Full Version: Steam Locomotive Terminals Operations
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I am currently very frustrated with trying to design and layout the engine terminal on the new layout. I have a bunch of structures with their appropriate uses. It is where and how to arrange them that is driving me nuts.
After some contemplation I realize that perhaps my understanding of how things work may not be the correct way or the best way. Thusly here is my question:
When a steam locomotive comes into a terminal for servicing is there a set way of doing things? By such I mean does he dump his ash first, then get water, then coal, and lastly sand if needed? Or is there some other method to the madness?
I believe once I have a better understanding of how this works I can complete the terminal and yard.
Hi Tom---I did a GOOGLE search of "steam locomotive service facilities" and saw this overview---lots of other photos to review as well---hope this helps.

Ed - I googled the same but I did not get what you got. I mostly got advertisements for models, magazines, and books.

I did find one article from Model Railroader I was able to download.

From that article and what I see in your plan I need to add wash racks. Any suggestions on them?

One more thing for me to chew on. Since I have a reefer and milk reefer obsession I might need to add an icing facility. I already has a Walthers kit for an icing rack. This is what I get for reading up on milk trains and reefer operations.
There are lots of variations on how engine terminals were laid out, mostly determined by the size of the facility, normally the inputs water, coal/oil, sand were in that order because that's the order they are on the locomotive, but that's not written in stone.  The ash pit was a bit more flexible and might even be another track.  You can find all sorts of arrangements.  Typically coal and sand are together, water can be more flexible since it can be piped.  It also may be in places that are more accessible since an engine will need to be watered more than it will need to be fueled than it will need to be sanded.

For example here is the DRGW service area at Chama, NM.  Note the water tower is quite a was away from the coaling tower and the sand house is next to the coaling tower, the ash pit is on the back side of the coaling tower.

[Image: chama-coaling-tower-michael-allen.jpg]
Here's a wash rack for steam locomotives.

However, I'd think that steam locos, in the steam age, of course, would have been cleaned using a steam jenny. 

In the steel mill where I worked, Thursday day-shift was a down turn, and if there was a roll change, the rolls being removed for re-turning were cleaned using chemicals, in conjunction with the steam.  The same process was used for pretty-well all machinery that needed cleaning before going into the shops.

They may have had cleaning racks for passenger cars in those days, but they wouldn't likely have worked with steam locos, due to the locos' irregular shapes.  Similar or maybe the same ones, could be used on cab-unit diesels, as they had sides similar to the passenger cars.  Hood units were another issue altogether.

I believe somebody did offer a wash rack...perhaps Walthers?

A quick search shows that Walthers did (or does) offer such an item, although there's no image shown.

Would there be a place for washing out boilers?
On the diagram there's a big round thing behind the roundhouse. Probably the water tower tank. There would be pipes to a lot of mere water columns on the departure tracks.
There's a boiler wash in-progress HERE.

It looks pretty messy, so likely done outdoors, with a sump for the water and sludge.

Personally I like Doctor Wayne's first photo of a "wash rack"  Icon_eek.Tom---I like your idea of an ice-house,something I'd like to add to the Leetown Division one day.
Wash racks would only be at very large, modern facilities.  The vast majority of steam engine facilities did not have dedicated wash racks.

A lot depends on what size facility you are modeling.  Are you modeling a facility on a branch or are you modeling a major facility at a division point yard on a large class 1 railroad.  They will have very different facilities.  If you look at a N&W facility, they will be the "Cadillac" of steam engine facilities and will have stuff that other railroads did not.

I rather doubt that what is going on in Dr. Wayne's video is what is happening on a "Wash Rack".  A "wash rack" is different that a "wash out" (ironically closer to Dr Wayne's picture than his video).  A wash rack would be a concrete pad with steam hoses with long nozzles to steam wash the exterior of the engine and wash of grease and grime.  A "wash out" requires dropping the fire, draining the water out of the boiler and takes many hours.  They aren't going to do that on the turntable lead.  On the wash rack, it would take 20-30 minutes to steam clean an engine.

Here is a picture of a wash rack:
Tom---here's another model of a wash rack

(05-12-2021, 03:58 PM)dave1905 Wrote: [ -> ]I rather doubt that what is going on in Dr. Wayne's video is what is happening on a "Wash Rack".... A "wash out" requires dropping the fire, draining the water out of the boiler and takes many hours.  They aren't going to do that on the turntable lead....

Dave, I was fully aware that they were doing a boiler washout, but erroneously omitted the "out" part.  I wasn't trying to mislead anybody.

(05-12-2021, 08:03 PM)cn nutbar Wrote: [ -> ]Tom---here's another model of a wash rack

That's a wash rack for passenger cars or car body diesels.  Those wiper brushes would be useless on a steam engine.  A wash rack is the least critical part of a engine facility.

The most critical, in order:
  1. Water
  2. Fuel
  3. Sand
  4. Ash dump (only if coal fired)
  5. Roundhouse/engine house
  6. Wash rack
  7. Back shop
The order and arrangement of the facilities depends on the shape of the property, how many engines are serviced and how many times the facilities were upgraded or rearranged.
Thanks everyone for your responses. They have been a big help. If you got more please keep them coming.

Due to the size and location I am going to have to work with several stub end tracks. Thanks to you folks I have a better idea of how things should work and where to place the various structures. I consider my facility to be a small to medium terminal. A place on a normal day that may handle four to eight locomotives and on a busy day twelve to fifteen.

Out of all the structures suggested and talked about the wash rack and back shop are the two I need to think about some more.
So I can only tell you how things are (/were) done at our small museum line in Germany, but maybe it can be of use either way.

Both coal and water were handled separately from the cleaning because those operations could also take place during the day.
At a large station, there would often be a water pump even near the platforms.

Cleaning, however, would take place at the end of the day.
In front of the engine shed there would be tracks in concrete fitted with an oil separator.
Here they would dump ash and take it away with a wheelbarrow short before parking it for the night.

As for small fixes and cleaning, those would take place inside the shop, usually done manually.
Manual labor was cheap back then, and hosing it down with water would increase the likelihood of rust.
Cleaning was also done with a cloth, and repairs were done at the same time once the engine was cooled down.

Even if we are an ocean apart, maybe it helps
Thanks to Kitty for bringing this thread up to the top. I missed it some how. I have messaged a friend and if he replies I will chime in with his answer. I hope it isn't too late to help you Tom.   Icon_e_surprised
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