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Locomotive Soft Water Treatment Plant ?
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 Posted: Thu Dec 14th, 2017 05:45 pm
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Tom Ward
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I'm building an engine service area on my layout.  It's a narrow gauge short line based in the 1920's.  I came across this photo showing a facility with a water treatment plant.  I'm assuming this was to keep the boiler tubes clean of calcification.  Does anyone here know the process involved, what a treatment plant might look like inside and the size of the building?  Would a small railroad in the 1920's have something like this?  I know the Strasburg RR treats their water and they're pretty small, but that's a modern day operation too.  I didn't think to check it out when I toured their shops last year.
- Tom

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Last edited on Thu Dec 14th, 2017 05:49 pm by Tom Ward

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 Posted: Thu Dec 14th, 2017 07:49 pm
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Ken C
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Tom
Although unlikly that a short line would have a water treatment plant. I can give you an idea of the setup and operation of a hot lime system which would have been most likely for the period. Spent a few years operating one.

Unless you are using water from a city system, first up would be a set of filters, (8ft x 8ft) one in use the second on standby.
Water then entered the top of the treatment tower 10ft D x 40ft in height round top, coned bottom. steam was injected into the tower using a interior nozzle set up to heat the water. Lime was then pumped into the tower to react with the Calicum and remove it. Excess lime would settle in the bottom cone ad would be blown down to maintain a bed in the cone.
A lime slurry mix tank (5ft x 5ft, with mixer drive and hatch to add bagged lime) a small slurry tank (2ft x2ft) and pump feed the softener tower.
Treated and heated water left the tower about 1/3 of the way up and entered a second set of filters to remove excess lime which may have carried over, from here it would be pumped to a storage tank/water tank for use.

All of the filters, mix tank and treatment tower were elevated to allow piping connections.

The size of the building was roughly 50 ft in length with a width of 40 ft. A lower roof was built over the filters and mix tank, the treatment tower was also enclosed. The siding was corragated asbestos. And what seemed like 5 miles of piping for the system

I will take a look through some of my books and see if I can find a diagram of a setup, and forward on.

It has been 17 years, since I retired from working with the system, so some numbers may be off.

Ken C
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Ken Clark
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the manufacturers opinion on how to put the thing together!
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 Posted: Thu Dec 14th, 2017 08:41 pm
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Tom Ward
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Wow Ken!  Thanks mucho. That was very helpful.  So you think the smaller railroads just did loco maintenance more often instead of treating the water?
- Tom

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 Posted: Thu Dec 14th, 2017 09:18 pm
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Tom Ward
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I found this photo of a water treatment plant.  It's the large two story structure with two water tanks and lotsa piping on the roof.  Does look kinda out of my league for my puny short line.  Sure is hard to find any info on these facilities.
- Tom

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 Posted: Fri Dec 15th, 2017 12:20 am
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oztrainz
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Hi all,
here's a smaller, more remote version. Oodnadatta, South Australia on the Central Australian line "Old Ghan" line to Alice Springs https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+1435/4/11



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 Posted: Fri Dec 15th, 2017 04:05 am
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Ken C
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Tom

Another system that may have been used, if water treatment was needed. Samples of the water would be sent to a water treatment outfit, and they would suggest a program for treatment using their chemicals. The chemical were formed into pills about 4 In in Dia and 1&1/2 In's thick. A inline canister with a Bypass pipe would be used. The canister would be bypassed and isolated, top removed and suitable pills were then inserted into the canister, resealed and placed back into service to dissolve the chemical as the water flowed through the canister.

This was the first water treatment set up I had anything to do with,I would have been about 14, helping my Dad doing boiler repairs on a package HRT boiler. The boiler inspector
wrote the boiler off as it was to far gone, as no one took the time to add the proper chemicals.

The chemical's came boxed, in various colors, if I recall they were blue,red,yellow and green. No idea what they were
chemically after 54 years.

Ken C
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Ken Clark
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real men don't use instructions. they are only
the manufacturers opinion on how to put the thing together!
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 Posted: Fri Dec 15th, 2017 05:23 pm
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Tom Ward
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The system in the photo from Australia looks like a small enough facility that it would fit my short line.  If I built something I would put it next to the pump house for the water tank near the roundhouse.  This still leaves me with a few questions though.
1) When did railroads begin using water treatment plants?  The few photos I've seen are all much more recent than 1920.  More like post 1940's.
2) If a short line used water treatment at their home base, the roundhouse, does it make sense that they would use raw water out along the line?  I'm under the impression that the smaller engines/tenders only had a range of about 15 miles so I'm including two other tanks along the mainline.  That would mean that the majority of the water used by my railroad would be untreated unless the fireman threw some kind of treatment into the tender.
I think I've answered my question here with your help.  Although it would be cool to add some extra detail like a water treatment plant to my layout it probably wouldn't make sense because of the timeline and the size of my railroad.  Guess I'll have to concentrate on the 10,000 other things that need to be done.  Thank you for all the info.
- Tom

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