Gantries over Gorton ashpits

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drmditch
NER C7 4-4-2
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Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:55 pm
Location: Durham

Gantries over Gorton ashpits

Post by drmditch » Wed May 22, 2019 10:58 pm

Page 25 of Messrs Jackson and Russell's 'The Great Central in LNER Days' has an interesting 1936 picture taken from the top of the (then new) cowling hopper. It shows two 'disposal' roads on each side of grid- covered ash pits. At each end of the pits and spanning both roads is a gantry apparently made of steel I beams and braced with a central strut and wire bracing. On each side is something that looks like a triangular box.

There is a small part of one of these structures can be seen on page 27 of the same work. More detail can be seen on Plates 34 and 151 of John Hooper's 'LNER Sheds in Camera. The latter picture is from 1953, and shows handrails across the top of the structure.

I wondered whether this was some kind of apparatus for filling sandboxes, with the triangular boxes being hoppers. However, there is no obvious filling mechanism although there is what could be a pipe visible in the last two pictures. I suppose they could be water supplies for camping down hot ashes, but they seem a bit complex for that.

Does anybody have any knowledge of what these structures might have been, and did they occur elsewhere?

Darryl Tooley
LNER N2 0-6-2T
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:21 pm
Location: Briston, UK

Re: Gantries over Gorton ashpits

Post by Darryl Tooley » Thu May 23, 2019 2:17 am

They are indeed sand hoppers. Similar structures existed at New England and Cambridge (GE), and doubtless elsewhere. They are described on the last page of 'Great Northern Railway Engine Sheds' vol 1 (Griffiths & Hooper, 1989), from whence the following information is taken.

They were an LNER innovation, usually as an adjunct to wet ash pits. Sand from a rotating drum dryer adjacent to the pits was fed to two ten ton hoppers at either end of the pit by compressed air. From the hoppers, discharge pipes (with stop valves) descended to within a foot of of rail level, from where the sand was discharged into buckets, which were used to fill the loco sandboxes.

Quite what they used at MPDs that lacked these facilities, I don't know. Spades, perhaps?

D

drmditch
NER C7 4-4-2
Posts: 827
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:55 pm
Location: Durham

Re: Gantries over Gorton ashpits

Post by drmditch » Thu May 23, 2019 7:03 am

Many thanks.
It seems a shame that buckets still had to be used. I wonder why some kind of flexible discharge pipe could not have been utilised.

Darryl Tooley
LNER N2 0-6-2T
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:21 pm
Location: Briston, UK

Re: Gantries over Gorton ashpits

Post by Darryl Tooley » Thu May 23, 2019 10:53 am

Griffiths & Hooper wonder much the same thing, and conclude that a bucket was the best way of ensuring the sand went in the sandbox, and absolutely nowhere else.

D

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