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Taking On Water

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Taking On Water
Posted by cowman on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 9:19 PM

I know steam engines had to take on water frequently.  At the  only station I was ever at when  it happened, the locomotive would uncouple from the passenger train, move forward to the tank, fill, then return to the train.

Was this a safety factor, getting the loco away from the passengers or was it just to leave the baggage car at the station to be unloaded?

Trying to think ahead for placement of the tank.

Thank you,

Richard  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 10:50 PM

I don't know about passenger trains, but many railroads required freight trains over a certain size to stop short and cut away from the train.  I imagine, and it might apply to passenger trains, it was to try to eliminate rough handling and harsh slack action when stopping for the water plug.  

Jeff

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 15, 2020 5:05 AM

Getting a large modern engine with a long and heavy consist behind it precisely spotted at a water stop was not easy.  Doing it with slack considerations, particularly unexpected runout after stopping, would have been a pain, if not an outright danger to crews.  

This raises the issue of how the air would be connected and disconnected, and what kind of brake test would be required, each time the engine was disconnected from the train to take water.

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Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, October 15, 2020 5:21 AM

Taking on water UK style   Locomotive 60163 Tornado taking on water at Leyburn Station  July 2019

Carriages are still connected.

David

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I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, October 15, 2020 3:37 PM

Overmod
Getting a large modern engine precisely spotted at a water stop was not easy.  Doing it with slack considerations, particularly unexpected runout after stopping, would have been a pain, if not an outright danger to crews.  

I mean, steam era crews spotted cars at industries, too.  Not much difference.... I dunno.  I would think there had to be a better reason. 

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, October 15, 2020 5:03 PM

I was never aware of routinely cutting off the engine (s) to pull ahead for water. An engineer can anticipate his stop and spot the tender cistern exactly as needed. Sometimes twice for a double header.

The only times I've heard of engines being cut away from the train in order to get water is if the tank were dangerously low and "working" to the next water plug would consume too much precious water. This happened on a fantrip in Chacago in the late '60s.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by cowman on Thursday, October 15, 2020 7:13 PM

Thank you for the thoughts.  At least it dosen't sound like a rule for safety.  When I get to  it, guess I'll put it where it fits best.

Thanks again,

Richard

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Posted by PC101 on Thursday, October 15, 2020 7:49 PM

I am just thinking about taking on water another way. Anybody remember seeing  the PRR steamers taking water on the fly? 

That was something that was not done in freezing weather. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, October 15, 2020 8:31 PM

PC101
I am just thinking about taking on water another way. Anybody remember seeing the PRR steamers taking water on the fly?

Not on the Pennsy, but I've seen film clips of it on the New York Central.

PC101
That was something that was not done in freezing weather.

I can't say that it applies to all roads with track pans, but those on the Central were heated, and I'd guess that most roads that used them heated their's, too.

As to cutting off the locomotive to take water, it's fairly common on my layout, as in many cases, leaving the train attached would tie-up traffic at level crossings.

There are two locations on my layout where trains must, without exception, take water, and both are on approaches to fairly severe grades - it's covered in the road's rule book.

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, October 15, 2020 8:51 PM

PC101
That was something that was not done in freezing weather. 

Sure, track pans were a year-round affair. You can read about the details of the New York Central design here:

https://nycshs.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/trackplans2.pdf

and about designing the overflow system here:

https://nycshs.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/waterscoops.pdf

NYC was interested in keeping the traffic flowing thus the advent of high-speed scooping (note the burst rivet seams!). A boiler house kept the pumps running and provided heat in freezing weather. After refinements, the improved, vented tenders could scoop 6000 gallons of water in 17 seconds at 80 MPH.

The Painesville, Ohio, track pans were only about 7 miles from where I live and I recall visiting the location and even into the mid-1990s I could still see quite a few ties remaining that were chamfered to recieve the pans which were removed around 1957 or so.

The PRR design was similar but I believe they had to slow down to scoop water. B&O had a few pans, I believe only on the D.C. to Jersey-City line.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 15, 2020 11:18 PM

zugmann
I mean, steam era crews spotted cars at industries, too.  Not much difference.... I dunno.  I would think there had to be a better reason.

There may well be; I don't recall any rule saying freight crews 'had' to detach from their trains, and I think there are good reasons related to the Power Brake Law why it wouldn't be fully safe and economical at the same time Wink.  Perhaps the 'rule' only applied in particular jurisdictions, as for full-crew laws, or only in a certain era.

I was presuming only full-length road-freight consists when he said 'freights'.  Shorter 'peddler' consists might not have been subject to his 'rule' and I'd agree an experienced crew would have little difficulty spotting shorter trains.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 16, 2020 12:31 AM

zugmann
I mean, steam era crews spotted cars at industries, too.  Not much difference.... I dunno.  I would think there had to be a better reason. 

Yes there is a difference between handling a few cars moving at a slow speed and hitting a spot to within a foot or two and handling a 5000 ton, mile long train and stopping it within a foot or two from mainline speed.  Sometimes stopping on a dime works, and sometimes it doesn't.  We did a study on why trains got by stop signals and one of the reasons was the engineer was trying to stop right at the signal, then the slack ran out and shoved the engine a car length or two and shoved him by the signal.

I have seen other footage of engines cutting off to take water, and I have seen footage of engines NOT cutting off to take water, so its not universal, it could be set by era, type of train, weight of trains, etc.

The 1903 P&R Rule book has rule 108: "Heavy freight trains and coal trains must be stopped before reaching stations at which coal or water is to be taken.  After the train is stopped, the engine must be detached from the train and supplies taken."  If there was a rule in a more modern rule book most likely be in the air brake and train handling instructions rule book, in a general order or in special instructions, and less likely to be in the operating rules.  It could be it stopped being a rule and was just considered a "good practice".

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, October 16, 2020 1:48 AM

The steam era Rock Island Air Brake and Train Handling rules called for stopping short and cutting off for water on trains of 60 or 65 cars.  There was an article in Trains (I think the two part story about "on-Time Tyner" in 1982.) where it relates that freight trains of 65 cars or more had to stop short and cut off.

In the article it mentions an engineer who thought the rule dumb and would spot his tender with train attached.  One day he was stopped for train orders at a spot where they could take water.  He was down oiling around on the engine when the Road Foreman caught him in violation of that rule.  The engineer said he stopped for the red order board, not to take on water.  He (engineer) then looks up at the fireman and asked him who said you could take water here.

One has to remember that draft gear back in steam days wasn't always as robust as it is today.  And broken knuckles and pulled out drawbars happen quite often today.

Jeff

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:32 PM

dehusman
We did a study on why trains got by stop signals and one of the reasons was the engineer was trying to stop right at the signal, then the slack ran out and shoved the engine a car length or two and shoved him by the signal.

Sounds like a bad excuse to me...

I'm going to guess they figured it was quicker for a train to stop prior and cut away, then it would be to spot at the water spout?

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BigJim on Friday, October 16, 2020 3:38 PM

dehusman
Yes there is a difference between handling a few cars moving at a slow speed and hitting a spot to within a foot or two and handling a 5000 ton, mile long train and stopping it within a foot or two from mainline speed. 


I had no problem what so ever, trip after trip, stopping full tonnage trains on the six foot wide walkway at my away from home terminal in order to swap crews!

I have a recording of an N&W engineer stopping his train to take on water without cutting off! It becomes second nature once you learn how to do it!

.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 16, 2020 4:40 PM

zugmann
I'm going to guess they figured it was quicker for a train to stop prior and cut away, then it would be to spot at the water spout?

It was quicker to stop and cut off than to stop and shove back if you missed it.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:17 PM

I'm pretty sure the Durango and Silverton stopped for water and did not cut loose the passenger train.

They have had a horrible summer, Covid was only a tiny part of the problem

https://durangoherald.com/articles/348172

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by selector on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:23 PM

There’s that popular Sandusky PRR video on YouTube showing J1’s and the borrowed Santa Fe 2-10-4’s. it shows a J1 stopping under a coaling tower with a long string of hoppers behind it.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:45 PM

I know they didn't when I rode it.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 16, 2020 5:46 PM

selector
... it shows a J1 stopping under a coaling tower with a long string of hoppers behind it.

Some didn't cut off the engine, but obviously some did.  Depends on railroad, era, type of train and train size.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, October 16, 2020 7:40 PM

dehusman
It was quicker to stop and cut off than to stop and shove back if you missed it.

That's what I said...?

Like the equivalent of the safety stop when spotting cars.  For engineers who don't have good control of their cars.  So everyone has to do it...

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 1:53 PM

I would think it would depend on the length / weight of the train, the specific layout of the stop (like was the water tank not right next to the depot, so passenger trains left their cars there) etc. There probably would be no 'one size fits all' rule.

Stix
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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 3:35 PM

    Could the water stop being on a grade play a part in whether or not the engine(s) cut off when stopping for water.  Cutting off for water on a grade, with a heavy train doesn't sound like a good practice from a safety standpoint.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 5:13 PM

I got out my 1922 Rock Island air brake/train handling rules.  The first paragraph of Rule 23 reads,

"STOPPING--General--To avoid destructive train shocks locomotives hauling more than 30 cars must be stopped short and cut off from the train to take on coal and water.  No attempt must be made to stop such trains very close to turnouts, coal chutes, water spouts, etc., as to do so will too often result in damage to trains and lading.  A stop within any reasonable distance from such points is evidence of better and safer work than a stop close to them."

The next RI AB/TH book I have is dated 1939.  That paragraph is no longer in it.  However, in a section about recoupling a locomotive to a train, there is a reference to cutting off for fuel and/or water.

Jeff 

 

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