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DT
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What would be a protypical layout for a British loco yard (1930's to 1950's) where locos are stored in sheds with a turntable out front to help swing them around.

Regarding: cleaning out the cinders, filling with coal, water & sand...

Would locos be filled with coal, water and sand first thing in the morning before setting out or would that be done after cleaning out when coming back in the evening?

What are the processes involved and the correct order of doing things in a loco yard?

What type of locos would bring in the coal and how would the cinders be removed?
 

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This is a long one , and really needs someone who knows the steam railway well.

But as I understand it , water would be provided as and when required - either on shed, or on the road. Most major British main lines had water troughs at regular intervals, allowing trains to replenish their tenders at speed en route. Freight loops were often provided with water columns for the benefit of locos on freight trains speding long periods recessed awaiting a path, sdtation often had a column.

Coal would only be loaded on shed, before departure. Trains of loco coal would be worked by the same locos that would work any coal train . Crews would expect to have their locos prepared before booking on - lit up, coaled , the tanks filled. I think oiling round and filling the sandboxes would be the booked crew's job, not the men preparing the loco.

Traditionally the railway has had early turn and late turn - so a loco could go out at any stage during the day.

Ashes would be removed manually into the ash pit as part of disposal - a nasty job. Not sure what they did to empty the ashpit
 

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I seem to remember Bob Essery mentioning in one of his books on model railway operations that few layouts built this into their operation. I only have one of his books but he doesn't go into it much there. Perhaps he does in another? This is an area I am keen to incorporate on my own layout. If nothing else, the long preparation and decommissioning gives an excuse for a lot of steam locomotives.


Another possible source of information may be a steam engineman's biography. I remember reading a GWR locoman's memoire in the seventies.

David
 

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I've actually found that a lot of information is found on some DVD's. I have started collecting the Railways of Scotland series and have come across all sorts of information and film of how these coaling operated.



There is a variety of activities filmed which was taken during the steam era and all sorts of things like how they got the locos going at the beginning of the day, how they put out fires, general operation, turntable use and so on. Have a look at Transport Diversions website and check through the DVD's to see if there is anything which will fit your purpose. I find looks at old films shows a lot more than books can convey. It is the things going on in the background which are not mentioned in books that help to copmplete the picture.
 

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In the 1930s the LMS reorganised a lot of their depots to what was nicknamed the "cafeteria system". The idea being that when a loco came on shed it should follow a logical sequence.
Ideally the disposal operation would be,
(1) coaling with simultaneous watering if possible;
(2) ash disposal/fire cleaning;
(3) turning;
(4) stabling in shed for examination or return to further duties.



Pete
 

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Doug, one of the best ways I've found to get an understanding of how a yard works, is to read one of the books written by ex engine men about their carrer on the railways.

One that I have is "Small Coal and Smoke Rings", by Derek Brock. This was first published in 1983 by John Murray (Publishers) Ltd under ISBN NO 0-7195-4076-3. This book follows the authors career from cleaner to engine driver and gives a good insight into how each function worked.

There are, of course, other books of a simular ilk, but I'm not aware of any in current print.
 

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DT
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QUOTE (Free_at _last @ 6 Mar 2007, 00:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>In the 1930s the LMS reorganised a lot of their depots to what was nicknamed the â€Å"cafeteria system”. The idea being that when a loco came on shed it should follow a logical sequence.
Ideally the disposal operation would be,
(1) coaling with simultaneous watering if possible;
(2) ash disposal/fire cleaning;
(3) turning;
(4) stabling in shed for examination or return to further duties.
...

Thanks Pete, that is useful.

Jeff, and others, thanks for the book info (I have ordered it from Amazon). I'll check some of the others.

Does anyone have any photos of British turntables? I realise that since the demise of steam, the need for turntables has lessened somewhat. I can't find much on the net though. There seem to be smaller turntables at the end of the line used to just turn around a small loco - that probably didn't line running in reverse or pushing the train. Larger turntables at engine yards, storing locos in to segmented stalls, seemed to be less common in the UK.
 

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Doug,
Chris Leigh's book "A Railway Modeller's Picture Library" has a number of pictuires of various parts of a loco depot, including the parts of the LMS system Pete describes above (ISBN 0 7110 239 1, Ian Allan, 1995 - was £29.99 but has been seen a number of times now at £15.)

Another useful source is the BTF film "Wash and Brush Up", dating from 1953, on the recently released DVD set 'Reshaping British Railways'. (British Film Institute Volume 4 of the Brtish Transport Films Collection.) This shows a BR Standard class (73020) coming onto shed, dropping the fire, cleaning out the smoke-box, going into the shed for a boiler washout, being repaired, relit and then coaled etc. as it goes out to another day's work. The shed used is not mentioned, but as the loco bears a Chester (6A) plate it may well be Chester, which is ex-LMS, of course! In this case ash removal was by some form of conveyor/bucket system from a collecting pit into a hopper over a track and thence into wagons - similar to the coaling plant but on a much smaller scale.

For another book on a loco man's activities, I would recommend "A Locoman's Log, 1937-85" by Bill Alcock. Published by Silver Link Publishing in 1996, reprinted 2002, £17.99, ISBN 1 85794 0-83 0.

Hope the above is of help,
Regards,
John Webb
 

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Doug,

There were as many different shed layouts as there were sheds. The designers were for ever trying to produce their ideal arrangement, but they were always short of money and had to compromise and make do with what they had. As a result most engine shed layouts were unsatisfactory, probably too small, derelict to some degree, ill equipped and lacked decent accommodation for locos and staff alike.

If you provide covered accommodation for about half the locos allocated, suitable facilities for watering, coaling, turning, and ashing out, you have all the elements.

Boiler wash outs, as in the BTC film "Wash and Brush-up" mentioned earlier only took place about once every two weeks and at main sheds, probably not sub sheds. However it is an excellent film and I strongly recommend anybody to get hold of a copy of it on Video or DVD. It really explains the workings of a loco very well. I suggest that if a few more of our preservation societies had insisted that their (non BR trained) fitting staff watched it and applied all the principles explained, there would have been far fewer problems with leaking fireboxes and foundation rings a few years ago, and a great deal of money would have been saved.

Recently, I have found that a number of useful books on engine sheds have been offered at very reasonable prices in local bookshops.
In particular, may I recommend any of the series of three books on GNR Engine Sheds by Griffiths and Hooper, published by Booklaw. Do not be misled by the title, the development of all the GNR sheds right through to the end of steam is covered in graphic detail, so LNER and BR practices are also covered. I have managed to find all three volumes in recent months, all on offer at virtually give away prices.

On the second hand market, look out for British Railways Engine Sheds - London Midland Matters by Hawkins, Hooper and Reeve. The Irwell Press publishes a series of these books and I also found a slim booklet "British Railways Engine Sheds-an LNER Inheritance , by the same authors.

You could try Amazon or Abe Books for these. Preservation societies often sell second hand books at reasonable prices and these sort tend to stick on their shelves, so try haggling.

All the above books have black and white photos of all aspects of sheds. The last one is particularly good on cenotaph style coaling plants. All of them have details of turntables fitted, types of coaling plants, ash plant, track plans and the like.

If you want colour photos of BR shed scenes, one to look out for is Steam on Shed by John Stretton, published by Chancellor Press. This has lots of good photos taken in the 50s and 60s, but lacks detail on shed facilities.

The biggest problem for me was finding enough space on my layout and working out how to fit in everything that I decided that I needed.

Colombo
 

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I would agree with Colombo that John Strettons Steam on shed is a very useful work for anybody building a steam shed. I would also recommend Top Shed by P N Townsend as a good history of the famous Kings Cross shed. Ian Allan also did a series of books on the big four loco sheds, of which I have the Southern and Great Western editions. I don't know if these are still in print.

I probably have other works in my collection but these are the ones that spring to mind.

Regards

John
 

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Some typical L.M.S structures.






Pete
 

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this may be a bit late,i am busy rebuilding my outfit,anyway use google earth go to thornaby, follow rail track from the station you will come to one of the biggest yards in the country,on it you will see the old turntable base that was in the roundhouse,it will give you some idea at least.
 

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CJF covers this quite well in the Model Railway Design manual, also if you can obtain a copy of modelling the steam age - also by Cyril Freezer ( out of print ) this will stand you in good stead as a reference material.
 

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Hi Doug

Fires were rodded, rocked from the footplate and lumps of clinker picked out onto the footplate. Down in the pit the grate was quenched by hose and raked out through the dampers and doors straight onto the floor of the pit and then shovelled from the floor into a wheelbarrow and barrowed up a smooth part of the steps at the outside end of the pit. Any (few) lumps of coal that were too big to fall through the bars were left in the grate. The smoke box ash was emptied into the same barrow. This was the method used on the Midland Railway Centre when I first prepped, and later bedded down a Class 3F there on a footplate course. Enough steam was left to move it off the pit for the next engine. It was dirty, hot, and uncomfortable. I've seen pits with bigger trolleys running on rails either side of the pit which were craned out.
 
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