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Thread: Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

  1. #1
    MJL Guest

    Default Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-07-02 AT 06:24PM (EDT)[/font][p]OK, I've seen this same stupid question asked about a zillion times, and have always seen the same stupid answer.

    Q: How does a water scoop work for steam engines?
    A: There is a scoop that is on the (tender/engine-can't remember which, but will assume on the tender). When the engine nears a section of track with water pans in it, the engine is slowed to an appropriate speed (40ish MPH), and then the fireman lowers the scoop, taking up water, and eliminating the need to stop for water. Very good for high speed passanger and express trains. ----this explananation is usually accompianed by a b&w pic of a track pan, and a b&w pic of a speeding engine w/ spray coming from the underside of it.

    WOW!! - that answer is really lame, from it I get the following mental image.
    [Link Expired]
    in it is a piece of metal slung under the tender, hinged at one end, and the other is a chain, or something used to raise/lower the metal scoop....but my big question is THEN WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!

    All of the descriptions I've seen stop at this point. So where does the water go??, from the above image it would be directed up, and out over the rear truck, and into the laps of the people on the first passanger car...not good...what sorts of piping/ducting was there to modify a tender, did the water enter the underside of the tender??, (assume not), or was it ducted out and around the back, and up over the top??
    anyone have pics of the setup on a tender??

    just one of those things thats been bugging me

    Matt
    [Link Expired]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    LONDON, UK.
    Posts
    957

    Default RE: Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

    Speaking from a british point... the water tank in a tender wasn't open so water going in wouldn't 'shoot' out at any time. The scoop connected to a vertical pipe topped by a large Y (the top part of the Y being curved down)shaped 'hat' so that the water would be directed sideways and downwards into the tank.Thinking about it a bit like an inverted fire sprinkler....
    There usually was some overflow that tended to soak whoever wanted to find out how it worked by leaning out of the coach windows...but then it washed the soot from his face anyway...
    Hope you understand what I mean.
    Georges from London.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Valley Center, KS, USA.
    Posts
    656

    Default RE: Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

    Ah, the water scoops. I remember my Grandfather, who was a conductor on the New York Central out of Buffalo, talking about them.

    The water scoops were generally curved in a 90-degree arc, so that water entering in a horizontal direction was diverted to flow upwards. The scoop connected to a duct that went vertically upwards into the water space. Ended about a foot below the top plating, with a second 90-degree bend to send the water horizontal again rather than upwards.

    The scoop was raised and lowered by an air cylinder, controlled by a lever-actuated air valve on the front of the tender. Most also had an auxilary latch, worked by a chain, to retain it in the 'up' position. In use, the fireman would release the latch, stand by the valve, and wait for either a hand-sign or whistle signal by the engineer that the engine had passed a signpost placed beside the track at the beginning of the pan. The fireman opens the valve, and hangs on for dear life while the tender bucks, water sprays everywhere, and deafening noise. The engineer signals again when the engine is approaching the signpost at the end of the pan to raise the scoop. The fireman raises the scoop, sets the latch, then climbs on top of the tank to raise the hatch and look how much water was collected. And then, probably find out that you had only half-filled the tank and had to stop at the next water tank anyway. And when the train stops, the fireman gets down to look at the scoop. Had to check, often, to make sure that it had retracted all the way up, the rim was not too badly bent out of shape, and that it had not snagged on a grade crossing or ingested some ballast.

    There was a good reason for slowing to 40 mph. As the water rushed into the tender, the displaced air had to escape, and if the flow was too great it blew the top hatch open. Then, as your post suggested, water sprayed back towards the passengers. The New York Central fitted some of the Niagaras and Mohawks tenders (those are '4-8-4' and '4-8-2' engines) with special air vents, supposed to open if the pressure was too high and allow taking on water at speeds up to 80 mph. The fireman and enginner had to work in very close co-ordination. At 80 mph, the engine moves through the usable length of the track pan in perhaps 15 seconds, while taking on maybe 15,000 gallons of water at a thousand gallons per second. Or, for you metric users, that is taking on about two tonnes/sec at 130 kph.

  4. #4
    MJL Guest

    Default RE: Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

    black5, ge44tonner
    thanks for the info, good, clear description, much better than what I read on Model RRer, or Trains, now if someone just had some pics. I'd like to see the actual mechanisims...instead of constantly having to use my 'imagination hat'
    Matt
    [Link Expired]

  5. #5
    Starlight Guest

    Default RE: Water Scoop, Mechanics of Rail Equipment Question

    I once read somewhere, that those vents the NYC used didn't always open like they were supposed to. There were cases where the pressure form the water BLEW the rivets out of the tender causing the train to lose more water than it took on. Also, if I remember the figures right, the NYC water pans were like 1 mile long to accomodate the faster trains. (heated too to keep them from freezing in winter)


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