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Sub Zero Tempratures

Discussion in 'Locomotive Engineering M.I.C' started by johnofwessex, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    Obviously in a Diesel you can fill the radiators with anti-freeze but how do you protect a steam loco in sub zero temperatures - I have seen the gauge glasses on a laid up ship burst in sub zero temperatures.

    Following on from that how are active locos treated when they are 'laid up' over winter? Are the boilers and tenders drained?
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Certainly steam locos are "winterised" - all water drained from boiler and tender. What is done more short term I don't know.
     
  3. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Not all diesels reacted well to use of anti-freeze. This may have been down to BR using cheap after market liner seals in the past, but BR frost precautions for many years seemed to be to let everything run on tick over constantly. Bet the neighbours loved it.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Probably more important is getting all the water out of the pipes and fittings. Burst injectors aren't cheap to replace. Keeping service locos indoors helps a bit but only if the building is well insulated. Other things done include wrapping all vulnerable bits in a thick layer of rags. Watch out for ice in cylinders if moving a dead loco as ice is just as incompressible as water and won't come out via the drain cocks.
    Running steam in winter is such fun!
     
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  5. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    You could always light a fire in a steam engine.

    One other problem area is for those involved in PW works.
    Concrete sleepers sticking to each other when being lifted.
    Ballast frozen in the hoppers.
    Chairs breaking when trying to key up.
    Cant find the railway due to it being buried in 4ft of snow, although I might have an answer for that one.
    All experienced in the last 6 years on the NYMR
     
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  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Not necessarily true if it is frozen.
    Steam heated coaches can be fun, too.. Introducing steam into a frozen up pipe will not clear it as there is no flow.
     
  7. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture

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    in some cases injector cones are removed, and pipes covered to prevent build up of ice, and in the case of locos needed to be in service we used to light braziers next to the engines a few days before to keep the temperature above freezing and light warming fires in the loco over a 24hour period before lighting up
     
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  8. olly5764

    olly5764 Well-Known Member

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    Wrap the injectors and lubricator up, fill the lubricator with oil, open the injector foot valves (if it has them) open the steam heat cocks
     
  9. jtx

    jtx Well-Known Member Friend

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    One of the easiest ways to prevent problems, if you have people willing and able to do it, is just to maintain a small fire in the firebox. A dozen shovels, (in a big engine), will cook nicely, with doors and damper shut, for hours. Experience will tell how long. Returning to the engine, with one or two red embers left, a lump of wood and the back damper open for short time, will re-ignite the fire, then you can top up again, with a dozen, or more shovels, and if you can find some slack in the tender, pack it on top.

    You are not looking to make steam, just keeping the water tepid. A boiler with a small fire in, will not freeze, neither will any ancillary kit, like sight feed lubricators / gauge glasses, becuase they are bolted to the boiler backhead, which will remain slightly warm.

    It is surprising just how little heat is required to stop somewhere freezing. In the grim fifties, our outside toilet was kept frost - free by a small oil lamp, little more than a candle in a glass. It smelt a bit of paraffin, but it didn't freeze.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That's what I tend to do if a loco has to stand outside. Still need to be wary of low positioned injectors and pipework if it gets really cold, especially if there is no steam to leak through valves. A problem I've found with small locos is that if you don't raise steam to get the blower on, the tubes can soon block up, creating a different problem.
    I often wonder how they coped in Scandinavia and similar countries.
     

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