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Railroaders' Nostalgia > "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then What!??


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Date: 01/04/17 21:19
"Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then What!??
Author: rrman6

IMaybe a previous subject but still curious if some old "hoggers" of steam locos or others might be able to bring some "reality" to the subject here.  

Most diesels had some form of "hopper", usually located in the nose of a F or Geep unit but I've always wondered about the early day steamers and later steamers advancing up to the early diesel-electrics.  What was a crewman to do while traveling en-route between terminals and "Ma Nature" called for #1 or #2 actions??  

I'd imagine the case normally was that the crewmen made effort to satisfy such requirements before going on duty, but possibly during flu season or some other form of gut distress this wouldn't always be sufficient.   I can only imagine a bucket in the front-center compartment area of the tender out of public view might have had to work, be it warm or cold season. Maybe even a tarpulin piece might be required to block the view of public as well as that of the other head crewmen.  Dark hours may have been different!  Some tenders having a doghouse may have been another possible option but most railroads lacked this appliance, and if so, insufficient room for such action.  It's not like the crew could just stop anywhere and the victim take to a ditch or the woods with a roll of paper, unless they were momentarily put into a siding for meeting another train.  

As we all know, nature still has its demands and even "clamping to hold" for the proper place most likely was never a lasting option.  Maybe not the most pleasant subject, but that's life!!  
Any takers on the subject??



Date: 01/04/17 21:27
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: 4451Puff

From what I have heard, you "made your deposit" onto the coal shovel, & then right into the firebox, just make sure you didn't use the same shovel that was used for warming/cooking food! Not sure what the procedure was for an oil burner. 

Desmond Praetzel, "4451 Puff"



Date: 01/04/17 21:42
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: BAB

Read about a fellow who worked the caboose, dont know what he did, used to sqat down while standing on the coupler holding onto the railing. Said one time he got to wave at a car while going over a road crossing. Not much else one can do at that point.



Date: 01/04/17 22:26
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: mapboy

My late uncle, T.J. Gill, told me about being a brakie over Tehachapi, shortly after WWII.  He was sitting on the toilet in an F-unit engine area, beyond the cab, when the thermostat decided it was time for the radiator shutters on the sides of the unit to flip open.  This was in winter at 3,000+', and he said the cold made him involuntarily stand up.  Not to worry, there was plenty of t.p.

mapboy



Date: 01/05/17 06:51
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: joeygooganelli

I can tell you that many of these practices are still in play. If you've ever been in the cab of a modern engine, you can see that it might be equipped but it isn't really an option. There have been a few times when I've had to use the old boy scout method before making it to facilities. I have a caboose on my current job. The tank probably hasn't been tended to since the early 90's? When one has to go, they will find a way. 

Joe



Date: 01/05/17 07:58
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: hoggerdoug

One old timer told me that he was firing for an engineer that was not too popular. Anyhow the unpopular Engineer dropped his overalls, pants and long johns and did his business on the coal scoop.  As he was pulling all his clothing backup, the fireman quickly changed the scoop shovels. The engineer had a look of horror in his eyes when he realized there was nothing on the shovel to throw in the firebox. Thinking he miscalculated in arranging his clothing before his deposit, he did not sit down in the seat for rest of the trip.  Doug



Date: 01/05/17 11:31
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: cewherry

In May, 1996 I was called to pilot steam engine SP4449 and from Seattle's King St. station to Portland, OR.
​When I climbed into the cab of the engine prior to departure of course I was struck with all the various
dials and levers almost all of which I knew absolutely nothing about with the exception of the throttle
and the brake valves.
​As I began to absorb the environment I noticed a several empty glass ​'Snapple' bottles complete with metal caps stashed
​in  various nooks and crannies among the piping and gauges. The thought briefly occurred that someone on the
crew must really like the ​Snapple​ product.
Soon we were underway. South of Tacoma while approaching Nisqually, WA, Doyle rose off of his seat, motioned for me to
take his place then reached for one of the glass bottles. My eyes followed his movements until I saw him stand behind me and begin to
unzip his fly. Ah ha, now I knew what those empty bottles were doing in an otherwise all business (no pun intended) locomotive cab.
​When Doyle moved from behind me, he took the now full bottle, replaced the metal cap, and reaching down to the firebox door
opened the sand hole. He simply held the bottle about even with the opening and swoosh.....the bottle disappeared into the hole.
Doyle remarked, "It's atomized by now".
​As I recount this tale I don't recall any of the others in the cab that day, including me, who opted to use the Snapple system.

Charlie
 



Date: 01/05/17 12:06
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>If you've ever been in the cab of a modern engine, you can see that it might be equipped but it isn't really an option.

Not optional unless the locomotive is used in commuter, switching, tourist, etc. service, see 49 CFR 229.137 for full details.



Date: 01/05/17 12:09
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: spnudge

We had a Southern engine show up one day in SLO in the early 70s. They used it one trip in helper service and back to LA it went. In walking through the power it was interesting to see the controls on the long hood side, etc. In the short hood was the toilet a bit different from the SPs hoppers.  It consisted of a 12" pipe, welded to the floor with just a toilet seat bolted to the top. No cover, no hopper and no water. You looked right down on top of a traction motor and the rails.

It would have been something else to try to use it when moving at any speed. What about the poor RH crews working on the shi%#y motors?   It wasn't that long ago that a road down south was still giving crews a black bag to use instead of putting toilets on the engines.  Trouble was when the leaves fell in the winter, trees along the RofW now had black bags hanging from them up & down the pike.  Rather than installing proper toilets, they wanted everyone to sign for a numbered bag so they could fire the "Tree Hangers".  I think that's when the, FRA and EPA finally had to force the carrier to do something else.  

I know someone out there has the straight dope of what and when on the carrier.


Nudge



Date: 01/05/17 13:10
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: CR3

I experienced the same situation except the unit was from the N&W.  We never had one of those on the point if we could help it.

CRS
 



Date: 01/05/17 13:19
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: rabidcats

Back in steam days, when nature called on oil burner, you made your deposit in the sandbox (middle front of the tender) and scooped it into the firebox.  Sand scoops were useful for more than sanding the flues!  I suppose it was genteel to close the storm curtains for privacy sake but considering the characters I've worked with over the years I wouldn't bet on it.  Remember, too, that drag freights were often in the hole which provided an opportunity to "go trackside."  Enginemen became proficient in "holding it" until the next terminal--probably the reason for hemorrhoids being a primary occupational hazard.  (How many old-timers out there remember their periodic physical always including "bend and spread"?  That ritual seemed to disappear after the carriers outsourced medical clinics.)  One incident among many I recall was working a yard job with a peppery old engineer who aburptly stopped the engine next to the locker room at Hobart and growled, "I've been an engineer for thirty years but--Damn it!--this is the first time I've had to stop an engine to go s_ _t!"



Date: 01/05/17 15:08
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: LarryDoyle

This subject has been kicked around a number of times over the years, which you can find with a "discreet" search.

Here's an example;
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?10,2461221,2461256#msg-2461256

--LD



Date: 01/05/17 19:51
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: PHall

EtoinShrdlu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >If you've ever been in the cab of a modern
> engine, you can see that it might be equipped but
> it isn't really an option.
>
> Not optional unless the locomotive is used in
> commuter, switching, tourist, etc. service, see 49
> CFR 229.137 for full details.

The equipment might be there. But the stench might make it unbarable.



Date: 01/05/17 21:57
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>The equipment might be there. But the stench might make it unbarable.

To quote a line from Merrie Melodies,  "You ain't just whistlin' Dixie".



Date: 01/06/17 14:32
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: 1019X

When I first worked for Southern in 1973 they were well on the way to equipping all of the road units with "Microphor" toilets. This system used air pressure to flush the waste into a digester tank containing microbes that digested the waste, breaking it down to "safe" water which then drained out. As I recall Microphor was a California based company. The early models had a lot of problems and many an SR man got an unexpected shower when flushing. Later on they became more reliable. Then after the NW- Southern merger they took all of the Microphors out and replaced them with the "bag toilet" which had been standard on the NW. After using you were supposed to tie up the bag and leave it in the bucket in the short hood for the shop to empty. You can imagine the smell in the summertime, so what typically happened was crews threw them out the window and they did wind up hanging on trees, pole lines, slide fences, etc.

What hit the fan happened in the early 90s when a farmer sued the railroad. Bags had landed in a hay field and the field was cut and baled and the hay was later fed to cattle that got sick. There was a photo in a Virgina Paper of the farmer holding the remains of a bag that he had pulled out of a hay bail. The railroad got a lot of bad press so they changed the bags to bright orange and had them stamped with serial numbers which were recorded as to which crew they were issued to. I have heard stories of crews turning the bag inside out so the serial number was on the inside, using the bag and then tossing it out the window. Toward the end of the 90s I believe they started putting retention tank toilets on the locomotives but I had left NS by then.
Charlie

1spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We had a Southern engine show up one day in SLO in
> the early 70s. They used it one trip in helper
> service and back to LA it went. In walking through
> the power it was interesting to see the controls
> on the long hood side, etc. In the short hood was
> the toilet a bit different from the SPs hoppers.
>  It consisted of a 12" pipe, welded to the floor
> with just a toilet seat bolted to the top. No
> cover, no hopper and no water. You looked right
> down on top of a traction motor and the rails.
>
> It would have been something else to try to use it
> when moving at any speed. What about the poor RH
> crews working on the shi%#y motors?   It wasn't
> that long ago that a road down south was still
> giving crews a black bag to use instead of putting
> toilets on the engines.  Trouble was when the
> leaves fell in the winter, trees along the RofW
> now had black bags hanging from them up & down the
> pike.  Rather than installing proper toilets,
> they wanted everyone to sign for a numbered bag so
> they could fire the "Tree Hangers".  I think
> that's when the, FRA and EPA finally had to force
> the carrier to do something else.  
>
> I know someone out there has the straight dope of
> what and when on the carrier.
>
>
> Nudge



Date: 01/06/17 17:47
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: ln844south

Nudge,

   NS did that for a awhile after the merger. Remember a brand new NS widebody we got out of pensacola. Five gallon bucket with a supply of plastic liners.
​   Lady Engineers, as I was told, had a lot to do with getting chemical toliets on the NS.

Steve Panzik
Chiloquin, OR
​   



Date: 01/06/17 22:17
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: CountryBoy

I was working midnights at the CUS power plant and had my scanner on. I heard a NS train tone up the BNSF dispatcher and ask for clearance off the NS to Western AV. The BNSF dispatcher asked what the lead unit was and then asked if the unit had a working toilet? When the NS hogger said no it didn't the BNSF dispatcher refused the train and told the NS hogger that the BNSF contract required a working toilet in the lead locomotive

CB



Date: 01/13/17 20:58
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: wabash2800

I don't know about the early geeps, but the covered wagons had them in the rear of the unit, IIRC.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com

rrman6 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Most diesels had some form of "hopper", usually
> located in the nose of a F or Geep unit but I've
> always wondered about the early day steamers and
> later steamers advancing up to the early
> diesel-electrics.  



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/17 21:35 by wabash2800.



Date: 01/17/17 18:02
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) vs. (no toilets) on Steam Locos. Then Wha
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

in addition the flush water was heated .....wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't know about the early geeps, but the
> covered wagons had them in the rear of the unit,
> IIRC.
>
> Victor A. Baird
> ​http://www.erstwhilepublications.com
>
> rrman6 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >
> > Most diesels had some form of "hopper", usually
> > located in the nose of a F or Geep unit but
> I've
> > always wondered about the early day steamers
> and
> > later steamers advancing up to the early
> > diesel-electrics.  



Date: 01/19/17 17:51
Re: "Hoppers" (toilets) SP Fs
Author: spnudge

All the SP Fs (EMD) had them at the rear corner. Heavy porcelain toilets with thick, heavy Bakelite seats. I want to say they were on the engineers side, with the rear headlight controls on the fireman's side.  I don't remember  about the "B" units.

Nudge



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