Author Topic: New Roundhouse  (Read 4023 times)

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,591
    • View Profile
    • wwfry.org
New Roundhouse
« on: December 13, 2008, 01:11:22 AM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
New Roundhouse has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
Some formatting may have been removed or modified from the original postings that appear quoted in this topic.
Information contained within this post may be superseded by more recent postings and conversations.

MikeW wrote:
Quote
What about the possibility of building a roundhouse?  I realize that it may be more effort than a metal building, but it has some advantages too.  First, it would be a building that would be interesting to visitors.  Second, as expansion is needed additional stalls could be added.  Third, it is more compact in that a ladder track is not required.

bperch replied:
Quote
To see how well the roundhouse idea fits in, see what has been done in Phillips both as to use of the site and how the building is utilized.

MikeW replied:
Quote
I'm very familiar with the "New" Old Stone Fort in Phillips.  It has been a huge improvement for preserving the equipment by getting it out of the weather.  And it looks good too.  BTW, I helped clear the large trees growing up in its foundation and turntable pit many years ago, but was gone to college around the time Al started building it.

I think the utilization would be a bit different than Phillips since SR&RL uses it for a shop and everything, whereas WW&F would primarily use the new building for storage if I am not mistaken.  Most 2ft roundhouses seem to have been wood, but a block building could be built that would blend in well.

MikeW replied:
Quote
Here is what I was thinking.  The team track would be a good place for coaling etc.  Of course, nothing I drew is to scale!


Mike Fox replied:
Quote
2FTMainaiac and all,
That is exactly what I was thinking of. I was just trying to think of the best way to explain it. The only thing you did different was the run around track.  And maybe it should be designed to look like the one the was in Wiscasset originally. It burned and took #6 and #7 with it. It was a 3 stall single pitch structure with shingled exterior. A picture can be found in Narrow Guage in the Sheepscot Valley, Vol. 1, pg. 54. A good shot of the turntable is on 56. That would look nice in the percival purchase. But this would only work with the idea of extending the current enginehouse North and South to protect the current Rolling stock.
Mike

sgprailfan replied:
Quote
A round house for coaches?

James Patten replied:
Quote
A three stall engine house is currently plenty for us.  Both mechanical engines can fit in one stall.  Probably #10 can squeeze in with #9 because it's small.  That leaves a stall open for #11!

In Wiscasset, directly across the turntable was the coaling shed.  But it doesn't matter how you squeeze it in, really, it wouldn't really work for us.

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
At this time, the need is for a structure to house rolling stock, not a place for locomotives. I believe a roundhouse may be in the future, but it's still a long way down the road, after a bunch of other things happen first. And building a roundhouse on the Percival site would require a huge amount of earth moving.

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
Quote
There has been talk of a roundhouse at Sheepscot Station for some time.  It would be for active locomotives.

I'm greatly in favor of it for a number of reasons:

1. Remove fire danger from the current shop.
2. Make more working space in the current shop.
3. Provide opportunity for a replica of another original RR building- the Wiscasset round house.  Again, this would be a fire proof building on the inside- steel, thick sheetrock, what ever is needed- but wood sided on the outside.
4.  This is the big one to me- opportunity for a gallows style turntable.

There's already been some talk of a potential location for this building, other than what's been mentioned here, but really that is in a lot of flux.

A little correction on some previous thoughts I'd seen here, furthering the shop extension idea.  Extending the shop as has been discussed would add a total of 40 feet in length to the building, giving us 93 feet.  Recognizing that flat cars, excursion cars, and four-wheel carts of various purposes are all outside storage items, such an extension leaves room for all our equipment and leaves room for the two cars we wanted to build as well.

No matter if the shop is extended or a seperate building is built first, we know we want the current shop as a wood and machine shop, for which there is insufficient room.  This means that at some point in time, no matter what, we will want to extend it and utilize some of the dead outside space both north and south of it.  Given the museum's current skill set and financial resources are far better primed to tackle this project than the seperate building, I'm in favor of extending the shop first.

I'm not deathly against the seperate building idea.  It has good merit.  I just wish the extension idea wasn't so quickly dismissed in this forum, especially when it is popular with many of the volunteers at the RR.  And if we end up with it, I could only imagine it fireproofed on the inside but wood sided all around the outside, as a compromise on this issue.

I look forward to getting together at Sheepscot Station with some of you and some others who can't interact on this forum to look at the actual situation there and developing a solid compromise on the whole subject.  I suspect this will be settled over the course of next year, and that the project may be on tap as following the water tower project- course bathrooms have to fit in there also.

see ya
Jason

MikeW replied:
Quote
Here is a clearer sketch.  I downloaded the actual orthophoto from MEGIS so I could use it in my mapping software with the correct scale.  The turntable is 32', and the roundhouse is 40' deep.  I modified it to 3 stalls per Mike Fox's suggestion.  I included an outside track in the area where the roundhouse could be expanded in the future.  I also sketched in the coal and ballast loading area next to the team track and show how it would be accessed over the turntable lead.

- Mike White


MikeW replied:
Quote
I forgot to add that my suggestion for the roundhouse is in addition to extending the car shop.  The car shop would come first, the roundhouse would be later when needed.

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
Quote
All,

I must say I rather like Mike W.'s idea for the engine house, with the run-around, on the Percival purchase.  This isn't where we were thinking of putting it, but it is a clean solution, compacts things a little less, gives prime location for coaling facilities, but would still be in the public eye with the parking lot behind Clarissa's house.

If we were to extend the shop right now, build the round house in the near term, and still found ourselves lacking on storage, a second track off the run-around to the car storage area could be arranged, I'd think.

see ya
Jason

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
If a round house is made for the locomotives, is it possible to have a steam up bay with a stack coming out of the roof, or would that be to much of a fire hazzard? I have a photo of Steamtowns chimeny for the smoke to go through, if any body's interested.

Joe

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Joe,
A smokejack, which is a vented pipe through the roof, is used to eliminate smoke in a roundhose/engine house.
You can see them in old photos of the Wiscasset engine house.

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Joe, one of the main reasons behind building a roundhouse would be to be able to "fire-up" inside.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Wayne,
Do they offer a metal building that looks like the Wiscasset Roundhouse? Or could one be designed? Cedar Shingled look and all? After living in Maine all my life, accept for the time I put in for Uncle Sam, I can honestly tell you, I live in a wood house. Have always lived in a wooden houses. In the woods. The chance of a fire consuming a building from the outside is minimal. In 20 years on the local fire department, I have not seen a building that was consumed from a brushfire. I have see brushfires started from house fires though.
As for the Roundhouse, maybe some lawn or gravel drive all the way around to act as a buffer is the way to go. And since the fire danger increases while someone is there, the chances of someone seeing it before it gets too far out of hand are all that much greater. And at the current enginehouse, it would be all but impossible for an external fire to reach the building.
And as for firing up inside a building, other steam railroads do it every day. There are things in 2006 that were not available in 1931. I'm sure that it can be made as fire proof as possible.
Mike

MikeW replied:
Quote
A simple solution for external fires is to sheath the building using fiber cement siding (e.g., Hardie Siding).  It comes in a variety of styles, including cedar shingle and clapboard.  It looks excellent (Bowdoin College uses this for all of its "wood" buildings such as the McLellan Building near where the old MEC depot used to be).  It is 100% fire resistant.

James Patten replied:
Quote
I have split off the roundhouse discussions into it's own thread.

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
Quote
I have to agree with Mike Fox on nearly all counts-

The greatest fire danger is when people are there- firing a locomotive.

We'll never leave an engine in the house with a live fire unattended.

I don't know about the other steam crew members but I have always looked forward to firing up inside- it can be pretty miserable at times firing up outside.

I also agree with a reasonable firebreak around the building, and that wood structures consumed from environmental fires is not very common in Maine- in fact, I've never heard of it.  Not to say it couldn't happen- but I don't think we should live our lives in that level of fear unless it is truly warranted from past experience.

I think a steel framed building on a dirt floor with board and batton or cedar shingle siding would be appropriate.  There was also talk of brick, modeled after an engine house from one of the other Maine Two Footers; this sounds ok too.  I'm personnally not in favor of solutions that involve look-alike siding; I have a believe in offering a genuine experience to our members and visitors, which to me includes things like materials used in building construction (steel frame is a compromise).

I suggest that we respect the risk of fire without living in complete fear of it.  One could argue that we risk a major train wreck every time a wheel turns or explosion every time a boiler is fired.

see ya
jason

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Jason, You said it very well.  I think a steel framed, wooden roundhouse would work well for us.  Mike stated that he has never seen a structure fire started by a woods/wild fire.  I have been a volunteer firefighter in Maryland for over 32 years and I have never seen a structure catch fire from the surrounding woods either.  Enough clearing around the structure will better protect it.  A brick roundhouse would be nice but I don't think it would fit into the theme of structures at Sheepscot.  If we get a large grant it could be considered but it would be too expensive otherwise.  I think the  round house should built to resemble the original at Wiscasset and be close to the yard.  Here's a few reasons.  (1) Less expense in feeding power and water to the structure.  (2) Better visibility to visitors.  The sight of an engine working out of the house and being turned on the turntable would be a BIG plus to the visitors experience.  (3) Transfer of parts and equipment from the car, wood or machine shop to the roundhouse would be easier.  (I am not advocating building the roundhouse next to the shop, there must be some space for safety ).  (4) a drive could be built to the back of the building for truck access.  If one of the stalls had a run through track this could come out into the drive area.

John McNamara replied:
Quote
I don't know whether this question is appropriate to the round house discussion or the car storage discussion, but the question is "What goes where?" Presently, we have four pieces of motive power (9, 10, 51, 52), two coaches, two flat cars, a box car, and a caboose. There has been talk of a third steam engine, a drop-bottom gondola, and another coach.

Plainly, the expanded engine house will continue to include a machine shop and probably a small kitchen. However, there have also been suggestions that it include a car shop and/or carpenter shop at some point in the future.

It sounds like we are talking about a large round house like the SR&RL "stone fort" or two buildings, a round house and a car storage building. In either case, any plans for a roundhouse should include storage for all of the above, either within the roundhouse or elsewhere.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
I think the roundhouse and car house should be two seperate buildings.  The roundhouse would be near or next to the yard while the car house would be built back from the yard, up on the hill as has been discussed.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
John,

The round house would only be for locomtives I believe, so that the present engine house would be for the rolling stock just to help clerify things for you.  As I said, that is what I think because it would go together really good I think.

If a round house is built, I must agree wtih Stewart, that we should have it clearly visible to the public. When I go to a railroad with a turn table, I love to watch it be turned, especially when it is being pushed by hand.

Joe

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Basically the roundhouse would be for the motive power and track equipment. The building would be sited for exposure to the public.

The car house/shop would be for storage with the location not generally in the public view.
I believe this is the general concensus.

John McNamara replied:
Quote
So far I have only seen diagrams for a car house or a roundhouse. Since there seems to be some consensus for a car house and a roundhouse, could some of the folks that make those nifty diagrams make one for the car house and roundhouse case? Thanks in advance

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
OK, I'll concede the exterior fire matter. On the other hand, I think we're putting the cart way before the horse to talk about a roundhouse. We need to enlarge the shop at the very least, and we need a carhouse for safe storage of our valuable antique rolling stock.

John McNamara replied:
Quote
Yes. I think there is general agreement that shop building extensions north and south are the first order of business. I thought that the general discussion beyond that was what to do after doing the shop building extension.

We started out with a bunch of proposals for various radii of curvature to get into car storage buildings located at various points on the Percival and Boudin lands. From there we got talking about roundhouses. The reason I brought up the "What goes where?" question was that I was concerned that some of the roundhouse proposals seemed to conflict with the aforementioned car storage building proposals.

As long as everyone is talking about both a car storage building and a roundhouse, both of which are substantially later in time than the shop extension project, then I think that we are all whistling the same tune, singing from the same hymnnal, etc.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
I think that talking about both the roundhouse and the car shop ideas gets the ideas going. I am under the impression that the car storage would be the shop expansion. Maybe we would need more storage later and we could construct another structure someplace. But if we have a roundhouse some day, that would free up space in the present and soon to be expanded shop. But that of course is years down the road. Getting as much under cover for preservation is the most urgent.
Mike

MikeW replied:
Quote
I think the roundhouse should be for locomotives, and the existing shed be for cars and shop.  Thus, it makes sense to expand the existing building first, then build a roundhouse, then later build the additional car shed when and if needed.  This will also get the engines out into a facility that is designed for their storage and use (see the whole smoke jack discussion!).

The way I see it, if you build the second car shed before a roundhouse, you miss an opportunity to add a prototypical building to the site in the nearer term, perhaps even for the very long term.

BTW, this is an excellent discussion.  I am currently or formerly involved in other groups, and these never have such healthy debate.

fjknight replied:
Quote
Quote
So far I have only seen diagrams for a car house or a roundhouse. Since there seems to be some consensus for a car house and a roundhouse, could some of the folks that make those nifty diagrams make one for the car house and roundhouse case? Thanks in advance /i]

John,

That is why I plan on taking a trip to the museum on Friday to do some more accurate measurements. I tried to do a CAD drawing of a roundhouse along with a car storage building and I was having a hard time making everything fit. I want to get an accurate drawing of a turnout and the corner locations of the properties so I can say with some confidence that both buildings will fit along with reasonable curves and switches. Assuming I get the needed dimensions on Friday I should be able to produce a drawing or two buy Sunday at the latest. Right now my thoughts are to put a roundhouse on Percival and the car storage on Boudin.

Frank Knight

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Mike Fox has hit the nail on the head. His summary is exactly the way I see it.
This is a "what if" discussion.....
The expansion of the present building is what I mentioned in an earlier post as the first project AFTER we determine everything is legal.
It could be substantially built in 2007, if all the pieces fall in place.

Bill Sample replied:
Quote
Regarding the discussion of fire dangers with wooden structures, perhaps someone on this list is familiar with various ways of treating wood with some sort of fire retardant coating.  If there is a way this could be done in a reasonable manner, then shouldn't Jason's plan of historically accurate replication should be the way to go?

Something like 25 years ago, the group I am active with (RMNE, then located at the Valley RR) rebuilt a flagstop station and coated the interior with surplus fire resistant paint, which was being disposed of by a power plant where a one of our members (RMNE and now also WW&F) worked.  I assume that something like that would still be available.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
If it is, then that should really be looked into so that the building, like Bill said, could be replicated.

Joe

Josh Botting replied:
Quote
In addition, it would be nice to seperate the workshops from car/engine storage.  Since based on RR history lessons fires seem to be quite common, it would be nice to have assets seperated..... meaning that the one large building could result in one large fire, and loosing everything.

fjknight replied:
Quote
Finally finished the drawing showing the proposed roundhouse on Percival while retaining access to car storage on Boudin. This drawing also reflects some fine tuning of the corners based on measurements taken on the property with a little help from James and Zack. Thanks Guys!

I still had to move the switch to get to car storage on Boudin south of the current top of the yard switch. Even though it uses a 20 degree curve I did manage to add easements.

Frank Knight


Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Looks good Frank. Nice location for the car storage. Out of the way and perhaps almost out of sight.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
On another thread we started disussing this and I figured it would be better to return the roundhouse to it's thread. Please remember when viewing, everything is approximate. The property lines are not exact and neither are any of the building or track locations. Nothing is to scale and is for visual aid purposes only. If the buildings go over a property line, that does not mean that is where the building will go or where the property line actually is. Once we get an idea of what everyone likes, then maybe Frank can draw one up that is more to scale and include proper property lines instead of estimating them.
Mike.







fjknight replied:
Quote
Mike,

Even without doing a formal drawing I can see that none of the proposed turntable locations will fit inside the property lines. If somebody can come up with a plan that looks like it will fit then I will put it in 3rd PlanIt to check the curves and turnouts.

Frank

James Patten replied:
Quote
The west boundary of the museum with the Percival houselot is approx. 20 feet off of the southwest corner of the shop building.  There is no way you will fit a turntable within our property line.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
So our current volunteer parking is on Clarrissa's land then? That's what I was going by. Maybe things will have to go north like they were before, on the Percival purchase.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Now staying within the property lines, I have come up with this. But if the existing shop building is expanded, there might not be a need for the car barn next to the turntable. Again, just a suggestion. And everything is approximate.
Mike

fjknight replied:
Quote
Mike,

Looks like it might really work. I'll put it in 3rd PlanIt first chance I get.

Frank

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Don't hurry Frank. I just did that to see what people thought. But it would be nice to know if it will work.
Mike

fjknight replied:
Quote
Mike,

Here it is. I could not fit the storage building onto the Percival Purchase so I slid it over to the Boudin Property. Looks like the roundhouse would fit easily in that area.

Frank


gordon cook replied:
Quote
If I may, I would put on the list of 'wants' for the new roundhouse that it be as close to the shop as is reasonable. There's almost nothing more aggravating and time consuming than having to walk a few hundred feet to retrieve a wrench or use a tool when you're in the middle of trying to fix something.
Having the roundhouse closer to the shop will reduce the wasted time before fireup and at other times during the operating season.

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Excellent point, Gordon. I suppose I'm guilty of being too lazy to go back and read all the old posts on this topic, but was there ever any discussion of having a machine shop attached to the roundhouse? That would seem to make sense. And I love the idea of a run-through track with access out the back door to Cross Rd (I believe Stewart, you posted something to that effect).

And lastly a question for the engineers and machinists out there: in a perfect world how much space would you ideally like to have for a machine shop...remember how spacious the shop seemed when new?


Mike Fox replied:
Quote
I think the only way to get it close is to build it next to the shop or facing East like Stewart likes in the top drawing. But there is not enough room. I redid the property lines but they are not correct. I figured the museum owned where the volunteer parking is and I guess we don't. So without purchasing more land, I don't think it can be put in that area. That is why I went onto the percival purchase with it. Something we already own. But this is way down the road and who knows what the museum will own then.
Mike

Or this

Glenn Christensen replied:
Quote
Hi Guys,

Might I suggest that when we plan any new RR equipment-related facility, that we leave room for a visitor's gallery.  This would be consistent with our goal to enrich the visitor experience through education and direct volunteer contact.

In my experience, few museums can do this.  It would further help differentiate us from others.  Such contact could also facilitate volunteer recruitment.

Sincerely,
Glenn

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
I was under the impression that a visitors gallery is planned for a yet undisclosed location somewhere near the museum. Am I mistaken?
Mike

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
I may be wrong but I think by "visitor's gallery" Glenn means a dedicated place inside the enginehouse or restoration shop where visitors can view get up close and personal without being in danger or being in the way(?)
The balcony in the roundhouse at Steamtown comes to mind.


Photo:Chuck Harrington

Glenn Christensen replied:
Quote
Steve is correct as to my meaning.  Visitors should be provided with a way of safety viewing the restoration work in progress.  The simplest way to provide for this would be to provide extra room along the back and sides of the facility to allow visitors to circulate without getting in the way of the restoration crews.

Sincerely,
Glenn

John McNamara replied:
Quote
People enjoy being able to go into our engine house partially because almost every other organization keeps visitors out. However, since enginehouses are dangerous places, confining visitors to a viewing area would be a very good idea.
There is a conflict of interest, however, as we are trying to restore the railroad as it was and let people see that, while simultaneously trying to increase visitor safety. With those somewhat conflicting goals in mind, we probably should consider something a bit less formal than Steamtown's balcony. How about reserving a 10-foot wide walking area at the "fat end" of the building? The walkway would have an entrance/exit door at each end, and be separated from the work area by a low railing intended to deter vistors from entering the work area and deter workers from storing "stuff" in the walkway area.

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Quote
...low railings intended to deter vistors from entering the work area...
I'm with you John, the Steamtown picture was just a good way to clearly illustrate the "gallery" idea. A cordoned-off walkway sounds nice, just as long as the railings are removable for photo ops 

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
Do you think, the future roundhouse might be able to have that type of system without a lot of work, and without taking up John's ten feet? I think that three or four feet would be wide enough. When and if a roundhouse is ever built, the museum should have a tour guide to give the visitors a guided tour through the restricted area. By restricted area, I mean where the restoration, and steam/diesel crews at work.

Joe

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Gordon and Steve H. - Hey, I don't always go back and read all the pages on a thread either.  Some of these things are getting looooong.   Steve, sounds like you did see my post back on page 2 regarding placement of the roundhouse.  I think it should be just northeast of the existing shop, about 125-150 feet.  Note that this would be in the future as we would have to purchase additional land.  To repeat a few of the best reasons: (1) less cost in running power and water to the structure (2) easier transfer of tools and equipment from shop to the roundhouse (3) location of a driveway feeding the back and side for truck access.

Joe has a good idea of roping off a 4 foot wide visitor area along the back (wide) side of the roundhouse.  Visitors can enter through the side small  door or the back open stall door.  There should be a guide with them most of the time.  To repeat - I favor having one stall as a run through with 2-3 sticks of track out the back, covered to the railhead for switching, service or deliveries.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Well here is another thought on the visitors gallery. How about a continuous walkway through the shop and continuing through an eventual roundhouse. Someplace safe enough for self guided tours and also very handicap accessible (level side to side with easy inclines).Then maybe it could finish with a walkway through the yard and ending back at the starting point
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Mikes walkway idea is good in that visitors can see the inside of the car shop or machine shop.  The floor inside bays 1-3 of the car shop should be finished for easier walking and movement of equipment.  (A finished floor would be safer and allow for the use of rolling jacks).  Walkway areas should be kept clear of tools and equipment which would be safer for everybody.  The walkways could be marked to guide visitors through.

This has been posted before but the East Broad Top puts chains across the open roundhouse doors so visitors can look inside.  We can easily do this on the carshop doors.  I know it wouldn't look as good but it would help on days when there aren't enough volunteers to tour visitors.

Bill Sample replied:
Quote
An additional benefit to Mike Fox's handicap access idea is that this also makes it easier to move our "stuff" around with a hand truck or cart.
I also agree with Stewart's proposal to have a run-through track and rail height graded area behind one of the roundhouse stalls.  To that, if possible, I'd like to suggest a permanent loading ramp at the end of the run-through track so that equipment transfers could be easily made.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
An unloading ramp might not be in the best interest there because of the limitations of it. I mean in that area, the ramp would have to be located near the buildings to give the truck driver enough room to navigate to it. So the track would be short. A track that is ground level and ballasted to the top of the rail head would be better because the truck could drive over it or unload any where on it. And while not needed for loading/unloading, it could be a sort of display track. Just my 2 cents.
Mike

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
Depending on what kind of rig is hauling a particular piece of rolling stock, a track filled to the railhead may or may not be better than a ramp. If the truck is a roll back, it wouldn't matter whether the track is filled in or not. But if its a detachable gooseneck trailer, filled track is a necessity. If its a regular lowboy or a drop deck, a ramp would be necessary.

Do you guys know something the rest of us don't? Are we having visiting equipment or is some of our equipment going somewhere for a visit?

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
I think Wayne, that this was mentioned for when the museum has more equipment and things delivered. That is what I think, but I don't know how true it is. Talk to you guys later.

Joe
_________________
“We are extremely proud of our collection of historical railroad equipment, which is the largest of any U. S. railroad, especially our steam locomotives.”
-Steve Lee-

Joe

James Patten replied:
Quote
It was intended that Track 7 become the delivery track once the area in front of Bay 3 is filled in.  If during our deliberations we can find another, better place to put it that might be nice.

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Mention has been made of the idea that a roundhouse would make firing up the locomotives indoors possible. Would a "basic" roundhouse environment also make it possible to keep fires burning through the night, in the event the need ever arose? (would additional planning be required for the building to be used in this way...)  I'm thinking perhaps some future special operating schedule that required the engines to be run late into the night and again at the crack of dawn. And for the purposes of this discussion let us temporarily set aside the obvious difficulties of making this happen with an all-volunteer steam crew...

gordon cook replied:
Quote
My guess would be that  a proper smoke jack would allow the engine to have its fire banked on a Saturday night instead of dumped, and would reduce the fire up time and also the thermal stress on a Sunday morning. This was the traditional situation on a working rr, but you need someone to maintain water levels all night long so if you're volunteering to be the hostler on Saturday night by all means!
In reality, the next day temperature of the boiler water is still pretty high, and the fireup is pretty quick, and is probably not worth the risks of maintaining a banked fire. Perhaps some of our members with more experience  than I do would care to  comment.

James Patten replied:
Quote
Early on when we had steam, and I can't recall if it was Monson #3 or our #10, we tried banking the fire for the night.  Whoever it was that stayed reported that it kept popping off rather frequently, so there was a need to keep feeding water into it.  I don't think that person got much sleep that night.

pockets replied:
Quote
This is why there was a job/position, in most roundhouses, called "Ashcat". It was his job to tend the banked fires and the locomotives. Sleeping was not one of his duties.

I have observed people, who didn't know how, babysit C&O 614 overnight. It can be quite amusing.

Greg B.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
James,  Your memory is correct.  Monson 3 was kept hot overnight during the 1998 annual picnic because we ran Friday night trains followed by early Saturday morning trains.  One of the fellows from MNG stayed with engine 3 all night.  As you said, the engine kept popping off which required water to be added a number of times.  That was the only time we had a night hostler.  The biggest problem I see with keeping steam pressure on an engine is the possibility of night crawlers.  I know we trig, set brakes and center the bar but I have heard of engines that creep even with brakes on.

Gordon has a good point that a hot boiler will stay hot overnight so the next morning's fire up is faster.  Plus, a live fire overnight is a waste of coal.  I will repeat that I think we should have the pull-down smoke jacks in the new roundhouse mostly because it gives us the ability to fire up inside.

dwight winkley replied:
Quote
During my time in the U. S. Army  My main job was Steam Locomotive Hostler at Fort Eustis, VA.. My main job was to keep the fires burning. This was a five min. job every two hours. Add a little coal and water. The fun part was moving the loco's from one track to another in the yard. One track had ash pit. and coal. Some times I would have to push the full hopper car up the ramp so it could be unloaded. The water supply was on another track. With up to four loco's under steam it was some interesting swithing. Use to set the brakes and let the engine bark. Opps!
base Commanding General complained about trains running at night. Other jobs was oil and grease job. Fire cleaning and loco and tender cleaning. Take two parts jounial oil, one part deisel fuel and wipe down the loco/tender with wet jounial box packing. Everything  "shined" untill the fire was cleaned and the ash pan dumped. Fly ash everywhere. so you did the job again. Use to hate steam heat in the coaches all night.
You tender the fires every half hour. I swithed by myself. Had special training in order to remove blue flags and move equipment around. Than put the blue flag back on the equipment.....Before anyone says something about the blue flag.... I was told more than once. "This is the ARMY"
I could go on forever,
dwight

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
I didn't know you did all that stuff Dwight. That is very interesting. Why did the W, W, & F keep the engines fired up all night originally if they only ran trains during the day, and it only takes two hours to fire the engine up when it is cold?

Joe

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Quote
Why did the W, W, & F keep the engines fired up all night originally if they only ran trains during the day Joe
Joe, that's an interesting question...
Dwight, great posting -- what sorts of locomotives were you working with back then?

James Patten replied:
Quote
Most locomotives the WW&F ran were the size of #9, not the size of #10.  While it may take only a couple hours to start up a warm boiler in the morning for #10, it won't surprise me if #9 takes another hour at least.  Remember #10 is around 12 tons and #9 is around 18 (or 50% more engine).

In the later years with the first morning train from Albion leaving at 5:30 AM, the fireman would have had to show up at midnight in order to have the engine ready to go in time to switch the yard for departure (assuming it wasn't done the night before).  Therefore having a hostler only makes sense, so that the engine crew can show up around 4:30, do everything they need to do to get the engine ready, and do some switching before departure.

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
First of all, let us remember what happened to the original WW&F roundhouse while a hot engine was inside. The amount of time required to fire up in the morning, especially if the engine is still warm from the day before, is relatively short, and it may not be worth the risk to keep an engine with a fire on its grates inside overnight.

Now, to reduce fire up time, if the engine is put away still hot and the fire permitted to slowly die out, it is quite likely that some hot coals will remain overnight. Especially if the smokestack is capped, lack of draft will also reduce thermal stress on the firebox. And if the engine is indoors, that will also retain heat.

However, since the pool of qualified engine service personnel is limited, keeping an engine under steam overnight may not be practical.

Dave Buczkowski replied:
Quote
It's becoming clear to me why the railroads switched to diesel engines... You just turn the key, wait a few minutes and go. Do more with less. But what's the fun in that!
Dave

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Back in the late sixties, when I was in my steam mode, we had three  4-4-0's, two foot gauge. Since these operated until about 9 p.m. and went out again around 9 a.m., we kept them hot overnight.
The proceedure was to fill the boiler with water, build a solid fire, open the cylinder cocks, center the Johnson bar, set the park brake and trig the drivers.
All three engines had different steaming personalities. One would spend the night quietly steaming, one constantly would pop off, causing much consernation among the locals sleeping, and one would try to slip away during the night, trigs not withstanding.
Our night hostler was good at tending the locos and soon figured what to do with each engine during the night.
One: do nothing
Two: let the fire die
Three: make sure it did not wander
I agree, turning the key is much easier.
Ira

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
I forgot that the original railroad had some trains that left early in the mornings. Talk to you guys later.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Most steam era railroads had hostlers who kept the engines hot.  They stayed with the locomotives all night and kept them filled with water and coal.  Their job was to have the engines ready for the crews of the first passenger train or road freight.  Tending the yard goat was another chore for the hostler when the roundhouse was in or near a large yard.  The yard/switch crew would sign in and get their locomotive from the hostler.

dwight winkley replied:
Quote
US Army loco's

Most of the time I had 2-8-0's. Now and than, a 0-6-0 was put in service.

Have a photo I can post when I find it.

dwight

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
That would be great to see Dwight. I look foward to you posting it when you can find it.
_________________
“We are extremely proud of our collection of historical railroad equipment, which is the largest of any U. S. railroad, especially our steam locomotives.”
-Steve Lee-

Joe

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Dwight, Did you have a 2-8-0 that had the rare Franklin (rotart cam) poppet valve system?  It think it was numbered 611 back then.  It ran on the Maryland & Penna. RR for testing during the Korean War 1950-51

ETSRRCo replied:
Quote
Quote
Back in the late sixties, when I was in my steam mode, we had three  4-4-0's, two foot gauge. Since these operated until about 9 p.m. and went out again around 9 a.m., we kept them hot overnight.
The proceedure was to fill the boiler with water, build a solid fire, open the cylinder cocks, center the Johnson bar, set the park brake and trig the drivers.
All three engines had different steaming personalities. One would spend the night quietly steaming, one constantly would pop off, causing much consernation among the locals sleeping, and one would try to slip away during the night, trigs not withstanding.
Our night hostler was good at tending the locos and soon figured what to do with each engine during the night.
One: do nothing
Two: let the fire die
Three: make sure it did not wander
I agree, turning the key is much easier.
Ira

Ira where did you work with these locomotives? Joe most railroads as others have stated "banked" their locomotives overnight. I am a fireman at the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in Pa. We bank the 40 off every night that she is scheduled to run the next day. rule of thumb is just about bottle it up then throw 40-50 scoops of coal in a pile on the fire and just let her simmer for the night. If its done right the next days crew will come in with at least 100 pounds on the clock and should only take and hour and a half to two hours to get her ready. You just break up the bank and spread it out in the firebox nice and thin. Throw a road fire in her and watch the clock rise!! If done wrong....well lets not get into that lol. Makes my job A LOT harder in the morning and at 6 AM that's the last thing I need.
_________________
Eric Bolton
East Tigard & Southern Railroad Co 1889-1958

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
I know what you mean. So you guys don't have a hostler watching the boiler after you leave to make sure that the water level doesn't drop to low?
_________________
“We are extremely proud of our collection of historical railroad equipment, which is the largest of any U. S. railroad, especially our steam locomotives.”
-Steve Lee-

Joe

dwight winkley replied:
Quote
Yes, 611 was at Fort Eustis.

The differant year built loco's were interesting. The loco's from WW11
had air opened fire doors. power reverse gear.  The Korean war loco's were built with a hand opening fire door and a manual Johnson Bar like #9 &10.

One loco had a screw reverse gear (may have been on 611) The crews hated it. Took a long time and a lot of hand wheel turning to go from forward to reverse like when coupling up.

dwight

ETSRRCo replied:
Quote
Quote
I know what you mean. So you guys don't have a hostler watching the boiler after you leave to make sure that the water level doesn't drop to low?

No. The locomotive usually only sites for eight hours unattended. We literally fill the boiler till it almost cant fit anymore water. That takes some times as you can only drop the pressure 10 pounds at a time. Over the eight hours the locomotive might pop off but it always has a full glass in the morning. Usually the fire has lost most of its intensity during those eight hours and can not produce steam. Once you break the bank and the green coal lights off it doesn't take much to bring up the pressure.
_________________
Eric Bolton
East Tigard & Southern Railroad Co 1889-1958

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
Thanks for the info Eric. I am glad that 2 foot gauge locomotives don't take as long as a standard gauge engine. The stacks in the round house, as others have said, could be used to fire up the engine first thing in the morning. This would come in handy in bad weather, and the wood could be kept in the engine house to start the fire, beside the locomotive. However, this would have to be done the week before, and this would or could ensure that we have somewhat dry firewood to fire up the engine with.

Joe

Bruce Wilson replied:
Quote
The old engine house at Edaville was constructed of corrugated sheet metal over light wooden framing. The long structure held four steam locomotives (Monson 3 & 4, Bridgton 7 & 8 ) and usually one of the ex-Whitinsville G.E. diesels. The building spanned a single track with engine house doors at each end and a small lube shack on one side. A supply of fire wood (pine bark and slabs) was kept inside for firing up. As soon as the steam engine(s) were lit off, the diesel would be used to haul the locomotives(s) out doors for steaming up.

To the best of my recollection, there were no smoke jacks built into the roof of the Edaville engine house. Ventilation was minimal, unless both sets of doors were opened. Even with the doors opened, visibility was poor inside the building and inside the cabs of the steam engines.

After operations, the engine(s) were put away warm and firing up the next day went quickly even in cold weather. A propane salamander style heater was used inside the building, although there was no insulation that I recall.

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
First of all, let me correct my previous error. I meant "bank"
a solid fire, not "build", although you do build a bank.
The operation was at the Nebraska and Iowa State Fairs.
Each had 1 1/2 to 2 miles of permanent track and the three 24" Crowns and 12 coaches were trucked back and forth. Great fun. I started as an engineer ( why not start at the top?) and eventually was the General Manager and everything else.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Quote
Along with the plan of firing up locomotives inside the roundhouse is the need for dry fuel.  We should consider having a small woodshed near the roundhouse or a woodbin inside the roundhouse.  It wouldn't have to hold much more than enough to get engines 9 or 10 hot enough to add coal.  Wood could be kept in the tender but I think the steam crew would rather have a good load of coal in there.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
How about a place to keep some coal for the engines that is under cover and out of the weather. Something other than the tarps. While we are talking about coal, when are we getting more, because we only have a little bit left. I am guessing maybe enough for a month at the most. Talk to you guys later.

Joe

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
I believe coal storage is in the long range plan. In one form or another. Dry storage similar to the covered coal shed of the B&SR with a bucket on an arm would be great. Perhaps the WW&F had something similar but I forget.
Mike

Bill Sample replied:
Quote
Has any consideration been given to "house steam" being available?  Think this was used to keep locomotives somewhat warm by some of the "broad gauge" - I don't know if it was used on the two-footers, maybe it was in Phillips.  Maybe a household boiler could do the job for our locomotives if the idea make sense to the mechanical department.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
Do you mean house steam, like hooking a mounted boiler up to the engine boiler, so that the hot water is in the boiler?

Joe

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Bill, I was thinking the same thing but had declined to say anything. But since you brought it up, I was thinking of a boiler, or just taping into the one in the machine shop, and hook it to the loco using quick disconnect hoses like what is used on the diesel in the winter with the heater. Of course some kind of circulator would need to be hooked on the line and the Machine shop Boiler would probably have to run constantly to keep the loco boiler warm. Just my thought.
Mike

Bill Sample replied:
Quote
Joe, that's exactly what I meant.
Mike, I completely forgot about the heating boiler in the shop - it might work if the roundhouse is right next door to the shop.  I was thinking some way of slowly bringing the boiler temperature up to 140 or so degrees so that the strain on the metal is reduced when the fire is started up, if Jason & Co. think it is worth the trouble.  The locomotive could be "charged up" with heat several hours ahead of fire time, maybe this could even be on a timer if everything is set up in advance.  I'm just interested in seeing the life of the boilers be extended as long as possible.
The RMNE has a couple of diesels that have been equipped with standby heating systems to keep the cooling system warm during the coldest months, which consist mainly of fairly small household boilers and a couple of circulating pumps.  The installation and operation of these is fairly cheap, and it should be even less expensive at the WW&F, knowing the talents for scrounging that exist there!

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
When I spent a few days two summers ago helping out at the NC Railroad museum at Spencer, I assisted in firing up Shay no. 1925. Here's how we did it. On Friday afternoon, we laid a small fire in the firebox and got it going. Then we covered the whole thing over with green coal. We oiled and greased around the engine for an hour or so, then checked the fire again. The next morning, when we arrived at 6 a.m., the engine was nice and warm, although the fire had died away to almost nothing. We raked out the bank and spread it around on the grates, threw in some wood and a can of diesel fuel, followed by a fusee. As the wood burned, we slowly added coal. At about 8, we went down the street for breakfast while things heated up. In less than 2 hours, we had enough steam to start the blower, and we had no trouble raising steam in plenty of time to move the engine over to the coal ramp.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
Was that a standard gauge engine, and how much boiler pressure did you have, when you got there in the morning? Talk to you guys later.

Joe

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
Standard gauge 70-ton three-truck Shay, built 1925 for the Graham County RR in North Carolina. No pressure on the boiler when we arrived, just everything nicely heated up to about 150 or 170 degrees.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
Oh. I am surprised that you guys were able to build up pressure that quick. I remember at railcamp, they said the slower you raise the boiler temp. and pressure then the longer your boiler will last.

Joe

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
That's the point of heating the engine up without building pressure. All the expansion that affects sheets and staybolts takes place without pressure, so then all that's necessary is to boil water.

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
Quote
I can't believe this worked (being able to post I mean)

I like Wayne's method- a nice gentle start.  When I have time, I pull the engine out Friday evening and light a small wood fire, and leave it for a couple hours.  When it burns out, we push it in, and the next morning, we have a warmer boiler to start with.  We never get any steam Friday doing this, on purpose.  Just a warm up cycle.

No offense intended to the idea of hooking to the shop boiler idea, but this is problematic, and a bit modern in my opinion.  The shop boiler water is mixed with a special antifreeze, which would do well at promoting foaming in a power boiler.  Call me old fashioned, I think I prefer a good old fashioned small wood fire to quick connecting to a modern boiler anyway...

see ya
jason

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Back to the topic at hand.........
A "soft start" on any pressure vessel is desired to minimize stress, as everyone has noted.
That said, standby boiler heat is not only not necessary but really not desired. A small fire and build from there, sloooowly.
JML, I totally agree.
Ira

Josh Botting replied:
Quote
Even if we ran strait water through the boiler, it would be full of stuff over time, heating boiler stuff is bad stuff, not good to cycle it.

If we did slow heat the boiler over night, we would need a secure place to lock the engine down, so someone didn't take it for a ride, as happened in the mid west with a diesel.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
Thanks Jason and Josh, I knew there was something I was overlooking with my thought. And I don't think the crew minds waiting for the steam pressure to build. They seem to find enough to do with caring for the engine during the steam up. No need to rush with things of that age anyway. Got to make it last.
Mike

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
No one's going for a joyride with a steam engine that's on a warm-up fire. No pressure is ever raised, and without pressure, the engine's not moving.

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
That's the beauty of steam, if you don't know how to operate it properly, one of two things is going to happen, the boiler will either run out of steam, and the engine will stop, or a boiler explosion.

Joe

James Patten replied:
Quote
I wouldn't call a boiler explosion a beautiful thing....

Joe Fox replied:
Quote
I didn't meen it like that, I just worded it wrong.
_________________
“We are extremely proud of our collection of historical railroad equipment, which is the largest of any U. S. railroad, especially our steam locomotives.”
-Steve Lee-

Joe

BSRMBrake replied:
Quote
There are several advantageous qualities to banking the fire and several disadvantages.  One of the goals of banking the fire over night is to reduce the expansion/contraction of the boiler caused by temperature changes in the boiler and firebox barrel.  Carefully banking the fire ensures that cold air spaces will not build up in the firebox leading to uneven expansion and contraction of the firebox.  Another is leaving you with enough pressure in the morning (not full operating pressure, mind you) to allow you to operate the blower and raise steam faster by increasing draft.  Usually it is accomplished by banking the fire with a few inches of coal throughout or building up a thicker section which can be spread in the morning and capping the stack.  It is my understanding that hoslers were used most often when locomotives were maintained throughout the night at operating pressure.  This is so that at any point during the night, when a locomotive was required for an assignment, it would be ready to go.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
I hope I speak for more than myself when I say I am against any banking of a fire in a steam engine to be left overnight with no watchman. Our organization has too many valuable things that could be lost if a problem were to arise overnight and no one was there to catch it.
Mike

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Mike,
I totally agree with you and hope EVERYONE reads your post.
NO banking or any live fires overnight on the WW&F.
It is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Ira

John McNamara replied:
Quote
But the disaster would be in keeping with our efforts to recreate the original railway 

Ira Schreiber replied:
Quote
Let's go to Rome and recreate Nero's effort. If you do not want to travel overseas, we can always get a cow and go to Chicago!
I am at a loss, however, on how to go to San Francisco and start an earthquake.
'nuff said?
Ira

James Patten replied:
Quote
Let's not and post on the internet that we did.  Then we collect from the sympathy donations that come our way, and probably go to jail for fraud.

James Patten replied:
Quote
From Jason:
Quote
- I don't think we should be banning keeping a banked fire in locomotives overnight, as long as there is a qualified steam fireman or higher responsible for it all night.  Further, I think there's no problem with this inside of the roundhouse, provided it is built for it with proper smoke jack, etc.

Mike Fox replied:
Quote
That's all I was saying. As long as there is somebody there. We have said before that there has been great improvements in fire protection/detection/prevention since the time when the original WW&F Roundhouse burnt.
Mike

Stephen Hussar replied:
Quote
Call me crazy, but tending to a couple of simmering locomotives overnight in a roundhouse is something I'd like to experience someday...

Wayne Laepple replied:
Quote
Night hostling is my all-time favorite steam engine experience. Some 37 years ago, I was a volunteer with an occasional main line steam operator in eastern Pennsylvania, and after a couple of stressful main line trips, I decided to volunteer to hostle the engine. I'd head for the roundhouse about 10 p.m. the night before the trip and build a nice wood fire to warm things up. Then I'd add some coal, and while waiting for pressure to run the blower, I'd wipe the engine down, fill the lubricators and grease the rods. Then I'd relax and commune with the engine for a while.

Later in the night (or maybe I should say very early in the morning) after steam was raised, I'd move the engine out onto the turntable, spin it around, and back out onto the outbound lead track. As the first gray light of dawn was breaking, I'd run the engine up and down the lead several times to make sure the lubricator was feeding correctly and the grease was getting to the rod bearings. Sometimes there was time for a bit of coal scoop cooking -- bacon and eggs done to perfection. Then I'd just settle down in the fireman's seat and wait for the crew to arrive. When they showed up, I'd head for home and my nice warm bed.

Meanwhile, my fellow volunteers were squabbling about who would fi
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum