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CHAT Traction Sand. Why just on old locomotives ?
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  1. #1

    Traction Sand. Why just on old locomotives ?

    A little know fact is that not all of the domes on steam locomotives were for gathering steam. Another dome ( or two ) actually held sand and if you look carefully, you'll see tubes extending down from them on either side of the boiler, ending right in front of the drive wheels. When they'd encounter a slippery incline, they could release sand onto the rails to improve traction.

    So I got to thinking, with all the innovations in vehicles, why have we never seen a similar mechanism built into vehicles? It wouldn't be very difficult at all to put a couple small hoppers under the hood and/or in the back to release a bit of sand when your wheels start slipping. With cold weather like we're having, there's certainly been more than one occasion when I would have made use of such when approaching a slippery intersection. Release of the sand could almost be coupled with the anti-lock breaks, but there'd also be a manual release via a button somewhere. Not every climate would need this, of course, but if it were an option I'll bet people would buy it and I'll bet insurance companies would be on board with it.

    Granted, you'd have to keep them filled up, but that would be no harder than keeping your wiper solution tank filled, and sand is cheap.

    Well there you have my idea for the new year.

  2. #2
    They're on diesel locomotives too.

  3. #3
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    I've got #400 of sand in back of the truck over the rear axle. Not to hard to slit the bag and pour some out if needed. In addition an excellent traction mechanism in a pinch is to take your ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher in your vehicle [you do keep one in your vehicle don't you...if not you should] and discharge that under your drive wheel. The fill material [Monoammonium phosphate] melts ice and snow and provides a very effective boost when things are slippery.
    What is the lake of fire? What is it's purpose? Is the lake of fire eternal hell? Is there any hope of escape for those cast into this lake?
    http://bible-truths.com/lake1.html

  4. #4
    It's not needed enough to justify the expense of adding it to all vehicles.

  5. #5
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    Trains have steel wheels on steel tracks, both pretty smooth. Sand would be very necessary on certain conditions.
    Highway vehicles have rubber on asphalt or concrete.
    Different conditions entirely, but I think sand (not salt) is used on some mountain passes in winter, I’m thinking California Sierras
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Razor sharpening while you wait - Occam
    If it works, it doesn't have enough features. - Windows 10 design philosophy.
    Forget the beer, I'm just here for the doom!
    Humans, just a tool for amino acids to make Swiss watches.

  6. #6
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    Trucks, the larger ones sometimes had sanders added for winter driving, probably not cost effective over chains, or studded snow tires.

  7. #7
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    studded snow tires

  8. #8
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    They do make automatic tire chains.

    http://www.instachain.com/
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  9. #9
    I've used long zip ties successfully as temporary tire chains.

    See..https://diyprojects.com/snow-chains-zip-tie/

    I use the big white ones made by panduit.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechanic 217 View Post
    Trucks, the larger ones sometimes had sanders added for winter driving, probably not cost effective over chains, or studded snow tires.
    I find this doubtful. Larger ones, larger than your normal 18 wheeler won’t be on a highway in those conditions. Huge loads would be on multi-axle trailers, each axle with its own brakes. My grandfather drove a truck delivering gravel for road construction, never heard about “sanders” on the truck.
    Bags of sand for traction, or to shovel under your tires, yes.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Razor sharpening while you wait - Occam
    If it works, it doesn't have enough features. - Windows 10 design philosophy.
    Forget the beer, I'm just here for the doom!
    Humans, just a tool for amino acids to make Swiss watches.

  11. #11
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    Around 1949 or 1950, a car like the Fraser-Nash or Hudson had sanders. Problem was the moisture in the air made them freeze up just when you needed them most. There was a reason the sanders were on top of the boiler on the old locomotives. My childhood friends Dad had one of those cars.

  12. #12
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    I've seen some school buses have sanders on them in the past, but not many, maybe the moisture problem affects them also. I like tire chains and studded tires but many states won't let you use them. Salted roads sure ruins the cars. Wounder if states that use salt are paid off by the auto company's so they can sell more cars.

    I carry cat litter in the cars

  13. #13
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    In the fifty's all our school buses had sanders. The way we used them was to turn them on just before full stop which meant you had sand under your tires when you were stopp,d then off and then turned them back on for a few feet until you were rolling. Meant no slipping when starting up. Now our buses have chains that can rotate when needed to flip chains under the wheel. No idea how well they work but probably because sand did freeze unless kept dry.

    Since I have thought about it, the steam loco' needed a real fine touch on the throttle to start moving without dive wheel slippage. Sand added traction just like on ice. Diesel electric can probable be much easier to throttle up easy.

    Russell
    Last edited by Russell Crowley; 01-01-2018 at 06:21 PM. Reason: eddited since was about loocmotives.

  14. #14
    What a wealth of ideas and information, here, for just clicking open a thread. Love this place!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Profit of Doom View Post
    I find this doubtful. Larger ones, larger than your normal 18 wheeler won’t be on a highway in those conditions. Huge loads would be on multi-axle trailers, each axle with its own brakes. My grandfather drove a truck delivering gravel for road construction, never heard about “sanders” on the truck.
    Bags of sand for traction, or to shovel under your tires, yes.
    My grandfather had one in his rig.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub49xZOPy9Y
    Go to 1:20 go see it installed on a semi.
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Profit of Doom View Post
    Trains have steel wheels on steel tracks, both pretty smooth. Sand would be very necessary on certain conditions.
    Highway vehicles have rubber on asphalt or concrete.
    Different conditions entirely, but I think sand (not salt) is used on some mountain passes in winter, I’m thinking California Sierras
    Sounds like you've never driven in freezing rain.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mrrk1562 View Post
    studded snow tires
    Banned in many states.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackpine Savage View Post
    They do make automatic tire chains.

    http://www.instachain.com/
    That looks more expensive than sand hoppers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FaithfulSkeptic View Post
    Sounds like you've never driven in freezing rain.
    Yes, uncommon for me. I see your point.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Razor sharpening while you wait - Occam
    If it works, it doesn't have enough features. - Windows 10 design philosophy.
    Forget the beer, I'm just here for the doom!
    Humans, just a tool for amino acids to make Swiss watches.

  20. #20
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    I'm likely the only member of this board who has actually loaded sand into a steam locomotive's sand dome. The dome is high enough that it is easy to sand the drivers on both sides from the single dome. (Where there were two sand domes, they were still in line, on top of the boiler.) In a highway vehicle, you'd likely have to have two hoppers--one on each side, directly above and ahead of each wheel. By about 1900, the locomotive sanders were air operated. (Wet sand in a pure-gravity system would clog the works.) Laying out a linkage to open the valves in double hoppers back behind all the doors would be a trick (unless you have a big rig with an air compressor). Keeping those hoppers full in a car would be troublesome--bending over inside the trunk. I'd think the only vehicle anyone would do this to would be a pickup or van--and most of the DIYers who'd actually do this probably already have a 4x4.

  21. #21
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    This whole thing is kind-of unnecessary, though an interesting intellectual exercise. Most cars are front-wheel-drive these days, putting the weight over the drive wheels. Back in the day, rear-wheel-drive cars might well need extra traction, but not so much today.

  22. #22
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    We don't need no steenkin' sand.

    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

    Deplorable


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Profit of Doom View Post
    I find this doubtful. Larger ones, larger than your normal 18 wheeler won’t be on a highway in those conditions. Huge loads would be on multi-axle trailers, each axle with its own brakes. My grandfather drove a truck delivering gravel for road construction, never heard about “sanders” on the truck.
    Bags of sand for traction, or to shovel under your tires, yes.
    Sealtest ice cream and milk semi tractors had sanders only they didn't use sand, it was more like slag.

  24. #24
    Modern snow tires work so well that such methods are very out dated.

    Modern cars have traction control and anti-lock breaks. If you add 4 snow tires most would be amazed at the driving stability. Even smooth ice isn't a huge problem with purpose built tires.

    As mentioned above many states have outlawed studs. But other states still allow their use. I would suggest studs if legal and necessary. You will have near dry road maneuverability in all but the harshest conditions. If you can't use studs.. That's ok, there are many tires designed for exceptional traction without steel studs. They will provide a measure of safety on ice as well just not the total gripping power. One nice thing about studless tires is they do well on dry roads where studs cause less traction and ride issues.

    Basically if your on snowy roads daily you want studs. If your in the snow weekly, stud-less are preferred. If you have just occasional snow a good all-season radial will last much longer. The big issue with snows is they don't last long at all. Most are good for only 10 thousand miles before you start to lose traction. So only use them when needed.

    For myself.. We have near daily snow for 3 months of year. I get studs and the car drives like a tank.

  25. #25
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    Studs play hell on the asphalt though.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    Studs play hell on the asphalt though.
    True. But in some areas it's a necessity for safety.

    A picture of my road on the average morning.
    Attached Images

  27. #27
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    I hope that isn't a typical view because you would be on your side after putting your vehicle in the ditch. LOL!
    What is the lake of fire? What is it's purpose? Is the lake of fire eternal hell? Is there any hope of escape for those cast into this lake?
    http://bible-truths.com/lake1.html

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Hfcomms View Post
    I hope that isn't a typical view because you would be on your side after putting your vehicle in the ditch. LOL!
    lol

  29. #29
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    Sand plugs up drainage systems.
    vienna 1683.

    Turn your swords into plowshares ,and you'll be plowing for those that didn't...

    We didn't create GOD out of our imagination ,He created us out of his.

  30. #30
    I was driving on the Dan Ryan expressway in Chicago years ago late 1960's. This was at night and there was a lot of white on the road. I thought they need to get a plow out here and clean this off. When I looked really close I realised that it was not snow but rather rock salt! Made my fenders scream bloody murder as they rusted away!

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by teedee View Post
    I was driving on the Dan Ryan expressway in Chicago years ago late 1960's. This was at night and there was a lot of white on the road. I thought they need to get a plow out here and clean this off. When I looked really close I realised that it was not snow but rather rock salt! Made my fenders scream bloody murder as they rusted away!

    if it was more black than white they had cinders mixed in with the spread .... now it's various chemicals - especially on the bridges - going with a beet juice extract in some places ....
    Illini Warrior

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Profit of Doom View Post
    I find this doubtful. Larger ones, larger than your normal 18 wheeler won’t be on a highway in those conditions. Huge loads would be on multi-axle trailers, each axle with its own brakes. My grandfather drove a truck delivering gravel for road construction, never heard about “sanders” on the truck.
    Bags of sand for traction, or to shovel under your tires, yes.
    In the mid-70s, our school bus in SW Colorado had sanders before the auto-chain systems. There was a fairly large hopper with discharge nozzles in front of each dually.

    It used to take me 45 min to chain up our deuce and a half 6x6 (1942 GMC CCKW with 10 ton pto winch). Wish we still had that. Only chained that beast up if 12 or more inches of snow was forecast. With chains, the deuce could chomp through 2 feet of unplowed snow.

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