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Rain water & engine rooms


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As the title suggests, I'm wondering if this is the dumbest question ever posted here, but I'm going to risk public humiliation and ask it! 

 

On the roof of all diesel locos is a big twirly whirly ventilation fan which is located beneath a very large hole in the roof. How is rain water prevented from entering the gubbins below and/or prevented from ending up on the engine room floor and accumulating wherever it lands? 

 

Same question for cant rail grilles, body side grilles and vents on the front of locos (e.g. the vent on the top of class 47 cabs) - I can appreciate that the louvered design of some cant rail and body side grilles may prevent water getting in due to their angle, but if mother nature is blowing horizontal rain at a moving loco then surely water could potentially get into the engine room? Or is it simply a case that water does get into the engine room and drains from the floor somehow? 

 

In a car the engine bay gets wet from road spray, but we don't have to walk around the engine bay of a car so water can just run off back onto the road. 

 

As I say, this is probably a very dumb question and I hesitate to ask it in public(!), but its been something I've been wondering for a while!!

 

Thanks, Phil. 

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Certainly not a dumb question at all.  Rain getting into an engine room of a diesel loco will channel out of the floor, via drainage holes. Certain types will have different designs, but it's basically the same. Water entering the top grills will-would have facility to take water away from the cabs, otherwise drivers tend to complain!

 

If you look under the bonnet of your car, there will be a sheet steel component going left to right, which is commonly called the front passenger bulkhead. On or about the centre there will be a drain, which works pretty much where the engine room on a locomotive works. On a car, it'll drain down (normally) at or about where the exhaust channels down.

 

Hope this helps,

Ian.

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The scavenger/ extractor fan whilst running, is pulling the hot air from within the loco, so in those circumstances the rainwater won't be going in per se.  But water ingress is inevitable, through not only vents, louvres, hatches, sundry holes, beneath fasteners, around windows - especially opening windows - and at panel joints, but also during coolant topping-up and boiler water spillages.  The older the loco and longer out of works, the greater the number of ingress points becomes.  The build up of trapped water is evident in photos that show rust spots, especially at solebar level.  These rust patches would be cut out during overhauls at main works.  There's another source of very corrosive fluids in loco cabs, that I shall leave to your imagination.

 

As designed, there are escape routes for water, but in reality these do get blocked with dirt and detritus. 

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  • Phil Parker changed the title to Rain water & engine rooms

There's no such thing as a dumb question - but there's also no need to go fishing for compliments with a "look at me" thread title, so I've edited it to something more useful.

 

As far as the question goes, you mention car engines, but not sunroofs. These are a nice big hole in the top of the car, and provided with drains to let rainwater escape. They are notorious on older vehicles for blocking and becoming rust traps. I'm sure something similar can be arranged in locomotives - you know water is coming in, just provide a path for it to get out again.

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On HST clean air compartments / engine rooms you walk on a metal grille that’s raised above the actual floor of the power car itself.


There are drains underneath, and for some reason which is probably best not thought too much about, an occasional “public toilet,” smell.....

 

 

I’ve heard from a few fitters that Mk4 coaches are notorious for having vast quantities of water from the early 90’s to today sloshing about in the sidewalls. 

Edited by NorthEndCab
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6 minutes ago, NorthEndCab said:

On HST clean air compartments / engine rooms you walk on a metal grille that’s raised above the actual floor of the power car itself.


There are drains underneath, and for some reason which is probably best not thought to much about, an occasional “public toilet,” smell.....

That does sound grim!!! 

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7 minutes ago, philiprporter said:

That does sound grim!!! 

 

When Class 90s were under warranty, there were repeated failures of the drivers' side WiPAC light clusters, which were supposedly impermeable, at the cab corner.  The BREL after-sales team was repeatedly changing these out while the Project Engineers pondered where the 'water' was coming from.  After testing some of the accumulated liquid it was clear that the drivers were responsible, a couple of culprits peeing into the corner of the cab.  No weather involved, the pee was taking the easiest gravity route straight through a conduit.

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19 minutes ago, 'CHARD said:

 

When Class 90s were under warranty, there were repeated failures of the drivers' side WiPAC light clusters, which were supposedly impermeable, at the cab corner.  The BREL after-sales team was repeatedly changing these out while the Project Engineers pondered where the 'water' was coming from.  After testing some of the accumulated liquid it was clear that the drivers were responsible, a couple of culprits peeing into the corner of the cab.  No weather involved, the pee was taking the easiest gravity route straight through a conduit.

That sounds even grimmer!! 

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Staying with 'other' fluids, earlier diesels had a urinal in the engine room or bonnet. Having worked on two preserved Class 50s, the surrounding floor and other metalwork was always quite corroded. Then there's the small matter if using it, you would have had your back to the generator assembly a few feet away, never a good idea on a 50!

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Urine doesn't even have to be 8n direct contact with steel in order to corrode it. Some time ago, we had a cat with some unfortunate tendencies in the litter tray department. Although we were conscientious in cleaning up, we live in a wooden house and there was inevitably some... er.. soakage. A couple of years after she passed, I was doing some unrelated work on the house, and discovered that every nail within about a metre of her favourite spot had rusted to almost nothing. She was a remarkable feline, but I'm pretty sure she couldn't pee 3 feet up the wall. As a result I'm confident that even the fumes can do damage if in a confined space like a wall cavity. 

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43 minutes ago, Simon Bendall said:

Staying with 'other' fluids, earlier diesels had a urinal in the engine room or bonnet. Having worked on two preserved Class 50s, the surrounding floor and other metalwork was always quite corroded. Then there's the small matter if using it, you would have had your back to the generator assembly a few feet away, never a good idea on a 50!


You would presumably only using that if the cess wasn’t a viable option, so aiming could be a bit tricky at speed.

 

Off topic, but similar reasons why “bacon and eggs cooked on a loco shovel,” isn’t the tasty treat it’s imagined to be...

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3 hours ago, philiprporter said:

Sorry Phil that wasn't my intention. 

 

I'll let you off. At least you resisted all caps and a dozen exclamation marks. :dirol_mini:

2 hours ago, Simon Bendall said:

Then there's the small matter if using it, you would have had your back to the generator assembly a few feet away, never a good idea on a 50!

 

Considering what you would be doing, facing AWAY from the generator is better than facing toward it...

 

 

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I remember that there were problems with the TVM racks on some Eurotunnel locos. They were situated directly underneath the  heat-exchangers for the cab HVAC; the condensate from these would trickle down, with predictable results. I shall always remember seeing two 'trouble-shooters' arrive with a drier rack to exchange; one carrying the rack, the other an umbrella to protect it from the rain.

Returning to the micturition sub-thread... An ex-SNCF colleague told me of an instance when a train was stopped on the through road at Lyon Perrache in the small hours. The signaller set a clear route, but nothing moved. He radioed the loco- no response. Likewise, no response to his general call. Eventually, he found a member of station staff, and asked him to check. A few minutes later he got a call. The driver had left his cab to attend to his needs whilst 'waiting time'; two of SUGE (not people you say no to), had grabbed him by the scruff, and were trying to charge him with 'An offence contrary to Public Decency'.

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4 hours ago, PatB said:

Urine doesn't even have to be 8n direct contact with steel in order to corrode it. Some time ago, we had a cat with some unfortunate tendencies in the litter tray department. Although we were conscientious in cleaning up, we live in a wooden house and there was inevitably some... er.. soakage. A couple of years after she passed, I was doing some unrelated work on the house, and discovered that every nail within about a metre of her favourite spot had rusted to almost nothing. She was a remarkable feline, but I'm pretty sure she couldn't pee 3 feet up the wall. As a result I'm confident that even the fumes can do damage if in a confined space like a wall cavity. 

Are you sure it was a she. Tom cat spraying reaches three feet. I have never truly eliminated the rust from the front of the Dutton chassis after a regular visitor made it his signing in spot. The rest of the chassis is still near perfect after almost 40 years.

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7 hours ago, NorthEndCab said:

 

 

 

I’ve heard from a few fitters that Mk4 coaches are notorious for having vast quantities of water from the early 90’s to today sloshing about in the sidewalls. 

And from the toilet retention tanks onto the track! 

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7 hours ago, Simon Bendall said:

Staying with 'other' fluids, earlier diesels had a urinal in the engine room or bonnet. Having worked on two preserved Class 50s, the surrounding floor and other metalwork was always quite corroded. Then there's the small matter if using it, you would have had your back to the generator assembly a few feet away, never a good idea on a 50!

I remember these, either stainless steel or, on some locos little porcelain ‘facilities’.  They were not large, and there wasn’t always something that wasn’t hot or oily to hang on to aboard a loco that might be rocking and swaying about at 90 or so.  It could be quite dark in there, too.  So poor targeting was inevitable.  

 

8 hours ago, NorthEndCab said:

 

I’ve heard from a few fitters that Mk4 coaches are notorious for having vast quantities of water from the early 90’s to today sloshing about in the sidewalls. 

 Reminds me of a run back from Kidderminster to Cardiff on a Sunday evening back in the 90s aboard a 152 Sprinter.   The double glazed window next my seat had leaked through the seals and was about a third full of water between the glass panels.  This proved excellent entertainment watching the ‘wave machine’ every time the set braked or accellerated, and of course we were an ‘all stopper’!   
 

Led to thoughts of putting tropical fishes in there to help the passengers relax.  I also reckon tunnels could be made less boring if panels were painted on the walls so as to provide an animation assuming the train was travelling at line speeds.  Of course underwater scenes would have to feature the Channel, Severn, and Mersey Tunnels...  

 

As for bacon and eggs off the shovel, the reason the shovel was urinated on first was to clean it; urine contains acids that are very effective at cleaning coal and any oily/greasy deposits.  You did the bizz with the wizz on the shovel, and put it in the fire; it came out shining, cleaned and disinfected down to the metal, the perfect griddle surface.  There were those who claimed it added to the taste, though.
 

An old miner once told me that, because of the warm and often damp atmosphere in the pits, athlete’s foot was endemic among miners and the best cure was to pee on each other’s feet in the shower.  

 

 

Edited by The Johnster
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14 hours ago, The Johnster said:

I remember these, either stainless steel or, on some locos little porcelain ‘facilities’.  They were not large, and there wasn’t always something that wasn’t hot or oily to hang on to aboard a loco that might be rocking and swaying about at 90 or so.  It could be quite dark in there, too.  So poor targeting was inevitable.  

 

 Reminds me of a run back from Kidderminster to Cardiff on a Sunday evening back in the 90s aboard a 152 Sprinter.   The double glazed window next my seat had leaked through the seals and was about a third full of water between the glass panels.  This proved excellent entertainment watching the ‘wave machine’ every time the set braked or accellerated, and of course we were an ‘all stopper’!   
 

Led to thoughts of putting tropical fishes in there to help the passengers relax.  I also reckon tunnels could be made less boring if panels were painted on the walls so as to provide an animation assuming the train was travelling at line speeds.  Of course underwater scenes would have to feature the Channel, Severn, and Mersey Tunnels...  

 

As for bacon and eggs off the shovel, the reason the shovel was urinated on first was to clean it; urine contains acids that are very effective at cleaning coal and any oily/greasy deposits.  You did the bizz with the wizz on the shovel, and put it in the fire; it came out shining, cleaned and disinfected down to the metal, the perfect griddle surface.  There were those who claimed it added to the taste, though.
 

An old miner once told me that, because of the warm and often damp atmosphere in the pits, athlete’s foot was endemic among miners and the best cure was to pee on each other’s feet in the shower.  

 

 

 

Yes, quite true. A lot of my staff were ex-miners, and I've witnessed them piddling on cuts to keep it clean. Putting oil on the shovel also works. After burning off, it'll come out as clean as you like. The only downside is you can't rush cooking sausages. Smelling bacon at 04:00 on a cold morning is something that stays in your memory.

 

Finally, when 50-043 Eagle was dismantled, we kept the stainless steel urinal. I think it's still at Blaenavon... Some people....  

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23 hours ago, 'CHARD said:

 

When Class 90s were under warranty, there were repeated failures of the drivers' side WiPAC light clusters, which were supposedly impermeable, at the cab corner.  The BREL after-sales team was repeatedly changing these out while the Project Engineers pondered where the 'water' was coming from.  After testing some of the accumulated liquid it was clear that the drivers were responsible, a couple of culprits peeing into the corner of the cab.  No weather involved, the pee was taking the easiest gravity route straight through a conduit.

SNCF Drivers - who can have much longer 'continuous driving' turns than anything seen in Britain - have a very simple answer to that problem.  it's called a bucket.

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I recall reading of a crash of a regional airliner back in the 1960s or 1970s due to corrosion induced failure of the rear pressure bulkhead. The loo was at the rear with toilet bowl against the bulkhead, and suspicion was that poorly aimed 'fluids' had been soaking through the floor and causing undetected corrosion. 

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Class 26s and class 33s have an internal gutter beneath the louvres on the cant rail.....its all very good until it rots.....and given it was mild steel and basically unpainted internally it didn't last very long at all..... the roof hatches themselves useually had a seal....  The rad fan is the biggest entry of water but the cowling is designed to channel this out of the loco on a Sulzer via drainage holes on the settling tanks....in EEs however it just pooled on the floor and was expected to drain out via drain holes which got blocked up on day 2 after overhaul or entry to service, and it just rotted the floor....

 

If rain water gets into the engine room its not generally an issue provided its not allowed to pool anywhere and basically rot the thing out from the inside.....is long as its not in the clean air compartment it's not an issue....but the chances of it being pulled into the main generator or blowers is very slim.....you have to aim a hose pipe at them to get it in.....

 

the biggest issue is when the loco is shutdown it can get In via the exhaust.....this is a major problem with EEs because the turbo chargers do not have a storm drain, and water can fill the turbo corrode the shaft and then pass down the exhaust into to the cylinders... Sulzer type 4s have a drain that is always open at the base of the exhaust pipe between the manifold and the turbo...type 2s however have a cover that must be opened manually..... and if you want to see what water does to the cylinders just look at my blog!

 

The biggest killer is condensation in the engine room.....damp air and lack of movement causes big issues over time with electrical machines......but peaks have nice big grill which keeps the air moving and condensation to a minimum!!!

 

 

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Personally, my favourite was seeing into the engine room of a class 26, with its rotten internal guttering.  The fact it was originally unpainted was a lovely finishing touch.

 

On a related note, I’ve recently watched a video from Bovington tank museum, where they’re recovering some chieftain-based vehicles (bridgelayers and AVRE’s) from a range.  Some of these have literally filled with rainwater because your average tank (which is basically a large steel box) has drain plugs in the bottom (a good idea to put these in if you’re fording a river, but you can also need to let water out) and when these were parked on the range, the drain plugs were left in.  There’s some impressive cascades of water released in the process of releasing the final drives so they can be towed.

 

Owain

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