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ASH

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  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Sydney, Australia
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Posted by marknewton on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 7:08 PM
Clinker can be caused by impurities in the coal, OR not cleaning the fire properly - it depends. If it starts to form, a good fireman will get rid of it quickly, otherwise it will rapidly expand and choke the fire.

Mark.
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:34 PM

Hi,

What a terrific set of postings!!!!

I do have a question though............   While as a boy in Chicago in the early '50s, I had the honor of keeping the furnace for our grocery store fired with coal on several occasions.  More often however, I was appointed as "cleaner of the ash".  In this regard I shoveled a lot of ashes, and more clinkers than I care to remember.   My question is, what exactly caused a clinker?  Was it a chunk of coal that burned erratically and/or had impurities in it?  Or???

Thanks,

Mobilman44

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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  • From: Near Promentory UT
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Posted by dldance on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 8:16 PM

 BATMAN wrote:
WOW! Thanks for the detailed answer. I would never have thought that the ashpan would have had to be emptied that often. I've seen photo's of tenders full of wood being used as fuel. Would wood create more or less ash than coal?

Thanks
B

At Golden Spike one engine (UP119) is coal burning.  About a wheelbarrow load of ash is removed each day - but the ash pan still needs to be emptied about every 3 days.  One engine is wood burning (CP Jupiter) and the ash pan is dumped once a month - whether it needs it or not.  The two engines burn roughly equal weight of fuel - whether coal or wood - but wood is so much lighter that the volume of wood burned is about 6X the volume of coal.

dd

  • Member since
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Posted by marknewton on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 8:03 PM
 ndbprr wrote:
I'm not sure that much would ever be there at the end of the run. Didn't some engines have grate shakers and at stops the fireman would get out and rake the ash pan to remove some of the ash?

Depending on the type of coal, and other factors, there might be a bed of ash 24" deep or more on the grates at the end of a run. Getting rid of that, especially if it has clinkered, is no easy task. I speak from bitter experience! Sad [:(]

Any coal-fired loco with rocking grates had some provision for shaking them, either when running or when cleaning or dropping the fire.

Manual rocking grates were typically operated by a lever projecting up from the cab floor, immediately behind the backhead. The grate was divided into individual segments, which could be shaken separately by attaching the handle to the required lever. There were a variety of methods used to secure the grates in the closed position, or to allow a limited opening to clean the fire when running. Full opening was used to drop the fire completely.

As grates got bigger, the effort required to shake or drop the fire became greater than the fireman could reasonably sustain, so powered grate shakers were developed. These used either air or steam to drive them, and were controlled by a number of valves.

There are times when the fireman mighte need to rake the contents of the ashpan in service, but that's usually a case of pushhing the ash from the sides of the pan into the centre where the hopper is. That task can be made easier by using of the ashpan flushers, if the loco has them fitted.

Cheers,

Mark.
  • Member since
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  • From: Sydney, Australia
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Posted by marknewton on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 7:31 PM
 BATMAN wrote:
WOW! Thanks for the detailed answer. I would never have thought that the ashpan would have had to be emptied that often. I've seen photo's of tenders full of wood being used as fuel. Would wood create more or less ash than coal?

Far less. Many years back I spent a day "guest firing" an RSR (Thai Railway) wood-burning 4-6-2, on a passenger train between Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. There was a bloke up on the tender, heaving eucalypt logs down to me and the regular fireman on the footplate. The firing technique was pretty basic. We'd fill the firebox up to the top of the arch, and then let the fire burn down until there was room to shove some more in. At the end of the trip there was not much more than an inch or two of ash and embers on the grates. We did have to open the smokebox door up and bash the spark arrestor to clear it a few times due to priming, though...

Cheers,

Mark.
  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by Sperandeo on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 4:09 PM
Hello "ndbprr,"

Ashes and cinders weren't dropped along the roadbed as the engines ran along. Think of the fire hazard (which was bad enough with steam engines anyway). The ashpans had hoppers that collected the waste products both when running and when the fireman shook the grates. So yes, ashpans filled up and had to be emptied, both at terminals and on the road when engines made extended runs.

The use of wood for locomotive fuel was pretty much over for mainline railroads in North America before the end of the 19th century. Some logging lines continued to burn wood because it was conveniently available, but in the "classic" steam era, the fuel choices were coal (in various types and grades) and oil.

So long,

Andy

Andy Sperandeo MODEL RAILROADER Magazine

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Posted by ndbprr on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 2:45 PM
I'm not sure that much would ever be there at the end of the run.  Didn't some engines have grate shakers and at stops the fireman would get out and rake the ash pan to remove some of the ash? I would think the natural vibration would also allow some to fall out during operation.  Also the grade of coal needs to be considered.  The anthracite roads probably had very little ash while the poorer the coal the more that would be made.
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Posted by BigRusty on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 2:34 PM
Probably most of the wood ash would fly up the smokestack, hence the screens on many of the woodburners.
Modeling the New Haven Railroad in the transition era
  • Member since
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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 2:12 PM
WOW! Thanks for the detailed answer. I would never have thought that the ashpan would have had to be emptied that often. I've seen photo's of tenders full of wood being used as fuel. Would wood create more or less ash than coal?

Thanks
B

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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  • From: US
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Posted by Sperandeo on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 1:46 PM
Hello Mr. Wayne,

In his book, "The Steam Locomotive in America" (1952, W.W. Norton), Alfred W. Bruce cites the example of a large, modern 4-8-4 locomotive that might have an ashpan capcity of 100 cubic feet. Burning coal containing 10 percent ash at the rate of 15,000 pounds per hour, this engine would generate about 37.5 cubic feet of ash and other solid waste per hour. The length of a nonstop run for this engine is thus limited to about 3 hours at this rate of combustion. Since that means the engine had burned 22.5 tons of coal, it would probably be stopping for fuel after three hours also, explaining why ash pits were often located adjacent to mainline coaling stations.

The size and capacity of ashpans varied greatly. There was no standard, and the variables, including the ash content of the coal and the type of service an engine was meant to perform, varied greatly. Older, smaller locomotives would burn substantially less fuel per hour and so generate less ash and cinders than the 4-8-4 in Mr. Bruce's example.

Ashpan hopper doors were generally operated by levers, sometimes by hand wheels, on either side of the locomotive below the firebox. Since 1908 federal law required that ashpans could be emptied and cleaned without the need for any employee to go under the locomotive.

Ashpits also varied grealy in size and layout, mainly depending on the number of locomotives to be serviced per hour, and to some extent by the size of the locomotives. Some were four to five feet deep and only slightly longer than the typical firebox, and others might be six or more feet deep to make room for mechanical conveyours, and could be as long as or longer than a locomotive. In the largest engine terminals, ashpits typically served two or more parallel tracks. In some cases ashpits were kept filled with water, and clamshell cranes were used to strain out the cold ashes and cinders.

The book, "The Model Railroader's Guide to Locomotive Servicing Terminals" (2002, Kalmbach Books), by Marty McGuirk, shows some examples of ashpits, although mostly of small to medium size.

So long,

Andy

Andy Sperandeo MODEL RAILROADER Magazine

  • Member since
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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 8,517 posts
ASH
Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 10:22 AM
When a steamer emptied its ash what kind of volume would we be talking about? A wheel barrow full? A cubic yard or two? I really have no idea. I would like to model a ash pit. Also how was the door opened on the engine to dump the stuff? Any photo links would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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