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Steam Locomotive Water In Wintertime

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Steam Locomotive Water In Wintertime
Posted by D.Harrison on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:08 PM
Posting this because I was asked the question and frankly I didn't know the answer. In the wintertime, how did railroads keep water stored in tenders from freezing. What about the water in water tanks and the troughs the NYC used?

David Harrison
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Posted by dldance on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:46 PM

On the locomotives I am most familier with there is a steam line to preheat the water from the tender.  We never have to use it.  The water in the tender only lasted about 20 to 100 miles in steam days.  Hardly sufficient time for several thousand gallons to freeze. 

dd

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Posted by Railway Man on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:33 PM

 D.Harrison wrote:
Posting this because I was asked the question and frankly I didn't know the answer. In the wintertime, how did railroads keep water stored in tenders from freezing. What about the water in water tanks and the troughs the NYC used?

David Harrison

The water tank contains a large quantity of water with frequent turnover, drawn from the ground at some temperature above freezing.  Tanks that had modest turnover or were in very cold climates, or both, were heated.

Troughs similarly had very frequent turnover of water, and live steam was fed into the water in the trough to prevent freezing during cold temperatures.  The splashing water built up ice on the surrounding track and subgrade, however. 

RWM 

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Posted by Mr_Ash on Thursday, May 1, 2008 2:38 AM

was wondering the samething myself about the water tanks

This was in Michigan last December

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 1, 2008 8:29 AM
As Mr. Ash's picture demonstrates, the problem often wasn't the tank itself but the piping, pumps etc. beneath it. In Canada (and some Canadian controlled lines in the US) 8-sided fully enclosed water tanks were used.
Stix
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Posted by dknelson on Friday, May 2, 2008 8:27 AM

This website

http://www.wcra.org/features/selkirk.htm

contains this explanation for how steam heated water was routed back to the tender of CP Selkrik locomotive tenders:

Above the front number plate is a barrel shaped cylinder which is an "Elesco Feed Water Heater" , sometimes called the bundle. The cold water pump, on the Fireman's side, and controlled by him, pumps water, at higher then boiler pressure, from the tender up into this heater through which it makes four passes before traveling, by way of a heavy pipe, to the top check valve through which it is sprayed into the boiler. This is to replace the water used when large quantities of steam is required when the locomotive is being worked. Most of the steam from the main cylinders is exhausted up the stack to create a heavy draft for the fire, but part of it passes through the outside of this closed water heater to heat the feed water and be cooled and condensed. This condensed steam (hot water) flows back to the water tender through the pipe which can be seen coming out of the right end (the Engineers side) of the bundle to run along under the running board and to below the cab to a flexible hose which carries it to the tender. It is then directed up to an oil separator from which the oil free water it is added to the tender supply. This hot water (condensed steam) not only adds to the supply but warms the water and keeps it from freezing in the cold weather.

Dave Nelson

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