Water Plugs and coaling towers on Wilmington Sub. SAL

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In my hands I have a copy of the SCL Raleigh Division Timetable, Number 6, in effect October 30th, 1977. I see it is 109.1 rail miles from Davis Yard in Wilmington, NC to Hamlet Yard, Hamlet, NC. I was wondering during the late steam days of the 40's and early 50's (My dad remembers seeing steam locomotives through his hometown on the line when he was a kid, and he would have been 65 this year)... was there any water plugs along the subdivision? If there were, does anyone know the location or towns they would have been in?

I am not sure, but I would assume the 2-8-2's and 2-10-2's?? and such would have been able to make that run on one tender of coal. Maybe I am wrong I am not sure. It seems to me they might have needed a little water for that much of a run.

Being born just 4 years before my timetable was printed, in 1977... any traces of water plugs or coaling towers were long gone by then, therefore no mention would be found in the timetable of such equipment.

Just wondering about that line. And if I may be so kind as to ask you gentleman one last question, How many miles could a mike or mountain go without needing to tank up again?

As always, thank you all for your input, it is appreciated!!

Daniel T. Edwards

-- Daniel T. Edwards (dedwards@inebraska.com), August 18, 2003


From SAL's North Carolina Div. Time Table No. 4 (eff. 12/13/40)

WATER STATIONS- Hilton Yard, Acme, Bladenboro, Lumberton, Laurinburg, and Hamlet.

COALING STATIONS - Hamlet and Hilton Yard.

-- Harry Bundy (Y6B@aol.com), August 20, 2003.

Daniel: In my day s a locomotive fireman on the ACL, South end of the Richmond District, we crossed the Seaboard Wilmington-Hamlet Line at Pembroke, N.C. In crossing the Seaboard, I remember seeing a water tank on one side or the other as we crossed the Seaboard. I would estimate Pembroke being about half way between Wilmington and Hamlet. As for water consumption of any steam locomotive, there are several factors to take into account. The tonnage coupled to the locomotive, the terrain over which the train is being operated, whether the engineer is working a hard or light engine, ( position of the valve gear, or reverse lever, whether or not the locomotive is foaming, and how much water is wasted by the pop valve being opened account of the steam pressure reaching 5 or 10 lbs. over the operating maximum for that particular locomotive. i.e. a locomotive rated at 200 lbs. per square inch boiler pressure, would pop off at either 210 lbs. or 205 lbs., depending on where the pops were set. In effect, there is no set distance a locomotive will operate before having to make a water stop. Incidentally, that right-of-way between Hamlet and Wilmington is as flat as a pool table, and it contains a segment of tangent track just over 86 miles in length, which is the longest stretch of tangent track in the United States. I am not aware of any coaling facility on that line. On the ACL, the coaling tower was about equi-distant from both Rocky Mount, N.C. and Florence, S.C., or about 85 or 90 miles, and we always had sufficient coal to make it across each of those distances to the coaling tower at Milan Yard in Fayetteville, N.C.

-- Bill Sellers (was2nd@charter.net), August 18, 2003.

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