sand capacities

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Sat Dec 17 17:11:25 EST 2005


>From what I have on hand, I wasn't able to determine the sand capacity

for the A, J, Y, or S class engines. In fact, the only reference I found
was for an SP 4-8-4 --- 2,000 lbs. This was noted to be sufficient to haul
a train from San Francisco to L A or L A to El Paso. The capacity is
probably not a fair comparison for that needed by a Class J. SP's GS class
were oil-burners.

For diesels, however, capacities ranged from 18 cu. ft. for a GP-9 to 60 cu.
ft. for an SD-45.

At points where engines were serviced, it became a ritual to top off the
sand reservoir when the engines were coaled, fueled, watered, etc. whether
it needed sand or not. There are many variables that can affect
sand consumption - weather, local switching, grades, and whether or not the
engineer is alert enough to cut off the sanding valve. At non-service
points where
locals tied up, there was usually a 55-gallon drum of sand and a bucket. It
tricky when an engine has been away from terminals for an extended period of

To my knowledge, there is no meter or gauge that measures the sand supply.
You either got it or you don't. That's somewhat odd, because an engine in
service without sand is seen in the eyes of the FRA as a "shut down" defect.
The engine on ACL No. 517 had run out of sand. The "federales" stopped the
train before it made Rocky Mount and the crew died on the Hours of Service
Harry Bundy
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