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Loco Brakes

Discussion in 'Locomotive M.I.C.' started by southyorkshireman, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. southyorkshireman

    southyorkshireman New Member

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    What reasons were there for different choices in loco brakes?

    presumably unfitted freight locos had steam brakes as this was the most straight forward option, but why did some companies favour steam brakes on locos and others vacuum?

    I assume that steam brakes take up less space than vacuum cylinders being one reason?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    In a lot of cases, space is a major consideration, as a Vacuum Cylinders take up more space than a steam one. The way the brake is to be used is also a major consideration, or in some cases, what standered parts you can use to keep costs down.
     
  3. jamieP

    jamieP New Member

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    Always makes me wounder tho why engines that as GWR tank engines had vacuum only fitted but spent most of there time hauling unfitted coal trains around wales
     
  4. odc

    odc New Member

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    As it happens most GWR tank locos had a steam brake run from the some valve as the vac system - but there is a knack to it.

    The basic answer to your question though is the same reasion cars have hand breaks. There is an independent brake to hold the loco and control it seperatly, most notably the loco brake holds the train in a platform as it's brakes are blown off but will hold it still. The choice was fairly limited as a steam brake was very simple to fit and control both seperatly and together with the continuas brake.

    Those engines with vac brakes only did not normall have a seperate way of applying the brake to the loco from the train, so if trying to do a hill start the fireman would have to do some heafty work with the hand brake. I only know of one type of engine working in this country that has independant locomotive vacumn brakes, and many will not be aware which.
     
  5. Guest

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    Very old locomotives may never have received a vacuum brake because before 1890 there was no requirement for continous brakes on passenger trains. I can't imagine that railway companies would fit vacuum or air brakes to all their locomotives if they were not all going to be working passenger trains.

    Can anyone tell me if any industrial locomotives were fitted with vacuum brakes for the purpose of working continous piped trains?

    I am sure someone will be able to quote the relevant piece of legislation that was brought in.
     
  6. John Elliot Jnr

    John Elliot Jnr New Member

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    I'd like to know which. Independant loco vacuum brakes are something I've only ever vaguely heard of, fitted (I think) to some export English Electric diesels.
     
  7. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    The Great Western Steam brakes could not be operated seperate to the vacuum brakes on a fitted train, unlike the midland locos, but if a Western Steam braked loco is running light, or unfitted, then one of the bags should be left hanging down, other wise if it starts to creat vacuum from the pump, the proportioning valve in effect turns down the steam brake.
     
  8. Guest

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    I remember the pain of always having to leave the bags off 3440 when it visited us a few years ago. Luckily we don't have too many GWR engines in Scotland!

    Does anyone who drivers/fires have any particular preference for what type of brake valve is used on different engines? I enjoy driving engines fitted with the LMS type of combination brake. I have found it much easier to use than the Dreadnought ejector and brake valve.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The panniers and small tanks may have had a steam brake but certainly the 42XX and 56XX didn't. They just had a vacuum brake. I've only driven three of these but have found them to be next to useless, there being no reservoir and a reliance on the retaining valve to change over and on the pump to hold up the chamber side. How the heck GW crews put up with them on coal trainsdown the Welsh valleys, I don't know.

    Never done that. For a 'hill start' I simply blow the brake off and as the vacuum rises I open the regulator and let steam take over as the brake comes off.

    The L & Y 0-6-0ST?
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    For overall ease of operation I find the BR standard system is the best. The LMS brake is fine once you've learned not to hold the handle in the hand and rest the palm of your hand on the air piston spindle so you can feel it move. Dreadnoughts are fine but slow in operation. Don't like the Bulleid brakes, nor the GW system.
     
  11. Guest

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    Yes know what you mean about the LMS brake.

    I do like the BR system as well. Certainly almost as easy as the LMS method and always has a nice feel to it.
     
  12. jamieP

    jamieP New Member

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    Never had a problem with 5224 and 6619 up the moors with reguarding the vac pump holding the vac and chamber side up
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I have!!!
     
  14. Sugar Palm 60526

    Sugar Palm 60526 New Member

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    So have I !!! And they have a considerable vacuum reservoir.

    I was told the GWR brake system was partly developed to avoid patent infringement because they were intent on making every mortal item themselves instead of buying of the shelf from the likes of Gresham & Craven.
     
  15. tuffer5552

    tuffer5552 New Member

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    The vacuum brake GWR engines.... I think the south wales engines may have been vac fitted because it is easier to control a vacuum brake than a steam brake. A steam brake is quite harsh and can be tough to control, also if used a lot can overheat, the cylinder etc can get too hot. The vac brake is a lot more controllable.
    As for holding a train on the vac brake, it is possible to do this.
    As a train comes to stand, a good driver will stop with no less than 10, preferably 15 inches of vac, to avoid joulting the cattle. Generally this can be blown back up to 18-21 inches and the train will still hold, a shorter train needs less inches as there are fewer brake shoes. Also another trick, if the gradient is noticeable, i.e. more than just the curvature of the globe, then for a short period, waiting for the guards RA once all the doors are shut, the driver can hold the train on the regulator. This does depend on a good driver, and a good engine.
     
  16. yorksireenginegroup

    yorksireenginegroup New Member

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    ive found steam brakes to be just as good as vac i have had experience of a gwr vac loco brake and i will say i blooming hated it
     
  17. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Most of our drivers tell you to put the handbrake on when you are stationary on Vac braked Western engines, rather than try to hold it on the last couple of inches, and I belive this was Western practice too. You would be surprised how fast you can get them off too.
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Can't agree with that statement. A steam brake is very much more controllable, responding to the brake handle movement quite quickly. A vac brake is slow to release and, if you lock the wheels it can take an age to get them turning again. I don't know where the idea that a steam brake cylinder can overheat comes from. It can only get up to the temperature of the steam and it is designed for that!
     

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