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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2011, 22:18 
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I've been asked by a modeller friend about the provision of coal and water for breakdown cranes during the winding down of steam traction, and whether coal and water tankers featured in breakdown train formations. The continuance of steam powered BDCs well after the finish of steam as a prime mover must have exacerbated any coal and water provision problem in those later years of course.

I'm aware that some (all?) of the 45-tonners had a greater water provision than earlier cranes (by using a section of the crane carriage as a water tank to supplement the tank mounted under the floor of the crab), but that wouldn't have lasted for a three-day bridge handling session for example.

I haven't seen much in the way of photographic or written records of coal and water tankers featuring in breakdown train formations. How common were they?


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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2011, 23:51 
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As you say, the 45T Cowan & Sheldon cranes i worked with had a large water tank built into the main carriage, (also helped the stability?) I cant remember how much it held but it certainly would last at least two days of working. There was a steam water lifter which was used to transfer the water to the side tanks, the crane had to be slewed to about 45 degrees to access the hatch to put the hose in. the water lifter could also be used to get water from any nearby stream or lake !! which we had to do on some really long jobs. The side tanks alone would certainly last a long time as the crane was rarely worked continuously. Coal was kept in one of the tool vans, a large wooden bunker being built at one end, also any smashed up wood packing would be kept there for lighting up. Coal would be transfered by bucket as required. Again it was only necessary on really long jobs.


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PostPosted: 07 Feb 2011, 12:25 
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Most, probably all, regions provided auxiliary water tanks for its steam cranes after the demise of steam. These were generally either redundant tenders from steam locos or surplus rail tank wagons withdrawn from their original revenue stream. For example, on the Western photos show the use of a redundant Hawksworth 4000 gallon tender with one of the 45-tonners, and a 6-wheel former milk tank with 36-tonner No 2.

The Southern Region used a relatively modern 35-ton GLW former creosote tanker as an auxiliary tank for the Stewarts Lane crane, and photos of this can be found on Paul Bartlett's excellent website. See:-

http://gallery6801.fotopic.net/p9664729.html
http://gallery6801.fotopic.net/p9664729.html

For later photos of this wagon, now once again resplendent as a creosote tanks, see:-

http://www.eastsomersetrailway.com/stoc ... =ADB998990
http://www.eastsomersetrailway.com/gallery.php?gid=292

The water capacity of a steam crane, even the R&R 45-tonners with a carriage tank, is wholly inadequate for continuous operation. In steam days clearly this wasn't a problem at all, since water (and coal) could be taken from an attendant loco. The single tank on the GWR 36-ton cranes is probably insuffient for even an hour's work.


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PostPosted: 07 Feb 2011, 17:22 
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Thank you for your interesting and informative answer, Roger.

The sole water tank on our 36/40-ton MP3 is on the small side, however we can do several hour's work on a single fill of tank and boiler (that is, work of the usual intermittent nature). We have a two-day series of lifts in April and I will try to remember to measure the water usage against time.

A problem that we have experienced with MP3 is the water in the tank warming up as the volume reduces, to a point where the injectors can struggle to operate if not on top form.


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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2011, 01:28 
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David,

Can you remind me whether or not you have a 'banjo' rotative feed pump on MP3, I forget. I suspect from the fact that you mention injectors (pl) that you don't.

One of the great benefits of the one injector plus one pump (normal) arrangement is that the pump will work regardless of water temperature.

It still intrigues me that at some time during the GWR era the banjo pump was removed from No 2 and the tank extended into the space it formerly occupied. Not only did this leave the crane with only a single device for filling the boiler (which I understand to have been contrary to BOT regs since about 1875), but the tank capacity is still pretty meagre. It is my intention at present to return the tank to its 1908 size and refit a pump during the crane's overhaul.

Roger


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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2011, 09:44 
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MP3 has no feed pump; it has two injectors and two clacks. The injectors aren't the correct ones as the originals were stolen, and this may be relevant to the 'warm tank water' problem that I mentioned. I have been told that the originals were easier to bring into operation.


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PostPosted: 27 Feb 2011, 10:24 
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Bob Willis wrote:
As you say, the 45T Cowan & Sheldon cranes i worked with had a large water tank built into the main carriage, (also helped the stability?) I cant remember how much it held but it certainly would last at least two days of working. There was a steam water lifter which was used to transfer the water to the side tanks, the crane had to be slewed to about 45 degrees to access the hatch to put the hose in. the water lifter could also be used to get water from any nearby stream or lake !! which we had to do on some really long jobs. The side tanks alone would certainly last a long time as the crane was rarely worked continuously. Coal was kept in one of the tool vans, a large wooden bunker being built at one end, also any smashed up wood packing would be kept there for lighting up. Coal would be transfered by bucket as required. Again it was only necessary on really long jobs.

Bob, I've happened across your post again, quoted here in full as it was most enlightening.

I understand that the Ransomes & Rapier 45-tonners from 1940-on used a compartment in the carriage as a water tank in a similar fashion to Cowans Sheldon, so it seems to have been common practice for both makers.

I also understand that Roger's 1908 36-ton GWR No. 2 was found not too long ago to have a carriage compartment prettymuch full of water - but this wasn't as the maker intended of course! Roger suggested, tongue-in-cheek (I think!), that he might make this a permanent feature!

The 36-ton R&R crane MP3 that I'm involved with does not, so far as I know, trap any significant volume of water within the carriage; it traps it instead in the load-bearing beam of each of the relieving bogies! This had caused severe corrosion in the tail-end bogie and we of course drilled a drain hole in it during the repair operation.


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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2011, 10:38 
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David,

It is certainly my impression that R&R were not too diligent in providing drain holes in box sections, however, in fairness to the original designer, the problem with No 2's water trap really only came about becuase at some stage the jib-end drawhook has been replaced, and to get to the drawhook retaining nut someone cut a hole in the plate directly above it. This would have been fine had they subsequently fitted a sealed cover plate, but they did not, hence the ingress over the years.

It now has produced the interesting problem of an empty space which is completely inaccessible which really could do with derusting and painting. Some form of chemical spray will probably be the only answer.

Roger


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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2011, 12:20 
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RS1083/45 at Bluebell Railway,b. 1943 Ransome & Rapier 45t ex Gorton & Newton Heath

Tank in main carriage, drain plug in base. Washed it out in early days of preservation, VERY stale, washed it through, lot of sludge in there, we filled it up but chose not to put it in the crane supply tank except in emergency. A large tank had been fitted to rear stokes bogie, with a worthington-simpson twin reciprocating pump to transfer to the crane tank. A godsend in Bluebell service, much of our work was week long trackwork or engineering works at stations or on running line, this supply made all the difference. This was no doubt why it had been modified in this manner. This meant that the relieving bogies were no longer interchangeable, and caused the hinged chimney extension to be removed as it could no longer be used as foul of the new tank. Water comes first and last in steam engines, these were minor issues set against a 550 gallon extra water tank, which could be pumped into crane's side tank.

Boiler feeds : Injector and Banjo feed pump. Recall pump could still feed on 10 psi!

Coaling : in Bluebell service, added a scaffold pole crane with a block that enabled bagged coal to be easily brought up to bunker height.

About 1980 recall the Finsbury Park steam crane calling at Willesden Yard en route site, Bushey derailment I think,, to gather a suitable wagon of coal to last it during its work. I envied them their covered shed/shelter to keep the crane in at Finsbury Park, visible as it was from ECML passenger trains. To my shame i cannot recall the crane, except I think it was a 36 tonner.


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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2011, 23:54 
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https://picasaweb.google.com/1000142260 ... sMzN8PL2Mg

Poto of the above crane at Sheffield Park in late 1980's, clearly shows water tank
on rear bogie, 550 gallons, don't know when the mod. was made.


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