silly question about movie steam locomotives

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chucketn
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silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by chucketn » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:59 am

I get my interest in steam loco's from having a Grandfather that worked on the Erie Lackawanna RR for 50 years. I barely remember seeing steam locos running at the old roundhouse in Scranton, PA in the 50's.
I am also a fan of old western movies and tv shows. I often see what appears to be real steam locomotives in these movies and shows. I understand what 'engine bark' is when a steam loco is working hard or accelerating, but what is making the 'chuff" noise when it's sitting still under steam? Is this the sound of a boiler feed pump or some other steam powered engine accessory? Reminds me of the air dryer on big trucks.

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NP317
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by NP317 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:58 am

That "breathing" sound from a stationary locomotive is usually from the steam-powered air compressor(s).
It automatically starts and stops to keep the air reservoirs up to operating pressure.
They often slowly cycle, too, based on the pressure regulating valves.
Certainly a ubiquitous sound for The Beasts!
~RN

WJH
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by WJH » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:07 pm

Had a cab ride in one, not only did that air compressor make that noise, it also shooked the entire locomotive on each stroke. A very strong tactile experience to go along with the sounds, sights, and smells that make these things so interesting.

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liveaboard
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by liveaboard » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:15 pm

I didn't know they had air compressors; what was the compressed air used for?
Brakes?

chucketn
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by chucketn » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:34 pm

Thanks for the responses... I know Grampa is smiling down at me. I didn't get to ask many steam questions when he was here, but boy have I got a list when we meet again!

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:28 am

liveaboard wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:15 pm
I didn't know they had air compressors; what was the compressed air used for?
Brakes?
Air brakes.
—————————————————————————————————
I'm an old guy. What's your excuse? ☻

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NP317
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by NP317 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:27 am

BigDumbDinosaur wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:28 am
liveaboard wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:15 pm
I didn't know they had air compressors; what was the compressed air used for?
Brakes?
Air brakes.
Also used for the sanders, post-1900-ish.
And bell ringers.
And for the grease guns for the brick rod grease.
~RN

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rudd
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Re: silly question about movie steam locomotives

Post by rudd » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:13 pm

That got me to doing some remembering/research - though Westinghouse invented the system in 1868 or 69, depending on sources, and the Pennsy was an early adopter, they didn't become mandatory until 1900 under the RR Appliance Safety Act of 1893. (I recall George W had done some lobbying, purely looking out for the safety of the general public of course. cough.. cough.) So probably many of those locomotives would have not had air brakes at the time depicted, but the movie folks aren't going to get away from having them now, unless the RR isn't a common carrier.
Fer instance, Argent Lumber operated in SC and Georgia until 1963 with link and pin couplers (also outlawed in the Act of 1893) and steam brakes on the locomotive only. So an interstate RR, but not a common carrier. A very uncommon one in fact.

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