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Thread: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

  1. #1
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    Default What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-01-02 AT 08:37PM (EDT)[/font][p] So I'm sat here in the UK watching the 'Motors' tv channel on satellite, and there's a great feature on Chinese steam trains of the Gobi desert or some such wonderful steam extravaganza on!
    And here they come , bashing up the grade at full steam with a mile or so of ore trucks behind them; it seems that china is the last great steam powered rail network in the world. A lot of second-hand Russian stock too.
    A real treat since these steamers are big! But then comes the question, 'What's the 'wings*' on the front of the steamers for dad?' .. Uh oh , they've all got them .. time for some vague evasions , any help guys? :-))
    Ok I've seen these on some other steam loco's too . are they there to help with the funnel 'breathing' at speed ,to keep the smoke off the cab, or merely an aerodynamic aid ?
    There's a fiver on this :-) jv
    *the two vertical panels either side of the front of the boiler.

  2. #2
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    Default RE: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    >the two vertical panels either side
    >of the front of the
    >boiler.

    Oh, elephant ears. Those are smoke deflectors (nicknamed "elephant ears") designed to keep the smoke away from the cab so that the driver can see, like the kind on Union Pacific #844.

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    Mike Karlik


  3. #3
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    Default RE: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-02-02 AT 01:23AM (EDT)[/font][p]>Oh, elephant ears. Those are
    >smoke deflectors (nicknamed "elephant ears")
    >designed to keep the smoke
    >away from the cab so
    >that the driver can see,
    >like the kind on Union
    >Pacific #844.

    That's not the only reason. They were also there to get a better draft (I hope I use the right word) on the fire. To get a good fire, you need a rather long chimney. Look at the early steamers, they have long pipes. When the loco's grew bigger, the chimney has to be shortened and to get more draft, these ears were designed. They perform an upward air stream.
    Still it is amazing that there are steamers with and without those ears. And also steamers were designed without ears but get them later in their life.

    Dick van den Hoven
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    Default RE: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    Great!! thanks guys :-) .. elephant ears.. another name I'd never heard before! .. Every loco in that film on Chinese steam had 'em .. jv

  5. #5
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    Default RE: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    I believe that the "elephant ears" had something to do with traveling through tunnels. There were not too many here in the south east US on the ACL, the SAL, the Southern, or the N&W. I remember seeing some pictures of the Pennsy and the NYC with ears. The up draft helped push the exhaust up to the top of the tunnel until the cab passed under. If you look a some pictures of the SP EMD "tunnel motors" you will notice on the long end of the hood, the air intake grills are located near the bottom of the hood and you can see through to the other side. Sort of the same principal as the "ears" but reversed. The air intakes take in clean air from a lower level in order not to take in the exhaust fumes that are rolling around the top of the engine.

    Carlyle Thompson
    Chesapeake, Va


  6. #6
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    Default RE: What are the wings (?) on the front of steamers for?

    If I recall correctly, some Southern Pacific SD45's actually had " Elephant Ears" attached to the catwalk area around the radiators to deflect cooler air up to the fans as a test bed of sorts to prove the "Tunnel Motor" theory. EMD later built the tunnel motors as a way of preventing overheat shutdowns of the rearmost units in a consist when operating in snowsheds or tunnels. Since the first U25's all GE's have had low intake screens, so this wasn't a problem with them.
    ---------Jake------------
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