Railway Tank and Mansfield Automatic Water Column.
We have recently received inquiries concerning the construction of a modern locomotive watering station and in answer thereto produce the accompanying illustration, says The Railway Journal. The form of the tank shown herewith is without doubt familiar to all our readers, and they will probably find nothing particularly novel or new in its construction. The tendency of late has been to increase the size of all tank fixtures and to raise the elevation, which in former years was about twelve feet, up to eighteen or twenty, and in many cases higher. This additional elevation and the increased size of fittings is being made for the purpose of reducing to a minimum the time required for filling tanks. This is one of the many outcomes of the continual demand for faster time on the railways of the country. The frost proofing of these tanks is after the manner of the Burnham patent. The essential points of this construction are to protect the bottom and top of the tank by the use of suitable dead air spaces, and also provide an efficient system of boxing around the outle, and supply pipe from the ground to the tank bottom. It is the general custom to erect these tanks upon a wooden substructure consisting of twelve posts, which give a distribution of the weight of some 250 tons upon a total span of not over seven feet. It is stated that many of the superintendents of water service and engineers having this department in charge, are investigating to a greater or less extent the various commercial shapes of iron and columns with an idea of substituting an iron substructure for the wooden one and the probabilities, are that in many places such a change will be made in the near future. This is particularly true where timber is high priced. Such a change would certainly be in the way of economy, as while the first cost of an iron substructure would be greater, the difference in the life and also the repairs necessary would unquestionably more than make up the difference.
The illustrations show clearly the construction of the Mansfield water column. Fig. 2 is a general view of the column, with the side of the pit removed to show the construction of the parts contained therein. Fig. 1 is a section through the supply valve showing the construction thereof, and also shows a detail of the automatic rotating device. When the column is not in use the spout stands parallel to the track as shown in Fig. 2, and the object of the automatic rotating device is to hold it in that position and after it has been used to aid it in returning thereto. The apparatus for opening and closing the valve by means of which the water is admitted to the column, is simple and neat. A loose collar, which can he seen in both Figs. I and 2, encircles the uptight portion of the column, and is moved up and down through the medium of the arms and levers shown in Fig. 2. This brings the operating lever near the end of the spout at which point it is of easy access from the tank of the engine. The lever which opens the valve is made double and has both portions connected to the loose collar referred to. The outer end of one of these levers is connected to a draining valve.
When it is desired to fill a tank the spout is turned onequarier of a revolution which brings it at right angles of the track, and with the opening directly over the lender. The hand lever is then pulled outward, which opens the supply valve and at ihe same time closes the draining cock. After the tank has been filled the lever is pushed back, closing the valve and opening the draining cock. Any water standing in the pipe runs through the latter into the pit, and from there into a sewer or waste which must be provided for that purpose. The supply valve is specially designed to overcome the rebound or water hammer, which often seriously interferes with the use of water columns connected directly to city mains. This is accomplished by the use of a recess or pocket immediately above the plunger which produces an equal pressure on both sides of the valve, so that it is practically balanced at all times. A cushion spring is also provided encircling the valve stem, which acts as a safety valve, absorbing any reactive effect. The weight of the column is carried in ball bearings placed between the stand-pipe and the base for the purpose of making it easy to handle. Both the water column and tank are manufactured by the United States Wind Engine and Pump Company of Batavia, III., who will give any further information desired.