Water Tanks

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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Jim Summers
Posts: 909
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Water Tanks

Post by Jim Summers »

I know some of us are worried about Caledonian water tanks, and I happened to come across this picture today.
I took it in 1960, and I wish I had measured it, but it does strike me that it would be a reasonable size for a model railway and be attractive to boot. Especially if you make it more upright than my picture.

With luck, a topic on water tanks could run and run . . . .

JIm
Attachments
Denny water tank 1960 JMS compressed.jpg
Denny water tank 1960 JMS compressed.jpg (22.41 KiB) Viewed 7931 times
MIKEWILLIAMS
Posts: 490
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS »

I have a copy of the drawing for the tank at Dalmally which formed part of the contract to extend the line to Oban. Unlike Jim' s example, the base was made of rubble masonry. The tank itself was formed of 4ft square cast iron plates half an inch thick, with flanges on the inside that were bolted together - no maze of reinforcing rods.

Of course, you will all be dying to hear what it says about painting. Well, brace yourself for the definitive answer....

"All Iron Work to receive one coat of paint before being exposed, and two coats of approved colour when erected."

That's cleared that one up!

If anyone would like to borrow a copy of the drawing, let me know - although I intend to lodge in the Association archive soon.

Best

Mike
Alan K
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by Alan K »

MIKEWILLIAMS wrote:I have a copy of the drawing for the tank at Dalmally which formed part of the contract to extend the line to Oban. Unlike Jim' s example, the base was made of rubble masonry. The tank itself was formed of 4ft square cast iron plates half an inch thick, with flanges on the inside that were bolted together - no maze of reinforcing rods.

Of course, you will all be dying to hear what it says about painting. Well, brace yourself for the definitive answer....

"All Iron Work to receive one coat of paint before being exposed, and two coats of approved colour when erected."

That's cleared that one up!

If anyone would like to borrow a copy of the drawing, let me know - although I intend to lodge in the Association archive soon.

Best

Mike
That seems to me to be siding with Allan F's view. If the first coat is a red lead type primer (which it surely must be), then there seems to be an implication that the 2 coats after erection are a different colour. I'm awaiting David Lochrie's response with bated breath! And my water tank remains unpainted....!

Alan
jim mac
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:20 pm

Re: Water Tanks and Red Pigments

Post by jim mac »

The following was circulated by email prior to the Forum coming online and is being repeated here for future reference.

"Attached is an extract from the 1893 publication Pigments, Paint and Painting, which sets out a contemporary description of Red Oxide and Red Lead. The main aspects to note are that these are two very different products, and in the case of Red Oxide manufactured from a variety of sources, resulting in a range of colours.

Red oxide is basically an inert pigment used in the formulation of paint, whereas Red Lead chemically bonds to ferrous metals and thus creates additional protection. This is illustrated in CR terms by the specification for painting the tenders (page293 Caledonian Livery); red oxide was a base coat on the coal deck and painted over by a coat of lamp black, while red lead was applied to the inner surfaces of the tank to reduce corrosion. The use of red lead is now banned and in the most recent restoration of CR828, a modern synthetic resin had to be applied to the inside of the tender tank to do the same job.

Perhaps the most iconic ferrous railway structure is the Forth Bridge, does anyone know what was specified for the painting was it Red Lead or Red Oxide? I realise none of this helps to define the colour of CR structures and rolling stock and offer it as background only."
Red pigments.pdf
Red pigments
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dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by dumb buffer »

Jim

Your reference to the Forth Bridge has scratched a sore point. One or two of us have been discussing the Forth Bridge colour, and I have maintained that when I first knew it, (late 1940's to 1950's) it was the same grey (Bitumen ?) as other bridges. However all the colour pictures I've been able to find, earliest in 1961, suggest that I'm wrong! So I'm still looking for evidence.

Allan F
Jim Summers
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Water Tanks and Red Pigments

Post by Jim Summers »

Chaps,
I consulted an engineer colleague who had the Forth Bridge in his portfolio until his recent retirement and was much concerned with the recent refurbishment, and I sent him the paint production description from Jim MacIntosh. His reply is worth reading in full, so I attach it, along with the picture of an extract he sent me of the contemporary description by Westhofen.

"The extract you attached does indeed make fascinating reading. I am just glad that I was nowhere near such a process as the health risks would appear rather high. I note that the article referred to manufacture in France so perhaps the severity was tempered by the consumption of generous quantities of a good full-bodied red wine.
Back to the point:I attach an extract from the definitive record by Wilhelm Westhofen of the construction of the Forth Bridge. Under the section 'Painting' he states that the finishing coat [which is what is actually seen and what is now generally refered to as 'Forth Bridge Red'] is 'a bright Indian or Persian red, which, however, darkens considerably in a short time'. Just how the actual original colour compares with the current colour is really anyone's guess. I suspect that there may have been considerable colour variation when the original finishing coat was applied.

In summary, the surface treatment specification was:-
-remove scale and rust from steel by scraping and wire-brushing
-boiled linseed oil applied hot....................1 coat
-Red Lead...........................................2 coats
-oxide of iron priming coat.......................1 coat dark chocolate brown
-oxide of iron finishing coat......................1 coat bright Indian or Persian red

I don't think that the foregoing will really solve the argument. Indeed it is more likely to provoke even more healthy debate and I hope that matters do not have to be settled under the Queensberry rules."

So there we are.

Jim S
Attachments
Forth Bridge paint system-Westhoffen.jpg
Forth Bridge paint system-Westhoffen.jpg (305.74 KiB) Viewed 7891 times
Jim Summers
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Water Tanks and Red Pigments

Post by Jim Summers »

Looks like I forgot to compress the attachment last time, so here we are again, properly, I hope.

Jim
Attachments
Forth Bridge paint -Westhoffen compressed.jpg
Forth Bridge paint -Westhoffen compressed.jpg (24.17 KiB) Viewed 7891 times
David Elvy
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:26 am

Re: Water Tanks

Post by David Elvy »

MIKEWILLIAMS wrote:I have a copy of the drawing for the tank at Dalmally which formed part of the contract to extend the line to Oban. Unlike Jim' s example, the base was made of rubble masonry. The tank itself was formed of 4ft square cast iron plates half an inch thick, with flanges on the inside that were bolted together - no maze of reinforcing rods.

If anyone would like to borrow a copy of the drawing, let me know - although I intend to lodge in the Association archive soon.

Mike

Mike,

I am looking to build Dalmally as an extension to my existing layout and would appreciate being allowed to use the drawing of the water tower and any other information you may have for Dalmally, thanks.

David
Dave Lochrie
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by Dave Lochrie »

I'm overdue to reply to this topic and feel I should quote from the forum's predecesor so that new readers can at least try to follow what we are talking about.
I have both bridge sides and a panelled water tower on my current layout, and consulted my notes on structure painting prior to opening a tin of paint (anything to avoid actually doing something) my instinctive answer was greyish, but notes from Charles Underhill stated that ironwork on bridges, watertanks and turntables was red oxide, leading to the later posting you can see above.

Now I know that recent reconsiderations of locomotive liveries have encouraged us not to accept the statements of experts without questioning the evidence (thanks Jim Mac)but I felt that Charles was more than a casual observer, his position as a civil engineer within Railway Training College at Derby gave him enviable access to drawings, specifications and at times the real thing. So while his specification of red oxide felt counter intuitive (like primrose signal boxes on the Midland), I saw this an an example of me blindly following an established view.

In a recent post on another site Scottish Modellers Group , I noticed a request from Jim Watt about the painting of the timber part of the bridge parapet , he has had etched for his new Kirkallanmuir layout in which he stated
I know the girders would be red oxide, but what colour would the wooden
fencing be c1900?
. I wonder if Jim can provide evidence, or has he also been infuenced by Charles?

So despite the convincing evidence above and my own perception that bridges have always been grey(ish), I am still unable to commit either way - the bridge panels and girders are still grey, and the watertower panels are still red oxide, as they were 9 months ago (and before anyone asks the overscale pins are still in place until I'm happy to carry on with the ballasting.
Camelon Dilema.jpg
Camelon Dilema.jpg (144.33 KiB) Viewed 7733 times
I enclose this (not very clear) sketch from Clarke's Railway machinary showing the cross-bracing in a similar NBR tank.
watertanks.jpg
watertanks.jpg (100.68 KiB) Viewed 7733 times
Dave L
Last edited by Dave Lochrie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Sorry that this is a very late reply on this one, but |I am just catching up on posts made prior to my joining.

I recall Charles Underhill telling me many years ago that prior to some time in the 1920's, the only protective paint available was red lead and so all ironwork was so painted, bridges, water tanks turntables etc. His description of the colour was 'Forth Bridge'.

There was a drawing in the HMRS journal of 1971, Vol.7 No. 6, of the water tower at Busby, which was made up of 3 4ft panels on each side and sat on a timber frame base. I used this for my model on Connerburn and have used it as a basis for an etch for one 5 panels x 4 for my new layout.

Jim
Dave Lochrie
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Thanks Jim,
which I think brings us back full-circle and I am still unconvinced one way or the other so this issue will need to be refered back to Charles Underhill for resolution, as he is the source of the 'red lead' information. There is no doubt red lead was used but we are still uncertain as to the topcoat colour, the Forth Bridge information though probably relevant, doesn't prove anything regarding CR practice, though Charles' contention re availability should theoretically apply to all pre-group companies.
Whilst talking about water tanks, on the Dalmally post, Alan K wrote:
Re the picture of Dalmally water tank from LMS Engine Sheds, can anyone tell whether this was taken in LMS days or earlier? I'm thinking particularly about the colour!! Also what was the purpose of the lighter coloured panel on the side of the tank? I've seen this before on water tanks elsewhere, but the panel doesn't always appear to contain anything.

Alan
This lighter panel with reverse scallop corners, appeared on a number of CR/ LMS pictures and I can't explain it's purpose, there is no evidence of any writing present .
P1100977.jpg
P1100977.jpg (137.39 KiB) Viewed 7679 times
All Caledonian water tanks did have a prominent painted letter and number code which I have never been able to crack, and a recent search of tank pictures certainly proved these features still were present in early LMS days, at least.
Bankfoot5.jpg
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The timber structure at Bankfoot is similar to the drawing for Busby (especially the treatment of the end of the horizontal timbers) though with a more basic tank.
On tank internal structure the attached Jack Nelson sketch of operating valve, also shows how re-inforcing angles were fitted to tanks with a radiased base.
P1110375.jpg
P1110375.jpg (94.79 KiB) Viewed 7679 times
Dave L
Alan K
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Water Tanks

Post by Alan K »

Thanks for that drawing of the reinforcing bars, David. I shall incorporate that arrangement in my tank!
Looking at the pictures of water tanks in LMS Engine Sheds again, to me the two taken at Ballachulish are significant - the 1950 one (p18) shows the painted panel, but the overall shade of the tank is quite darker than the render or the exposed brickwork below. Now compare this with the photo on p16, which must be a very early CR period view. The contrast between the tank and the render below doesn't seem to me to be as much, which suggests that the early picture of the tank (with fresh, unfaded paint!) had a much lighter colour.
Perhaps the tanks with the painted panels were done in LMS days, with a darker colour- LMS Brown perhaps? According to what 'Station Colours' has to say, the LMS didn't start to impose its standard colours until the early to mid 1930s, and the earliest pictures I've seen of tanks with painted panels appear to be from the 1930's.

Alan
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