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Steam - Nose up ?
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 Posted: Thu Jan 25th, 2018 08:34 am
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Helmut F
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Some musings/questions on operations and safety.

I have seen many a reference to steam loco's ascending a grade and the need to keep the top sheet under water (or else!).  To me this means the nose needs to be up, yes?

Also, in view of safety, the locomotive should be on the down side of the train, yes?

Are there exceptions to this?  Any why?

I wonder because I saw a pic of a Heisler on a supposed 1 in 10 grade on the high side of the train (i.e. pulling the logs).  I do not really know if the grade was 1 in 10, but it was steep.  If it matters, it was on a switchback.

In the case of a switchback, it seems to me that the locomotive cannot always be on the downside of the train, correct?  It has to alternate.  In that case, should it be started out to be on the downside of the train as much as possible?  I am guessing so.

Also, in reading some other material (I think a Heisler Locomotive Works catalog excerpt or an advertisement) that the Heisler was made with the top sheet slanted down to help keep it under water on steep grades.  Does this allow for an exception to the nose up position to keep the top sheet under water?  I am guessing it allows for some exception, but probably not on extreme grades?  How extreme?  Down which way?  down towards the front of the boiler or rear?

Yes, I have become somewhat enamored with Heislers.

Thx for any info/answers!



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 Posted: Sun Jan 28th, 2018 06:45 pm
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Alan Sewell
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Hi

1-10 is about the limit of adhesion for most locomotives but Heisler sales literature show a haulage capacity on a 10% grade but limited to one or two cars.

Again most steam locomotives on logging and mining etc lines with steep grades would normally work with boiler pointing uphill and back down with loads, so as to keep water over the crown sheet. Heisler and others seemed to use a "wagon-top" boiler design to help this.
However only in extreme conditions would the loco always be at the downhill end of the train. Use of air-brakes made runaways less disastrous.

Hope that's useful

Alan
Hertford UK

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 Posted: Sun Jan 28th, 2018 08:45 pm
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Michael M
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I seem to recall that the D&RGW narrow gauge had some switchbacks.  There's no way you can keep a loco pointing upgrade on all switchbacks.  How the trains starts out, loco on headend or tail of train, would depend on how many switchbacks in total and the track configuration that the top.



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 Posted: Mon Jan 29th, 2018 05:29 am
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Helmut F
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Here is the web page I found with the picture I referenced:

Heisler Locomotive

A little more study reveals the caption does not necessarily equate with the picture!  Note the steam coming out the top probably indicating the loco is going backwards.  I think 1 in 10 is pretty easy going downhill.  But perhaps it was just really windy.

Allen,
Thx.  That confirms most of what I understood.  I need to research air brakes and educate myself on timeline of common usage and when they were required.  I guess my thoughts were no air brakes yet, which may well not correspond with Heisler production, either by Stearns or Heisler Locomotive Works.

Michael,
yes, exactly why I was pondering that.  Maybe some thought would be put into it and the loco pointing upwards the majority of the time.  Or maybe only at the end of the run when water would be the lowest.



Last edited on Mon Jan 29th, 2018 05:32 am by Helmut F



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 Posted: Mon Jan 29th, 2018 09:06 pm
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ebtnut
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I don't know that I've ever run across a sloped firebox design. There is usually about a foot of water above the crown sheet to help account for operating on grades. In most cases operators kept the front of the loco pointed up the longest heavy prevailing grade so that water was always over the firebox. Shorter branches and switchbacks may be steeper, and the fireman knew to add extra water in those cases. Different roads had different operating rules, but most of the logging lines in the east ran with the loco at the downhill end of the train since it provided the primary braking action. Many roads had no air, and the brakies had to ride the cars and use the hand brakes to help control the train, winding them up on the steep parts, letting them off on the more level stretches. For many years at Cass in the tourist era they operated this way even with air to make sure they didn't run short on the 11%.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 29th, 2018 10:02 pm
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Helmut F
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ebtnut, Thx for that.

Here are a couple of advertisements that state the crown sheet is inclined

Locomotive Engineering article

Engineering News pg 372

Engineering News pg 373 (continued)

Engineering News supplement to article

I will look in my 1921 version of The Locomotive Up To Date when I get a chance to see if this is mentioned at all in its pages.




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 Posted: Tue Jan 30th, 2018 04:49 am
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oztrainz
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Hi Helmut and all,Re your musings,
Some answers follow. Others may have a different take on your questions. 
[highlight= rgb(248, 248, 248);]I have seen many a reference to steam loco's ascending a grade and the need to keep the top sheet under water (or else!).  To me this means the nose needs to be up, yes? 
Answer 1 -  Yes ideally the smoke end of the boiler should be uphill of the cab end. This simply minimises the amount of water that you have to heat in the boiler. If the firebox end is uphill, then more water is needed in the boiler to keep the crownsheet covered (preventing boiler damage and subsequent explosion in the worst case)

[highlight= rgb(248, 248, 248);]Also, in view of safety, the locomotive should be on the down side of the train, yes?
Answer 2 - This is only to ensure that if a coupling breaks on a train that is not fitted with continuous brakes, then the rest of the train can't run away. If the train has continuous brakes then if the train separates the brakes should come on and hold the train on the grade until enough handbrakes can be set to tie the break away down. 
[highlight= rgb(248, 248, 248);]Are there exceptions to this?  Any why?

Answer 3 - Yes. for Q1 - sometimes trains have to go downhill. Installing turntables at the top of each grade so that the firebox is always down hill is not a realistic option when it comes to running trains. 
Yes for Q2 - Trains these days have couplings and draftgear that is able to handle the weight of the train without breaking away. Add this to continuous brakes, then there is no need to have your loco on the downhill side of the train at all times. However for some lines with steep grades the loco is always on the downhill side as additional protection.  
One steep grade exception that I know of the the West Coast Railway in Tasmania. This is a rack adhesion railway. Heading uphill, the loco leads the train on the uphill end with the smokebox leading. Heading downhill the loco leads train and again with the smokebox leading. 
That ought to do for a start



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 Posted: Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 07:32 pm
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Ken C
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Helmut

Another railway to consider, the Central of Peru. There Beyer-Garrets ran nose up on a 5% grade to San Bartolome,
although there is a turntable for the smaller power they would run in reverse again on a 5% grade from this point until they reached Chicla, were they were wyed for the return trip to Lima. this was done so that the firebox was at the rear as it made life easier when going through tunnels on this section.

The Andes 2-8-0 would be turned at San Barolome to run smokebox up the grade. However past Chicla they had to run through 18 switchbacks, in 9 of the legs the smokebox would be lower. At the summit at 15610 feet they would drop down the East side again on a 5% grade, smoke box lower, pass through the last switchback then proceed to Oroya where they would be turned for the return trip to Lima.

Ken



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 Posted: Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 09:29 pm
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Helmut F
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I have looked in my 'The Locomotive Up to Date' book and there is actually very little information on fireboxes! Considering the rest of the book (from what I can see, have not read the entire thing) is very detailed I am surprised.

Ken,
Thx for that. pretty steep grades! I might look that RR up for some inspiration.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 10:39 pm
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Ken C
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Helmut

I traveled the line in 2000, from San Bartolome to Chilca we traveled behind the last operating Andes 2-8-0 # 206. It was the trip of life long dream for me. Also traveled the Southern of Peru, the 3 foot gauge Huancayo & Hauncavilva (now standard gauged) the Yauricocha Railway ( now scrapped) and the 3 foot gauge Cusco & Santa Anna, also a trip on the steam ship Ollanta on Lake Titicaca.



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