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I've noticed that a number of Cuvil War era locomotives have hooks on the rear of their tenderrs, just below or attached to the flare around the top. Some have two, others three, though I don't think I've ever seen any other number. By the 1880's, they seem to ahve disapeared, so what were they used for?

I found a couple pictures from the C.P.Huntington class that show the hooks in question. Also, I notice the the Huntington had some sort of bucket/pouch hung from the hooks.. what is that?


 

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Ken,

I have noted that for the most part, those hooks were used to hold a long steel cable with hooks on each end of the cable. I believe this was used in case of a coupler/link & pin failure. It was usually looped back and forth several times in a figure 8 configuration. I suppose that it could have been used as an aid in switching a parallel track like using a pole. But don't quote me on that one. As to what the buckets on back of the Huntington are for, your guess is as good as mine, but the hooks are definately used to carry a cable. I use picture hanging wire to simulate it on my locos, and make my hooks, for the ends of the cable, out of flattened brass rod. I hope this helps you understand the hooks.
 

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That's to hang the fish on the fireman catches in the tank.
 

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"I found a couple pictures from the C.P.Huntington class that show the hooks in question. Also, I notice the the Huntington had some sort of bucket/pouch hung from the hooks.. what is that? "

"That" is in case they don't make the next tank before running low on water.:)
Rick Marty
 

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Aren't you PUNny? Or is that just PUN-ishment?
(I probably shouldn't comment, as I had the same thought but was afraid someone would make the comments I just did!)
 

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I would contact the California State Railroad Museum and pose the Q to them, I would suspect the buckets were to put out any fires started by any embers created by the wood fired boiler that got past the spark arrester stack or grass fires from embers dropped thru the bottom grate of the firebox. I'm thinking more about grass fires started while the engine was stopped at a signal, water tank or at a station, any small fires in the weeds or grass could be quickly doused with the buckets. This makes more sense to me given that the CPH was a woodburner and has been restored to original condition, otherwise why would there be built-in hoops to keep the buckets from swaying and the buckets look small enough to drop down into the tank to get water.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Greg,

I'd love to see some pictures of your models, specifically of the coiled cable you describe.

Vic, thanks for the suggestion about putting out fires - I hadn't thought of that one. Still, if you look at the (admittedly grainy) photo above of the Huntington in service, it doesn't look like the buckets are there.
 

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I can't see from the photos but does the CP Huntington have a sandline extending from the sand dome to behind the drivers as well as to their front? If not those buckets could very well be for sand. They are positioned perfectly to be used that way, one over each rail. I have heard of some backwoods railroads that applied sand by having someone sit on the footboards and dumping it on the rails when needed so such a thing would not be especially unusual for occasional use in that era.
 

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Richard might very well be the Wiener! Check out this photo:



the sandline only goes to the front of the driver, if they had to run reverse might be very difficult to get traction without someone chucking sand under the drivers
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a problem with the sand theory, though. VERY few locomotives of that era, as near as I can tell, had any means of applying sand behind the drivers. I suspect that it was assumed the locomotive would be pulling, rather than pushing a train. Also, I would rather not be the guy standing there, hanging on for dear life (with very little to stand on or hold on to back there) manually putting sand on the rails.
 

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Dear Sir, Sometimes fire irons were hung on the back of the bunker a la GWR small engines.Jim Brodie
ps how can I add some photos to my letters to you.J
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Posted By james brodie on 08/26/2008 2:56 PM
Dear Sir, Sometimes fire irons were hung on the back of the bunker a la GWR small engines.Jim Brodie

I'd wondered about that. I always thought that the common practce in the US was to store the irons on the tender deck, since the back of the tender is somewhat out of the way. Still, it's a possibility. To rake the askpan, one would have to be off the engine anyway, so I can see it.


ps how can I add some photos to my letters to you.J

Unless you have a website to post a picture to, it seems the simplest method would be to e-mail them via the address in my signature. I'll happily post them for all to see, as I have a bit of web space as part of my ISP's service.
 

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Posted By DKRickman on 08/26/2008 1:26 PM
I have a problem with the sand theory, though. VERY few locomotives of that era, as near as I can tell, had any means of applying sand behind the drivers. I suspect that it was assumed the locomotive would be pulling, rather than pushing a train. Also, I would rather not be the guy standing there, hanging on for dear life (with very little to stand on or hold on to back there) manually putting sand on the rails.




I really don't know if the sand theory is correct or not of course but if it is the buckets would probably be dumped by the fireman from on top of the tank. There are all kinds of reasons a locomotive might have to back its train or at least switch out a car or two and in all kinds of weather that include wet, slippery rails. Front sanders would be of little use for an engine backing out of a siding with a car and just two drive wheels didn't have much traction to begin with.

As to the hooks themselves they would certainly have been used for numerous other tasks if rear sanders were later applied to the engine. This means that more than one answer could be correct depending on the timeframe.
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 08/26/2008 1:13 AM
Aren't you PUNny? Or is that just PUN-ishment?
(I probably shouldn't comment, as I had the same thought but was afraid someone would make the comments I just did!)


If I were ever punished
For every little pun I shed
I'd hie me to a punny shed
and there I'd hang my punnish head
-- Samuel Johnson

Matthew (OV)

(Oh, and I'd guess it was for a poling pole... except that it'd be a pretty short one. Perhaps for hanging a link and pin long drawbar for tight curves or switches so you could spot cars on sidings with tight geometry?)
 

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When I was a fireman on some turns we had to get down and sprinkle by hand the sand on the rails because the sand in the sandboxes was usually wet and solid so wouldn't flow. Our boxes were under footplate level not sensible like on the boiler top to keep dry but being so we could reach in the filler hole and get handfulls out...j
 

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When ever we had to drive long distances my father hated to stop, so he always kept a couple of jars in the back seat ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Interesting suggestion, Richard. :) However, I an tell you from first-hand expereince that railroad crews have no problem relieving themselves off the side of a locomotive, moving or otherwise.

We do at least try not to do it when there are people around, though ;)
 

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Just a couple more things about sanding. Some of the retired Virginian and N&W steam locomotive engineers told me their trick when they had to retrieve loaded coal hoppers from a steep mine siding. They would sand on the way DOWN. That way there was still a paste of pulverized sand on the rail heads on the way back out of the siding.


I remember that we would use that trick on the Dry Gulch RR at Hershey Park if we were expecting rain before the trip got finished. The upper and lower reverse loops were connected by a trestle, and the trestle had the bulk of the grade for that little line. It was always best to sand while things were dry if you could. Our sanders were also solely fed by gravity, and the sand lines would plug when moisture got into them.


I tried to keep a balloon stick handy for when the sanders clogged. (The park sold non-helium balloons tied to a slender stick - I think it may have been some kind of willow wood. The sticks were very flexible.) These sticks were about 30 inches long and flexible enough to shove up the sand lines to break up the clumped sand. Unfortunately, the sand would only flow for a short time before it became clumped again.


The more modern steam locomotives and today's diesels use compressed air in the sand lines to assist with sand delivery.


Yours,

David Meashey
 
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