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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the latest issue of Trains magazine there is an article about a A1 4-6-2 steam locomotive that was recently completed in England. This was a completely new build from the frame up, an 18 year endeavor.

My question is this. On the center of the front of the smokebox door there are two arms, one longer than the other. These look like minute and hour hands of an analog clock. Were these arms actually clocks on the front of the locomotive? Were they spring wound?
 

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Hi Pete,

I think you are having us on!!

Then I remebered waht your smokebox doors are kept closed with - they are what we in the UK would call 'dog fixings' - little clips that we tightened up over the door edge: some loco had those when it was found out that the could hold the door better against warping. That will destroy the vacumn inside the smokebox which means the loco dioes not work as well as it ought to!

They are the locking handles for the center fixing for the smokebox door. one moves the long dart by 90 degrees the other then tightens it up tight. They are the standard style in the UK, (but some were as above)

Here is a the photo from Google showing the smokebox door opened




with a good helping of ash for the crew to shovel out! The center dart can be seen - its the vertical half circle shape - that fits into the center hole and is turned, then tightened up with the other (locking) handle
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Alan and Peter

Thanks for the info. I t makes sense this would be part of the closing mechanism since there are no dog-type clips along the edges of the smokebox door as one might see in a US-style locomotive.

The fact that the arms seem to be in different positions in different photos in the article of the A1 inTrains magazine made me wonder if this was some sort of clock mechanism.
 

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Hmm. Your link swears at me in some European language


Mmm, thats interesting Torby, it maybe all the spaces in the title for it - I have added the photo into the original post instead of the link.

Peter Bunce moderator.
 

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Dear Mr Chimney - if you do a search on this forum you'll find about sixty or more posts, including around 20 videos of the locomotive - 'Tornado'.

The device you have noted is actually called a 'smokebox dart'.

I'll be joining a dozen or so of my fellow club members here in UK on Saturday to make a video compilation as it steams down from Darlington, where it was built, to Kings Cross, spiritual home of the former LNER, on which line locomotives of this class and type were a principal part of the express passenger fleet.

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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just a tongue in cheek reply:- The fireman on GWR locos must have got tired going to the smokebox door all the time to turn the handles to open the firebox door! When I was a fireman (don't get the violin out I'm not having a pity party) after we had thrown the fire out or cleaned it using the fire irons ie long and short slag shovel,pricker,and bent dart to move the slag forward from under the firebox door, then we would go underneath and rake the ash pans clean, then,,,unloosen the smokebox door by first using the outer and longer handle anti clockwise to slacken the door to allow the dart to be turned 90 degrees then the door could be opened and the ashes shovelled out. before we closed the smokebox door we would brush the ashes clear of the bottom of the door then with an oily rag wipe round the seal slightly oiling it. This made an airtight joint when the door was closed up, the locking dart turned back 90 degrees again then the outer handle turned until the door was tightly closed. Sometimes using a clock as a description it could be ten to six or ten past or half six infact always six o clock but the minutes depended on how many turns were needed on the longer handle for the door to be secure. So on your model you can have that longer handle in the position you want it and you would be correct. Honest, I jest not.
Incidently I was looking at the A1 at York the other day and it is now resplendant in it's LNER green livery. If I may gently boast I used to be the loco inspector for this society some decade or more ago when the engine moved to Darlington, not the spiritual home of that railway known as the LNER but the spirtual home of railways world wide ,and the North Eastern Railway and the Stockton and Darlington railway and the Port Clarence railway and..........Nuf sed. I know about railways because I started at the bottom and worked my way down !.Jim brodie.God Bless Seaton Carew. That's the place where when you win a holiday competition first prize is one week there and second prize is two weeks there.
 
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