Water supplies for preserved steam locos

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Spamcan81

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Regarding the treatment of hard water for steam locomotives how did they cope back in the days when steam was king on the mainline or did hard water not exist back then or were they just not bothered about it.
Water treatment existed in BR days. Bulleid certainly introduced a French(?) based system on the Southern. IIRC this was replaced with a BR system in the mid 1950s.
 

341o2

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Steam loco boilers have to be regularly washed out to prevent buildup of sludge and scale

From the very early days of the steam locomotive, the quality of water used has been of prime concern.

No water is perfect. Water obtained from lakes, rivers and reservoirs may contain organic matter while water taken from boreholes is usually very hard. Hardness, caused by calcium and magnesium salts is a major problem in a locomotive boiler as the previously soluble salts become insoluble as the boiler temperatures and pressures increase. Some of these salts fall on hot surfaces where they bake and form a scale while other salts sink to the bottom of the boiler as sludge. Since scale has a low heat conductivity and hampers the efficiency of the boiler, it can lead to the tubes in the boiler to overheat, resulting in buckling or in extreme cases collapse.

Another less common scale that can cause problems is silica, however, even carbon dioxide from surface water is undesirable since under the influence of heat, it gives off pure oxygen which causes pitting and corrosion.

Organic impurities could be removed by effective filtration and lineside water softening plants were used where the water was hard. In this instance, chemicals such as hydrated lime, sodium carbonate or sodium aluminates were added to the water. In British Railways Standard classes, these plants were replaced by water softening blocks that were added to the tender or tank water from perforated cylinders.

In recent years, preserved locomotives have had problems with excessive nitrates in the water supply. Acidic water is corrosive and reducing acidity by chemical means is quite simple, however some degree of acidity is essential to reduce the risk of foaming in the boiler, leading to priming when water is carried with the steam into the cylinders.

All steam locomotives needed a periodic boiler washout to remove sludge, where jets of pressurised hot or cold water are fed into plug holes in the side of the firebox. Due to the variation of water quality in Britain, boiler washouts were performed every 500 to 5000 miles and typically this work would be carried out every eight to ten days.
Source http://www.greatwestern.org.uk/basic14.htm
 

AndrewE

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Are you sure it is fed from a spring, not a stream? You don't normally gets springs half-way up a mountain.
Springs can appear anywhere where the geology/ underlying rock structures are correct. The distance of those areas up a mountain (or not) isn’t relevant.
Quite, and I would have thought that "half-way up a mountain" is actually quite a good description of where you might find them. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_line_settlement

Sorry, but you can find springs at any level on a mountain, from the top to the bottom. It all depends on the level of the water table and the local geology. As an example, the Rivers Severn and Wye start from a spring fed bog at the top of Plynlimon.
Are you sure that the spring doesn't just add to what lands from the rain in that area? I would like to read a reference, as quick googling only mentions the rain and the bog!
 

AndrewE

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It could cause serious deposits rather quickly, I’ve seen a film of lumps of lime/calcium hydroxide being tossed into the tanks to counter it.
More likely to be briquettes of water treatment chemicals. Lime would just make the problem worse, unless it was to treat very acid water coming out of a bog.
BR water treatment contained all sorts of things, including Tannins (bark extracts) and the intention was to keep impurities as a mobile sludge either in the tender or in the boiler so that it could be blown down and/or washed out, rather than accumulate as limescale on the heating surfaces. Treatments may have been varied for different waters, and I'm sure water troughs were supplied with treated water... The LMS treatment plant shell near Hanslope (?) survived until quite recently.
 

Llanigraham

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Are you sure that the spring doesn't just add to what lands from the rain in that area? I would like to read a reference, as quick googling only mentions the rain and the bog!
Yes I am quite sure, thank you. Whilst it might rain a bit up here it isn't that much. There are plenty of small springs feeding into the bog.
 

AndrewE

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Yes I am quite sure, thank you. Whilst it might rain a bit up here it isn't that much. There are plenty of small springs feeding into the bog.
No evidence or back-up for that assertion then?
Springs usually come from permeable rock where it overlies an impermeable layer, and the top of upland Wales is definitely not noted for aquifers! I suspect there are lots of trickles from mossy or peaty patches higher up though.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z327gdm/revision/4 says
The source of the River Severn is located in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales, and it flows east and south to its mouth where the river joins the Bristol Channel underneath the Severn Bridges.
Upper course
  • The upper course has hard impermeable rocks. Here, vertical erosion has formed a V-shaped valley.
  • The River Severn has many waterfalls in its upper course.
The area receives excessive rainfall due to depressions from the Atlantic. The Severn swiftly grows and forms a V-shaped valley....
but maybe there is a miraculous local microclimate and geology that you know about
I really would be interested in the source of your information that there are springs feeding the bog, because if it as you say then it is quite noteworthy and should be more widely publicised.
 

option

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There is one with a new carriage shed, where they collect the rainwater from the roof & pipe it to a tank.
 

philthetube

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The Achensee lake railway in Jenbach, Austria gets it's water from the lake at the top, the loco connects to a pump and the steam is used to power the pump and fill the loco.

Unfortunately I cannot fine any links of pich concerning thes but there must be something about.
 

Midnight Sun

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Swanage railway have a spring that they can get water from, whether or no0t they are using it yet I don't know. Previously it was just normal tap water, but this is supposedly not so good for the boilers.
A project has been drawn up to rebuild the recovered a redundant stone built LSWR water tower from near Salisbury station at Swanage and install a spring water extraction system. The project is underway but still need funds to complete the project. This is the subject of a appeal. Once built and the extraction system installed and working. Wessex Water will be very unhappy.
 

Cowley

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Wessex Water will be very unhappy.
Why would they not be happy then? Is it because they’ll not be receiving the (presumably high) income from a metered water supply?
If the Swanage are using their own spring would they only have to pay Wessex Water some kind of standing charge (a bit like if you have a bore hole on your property)?
 

Belperpete

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And also had a similar installation at Ty Dwr on the Mineral Extension.
As has already been pointed out, Dolgoch tank is fed from a stream, not a spring. The just-giving page for Ty Dwr says that this was fed from a stream, not a spring:
Ty Dwr (Water House) was built where the new railway crossed over an upland stream rushing down the hillside of Foel Fach to meet the Gwernol just below Hendre barn on the outskirts of Abergynolwyn. For the McConnels (builders of the Talyllyn Railway) this was an ideal source of free water that never dried up even in the driest of summers.
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign...SWFgtc0uSp2PVmG4G-ftVMFPQR9ZtjuyQi45ffFGfztfM
 

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