Monday, June 4, 2018

Track Pans, Standpipes, and Water Bridges

Wayne Hudak posted two photos with the comment:
Thirsty steam locomotives would pick up water "on the fly" by using track pans. There were a few around NW Indiana (Lake Station, Portage, etc). This one was just east of downtown Chesterton in the area of today's Route 49 Bypass. Water was drawn from Coffee Creek. Both Photos are looking east.
Porter County, Indiana - Genealogy and History posted
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway track troughs located east of Calumet Road just past Coffee Creek, 1915. The troughs, pump house, and water tower were installed in the summer of 1906.
Curt Zehner I think I remember those water troughs in the 60’s. They were just east of Calumet, the pump house was just east of Coffee Creek.
Greg Tavernier FYI for those who wonder why? ... Water troughs were installed between rails so steam trains (engines) could scoop up water while moving ... in earlier times, the train had to stop to take on water so it could continue on its journey.

Raymond Storey posted
The 20th Century in Indiana.... Photo credit Alan Coslet.
Dennis DeBruler And a nice view of scooping water out of the track pans.

Raymond Storey posted
Porter County Indiana...
Michael J. Sullivan Now that is going back some! I remember the spray flying up on the windows of the coach cars!
Lawrence Smith if this is Porter County then must be the Chesterton pans - was 2 track territory at that time. Using a 1948 chart it was the 1st pan EB out of Chicago. the next was Lydick about 10 mi further east. There were 6 pans between CHI and TOL giving engine crews plenty of options.

Jamess Boudraux posted, [DeBruler]
Steam locomotive tenders could hold enough coal to go a significant distance, but they had to frequently be refilled with water. Many towns in the Midwest exist because a railroad decided they needed a water tower at that location. So they would build a water tower and depot and plat the surrounding land for sale. Typically, at least one entrepreneur would build a grain elevator along the tracks. Monee, IL is probably an example of such a town.

In the 1800s, it was no big deal for the fireman to top off the tender with water while the train stopped to load and/or unload people, mail, milk and express freight. But when NYC and Pennsy developed their name trains of 20th Century Limited and Broadway Limited, they got into a race as to who had the shortest time for the overnight run between Chicago and New York. Their very names indicated an important aspect of that speed --- limiting the number of towns they stopped at. In a 1938 timetable, the 20th Century Limited listed five intermediate stops going westbound and four stops going eastbound. (If a train would arrive in a town in the wee hours of the morning, it did not stop. Unlike Amtrak, other passenger trains would be run over the same route at different times of the day so those trains would serve the smaller towns or the ones skipped because of bad timing.) In 1956, it had even fewer stops. In 1967 it had several towns. [American-Rails] The 20th Century was soon cancelled after that 1967 timetable because both the 20th Century and the Broadway Limited lost the race between Chicago and New York to the airlines.

But if you are not stopping in towns, how do you add more water to the tender? You build track pans  between the tracks as illustrated by Wayne's photos at the top of this posting. And you build your tenders with a scoop and vent pipes. The reference for this photo has several more images including a diagram of the design of the scoop in the tender.
Paul Jevert posted
Stuart B. Slaymaker Annotated to show expansion chamber vents, installed to reduce water pressure while tank is filling.
The vent pipes were a refinement. JimQuest has some photos of the water overflowing from the top of the tender. I had no idea that they scooped water at 85mph. Imagine the challenge the fireman would need to lower the scoop at the beginning of the pan at that speed. There was a green signal to mark the beginning and a purple signal to indicate where the scoop had to be raised.

One of three photos posted by Joe Barron
Track pans on the New York Central by Chesterton. As locomotives got larger and more powerful they made more steam. The larger tenders were configured to hold more coal than water, and relied on track pans to pick up water on the fly by means of scoop that was lowered into the pan. Crews worked the track pans year round. A challenge in the winter keep operational. There were a set of track pans on the Michigan Central east of New Buffalo near Three Oaks.
Richard Ivins The location was called Avery because of its proximity to Avery Road east of Three Oaks. In the 1970s some traces of the operation could still be found there.
Daniel C Carroll Jr. shared
Korry Shepard There were also track pans on the PRR Ft. Wayne branch northeast of the Grand Calumet River.
Bill Osborne posted
From the 1945 Railway Engineering and Maintenence Cyclopedia
Stan Carlson It looks like the Dreyfuss shroud has taken quite a wartime beating.
Eric Zerkle There was one in Corunna, Ind.....
Dennis DeBruler

NYC Dreyfuss J3a Hudson 4-6-4 posted
A J3a streamlined Dreyfuss Hudson photographed on the fly scooping up warm water at the Chelsea track pans in Michigan on a winters day.
It’s business as usual on the New York Central System.
Joseph Stachler This is not a J3a. It’s No. 5344 — a J1e. Look at the running board coming from the center of the covering over the tank.
Daniel Parsons it's hard to tell if it's 5344 or not. the cars behind it do look like mercury cars and if that is the case then chances are it could be since 5344 was in mercury service back then. her run was usually chicago to detroit and detroit to chicago again.

I knew the premier passenger trains ran faster than Amtrak's 79mph, but I had assumed they would have slowed down for scooping. Even at lower speeds, track pans waste a lot of water by splashing it to the side.
(new window)

Adequate water supply for steam was an issue long before track pans were used:
One of the most important matters which received the attention of the management [of the PRR] in 1905 was to provide a sufficient water supply.... Arrangements were made to secure an adequate supply of good water...and for the construction of the reservoirs and the piping....The water supply system now embraces 36 reservoirs and intakes... their total capacity is three-billion gallons. The total length of pipe lines in the system is 441 miles. The number of gallons furnished in 1926 was over 14 billions. The area of mountain land owned in the water supply system is 27,300 acres. The benefits more than justified the expenditures of 30 million dollars. -- (H. W. Schotter, The Growth and Development of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, December 1927.) [JimQuest]
Eastern railroads, which did not cross deserts, started installing track pans in the 1800s. In addition to NYC and Pennsy, the B&O also used them. [Trains]

Jim Arvites posted photos of both limiteds with an explanation that both started service on June 15, 1902.

Peter Dudley's share and some comments indicated that both limiteds introduced their streamlined versions on June 15, 1938.
Peter Dudley referenced (source)
Another New York / Chicago inaugural run also occurred on June 15, 1938:
Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) debuted its all-new "Fleet of Modernism" BROADWAY LIMITED, designed end-to-end by Raymond Lowey.
The NYC and PRR flagships ran on exactly the same schedule. Photographic evidence of actual "races" between the two competitive streamliners is rare, but the possibility inspired several artists.
The attached Heribert Schroepfer painting shows PRR's No. 3768 (a K4s 4-6-2 Pacific) heading the eastbound BROADWAY LIMITED, racing NYC's eastbound 20th CENTURY LIMITED, from Englewood IL to Elkhart IN.
The unique bronze PRR locomotive livery, a leftover from its public appearance at the 1939 New York World's Fair, was soon replaced by the more-familiar, less-flamboyant Brunswick Green.
Screenshot @ -2:09
[I learned from this video that track pans were spaced 40 miles apart. The scene before this one shows the filling of a tender from a standpipe.]

Top Photo plus Paint
I repeat the top photo to highlight the standpipes with red rectangles. Only the premium trains would have the expensive scoop tenders. Most of the trains would stop and fill their tenders from these standpipes.

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad is the only railroad museum I have seen that has a standpipe on exhibit.
20170416 8480
Standpipes were used in engine service facilities and larger depots that serviced multiple tracks. Sometimes more than one water tower was used to feed the standpipes.

Tim Shanahan updated a group photo, [DeBruler]
Edward Peters Photo taken by John Inbody about 1910. Give or take a few years.
Taken from the coal dock.
[We can see four standpipes across the foreground.]
Steam Engines, Tractors, Trains, & More posted, [DeBruler]
Pennsylvania Railroad October 5th 1956 The "Golden Arrow" 10 cars pulled by K-4 # 5356 4-6-2 at Fort Wayne Depot
Photo by D Allen Bauer
[There are two modern (steel) water towers on the right. Note there is a second train stopped at the platform near the right.]

Raymond Storey posted
The L&NE..Sussex NJ
Dennis DeBruler The first photo of a standpipe that I have seen with the water gushing out of it.
Since there are no spouts on this water tower, we know it is feeding one or more standpipes over in the engine servicing area.
Roundhouses of Yesteryear and Today shared
Water stand, Roundhouse and yards, Pennsylvania Railroad Sodus point NY. Ronald Wright photo.
Bill Nimmo posted
I fondly remember seeing these operate right here , possibly in the same spot. This just east of the old passenger station in Coldwater Michigan. The Little River Railroad runs steam excursions out of there and this was recently put up.

Jim Etchie commented on Bill's posting
Jerry Worden shared
Both my father, C.E. Worden Jr. , and my Grandfather, C. E. Worden, were engineers on the Q line...Ottumwa's Grandpa with the Mark Twain Zephyr.
Nick DeyNick and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for CB&Q Railfans. In response to a question on the original post, two marks underneath the window means 1945-1950, and mars light after 1947, so the photo is likely from 1947-1950.
The roof in the background was probably the depot's roof, and this standpipe allowed passenger trains to top off while stopped at the depot.]
Doug Nipper posted (source)
[Even small towns sometimes used standpipes. I wonder if that was a "union" standpipe. That is, if it served both railroads (Milwaukee and IC).]

Gary Mittner posted two photos with the comment:
I know the PRR had nearly 2 dozen locations where they installed track pans for taking on water on the fly. And I know they constructed water bridges (not sure how many) for filling tenders when an engine terminal was beyond reaching. However, I don't know the reason for having both in the same location. ğŸ¤”. This photo of a 4 track overhead water bridge has no info written on the back but I'm assuming it's in the east of Pittsburgh area. The track pans are evident as well. 2 possibilities. Did the track pans freeze too often in the winter months that an overhead bridge was installed? Or, were the track pans being taken out of service and the overhead bridge was the new system? Or vise versa for that matter. And a 90f82 tender about to get its tank filled.
[Neither of his possibilities. The track pans were heated in the winter. Only higher speed trains would be equipped with tenders that had scoops. A comment pointed out that it looks like this I1 pulled train is scooping water. If it was a manifest, I would not be surprised. But I am surprised that a coal train would have a scoop. I'm also surprised this train would be high speed because the I1 was a 2-10-0.
Decapods had small driver wheels, which limited their max speed.]
Gary Mittner Found this online. Interesting read on track pans. Click on the full 15 page pdf file once there.


Raymond Storey posted
This is the first time I have seen a standpipe bridge. Gregory D. Pawelski posted two photos with the comment: "Pennsylvania Railroad water station at Leaman Place, Pa. - Then and Now."
Gregory D. Pawelski!3m6!1e1!3m4...
Dave Park Strasburg RR?
Brian Ferrell Amtrak Keystone Corridor. Cat Poles visible thru the trees.
Pat McKinney Interesting on the added concrete on the back wall and how the tracks are a bit higher but not as much as non electrified tracks have been raised over the decades.
Gregory D. Pawelski BTW. That is the Meadow Lane underpass. I'm standing at the entrance to Strasburg Railroad's future rail yard.
Gregory D. Pawelski Click on the next three slides after this posting.


Gregory commentedon his post
Remains of the well that supplied the water for the towers on May 5, 2018. (Gregory D. Pawelski Photo)

Video of track pan action (source, another source)

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