance to all concerned. The solution with later scoops was to make them shovel shaped, and spring loaded, so that if speed was too great they would simple slide across the water without taking any on. And if the fireman didn't raise the scoop in time, the springs would accommodate so no great damage would be done. Except to the engine crew's ego. ...


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

4/16/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

There is considerable additional information about TRACK PANS and Scooping Water on the Fly in rlhsgroup Digest Numbers 1225 & 1226 of April 16-17, 2006.

4/17/2006 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Track pans originated on the London & North Western Ry. in Britain. Several British railways used them and the idea spread to Europe and the U.S.

The New York Central developed a rapid venting system on its most modern steam power that permitted scooping water at 80 mph. This basically involved getting the trapped air out of the tender really fast! However, the usual limit for tender scoops was 40-45 mph,, and woe to the fireman who dropped the scoop at a higher speed -- he'd pick up practically nothing and would likely damage the scoop and tender.

regards ... j picur

2/13/2008 6:03 PM  

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