Cold Weather Running of Steam Locomotives

This forum is dedicated to the Live Steam Hobbyist Community.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, cbrew

User avatar
tsph6500
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: West of Dunvegan, Ontario CANADA
Contact:

Cold Weather Running of Steam Locomotives

Post by tsph6500 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:14 pm

Bill Shields wrote:Do you guys find that a steamer is more or less efficient in cold weather...or cannot tell one way or another?.
Hi Bill,

One of the joys of living here are the four seasons. You can't fight or ignore winter so you might as well learn to enjoy it and this applies to live steaming.

Like many clubs, a few of us hearty (or foolish) souls like to run in the winter. This is not new in Montreal nor unique to MLS but we sometimes take it to extremes.

One year the snow was so deep that we couldn't drive in to our club so we placed the engines and tool boxes on toboggans and pulled everything in. There were a couple of drifts up to the rails on the highline!

The coldest running was two years ago when we ran two steamers on New Year's Eve on Bernie Grow's backyard track. It was -16˚C with a stiff windchill (about 3˚F + windchill) and engineers lasted about 20 minutes max before handing off the throttles to the next.

The biggest problem was any drop of water that hit the rail froze almost instantly and made traction challenging. Lizzzy's 0-6-0 did very well as the feedwater was always heated to piping hot (Anyone care for a cup of tea?).

The DB Atlantic brought over by James Scott had some issues with freezing tender hoses IF she was kept idle for too long. This engine was built with a small steam heat pipe through the mechanical lubricator. Neat!

The engines steamed well but I feel that it is wind more than air temperature that challenges the engineer.

Visibility is always a problem at colder temperatures but at least your beer stays cold.

Here are a few photos from Jan. 10/07 at Montreal. Who else runs in the cold? Let's see your photos too!
Attachments
mls07.01.07_lizzzy.jpg
mls07.01.07_pickle.fire.jpg
mls07.01.07_james.db.jpg
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
White Mountain Central RR - Engineer

User avatar
Loco112
Posts: 942
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:09 pm
Location: Dallas ,Texas. USA

Cold weather, what's that?

Post by Loco112 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:12 pm

Man that looks like fun!

Here in Texas we have two seasons, Hell and Heller.

But it does rain during March, and it is a littel chilly in Febuary.
Narrow Gauge (Information) Exchange dot Org forum
My Projects:
Davenport 30 ton diesel (SV#101 / D&RGW#50)
C&S 1908 steel & 1905 wood: box, stock, flat, gon
D&RGW wooden freight cars, long & short cabeese
EBT 2-bay hoppers, Conoco #44 tank
DV (K&J) hopper
8"n3 - 3-footers, 8" scale, 24" gauge

DCWilloughby

Train Mountain's Polar Bear Meet

Post by DCWilloughby » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:08 pm

Cold weather and live steam, what a combination. Three hearty Southern Californians make the trip to Train Mountain's first Polar Bear meet in January 2005. During the visits the temperature hovered at 25-29 degress F. What a learning expereince. Brakes freezing to the wheels on the cars, parts falling into the snow and proceeding to disappear, and having a locomotive and tender head off in different directions on a spring loaded switch that had frozen in the incorrect position and then position itself for the correct route after the ice broke loose. And how about wheels growing as they pick-up ice and snow. All it takes is a lot of dedications, some great cold weather gear and being just a little bit crazy. And you now appreciate how the full size guys worked in such conditions to earn a living.

tomc
Posts: 343
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:04 pm
Location: Sw of the Windy City

winter on the SR&CL Ry

Post by tomc » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:51 am

We always run in the winter as fire danger is much lower in the woods. Sometimes it is very interesting.

Tom C.
Attachments
CLL#4 with loads Woodshill branch,2-20-05.JPG
tom_at_srclry_com
Lost somewhere in Michigan!

User avatar
cbrew
Posts: 2832
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 12:17 pm
Location: Vancouver Wa

Post by cbrew » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:44 pm

This was my daughter first time at the controls
Image
Image
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

Steve Bratina
Posts: 973
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Cambridge Ontario

Cool Steamin'

Post by Steve Bratina » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:00 pm

Last year I talked the Hamilton club to come out to celebrate my birthday at the track. They were all in favor until I told them it was January 1st. Actually there were a few die hard steamers but I had the only steamer. This year I will be turning 45 on the high line and have talked the boys into another NYD run. Anyone else wanting to come out to the Hamilton track, please do.
One time long ago, my wife and I talked the Windsor guys to run in late October. This was before A G and global warming. Anyway, it was soooo cold that the lines froze on our two engines and the boys were all huddled up in Sids coach. It was cold in there too. We ended the meet around noon and all headed home. Two guys came down with bad colds and Murray still thinks I am a nut. It was fun though. (I think?)
Attachments
NewYearsDay2007008.jpg

User avatar
tsph6500
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: West of Dunvegan, Ontario CANADA
Contact:

Re: Cool Steamin'

Post by tsph6500 » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:32 am

Steve Bratina wrote:It was fun though. (I think?)
It has to be fun 'cause there's no way you could pay us to run in circles when it's cold enough to freeze a fella's Double Double from Timmy's.

I had a look in the "Way, Way Back" trunk and found some photos from the Winter of 1938-39 on the T.S. & P.H. RR. These show my dad and a buddy bundled up and making a run into a snow drift with the first Pacific built by A.W. Leggett. She was well known as "Calamity Jane" in the Northeast for her many adventures.

This was the second of four track locations, the first of the outdoor tracks known as the Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad. One day I'll write up a brief (or not) history of the pikes.
Attachments
tsph_winter38-39_L48.jpg
tsph_winter38-39_L49.jpg
tsph_winter38-39_L50A.jpg
tsph_winter38-39_L50B.jpg
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
White Mountain Central RR - Engineer

User avatar
tsph6500
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: West of Dunvegan, Ontario CANADA
Contact:

Re: Cool Steamin'

Post by tsph6500 » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:41 pm

Steve Bratina wrote:it was soooo cold that the lines froze on our two engines
One way to help prevent the lines freezing is to open the injector steam valve and block the injector overflow with a gloved finger. This blows live steam back into the tender, melts any blockage that might be forming and preheats the water supply.

You can credit Geo. Dimond (WLS) for that tip of the day.
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
White Mountain Central RR - Engineer

cp4449
Posts: 560
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:54 am
Location: Granada Hills

Winter running

Post by cp4449 » Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:49 pm

After seeing the snow photos, this only means, someone out there needs to build a working rotary snowplow
Christopher P. Mahony
Los Angeles Live Steamers
1 inch scale member

User avatar
tsph6500
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: West of Dunvegan, Ontario CANADA
Contact:

T.S. & P.H. RR - March 14, 1943

Post by tsph6500 » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:17 am

Here are four photo taken on March 14, 1943. Again, that's my father as engineer. Canada has been at war for 4 years and things don't look quite as cheerful, except for the curious neighbourhood boy looking over the fence.

It's hard to tell but I believe this engine is "Addie", the second Pacific built by A.W. Leggett. The track was in the backyard and side yard of 39 Curzon Ave. in St-Lambert.

It looks like a fair bit of shoveling had to be done before running.
Attachments
tsph_winter.mar14.43_L118.jpg
tsph_winter.mar14.43_L119.jpg
tsph_winter.mar14.43_L120.jpg
tsph_winter.mar14.43_L121.jpg
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
White Mountain Central RR - Engineer

User avatar
pat1027
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 3:45 pm
Location: Michigan

It was cold

Post by pat1027 » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:39 pm

Back in the gung-ho days we held a number of meets in the winter. The first is at Kieth Whitford's. I believe that is Serge Hafer at the throttle. The second is at Harry Herder's so this is the early 80's. Part of the track was cleared with Harry's rotary but ice on the rail made it hard for the locomotive to push the rotary into the snow. About half the track was shoveled by hand. We're not as gung-ho as we were then.

[/img]
Attachments
Whitfords.jpg
Herders1.jpg

User avatar
tsph6500
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: West of Dunvegan, Ontario CANADA
Contact:

Re: Cold Weather Running of Steam Locomotives

Post by tsph6500 » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:26 pm

tsph6500 wrote:The coldest running was two years ago when we ran two steamers on New Year's Eve on Bernie Grow's backyard track. It was -16C with a stiff windchill (about -12F + windchill) and engineers lasted about 20 minutes max before handing off the throttles to the next.

The biggest problem was any drop of water that hit the rail froze almost instantly and made traction challenging. Lizzzy's 0-6-0 did very well as the feedwater was always heated to piping hot (Anyone care for a cup of tea?).

The DB Atlantic brought over by James Scott had some issues with freezing tender hoses IF she was kept idle for too long. This engine was built with a small steam heat pipe through the mechanical lubricator. Neat!
I've come across some photos taken by Keith Motton that dark & cold night...
Attachments
jim.scott_new.year.jpg
Scott running through the frigid Bavarian forest!
jim.leggett_new.year.jpg
Me running Lizzzy's 0-6-0
gk.motton_new.year.jpg
Keith Motton with Jim Scott's DB Atlantic
hewitson442_new.year.jpg
Our host, Bernie Grow
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
White Mountain Central RR - Engineer

Post Reply