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Geared Steam Locomotive Works

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Smoke Stacks

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Lima utilized at least three  types of smoke stacks on the Shay.    Each type served a functional purpose related to type of fuel each particular locomotive was built to utilize.  

The fuels commonly utilized by customers were oil, coal, and wood.    Use of coal and wood posed a particular problem related to the exhaust of smoke through a smoke stack.   Unlike oil, these fuels would not be totally consumed by the burning process  and would leave a waste material behind referred to as ash and cinders.  Most of the cinders would drop or settle out to the bottom of the boiler's fire box, but some were so small and light weight  the natural force of the exhaust of the smoke (hot air rises) out of the stack would carry them up and out of the smoke stack.  Once outside some cinders were still so hot, they glowed from the heat and combustion still taking place within themselves.   These cinders would come in contact with dry combustible materials on the ground  such as leaves, grass, and brush, often causing fires that would spread and do considerable damage.   Fire would also be a problem with  nearby wooden structures such as bridges and buildings as a result of a dry environment and  the hot cinders coming in contact with their wood.

The taper stack was a straight through stack in that it contained no cinder screens or baffles.  It  would be utilized on those locomotives that burned oil and some that burned coal in an environment where fire from hot cinders would be a low probability.   The Radley & Hunter and diamond stacks were designed to trap and prevent hot cinders from escaping the stack.  The diamond utilized a screen in conjunction with its larger opening as a cinder trap.  These were utilized on the on both coal and some wood burning locomotives.   The Radley & Hunter utilized a more extensive system of baffles and was of larger size to trap cinders.   These were used almost exclusively on those locomotives that were to burn wood in those areas where the danger of fire was the highest.

The  downside to utilizing the cinder catching stacks  was the reduction in air flow through the boiler caused by the screens, baffles, and larger opening.   This caused the fire in the firebox to burn more slowly and not give off as much heat as would other wise be possible.  

Sand Boxes

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Sand was used to give the drivers on a steam locomotive (both geared and rod types)   better traction on rail that was slippery due to rain, snow, or ice.  It was dropped (gravity fed) on demand  from a storage container located on the locomotive, through  fixed position pipes to a location that was either in front or behind a driver.   For rod and geared  locomotives, this source   was a dome called sand dome located on the top of the boiler.   For rod locomotives, the dome could  provide sand to the drivers, because on these, all drivers are located directly below the boiler.  Geared locomotives however,  had drivers positioned well behind the boiler.  Running a pipe from the sand dome across the doorway of the cab was impracticable if it was at all possible.  The manufacturers of geared locomotives utilized a box  or boxes positioned on the tender to provide sand to these rearward drivers.

Lima's implementation of the the sand box can be seen in the image above.  The large box on the left was used on the back center of a Shay tender (click it!).  Two of the small boxes on the right in the image were used  on the back of the tender on either side of a crew ladder (click it!).   A ladder was sometimes placed in a stand off manner over the large type sand box on some Shays.

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Page changed: December 31, 2012 09:49:40 PM