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Steam Locomotive Tender "Doghouse"

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Steam Locomotive Tender "Doghouse"
Posted by Isambard on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 7:47 AM
What was the purpose of the "Doghouse" found on top of some steam locomotive tenders of railroads such as the Missouri Pacific and the Frisco? Obviously it was to house a crew member, or it appears two in some cases. When was the Doghouse used?

Isambard

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 9:35 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Isambard

What was the purpose of the "Doghouse" found on top of some steam locomotive tenders of railroads such as the Missouri Pacific and the Frisco? Obviously it was to house a crew member, or it appears two in some cases. When was the Doghouse used?


Isambard [:)]

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The doghouse did indeed house the brakeman. In the steam engines there just wasn't room for a third crew member so the doghouse was used to protect them from the weather.
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 9:45 AM
I would have thought the doghouse would be irrelevant after the introduction of air brakes? So brakemen were still setting the brakes by hand even after the advent of airbrakes? Was this because the air brakes werent strong enough on some downgrades or that the crews simply werent ready to place their trust entirely on the air brakes and "augmented" them by manually setting the brakes on downgrades so the brakes didnt have any play in them. I can see where excess play might lead to a loss in braking ability due to the additional air pressure needed to "close the gap" in brakes that had a lot of play in them. I assume two brakeman would work the train, one from the tender, and one from the caboose and meet in the middle. Am I on the right track here?

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Posted by edblysard on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 10:14 AM
And, on older steam locomotives, with out a screw feed, even with a slope sheet in the tender,someone had to shovel the coal from the rear of the tender to the front, where the fireman could get to it quickly.
Easier to have the third man riding back where he was needed, instead of the cab, where he was in the way.
Note that when steam powered stokers and coal feed screws came into use, the doghouse went away.

Ed
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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 10:44 AM
As I recall, the head-end brakeman did some work "on the ground" (flagging, for instance) as well, so still had a purpose after the advent of "automatic" brakes.

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Posted by Modelcar on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 11:27 AM
....I believe these dog houses were on a lot of Pennslvania RR switchers...and they had a sloped to the rear top [of the tender], and the dog house was placed in that area and perhaps the brakeman "worked out of that little protected area" to do his up and down work on the ground as switching was under way.

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Posted by jchnhtfd on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 12:13 PM
The headend brakeman did a LOT of work on the ground, guys -- remember, the fireman had a fire and a little old teakettle to keep track of, and the engineer was usually vaguely busy -- so guess who got to throw the switches ahead of the train? Guess who got to inspect the front half of the train after it was made up? Guess who got to hike out a half a mile or so and flag for the train in front? And it was always raining... !
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 10:55 PM
Southern Railway started using doghouses for the head brakemen so that he wouldn't have to cross the coal pile of a stoker-equipped engine when he needed to get back to the train. No hand-fired Southern engine had a doghouse; at least no information or photos of one have surfaced.
Some railroads used small cabs only good for two men, so the head brakeman was provided with a doghouse from which he could observe both sides of the train when running. PRR used small cabs and doghouses, so did N&W.
B&O put rather unsightly extensions on their cabs so the head brakeman would have a place to ride; Clinchfield put a brakeman's space on the water leg of some tenders and provided a window for his use.
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Posted by joseph2 on Friday, April 09, 2004 11:43 PM
I would guess a doghouse would also give the brakeman a good view to watch for smoke coming from hot journal boxes. Joe G.
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Posted by Modelcar on Saturday, April 10, 2004 8:45 AM
...The location of "doghouses" implies the occupant probably was subjected to steam and water flying past and cinders, etc. from the engine stack...and I wonder if they had any steam piped to the little enclosure to warm it in the winter...Wind would have whipped around it in some fashion too....Doesn't sound like a very hospitable environment.

Quentin

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 15, 2004 4:44 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

...The location of "doghouses" implies the occupant probably was subjected to steam and water flying past and cinders, etc. from the engine stack...and I wonder if they had any steam piped to the little enclosure to warm it in the winter...Wind would have whipped around it in some fashion too....Doesn't sound like a very hospitable environment.


The entire railroad enviornment during the steam age was inhospitable for crews and would not be tolerated in today's world. Head end crews (Engineer & Fireman) would fry on one side of their body, and freeze on the other in cold weather as the only 'cab heater' was the tea kettle that provided the motion. Talk about cab air conditioning....open the windows. In summer there was no getting away from heat, it was hot outside the cab and hotter inside the cab. Go through tunnels and sufficate on the steam and smoke from your own train. Be on a helper engine going through a tunnel and get double (or more) of the sufficating smoke and steam from all the engines. Hot cinders flying all over the place from poorly operating (and steaming) engine. You may run the engine out of fuel.....but run the engine out of water and you won't be around to see tomarrow.

Were today's T&E crews to have to exist in the conditions of the steam age, most present employees would be seeking other employment opportunities.

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, April 15, 2004 5:08 PM
....And I agree with you 100%....! No doubt about it. I' ve always wondered why steam engines were designed as they were...They certainly weren't made to accomodate the crew. Placing the control cabin right next to the hot end of the boiler and as you say the cab is open at the rear, with exception of perhaps a canvas hanging down on some and visibiblilty as it was...with the engineer placed at the back barely able to see around the boiler part of it....and so on...Really not much about the design that comforted the crew in any way. I always thought the Cabforward units of SP did make as much sense for the cab placement as any did...Still had the boiler heat but not open on the other end....One minus factor though would have been bad for the crew in a collision. And yes, if they ran out of water that would have been bad news...I saw a large steam engine that blew up back in about 1943 and the only thing left of it was what was below the frame...Wheels, rods, steam cylinders, etc....and the rest was NOT THERE AT ALL....Don't know if it ran out of water but it for sure did blow up...! That was on a branch coal hauler [Somerset and Cambria], on the B&O in Pennsylvania.

Quentin

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