TRACK WATER PANS

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TRACK WATER PANS
Posted by NP Eddie on Saturday, March 24, 2012 5:48 PM

It seems like the PRR and NYC used track pans to replenish the water in steam locomotive tenders. 

Did other railroads also used track pans?

Were any close to Minneapolis/St. Paul?

I have seen pictures of large coal capacity PRR tenders and I assume they had a greater coal capacity to water due to the track pans.

Any other information about track pans would be appreciated.

Thank you,

 

Ed Burns of Anoka, MN

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Posted by wjstix on Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:26 PM

PRR and NYC were the main users, there might have been others but those are the two that usually come to mind. It was pretty common in Britain, and I think started there.

None in our part of the world however. In the US it was pretty much limited to the eastern states.

Stix
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Posted by arkady on Saturday, March 24, 2012 10:25 PM

I'd like to know just where the PRR's track pans were located.  I lived around the PRR for all my life (well, until it wasn't the PRR any longer), and although I heard about track pans, I never saw one anywhere.  Is there a reference somewhere, that documents where the track pans were installed?

 

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, March 25, 2012 6:08 AM

arkady,

Try this:

http://www.prrths.com/index.html

Take care,

Ralph

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Posted by K4sPRR on Sunday, March 25, 2012 7:43 AM

Michigan Central had track pans near Dexter Michigan in an area called Kinnear.  This is in SE Michigan.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 26, 2012 9:51 AM

There were also track pans on the Royal Blue B&O route between Jersey City and Washington.   At  least one may have been on the Reading or CNJ for use primarily by B&O locomotives that ran through with B&O engine crews JC-DC.   The Reading locomotive may also have used them on their runs between JC and Philadlephia, but I doubt the CNJ engines did since their runs were relatively short,    Except for the Queen of th eValley route to Harrisburg.

Did not the IC also use track pans on their main line?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, March 26, 2012 8:53 PM

Don't forget those track pans were good for depositing the occasional "surprise package" in the tender, you know, such things as frogs, snakes, or the odd snapping turtle now and then.

There's a story, probably apocryphal, that if there was a medical school nearby the srudents would drop things like arms and legs from cadavers in the track pans, but I'm not so sure I believe that one!

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Monday, June 18, 2012 7:40 PM

The through B&O passenger trains between Washington and Jersey City scooped four times.

First at Swan Creek which was near Aberdeen, MD, then at Stanton, DE, and then when on the Reading at Roeloffs, PA and finally on the CNJ at Green Brook, NJ.

The track pan stations also had pen stocks for freight engines to take water since they were not equipped with scoops

The magazine of the Baltimore and Ohio Histroical Society has an artcle on the operation with lots of photos. It is in  Vol 33 Number 4 Fourth Quarter 2011  titled "Track Pans and the B&O and the Royal Blue Line"" Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 and is still available for now, on line, from their Company Store.

Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Norman

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 4:39 AM

Norm, thanks, for corroboration and details.

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Posted by erikem on Thursday, June 21, 2012 11:29 PM

One other tidbit is that the PRR started using track pans approximately 1870.

- Erik

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Friday, June 22, 2012 10:29 AM

Interesting.

The four track pans on the "Royal Blue Route" came later, with all three of the participating railroads (B&O, RDG, CNJ) installing them in the early 1890s.

The last track pan on the B&O was at Swan Creek, MD and it closed in January, 1953. The one at Stanton  DE closed in November, 1949 as the use of steam power for passenger trains past that point was reduced and tender capacity was increased..

Not sure of the closing dates of the of the track pans on the RDG and CNJ, but I assume it was 1953.

The B&O pans were not the same "high speed pans" as on the PRR and NYC. The B&O had a speed restriction of 50-mph. Most locomotives scooped at between 40-45 mph. Below 30-mph, there was not enough force for a good water pick up. The B&O  pans and scoops were smaller and the run was shorter than on the PRR and NYC..

Norman

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Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, June 22, 2012 5:23 PM

Thank you all for the information on track pans.

One question I did not ask is how long was the average track pan and how wide were they. I assume they were probably about four or so feet wide.

Ed Burns

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Friday, June 22, 2012 9:41 PM

Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Each of the 1200-foot long track pans on the B&O, made of 3/16” sheet steel in 30-foot sections riveted together, was 19” wide and 7 ¾” deep and held about 8,000 gallons of water. Small by industry standards, they were specially designed at the time when the through route was at first assigned the B&O’s relatively light 4-4-0 type locomotives, which were changed at Philadelphia. As the engine size increased and operating procedures changed over the years, the pans would prove to be only marginally adequate.

The pans on the PRR and NYC were wider and longer.. Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 NYC track pans were wider (24”) and longer ranging from 1400 to 2400 feet (2,000-foot average) and the scoops were wider (13 13/16”).. Don't know the details of the ones on the PRR.

Norman

 


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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Friday, June 22, 2012 9:49 PM

Sorry about the Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 in the message.  I copied the text from my notes and I guess for some reason  this post picked that up. I have no idea what it means.

Norman

 

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Posted by dunoon on Sunday, July 8, 2012 1:04 PM

I'm aware of  2 locations of track pans in NW Indiana.  The NYC had pans about a mile W of Ind 51 in Lake Station (East Gary) Indiana.  Another was on the B&O in Portage (McCool) Indiana adjaciot to Robbins Pond.

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Sunday, July 8, 2012 1:48 PM

I never knew that there were track pans on the B&O at McCool, Ind. My recollection is that the only two pans on the B&O were on the Baltimore Division  at Swan Creek, MD and Stanton, DE.and that only the passenger engines so assigned, had scoops.

I just found a listing for McCool, Ind and it only lists a "water station" which is not necessary a track pan.

Furthermore, what engines would have had scoops attached to scoop at McCool?

Like to know more about this revelation..

Norman

 

 

 

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Posted by timz on Sunday, July 8, 2012 3:50 PM

Probably everyone's agreed B&O didn't have any track pans west of Pittsburgh in, say, 1940. He must be talking about a century or two before that.

PRR always listed track pan locations in the empl TT, didn't they? NY Central too? But can't promise that no track pans in the B&O timetable means none existed.

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Monday, July 9, 2012 7:33 AM

As far as the two B&O tracks pans that I know of for sure (Swan Creek and Stanton), they were not listed in the B&O ETT as such, but were referenced to in regard to speed restrictions when taking water and procedures during freezing weather.

The only locomotives that were scoop-equipped were those used in passenger service between Washington, Philadelphia and Jersey City. After 1927, this was mainly the (20) class P-7 Pacifics, 5300-5319 and a class P-9a Pacific, 5320.

At the two water stations that had track pans, there were also pen stocks for the other locomotives, not scoop-equipped (freights, work trains, etc). But one freight locomotive, 4485, did receive a scoop as an experiment.. This experiment gave way to the use of auxiliary tenders on some of the freight locomotives assigned between  Washington (Potomac Yard) and Philadelphia.

The reason for the track pans was to reduce the running time of passenger trains between Washington and Jersey City in an attempted to compete with the PRR's (direct) New York service. B&O buses using a ferry across the Hudson River, provided the service for the B&O passengers between Jersey City and  New York..

The water station at Stanton, DE was closed on November 19, 1949.

The pumping station and track pans at Swan Creek were discontinued on January 24, 1953. Pen stocks using "city water" remained there for the rest of the year until steam was gone from that part of the B&O in November, 1953.

R.N. Nelson

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Posted by rowdyman 60 on Monday, July 9, 2012 1:08 PM

Stix, your right, here in brittain we called them troughs, prob after the countless troughs all around for the horses. They were approx at 60 mile intervals on main lines, all exept the south of England where journeys were much shorter.and troughs were not fitted, average tender water capacity for an express engine was approx 6000 gallons (imp) , Now all troughs removed  in the late 60's after the end of steam in uk in 1968,  Plenty of main line steam excursions, but many delays due to water supplies, (usually from a road tanker at a pre-arranged location. Norman from Chorley uk.

]

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Posted by R.N. Nelson on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:34 AM

Track pans in the U.S. were also referred to as "water troughs", perhaps since the technique was learned from the railroads in Great Britain.

The two track pans on the B&O where slightly shorter  (1200-feet), than those on other U.S. railroads, but were adequate when installed in 1893 when locomotives were smaller and  tender capacities were less.The average length of pans on the other U.S. railroads was 2,000-feet, thus more water could be  scooped each time.

As the locomotive size grew, the B&O  pans were only marginally efficient, with each scoop yielding about 5,000 gallons and simply "topping off" the existing water  supply.. The more modern locomotives,with an average consist, consumed about 6,000-gallons of water and 3.5-tons of coal per hour. Coal was never an issue on the Washington-Jersey City route but water was. As a result, the four track pan locations were spotted about 30-35 miles apart. The other two pans were located at Roeloffs, Pennsylvania (Reading Railroad) and Green Brook, New Jersey (Central of New Jersey Railroad), which the B&O used to get to Jersey City. The B&O locomotives on passenger runs worked through.

There was a move to extend the length of the pans to 1800-feet but instead, the tender capacity on some locomotives was increased from 11,000-gallons to 20,000-gallons and that sufficed. By that time diesels had made their appearance on the B&O and the "writing was on the wall.".

 

 

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Posted by Susquehanna River Rat on Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:30 AM

Does anyone know exactly were the track pans were located at Swan Creek? I grew up near there in Havre de Grace but never heard of track pans until r.ecently. I have been trying to find out exactly where a connection was built about 1909 between the B&O and the PRR after the B&O bridge over the Susquehanna River collapsed due to a derailment during it´s rebuild.
 The connection was called either "Osborne" or "Oakington" depending on who you asked back then. There are some reports that say that this was not the most convienient place for a connection. There was a better area but the B&O track pans were in the way. If I knew "exactly" where the track pans were, I could make a pretty good placement of the temporary crossover from 1909 - 1910. The other connection back on/off the B&O is at Perryville "Aiken". It still exists and was built for the purpose mentioned above.
I have also heard mention that an earlier connection might have existed between the B&O and PRR in this general vicinity.
Here is a very good ariticle and picture of a B&O Steam engine using the track pans at Swan Creek.
http://www.borhs.org/shopping/images/60334.pdf

Bill

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Posted by ndbprr on Saturday, October 18, 2014 5:23 AM
Many pictures of scooping water in Staufers Pennsy Power book.
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Posted by timz on Monday, October 20, 2014 12:28 PM

Susquehanna River Rat
[B&O] track pans were located at Swan Creek?

The track chart shows one piece of level track in the area, a quarter-mile long. Its east end is maybe 300-400 ft west of the Swan Creek bridge. Note the topo map shows a water tank next to the B&O there.

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Posted by ACY Tom on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:55 PM

I know I saw a section of track pan in one of the railroad museums.  I think it was in the RR Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, or maybe in the Altoona Railroaders Museum in Altoona.  As I recall, there was a display describing the process and identifying track pan locations on the PRR.

Interestingly, the NYC was frustrated by the tendency of tenders to explode (or nearly explode) due to the high pressures involved in high-speed scooping.  They did a lot of experimenting, and managed to build tenders with relief vents that kept the pressures under control sufficiently to allow scooping at speeds around 80 mph!  This was in the 1940's.

Tom

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Posted by rfpjohn on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:32 PM
On the Philadelphia Subdivision, the intermediate signal, two miles west of Havre de Grace is named "Osborne". It sits at the top of a knoll at milepost BAK61, though current signal location names are not always at the historical location of a station. I can't see any evidence of a roadbed leading off towards the Pennsy, but it has been over a hundred years!
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Posted by wabash2800 on Friday, October 31, 2014 12:16 PM
In my reading, IIRC, at least on the NYC, there were lamps (blue or green?) on posts at trackside at the point where the scoop should be lowered and where it should be raised. This was very important, because if a scoop was not raised in time, it could hit a road crossing or other obstruction. An article in the NYCSHS Headlight magazine some years ago was about a mighty 4-8-4 Niagara during WWII that rolled over as a result of that error. The cab was engulfed with soil and ballast. And a nurse on-board the train saved the engineer's life with her quick thinking by reaching into his mouth and throat and removing the debris. IIRC, this incident happened at Lydick, Indiana. We also had another track pan in Indiana on the NYC near Corunna that I know of. One tale that is often told about track pans in the old days is that of finding hobos frozen to death (riding the rods under the cars) encrusted with ice and frozen to the cars after being sprayed by the track pans in very cold weather. In addition to the track pans, the pans had to be heated in cold weather, have a water supply with water tank nearby and be attended--another example of steam locomotive infrastructure that doomed the iron horse. Years ago I met a guy that was the attendant at Corunna, Indiana.(Life was so much simpler, less costly and not so labor intensive with diesels, of course.) Victor A. Baird www.erstwhilepublications.com
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 16, 2014 8:45 PM

wabash2800
An article in the NYCSHS Headlight magazine some years ago was about a mighty 4-8-4 Niagara during WWII that rolled over as a result of that error.

Not quite 'during WWII' - a few months after.  #6002, on the Advance Commodore, Nov. 16, 1945.  The ICC accident report is here.

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Monday, November 17, 2014 5:51 PM

wabash2800
In my reading, IIRC, at least on the NYC, there were lamps (blue or green?) on posts at trackside at the point where the scoop should be lowered and where it should be raised. This was very important, because if a scoop was not raised in time, it could hit a road crossing or other obstruction. An article in the NYCSHS Headlight magazine some years ago was about a mighty 4-8-4 Niagara during WWII that rolled over as a result of that error. The cab was engulfed with soil and ballast. And a nurse on-board the train saved the engineer's life with her quick thinking by reaching into his mouth and throat and removing the debris. IIRC, this incident happened at Lydick, Indiana. We also had another track pan in Indiana on the NYC near Corunna that I know of. One tale that is often told about track pans in the old days is that of finding hobos frozen to death (riding the rods under the cars) encrusted with ice and frozen to the cars after being sprayed by the track pans in very cold weather. In addition to the track pans, the pans had to be heated in cold weather, have a water supply with water tank nearby and be attended--another example of steam locomotive infrastructure that doomed the iron horse. Years ago I met a guy that was the attendant at Corunna, Indiana.(Life was so much simpler, less costly and not so labor intensive with diesels, of course.) Victor A. Baird www.erstwhilepublications.com

It wasn't fear of hitting a road crossing, it was hitting the end of the pan itself.  The scoop had to be lowered several inches below track level to get into the water.  And that pan had sides and ENDS. Some scoops were "removed" due to raising it too late and some were lost due to dropping it too soon.  There had to be markers at both ends so the crew would know when it was safe to drop the scoop and when it HAD TO be raised.  They wanted it in the water as long as possible to get as much as possible into the tender, but lower it too soon or raise it too late and you will be missing a scoop (and maybe a lot more), and it would have saved a lot more time to stop and use an eyedropper to fetch the water..

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 6:09 PM

Semper Vaporo
It wasn't fear of hitting a road crossing, it was hitting the end of the pan itself...

Apparently many railroads made a point of having ramps facing both ways at each end of a track pan, precisely so that any errant dragging scoop would be (relatively) gently lifted out of harm's way without causing damage.  This is covered in this reference which discusses the accident we were discussing.
"Track pans were ramped with thicker steel on both sides
of each end in order to present a gradual rise that would
protect the pan from violent collision with a scoop that
had either been lowered prematurely or raised too late.
This incline guided the scoop into its “up” position, from
which it could descend again if not properly secured. In
the early days before the use of air- operated controls,
firemen were known to simply let the pan ramp push the
extended scoop back up rather than risk a broken bone
caused by the control rod “bucking” back on them. This
practice, of course, wasted water and was discouraged."
It's possible that some railroads didn't think to put ramps at the ends of their pans -- but that doesn't mean none did.
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Posted by ROBERT D SHANNON on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 5:12 PM

[quote user="daveklepper"]

There were also track pans on the Royal Blue B&O route between Jersey City and Washington.   At  least one may have been on the Reading or CNJ for use primarily by B&O locomotives that ran through with B&O engine crews JC-DC.   The Reading locomotive may also have used them on their runs between JC and Philadlephia, but I doubt the CNJ engines did since their runs were relatively short,    Except for the Queen of th eValley route to Harrisburg.

Did not the IC also use track pans on their main line?

 No ICRR used old tenders ("water bottles").  I can't remember the issue, but there was a fantastic shot of an IC 2600 hauling a meat train and it you look closely, you'll see a square 2nd "tender" just bwhind the tank
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R Shannon *NYCRR*

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