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The skill of the Engineman

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Big Al, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    NO I didn't say that - you assumed that ! I was an enthusiast who was a friend of a relief signalman and I often joined him at the various boxes when he was around. In this capacity I have worked (under supervision) the 4 Corby boxes plus the 3 Glendon boxes in the late 1960s hence my "experiences". On occasions I have seen my being asked to operate the signals whilst the signalman was otherwise engaged; when the boxes closed I managed to get a copy of the registers for both Corby South and Corby North covering the same time period to show the train times. I later donated them to a friend at the Rushden Transport Museum and I presume that they are on display there; not having been back to the area since my parents' death in the early 1980s I regret that I am now a little out of touch with Corby activities although a period of work with Colin Garratt in the noughties saw me occasionally visit the Kibworth area.
     
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Er ... no, it can't. It really can't. A litre (or a gallon) is a measure of volume. For example, one litre is 1/1000 of a cubic metre - regardless of what it is 1 litre "of".

    What varies according to temperature is the mass of substance that will fill that volume. For example a litre of water will have a mass of 1 kg at 4°C and one atmosphere pressure, but less than 1kg at higher (or indeed lower) temperatures: e.g. at 100°C / 1 atm it will have a mass of 0.995kg. Transform it into steam at 225psi and you will only get about 0.008kg of steam into that same 1 litre volume.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  3. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    Provided the conditions are defined, you can refer to the quantity of steam either as a mass or a volume.
    For the purposes of this part of the discussion, i.e the relationship between stored energy and the level of water in the boiler (without changing the pressure). If you increase the amount of water by 10 gallons, you will also reduce the space available for the steam by 10 gallons.
     
  4. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    Perhaps I didn't express myself very well. What I was driving at is that as the temperature of the water is increased it expands. Thus a gallon container filled to the brim cold would overflow as the temperature went up. Conversely, the water level in a boiler water gauge would go up from lighting up cold to being under steam. For this reason when carrying out specific fuel consumption testing with Diesel engines they used weight, which remains constant, rather than volume which varies.
     
  5. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Off topic I know, but surely as the boiler is heated, the metal of the boiler also expands and hence its volume increases, possibly counteracting the expansion of the water?
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It does, but a minuscule amount in comparison.

    Anyone who has ever lit up a loco from cold will know of the expansion of water. It’s not unusual to get on a loco at zero psi (so warm, but below 100C) with the water at say half glass; by time you are approaching full pressure the water level may have risen to close to a full glass even though you have put nothing in or out.

    Tom
     
  7. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Thanks Tom - that is the pleasure of this thread...the real life experiences of those people with practical knowledge....... to balance our theoretical musings!
     
  8. peckett

    peckett Member

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    Corby North box was closed in 1996 after it burn down ,Glendon North 1987. you were long gone according to your post.
     
  9. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Just thinking a bit more about this, could the rise in water level also be due to the volume of steam bubbles in the water and the thin layer of steam that is on the water side of the metal of the firebox and tubes?
     
  10. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I sterilise bottles which I take to the milk machine with a mix of hot water & bleach.

    Its interesting to see how much the level drops as they cool
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Just purely due to the property of water which decreases in density as temperature increases.
     
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  12. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    You're nitpicking !

    The signalman at Corby South was my contact for noting 1T48 and this began when D155 was tested and continued until he was sacked for misappropriating railway property. Corby North was a regular location whilst employed by S&L until leaving in 1970 to go to University. Apart from "helping" my friend the relief signalman, I also was friendly with 2 regular signalmen who worked that particular box and often visited when I went home to stay with parents who lived on the Exeter Estate - adjacent to the railway ! If you're talking "being long gone" perhaps worth noting that I recall seeing Beyer-Garratts working freight services at Rockingham Road bridge overlooking Lloyds Sidings when my parents moved to Corby in 1956 so my experience of Corby workings covers a number of years. Apart from the signalbox activities I was also taught shunting Class 08s in Corby Sidings although I had to work the manual fuel pump as payment and in the late 1960s spent many a Saturday afternoon at Lloyds Sidings both riding on and driving the Class 08 taking the coal into the S&L transfer sidings (at North Bank ?). Sadly the friendly shunter at the time was later charged with, but IIRC not convicted of, offences following the runaway that killed the driver of 31150 at the Gretton end of Corby Tunnel.

    As I recall this it reminds me that I had more experiences around Corby than I had realised but, at my age, there is such a lot to remember that I may get things wrong. Accepted that at such times a gentle reminder is greatly appreciated but an aggressive "you're wrong" most certainly isn't.
     
  13. peckett

    peckett Member

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    You can tell as many stories as you like .But getting back the first point. Loose coupled trains did not travel at 50-60miles per hour ,steam or diesel,diesel loco's what ever their weight had a very poor braking power due to their small wheels,brake blocks to wheel create a lot of heat .40mph, the max on unfitted Toton -Brent coal trains. That's why brake tenders were built so they could run with the same loads as steam. Even when fully fitted coal trains were tested with air braked Britannia's 70043/4 during the mid fifties on the Midland , they had to be limited to 60mph,instead of 70, what was tested at first .16 ton short wheelbase wagons, especially when emptie,jump and sway about alarmingly. When Kettering shed closed they wanted three drivers for the Corby shunt job ,my parents next door neighbour got one of them ,which he done for a number of years.The loco was refiled with diesel at Wellingboro, once a fortnight. Any photo's? , I ve a number of Garratts .I saw the last one on its last but one run, it brought the empties to where I worked at Storefield, in the summer of 1958.My farther a driver at Kettering, was a regular on the Corby shunt job, steam and diesel. Kettering's jintie 47437 ,done it for years ,the work got too heavy for it and 4f s got the job ,in about 1950 Loco's were changed with the Manton pick up, so a fresh loco was available each day. .08s came in 1956/7 .The trips to S&L sidings from Lloyds sidings were a 8F job known as Wood trips, it was a one shift job at night. What was 1T 48 the code 1, is express passenger trains and breakdown trains.
     
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  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The whole business of the behaviour of water in the boiler is a science in itself and arguably not the kind of knowledge that a typical loco crew would be expected to have 'in the day' or now for that matter.

    However you would expect them to understand how gradients and the demand for steam affect indicated levels. And then there is the water quality itself - soft/hard etc.

    But even so, engineers don't always get it right. Were not the safety valves on original Bulleids relocated further back towards the cab so as to help with a tendency for them to prime, especially under braking?
     
  15. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Sorry, but I'm slightly confused, as I can't see how the position of the safety valves would cause a loco to prime. A possible theory might be that, if too close to the steam collector in the dome, blowing off might cause the water level in that immediate area to rise and be drawn into the main steam pipe?
     
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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not sure about priming while braking. (Priming is drawing water through the regulator to the cylinders, ie with the regulator open). I think they may have been moved to stop “picking the water up” through the safety valves when braking; moving the safety valves backwards on the boiler would help with that.

    Tom
     
  17. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I would suggest that this is not the forum for personal attacks on memories that distract from the original point re train speeds. All I will say that is that your reminiscences differ from mine - and it appears in a different time frame. My parents moved to Corby in 1956 so any personal experiences before that date are based on Edinburgh sightings whilst yours are obviously local. In MY experience the Control running of the occasional freight train occurred in the late 1960s when the signalmen on the designated train's route would advise Control of the train's passage and - as you note - the 16-ton wagons would oscillate greatly to the extent of fearing a derailment but that was not the concern of the signalmen. In my limited experience the Saturday working of the Wood trip was an occasional event especially during the later 1960s when Toton Yard began closing at Saturday dinnertime and only the occasional freight service to Lloyds Sidings was operated beyond that time to arrive in Corby around 15:00 IIRC.
    Given you note your work location was at Storefield I can only presume you were never aware of Derby Works sending out new locomotives to Corby Sidings as their test run before acceptance by BR; this test train was designated 1T48 and ran Monday to Friday only; My first experience of this was when D155 / 46018 appeared in February 1962 and over the many years I observed it examples of Classes 17, 25/1; 25/2, 46 and 47 appeared. This usually arrived around 14:00 routed via Syston and Manton then after running round the stock would return within the hour to Derby.

    In order to avoid distraction from the main theme of this thread I would suggest any further discussion be via E-mail to leave this thread to discuss the question of enginemanship without undue distraction.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
  18. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    As Big Al says " the behaviour of water in the boiler is a science in itself" and it would be fascinating to see if modern fibre optic/solid state cameras could be used to see inside a boiler generating steam at pressure.
    However I was intrigued about the question of volume change with temperature and so filled a saucepan with cold water (10 deg C) to a mark on the pan. (pic 1). The level remained virtually constant as I heated the pan. When more steam bubbles appeared at the top of the water and it was boiling steadily, the average level went up about 3 mm.(pic2). When I turned the heat off the bubbles of steam stopped and the level returned immediately to the original mark - but the water temp would be 99 deg C.(pic 3 which also shows the water level reached earlier by the "tidemark".
    DSC00908.JPG DSC00909.JPG DSC00910.JPG
    Maybe not scientific, but it does highlight the difficulty of knowing boiler water levels under varying conditions - my admiration for the skills of enginemen (and woman!) has increased further.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
  19. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

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    It seems fairly obvious to me that if steam takes up a greater volume than water, then bubbles of steam forming and rising through water will effectively raise the water level. Flying Phils experiment demonstrates this nicely.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    But the water in the gauge glass is free of steam bubbles, but it still rises when heated :) Which is an effect of decreasing density with increasing temperature.

    They have been linked to before, but worth linking again: Spirax-Sarco made a series of films showing the inside of a boiler, using a glass viewing port and an external camera. The boiler is an industrial one, not a steam locomotive boiler, but the films are interesting nonetheless, particularly showing the turbulence and how the foamy top of the water gets lifted towards the steam take off under conditions of high demand.

    There are 9 YouTube videos; the first is here and the other should be findable from that one:



    Tom
     

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