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Tender Side Steps

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Tender Side Steps
Posted by staybolt on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 2:44 PM

Can anybody suggest a website with close-up photos of long-haul tenders (e.g. ~15,000 gals., ~20 tons) that show the steps (no, these are not stirrup-style) on the front and rear sides? 

From what I've found so far, some steps appear to be "see-through" while others may have a sheet metal backing (this could also simply be a dark shadow behind what is actually a "see-through" step). The plastic tender I have has molded steps with closed backs, i.e. you can't see through them. That could either be accurate modeling, or it could simply be a less expensive method of molding the steps. 

So....what I'm trying to determine is whether or not to cut/drill out the backs of the steps, or leave them in place.  

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 4:13 PM

It might be a road name thing, all my Southern Pacific tenders are open style.



Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951



My Model Railroad    
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
Aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by staybolt on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 4:55 PM

Mel,

Hadn't thought of that: guess a road might have specified open or closed steps whether using a commercial builder or building in-house....

       Thanks,

              Chuck

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:23 PM

For steps made out of bar-stock, there wouldn't be a closed back.  They're sort of another version of a ladder.

For steps that are cast, they're usually deep enough to put most or all of a shoe on/in. It was good practice for these to close the back, so that a worker's shoe wouldn't go out the back, and have the locomotive drag him 'til he falls off.  There were occassionally small holes through the back--smaller than a shoe.

 

Ed

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Posted by staybolt on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 11:19 PM

Ed,

I see your point, but wouldn't there be the same risk with a stirrup step, viz. a shoe going through it, possibly throwing the person off balance and onto the ground? Most freight cars (maybe all?) have, and some tenders had, stirrup steps.

         -Chuck 

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:09 AM

I'm not aware of any rhyme or reason for having open backed or closed steps leading to the cab.

In the"Superpower" steam years it seems that cast steel, water-bottom tenders came of age and possibly cast iron, or even steel, steps became a feature of their construction as more appliances were "cast-in" to the design.

 PRR_210F82a by Edmund, on Flickr

Above, the PRR seemed to favor solid-backed steps. Many of the USRA designs included cast steps with a web-like opening in the back.

 USRA_2-8-2B by Edmund, on Flickr

The AAR had specific safety appliance practices laid out for locomotives. I believe they specified a minimum 12" width and 8" depth for bottom locomotive steps.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by NHTX on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 5:40 AM

     Staybolt, would consulting images of the prototype of the tender in question answer your question?  Could tender steps have had backs to prevent a foot from passing completely through because, the area at the rear of a steam locomotive saw a lot of steam?  In winter conditions, such moisture on cold metal would cause icing conditions and become hazardous.  Closing off the back of an icy step made climbing on and off the locomotive a bit safer.  Freight cars kept the open stirrup because they didn't see the frequency of use the tender steps saw per trip, nor the potential ice buildup.

     Determine the prototype for your locomotive and tender, locate images of said locomotive and, your question should be answered.  As Mel said, it would be a railroad "thing".

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 9:27 AM

staybolt

Ed,

I see your point, but wouldn't there be the same risk with a stirrup step, viz. a shoe going through it, possibly throwing the person off balance and onto the ground?  

 

Maybe.  Which would then advocate for the cast steps.  Which might be why they started showing up.

Most freight cars (maybe all?) have, and some tenders had, stirrup steps.

      

Yup.  The stirrup steps have been used on railroad rolling stock about forever.

 

IF you're going to use cast steel steps, it's very easy to include the closed back in the casting.  Plus it adds strength.

 

Ed

 

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Posted by staybolt on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 3:45 PM

Thanks, guys, for your opinions/suggestions. After posting this question, reading your replies and hunting through various books and websites I think I'll cut out the "backs" of the steps. Each 2-step group at the 4 corners of the tender has an angular piece molded at one side which appears to represent a brace. That could indicate that each step group is made from bar stock, one of the designs Ed mentioned. Another consideration is how much of a factor safety was in the 1920s, my modeling era. I'm pretty sure it wasn't like today's environment with OSHA coddling us as if we were all infants (!). 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 5:59 PM

staybolt
I'm pretty sure it wasn't like today's environment with OSHA coddling us as if we were all infants (!).

Still, there were safety considerations and the AAR and ICC were well respected for their efforts to try to make a safe working environment. The first Railroad Safety Act was adopted in 1893.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railroad_Safety_Appliance_Act

 

§231.15 Steam locomotives used in road service. (a) Tender sill-steps --

(1) Number. Four on tender.

(2) Dimensions. (i) Bottom tread not less than 8 by 12 inches, metal. (May have wooden treads.) (ii) If stirrup steps are used, clear length of tread shall be not less than 10, preferably 12, inches.

(3) Location. One near each corner of tender on sides.

(4) Manner of application. Tender sill-steps shall be securely fastened with bolts or rivets. (b) Pilot sill-steps -- (1) Number. Two. (2) Dimensions. Tread not less than 8 inches in width by 10 inches in length, metal. (May have wooden treads.) (3) Location. One on or near each end of buffer-beam outside of rail and not more than 16 inches above rail. (4) Manner of application. Pilot sill-steps shall be securely fastened with bolts or rivets. (c) Pilot-beam handholds -- (1) Number. Two. (2) Dimensions. Minimum diameter, five-eighths of an inch, wrought iron or steel. Minimum clear length, 14, preferably 16, inches. Minimum clearance, 2 1/2 inches.

 Go here and scroll to section 11-70 (around page 74)

https://railroads.dot.gov/sites/fra.dot.gov/files/2020-08/2002-01_Safety_Appliance_Enforcement.pdf

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by staybolt on Thursday, July 15, 2021 12:04 AM

Thanks, Ed. I didn't know there were such comprehensive federal safety regulations for railroads as far back as 1893. I'd read about gruesome accidents such as those involving link-and-pin couplers, but didn't realize the Feds acted that early to try to control the carnage. Sure enough, as you cite, specs for tender steps were formulated way back then. 

My remark about OSHA is just a personal opinion. For me, some of the federal safety regulations that involve our daily lives are "over the top". It's a different matter, of course, if you work in a railroad environment (!). 

 

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