Friday, September 11, 2020

Coal hopper


Carnforth coal hopper 

Another old photo from the 1980s and Carnforth steam museum. This is (I think) a hopper wagon that would have been used to transfer fuel from a coaling stage to the tender of a steam locomotive. 

Some types of tub would run out along a short track until they we upended to coal the loco. This has bottom doors, so I assume ran out over the tender, the doors were opened and out fell the coal. 

It's a pretty filthy manual business, which is why the railways struggled to retain staff and lead to the rush to dieselise. Steam locos might be romantic, but I suspect the appeal fades when you are up at the crack of dawn in midwinter to prepare one!


Duncan Young said...

Did it for real in Poland and it’s no fun. Also doing it on small heritage line at 0430 in the morning with a curmudgeonly and idle oppo makes you question why we still run steam. They are lovely to look at but messy and high maintenance things

Anonymous said...


Just a slight correction, its for ash not coal. The coal was delivered directly out of the coaling plant into the loco tenders/bunkers via 1 of 4 jigger feeds.
The ash tub ran on rails either side of the tracks adjacent the ash plant. There was a wider tub that ran on rails in the ash pit this was used to collect the ash raked out of the locos ash pan. Ash form the firebox was shoveled out into the smaller tub if not raked into the ash pan then into the wider hopper.
Once the tubs were full they were wheeled to the ash plant and bottom doors opened with the ash falling into a deep water filled hole that was shaped so that the ash fell into a large hopper. When this became full it was automatically raised out of the hole and up the site of the ash plant to be tipped in the ash hopper. Finally when the hopper was full, a wagon would be placed under the hopper, the doors opened and the ash dropping into the wagon to be carted away.