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Author Topic: Length of locomotive on turntable.  (Read 41224 times)
Limey

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« on: May 01, 2013, 08:56:52 AM »

Hi friends, can anyone tell me if steam locos had tenders attached when they were on turntables or wether they just relied on the head of steam on board to position them in the sheds.
      My longest steamer is 2-8-4 Berkshire ( by Bachmann of course ) which measures 15.5 inches coupler to coupler with the tender attached and 8 inches without.

Thanks, Limey.
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ALCOS4EVER


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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 09:11:20 AM »

Limey -

     Steam locomotives were very rarely seperated from their tenders as that is their fuel supply. They didn't seperate them to turn them because they would have to turn and move and store the tender seperately. Much more labor involved. They kept their tender attached in the roundhouse because steam locomotives fires were kept lit and low so they would be ready for service. It takes quite a while to build a fire and bring the boiler up to temperature on a steam locomotive. Turntables had to be long enough to handle the longest locomotive and tender used at that location. Therefore turntables were rplaced with larger ones as lager power came into use. Hope this answers your question.
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electrical whiz kid

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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 10:01:44 AM »

An interesting thought:  The New York Central had 4-8-4 Niagras, and in order to turn them on some tables, the engine house crews would have to jack up the rear end of the tender to clear the movement of the turntable as the aft end cleared the the end of the approach tracks.
Rich C.

 
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ebtnut

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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 01:03:05 PM »

To expand a bit on Alco's response, the tender is also the water supply for the loco, which is frankly more important than the fuel.  Run out of fuel and the fire dies.  Run out of water and anyone near the loco is liable to die from a boiler explosion. 
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TimR

Ephraim Shay, the Man


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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 04:02:28 PM »

2-8-4 Berkshire on a 110 ft. turntable:



(Photo courtesy of Bill's Pennsy Photos)
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rogertra


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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 10:50:56 PM »

Hi friends, can anyone tell me if steam locos had tenders attached when they were on turntables or wether they just relied on the head of steam on board to position them in the sheds.
      My longest steamer is 2-8-4 Berkshire ( by Bachmann of course ) which measures 15.5 inches coupler to coupler with the tender attached and 8 inches without.

Thanks, Limey.

The overall length of the tender and engine is completely irrelevant.  It's the overall length of the wheelbase that is important.  Measure that, not the overall length of engine and tender.

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J3a-614

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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 11:39:30 PM »

Well, they say there's a prototype for everything, and that applies to having locomotives disconnected from tenders routinely for turning on a table that's too short.  However, the example that I'm talking about was a haywire shortline road with a 4-4-0 on the ricketiest looking homemade turntable you ever saw.

I'll mention it's a load of work to disconnect a locomotive and tender.  They don't use couplers between a locomotive and tender, but instead a drawbar and safety chains or a double drawbar (typical for modern steam like this 2-8-4.  Disconnecting the tender involves dropping a very large pin out of either the locomotive or the tender (and they've been known to be very stubborn about wanting to come out), disconnecting two water hoses, disconnecting air hoses, possibly disconnecting a steam heating line for a passenger engine, plus an air signal line on a passenger locomotive, disconnecting an electrical line for lights on the tender, and disconnecting the stoker on an engine so equipped, or the oil lines on an oil burner.  Then, you've got to do all that in reverse to couple them together again, including pushing that big, fat and heavy steel pin back up into its pocket.

Does this sound like something you would want a roundhouse crew to do? 

Truth is, outside of that rickety, dilapidated shortline, disconnecting a tender wasn't something done routinely outside of classified repairs of some kind. 

Now, I suspect you're asking about this because you want to use a commercial turntable that's easily available and it's 8 inches long, being based on a section of sectional track.  If you want to use a turntable to turn this 2-8-4, then you simply should go longer.  If you can't afford that or don't have the space, have no fear; there are other ways to turn a big locomotive like that, such as a wye.

The prototype occasionally had the same problem.  One good example along the lines of what you face was at the Riverside roundhouse of the Baltimore & Ohio in Baltimore, Md.  That roundhouse had a turntable that couldn't accommodate anything larger than a 4-6-2 or a 2-8-2.  For that reason, the B&O rarely ran anything bigger than a 2-8-2 between Brunswick, Md. and Baltimore--but for various reasons, including heavy repairs at the Mount Clare shops, a Big Six (2-10-2), or even an EM-1 2-8-8-4 would wind up in Baltimore.  In that case, the road did have a wye in the area, but it wasn't really a good idea to use it on a regular basis, as one side of it was a very busy double-tracked main line.  That's the reason the B&O regularly double-headed 2-8-2s east of Brunswick rather than use bigger engines.

A variation of this was at Hinton, W.Va. on the Chesapeake & Ohio.  There the problem wasn't the turntable, which had been lengthened to 115 feet to handle Mallets, but the roundhouse, which was too short for such long engines, and couldn't be extended as the back of it was up against a hill.  In that case, the C&O built a long, shed-like "Mallet house" off to one side for servicing these long engines. 

The Southern Pacific did same thing at Dunsmuir, Ca. to handle Cab-Forwards.

Hope this helps out.
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rogertra


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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2013, 02:36:54 AM »

I believe there was a branch line location in Australia where the tender on some classes had to be uncoupled.

Of course, in the UK,  they'd just run them back tender first.  Even the "large" engine, by UK standards, would run tender first for miles and miles either hauling a train or light engine.  On some branches, it was standard practice to run tender first in one direction and given the pathetic cabs many UK engines had, it must have been miserable in bad weather.

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Limey

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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2013, 01:39:53 PM »

Once again gentlemen my grattitude to all for enlightening me.
Regards Limey.
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Mdaskalos

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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2013, 03:32:04 PM »


The overall length of the tender and engine is completely irrelevant.  It's the overall length of the wheelbase that is important.  Measure that, not the overall length of engine and tender.



I don't think you can say that it is completely irrelevant. Some turntable pits have handrails surrounding the portions of the pits that have no tracks; a tender or locomotive with sufficient overhang would contact those handrails.

The photo posted to this thread, of the Berkshire on a turntable, shows just such handrails.

Regards,
Manuel
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rogertra


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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 08:05:11 PM »


The overall length of the tender and engine is completely irrelevant.  It's the overall length of the wheelbase that is important.  Measure that, not the overall length of engine and tender.



I don't think you can say that it is completely irrelevant. Some turntable pits have handrails surrounding the portions of the pits that have no tracks; a tender or locomotive with sufficient overhang would contact those handrails.

The photo posted to this thread, of the Berkshire on a turntable, shows just such handrails.

Regards,
Manuel

A number so small as to be insignificant.  :-)
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Doneldon

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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 10:38:19 PM »

A number so small as to be insignificant.  :-)

Roger-

Untrue. Limited clearances around turntables are not so rare. So length IS important on real railroads. However, wheelbase does become important for many modelers who are trying to squeeze a just barely too long locomotive onto a turntable.
                              -- D
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J3a-614

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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2013, 11:46:10 PM »

These comments about length vs. wheelbase and turntables reminded me of the design of Chesapeake & Ohio's Allegheny types, with their 2-6-6-6 wheel arrangement and an unusual tender truck combination with one each of six and eight wheels.

The standard turntable on the C&O was 115 feet long.  The Allegheny's total wheelbase was 113 feet, which would barely fit on the table.  Overall length of the Allegheny over couplers was 125 feet!  That was a considerable overhang over the ends of the turntable!

The C&O had one of these tables at Alleghany, Va. (and note the difference in spelling--that's the name of the county and location in Virginia).  This was at the top of the grade out of Hinton, W.Va., and the table was used to turn helpers after the 50-mile run up the mountain, which was probably one of the longest pusher districts around.  The table is long gone, of course, but the concrete wall of the pit was still visible when I saw the place some years ago.  The location is rather tight, being in a narrow valley just past the crest of the grade, and between Alleghany Tunnels to the west and Lewis Tunnels to the east.  A road that turns into a dirt track and crosses the railroad near A Cabin runs right past the edge of the turntable pit.  I don't know if the road was widened since the turntable was taken out of service, but it didn't look like it might have been, and it's so close it's certain that a fair amount of an H-8 would have been IN THE ROAD/b] as it was being turned.  Now, the road doesn't really seem to go anywhere much past A Cabin, but can you imagine coming up on this location at night and finding a pilot beam, pilot, and front coupler of one of these monsters swinging towards your front fender as the engine spins on the table?  Whooee!

The New York Central's Niagara 4-8-4s, with that centipede tender, had a wheelbase short enough to fit on a 100-foot turntable--but the engine and tender were 115 feet, 5 1/2 inches long!

Note that many of our models may have a longer wheelbase and overall length than their prototypes, due to a longer than prototypical spacing between engine and tender to go around our sharper model curves. 
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rogertra


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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 02:16:00 AM »

A number so small as to be insignificant.  :-)

Roger-

Untrue. Limited clearances around turntables are not so rare. So length IS important on real railroads. However, wheelbase does become important for many modelers who are trying to squeeze a just barely too long locomotive onto a turntable.
                              -- D


In a hand full of insignificant cases.  Let's not nitpick and do the typical model railroad justification for the unusual by using the old chestnut "There's a prototype for everyting".  Smiley  Of course there is but that does not justify an exception to become the rule.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 04:24:06 AM »

Roger, Roger, Roger. It's OK. You didn't do anything wrong. You just missed on whether there were a significant number of turntables where there were obstructions preventing overhanging locomotives from using the turntables. In the larger scheme of thing, it doesn't matter. But it was most definitely NOT the case that real railroads commonly ignored loco length in favor of wheelbase. Too many things could go wrong if they did, including getting the bridge out of balance if they weren't able to move back and forth a little. And permanent obstructions like fences, railings and buildings. And long locomotives on the roundhouse or garden tracks. This was not an exceptional thing, but a comparatively common thing. If it weren't, there wouldn't be so many pits with three, four or five concentric rings where earlier pit walls stood. Length WAS the critical dimension, not wheelbase.
                                                                                                                        -- D
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