Been too embarrassed to ask

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by planeshavings42, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Hello all, since I got into the hobby a few years ago, I have wondered what the sand is used for on the railroads, but have been toooo embarrassed to ask, then remembering what a school teacher once said, "the only stupid question is one that goes unasked" and I've waited long enough, hoping someone else would ask, so how bout it, anyone care to enlighten this ignorant almost a piker?

    Duane :oops:
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hi Duane:wave:
    Do you mean the sand carried by the locomotives?
    If so, the sand is for traction when the wheels slip. Like putting sand on a icy side walk.

  3. That's it Loren, but, how do they get the sand under the engines drivers?

    Thanks Loren, that's exactly what I didn't understand, now that we have that cleared up, how do they get the sand under the driving wheels of the engine?

    Duane :confused:
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Sand is moved from the sand dome / sand box(diesels), by compressed air. On steam locos you can usually see the sander pipes running from the sander valves on the dome, and trace them down to just above the rail, either in front of, or behind (for reverse moves) the drivers. In diesels, the sander pipes can only be seen at each end of the truck, aimed at the point where the wheel and rail come in contact, because the sander pipes are "internal", and run through flexible hoses to the trucks.
  5. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Here is an interesting little factoid about this subject.
    Occasionally you will see small mounds of sand adjacent to the rail. It is most commonly seen in yards or where a crew might make a switching move.
    That is because when the air test is done it effects the entire air system on the diesel locomotives causing the air pressure to change and it starts dropping sand. This might not be true of all diesel locomotives, and it could be a malfunction in the air system.
    When I worked for CSX I used to see it alot.
  6. e-paw

    e-paw Member

    Hay slekjr, is it true that if too much sand is applied it can have the opposite effect and cause the loco to slip?
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you have a really good model of a steam loco, you will see pipes coming down just in front of the drivers. These are the sand pipes.
    Every so often the fireman on a steamer would throw a handful of sand into the firebox. This would scour soot from the flues; it would be accompanied by very black smoke for a brief time.
  8. CSXect

    CSXect Member


    I always wondered what the pipers on the boiler were forsign1

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